Planning on taking your family to a grandiose vacation in Barcelona? What’s stopping you? If money is your reason, we can help you get the most of your trip without breaking the bank.
Barcelona is one of the major global cities and one of the world’s leading tourist and cultural centers. Undeniably, it has a lot to offer to the millions of tourists who come to visit it every year. It is such a beautiful metropolis dotted with art, architecture, and notable landmarks. Apart from its many recreational areas, the city has some of the best beaches in the world.
Some visit the city on a short day trip for one reason or another. While a day trip allows you to visit several places around the city, you won’t be able to cover all the beautiful kid-friendly attractions and recreational places in such a short period of time. We recommend that you spend at least three days in Barcelona and visit the places we listed in this guide.
Apart from spending several days in Barcelona, here are some important tips that can help make your trip less daunting and more fun for you and the kids:
It’s good to plan in advance where you want to go. However, be a bit more flexible with your schedule. You will have limited flexibility if you join a group tour but if you are exploring on your own, you can space out the different activities so that your kids will have extra time to enjoy and rest before you jump off to your next destination.
Spaniards eat late which means dinner time is typically later than 8 PM and the city remains vibrant until midnight. If your kids can adjust to the local time, it means that you can enjoy the city like the locals do.
Elevators are hard to find in the subway. And unless you find one, your trip will involve a lot of going up and down the stairs. It gets a bit challenging if you have small kids and also carry strollers and bags. You can do yourself a favor by taking a taxi.
Make sure to bring a durable light stroller on your visit as you will be walking a lot. You don’t want those tiny feet to get tired.
You want to avoid long lines at the gate especially if you have anxious small kids. We recommend that you check the schedules of the attractions you wish to visit and book your tickets in advance. That will save you time lining up.
You can save time and money if you get a transport pass. One option is the Barcelona tourist travel pass, a multi-day travel card that you can use to travel on all public transportation in the city for 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. This card is available online or at any tourist information spot at the airport.
Another choice is the Barcelona Card that gives you a free ride on the RENFE train from the airport to the center of the city. This card comes with free unlimited rides on the Barcelona Metro, tram and buses. In addition, it gives you either a discounted or free entry into many of the city’s top attractions.
Here’s where it gets exciting! These are some of our favorite attractions in the city.
Also known as Las Ramblas, it starts in the epicenter of the city, the Catalonia Square, and stretches approximately 1.3 kilometers, marking the limit between the Gothic Quarter and El Raval. La Rambla is no ordinary street. It is one of the city’s popular landmarks featuring human statue art, live performances, and artists.
And you will find cafes, bookstalls and candy stores in almost every corner. When you are at La Rambla, you might as well do a side trip to Barcelona’s cathedral which is located a few blocks away. ThePlaça Sant Jaume which houses the main Government Building and the City Hall is just nearby.
Whether you are a religious person or not, The Sagrada Família is a truly exceptional temple worth visiting. Considered as a masterpiece of the genius architect Antoni Gaudí, both the exterior and interior of this church are a work of art. The best time to go to this attraction is late afternoon.
The view of the sun’s rays reflecting through the stained glass windows is just stunning during the golden hour. Thousands of tourists flock The Sagrada Familia daily. You can skip the long lines if you pre-book your ticket.
Parc de la Ciutadella is a green oasis in the midst of the city. This 44-acre park has a beautiful fountain, a museum, sculptures, and a small lake where you can take a boat ride and relax. There’s also a wide grass-covered area where kids can run around while you sit and enjoy the view.
The Barcelona Zoo is in fact housed inside this park. With numerous attractions inside the park, a short trip to Ciutadella Park will make your vacation more memorable.
Since the park is one of the prominent attractions in the city, it’s a good idea to know that its entrance is close to the metro and the Rodalies Barcelona commuter train station at Arc de Triomf. And it is just several meters away from the central bus station Estació del Nord.
Located inside the picturesque Ciutadella Park, the Barcelona Zoo is another place worth visiting. Home to more than 2,000 animals from 300 different species, a visit to this zoo can easily become a perfect family day out. Apart from being fun, your kids will also enjoy a unique learning experience through their educational programs focusing on the understanding of wildlife.
At the zoo, kids will discover how mandrills and the world’s smallest monkeys live. They will also have a chance to watch a dolphin show and get up close and pet farm animals. They can ride in ponies, too. Plus there is this large children’s park where they can play.
Rarely do we know of kids who don’t like chocolates. And a trip to Barcelona with kids will not be complete if you haven’t been to the Chocolate Museum. No other museum in the city will tickle your sense of smell and taste than would this museum. That’s why we consider visiting this place one of the top things to do in Barcelona for kids.
The museum offers different programs that allow kids to understand the history of chocolate as well as the different phases in chocolate production. They organize different workshops as well as seasonal courses and competitions for kids and adults. And yes, they give a piece of free chocolate at the entrance.
Another kid-friendly attraction that you need to visit while in Barcelona is the Park Guell. A lush oasis outside of the city center, this park offers a colorful and unique architecture that allows for fun exploration for adults and kids alike.
The park was originally built as part of a commercial housing site but was later converted into a public park system. The park has a main terrace that is surrounded by a long bench in the design of a sea serpent.
It has a social and friendly atmosphere where parents get to sit, chat, and relax while the kids can run around or explore numerous games.
All those walking and exploring can wear you and your kids down. But if your time is limited, you can’t afford to spend an entire day in your hotel room. That is where you can benefit from a Hop-on/Hop-off bus, Barcelona´s official tourist bus.
They have two major routes, the EAST and WEST routes, both of which traverse popular landmarks and attractions including the Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi´s buildings, the stadium of FC Barcelona, and many more. You can either explore the city at your own pace or get a ticket for their approximately 2-hour tour.
Thanks to Picasso’s father, who was an artist himself, he recognized his son’s genius at an early age, so he saved every piece of art he made. His father was able to catalog his artistic growth from his formative years to adulthood for us to see and appreciate.
There are about 4,200 works of art at the museum, ranging from pencil and ink sketches to oil paintings. As arts promote creativity and imagination, it’s a good idea to take your kids to the Picasso Museum.
Montserrat is a national park located about 45 kilometers away from the city. What makes it worth visiting despite the fact that it is about one hour by train from the city center is its spectacular mountain views in Catalunya. Aside from its religious importance, this mountain boasts of breathtaking views.
You will enjoy walking through the mountains where you will see many unusual rock formations and will also have a glimpse of the amazing Catalonian countryside.
The monastery itself, parts of which are carved into the rock is a fascinating sight. You will be in awe at its unique structure and setting. Your little ones will not be bored as they have plenty of areas to run around especially in the forecourt.
Another highlight of your visit to the Montserrat Mountain is to listen to the famous Monastery choir boys for free.
Another exciting destination for kids in Barcelona is the CosmoCaixa Science Museum. This place is a sure winner when it comes to feeding kids’ interest in Biology, Science, and the universe. There are many exciting exhibitions at the museum including “The Flooded Forest” which is a stunning recreation of the Amazon ecosystem.
Other popular exhibits include the Universe room, the Planetarium, the Geological wall, and much more. In addition, they offer various interactive activities that kids and young people will enjoy.
FC Barcelona or colloquially known as Barca is considered the 4th most valuable sports team in the world. If you are a football fanatic, you probably already know them. Do you know that this popular team is based in Barcelona?
A visit to Camp Nou, the home stadium of the team allows you to experience an interactive tour that includes getting up close to the players and their training grounds, having access to exclusive images, historical goal records, playing games, and more.
A tour of L’Aquàrium Barcelona can be an exciting and fun-filled experience for kids. The highlight of this attraction is their moving walkway amidst the vast oceanarium where you have to pass an 80-meter long underwater glass tunnel.
No words can describe the magnificent beauty of the underwater where you can see sharks, giant rays, sunfish, and other species of sea creatures within your reach. It’s not going to be a boring tour for your little travelers.
If you will ask kids what their favorite activities are, the majority would probably include going to the beach. Where else can they make sandcastles, splash around in the water, or swim… Fortunately, Barcelona is known for its beautiful beaches. And you don’t have to travel far to reach the closest beach as they are just minutes away from the city.
If you are specifically interested in Gaudi Architecture, you may take advantage of the virtual guided tour. It’s not virtual reality but a licensed guide led webinar that features videos, photos, polls, and a fully interactive chat function as well as a live Q&A at the end of the tour.
Gaudi was an architect extraordinaire. Hated by Picasso and loved by Dali, he had a vision of transforming Barcelona into a city of art and beauty. With the Virtual Tour, you’ll be able to explore his creative masterpieces such as the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló.
Not far from the Sagrada Familia, you’ll easily notice the inviting facade of Cocoa, a popular restaurant for the locals and tourists. What makes this place unique is that they have an entire second floor for families or those who are dining with kids. Their set-up will not disappoint you.
They have tables for kids and adults and a play area for kids complete with toys, books, and other entertainment for children.
The food selections are also amazing. They have a separate menu for children and the serving is just the right amount.
We highly recommend Cocoa for those who travel with kids as they offer a more friendly and accommodating dining experience.
If you often crave for delicious vegan, vegetarian and organic food, head to Sopa Barcelona. This restaurant specializes in hearty soups with the colors of summer and cold winter. You will always find healthy vegetarian dishes on their menu during weekdays.
If you visit on a weekend, you can expect to find the organic egg in many of their dishes, accompanied by their signature soup. For your kids, try to order pasta and a vegan burger, which are a hit. It’s worth mentioning that they have a good selection of gluten-free dishes.
Want a place where you can enjoy some good burgers, patatas bravas, and cold beers after a long walk? Konig is a good place to visit. It is one of the best places to go if you want a budget meal. But if you have small kids, you may reconsider eating here during peak hours as it is usually crowded with locals and tourists.
PLAÇA DE MASADA’S
This is a quaint corner in Barcelona. The atmosphere is more like a village plaza where locals gather and drink beer or coffee while the children are busy playing on the ground.
The neighborhood is charming and the locals are very friendly. There are several restaurants here that offer good food. In one of the corners, there’s Tips de Vi which offers a generous selection of wines from Catalunya.
Pudding is not your typical coffee shop frequented by young professionals or office workers. Their concept is unique which makes for an ideal coffee shop for parents with small kids. Aside from their dining area, they have this gigantic blackboard where kids can draw on, play darts, or write messages.
Moreover, they feature a colossal play table and many books to share. And all these extras for kids are free. So while your children are busy playing, you can relax and sip your cup of coffee.
When you happen to be in Barri Gotic, check out Bar Convent as your kids will surely enjoy this place. They have a huge backyard and a nice indoor playground where they can be just kids. This place has a good selection of cakes, empanadas, sandwiches, teas, beers, and smoothies. Their prices are affordable as well. And they have free WiFi.
Want to stay near the beach? Want a babysitting service? If you say yes to both questions, the Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona might be the best place where your family can stay. Aside from being close to the beach, it is just minutes away by foot from popular destinations.
The Las Ramblas is just a 2-minute walk, while the Barcelona Zoo is less than a 30-minute walk away. Other nearby attractions include the Picasso Museum. Port Vell and Casa Mila.
Aside from its great location, this hotel also offers childcare services for an affordable price. Moreover, it is close to the metro station, allowing you to conveniently take the train if you wish to go farther.
The Pullman Barcelona Skipper is a 5-star luxury hotel located next to Barcelona’s Olympic Port. It has a spectacular view of the beach which is just 100 meters away and is located near popular attractions including the Ciutadella Park and the Barcelona Zoo. As an added bonus, it is just two stops away from the historic city center.
If you love going swimming, you can either go to the beach or use either of its two indoor swimming pools. Moreover, to make your stay even more comfortable and convenient, they offer special services such as babysitting on request, restaurant with a kids menu, and other amenities. Pets are welcome on request.
Want to have a bit of privacy while traveling with your kids in Barcelona? The Nobu Hotel Barcelona might be a good choice as they offer a range of family-friendly interconnecting rooms. You get both privacy and easy access to your kid’s bedroom.
Another reason to stay in this hotel is their great location as it offers panoramic views of the beach and the city. Not only that, but it is also near the charming neighborhood Eixample which is packed with bars, restaurants, and stylish boutiques that you can explore.
Many points of interest and attractions in the city are just within 10 to 20 minutes by car.
If you prefer a quiet neighborhood with convenient access to the metro lines, we recommend booking at Ella Guest House Barcelona. It is close to the three metro lines, and the closest is the Tetuan Metro Station which is just 300 meters away.
Moreover, the Rambla and Plaza Catalunya are just a 10-minute walk away. It’s worth mentioning that they have an exceptionally friendly staff who will make you feel at home.
Set in a historic 19th-century building, this hotel has a beautiful architecture that includes a stunning art nouveau entrance. They have available rooms for a family with kids, complete with an extra bed and a sitting room.
The best thing about this hotel is that it is just 50 meters from Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya as well as the Ramblas. The Catalunya Metro and Train Station are just 5 minutes’ walk. Its location allows your family to conveniently visit different locations without having to walk far.
Constructed next to Gaudí’s Sagrada Família church, the Marina Suites is one of the best-selling accommodations in Barcelona due to its strategic location. In addition, just a few meters away is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautiful Modernista Hospital Sant Pau.
Although it is not a hotel but a series of apartments with modern facilities, they offer exceptional services and convenience that a typical hotel offers. At the same time, you can enjoy more privacy than when you are at a hotel. Each apartment has a total area of 75 square meters, spacious enough for families with multiple kids.
Just 600 meters from the central Passeig de Gracia, this 3-star hotel stands high, offering spectacular views of the Sagrada Familia and the beautiful Barcelona skyscraper.
With the charm of a boutique hotel, it offers kid-friendly services at an affordable price. If you stay in this hotel, you have direct access to Barceloneta Beach which your kids will surely love. The Girona Metro Station is just 200 meters away in case you want to tour farther.
Transportation is not a problem when you are in Barcelona as the city offers different types of public transportation as well as tour transport options. Knowing the ticket type that you need depending on your destination helps you conveniently go around the city.
Metro FGC and Tram
Just like in many bustling cities, the fastest way to reach your destination is through metro or tram. Currently, the city has eight metro lines, three urban FGC lines, and two tram lines. The metro has an integrated fare system that enables passengers a free transfer from one means of transportation to another within a limited time. They offer different travel cards and passes.
Barcelona has a fleet of over 1,000 buses that operate on more than 100 routes, connecting the city’s districts and metropolitan areas. Their buses have low floors adapted for people with disabilities and reduced mobility.
If you are a night owl, you may take advantage of the night-bus service (Nit Bus). These buses are available from 10.40 PM up to 6 AM. They all depart and stop at the Plaça de Catalunya.
The city has 300 km of bike lanes so there’s no reason for you not to try this type of transport. Bike rental for adults and kids are popular in Barcelona so you shouldn’t have any problem finding yours.
Rental fee is typically on a per hour basis and it already includes a helmet. You would often see many tourists cycling along the beach or getting between attractions.
We mentioned above that riding a taxi is your best choice if you want to avoid going up and down the stairs with your small kids and belongings. It’s true that taxis are a convenient option. However, you may have to reconsider taking a metro instead during traffic hours.
Barcelona has about 11,000 taxis which you can easily identify by their yellow and black livery. There are also special taxi services for passengers with reduced mobility.
Free-ride for kids
Kids under four get a free ride in Barcelona’s public transport.
Take advantage of day passes, cards and other special offers to help you save on transportation. If you are lucky enough, you’ll be able to get unlimited rides along with free entrance to museums and other attractions.
Gorgeous beaches, magnificent architecture, beautiful arts, kid friendly attractions. These are just some of the reasons why you should make Barcelona your next vacation destination. The metropolis offers many kid and budget-friendly hotels to take care of your lodging. The local foods, beers, and wines – they are also a must-try!
Parents know the many challenges of traveling with small kids. Getting around a new place can be challenging especially if public transport is limited. Finding a good place to eat with kids menu can sometimes be daunting.
Also, there are attractions that are seemingly off-limits to small children, but you can’t experience these problems in Barcelona. In fact, it is one of the most family-friendly destinations we recommend.
Yes, Barcelona can offer you a spectacular family vacation experience. It is a family-friendly city where you have so much to see and do with your kids. If you are traveling with multiple kids, you don’t have to worry about getting around the city as they have different types of transport systems to suit any family size and need.
You can also find that many of their attractions are girded to entertain both adults and kids. There are also attractions that offer special programs that promote learning and creativity for kids. Finding a restaurant and a hotel where kids can feel comfortable and at home is also easy, with many options available for you to choose from.
Barcelona is generally a safe place, but avoid going to overcrowded places as there are pickpockets to watch out for. If you are tempted to go, beware of your handbag, camera, and phone as they are the common targets.
Also, avoid showing at the gate without booking a ticket in advance. Barcelona is one of the popular tourist destinations so you can expect long lines in major attractions such as the Sagrada Família and Park Güell. You can skip the line if you book in advance.
We also do not recommend eating in La Rambla. It is a highly commercialized area where food is expensive. Since it is almost always packed with people, it’s also difficult to find quality service that you can get at a much cheaper place like the ones we listed above.
We listed several places above where you can book a room in Barcelona. Your options include hotels, apartments, guesthouses, and suites. The best place to stay is where your budget and preferred accommodation is available. One important factor to consider when deciding where to stay is the location.
If you have kids, you don’t want to be too far from the metropolis to give you convenient access to many attractions. If possible, stay just within minutes of walking to major attractions in the city and as close to the metro or tram station if you ever decide to use it as a means of transportation.