Barcelona is a beautiful city to explore. From the quaint alleyways and narrow streets that are made for wandering to the wide-open promenade that winds along its beaches, Barcelona draws you in and beckons you with its magic. We are sure the whole family will love exploring the Catalan capital city. These are some of our favorite things to do in Barcelona with kids.
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Where to Stay in Barcelona
When we visited Barcelona with our kids, we wanted to experience the city as locals, so we rented an apartment right in the heart of the city. Our vacation rental was centrally located in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic). This made it within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and the famous boulevard of Barcelona, Las Ramblas. We lived like the locals but hit all the tourist sights.
- Hotel Indigo – This boutique hotel is centrally located near Plaza Catalunya. Walking distance to many attractions and a swimming pool.
- Condes de Barcelona – Great location near Casa Mila. Wonderful rooftop bar with views of Barcelona. Very comfortable rooms.
- Hotel Royal Passeig de Gracia – Central location near La Pedrera. Clean and spacious and walking distance to most major attractions in the city.
- Majestic Hotel – Beautiful five star hotel in the Paseo de Gracia. Easy access to the Gaudí sites. Has a rooftop restaurant, bar, and pool with stunning city views.
How to Get Around Barcelona
Barcelona is very easy to navigate on foot, but public transportation is well-developed and easy to use. Buses, metros, and trams that are covered by T-Casual or Hola BCN cards, but funiculars have separate tickets.
You can buy public transportation tickets at the kiosks in metro stations or online with the TMB app.
Best Things to Do in Barcelona with Kids
1. Visit La Sagrada Familia
This world-famous unfinished basilica by Antoni Gaudi is as intriguing outside as it is on the inside. Visible from most parts of the city, the kids constantly asked, “What is that strange-shaped futuristic building with the cranes on all sides?”
The building never seems to really change and is under constant construction. The creation and design of Sagrada Familia began under Gaudí in 1883. At this point, completion is expected in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.
I would highly recommend booking tickets in advance of your visit. There can be long lines to enter and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to see the stunning interior. It is unlike any church you have ever seen.
The best time to visit is first thing in the morning. We recommend purchasing the audio guide to keep the kids entertained. If you can, go up one of the towers for great views of the city.
There are two towers, the Nativity and the Passion. An elevator will take you to the top of both, but you will have to walk down the 300+ winding staircase of the Nativity tower, whereas you can take the elevator for a return ride on the Passion tower.
**Note: Young children under age 6 are not allowed entrance to either tower, and those under age 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Whether you choose to see the tower or not, a visit is definitely worth your time.
Looking for a family tour in Barcelona? Check out Context Tours!
2. Gaudi House: Casa Milà – La Pedrera
Seeing the works of Gaudí is one of the top things to do in Barcelona with kids. The architect put his stamp on building after building, parks, cathedrals, you name it.
Casa Milà-La Pedrera is one of his more famous creations and as such, a very busy tourist attraction. To avoid queues, purchase your tickets ahead of time.
Our kids loved exploring the unique hallways, touching the mosaic tiles, and wondering aloud about the crazy-shaped chimneys on the roof (“Are they Storm Troopers?”). Just keep an eye on kids on the rooftop. It wasn’t the safest place for them to be wandering around unattended.
The rest of the building includes an attic space and an apartment with information about the artist and his work. Some visitors complain about the cost, but the view and the unique architecture were priceless in our book.
Afterward, head to Parc Guell (buy tickets in advance) where Gaudí was hired to build a miniature city of houses for the wealthy. The project was a failure, but today the land is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors come from around the world to see the fantastical creations. It’s the perfect place for a game of hide and seek and younger children will be fascinated by the unique sculptures and gardens.
Tip: If you’re looking for a children’s playground that doesn’t have an entrance fee, head to Ciutadella Park. Located near the Barcelona Zoo, the Parc de la Ciutadella has a beautiful fountain, row boats for rent, and plenty of green space for kids to run around.
3. Picnic at Montjuïc Castle
Montjuïc Castle sits majestically above the Barcelona harbor and while it may not be the most impressive castle, it does provide a panoramic view of the Mediterranean and the city below.
The journey to reach Montjuïc is half the fun. The most common method is to take a funicular (Funicular de Montjuïc) from the Paral.lel Metro Station (use your metro ticket), then you can transfer to a cable car (Teleférico de Montjuïc) (separate ticket) that will take you almost to the top of the castle. You will have to walk the remainder of the way, uphill for approximately 10 minutes.
If you don’t want to transfer to the cable car (we chose not to), you can walk to the castle from the funicular stop, and it will take about 20-30 minutes with children in tow.
Another option is to take a city bus or a tour bus. Once you have arrived, head into the castle grounds where the children will enjoy climbing on the cannon guns, crossing the moat, or looking out over the ramparts.
Inside the castle, you can learn about its history and explore the foundation ruins and other nooks and crannies, but in all honesty, most people visit for the views.
The area surrounding the castle includes a park and gardens as well as a picnic area. If you want to make a day of it, bring your own food because options are limited once you get to the top of the mountain. However, if you do need a quick bite, there is a snack cart available just outside the walls of the castle.
4. Ride the Teleférico del Puerto (Aeri del Port)
This is different than the cable car used to reach Montjuïc Castle when connecting via funicular. The ride will take you from the beachfront to Montjuïc and back again. If you want to travel round trip, be sure to purchase a ticket and say “Anada i tornado”. We only took the trip from the top of the mountain down to the port and it was truly worth the experience.
The cable car carries riders high above the city as you slowly make your way to the port below. Everyone jockeys for position to take photos in the beginning, but we found that everyone took photos and switched around once the ride began. There were a lot of “oohs and aahs” and at the end, the kids asked, “Can we do that again?”
Before You Ride the Barcelona Funicular
1) This is not for the faint of heart.
2) The cable car usually does not run on windy days.
3) The line at the port is often long. If you can make your way to Montjuïc via a different mode of transportation, purchase a one-way ticket from the station and ride it to the port.
5. Explore Poble Espanyol
We stumbled across Poble Espanyol, an open-air architectural museum located in Montjuïc Park, while exploring the nearby Olympic Stadium. This museum reminded us of Disneyworld’s Epcot, which we all enjoy. There are one hundred seventeen buildings reproduced to scale, along with squares, restaurants, and shops that represent many of Spain’s diverse regions.
We wandered the streets and alleyways, ducking into the various shops to explore the handiwork of the artisans, and sampled food at one of the restaurants. The main square is a wonderful place to enjoy a snack and let the kids run around. They have a reduced family admission price and if the weather is pleasant, this makes for a nice afternoon.
This is a great alternative to visiting Tibidabo amusement park, the city’s theme park. If you have enough time, the park might be worth a visit with young ones, but older kids might not enjoy it as much.
Note: If you want to visit the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, it is an easy walk from Poble Espanyol. The choreographed light and music show is something the entire family can enjoy.
6. Best Barcelona beaches with kids
One of the best Barcelona beaches for families is Barceloneta, located within walking distance from the center of town. There is a promenade that runs along the beach which is wonderful for a stroll, run, or bike ride, and the beach itself is fairly clean. It’s a must if you’re visiting Barcelona with teens.
Other Barcelona beaches worth visiting include Sant Sebastia, Bogatell, and Nova Icaria. (Don’t miss these Mediterranean beaches in Spain and France if you happen to be traveling from the north).
If your kids aren’t used to topless sunbathing, give them a heads-up. With three boys we had to remind them “not to stare” or point. Giggling was unavoidable. Mind your valuables on the beach and know that if you get hungry, there are plenty of food options nearby.
7. Shopping at La Boqueria and La Rambla Markets
There are many open-air markets in Barcelona, but there is only one Boqueria. La Rambla (or Las Ramblas) is the main street in Barcelona and the point of reference for many landmarks. Spending time strolling and people-watching along the avenue is easily one of the best free things to do in Barcelona.
While walking along La Rambla, keep an eye peeled for the entrance to the main market, “Mercat St. Josep, La Boqueria”. Be sure to go inside to witness a magical scene.
Once you step through the gate, you will know you have arrived. The market is a feast for the senses, and when you enter, you will be overwhelmed. Everything is so visually appealing you won’t know where to begin.
The kids loved the endless variety of fruit smoothies, and we were able to pick up groceries to bring back to our apartment. We have found that fresh markets are always a good option when traveling with food allergies.
Whatever food you can dream of, odds are, you will find it here. The market can be quite crowded, so be sure to mind your belongings and keep your kids close. It might be a good idea to establish a meeting place in case your party gets separated.
The Boqueria is one of our favorite places to visit in Barcelona with kids as it’s an experience like no other. Afterward, you can take a stroll along the pedestrian-friendly main thoroughfare La Rambla and take in the sights and street performers.
8. Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate Museum) tour
When we told the kids we were headed to the museum, we were met with lots of complaints. The second we confessed we were actually headed to a Museum of Chocolate, it was a virtual foot race to see who could get there first.
The museum is located at Carrer Comerç 36 close to the Barri Gotic and the Jaume I metro stop. It is a fairly small museum, so don’t plan on spending a lot of time there, probably an hour or less. Everyone receives a piece of chocolate as their admission ticket.
There are sculptures made of chocolate, a history of chocolate in Europe, and an explanation of the chocolate-making process. Of course, there is chocolate to be purchased as well. I would definitely say this museum is more for the kids, but it is a fun place to stop if you are in the area.
9. CosmoCaixa – Science Museum
The Barcelona Science Museum is has plenty of family-friendly activities for all ages. Exhibits cover five floors and explain scientific concepts in an interactive way that is sure to hold everyone’s attention. The main attraction is the Flooded Forest, a recreation of the Amazon’s ecosystem complete with an indoor rainforest and animals.
10. Picasso Museum
It can be very hot in Barcelona during the summer months, so if you need somewhere to escape the heat, head to the Picasso Museum. The building has an extensive collection of Picasso’s artworks, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Tip: This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona, so be sure to book tickets in advance.
Best restaurants in Barcelona with kids
Spain is known for its tapas (don’t miss these best tapas in Barcelona), and if you’re looking for a restaurant that does this well, head to Louro, (Rambla dels Caputxins, 37) for its family-friendly atmosphere and unique Spanish cuisine. Tapas bars are perfect for families because they offer small portions that are perfect for little ones.
A great option for pizza and pasta is Luigi Ristorante, (Carrer de Roger de Llúria, 50) serving authentic Neapolitan dishes with fresh ingredients. Reasonably priced and has a great atmosphere for families. If the kids are dying for pizza, this is the place to be!
Firebug (Passeig de Sant Joan 23) has a wonderful brunch, dinner, and drinks, but everyone goes for the hearty breakfast dishes. There’s a wonderful patio space when the weather is nice and the inside is just as cozy.
From the churros y chocolate at the corner restaurant to the sandy beaches, to the vivid colors of La Boqueria market, our kids loved how Barcelona was a playground for their senses. Living as a local allowed our family to embrace the Catalan culture and people and learn about city life. It was an experience our family will never forget.