Make your way up to the Montjuïc Castle, for a great and somewhat challenging hike. Head in to soak up some history. Have a picnic at the tables outside or get a fresh orange juice at the cafe with the sitting Buddha statue. The castle is open mostly on the weekend, and there’s anything from salsa to pop music and bachata sounding in the air.
Park Güell by Antoni Gaudí is a fascinating place for kids. Covered in colorful mosaics, this area was once meant to be a private living complex for the wealthy elite, but was turned into a public space. Buy your tickets online and get here early to beat the crowd. Snap a photo with the iconic lizard and look out at the park from the intricately designed and crafted balcony.
The bunkers are the under-the-radar version of Parc Güell. Free, this area is a bit tougher to hike up, but you can easily take a bus or the metro to it. The bunkers give you a 360-degree view of Barcelona and the surrounding mountains, as well as in the background and sunsets. You’ll run mostly into locals here with their families and dogs.
3. Make dining a learning experience
Make dinner fun for your kids by taking them on a tapas tour. Go to either , Sagardi BCN Gòtic or Carrer de Blai. Give your kid a plate and the freedom to sample whichever toothpick-impaled pintxos look appealing. You pay based on the number of toothpicks collected and prices of each bite vary between €1-3. This is a great way to introduce your children to the typical Spanish flavors of tortilla, spicy chorizo, and manchego cheese.
Want to inspire your child’s inner dancer? Take them to a flamenco show. I would recommend Tablao Flamenco Cordobes Barcelona, in the center. This passionate dance will keep you at the edge of your seat at all times, and will make you want to buy flamenco shoes for your kids — and yourself.
5. Visit the museums
Check out the Museu de Cera de Barcelona, with sculptures depicting scenes from “Star Wars” and other films. The museum’s cave-like restaurant feels like being in a fairytale, with plants and forest sounds inside. Grab one of the small tables and have lunch here.
The Picasso Museum is a treat for adult art-lovers, as well as interesting for kids, since some of Picasso’s later paintings have child-like elements. The courtyard is shady and tranquil, perfect for winding down.
The Museum of Illusions is a great spot for you and your kids to challenge your perceptions and learn new tricks. If you’re hungry after your visit, eat lunch at the quirky, Frida Kahlo-inspired restaurant around the corner — they also have great brunches.
El Gat de Botero is the most famous symbol of El Raval. This Botticelli-style sculpture always fascinates kids. Though it may look easy, climbing this bronze beast is quite the challenge, but you all should give it a try.
7. Have a picnic at the park
Ciutadella Park is a great place to check out for the little ones. You can let the kids loose for a few hour in this ample space, while you relax in the shade. Go up the steps to the golden statue and watch the Cascada Monumental. The carousel is definitely a winner here, as well as the zoo.
While it may be tempting to stay in the center in order to be close to everything, I recommend staying with your family in Gracia, a clean and peaceful neighborhood, with small boutiques and cute cafes around.
Eixample is another great place to stay. Head over to Brunch & Cake or for delicious, healthy breakfast options. You can enjoy a cup of classic café con leche, while the kids can gulp down fresh orange juice.
9. Get some vitamin D
Barcelona has great sandy beaches. Platja de la Nova Icària is a great option for families. Start at Barceloneta to check out the big fish sculpture from the 1992 Olympics, then make your way to the next beach over. At Nova Icaria, you can play volleyball and swim. This beach is considerably less busy than Barceloneta and more kid-friendly. The little bar upstairs serves paella and good lunches.
Barcelona has made a huge effort to support bikers, so you can walk and bike anywhere, while having a metro stop nearby at all times. Book a tour with Bicilona where locals, Kat and Nico, organize culture-focused bike rides around town and in the nearby Catalan villages. This is a great way to cover lots of ground and get your exercise on even on a short vacation.
11. Witness this holiday
The 11th of September is Catalonia’s most important holiday. In honor of it, every year locals will gather and form tall human pyramids known as castellers. You can watch at Plaça de Sant Jaume. There is also a music and dance performance at Arc de Triomf. Many pop-up restaurants will serve traditional food and drinks.
Take the kids for churros on Petritxol, then drop by La Pallaresa Xocolateria Xurreria. Chocolate here is thick and delicious, while churros are perfectly crispy. Since this place is located in the Gothic Neighborhood, you can easily go walk off the sweets on the tiny streets of this charming area.