Family-friendly Barcelona: Things to do and places to eat with kids
Barcelona is bursting with things to do for all the family. You'll find a whole host of fun activities all over the city to make sure you never get bored. You can enjoy the sea and mountains. Or the thrill-seekers among you can spend the afternoon riding a roller coaster, spotting sharks, stroking dolphins and discovering new undersea species. You can also stroll through the parks at the highest points in the city and enjoy fantastic views while you relax.
And you can do all this (no matter how unlikely it may seem) without having to pack a lunch box in your rucksack, as most of Barcelona's restaurants are considered family friendly. You can have the most fun without worrying about where to go for lunch.
What to see and where to eat i you're with kidsKids are always guaranteed a warm welcome in Barcelona. But when you decide to, you need to know where to go, to ensure the youngest members of the household have the most fun. Here's our pick of different ideas grouped together by location to make it easier to plan your day out:
BY THE SEA
If you want to spend a day near the sea, the Museu de la Xocolata is a great choice. Housed in the former convent of Sant Agustí, it is the perfect place to explore the origins of chocolate, and how it was introduced to, and became popular in Europe, through its display of chocolate figures and chocolate-making workshops.
After whetting your appetite by learning about the history of this staple sweet treat, you can head to the restaurant Xup Xup, just a few metres from the water's edge, where kids can enjoy playing on the beach before or after lunch.
And if they have any energy left after this, they can dive into L'Aquàrium, to observe Mediterranean undersea life and enjoy Europe's biggest oceanarium. You can round off the day with breathtaking panoramic views of the city and port from the top of the Columbus Monument.
IN THE CENTRE
The centre of Barcelona is much more than La Rambla, Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia. Not far from these popular tourist areas, you'll find iconic gems like the Casa Batlló and the Casa de les Punxes: two Catalan art-nouveau, or modernista, landmarks that have something for everyone. If your looking for a day out with the family where culture is in the spotlight, the Casa Batlló has dramatised tours and audioguides for kids as part of its range of activities. The Casa de les Punxes tells us about the history of the house through a series of dynamic, observation games.
There are a couple of family-friendly restaurants just a few minutes away that are perfect for kids as well as teenagers, who are sometimes harder to please. One of them is the famous Hard Rock Cafè, in Plaça Catalunya just off La Rambla, which blends the local Catalan ambiance with genuine American fare, often with live music. But if you're not convinced by this pick, and your kids are basketball fans, head down La Rambla where you'll find another family-friendly restaurant: the NBA Cafè Barcelona. As you cross the threshold, you'll be immersed in the essence of the NBA's basketball games while you eat the amazing hamburgers with fries. A dish that always goes down well with the little – and not so little – ones!
And if, after all this, you're still up for exploring more places in the area, you can't miss the legendary Xocolateria Petritxol, where you'll find the best churros and thick hot chocolate in town.
IN THE MOUNTAINS
We sometimes forget that Barcelona also has mountains. There are places in the city heights that are perfect for a peaceful day out. If you want to enjoy yourselves away from the city centre, the science museum, CosmoCaixa, comes highly recommended, with its hands-on exhibits and workshops that make learning a real adventure. You'll also find a restaurant where you can have lunch, with an outdoor space, the Plaça de la Ciència, which is perfect for kids.
But if you want a change of scene and to have lunch in a totally different setting, visit Can Travi, a Catalan farmhouse with landscaped areas and gardens, where the kids will feel they are in the middle of the countryside.
At the top of the mountain, you'll find the city's iconic funfair: Tibidabo. A place crammed with rides, attractions and restaurants, which boasts some of the finest views of the city.
TO THE WEST OF THE CITY
In the area of Sants-Montjuïc and Les Corts you'll find attractions like the Museu del Barça and the Poble Espanyol that are designed with kids in mind. Lunch at La Font de Prades is a great choice. It is located inside the Poble Espanyol, on Mount Montjuïc, where the kids can join in the crafts workshops and entertainments on offer.
If you're short of time and you want to plan the perfect city visit, the Barcelona Bus Turístic is the best way to see all the landmarks and places of interest quickly and conveniently. It has the added advantage of allowing you to get on and off whenever you like at the designated stops.
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