Barcelona with kids: the perfect 3 day Barcelona itinerary

Barcelona with kids

Beautiful Barcelona is capital of the Spanish region of Catalonia and one of the most amazing cities in the world.  It’s even worth visiting with small kids.  Read on to find out about the best things to do in Barcelona with kids, and how to organise your trip!

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The best things to do in Barcelona with kids

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau is one of Barcelona's hidden gems

Barcelona is a fantastic family friendly destination; you’ll find loads of things to do in Barcelona with kids.  Kids will even love the architecture and artwork in Barcelona, if you visit some of Antoni Gaudi’s buildings.  Gaudi’s bright colours and nature-inspired designs will appeal to kids of all ages.

There are some good parks too; make sure you visit Park Guell (more Gaudi) and Parc de la Cuitadella, and there are plenty of outdoor activities at Montjuïc Hill too.

Barcelona has plenty of family friendly museums; try Camp Nou for football fans, Museu de la Xocolata which is ideal for chocolate lovers, or the Museu de la Cera which runs through Spanish history by way of wax models.

And I haven’t even mentioned the aquarium, the zoo, or the science museum.  The only problem is deciding what to visit!  Below you’ll find our personal favourites as well as more ideas for your trip to Barcelona with kids.

Barcelona with kids: Know before you go

Streets in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter

Where to stay in Barcelona with kids

We had a great stay at the Bicycle Apartments near Plaza Espanya.  While Plaza Espanya isn’t the most central location, it has good transport links with metro lines running through Espanya and also Placa de Sants.

Click here to book the Bicycle Apartments.

Here are a few more family friendly picks with great ratings in central Barcelona:

For budget accommodation in central Barcelona try Hotel Pelayo, near La Rambla.  Click here to book.

Hostal Martinval is in the heart of Barcelona, just five minutes walk from Passeig de Gracia and Casa Batllo.  Click here to book.

For mid range accommodation take a look at The Gaudi Hotel which is just by La Rambla and Palau Guell.  Click here to find out more.

Hotel Boutique Khronos is right next to La Pedrera making sightseeing in central Barcelona super convenient.  Click here to book.

If you’ve got a bit more to spend then try El Avenida Palace which has a great location, fabulous rooms and a rooftop swimming pool.  Click here to take a look.

The Colón Hotel Barcelona is located right opposite Barcelona Cathedral and has great views (some rooms have balconies overlooking the cathedral) and an on site spa.  Click here to book.

For a full selection of hotels in Barcelona click here.

How to save money in Barcelona

Barcelona can be an expensive city, as entry to the main attractions can cost quite a bit (usually around €20 each).  When you’ve got a family of four the prices stack up alarmingly quickly.  There are a couple of attraction passes that might help you to save money, and I’ll go into detail below.

A top tip is to work out exactly what you want to see and when.  Once you’ve done this, check the prices against the cost of buying a Barcelona Pass or Barcelona Card to see if it’s worth getting one of these potential money saving tickets.

You need to pre book tickets for several attractions (more details below), some will be included in the passes, others aren’t.

Barcelona Card

The main attractions included in the Barcelona Card are museums such as the Picasso Museum, the MNAC and the Chocolate Museum.  Many other attractions are discounted.

Click here to buy the Barcelona Card.

Barcelona Pass

There’s a lot included on the Barcelona Pass, and at first I thought it would be worth buying.  If we had gone to the aquarium, the zoo and some of the other museums then it would have been.  I added up what we’d potentially spend and it came to about the same amount as the cards, so in the end we didn’t buy them.

The main attractions included in the Barcelona Pass, and where you’ll save the most money, are Camp Nou, Barcelona Zoo, the Aquarium, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila.

Click here to buy the Barcelona Pass.

How to get around Barcelona

Cable cars in Barcelona's harbour

Barcelona has a good public transport system.  Its metro is especially good for a city of its size, and there’s also an extensive bus network.  And of course, a tourist bus that kids will enjoy and which takes you to most of the below attractions.

The most cost effective way to get around the metro is to buy a T-10 ticket pass which costs €10.20.  Multiple people can travel on the card; just put it through the barrier each time (unfortunately, even small kids have to have tickets).  Each ticket lasts for an hour and fifteen minutes so you can make as many trips in this time as you like.  If you’re changing lines you need to put the ticket back through the barrier but it will work out how much to charge you automatically.

You can buy the T-10 ticket in any metro station, and it can also be used on buses.  Click here for a Barcelona metro map.

Getting to Barcelona city centre from the airport

Transport to and from the airport is fairly easy too.  We took a taxi both ways as the kids were tired and we didn’t want to wait for a bus; it’s about €25 each way.  Make sure the driver uses their meter.

You can take the metro but the above mentioned T-10 ticket won’t be valid – you’ll need to buy a specific ticket.

There’s a shuttle bus that runs between the airport and Placa de Catalunya – click here to book.

How to spend 3 days in Barcelona with kids

Walking through Barcelona's gothic quarter is a must-do in Barcelona

The below itinerary is pretty much how we spent 3 days in Barcelona with kids.  It’s definitely do-able but every day involves an early start and lots of walking so you may not want to rush around as much as we did.

We visited in late October for half term and it was warm and sunny but not hot so we could walk around without overheating.  In the middle of summer you might want to take more public transport or slow down a bit!

In all honesty I’d say to spend as many days in Barcelona as you can.  We had 3 days in Barcelona and while we managed to see loads, there was plenty more that we missed.

We could have spent a full day at Montjuïc Hill, or taken a day trip to Montserrat, Girona or out to Colonia Guell.  There were also several attractions in the city centre that we didn’t manage to see.

I would recommend at least 4 or 5 days in Barcelona for a first visit.  Unfortunately the husband couldn’t get any more leave, so we were stuck with only 3 days in Barcelona – I’d say this is the bare minimum!

Here’s our 3 day itinerary for visiting Barcelona with kids.

Day 1 in Barcelona with kids

On your first day in Barcelona with kids make an early start and get to Gaudi’s incredible Casa Batlló to beat the crowds.  After seeing nearby La Pedrera, walk down La Rambla to the harbour, and through the atmospheric El Born district.

Casa Battló

Facade of Casa Batllo, Barcelona

Beautiful Casa Batlló is one of Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces, and definitely one of the best places to visit in Barcelona.  The building dates from 1877 but in 1904 its new owner, Joseph Batlló, asked Gaudi to completely redesign the house.

Casa Batlló sits alongside several other buildings with distinct architectural styles – this row of buildings is called the “Block of Discord.”  It’s worth walking down the street to compare them.

Today the front of the house is covered in Gaudi’s unmistakeable undulating organic shapes and colourful mosaics, and the inside is just as intriguing.  Unsurprisingly, Casa Batlló has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dragon on the roof of Casa Batllo, Barcelona

Even small kids will enjoy a visit here, especially if you can point out the house’s natural influences to them.  Take them across the street where they can see the rainbow dragon on the roof, and the mask/owl like balconies.  Can they see the dragon’s bones on the house’s lower storeys, and its scales on the walls?

Inside there are lots of little details to discover.  There’s a free multimedia guide that shows you how the house would have looked when the Batlló family lived here; this is good to show to kids as well as adults.  Today the rooms are empty so the guide does help you to imagine how people lived in it.

Looking out of Casa Batllo, Barcelona

Gaudi took a huge amount of inspiration from nature, so see if the kids can find mushrooms, turtles and other organic shapes as they walk around.  The tiled staircases are especially beautiful!

Up on the rooftop the kids can get up close to that dragon, as well as seeing more mosaic encrusted towers.

Rooftop of Gaudi's Casa Batllo, Barcelona

You should book tickets in advance (€25 per adult, kids under 7 free).  Click here to book tickets.  Plan on spending an hour or so looking around.

I’d advise getting here for just before 9am when Casa Batlló opens.  You could try booking an early bird ticket to get in before 9am – I wish we’d done this!  Click here for the early bird ticket.

Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

La Pedrera or Casa Mila is one of Gaudi's masterpieces in Barcelona

Just five minutes up Passeig de Gracia from Casa Batlló is Casa Mila, or La Pedrera.  I actually preferred La Pedrera to Casa Batlló.  While Casa Mila is not as beautiful as Casa Batlló, there is more to see, and we found it less crowded so visiting was a more pleasant experience.

La Pedrera or Casa Mila is one of Gaudi's masterpieces in Barcelona

La Pedrera is an apartment block, and it’s still lived in so the tour entrance is around the corner to the right of the main doors.  The tour starts in the main foyer – do spend some time here, and look up! – before you travel up to the roof and work your way back down.

Rooftop of La Pedrera, one of the best things to do in Barcelona

The roof top is an incredible sight.  It’s adorned with numerous chimneys in strange shapes; some look like whipped cream or are peppered with holes to allow for ventilation.  Look out for the arches which frame some of the other famous attractions in Barcelona, like the Sagrada Familia.

After you’ve looked around the rooftop head into the attic, which is like walking through a giant whale’s ribcage.  This space is stunning, and unlike any building I’ve been in before.

There’s a large exhibit about Gaudi’s designs for La Pedrera and some of his other famous buildings (including the Sagrada Familia) and how he incorporated natural elements into his architecture.

Early 20th Century interior of La Pedrera, Barcelona

Further downstairs, you can look around an apartment set out in the modernist style, and how the homes would originally have been furnished.  Many of the fixtures and fittings were designed by Gaudi.

La Pedrera is also used as an exhibition space and we looked around briefly while we were there but it wasn’t really our thing so we didn’t spend long.  You’ll find it up the rainbow staircase by the exit.

As with Casa Batlló, book tickets in advance (€23 per adult, kids under 7 free).  Click here to book tickets.

There’s a kid friendly audioguide here and it’s included in your ticket.  Plan on spending an hour or so at Casa Mila.  We had timed tickets and were about half an hour early but they let us in with no problem.  We arrived at just after 10am and there was no queue, however a massive protest congregated in the street while we were in the house so perhaps that had something to do with it!

La Rambla

Placa de Catalunya, Barcelona

From La Pedrera it’s not far to La Rambla, where you can walk down the street to the harbour.  You’ll walk by Placa de Catalunya on the way – I think there were more pigeons here than in Trafalgar Square!

La Rambla gets a lot of grief due to its popularity with tourists and the resulting loss of character it has suffered.  It’s a broad, tree lined street with wave-like tile patterns on the pavements, which makes it very attractive.  It’s true that La Rambla is very busy and full of tourist tat shops, as well as those guys illegally selling trinkets spread on blankets (for a quick getaway from the police).

La Rambla, Barcelona's most famous street

However there are a couple of things to see along this street so I don’t entirely recommend you skip it, although you can certainly leave the street out if you wish.

If you don’t fancy exploring La Rambla on your own, you can take a guided tour of the area.  This tour takes in La Boqueria, Palau Guell and La Rambla; click here to book.

If you’re not that fussed about La Rambla then my suggestion is to go straight to the Gothic Quarter and Barcelona’s Cathedral, then to the chocolate museum (see further below).  Return to the harbour for the evening.  This way you can spend more time on Montjuïc Hill on Day 2.

Market Boqueria (optional)

La Boqueria, famous food market along La Rambla, Barcelona

La Boqueria is a market that you’ll find about halfway down La Rambla on the right hand side.  It’s billed as one of the most famous markets in the world, and has been operating since 1836, so it’s fair to say that it’s something of a Barcelona institution.

Some 200 stalls sell a huge variety of food produce including all sorts of fresh and dried fruits and vegetables; fish; tinned foods and meats.  It’s a fantastic place to come and browse, or take photographs of all those beautifully arranged displays!

If you’ve got a self catering apartment then La Boqueria is the ideal place to come to for the best ingredients.

If you’d like to take a food tour of La Boqueria and another nearby market, then click here to book this guided tour.

Museu de Cera (optional)

The Museum of Wax is a fun place for kids in Barcelona

Museu de Cera is, as the name suggests, a waxwork museum.  Near the Colom de Barcelona it’s got wax figures from Spanish history as well as more modern celebrities.

We went straight to the Colom de Barcelona and just walked past the outside.  Reviews are mixed but if you have a Barcelona Card and want to do something different then it can’t hurt to pop in.

Entry is free with the Barcelona Card, otherwise entry costs €15 per adult and €9 per child (under 5s go free).

Palau Güell (optional)

Another of Gaudi’s works is just off La Rambla on the right if you’re walking down towards the harbour.  Palau Güell, or Güell Palace isn’t as well known as Casa Batlló or Casa Mila, but if you haven’t had your Gaudi fill then it’s worth a stop.  It’s easy to find as there are plenty of signposts, so you won’t miss it!  However I would prioritise both of the other Gaudi buildings over Palau Güell.

The building isn’t as intricate from the outside but you’ll definitely notice the wrought iron twin arches of Palau Güell, and there are more obvious Gaudi influences on the rooftop and in the courtyards.

Entry costs €12 per adult, €5 for kids aged 10+, and entry is free for kids under 10.  Click here to book tickets.

Mirador Colom de Barcelona

The Mirador de Colom is a great place to get views over Barcelona

The Colom de Barcelona, or the Columbus Monument, is right at the far end of La Rambla by the harbour.  We got some of our favourite views from here and so we’d definitely recommend visiting it.

The Columbus Monument is 60m tall and was built in 1888.  Barcelona was where Columbus returned to after his voyage to America, hence the statue.

The entrance is down some steps at the foot of the monument and there’s also a wine cellar here so if you don’t have small children then take a look around it too!

To get up the monument you need to travel up in a tiny lift which only holds two people at a time (as well as the operator). There’s not a lot of room at the top but you do get a great look at Barcelona’s beautiful harbour.  When we visited there was no queue and nobody else at the top of the tower.

Barcelona harbour is one of the best places to visit in Barcelona with kids

Cost: €6 per adult, €4 per child aged 4+ (although we were very kindly not charged for our 4 year old son’s ticket). The monument is open from 8.30am to 8.30pm most days.

Golondrinas Boat Tour

Taking a boat tour in Barcelona is a must

Cross the road after you’ve descended from the Columbus Monument and walk towards the harbour.  Right in front of you you’ll see stands selling boat tour tickets.

There is a choice of operators and boat tours depart frequently throughout the day.  If you’ve got a Barcelona Card then you can take a free 90 minute cruise, but we settled for a shorter 45 minute trip. We were lucky with timings and our boat departed as soon as we got on board.

Taking a boat tour is a fun thing for kids to do in Barcelona

Our boat trip took us up through the harbour towards the ocean and past the enormous cruise ships docked at the port.  We then cruised around the other side of Barcelona Harbour’s main buildings before returning to port.  There’s no commentary or anything, so just sit and relax.

This was a good opportunity for us all to rest our feet after all the above sightseeing.  Rather, it was supposed to be – the kids charmed their way onto the bridge and spent a lot of their time steering the boat instead.  They loved it.

Barcelona harbour seen from Rambla del Mar

The boat tour is pretty cheap at €7.70 per adult and €2.80 per child.  Click here to buy tickets.

Once you’ve docked, walk along the harbour and out along the modern Rambla del Mar towards the Maremagnum shopping centre, and grab some food and drinks from one of the bars.

This is also a great time to visit Barcelona Aquarium, which is just around the far side of Maremagnum.

Parc de la Cuitadella

Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona

If you’re still not done, wander through one of Barcelona’s most atmospheric districts, El Born, towards Parc de la Cuitadella.

Street in El Born district of Barcelona

El Born is full of lots of narrow alleys filled with cafes, shops and plenty to look at, including a huge church and attractions like the Picasso Museum (sadly we didn’t have time to go in).  It felt a lot less touristy here, and we much preferred El Born to the heaving main streets of the Gothic Quarter.

Square in El Born district of Barcelona

The Parc de la Cuitadella is a large park with long boulevards taking you towards the Arc de Triomph, several beautiful fountains and Barcelona Zoo.  We were warned off the zoo by a local so we didn’t visit, but it’s here if you want to take a look.

If the kids are too tired, add the park in tomorrow after the Chocolate Museum.

We finished our day with dinner in a restaurant in El Born before heading back to the hotel.

Day 2 in Barcelona with kids

On day 2 head up to Barca FC’s home ground, Camp Nou.  Depending on your schedule on Day 1, you can either return to the Gothic Quarter and El Born to visit the cathedral and the chocolate museum, before heading up to Montjuïc Hill.

If you squeezed in the cathedral and chocolate museum on Day 1, go straight to Montjuïc from Camp Nou.

Camp Nou

Camp Nou is a must visit for any football fan in Barcelona

Camp Nou is home to Barcelona FC, one of the world’s best and most famous football teams.  It’s billed as Barcelona’s second most visited attraction, so of course we had to go (despite not really knowing much about football ourselves!).

When you arrive at Camp Nou the first thing you’ll visit is a very new looking museum about the history of Barcelona FC.  There’s tons to look at here including several cabinets full of glittering trophies and memorabilia from Barca FC’s early days right up to now.

Inside the football museum at Camp Nou home to Barcelona's football club

You can then visit the main stadium itself.  It’s absolutely huge, bigger than Wembley, and seats 99,354.  This makes it the third biggest stadium in the world.  I can’t even imagine what 99,000+ screaming fans sounds like!  It must be really something to watch a game here.

During your visit you get to sit in the stadium seats, and then head down through the away team locker room and the press area before walking through the tunnel and visiting the pitch itself (although you can’t walk on it of course).  You get a much higher view right at the top later in the tour.

Along the way there are lots of photo opportunities and it’s a real delight for football fans, especially walking onto the pitch.  We found it interesting despite not being all that into the beautiful game.

Barcelona's Camp Nou football stadium

Visiting Camp Nou can be very expensive, but entry is free with the Barcelona Card.  Otherwise an adult ticket for the basic experience costs €26 and a child 6+ €20.  These are the cheaper, online prices and it will be more expensive if you buy at the box office.

We would advise booking the first tour of the day (10am) and arriving earlier as the queue was huge.  Make sure that the stadium is open on the day of your visit – it will close if there’s a game on.

Click here to buy Camp Nou tickets.

Gothic Quarter

In Barcelona's Gothic Quarter by Barcelona Cathedral

From Camp Nou you can take the metro (Line X) direct to Liceu for Barcelona’s gothic quarter.  As an alternative, as our plans didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped, you can alight at Para•lel and go to Montjuïc Hill instead.

If you want to do this, then try to squeeze in a visit to the Cathedral on your way to the Chocolate Museum on day 1.

Streets around the back of Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter is a lovely old area of Barcelona, and it’s been inhabited for over 2000 years.  Think narrow, high streets which twist and turn and get you throughly lost pretty quickly!  The main things to see in the Gothic Quarter are the Cathedral, and the streets surrounding it (pictured), Placa Reial which has lampposts designed by Gaudi, and the Jewish Quarter.

Of course, there’s much more, so you could try taking a walking tour of the area so you don’t miss all the little details.

Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu)

Barcelona's main cathedral is worth visiting, even with kids

Any visitor to Barcelona is going to visit the Sagrada Familia, but you shouldn’t miss out on Barcelona’s amazing gothic cathedral either.  Its full name is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia.

This cathedral is right in the centre of the Gothic Quarter, and you can’t miss it.  It’s dedicated to Saint Eulalia who can be found entombed underneath the altar (more about her shortly).  Work began on the cathedral in the 13th Century and it took around 200 years to build.

On the roof of Barcelona's cathedral La Seu - a fun thing for kids to do in Barcelona

Inside you most definitely want to take a look at the choir, Saint Eulalia’s tomb and the rooftop.  The entrance to the roof is on the left of the altar, and you need to show your tickets.  Up on the roof there’s fabulous views out over the city and over the sea too.

Interior of La Seu, Barcelona's Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter

Back downstairs do go out into the cloisters on the right hand side of the altar to see a lovely garden filled with palms, orange trees and magnolias.  The cloisters are also home to 13 white geese.

The geese live here because of St Eulalia, a young girl who lived in Barcelona during Roman times, and who spoke out about the persecution of Christians in the city.  For this Eulalia was condemned to 13 different tortures (as she was 13 years old) and eventually died, becoming a martyr.  She was later canonised, becoming the joint patron saint of Barcelona, and the 13 geese are said to watch over the city and its visitors.

We arrived at about midday and there was only a very short queue to get inside.  Some say that the cathedral is free but we had to pay to enter.  Tickets cost €7 per adult, and kids under 12 go free; these tickets allowed us access to the roof.  You can buy timed tickets online, here.

Chocolate Museum

Museu de la Xocolata is an ideal stop in Barcelona with kids

Nobody needs persuading to visit the Museu de la Xocolata, or the Chocolate Museum.  It’s located right by Parc de la Cuitadella so we had the chance for another wander through El Born on the way.

The best things to see at the chocolate museum are its fantastic sculptures showing scenes from stories, films and individual characters.  It’s hard to believe some of them are chocolate!  Kids will also be delighted that the ticket to enter the museum is a bar of chocolate.

Elsewhere in the museum there are a couple of films explaining the history of chocolate from its beginnings as a bitter, spicy Aztec drink, to the processes which turned it into the sweet treat we know today.  You can also see equipment used in the making of chocolate, and there’s an on site kitchen where you can take part in activities (certain days only, advance reservation required).

Trying chocolate in the Museu de la Xocolata in Barcelona

The best part of our visit was the chance to sit down in the on site cafe and try some of their chocolate.  I also ordered a cup of hot chocolate and it was exactly that – not a watered down version but thick, creamy melted chocolate.  Delicious and recommended, but don’t order a large cup unless you’re sharing!

Entry to the Museu de la Xocolata costs €6 per adult and kids under 7 go free.  Entry is included in the Barcelona Card.

Port Cable Car

View from the Port Cable Car Barcelona

I’m actually hesitant to recommend this cable car journey.  On the face of it, it looks like great fun – take a gondola high over the harbour to nearby Montjuïc Hill and all its attractions.

Yes, you do get fantastic views over the city, and it’s certainly a fun way to get to Montjuïc.

Unfortunately the reality of it is that it’s probably not worth it.   The queues can be punishing here.  It took us over two hours to queue, buy tickets, queue some more, take the lift to the top, and queue again.

The only reason we didn’t knock it on the head was that the kids were desperate to ride the gondola and begged us to stay in the line (for whatever reason, they seemed to enjoy the queue).  Don’t believe the sign that says 50 minutes.

Kids will enjoy the journey on the Port Cable Car Barcelona

We also probably could have walked to Montjuïc Hill along the harbour in about a quarter of the time.  So if you get there and there’s any form of queue, I’d advise leaving it!  You should also be aware that there is a separate cable car on Montjuïc Hill itself and the Port Cable Car ticket does not cover this journey.

Tickets cost €11 per adult, kids travel for free (the one small consolation about this entire incident).

Montjuïc Hill

Montjuïc Cable Car, Barcelona

You could probably spend most of a day on Montjuïc Hill – there’s a fair bit to see here!  If you take the cable car then you’ll arrive in the Botanical Gardens where there are some lovely views over Barcelona.  I wish we’d had more time to look around (looking at you, cable car).

If you do decide to spend longer here then the Montjuïc Cable Car is a good way to get around – click here to buy Montjuïc Cable Car tickets.  Here are the best things to see and do on Montjuïc Hill.

Castell de Montjuïc

Castell de Montjuic seen from Barcelona Harbour

Up on Montjuïc Hill you’ll find Montjuïc Castle, a fortress with a commanding position over the city.  It was used for defence, unsurprisingly, and the first fort was built here in 1641.  The fortress played a part in the Siege of Barcelona, and a little later it was lost after the Spanish defeated the Catalans.

The castle has since been used as a prison, as well as occasionally bombarding the city itself.  Now it’s a tourist attraction with some of the rooms open to look around, a variety of temporary and permanent exhibitions, and beautifully planted gardens.  You can get absolutely stunning views of the city and the harbour from the top.  Small kids are bound to love the large cannon here too!

Entry is reasonably priced, with an adult ticket costing €5 and kids under 12 go free.

The best way to get to Montjuïc Castle is to take the cable car as it can be a tough walk to the top of the hill.

Joan Miro Foundation

Gaudi isn’t the only famous artist you’ll find in Barcelona!  You’ll also find the Picasso Museum, down in El Born, and on Montjuïc Hill, there’s a museum with the largest collection of artworks by the surrealist Joan Miro.

Miro was born in Barcelona and donated the vast majority of his paintings, drawings, sculptures and other works to the city in 1971.  Not all of his works are on display all the time so there’s always something new to discover.

You won’t miss the building as you’re walking around Montjuïc; it’s a brilliant white, light filled construction by Josep Lluis Sert, a friend of Miro’s.

Children are likely to be engaged by the abstract and surrealist nature of his paintings – they certainly make a good talking point!

Entry to the Joan Miro Foundation is €13 per adult and kids under 15 go free.  Entry is included in the Barcelona Card.

Poble Espanol

Poble Espanyol, one of the best attractions on Montjuic Hill, Barcelona

The Poble Espanyol is a sort of open air museum.  It contains 117 full scale replicas of buildings found throughout Spain, so you can “travel” all around the country in just one place.  There’s a large main square, filled with cafes and restaurant selling authentic Spanish fare.

The Poble Espanyol is also home to artists and craftspeople.  There are a variety of activities to get involved in, or you can just watch the artists at work, and browse the shops.  The shops sell all sorts of Spanish handicrafts, from tiles, jewellery, glass, to foods like olive oils, sweets and crepes.

Poble Espanyol is a good place to come on long warm Spanish evenings and it even stays open in the small hours (sometimes not closing until 4am!).  It’s best visited in the afternoons/evenings as it can apparently be pretty quiet first thing.

Entry is included in the Barcelona Pass, or costs from €12.60 per adult, €6.30 per child aged 4+, or €36 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.

Click here to buy tickets.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

MNAC the National Museum of Catalonian Art is a good stop on Montjuïc Hill in Barcelona

The MNAC has an enormous collection of art from the Catalan region, dating back a thousand years.  The building itself looks really impressive; it was built for a World Expo in 1929 and has been repurposed since.

There are a variety of different exhibitions, talks and activities that take place; check online before you visit to see what’s on.

The views from up here are worthwhile even if you don’t want to go into the museum itself. It’s also a great place to watch the Magic Fountain from, if you’re there at the right time, and if you can grab a space!

Sunset over Barcelona with kids at the MNAC museum

Entry costs €12 per adult, kids under 16 go free, and it’s €2 to go to the rooftop viewpoint.  Entry is included in the Barcelona Pass.

Magic Fountain

Magic Fountain in Barcelona is definitely a star attraction for kids in Barcelona

Whether or not you manage to spend your day on Montjuïc Hill, you should definitely make time to see the Magic Fountain.  Best of all, it’s free, so your wallet will thank you.  It sits at the foot of the MNAC building, and waterfalls drop down from here and flow all the way down the street to Plaza Espanya, with the odd miniature fountain adding to the show.

The Magic Fountain’s stats are pretty impressive.  Built in 1929, it has over 3000 water jets which can shoot jets 54 metres high.  Each show consists of a choreographed dance of the main water jets set to music.

The Magic Fountain shows are usually on between 9 and 9.30pm.  Luckily many of the attractions on Montjuïc stay open (especially the Poble Espanyol) so you can hang around there until it’s time for the show.

You can get a great view over the fountains from the MNAC building, or from the raised pedestrian walkways along the street in front. We found we got a pretty unobstructed view from up on the walkways without having to risk pickpockets in the crowd, however we couldn’t hear the music well from here.

The Magic Fountain isn’t always on so make sure you check the schedules for your visit – when we went to Barcelona the evening we arrived was the only time we could see it.  Generally it runs at around 8.30 to 9.30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with additional shows on Wednesday and Sunday in the summer.  It never runs on Mondays or Tuesdays, and stops entirely in January and February.  Check the schedule here.

Day 3 in Barcelona with kids

On Day 3 visit some of the most magnificent attractions Barcelona has to offer.

Start your day at the superb Sagrada Familia, before walking to Recinte Modernista Sant Pau.  From here make your way to Gaudi’s Park Guell where there are numerous attractions.

You’ll need to plan your timings and buy tickets to the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell in advance.

Sagrada Familia

Facade of the Sagrada Familia, one of the best things to do in Barcelona

Interior of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia is billed as the top sight in Barcelona, and they’re not wrong.  Do not miss out on visiting this amazing building!

Gaudi dedicated over 40 years of his life to the design and construction of this basilica, and poignantly, it’s set to be completed in 2026, 100 years after his death.

As the builders are on the final push right now, it doesn’t really matter that it’s not totally finished.  Inside there’s only a couple of boarded off areas and probably some stained glass missing, so you don’t notice that it’s still under construction.

Do spent some time looking at the incredible facade dedicated to the Holy Family.  There’s an audioguide which explains about all the different elements both inside and outside (it goes on a bit but it’s worth listening to).

Interior of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

It’s unlike any other cathedral/basilica I’ve ever been in.  Gaudi designed the interior without any separate alcoves so the entire building is open.  The pillars represent a forest.  The most astounding thing is the way the light streams through the multitude of stained glass.  It’s breathtaking.

As with so many of Barcelona’s attractions, you need to book timed tickets before you go.  Click here to buy skip the line tickets with tower access.

Kids under 6 aren’t allowed to climb the towers so if you’ve got little ones, try this skip the line guided tour instead.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

Former Hospital of Sant Pau, Barcelona

The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is one of Barcelona’s hidden gems.  If you don’t know anything about its history, then I bet you can’t guess what this complex of buildings was built for and used as until very recently.  Sant Pau is now a museum and a World Heritage Site because of its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture.

Once you arrive, though, the mystery becomes clear.  Sant Pau used to be a hospital. Walking around, it’s one hospital that I wouldn’t have minded staying in.

Although there’s been a hospital on this site since medieval times, the buildings that are found here today were begun in 1902, and the hospital formally opened in 1930.  The complex was supposed to have 48 buildings, but only 27 were built. The hospital was designed with an abundance of natural light for patient wellbeing, and each building was purpose built for different specialties with new ideas on hygiene and cleanliness in mind.

Buildings at the Sant Pau Hospital complex

You’re able to tour many of the buildings.  All of them are beautifully designed and tiled; some are laid out as they would have been used, and others have art installations in them.  One has been left unrestored.

While there aren’t any specific kids’ activities to do here, ours had fun playing in the courtyard and walking through the tunnels underneath the main square.

How the Hospital of Sant Pau would have been laid out

One of the best things about Sant Pau was how quiet it was, especially considering how close it is to the Sagrada Familia.

Entry costs €15 per adult and kids under 12 go free.  Click here to book tickets.

Park Güell

Parc Guell is a fantastic place in Barcelona for kids to play in

More of Gaudi’s amazing architecture can be found at Park Güell, in the north of the city.  It’s a large park with a wooded area and a monumental zone which includes several buildings and interesting structures.  Part of this area is restricted, with advance tickets needed to enter.

Gaudi used to live in Park Güell and was instrumental in its design, adding two pavilions by the gates, and of course, the park’s famous dragon.  It is, as you’d expect from Gaudi, very attractive, especially to children who delight in the bright colours and nature themes.  The Monumental Zone is also a World Heritage Site.

Unfortunately when we visited the Nature area of the restricted section of the park was under renovation meaning that the open areas were really busy.  Our experience here was a little disappointing as there were so many people, and of course the renovation had an impact on our enjoyment of the area too.

Other areas of the park were full of touts which didn’t really add to the atmosphere and we rushed through our visit.

El Drac in Park Guell, designed by Gaudi

Don’t forget to pre book your tickets if you want to visit the restricted area of Park Güell.  They usually sell out so you must buy them in advance, and guess the time that you’ll arrive at the park.

We arrived about an hour early for our allotted time but nobody cared and we were waved straight in.  I’m not sure I’d try it much after your entry time, just in case.

As we found Parc Guell to be extremely crowded at about 3pm, arriving at 8.30 might be better if you’d like to experience it in peace and quiet.  We didn’t enjoy our visit to Park Güell as much as we thought we would, but it’s still a worthwhile visit for the views over Barcelona.

Tickets cost €10 per adult, €7 per child aged 7+ (kids 6 and under go free).

Click here to buy Park Guell tickets.

Gaudi House Museum

Gaudi House Museum in Parc Guell is where Gaudi lived in Barcelona

The Gaudi House Museum is just next to the restricted area of Park Guell.

Gaudi used to live in this pretty pink house, and you’re able to visit and take a look at how he would have lived. The aim of this museum is to give visitors an idea of who Gaudi was as a person rather than an architect.  It turns out he lived in quite a simple fashion; there was no evidence of any great riches or excesses.

At the Gaudi House Museum you’ll find lots of information about the man himself, his designs including examples of furniture, and other works.  Some of the rooms have been recreated so you can see how he would have used each space.  The surrounding garden, although small, is very pretty.

However I’d say it’s only really worth visiting if you’re a real Gaudi fan – there wasn’t anything to interest little children here and so we walked through pretty quickly as the kids were growing restless!

Our entry to the Gaudi House Museum was part of our Sagrada Familia ticket.

Tickets cost €5.50 per adult; entry to the restricted area of Park Guell is not included.

Gaudi Experience

The Gaudi Experience in Barcelona is a fun place for kids

On your way out of Park Guell, walk down the hill to the right and you’ll find the Gaudi Experience.  The Gaudi Experience’s main draw is a 4D movie about Gaudi’s influences and his works.  It’s a fun and accessible way for kids to learn about Gaudi and his architecture.

Touch screen information panels give you more insight into Gaudi’s life and works.

Entry is included in the Barcelona Pass, otherwise it costs €9 per adult, €7.50 per child under 14 (note that it’s not suitable for very small children so we couldn’t take our kids in).

Casa Vicens (optional)

By this point in the day you and your kids may very well be broken (we were) but if you can find it in your legs to walk just a little bit further you can admire Casa Vicens, one of Gaudi’s earlier designs.

It’s not far from Lissens metro station which is just about the closest station to Park Guell, so a five minute diversion from the station will bring you here.

Casa Vicens is actually Gaudi’s first house in Barcelona, and its red, white and teal chequerboard design and wrought iron detailing ensures it really stands out from the other buildings nearby.

You can take a guided tour or just look around by yourself.  The admission includes the gardens as well. Casa Vicens is included in the Barcelona Pass.

Click here to book a skip the line ticket.

More things to do in Barcelona with kids

If you’re luckier than us and have longer than 3 days in Barcelona, take a look at the below options.  We didn’t get to visit these places, they’ll have to wait until next time!

Beaches and Barceloneta

Barceloneta and the Barcelona beach seen from Port Cable Car

Barcelona has wide, sandy beaches that are perfect for spending some time on in the summer.  You can see from the photo that they’re also popular right up until November!

The district just behind the beach, Barceloneta, is also popular to walk through.  The Barceloneta area used to be more of a traditional fishing village.  Today there are lots of seafood restaurants here.

Barcelona Aquarium

Barcelona Aquarium is located out in the harbour by the Maremagnum shopping centre.  The main attraction is an 80m long tunnel through the main tank which allows you to see Mediterranean fish and other creatures up close.  Other tanks contain seahorses, sea dragons, corals, anemones and other invertebrates.

Small kids will enjoy the Explora! area which has over 50 interactive activities for little ones to learn about the local marine life.

Entry is included with the Barcelona Pass otherwise it costs €21 per adult, €13 per child aged 5 – 10 and €8 for kids aged 3 – 4.  Click here to buy tickets.

Barcelona Zoo

We don’t often visit zoos, so Barcelona’s Zoo wasn’t on our list.  However research shows it to be fairly well thought of.  The main attractions here are lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants, dolphins, hippo, komodo dragons and orang-utans as well as a myriad of other animals and birds.

There are picnic areas around the zoo, cafes and restaurants.  Kids will love the playground too.  I can imagine that you could spend most of a day here judging by the amount of animals.

Be aware that at the time of writing (November 2019) the zoo is undergoing renovation and so some areas may not be open.

Entry is included in the Barcelona Pass.  Tickets cost €21.40 per adult and €12.95 for kids aged 3+.  Click here to buy tickets.

CosmoCaixa Science Museum

Our kids love science museums and we’d have taken them here if we’d had more time as it gets great reviews.  At CosmoCaixa there’s a Planetarium, an actual Flooded Forest to teach kids about the Amazon, a Geological Wall so they can learn about the formation of the Earth and much more.  Kids will be in their element as pretty much everything is interactive.

CosmoCaixa is slightly out of the centre of Barcelona, up a hill and it may be best to get a taxi or the train there.

Entry is €6 per adult, kids under 16 go free.  Entry is included in the Barcelona Pass.

Palau de la Música Catalana

This is one place I wish we’d had time to visit, but we just couldn’t fit it in in our 3 day trip.  This concert hall is absolutely stunning.  It was built in 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, in the Catalan Modernista style.  Inside the decor is wrought iron, mosaic encrusted pillars, and plenty of stained glass.

The only way to see inside is to take a pre booked guided tour, or of course to attend a concert!

A standard tour costs €20 per adult, and tours must be booked in advance.  Click here to book a tour.

Colonia Guell

Colonia Guell is home to another Gaudi construction.  It’s not in Barcelona itself, however it’s only about 20 or 30 minutes away by train (departures from Plaza Espanya).

Colonia Guell is a purpose built village, made for the workers of the local textile mill.  Gaudi was commissioned to design the church, which is now known as the Crypt, and is a World Heritage Site.  The church itself was never actually finished but it’s still worth a visit.

The textile mill ceased production in the 1970s but today you’re able to look around the village, the crypt and associated exhibits.

Entry is free with the Barcelona Pass, otherwise it costs €9.50 per adult, and kids under 10 go free.  Tickets are timed and should be bought in advance or they may sell out.  Click here to buy tickets.

Picasso Museum

Found in the El Born district, we walked past the Picasso Museum but had no time to look in.  If you’re interested in Picasso, then this is the place to come!

€12, under 18s go free.  Entry is free with the Barcelona Card.

Montserrat

Monserrat is a Benedictine Monastery on a mountain, about an hour outside of Barcelona.  It is one of Barcelona’s most popular day trips.  As well as visiting the beautiful building, you can also walk through the incredible rock formations of the mountains.

If you just want tickets to the Monastery, click here to buy.

If you’d like a guided tour, with a farmhouse lunch and cable car ride, then click here.

Girona

If you’ve got time to go a little further, Girona makes a great day trip from Barcelona.

It’s a pretty town which has more recently become a little better known for its use as Braavos in Game of Thrones (although the less said about GoT the better now really!).

You can easily reach Girona yourself by train, but if you want to take a tour then click here to book a tour of Girona and the Costa Brava.

If you’d like to visit the town of Figures and its Dali museum as well, then click here.

When to visit Barcelona

Barcelona is busy pretty much year round.  Temperatures are at their best in spring and autumn – we visited at the end of October and it was t-shirt weather every day (although you should take a jumper for the evenings).

Summer can be very hot and very busy.  Winter can be cold, but of course Barcelona gets very festive for Christmas, so I wouldn’t rule out visiting the city then either.

Is Barcelona safe for families?

Barcelona is a safe city, yes.  However you have to be really careful about pickpockets in many places, especially on La Rambla and the metro.

You should be fine as long as you exercise some common sense.  Don’t go waving wads of cash about and don’t leave your phone sticking out of your pocket (something I’m always guilty of). Carry your backpack on your front if you’re taking the metro and it might be a good idea to wear a money belt.

There’s been a lot in the news recently about Catalonia and its pro independence protests.  We visited Barcelona a week after some pretty intense incidents involving some violence.  We ran into some pro-Spain demonstrators on our first day – they were holding a huge rally on Passeig de Gracia.  However everything was very peaceful and we didn’t feel unsafe, despite walking straight into the rally as we left La Pedrera.  It’s worth being aware of this situation as it certainly hasn’t gone away.


Has this guide been useful?  Try some of our other Spanish city guides!

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A complete 3 day itinerary covering the best things to do in Barcelona. Ideal for visiting Barcelona with kids, this itinerary covers all the main attractions - the Gaudi designed Park Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and the Sagrada Familia (and more) La Rambla, Camp Nou, Montjuic Hill, Barcelona Harbour, Barcelona Gothic Quarter and much more. Also includes tips on saving money in Barcelona and where to stay in Barcelona. #barcelona #spain #travel

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