Our life of travel and adventure spans back much further than the start of the “Wild Tales of…” blog. Yes, before Bergen (3 years old) and Baby #2 came along, countless miles on the road were logged around the United States and in many international destinations.
One of the most noteworthy occurred right at the time my husband, Slaed and I met. Slaed took a hiatus from his regular Seattle life and moved to Barcelona, Spain for 6 months. During his time there and thanks to several trips previous, he became quite the expert on the city. While kids of his own were barely on his radar then, two of his best friends, and a huge reason for his Spanish travels, had young families, and he often tagged along on their outings.
I thought it would be fun to pick his brain and learn about the place he called home for a short while. First, our suggestions for accommodations:
Where to Stay
- “El Born”: This “old city” district features family friendly hotels and lodging and is close to the Parc de la Ciutadella.
- “Barri Gotic”: The oldest area in the city and where Slaed called home for his 6-month stay, this is the central district of Barcelona and also has plenty of family friendly accommodations.
If you are ready to start researching possible lodging options, try using the hotel, B&B & apartment rental site, Venere. You’ll find it easy to search based on budget, landmark proximity and city areas, and ratings by reviewers.
Now for what to see and do! Together we came up with our top 5 (in no particular order) sights and activities for families to enjoy while visiting this unique and historic city.
1. Parc de la Ciutadella
Slaed visited this park almost everyday whether just walking through on his way to run errands around the city or stopping to relax and enjoy some down time. Some larger and popular attractions are located right in the park including the Barcelona Zoo, the National History Museum, and a boating lake. His favorite feature is the Cascade Fountain, the “Cascada”, which was completed in 1888 and thought to resemble the Trevi Fountain in Rome. He reports the park as a whole to be a great place for kids (and their parents too) to run around and blow-off steam!
You can’t visit Barcelona, especially with little ones, without visiting it’s beautiful beaches! After all, they are close to the action and within walking distance of the main city center. His first choice for families, simply because its closest to the Born (one of Barcelona’s main districts) and easiest to get to, is the Platja de Barceloneta. He suggests that families walk through the Barceloneta district, grab food for a beach picnic, and then make their way to the water for fun in the sun. The area can be crowded, but that’s part of the city beach experience!
Next up on his family beach list is Platja de Nova Icària. The water here is calm, there are great kid friendly facilities, and the whole area has a more suburban, laid-back, and quiet feel. Plus, the beach is right next to Port Olympic, so you can check out the location of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games!
3. Tibidabo Amusement Park
Since 1921, this “fun fair” has been entertaining families with its carnival-type rides. Slaed absolutely loves this spot because of the “old school” vibe of the rides from bumper cars to swings that make you feel like you’ll fly away to creaky roller coasters that are nowhere near our standards now, but just as thrilling. The park features the very best view of the city due to it’s location on Tibidabo Mountain (elevation 1,680 feet).
Since the park is located a bit out of town, you’ll need to take public transportation. Slaed suggests that adventurous travelers take the Tibidabo Funicular, and for those looking for the easiest way, take a 20-minute bus ride leaving the city center.
4. FC Barcelona/Camp Nou
Yes, even if you are not soccer/”futbol” fanatics like us, a visit to Camp Nou, where one of the world’s most popular teams plays, is a Barcelona must-do. According to Slaed, a stop here would be perfect for families because of the amazing crowds, chanting, and exciting play. The game experience just can’t be beat.
Soccer has been played here since 1957, and because the sport has such a long season, chances are you’ll be able to catch a match in the 100,000 capacity stadium. If not though, its still worth a visit! Families can also tour the facility and check out the museum where you can learn about the history, see all the trophies, and enjoy interactive displays.
5. Park Güell.
Be prepared to feel like you are stepping into a fantasy land. Park Güell, located on Carmelo Hill in Barcelona is the best place to view work from the city’s most famous artist, Antoni Gaudí, without having to pay museum prices. Kids will love winding their way around the park while climbing staircases, and will marvel at the colorfully tiled fairytale-like structures. Due to it’s proximity away from town and hilltop situation, Slaed also loved taking visitors here for the spectacular views.
*Bonus: Sagrada Familia*
This enormous church and landmark is an obvious choice for those visiting the city of Barcelona, but we couldn’t feel like our post was complete without mentioning it! With a young child, Slaed suggests just doing your own exterior walking tour (with guidebook in hand) taking in each side of the building. Older children (or those younger kids that could handle the inside of a church) should accompany you inside as well where they’ll learn even more about the eccentric artist (Antoni Gaudí). Construction started 130+ years ago, and is just now (fall 2014) nearly complete!
Have you visited Barcelona, Spain? We’d love to know your favorite city sights. Share in the comments section!
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