Barcelona with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

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Barcelona with Kids: A Family Vacation

Alamy

Barcelona, in the northeast region of Catalonia, Spain, is a fantastic destination for family vacations. Barcelona is a city filled with wonderful Gaud' architecture and wide avenues with street performers, swish boutiques and cozy tapas restaurants. On our visits there, we have found it one of the best European cities to visit with young kids.

Read on for a list of suggested things to do in Barcelona with kids.


Morning


During your family vacation in Barcelona with kids, the best and most efficient way to see the city is by riding on the Bus Tur'stic, a double-decker, open-air tourist bus that will take you and your family anywhere you could possibly want to go in the city. Buy a one- or two-day Bus Tur'stic pass (you get a 10 per cent discount if you buy it online in advance) and hop aboard. It's great value - much better than taxi rides - and the kids will love being up top in the open air with an unobstructed view of the city.

There are three routes to choose from, depending on the sites you want to see, and you can get on and off at any of the stops on any of the routes at your leisure. Buses arrive at each stop about every five minutes during high season (less frequently in low season).

Another bonus for those on family vacations in Barcelona is that there are individual headsets on every seat giving you a "personal" tour of the city. No need to go searching through the guidebook when your child asks, "What's that?" Simply select your language of choice (Bus Tur'stic offers the audio tour in ten different languages), sit back, and enjoy the ride. Get off at the stops along the way to walk around shops, grab lunch, or (my niece's favorite) get a "gelat" (ice-cream in the local language, Catalan)!

If you are an architecture fan and want to impress your kids with Barcelona's most spectacular building, take the blue route to see the Sagrada Fam'lia. This stunning Catholic church in the center of Barcelona has been under construction since 1882 - and is not due to be finished until 2026! The slow construction is due to the fact that it is funded by private donations rather than public money. One-half of the huge building was designed by Catalonia's master architect Gaud' in his distinctive flamboyant style.

The Sagrada Fam'lia is open 9AM-8PM in summer (April to September) and 9AM-6PM in winter (October to March). Various tours and audio guides are available. Call +34-93 207-3031 for further details.

There is architecture all over Barcelona, so keep your eyes open for more buildings by Gaud', including La Pedrera on Passeig de Grˆcia and Parc GŸell, a great place for a picnic.

If the beach is where your kids would prefer to be, then hop on the green or red line to Port Ol'mpic, the swish Olympic Port built for the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. From here, you can head straight to the sand for the fun and games of typical Spanish kids vacations.


Afternoon


One of the best things to do in Barcelona with young kids, especially if you're already down by the sea, is a trip to L'Aquarium, a beautiful aquarium where the kids can play and explore while learning about Mediterranean ocean life. This large, three-story aquarium will keep your kids entertained for quite some time. They will be fascinated by looking at the brightly colored fish, walking through the underwater tunnel, and meeting the sharks! Plan on eating lunch at the cafeteria on the top floor.

L'Aquarium is located on Moll d'Espanya in the Port Vell, or "Old Harbour" and is open from 9:30AM until late every day. Ticket prices are $17.50 for adults and $12.50 for children aged 4-12. Discounted tickets to the aquarium can be purchased online in advance of your visit. Call +34-93-221-7474 for more details.

On the way back toward the city on the Bus Tur'stic red line, stop at the Barri G˜tic, or Gothic Quarter. Not only will you and your family get to stroll through some of the most historically rich streets in Barcelona, you will be able to walk right up to Museu de la Xocolata, or the Museum of Chocolate. This really doesn't need much explaining. You and the kids will love it and it will surely cure that sweet tooth. In Barcelona, kids' vacations don't come much better than this!

Museu de la Xocolata is located on Carrer Comer 36 in the Barri G˜tic of Barcelona. Museum hours are Mon, Wed-Sat 10AM-7PM, Sun 10AM-3PM. A single admission is $4.30 and kids under 7 go free.


Evening


Barcelona is a pretty kid-friendly city. So, don't worry about dinner. Find a cute little cafe or tapas bar with an outdoor patio - perhaps on one of the side streets off of the famous Las Ramblas - and give it a shot. No matter where you choose to dine, they are bound to have authentic Spanish tapas (great for kids because the portions are small and tasty) as well as paella and other Catalan dishes.

The perfect end to your best family vacation day in Barcelona with kids.

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