We are in Spain. Currently Sort, Catalunya, Spain. A dream has been realized. It has always been a dream of mine to load the entire family up on a plane and fly overseas. The location never much mattered, it was all about the exploration, the newness, the excitement, the unknown. For me, forget about getting outside my comfort zone … it’s all about living outside my comfort zone all day, every day. Which is why we flew into Barcelona and spent 3 days there exploring this huge city. We found some awesome Things To Do In Barcelona with Kids. Read on for our Guide to Barcelona in 3 days.
Kayaking … I know we talk about it a lot, but this is different, this is a piece about the amazing places kayaking takes us. Our older boys, Grady and Brody traveled to a World Cup in Sort and Salt, Spain and Millau, France. Dan, Brody, Kady, Kenny and Dally traveled to San Juan, Argentina for the 2017 Freestyle Kayaking World Championships. And now, we are all in Sort, Catalunya, Spain for the same.
Without kayaking I can’t imagine we’d be traveling to these off the beaten path locales. I imagine we’d be putting London, Paris, Madrid etc on our bucket list. We did Travel to Barcelona, and found the Best Things to Do in Barcelona with Kids. While planning we looked at a lot of online guides and took note of the free things, which were blah. We also explored the most popular places that were not free.
As a non-touristy family who loves to travel and visit, immersing ourselves in the locale, talking with locals, and eating local fare, Barcelona was tough. But, below are our top 5 Best Things to do In Barcelona with Kids.
La Sagrada De Familia
You will be shocked to hear that we actually did not pay to go inside. As Catholics, we had hoped to catch a daily mass, but unfortunately, mass is held only on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation at 9 am. Of course, there are extraordinary masses held throughout the year, but they are by invitation only and none while we were there.
To tour the inside of La Sagrada de Familia it would have cost us 27 Euros per person and wouldn’t eveen include the towers because … there are too many of us. A Catholic Church is telling us we are too large. Catch the irony in that? Add that up and it would be almost $300 Euros, not something we would pay $300 to do, especially without the towers. For the rest of ya, prices are more reasonable at 32 Euros a person, and you get to climb the towers for an amazing view.
What we did was walk around the church and marvel at the architecture. The kids were stunned and blown away by the carvings and the massive undertaking of this beautiful church. We took the opportunity to learn about architect Antoni Gaudi, whose work is seen throughout Barcelona. Wild Fact: This church has been under construction for the past 135 years and is not expected to be completed until 2026!
El Barri of Montjuic
Honestly, this was our favorite place to explore. It’s located high up on the mountain, which is really just a very steep hill. I’m well aware that Monjuic is home to MNAC. And that Monjuic is home to Pobla Espanyol, the Magic Fountain and many other places of interest. Including the 1992 Olympic Parc, which is open to the public to use the swimming pools and watch a movie during the summer months.
However, we bypassed all of this and simply explored. We very much wanted to get a feel for this neighborhood and so we walked and walked. We came upon an elevator and an escalator that brought residents and visitors alike up and down the steep landscape. These aided in the ability to get to and from local Supermarkets, restaurants, cafe’s and bars.
But, by far, the most amazing aspect of Montjuic are the views.We were able to look out over Barcelona and see the sea, even. A trip up here is worth it if only for this reason. It was definitely outside the touristy focus, and on of the kids favorite Things to do In Barcelona.
Eat A Little, A lot
I don’t know about you, but my kids love food. Food was definitely at the top of their list for Things To Do In Barcelona. They are always hungry. But, not for all food, originally. The local cuisine took a little getting used to. But once they ditched the idea of chicken fingers and hamburgers, it was no-holds-bar on the local fare. Catalonians schedule their day, their lives really, around food. It is central to family life. I can get down with that.
Breakfast is typically coffee, maybe a beer or whiskey, around 8, 8:30. Then around 11 am a 2nd breakfast of coffee (or beer or whiskey) and a pastry. Then at 2, everything, and I mean everything, shuts down for siesta. This is when The Meal is had. It is the biggest meal of the day and families convene either in their restaurants or at home. Around 5 pm stores start to reopen and around 8 Catalans enjoy Tapas with friends and family at the local tapas bar. Dinner, is typically served around 10 pm or later…
I love everything about this cultural phenomenon. Truly. And so, keeping in tune with my comfort zone philosophy, I’m encouraging myself and my kids to try new foods…on a budget. Menu del dia is the absolute cheapest way to get a three course meal for under 15 Euros. Partaking in the Menu del dia twice while in Barcelona, in the Barrio El Born enabled us to try squid. I will tell you that Elly and Emmy thought it was good. Coby didn’t hate it, but he didn’t love it either.
Restaurants and cafes adorn the streets of Barcelona with adorable outdoor seating areas … perfect for families.
Pro Tip: The food in supermarkets is dirt cheap. Where we spend about $200/day to feed our crew in the US, we are spending maybe 25 Euros per day in Catalonia! This is Dan’s Favorite Thing!
Catedral de Barcelona
If you want to give your kids a taste of gothic architecture, there is no better spot than the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. We walked around here for a few hours with the Catedral de Barcelona as the highlight.
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, also known as Barcelona Cathedral, is the Gothic cathedral and Seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The cathedral was constructed from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, with the principal work done in the fourteenth century. The Gothic Quarter and, in particular, The Catedral de Barcelona should be on top of your list of Things To Do In Barcelona.
Pro tip: Avoid the scary ladies dressed all in white with white face paint. They purposefully put themselves in your pictures and then demand money. When I refused, one of the cussed me out in Catalan!
The cathedral was constructed from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, with the principal work done in the fourteenth century.
Hit the Beach
Is there any location better than the beach for families? I think not. Our kids had a blast playing at a beach outside the city near where we were staying as well as at the Barceloneta Beach, inside the city limits. Both were cultural shocks to our kids who were witnessing topless females for the very first time. Coby’s face was priceless when he noticed a woman walking out of the water, no top. His jaw dropped and he ran to me pronto! I nearly died laughing.
Where the beach outside the city was quiet, with three bars on the sand, Barceloneta beach was wild. And CROWDED. Both were equally fun. The kids met a few Catalan girls and despite the language barrier, they played with them for a few hours. Barceloneta Beach also had sea glass that rivals Glass Beach in CA. Emmy and Elly spent hours collecting sea glass!