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Barcelona is often touted as the best city in Europe (or anywhere) because it’s got something for everyone, and that goes for kids, too. Families with wee ones in strollers or even hard-to-please teens will find plenty of fun and interesting things to do in this sophisticated seaside metropolis. Suggestions below are divided by age group, but many of them are good bets for kids of all ages (including way overgrown ones).

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Hotel Barcelona Catedral

Hotel Barcelona Catedral

Babies and toddlers

CosmoCaixa: This science museum is geared specifically to kids, with loads of hands-on activities and plenty of space to roam. A spiral staircase wrapped around a massive tree descends to nine levels of exhibits. Highlights include “The Flooded Forest,” which recreates an Amazon rainforest with a rain shower every 15 minutes and 100 native species, including alligators, birds and frogs; and the Bubble Planetarium, designed to introduce astronomy to kids ages 3 to 8.

Devour Barcelona: This tour operator offers private walking tours of the city center that are geared to families with kids ages 4 and up. English-speaking guides will lead you on activities such as a “dragon hunt” through the streets of the Gothic Quarter and Born neighborhoods that teach kids about area history and encourages Spanish language usage. There will also be stops to learn to make bocadillos and eat churros and chocolate.

Cool accommodations: If you’re looking for a great hotel for your brood, Hotel Barcelona Catedral is a favorite for young families. The modern design is a fun contrast against the backdrop of the centrally located Gothic Quarter, and the hotel offers both triple rooms (with an extra bed) and connecting rooms. Amenities include an outdoor rooftop pool and free bicycle rentals.

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View from Montjuic in Barcelona.

The view from Montjuic in Barcelona.

6–9 year olds

Montjuic Castle: A visit to this real-life fortress involves a cable car ride up the side of a huge hill, which is about as good as it gets for many kids this age. (You can walk uphill, too, but where’s the fun in that?) Once you arrive, you can stroll the grounds to learn about the castle’s significant role throughout Spain’s history and take in breathtaking views (or just run around and play). Make a day of your visit by taking the Metro funicular train to the Parallel station to get to the bottom of the cable car station, making a pit stop at the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum.

Magic Fountain of Montjuic: Not far from here is this enchanting fountain, which was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. Join throngs of other tourists to see free light and music shows every Wednesday through Sunday night from March through early January.

Tibidabo Amusement Park: This family attraction sits on the side of a mountain and is one of Europe’s oldest theme parks. Highlights include a flight simulator in a replica of the first plane to fly from Barcelona to Madrid in 1927, an aerial railway that takes riders through virtual environments and a LEGO play area.

Barcelona Soccer Stadium

Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s home stadium | PHOTO: Judy Sutton Taylor

Tweens and teens

Camp Nou: A tour of FC Barcelona’s home stadium is a must for soccer fans, even if the team isn’t playing a match at home. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about the legendary club, and then some. Varying levels of tours can include the chance to check out the team locker rooms, try a VR experience or hire a private guide. Advance purchase recommended.

Cereal Cafes: Yup, this is a thing in Barcelona and even teens who roll their eyes at everything will give you at least half a smile if you take them to one of the city’s super fun cereal joints. All their sugary breakfast dreams will come true at El Flako – Corn Flakes & Co., which puts together sundae-like concoctions with popular cereals from around the world as a base. At Cereals Addict Café, the selections expand to other sweet treats such as Pop Tarts and kids can dine out of superhero themed bowls.

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Tagged: Europe, Family time, Spain

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Judy Sutton Taylor

Judy Sutton Taylor

Judy is a journalist, travel lover and mom in Chicago. Find her on Twitter at @jsuttontaylor.
Judy Sutton Taylor

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