Expats moving to Barcelona with children in tow are bound to have a fantastic experience. The mild weather and dense urban centre make it a fun and accessible city to explore as a family.
Children in Barcelona are welcomed and loved. The Catalan capital’s location on the beautiful Mediterranean and its proximity to the Pyrenees Mountains make it an ideal spot for families to take a break from city life and explore nature.
Families from around the world call the city home. As a result, foreign parents will have access to many expat organisations, shops stocked with goodies from back home, and a variety of international schools in Barcelona.
Meeting other expat parents in Barcelona
Parents should have no trouble meeting other expats in Barcelona. Even expats who plan to get to know the locals need an outlet where they can speak their own language and ask questions of others who understand their experiences.
The Barcelona Women’s Network, for instance, is a group of more than 210 women from more than 20 different countries which offers a wide range of activities and a source of support for foreign women in Barcelona.
There is a range of these kinds of organisations and they can easily be found online.
Entertainment and activities for kids in Barcelona
Nearly every month, the city organises a festival with loads of free children’s activities. There are many interesting museums, beautiful parks and exciting activities for children in Barcelona. Below are some favourites.
An interactive science museum that is as beautiful as it is engaging; children and adults of all ages will be delighted with what it has to offer. A highlight is the Flooded Forest, where visitors stroll through an Amazonian rainforest that is occupied by birds, turtles, snakes, crocodiles and piranhas. These animals live in a large enclosure that replicates their natural environment in the wild.
One of the planetariums shows 3D movies about science, while the other teaches children about the stars. Families can register for workshops, where visitors can see real animals and insects from different places. On a clear day, the rooftop café has magnificent views of the sea.
Kids will love taking a ride on the high-wire cable car tram stretching from the port of Barceloneta to the Montjuic Hill, while offering beautiful views of the city and sea. There are great sights at both ends. Barceloneta boasts the Maritime Museum and a medieval shipbuilding yard, while Montjuic has beautiful gardens, parks and museums to explore. There is also another aerial tram on Montjuic that takes visitors up to Montjuic Castle.
Another high-altitude attraction, Tibidabo is a unique, old-fashioned amusement park with just the right mix of modern rides to keep older children happy. The charming Tramvia Blau funicular takes visitors from the train station to the top of the hill.
Art and theatre for kids in Barcelona
Barcelona offers a full cultural agenda for children. Music halls, theatre companies and museums all provide cultural programmes for families and children. Some of the activities, such as concerts, shows and tours, can be done as a family. There are also various programmes for children only, which means that expat parents can stroll the museum on their own.
One of the most famous attractions is the Petit Liceu Opera House, which offers a fabulous and engaging programme for children.
Parents will love the world-class exhibitions at this art museum, which is housed in an old textile factory. Children will love the interesting monthly concerts, theatre and film programmes. While the museum entrance is free, workshops, concerts and films require tickets. Expats with a Barcelona library card usually receive a discount.
Food and eating out with kids in Barcelona
Catalan food is flavourful and simple and showcases the bounty of the Mediterranean. But sometimes expats miss a good old burger and fries. Of course, these can be found in chain restaurants such as the Hard Rock Café.
Sometimes it takes a little investigation, but expats can usually find hard-to-find food and ingredients from back home in speciality stores and online. El Corte Ingles in Plaza Catalunya stocks a good variety of ingredients for international cuisine. American and British goodies can be found at A Taste of America and A Taste of Home, while expats can find Asian ingredients at the Extremo Oriente supermarket near Plaza Catalunya.
►For other sightseeing options, have a look at Lifestyle in Barcelona
►Travelling elsewhere in Spain? Read through Kids in Madrid
"Tibidabo Attraction Park, Parc de L’Oroneta (they have a children’s steam train on a Sunday morning which is fantastic), The Rainforest Museum (amazing!), the Zoo and the Aquarium are all great family-friendly attractions. If you have some time on your hands and fancy a day trip outside of Barcelona, PortAventura World (a theme park close to Tarragona) is a great day out." Check out our interview with British expat Chris to learn more about moving to Barcelona with children.
Are you an expat living in Barcelona?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Barcelona. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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