There’s something unique about parenthood that makes time feel like it’s moving at the speed of light, when years at a time feel like a single moment. If you have school-aged children, it probably feels like it was only yesterday that you were changing their diapers.
There’s only one anecdote for this phenomenon, one thing that can briefly slow down time – a family vacation. Family vacations provide an opportunity to escape the daily grind to build the kinds of memories that last a lifetime.
Barcelona is a family-friend city that offers lots of things for your clan to do together. Here is our recipe to the perfect family vacation your children won’t soon forget:
1. Barcelona Zoo
With over 4,000 animals, including giraffes, cheetahs, lions, orangutans, tigers, bears, kangaroos, and the endangered red panda, the Barcelona Zoo is a blast at any age! It’s not just animals either – there’s plenty of exotic plant life too. Among the 300 trees, bushes, plants, and flowers along the zoo’s walkways and inside its greenhouse preserves, you’ll spot dragon trees, ginkgo trees, hemp palms, and plenty of fruit-bearing flowers.
When you visit the Barcelona Zoo, you can feel good about where your money is going. The zoo invests heavily in conservation efforts and has raised 1.5 million Euros for research and preservation since 2009.
Insider’s tip: If you visit the Barcelona Zoo on the weekend, the elephant training, penguin feeding, and live shows in the aquamarina, which normally cost extra, are free with your admission.
2. Chocolate Museum
You know who loves chocolate? Everyone! If your family has a sweet tooth, consider a trip to Barcelona’s famous chocolate museum, Museu de la Xocolata, conveniently located just outside the lush Ciutadella Park.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted at the museum’s entrance by Snowy, the chocolate ape. After paying the price of admission, you’ll be given a free chocolate bar to snack on as you enjoy the museums many exhibits.
The first thing you’ll notice are the impressive chocolate sculptures lining the museum’s entrance, sculpted to resemble famous characters and historical figures, such as Minnie Mouse and Louis Armstrong. You’ll be amazed by the chocolate-carved Spanish architecture, including an impressive replica of Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Família.
You’ll learn captivating bites of history about chocolate as you work your way through the museum’s, audiovisual displays, chocolate machinery exhibits, and workshops.
3. Montjuïc Castle
If you’re looking for a dose of history on your family vacation, then a visit to Montjuïc Castle is a must. The military fortress is steeped in rich history, spanning its more than three hundred year existence.
The first battle at the fort took place in 1641, during the Catalan Revolt. In 1705, the British captured Montjuïc Castle in the Siege of Barcelona, during the War of the Spanish Succession. During the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s, the French captured the fort without firing a single shot.
Today, Montjuïc Castle is open to the public, operating as a memorial and museum. Explore the castle grounds and enjoy an immersive lesson in European history.
4. The Beach
Make sure to schedule some time on your itinerary for relaxation – you are on vacation after all! Barcelona is the largest city on the Mediterranean Sea and famous for having some of the best beaches in the world. Can you imagine a more perfect day than sunbathing in the sand, while your kids build sandcastles and swim in the sea?
If you’re looking for a little adventure while you’re at the beach, Barcelona offers a host of water sports for your family to enjoy, including parasailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, and sea kayaking.
5. Tibidabo Amusement Park
Perched on the summit of Tibidabo Mountain, the largest in the Serra de Collserola, is a ferris wheel that offers one of the best views of Barcelona you’ll find. If you’re looking for a day trip for the entire family to enjoy, hop aboard the tram on the Funicular de Tibidabo Railway and take a journey to Tibidabo Amusement Park.
Tibidabo offers all your favorite amusement park rides, including the flume, a colorful carousel, and the swinging pirate ship. For a more thrilling adventure, take a plunge on the Muntanya Russa Roller Coaster, which reaches speeds up to 50 miles-per-hour, zooming through mountainside treetops. Or take a spin on the Avió plane, a flight simulator crafted to replicate the first-ever aircraft to fly from Barcelona to Madrid in 1927. It’s powered by a self-functioning propeller and juts out on a crane high above the city.
We hope you enjoy your trip to Barcelona. May your family vacation slow time down and bring you and your loved ones many fond memories.