Spain is one of the most widely visited countries, whereas Barcelona is considered to be one of the most tourist places in the entire Europe. Around 9 million tourists visit Barcelona with kids each year compared to 1.6 million residents. Barcelona is also a much more touristy city than Madrid, therefore, prices for accommodation, tour sights and food are far more expensive. But! There is a lot of free and cheap things to do with kids in Barcelona. It is a fantastic and very relaxing holiday destination for solo, couple or family travellers with babies, toddlers and kids.
Check out our featured guides:
- Things to do in Barcelona with kids (and without)
- More things to do in Barcelona with toddlers
Is it expensive to travel to Barcelona with kids?
The total amount spent during your journey depends solely on you and your preferences. There are tons of things to do with kids in Barcelona and hundreds of places to visit free of charge. I can assure you that your holiday may be 100% on budget with kids or without. It is very easy to see all of Barcelona and pay very little. Keep reading to know all the tricks on how to travel to Barcelona on budget.
How many days do you need to visit Barcelona with kids?
We highly suggest at least three complete days. An optimal time is four complete days. Of course, the more the better, as you can spend one full day at the beach, get a train to an absolutely stunning coast in Costa Brava and spend one or more nights there.
If you travel to Barcelona with a baby, please consider at least four days to avoid being in a rush.
When is the best time to visit Barcelona?
Barcelona has an exceptional Mediterranean climate, and it is warm there all year-round. However, in summer it may seem a bit too hot and humid.
The best time to visit Barcelona with kids is the beginning of March, May or mid-September. The main reason is to avoid the massive crowds. If you visit Barcelona for a cultural reason rather than staying at the beach, come in the beginning of October, and enjoy sitting on the bench of Sagrada Familia for the entire day. Not to mention fabulous shots you can make throughout the journey.
Your kids will thank you as we all know how difficult it may be sometimes to manage babies in need of sleep or another breastfeeding portion, super active toddlers that can’t be let out in the crowds or children that would be just exhausted queueing for hours to see something that is not a water park or chocolate museum.
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In short, you will still be able to sunbathe in March, May or September. It is very warm in October too. We were there in the middle of October and used to wear shorts and dresses during the whole trip.
Tip: avoid visiting Barcelona during Christian holidays and Easter. Lots of places may be closed and crowds are the longest.
Is it a good idea to visit Barcelona with toddlers and babies?
The answer is absolutely yes! Barcelona is an extremely family-friendly destination.
Everything is available here for your baby, toddler or child, including highchairs in every café and restaurant. People are very friendly and helpful in Barcelona too. You will never get lost. The only thing you should take care of before your trip is to plan your itinerary and accommodation.
Even if you are not a planner, make sure you book the tickets to the greatest sights, such as Sagrada Familia or Park Güell in advance. Don’t miss out on a fast-track pass if necessary. Even in the low season, all tickets to park Güell were sold out one week in advance.
Is it safe in Barcelona with kids?
Barcelona is a very safe and friendly city to visit. Despite numerous pickpockets, there is absolutely nothing to be scared of. Take precautions when you are in very crowded places standing in queues, and never leave your belongings unattended at the beach. Pickpocket industry is well-developed in Barcelona.
As for the recent Spanish Constitutional Crisis, also known as the Catalan Crisis, that happened in 2017-2018, you may see protests on the streets. Loads of flags are hanging from the windows and terrace balconies all over Barcelona. The blue triangle on a flag represents the blue sky of humanity, and the white star symbolizes freedom.
Manifests, signs, and painted walls are full of protest. Even little shops and street vendors sell tiny flag pins for the vests, ribbons, books and music – all related to the independence of Catalan.
We speak Spanish, so locals were very excited and thrilled to discuss this topic with us and share some information on what really is happening inside the country. It was obvious that this topic was especially important to each one of them.
Public Transport in Barcelona
It is not a problem to purchase a transport ticket in Barcelona.
First of all, get one directly from a bus driver. With the tickets you purchased on the bus you can easily swap for another one, but not for metro. All bus tickets bought from the driver count as single tickets.
At the metro and FGC Railway, you can purchase tickets from the ticket machines. There is a possibility to choose public transport passes for one up to five days, including single tickets, tickets to the airport and more.
- The FGC Railway (Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat), is a network of urban and suburban trains that connect Barcelona with other cities and nearby towns in Catalonia.
Note: In our case, staying in La Rambla, purchasing day passes didn’t work well because all the sights were at walking distance and we were walking a lot. If you prefer walking, get single tickets when necessary.
Important: The transport we bought included the transfer to the airport. However, it turned out that the ticket contains a list of buses that go to the airport, there are some private bus companies that are excluded from the list. If your flight is quite early or late, you should probably get a ticket directly from the bus driver because private buses usually are the ones that operate very early, also buses in Barcelona tend to arrive late or not arrive at all (as it happened in our case).
- come at least 15 – 30 minutes earlier to get in a queue,
- have cash.
How to get to the airport of Barcelona?
If you travel on a budget, I suggest you consider taking a bus to the airport. Buses are very comfortable, and it takes only half an hour depending on traffic to get to the airport from Plaza Catalunya. The ticket cost starts from €5 to €10.
The taxi will cost you up to €100, that is 10 times more. The lowest price we have paid was €60 from the airport to Plaza Catalunya.
Where should you stay in Barcelona with kids?
The major expense of yours is always accommodation when it comes to visiting Barcelona.
Trick: stay in the area of Las Ramblas. This way you will save on transport because the majority of the sights are at walking distance. Some of them are half an hour away, but you will pass other sights on your way and never feel the time or kilometres you have walked, unless you have a walking app. The walking part was a highlight of our journey, we used the metro only once and a bus to the airport.
Below is the list of a few excellent options when visiting Barcelona with kids and without.
Family holidays to Barcelona by budget
Budget friendly – Mid-range price (£70 – £100)
Gaudi Hotel: it is located only 45 metres away from the famous Las Ramblas in Barcelona. What is very cool about this hotel is that it features a shared terrace with views of the Palau Güell and the city. Also, it was rated 9.6 for its location by families.
Arc La Rambla: located very near to the metro station in Las Ramblas. This hotel was rated 9.5 by couples and perfect for a couple travellers. What I love about this place the most is that it offers a ticket service, bicycle and car rental on site.
Royal Ramblas: perfect stay with kids and as a couple. This hotel is located only 100m away from the Plaza Cataluna and offers incredible views from the terrace. Plaza Cataluna is exactly the place where you can find buses operating to the airport every 15 minutes.
Luxury hotels (from £170)
Hotel DO Plaça Reial G.L.: 5-star hotel with airport shuttle and exceptional location right in the very heart of Las Ramblas. It even has a swimming pool on the roof, spa and wait for it! Saunas!
Nobu Hotel Barcelona: fairly new and extra mega stylish place. It offers private parking, buffet breakfast and it is only a 16-minute walk from the Magic Fountain of Montjuic.
Ohla Barcelona: stay in the heart of Barcelona. This hotel is our favourite by far. Just check out the picture of the gigantic rooftop swimming pool with the clearest water and you won’t question if you would like to stay here. It is rated at 9.7 particularly by couples. My favourite part was the large windows in the room and the stunning views.Oh, it is only 300m away from Plaza Catalunya.
Finally, last topic before we move to those numerous things to do in Barcelona with kids and without. This, I believe, is quite important to note before you visit Barcelona. You have to be very well-prepared and book online some of the major sights, such as Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batllo and many more.
The queues and crowds are comparable to the ones I saw in Sintra Portugal. Unlike Sintra, Barcelona has quite harsh restrictions on how many people can visit one place every half an hour as well as per day. In most cases, you won’t be able to get a ticket at the counter. I will tell you more than that, pretty much all the tickets are sold out one week in advance. This is one of reasons why we couldn’t get to the Towers of Sagrada Familia, but it turned out that all tours were cancelled that week for maintenance anyway.
So, there you have Barcelona passes.
What are Barcelona passes and are they really worth it?
Find it out for yourself. Below we have prepared a simple overview that may help you to make this decision. It contains all basic information and if you need more, just click on the link below each one of them.
Go Barcelona Pass
Barcelona City Pass
Turbo Pass Barcelona
Hop On Hop Off bus tour
You can save up to:
After some research and value calculations on how much you save in the end, it becomes clear that passes are worth it if you are planning to visit all of the sites mentioned above and use your 20% discount. Some of the passes do not include public transport or airport transfer, such as Barcelona City Pass, which adds up to your pocket. Same with the major sightseeing places, such as Sagrada Familia and Park Güell that are not included in the Go Barcelona pass or Barcelona card package.
Enjoy the family vacation in Barcelona with kids!
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