Where to Stay in Barcelona With Kids
Updated: Mar 2
Written for Plum Guide. Live link here.
Because children (God bless 'em) can make or break a holiday
We know. We know. You can’t fly right now. But trust us, as soon as the world starts to break out of its cocoon, you’ll want to find new places to explore – some that are more interesting than the inside of your fridge.
Pack up the family and make Barcelona top of your list. Sultry strolls along the seafront? Late night schmoozing over bottomless cava? Nice try. If you’re choosing where to stay in Barcelona with kids, you can scratch all that. Think messy xurro hands, playgrounds until midnight, and sand pretty much everywhere.
El Born is safe and central, with pedestrian-only streets, making it a good option if you’re travelling with small children who like running into busy roads (why do they do that?). Part of the old city, it’s as pretty as a picture with its twisty lanes, beautiful plazas and very own chocolate museum (a sure-fire winner for all ages). The barrio is home to Ciutadella Park, with its zoo, fountains and notorious mammoth. Its the perfect place to enjoy a lazy picnic and let the children run riot. Or if you choose to spend a day at the beach, you can wander back to your apartment in only 20-minutes, melting ice-creams in hand.
For those travelling with teenagers, head to the Gothic Quarter. With its rambling medieval streets, this tourist hub will give them plenty to explore off-leash, giving you time to savour your vermouth without the constant hiss of headphones and hormones in the background. Shadowy alleyways, endless shops, cafes and a 20-minute walk from the beach give plenty of photogenic backdrops for your youngster’s Instagram.
And when choosing where to stay in Barcelona with family, Plum Guide has some remarkable apartments. Channels with its sunny terrace and comfy sun-loungers make for an excellent place to retreat from the tourist bustle. Or for larger families, the four-bedroomed Silvertown puts you right at the centre of the action, a frisbee throw away from the Cathedral and Plaça Reial.
With its wide avenues, strict grid layout and ten-a-penny Gaudí masterpieces, Eixample can’t help but impress. It’s less crowded than the older areas of the city (with fewer bone-shaking cobbles), so it’s worth considering if you’re bringing a buggy for the little cherub. It’s easy to get around, safe, and the Plaça Catalunya has great transport links for heading out further afield.
Barcelona is one of the world’s best cities for skateboarding. Head to Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art MACBA (technically in El Raval, but let’s not be pernickety) and let your kids gawp at the oh-so-cool skateboarders practising their kickflips.
Plum Guide is the official selection of the world's best homes and boasts a collection of gorgeous rental homes in Eixample. In fact, you’re spoilt for choice. So if you’re struggling to find the perfect rental family home in Barcelona, speak to one of our discerning Plum Experts. (Yes, you can actually speak to us, and we’re really quite charming). But as a starter for ten, try Mellow Calvet or Fortunate Calvet. Part of the same building, they have a shared pool which, while not necessarily great for toddlers, could stave off the inevitable ‘I’m bored’ from the older ones.
Most children are happy with a bucket, a spade and a face full of ice cream. So when you’re deciding where to stay in Barcelona with kids Ciutadella-Port Olímpic, with its proximity to Playa De Bogatell is a safe bet. The beach is quieter than the crowded Barceloneta, the water is cleaner, and there are lifeguards to keep your mind at ease.
Sea views are hard to come by in Barcelona, so The Golden View merits its name. Both here and Rusticity are close enough to the beach for an early morning paddle. The area itself is mostly residential, with enough shops and restaurants to keep ravenous children well fed. And any budding young athletes will enjoy exploring the Olympic Park itself.
Let’s face it. Travelling with children can ruin a holiday. They have far too many opinions for their years and need the toilet the second you’ve left the apartment. So when choosing where to stay in Barcelona with family, Gràcia heads up our list. It’s relaxed and family-friendly with a hint of hipster. And its pedestrian streets and plazas are great both for adults and children. You can plough on with the sangria and tapas, and let the children run amok with local Catalan kids until midnight (all under your watchful eye, of course).
And it’s home to Parc Güell, Gaudi’s fabulous fairytale playground for adults and children. A word of warning. It’s a steep walk up to Parc Güell, especially for those with little legs. So you might want to take the escalators (sweaty piggy backs don’t make for a relaxing afternoon).
If you’re travelling with grandparents or lucky enough to have help, Dreamboat is spacious and has more than enough rooms for a decent game of hide and seek.