Tapas. Wine. Culture. All travellers to Barcelona know they can expect these things when they arrive in the city. But the capital of the Catalunya / Catalonia region is also a fantastic jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the region. Visiting the wider area of Costa Barcelona with kids allows you to get out of town and discover an amazing array of activities and delights for kids and parents alike.
BritMums went with a group of family travel influencers to Costa Barcelona (as the region around Barcelona is known). Here are some of our top picks for visiting Costa Barcelona with kids.
Top suggestions for Costa Barcelona with kids
Learn about wine with games & workshops at Cellar Alta Alella
This family-owned winery farms organically, and activities here go beyond mere tastings (although we love those too) to include wine tours that are “theatrical family experiences”, poetry readings, dance performances and more. Go at the right time of year and you can also watch them sorting grapes!
Explore Calella, an official ‘Family Tourist Destination’
Have you ever arrived at what seemed like an ideal family destination only to discover it’s awash in partying 20somethings who expand your child’s four-letter vocabulary? Catalunya works to solve that problem with its Family Tourist Destination certificate. It’s given to places that are particularly suited and welcoming to families. We particularly love Calella, which has a gorgeous lighthouse, a long sandy beach (pic below), a cycle route that goes right along the water and a Water Sports Center. We went banana boating — prepare to be thrown off by cheeky drivers! — and there’s also parasailing, snorkeling and more. We love the Nui Beach Calella for dining on the shore. Get an outside table and you can watch the kids play in the sand while you enjoy a drink before your meal arrives.
Eat on the beach
There’s nothing quite like having your tapas and cava with your feet digging into the sand, watching the waves, while the kids frolic on the shore. In addition to Nui Beach, we also recommend the chic Casanova Beach Club in Castelldefels, Here you can eat delicious seafood and watch the beautiful people. We saw famous footballers with their entourages, coming to try the fusion cuisine and Catalan gastronomy.
Visit Malgrat de Mar
This family-friendly destination has a variety of parcs, outdoor pursuits and more. The Francesc Macia Park is an urban park with Alice in Wonderland-style sculptures of giant mushrooms, flowers and more, perfect for a fairy-tale day.
Marinate in a thermal spa
Caldes de Montbui is known for its thermal water and is home to the best-preserved roman thermal baths in Spain. A guided tour of the thermal circuit in the old town is a good bet. There’s a spa you can visit (arrange reservations ahead of time) or visit the Font del Lleó, a tap in the town plaza where the water emerges so hot it’s like your red tap.
Explore a natural forest
Montseny National Park is a unique biosphere and makes for a marvelous day trip. You can walk, hike and cycle through this gorgeous area. When we visited, we went with a guide who showed us how to make nature ‘perfume’ — picking different herbs and plants to create a scent — how to do forest drawings using materials we found and took us through an area of natural cork. With a guide you’ll learn loads about the myths and stories as well as flora and fauna. Eat lunch or an early supper after your hike at the Montseny village (pronounced more like ‘Mon-senne’ than ‘Mon-senny’). We enjoyed our meal at Fonda Montseny just steps from the park (try the pork sausages with white beans). Or stop at the fleca, or bakery, for coca, a traditional pastry filled with a custardy cream. Yum.
Paddle at the Canal Olimpic in Castelldefels
Created in 1992 for the canoeing competitions during the Olympic Games, this park is now home to all types of watersports and leisure fun. The cable waterskiing is to die for — especially great with teens. It’s exciting, fun and challenging. Just don’t compare your performance with the kids who zoom round the circuit effortlessly and do tricks on the jumps.
Get regal at Castelldefels Castle
This frontier fortress has a scandalous background — as host to a notorious murder in 1893 and later as a prison camp during the Spanish Civil War. It has a traditional round crenellated tower and afford brilliant views. Great for pictures and views over the city.
Stay at a ‘Camping’
The word puts you in mind of canvas tents and soggy sleeping bags, but campings are a great version of family accommodation in this part of the world. They incorporate campsites, yes, but also mobile home accommodation and bungalows with proper beds. Plus they often feature swimming pools, playgrounds, beaches, wifi zones, cafes with children’s menus and more — all at a great price. Here are a just a few:
Campsite Roca Grossa in Calella – Features a swimming pool, a short walk to a little pocket beach, near the lovely city of Calella and along a fantastic cycle route
Campsite La Tordera – The ‘Deluxe’ tents here look like something you’d experience on safari. They also offer mobile home accomodations.