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 easy 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, several activities in English 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 250 women from around the world 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. The highlight is the Flooded Forest, where visitors stroll through an Amazonian rainforest that is occupied by birds, turtles, snakes, crocodiles and piranhas. 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 touch 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 the 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 to the top of the hill from the train station.
Art and theatre for kids in Barcelona
Barcelona boasts a full cultural agenda for children. Music halls, theatre companies and museums all offer 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, 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 hard-to-find food and ingredients from back home can usually be found in speciality stores and online. El Corte Ingles in Plaza Catalunya and DeliShop stock 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 Asian ingredients can be found at the Extremo Oriente supermarket near Plaza Catalunya.
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.
Jennifer Lo Prete is a writer and marketing consultant. In 2009 she and her family packed their bags (ahem, entire house) into a 40-foot container and moved to Barcelona. On her blog Orange Polka Dot she writes about living life as an expat family in Spain, her obsession with Spanish grocery stores and local culture and traditions. Jennifer is also the co-author of the green parenting guide, "Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green with Baby". When she is not translating school newsletters from Catalan to English, Jennifer enjoys knitting, reading, sewing and swimming.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.