Although we own property on the Costa Blanca, we love to visit other parts of Spain, and Barcelona is our favourite destination for family trips. Barcelona is a vibrant, stylish, urbane kind of city full of history and class. Think of Barcelona, and you will think of grandeur and power, of Gaudi architecture, of a zesty, sprawling city. The focal point of the city is surely the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s huge Catholic church which was begun in 1882 and is still being built well over a century later. The architect described it as “the last great sanctuary of Christendom”, and it is rich in Christian symbolism, with three grand faces, depicting the Nativity, the Glory and the Passion. It is a majestic wonder of the world and one of the few sights that – no matter how much you may have heard about it or how many pictures you may have seen – doesn’t disappoint when you see it for real.
Popular with tourists from all across the world, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage. There are many venues for live music and theatre, like the world-famous Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya and the Palau de la Musica Catalana concert hall, and Barcelona hosts the famous Sonar Music Festival. It has all kinds of galleries housing great works of Spanish and Catalan art.
Take a walk along La Rambla, a bustling, cosmopolitan street popular with tourists and locals alike, stretching from the Placa de Catalunya towards the Mediterranean shoreline, and you will find cafes, street performers and market stalls. Barcelona offers a charming mixture of old Gothic architecture and modern skyscrapers such as the Hotel Arts and the Torre Mapfre.
But Barcelona is not only hustle and bustle and crowds; a tenth of the city is parkland. The 203-hectare Montjuic is the largest park, whilst Ciutadella Park, situated where the old military citadel once stood, houses both the Parliament building and the zoo! Meanwhile, the city’s seven beaches make great places to enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine.
Entertainment And Activities For Children In Barcelona
Port Area. On a hot summer’s day, everyone enjoys a boat trip around the port. Although not an excursion for the faint-hearted, it is also possible to go up to the mid-way station of the cable-car ride which swings you out either across the harbour and high over the Barceloneta beach or, in the other direction, up to Montjuic.
Ciutadella Park. The zoo is housed here, with its displays of killer whales and dolphins and a large collection featuring a white gorilla. Bicycles, tandems and rowing boats can be hired in the park.
Montjuic has another cable car ride, to the top of the hill or a funicular down to town. The great attraction for children here is the fun fair, but the Military Mueseum and the Pueblo Español (Spanish Village) will also interest some. Children and adults alike are captivated by the illuminated fountains in front of the Palau Nacional.
Tibidabo, the hill overlooking the city, has a funfair at the summit. Once again, there is the possibility of coming up by funicular or by car. The view from the top is spectacular. Joggers and walkers will enjoy the Carretera de les Aigües which encircles the hill.
There are numerous parks, one with a maze, Parc del Laberint, many with children’s playgrounds and the occasional puppet show.
The more scientifically-minded will love the Science Museum, a real “hands-on” affair and the Planetarium has fascinating shows, but with the commentary only in Spanish or Catalan.