Catalonia with Kids
Catalonia, in northern Spain, is amazingly kid-friendly. We’ve been there twice now with our three kids, and I just got back from a solo trip all around the region, from the French border in the north to Tortosa in the south. Here are five great family-friendly places to visit and things to do:
1) Parc Güell, Barcelona
This was our kids’ favorite place in Barcelona. Gaudí’s park has a small playground, but our kids also had a great time exploring throughout the park, from the mosaic salamanders to the benches on the main terrace to the covered passageways. If you’re in Barcelona for a few days, go there at the beginning, because your kids will want to go back.
2) Hiking from Coll d’Ares to Molló
This is a fun hike along the Camí de la Retirada with stunning views of the Pyrenees. Although it’s 10km, it’s all downhill so it’s remarkably kid-friendly. You start at the French border and walk south on the old smuggler’s path. Bring a picnic lunch – there are a lot of fields filled with wildflowers that are great for breaks. We went with Xavier Mas Soler from Guies Roc Blanc – he was great at adjusting the pace for slower walkers and photo opportunities.
3) Molló Parc
Molló Parc is an animal park in the Pyrenees that rescues local animals. Bears, wolves, wild boars, otters – you name it. The setting is stunning, with hills (mountains) and river valleys in and surrounding the park, and there are numerous opportunities to feed and pet the (non-dangerous) residents. One of the best animal parks I’ve seen in the world.
4) Cycling the Terres de l’Ebre Greenway from Horta de Sant Joan to Benifallet
The greenway (Vias Verdes) is a paved over old railroad path. We biked 32km of it – all downhill, so very kid-friendly – from Horta de Sant Joan to Benifallet. I’d recommend this for any kids who are confident on their bikes – there are a lot of fairly dark tunnels where you really need to stay in the middle of the tunnels and obviously not get scared of the dark! Eight is probably a good minimum age. We rented bikes and helmets from Esgambi in Horta de Sant Joan and left them at the railway station in Benifallet for pickup – couldn’t have been easier.
5) The Coastline around Lloret de Mar
What kid doesn’t love beaches and climbing on rocks? Even if you’re not into the touristy beach scene, there are plenty of places to go exploring. Our favorites were the main beach at Lloret de Mar and the rocky area around the castle to the left (north) of the beach, as well as Santa Cristina.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
I’m only including Barcelona here, since I didn’t love where we stayed in Lloret de Mar. In Barcelona stay at Hotel DO Plaça Reial. It’s in a great location and they have room options for families.