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How to have a cheap holiday in Barcelona with the kids

magic fountain family weekend

When planning a family holiday the costs quickly add up, and your budget can become stretched. But if you’re thinking of coming to Barcelona for a family holiday, rest assured it is possible to do it without breaking the bank!

Arriving in Barcelona

By car

Driving is still one of the cheapest ways to get to Barcelona. You will then have two easy parking options:

  • Book a covered parking space online that’s close to where you’re staying. You can get some pretty good deals, so read our article on cheap car parks.
  • Leave your vehicle in a residential area a little outside the city centre where parking is free in some streets. Warning: this is only possible if you are not arriving Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm. Check your options by reading our article on free parking in Barcelona.

Whichever option you choose, you will make significant savings.

By plane

If you are very organised you can get very good deals on flights to Barcelona.

Cheap accommodation

If you’re coming with the family, booking a hotel will be expensive. The best solution is to rent an apartment: as well as being cheaper, you will have more space and can even cook your own meals!

Low cost tours

CosmoCaixa science museum, a super experience with a low price

plasma ball cosmocaixa

We strongly recommend Barcelona’s CosmoCaixa science museum. You can immerse yourself in the experimentation room, walk through a tropical forest and play a whole range of interactive games.

The best news? Entry is free for under 16s and costs only €4 for the rest of us. And if you book online here, you will get 10% off. Which is pretty good, right?

Parc Güell

park guell Barcelona with family

Gaudí’s most budget-friendly work in Barcelona is Parc Güell. Which is good because it’s the one that kids tend to prefer! Take a stroll along the park’s avenues and take a break alongside the mosaic salamander before enjoying the view from Gaudí’s curved benches. It’s an experience unlike any other, and will delight the whole family.

The price? €8.50 for adults, €6 for children from 7 to 12 years and free for children under 6. Don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance as there is an hourly quota of visitors. You can find more info in our article on Parc Güell.

The zoo and aquarium, very expensive visits for families

ray aquarium Barcelona with family

It must be said: tourist attractions in Barcelona are expensive. For example at the zoo and the aquarium entry is around 20 euros, and although children have a reduced price the cost adds up quickly.

If you absolutely must see one or the other but can’t decide which?

  • We recommend the aquarium as it offers a superb underwater route and it’s a great tour for the whole family in all weather!

Free activities

Run wild at the beach

drawing parasol

One of the unquestionable attractions of Barcelona is its long city centre beach. Children can make sand castles, swim and also play climbing games in special play areas. If you are coming by car and you have scooters, bring them! The Passeig Marítim running along the beach is a long promenade that’s great for scooting.

Play in a green labyrinth

horta labyrinth Barcelona with family

Change of scene at the Horta labyrinth park, a little-known garden hiding marvelous treasures. As its name suggests it also holds a giant labyrinth.Why not head off each in a different direction and see who can reach the centre first?

  • Advice: Plan your visit carefully. The Horta labyrinth park is only free on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Take in the modernist buildings of Passeig de Gràcia

Passeig de Gràcia is one of the most beautiful (if not the most beautiful) avenues in Barcelona, where you can see many wonders of art nouveau architecture:

What’s great is that the Catalan art nouveau movement (modernist) tends to fascinate children due to the strange shapes and colours used. Although entry to the monuments is not cheap, the exteriors are wonderful to look at without spending a penny!

barcelona with family

And if you are interested in learning more we recommend our article Follow in the footsteps of Catalan Art nouveau without paying a cent.

A free light and sound show

Friday and Saturday from 7pm in Winter and Thursday to Sunday from 9pm in Summer, the Montjuïc fountains light up to provide a magnificent free light and sound show. Sessions take place every half hour. Check the times here.

Eating on a small budget

Barcelona’s Mediterranean climate makes picnics particularly enjoyable. Pick up what you need at the market and choose a nice place to set yourself up in our article on Picnics in Barcelona: our favourite places for a rustic meal.

cafe harry potter entrance

Finally, add a touch of fantasy to your stay by treating yourself to an afternoon snack at Pudding Diagonal: take a trip to the wonderful world of Harry Potter, a café in a unique world of its own, with board games for children. Success guaranteed!

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