Gaudí for kids? Yes, why not. Everyone knows Gaudí and his buildings are a not-to-miss attraction in Barcelona but will my children enjoy his work too? The answer is quite simply YES. Firstly, your kids will love the shapes and colours on the Gaudí buildings, and a great bonus is that some of the sites include tools, like audio-guides or interactive platforms, specially designed for the little ones. Now, there is no excuse for not enjoying Gaudí’s work together with your children. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of it.
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The best of Gaudí for kids in Barcelona
There a few buildings and sites designed by Gaudí that everyone knows about. If you were travelling without the kids I would recommend you to visit them all as each one is wonderful in their own different way. However, your children might not find them all that fascinating so these are my choices for the three that you shouldn’t miss on a family vacation in Barcelona.
This icon of Barcelona is a must visit in the city. Unfortunately, the dedicated children’s audio-guide is not available anymore but kids can still enjoy this masterpiece with a bit of your help. There are many beautiful colour reflections from the stained glass windows and little details on the sculptures to keep your children fascinated. Ask them to find all the different little critters on the bronze doors in the Nativity Façade. They will love it!
Another of the highlights for the young ones is going up to the bell towers (not suitable for those suffering from vertigo). I would recommend visiting the Nativity façade instead of the Passion façade because, not only you will be inside the towers that Gaudí saw in his lifetime, but also, going down the windy spiral staircase is a lot of fun. Adventurous children would love this part. And, don’t worry if you are not too fit as there is a lift that brings you to the top.
OUR TIP: Book your tickets online through the Sagrada Familia official website to skip the long lines. You don’t want to be waiting for hours under the scorching sun and your children will be thankful!
- Children under 11: Free
If you ever dreamed as a child of entering the Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house, maybe your dreams will come true… and you can bring your own kids along too. The main entrance to Park Güell is just that, but there is a lot more in Gaudí’s park to amuse the young ones. The curving structures and multiple colours that you can find all over the monumental zone is fun-guaranteed and the iconic dragon at the entrance is always a hit with children.
I do recommend exploring the farther part of the park (outside the monumental zone) as there are also some places of interest. One of them is the Casa-Museu Gaudí. Although not designed by Gaudí himself, this is the place where he lived for many years before moving to Sagrada Familia. Another great activity for the family is climbing the “Turó de les tres creus“, a little hill with fantastic views of Barcelona. You will probably end up walking quite a bit in the park so don’t forget to pack some food and enjoy it in the shaded picnic area.
Spark your young children’s interest even more with this fun video of Mati and Dada in Park Güell. Mr. Gaudí even does a guest star appearance!
OUR TIP: If you visit during the summer, go early or late as the heat could be quite intense in the middle of the day. Also, don’t forget to pre-book the tickets on the Park Güell official website as the number of visitors is limited. Since April 2019 the ticket includes the return bus transfer from Alfons X metro station.
- Children 0 to 6: Free
- Children 7 to 12: €7
There are many houses designed by Gaudí but, surely, Casa Batlló is the most appealing to young children. It is not only because of its outrageous façade but, once inside, it is like entering a fantasy world of round shapes and organic forms. The roof terrace with its imposing chimneys is beautiful but don’t take the lift to get there. Instead, climb the stairs to submerge into the depths of the ocean sea, the most beautiful part of the house for me. The photograph on the balcony, however, is quite overpriced and not really worth it.
The new added feature to the visit is the interactive mini tablet included with the entrance fee. It is great to see the nature based forms of the house really coming into life and a really nice way to see how the Batlló family lived at the time. As with all modern gadgets, this app will keep the kids occupied as you wonder around. You can see what to expect on this video:
OUR TIP: If you can get the children up, go very early on the day or, even better, late in the evening, as the house gets quite crowded and the space is limited. After 7pm is a good time to enjoy it without the crowds (the closing time is 9pm). You will skip-the-lines if you pre-book the tickets online and also save the €4 surcharge for tickets bought on the site.
- Children under 7: Free
- Children 7 to 18: €22
Enjoy the world of Gaudí with kids in a different way
So you have visited the main attractions. There are plenty of museums in Barcelona suitable for kids but maybe you are looking for something different to do together as a family? Gaudí not only designed buildings. He also crafted furniture, mosaic tiles or wrought iron gates. But, on top of that, his imagination was endless. Take a look at these two, very different, but both great fun things to do with your kids in Barcelona.
Mosaiccos (Trencadís and mosaic workshop)
If you have already visited some of Gaudí’s buildings you are probably familiar with the “trencadís” mosaic technique. “Trencadís” is a Catalan word and it literally means smashed or broken. And that is what Mosaiccos offers: a way for your children to imaginatively recreate Gaudí’s original technique. It is all hands on and the best way to spend a family day. I can’t think of a better souvenir to bring back home.
OUR TIP: Each of the artworks have to be grouted so you won’t be able to take your masterpieces straight away. So don’t leave the workshop until your last day, specially if you have an early morning flight.
- Discounts for families available
Gaudí in 4D (G Experiència)
Want a more thrilling way to experience Gaudí’s world? If your children are not too young (over 6 years old) and they like action, they will love to put on the glasses and feel the adrenaline of G Experiència. This is not regular day-to day cinema but a 4D fantasy and animation film with Gaudí’s life creations as the main theme. The movie is bit short but the ticket entrance also includes the exhibition space with interactive holograms and puzzles to learn about the architect in a fun and entertaining way.
OUR TIP: Maybe it is a good idea to see the movie after you have visited the attractions so you can recognise them and enjoy it even more.
- Children under 14: €7.50
Books on Gaudí: my special recommendation:
“A stroll with Mr. Gaudí” by Pau Estrada
As the title says, Gaudí goes for a stroll. From his house in Park Güell, he starts his daily routine to oversee the progress of his work. The beautiful illustrations show some of them: Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, Sagrada Familia and, of course, his park. The moment when, at the end of the day, he meets his friend and patron, Eusebi Güell, in the empty park, and they decide to turn it into a public space for the citizens of Barcelona is priceless.
At the end of the book is a mini biography of Gaudí for kids that they will find very easy to understand. The whole story in the book, however, keeps on giving clues to Gaudí’s personality, architectural techniques and snippets of his life (the premonition of his fatal streetcar accident is a recurring element). I also particularly like the author’s note explaining his very personal relationship with Gaudí and, specially, Park Güell, where he used to play and ride his bike as a child.
OUR TIP: Buy the book online or at your local specialised bookstore before coming to Barcelona so your kids can start getting familiar with the world of Gaudí. When they finally get to see the real sites, it will be even more special.
A great compliment to any family visit to Barcelona is our specially designed walking tour for families with children. You can join Lisa, Jessi, Tati, Ali or myself on a wonderful experience to discover the old town. Every Saturday at 10am and, also, on Wednesdays during July and August.
This post was originally published on July 11th 2015 and updated on May 11th 2018
Main photograph by Evan Bench