1. Jardins de la Torre de Les Aigües (Platja de L’Eixample)
A hidden refuge nestled in the Eixample district, this interior garden of the Jardins de la Torre de Les Aigues (gardens of the water tower) is an urban oasis. The tower was formerly used to supply water for the surrounding residents. In 1987, it was converted for the first time into a getaway “beach” in the middle of the city during the summer months.
Here, families can enjoy two paddling pools - a shallow end for big kids to splash around and a shallower end for the even littler ones to splash about in. The pools are surrounded by fine sand, so kids can take a break and build sandcastles. Several shady trees also give families enough space to lay out their towels and beach equipment, including having a picnic lunch. The outdoor space is equipped with toilets, benches, outdoor showers, and some beach-style changing stalls.
2. Parc de la Creueta del Coll
Another Barcelona beach haven is located a bit further from the center, lying at the foothills of Vallcarca. The Parc de La Creueta del Coll was previously old quarry but is now a picturesque park with a sizable bathing pool. On one side, you can splash around in the thigh-high deep water or even participate in a game of volleyball. On the other side of the lake, you can casually row about the pool in a kayak.
There is also a playground and a cafeteria nearby and ample space to lounge on the grass. Families can enjoy the tall, green hills and a very curious sculpture of a concrete claw suspended by steel cables.
For a more complete list of swimming pools in Barcelona take a look at this article.
3. Piknic Electronik Barcelona
There are still two weeks left of this event, so if you can catch it this year then great. Otherwise don't worry because it's an annual summer celebration. Electronic music fans, this is for you. Every Sunday in the summer, parents can unwind with their kids in the outdoors while enjoying DJs spinning some electronic beats. Live DJs, and tons of activities for the kids like Baby Bongo, inflatables, and cooking workshops. Try to buy your tickets online first as lines can get long! There are tables to eat at (but bring a picnic blanket just in case). If you want to read more about Piknic Electronik Barcelona then read more on this page.
4. Barcelona Beaches
Barcelona's beaches are a fabulous, open (and free!) space for kids to romp. Nova Icària dons a fun climbing frame, not to mention various shops and a long row of restaurants in Port Olimpic nearby. The xiringuitos (bars on the sand) are a relaxing place for parents to have a drink while the kids play on the sand right next to them.There are plenty of other beaches too, where various restaurants run along the boardwalk, but try to avoid Nova Mar Bella if you prefer your children not catching an eyeful of nudists. There's also a climbing frame and a playground at the end of the Rambla of Poblenou.
A great summer feature that the city hall provides are The Centre de la Platja, which offers kids' activities like geocaching, beach puzzle, gymkhana, puppet shows and more. Also, the biblioplatges, (mini libraries at the beach) at Mar Bella Beach and Barceloneta Beach gives an opportunity for kids to read and try to learn some Spanish too. You can check out a children's book for a few hours while soaking up the sun.
5. Festa de Gracia
If you're booking your holidays for next summer already, the Festa Major de Gràcia will be celebrating it's 199th year of tradition in 2015. It's a celebration that can only be described as a colorific feast for the eyes and it never ceases to amaze and bewilder the children. Each year, it starts on August 15th and is a highly anticipated week-long event that presents 19 streets and plazas that are dressed up with extraordinary decorations based on a theme, competing for "best decorated street" prize. These mesmerizing handmade ornamentations are created by residents throughout the year. Be sure to get a map because there's much, much, much to take in!
There's always a full program of activities and performances: Castellers (human towers), bouncy castles, kids' games, traditional Catalan dances, and more. And lots of eating and drinking, of course!
Go ahead, take the kids! If you need more ideas, check out 15 Things to do with kids in Barcelona over at the Author's blog - Latitude 41 or take a look at our article on outdoor summer activities in Barcelona. If you've decided you're definitely going to visit this city with your family then take a look at our hand-picked selection of family apartments.