This summer in Catalonia don't expect to hear cries of: 'Mum, I’m bored!' Diving, swimming, water-slides, ancient ruins, tranquil gardens, idyllic nature, and a shining sun await your arrival. If your child is tired of making sand castles, take note of the list of activities on the agenda specially designed for adults and children alike to have fun – and to relax.
Expect all the necessary amenities; high-chairs in restaurants, children-proof swimming pools, hotels with travel cots, children's clubs, theme parks, as well as picture perfect beaches and a stunning mountainous natural landscape. On top of that, there are all kinds of water sports and activities on offer: learn to windsurf, rent jet skis, or go scuba diving. Travelling with children is pleasurable in any of the towns certified as ideal for family holidays by the Catalan Tourist Board. This summer coincides with Catalonia's Year of Family Tourism and there an endless amount of ideas for the perfect family holiday.
COSTA BRAVA: The good life for everyone
Along the coast of Girona, scattered among coves and pine woods, are many quaint towns where you can soak up the local art, history, and delicious gastronomy. Don't forget the little ones!
From Roses, where the Trinitat castle in La Ciutadella recalls fairy tales of knights and princesses in dramatised walks, you can hire a diving excursion to Cap de Creus, an underwater utopia for children from eight years old and above. Nearby, in Els Aiguamolls de l’Empordà the spectacle takes place above water in the sky: birdwatching is a pastime for all ages.
In another child-friendly spot on the Costa Brava, Blanes, children and parents can take the miniature train that meanders along the maritime front, as well as learning about the wonders of plants displayed in the botanic gardens. Here, the breathtaking views of the Marimurtra sea or the Pinya de Rosa, are considered the best in the Mediterranean, along with Santa Clotilde in Lloret de Mar. In this town your little ones will have a blast shooting down the gigantic slides in the biggest waterpark in Europe, Water World; swinging across the zip-lines and hanging bridges from the multi-adventure park Abreaventura; or frolicking in Gnomo Park.
Torroella de Montgrí-l’Estartit is a delightful spot for family tourism. The nautical centre Estartit-Illes Medes provides a wide variety of aquatic activities: sea kayaks, sailing boats, water skiing, snorkeling… There will be no getting bored in Castell-Platja d'Aro either with the museum of dolls and the exciting programme of summer activities: the arts and crafts fair, kite rides, medieval market…
If you’re looking to combine children's fun with a wine holiday, there is no better way than participating in the guided tours around the Calonge-Sant Antoni bodegas and taking in the surroundings of the Tinar basin by horseback or pony.
COSTA DAURADA: What Romans!
What better experience for kids than travelling back to the Roman Empire? Especially when hidden among vast beaches enabling the family to practice sporty and cultural activities…
Salou is synonymous with family-holiday. Its varied selection of hotels and beaches, for example Llevant and PortAventura, have made this family-friendly town famous for kid's fun. Needless to say, in summer it is packed with events for the whole family.
The picturesque town of Cambrils recalls stories of pirates and sailors through its narrow streets and crumbling walls, where fishermen return from their day's work laden with delicacies that are later served in the local restaurants.
In Calafell, young ones and grown-ups alike can step back in time to ancient and medieval history when visiting the Iberian fortress of Santa Creu and the Roman cisterns of Vilarenc after a revitalising and healthy dip in its iodine-rich beaches. More laid back days can be spent on the beach La Pineda in Vila-seca, which has a children’s club; La Pineda Platja where you can discover the Pinar de Perruquet, one of the few remaining untouched beaches along the Mediterranean coast; or touching dolphins in Aquópolis.
COSTA BARCELONA: Culture for all the family
A stone's throw away from Barcelona city is the region of Maresme, which authentically upholds deep-rooted Catalonian traditions – perfect to discover with all the family.
Traditional dances, puppet shows, and story-telling for little ones fill the nights along the promenade of Manuel Puigvert in Calella. During the day the family can join in the foam party on Garbi beach (Mondays and Thursdays) or take a journey by the small train which rambles around the town. There are also activities to suit all tastes in Pineda de Mar: Could you choose between beach and watersports or mountain routes on foot or bicycle through the natural park of Montnegre-Corredor? And why not spend an afternoon in a museum? The Tharrats Graphic Arts Foundation, with works by Miró, Tapies , Brossa, Clavé, Subirachs or Guinovart, also offers children’s activities.
Another must-see museum for all the family is the Museum of the Peasantry, in Santa Susanna, which displays the transformation of the region of Maresme through its agriculture. Outdoors you can make the most of the great choice of beach and nature that this zone has to offer, or revel in the activities of the theme park Activ Natura or the water park Marineland.
NATURE AND ART WITHIN
Do you want to discover where the brown bear lives? Go hiking, horse riding, or canoeing? Admire cave paintings? In Catalonia, the mountains are also prepared for a family visit. In Valls d'Aneu, the Aigüestortes and Sant Maurici Lake National Park allow you to take part in all of these nature activities.
Why not plan a trip to the Natural Park of Alt Pirineu, in the region of Mollera d'Escalarre, where there are various bird watching viewpoints, or even to the forest area of Bonabé, habitat to the brown bear? For a dose of culture, head to the Esbaiola't Festival in Esterri d'Aneu, a theatre festival open to the public in July.
Additionally, in the Muntanyes de Prades, 1,200 metres above sea level, get away from it all by visiting the old building Montblanc New Jail, where the Interpretation Centre of cave paintings in the region is found, declared a UNESCO heritage site.
For more information visit: www.catalunya.com