Are you planning a visit to Barcelona with teens and/or tweens? Enric Massó, author of “Discovering Barcelona: a travel guide for teens”, shares 4 Fun Things to Do Near Barcelona with Teens (or Tweens):
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a vibrant metropolis and has consistently become one of the favourite destinations for visitors from all over the world, it’s a great place to visit with teens as there’s so much to do in the city and surrounds.
Catalonia has 7.6 million inhabitants in a territory the size of Belgium with an amazing variety of landscapes available:
- sandy golden beaches in Camp de Tarragona
- rough cliffs and picturesque coves in Costa Brava
- impressive mountain ranges over 10,000ft in the Pyrenees
- dense forests in Vall d’Aran
- endless plains in Lleida
- volcanic areas of Catalunya Central
- magnificent wetlands, rich in fauna and flora, both in the north and the south of the territory and all these at only a few hours from wherever you are in Catalonia.
Here are four outings near Barcelona that will appeal to even the most fussy teen:
#1. Enjoy the wildest rides at Port Aventura in Salou
Forget other themes parks, this is what you’ve been waiting for… Port Aventura is a theme park and resort located 100 km. (62 mi.) south of Barcelona, with the wildest rides (Shambhala, Furius Baco, Dragon Khan or the Hurakan Condor), the most amazing live shows and musicals and breathtaking landscapes from México, the Far West, Polynesia and China.
Port Aventura also has an aquatic park, called Costa Caribe, with fantastic water rides too, so pack a change of clothes as you are guaranteed to get splashed!
It has plenty of restaurants and several hotels, should you want to stay longer. This theme park is so cool that even the train station that will get you there is named after it!
#2. Discover the Secrets of a Magic Mountain in Montserrat
Montserrat (pronounced “moon-sah-rat“) is an astonishing mountain range very different from other mountain ranges you may have experienced. From a distance, its silhouette is reminiscent of the toothed blade of a saw. And here you have the clue to its name, for the Catalan word Montserrat means “sawn (or serrated) mountain”.
Take the cable car called the ‘Aeri de Montserrat‘ for a breath-taking journey over the Llobregat River and Valley, up the mountain to the 1000 year old Benedictine Montserrat Monastery. According to legend, the image of Our Lady of Montserrat, popularly know as the Black Madonna, was found in a cave nearby in the year 880! You can also listen, in the Basilica, to one of the most ancient boys’ choir in Europe, the Escolania de Montserrat.
Montserrat is also a Natural Park with trails for hiking with friends and family. There are trails suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. Plan your visit now… it’s only a short train ride from Barcelona and it makes for an ideal day trip.
#3. Visit the Romantic City of Girona
Girona (pronounced “gee-roh-nah”) is the unofficial second capital of Catalonia, after Barcelona. Ryanair passengers travelling to Barcelona will be familiar with the airport but although this charming Catalan city is barely an hour from Barcelona and the Costa Brava, it receives nowhere near the number of tourists these busy centres draw.
Girona’s enchanting medieval centre is one of the best preserved in Catalonia. See evidence of the city’s Christian, Muslim and Jewish influences as you walk about the city. The 12th century Arab Baths are modelled on earlier Muslim and Roman bath-houses.
Girona’s Jewish Quarter “El Call” is one of the best preserved in Europe; enjoy wandering through its narrow streets, perhaps stopping at the Museu d’Història dels Jueus (the Museum of History of the Jews).
If your legs can take it, climb up the 86 steps to the city’s immense Cathedral and 12th century cloister, and consider a visit to the nearby medieval village of Besalú.
You can take a high-speed train service lasting 45 minutes between Barcelona and Girona with several trains daily or enjoy a slower paced regional train which takes 90 minutes.
#4. Travel back in time to the Middle Ages in Besalú
Besalú (pronounced “beh-sah-loo“) is a town in the comarca (county) of Garrotxa, near Girona. The town’s importance was greater in the early Middle Ages, as capital of the county, and Wilfred the Hairy, who was Count of Besalú, is credited with the unification of Catalonia,
The town’s most significant feature is its 12th-century Romanesque bridge over the Fluvià river, which features a gateway at its midpoint. The town features arcaded streets and squares and also a restored mikveh, a ritual Jewish bath dating from the eleventh or twelfth century, as well as the remains of a medieval synagogue, located in the lower town near the river. It’s definitively the closest to a medieval town there is. Well worth a visit.
Photo Credits: Montserrat (cruisinskier-Photobucket); Girona (MiquelC-Flickr,CC BY 2.0); Besalú (dynamosquito-Flickr,CC BY-SA 2.0)
You’ll find plenty more ideas in DISCOVERING BARCELONA, A TRAVEL GUIDE FOR TEENS, an extraordinary and comprehensive travel guide, addressing everything from history and landmarks, to snippets of local language and metro maps; in addition, it includes an exhaustive (in the best way!) index of all the best spots in Barcelona for young visitors! The layout is engaging with fantastic graphics, and the guide features entertaining and useful tips, hints, and suggestions for touring the city and beyond. It provides readers with a concise, comprehensive itinerary of possibilities, featuring everything from historical hot-spots to natural wonders to thrills and adventure. It is the perfect guide for preparing a young traveller for a trip to Barcelona or for keeping a young traveller occupied during the voyage (preventing the dreaded “are-we-there-yets”!).
So if you or someone you know is planning a trip to Barcelona with kids – this travel guide is a must-have; and at under 15€/$15, it is the perfect stocking stuffer!
More info at: www.discoveringbarcelona.info
|By Enric Massó (Barcelona, 1969). A hardcore traveler, Enric is a regular contributor at several travel-related websites such as TripAdvisor, VirtualTourist and the InfoCatalonia.eu sites among others. He’s born and bred in Barcelona but has lived in different cities across several continents. As a day job, Enric is a business strategist but on his spare time he likes to write about travel and cultural awareness. He has always been passionate about European cities and most especially his city, Barcelona: its history, heritage, its vibrant life… With the typical charm of the Mediterraneans he proudly enjoys showing the city to his foreign friends when visiting, many of whom have teenagers. But soon he realised that, although Barcelona ranks very high in the Euromonitor International’s Top City Destinations, there wasn’t much information intended for teens, most guides and travel resources were aimed to grown-up travellers, so he started to gather information and put it in a format aimed just for them: easy to read, fun and entertaining: Discovering Barcelona, a travel guide for teens. Have a peek in the Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature.|
Over to you now. Have you visited any of these places or have favourite things to do near Barcelona? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.