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Activities, Barcelona

Whether you are an art buff in need of culture, a party animal that wants great nightlife, or a family in need of fun, educational days out for the kids, a holiday in Barcelona can provide it all. Barcelona is a vibrant city, just waiting to be explored. It boasts great galleries and theatres, historic architecture, first class shopping and wonderful panoramic views of Catalonia’s capital.

Barcelona Aquarium

Port Vell harbour, is where you will find the wonderful Barcelona Aquarium – Europe’s most important recreational and educational marine centre, containing 6 million litres of water in which almost 11,000 organisms from 450 different species live in harmony.

Submerge yourself in a fantastic underwater kingdom full of bizarre and beautiful sea creatures. The unique Oceanarium features a transparent tunnel that’s more than 80 metres long, so you can walk among sharks, eels, and stingrays. There are also 14 aquariums representing the diverse marine communities of the Mediterranean and 7 aquariums dedicated to the tropical seas.

There is also a fabulous children’s area, an interactive space designed to raise children’s awareness of the marine world. It features over 50 interactivities in which children can touch, see, listen to, investigate and discover nature. It’s a truly amazing experience.

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Barcelona Football Club Museum/Camp Nou

For all football fans, a visit to the Barcelona Football Museum is a must. The tour takes approximately ninety minutes and allows you to explore Camp Nou – home to FC Barcelona since 1957 and Spain’s largest stadium.

Visit the locker room used by the visiting team, walk down the famous tunnel towards the field, and look out onto the turf. You’ll get the chance to sit on the player’s benches and imagine you can hear the chanting and roaring of the crowd, go through the press conference room and the game commentator’s box and see the chapel.

Next, you’ll watch a 3-D display of images from famous matches, see FC Barcelona documentaries in the multi-media zone and enjoy hundreds of photos and videos from the club’s almost 120-year history in a spectacular interactive audiovisual area. Original major trophies can also be seen.

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Barcelona Wax Museum

The Barcelona Wax Museum is located just off Las Ramblas near the harbour and is housed in a gorgeous 19th-century Neoclassical building. It has around 360 waxworks of international and Spanish personalities from different periods of history. The wax models are exhibited in different settings with projections and audio-visual effects, ensuring you experience a wonderful mixture of culture, history, music, and entertainment.

This quirky Wax Museum also has two unusual cafes: El Bosc de les Fades – a sort of eerie forest where you can sip cocktails while being surrounded by fairies and gnomes, and the Passatge del temps – an origami-themed bar or why not treat yourself to some tapas in the El Colmado?

Whether you’re a fan of human-like wax statues or just looking for something different to do in Barcelona, the fascinating Wax Museum is well worth a visit.

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Barcelona Zoo

Barcelona Zoo is located in the city park and offers a great day out for the whole family, focusing its activities on three key areas: information, research and the protection of endangered species.

The zoo was founded in 1892 and is one of the oldest and most modern in the world and it prides itself on its humane facilities and habitats for the wild animals. It is home to 4,000 animals from over 400 species, including the descendants of albino gorilla Snowflake, tropical birds, reptiles, and dolphins.

There are open enclosures allowing you to almost touch the animals, an infant zoo, restaurants, bars, pony rides, miniature railway, electric cars, shops, a picnic area and regular displays in the indoor aquarium where members of the audience are invited to interact with the dolphins or you can see them performing through the glass windows of the pool.

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Caixa Forum is housed in one of Barcelona’s landmark buildings, the Casaramona textile mill. It opened as a museum in 2002 and now offers a wide range of events – exhibitions of ancient, modern and contemporary art, exhibitions devoted to international artists, concerts, film screenings, debates and lectures, performing-arts events, sessions about literature and contemporary thought plus multimedia art and family activities.

A tree made of steel and glass welcomes the visitors to the museum. In the exhibition space, comprising of 3,000 square metres there are a series of guided tours, entitled Modernisme-Modernity which reveal the hidden details of the former textile mill. The exhibition gives an insight into the history of the building and the figure of Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who was responsible for its construction. It is also worth heading up to the roof of the building for views of the neighbouring Museum of Catalan Art.

City Museum of Barcelona

The City Museum of Barcelona is one of the most important places for research and preservation of Barcelona’s history. The MUHBA houses several unique permanent and temporary exhibitions for visitors to see – many of which are actually ruins and structures that have survived thousands of years.

Visitors can wander around the halls and take a journey through time, from Barcelona’s pre-history all the way through the Middle Ages. There is an entire excavated portion of the roman city and over 35,200 cultural and historical objects– all of which are located within the ancient walls of a gorgeous Gothic palace. You will see mosaics, wall paintings, graves, documents, engravings, etc.

In addition to the museum itself, the MUHBA organisation has several other Heritage sites all throughout Barcelona, including the Temple of Augustus, the Roman Funeral Way, and the old Fabra i Coats factory. All well worth a visit.

El Museu Blau

The Blau Museum (Museu Blau), is a contemporary exhibition and conference centre, situated in the Forum Park which was built by the architects Herzog & de Meuron in 2004. The Museum occupies a total area of 9,000 square metres, spread over two floors.

The Blau Museum will appeal to all ages, has modern facilities and services which are structured around a huge, open-access foyer, the starting and finishing point for all the exhibitions. At the main entrance, you are welcomed by the skeleton of a whale that beached itself on Catalan shores in 1862.

Things to see include ‘Planet Life,’ an exhibition that takes you through the history of life and its coevolution with Earth; the media library; and the Science Nest, where children up to age six can explore and play with natural materials.

Illa Fantasia Water Park

Illa Fantasia Waterpark is located a 30-minute train ride from Barcelona city centre followed by a five-minute ride on the free shuttle bus or if travelling by car it is a 25km drive. There are over 20 different water slides and 3 large swimming pools with water activities for any age group including the tiny tots. For the younger members of the family, there are the “Splash n Slide” activities for them to enjoy.

Once you have worked up an appetit you have the option to sit at one of the 800 picnic tables and eat your picnic or purchase food from the supermarket. There are also two grills in the area if you fancy having a barbeque. Alternatively, the El Chef Restaurant offers a more formal dining environment or for something quick and easy the park has fast food venues and an ice-cream and pancake house.

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Museu de la Xocolata

The 600 square metre, Museu de la Xocolata (Museum of Chocolate), exhibition space traces the origins of chocolate, its arrival in Europe, its medicinal and aphrodisiac properties, its symbolic, cultural and economic significance and nutritional value. You can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about the culture of chocolate and its associations with Barcelona and Catalonia.

On the fun side, it is an ideal place to visit with the kids if you want a break from the sun and the beach. You will find a wide range of activities and workshops on offer for all visitors especially those with children. Why not try your hand at making lollipops using white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate then decorate them with spices, fruit and nuts, creating original, fun lollipops? You then get to eat them of course.

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The Ice Bar

Situated right next to the warm sands of Barceloneta beach, the Ice Bar is the ultimate venue for “cooling off”. Visitors are given Arctic-style silver jackets and a pair of gloves before entering the 50-people capacity subzero bar to have a drink or two and admire the elaborate and impressive ice sculptures on display. Check out the bar counter, stools and even the shot glasses which are also made of ice.

Once you are thoroughly chilled, why not go out onto the fantastic terrace overlooking the beach and enjoy a cocktail where you will be surrounded by other stylish bars, lounges, and clubs? During summer DJs play music every night until late, they also host regular special events such as swimwear fashion shows.

Frequented by tourists and locals alike, the Ice Bar is a perfect place to enjoy a truly unique experience.