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Illa Fantasia
© Sara Hernandez Pons

Discover Catalonia 2015: family getaways

Do you have kids who like animals and aren't afraid of flying? Check out the getaways we have for you

By Xavier Amat

Sometimes it’s the smallest who are the bravest. In this selection of escapes for the family all over Catalonia you can choose to travel by balloon, meet the bees who guard their delicious honey, or experience the sensation of flying in the Empuriabrava wind tunnel. And if the kids aren’t quite so adventurous, there are also fun visits to museums, entertaining trips, and days out to attraction parks and aquatic centres. 


Discovering Dalí by electric bicycle

An ecological way to discover the secrets of the land that inspired Dalí, with a little help from electric pedals. Easy inspiration is the theme of this two-day escape spent exploring Dalí’s visions of Cadaqués, Port-Lligat and Cap de Creus, all fascinating places; and the overnight stay at Mas Palou, in Roses, a 16th-century Catalan farmhouse with magnificent views over the bay.

Price 245, including bed and breakfast, electric bicycle hire with GPS, insurance, lock, helmet and child’s seat.

Castell de Mataplana

The enigma of the castle of Count Arnau

The legend of Count Arnau is well-known throughout Catalonia, but is most famous in the Pyrenean village of Gombrèn, in Ripollès, and that is where the story can still be lived. The Gombrèn museum holds all the evidence of the Count, and his castle is located near the village in Mataplana, where the legend says he lived. The visit also takes in the Gorg dels Banyuts, the famous well of the story.     

Price 4, including visits to the museum, the castle and the well.

Aiguamolls i rodalies

Trip by electric bicycle to Aiguamolls de l'Empordà

Visiting the Alt Empordà is best done by electric bicycle, and takes in sugar-cane fields and fields of buffalo. The route leaves from the centre of Roses and heads towards Castelló d'Empúries, where you stop for a break and a wander. But the main attraction of the trip is the magnificent Aiguamolls, a natural reserve, through which you can cycle gently while observing many different species of birds. The route also takes you to Empuriabrava and its canals.    

Price from 245, including bed and breakfast and electric bicycle hire with GPS.

©Marc Gasch

Are you ready for a day of pure adrenaline?

We could just say PortAventura, but there’s more… One of Europe’s greatest adventure parks, everybody’s heard about the fantastic rides that will push you to the limits of excitement, and the supreme quality of all its entertainments. Always a good place to spend a day or two, PortAventura is an extra special destination this year, celebrating its 20th birthday by welcoming all guests with even more pizzazz and more surprises in store!

Price from 57, including the coach and entry to the park.

Arbres Montseny

Portalcaching the trees of Montseny

This trip combines fun and learning, and is suitable for all ages, with the objective of discovering 15 trees of the Montseny National Park, a biosphere reserve. For three hours, armed with GPS, you will learn all about one of the most fascinating natural phenomena: trees. And your discovery includes carrying out experiments on some of them to work out how old and how tall they are.  

Price from 20, including GPS and backpack.

Illa Fantasia

Illa Fantasia aquatic park

22 rides, three huge swimming pools, and nine themed restaurants, are just a few of the attractions at Illa Fantasia, the largest aquatic park in the province of Barcelona, and just 22km from the city in Vilassar de Dalt in Maresme. The park is an ideal place for the family to spend a whole day, and includes plenty of fun for older fun-seekers too, with special rides designed only for the most daring. A great place to refresh yourselves in the summer heat, and have a wonderful time together.

Price from 16.50, including entry to the park and transport from Barcelona or the Maresme coast.


Girona City Tour, a fun way to explore the city

Girona is an enchanting city, and a great way to explore it, or at least to get an idea of everything it contains, is to get on the official city tourist train, with its see-through roof so you don’t miss anything, and audio guide in nine languages to tell you all about what you can see. The tour takes approximately 45 minutes, and takes in the city’s impressive cathedral, the Pont de Pedra across the River Onyar, and two of the town’s best-known plazas Vi and Oli, among many other sights.

Price 3.50.

Castell d'Os de Balaguer

The Os de Balaguer castle and the Catalonia Bell Museum

Get as close as you dare to the impregnable Os Malignum Castrum, a defensive castle in Os de Balaguer (La Noguera) built during the times of the Spanish Reconquista, and renovated only in the last few years to offer a fun and entertaining vision into the history of the site. The gothic hall of the castle also houses the Catalonia Bell Museum, with several examples of bells, and information about the work of the bell ringers.

Price 5, including a visit to the castle and a special souvenir from Os de Balaguer.

Fons Marí Tossa de Mar

Enjoy the sea bed at Tossa de Mar

The costal town Tossa de Mar is one of the most recognised and photographed panoramas of the Costa Brava. In this two-day escape, you will visit the town that enchanted Ava Gardner during the filming of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, using it as a base for a couple of diving trips – if you already have experience – or a trip out in a glass-bottomed boat. Either way, you will be able to fully appreciate the beauty and mystery of the sea bed. 

Price from 180, including bed and breakfast, two dives for qualified divers, or a boat trip for non-divers, and a guided tour of  Tossa de Mar. 

Pont del Diable Tarragona Aquaducte

Family trip to Devil’s Bridge

The Devil’s Bridge (Pont del Diable) is the popular name for the Roman bridge, part of a Roman aqueduct only kilometres from the centre of Tarragona. The bridge itself is inside a park which is where the activities of this visit take place, with a series of games for children and adults to have fun while learning about history, heritage and the natural world.  You can also hear the legend behind the diabolical arches of the aqueduct.

Price 3. The activity lasts two hours and takes place on the first Saturday of each month at 10am.

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