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Barcelona Village

Summer holidays (casals)

School summer holidays in Spain are long and hot. Children break up at the end of June (after a month of half days) and do not come back until the middle of September - 3 months holiday. Getting them something to do is important.

School holidays for the summer typically run from the Festival of Sant Joan (24th June) to Diada (11th September) or thereabouts. This means that summer for most parents is a case of finding activities and camps for the children.

June is actually the biggest headache as schools switch to jordana intensiva - or a half day, so you have to find something for the children to do for half a day.

For the summer holidays, though the city is well served with Casals - day courses in a wide variety of centres, from sports and sailing clubs, to the zoo and museums and through charitable foundations that run Casals at the childrens own school. Alternatively, children might go to Camps which are residential and typically away from the city.

There is a large brochure published by the city council every June and literally thousands of places and a wide range of activities.

Casals start from the beginning of the holidays, then take a break during August (all the Barcelonese leave Barcelona in August, the only people you see here are tourists), and then have two weeks in September.

For parents, the long break can be a challenge, but it can also be an excellent opportunity for the children to try new activities. Some casals, such as those offering specialist sports fill up quickly and we have been told of queuing to get into the most popular places. We were lucky enough to have our oldest at Mar Bella, where he was doing canoing and windsurfing, while others offer sports or music for instance.

The fall back position tends to be the school casal. This is more basic, though with activities such as swimming and trips, but is more of a play atmosphere and other parents tell us that for older children it becomes a bit boring. For the youngest though it is fine.

Prices vary according to the centre and activity, but seem to be between €70 and €120 per child per week depending on what they are doing and whether they have lunch or not.

In addition, summer is the time to buy all the new books for the next school year. The school will publish lists (and make recommendations for holiday activities) and you do need to buy the books as the children will go through each page-by-page. Abacus is the best place to buy.


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