Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Gets me dizzy and out of breath, but the kids love it!

I have found that every time I questioned whether or not my kids could make the climb to the top of a tower or church steeple we intended to ascend in order to take in a city view, it was my husband and I who ended up huffing and puffing behind the kids.  Really, the youngsters see twisting, turning, narrow stone staircases as an adventure and obviously don't suffer the same burning glutes and knotted calves that I do.

But I must admit, I'm always happy we made the trek once we're at the top and are rewarded with a panoramic view of a new city.

Two great climbs in Europe come to mind for dazzling views of two grand cities.  The first is the tower of the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, the most popular tourist attraction in Barcelona.  Not only are the 400 steps steep, but so is the admission price.  Admission to the church is 12.50€ for adults and 10.50€ for children under 18, and then it's another 2.50€ per person for the elevator.  (Most people take the elevator up and then walk down.)  The view of the city from the top of the basilica is worth it though.  Also, the staircase climb (up or down) allows for many different vantage points from which to study the intricacies of Gaudí's unusual architecture.  (The kids probably won't be studying any architecture on the way up, but you could challenge them to find Gaudí's many hidden symbols throughout the exterior, for example, "Find all the animals."  The uniqueness of this structure will become even more clear to them.)

A second fabulous church tower climb is the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Delft, the Netherlands.  We did this climb just last summer, and boy, was I glad there was a landing about halfway up to stop and take a rest.  The height of this tower to the top of the steeple is 357 feet, and from the observation point you can see Rotterdam and the Hague - even Amsterdam on a clear day.  Our view of Delft on this day in July was glorious.  We timed it just right, too.  We aimed to reach the top at noon so we could sit under the clock and listen to the carillon bells chime the hour.  It was beautiful.  Admission to climb the tower is 3.50€ for adults, 2.00€ for students 12 - 25 years, 1.50€ for children 6 - 11, and free for children 5 and under.

Under the clock in the bell tower of New Church in Delft.


  1. Been to both places but never climbed the towers. Looks like fun - and good exercise.

  2. What gorgeous views! Thank goodness, otherwise all those steps would REALLY not be worth it. Have been to Barcelona, but if I remember correctly, the Basilica's tower was being refurbished at the time, so we couldn't go up for a view. Lovely city, though!

  3. When we went to Barcelona there was a 2 hour wait to climb up. So, we didn't do it. Maybe next time!

  4. My younger cousins like to race to the top of the local lighthouse... while the rest of us slowly follow. We tell them it's tos catch whoever trips.

  5. Children have so much energy and longer legs don't really help to climb towers. I'm sure it is exhausting, but yes it has to be worth it. We have never been to Europe but definitely plan to go some day when the kids are a bit older.

  6. Just climbed the tower this August - coolest thing I've ever done.


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