It’s never easy to decide whether to visit a new place or re-visit an old favorite. There’s the debate between the comforts of the familiar and the excitement of novelty, but also the pull between seeing all the “best things to do” in as many places as possible versus the desire to slow down and dig deeper.
For us, Spain is one of those countries that keeps begging us to return. We’ve visited Spain with kids twice, including just last year, and I’ll admit that I’ve been scoping plane tickets to go back for months.
What’s the deal?
Here are just a few reasons why a family trip to Spain is always a good idea:
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-With so many amazing places in Spain for kids, you’ll never be able to see it all. You could spend a lifetime in Spain and still encounter surprises!
-There are things to do in Spain with kids that appeal to all types of traveling families. City exploration, mountain hiking, food touring, beach lounging… The diversity of experiences in Spain is incredible!
-The Spanish culture is so much more relaxed than just about anywhere else in Europe, and kids are expected to be a part of that. I’ll never forget strolling with our sleeping baby through one of the more local plazas in Seville and watching dozens of families relaxing and socializing even though it was 11pm. Or the time that our waitress took our son on a tour of the restaurant so that we could enjoy some quiet moments.
-It’s an extremely easy place to travel with kids. You can buy anything you need at El Corte Ingles. English is widely spoken, though it’s also a great opportunity to dust off that high school Spanish. The transportation infrastructure is efficient and easy to navigate. You can generally find food to satisfy picky eaters.
Hopefully you’re as excited as I am about planning a trip to Spain! We have lots of resources to help you get started: tips for arranging your Spain itinerary with kids, getting around Spain with kids, Spain books for kids, what to bring to Spain for a great trip, and (of course) the best family destinations in Spain. If you’re just after places to go in Spain with kids, feel free to jump ahead.
Get started planning your trip to Spain with kids
How long is your family trip to Spain?
When you’re planning your family vacation in Spain, you’ll first want to figure out how much time you’ll have to explore. If you’re visiting from elsewhere in Europe it might make sense to pop down for quick family holidays in Spain, but for Americans it’s a much bigger commitment.
Flights from the east coast are 7 hours, while from the west coast you’re looking at 11 hours minimum. You may not be able to find non-stop flights to some of the most family-friendly places in Spain, so you’ll have plan for additional travel time either in the air or via train. Couple that with jet-lagged kids and abundance of things to do when you get there… let’s just say that we recommend at least 10 days to visit Spain with kids, but more if you can swing it.
Unpacking and repacking your stuff is one of the worst parts of travling with kids. You can make your life easier by packing light of course, but we still aim for at least 3-4 nights in each city where we stay. Every now and then we might only stop for two nights (as we did in Girona) but usually we aim to stay even longer and use a centrally located city as a base for day trips. There are lots of places like Barcelona, Madrid and Seville where a family can happily stay for a week and still find themselves busy!
Takeaway: If you only have 10 days in Spain, try to limit yourself to two or three destinations. If you’ll be visiting for two weeks, you can stretch that to four.
What’s the best time for visiting Spain with kids?
If your kids are school age, you might feel constrained to traveling during their breaks. That’s ok! Spain has the most diverse climate of any country in Europe, so you can always find somewhere to go that will have nice weather.
What does nice weather mean? That’s in the eye of the beholder. Many parts of Spain are extremely hot in the summer, so if your family doesn’t like that you could opt for more mountainous areas (or lean into it with a Mediterranean beach destination).
July and August are the busiest times of year in Spain – and the most expensive. But if you want to visit a place like Bilbao in the Basque country or Costa Brava summer could be a wonderful time with just-warm-enough weather.
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are perfect in terms of weather, but since Spain is the second most visited country in the world it won’t be a ghost town. When we visited Barcelona in spring during our family gap year we had to wait hours to get into Park Guell (since we didn’t know about the new ticketing requirements) and had a hard time getting train tickets to visit Girona for a day.
If you prefer low prices and thin crowds, consider visiting Spain in winter. While many visitors report long waits at places like the Alcazar palace in Seville, we had the entire place to ourselves when we visited in December!
It doesn’t have the balmy temperatures of the Caribbean or the snowy Christmas markets of central Europe, but it has charms all its own. If you’re coming from central Europe the winter in Madrid may seem mild. But if you’re afraid of the cold you’ll want to stay along the coast during Spain’s winter. As long as follow our advice for what to wear in Spain in winter, you’ll have an amazing time.
Getting around in Spain
Getting around in Spain these days couldn’t be easier!
Trains in Spain
The high-speed rail network in Spain uses Madrid as a hub, so many routes go through there. It can be very convenient for American tourists, as Madrid offers the most non-stop flights between the US and Spain. High-speed trains from Madrid can get you to most other cities in Spain in 3 hours or less!
Not only are trains fast, affordable and comfortable, but they also offer another major convenience for families: train stations are right in the city centers. You won’t have to worry about confusing public transit connections or long taxi rides to far-flung airports. You can often just walk or take easy connections from the train stations to your hotels. Check out Spain train routes here.
Flights in Spain
That said, in some cases it makes sense to leverage Spain’s network of discount airlines. When traveling to mountainous Bilbao or from Barcelona to come other coastal destinations, flying might be your best option. You can check prices and schedules for flights and compare them with prices and schedules for trains to see what makes sense for your itinerary.
Just be mindful of skimpy baggage limits on discount European airlines when you’re figuring out the cost differences! Read about my favorite strategy for minimizing my own luggage.
Also make sure to account for the cost of either public transportation or a taxi/car service to get from the city center to the airport. A bus may be cheap, but with a few kids and a few backpacks or suitcases, a taxi may be more appealing – and more expensive. You’ll also need a travel car seat to keep your kids secure in the taxi, or you can arrange for Welcome Pickups to transport your family with car seats included.
Books about Spain for kids
Before you visit Spain with kids, it’s a good idea to get them excited about the trip by grabbing a few books! Take a look at these options – there’s everything from picture books for toddlers to adventure stories and scavenger hunts for big kids!
Essentials to pack for your family trip to Spain
You can find most things you’ll need anywhere in Spain, though maybe not the exact brand and price you were hoping for. Plan to pick up your consumables (baby food, diapers, wipes, snacks) at any El Corte Inlges; there are many of them throughout the country.
Funny note: baby food pouches in Spain are viewed more as a dessert and flavored accordingly. We normally served our 14 month old son pouches like squash and apple or quinoa and green beans… in Spain he ended up with orange cookie pudding! Whatever, it was his vacation too.
But you won’t want to buy everything abroad- that’ll get pricey. Make sure to bring these essentials from home to start your epic Spain family vacation off on the right foot:
Stroller and baby carrier
If you’re visiting Spain with a toddler or younger, we recommend bringing both a travel stroller and a baby carrier (or toddler carrier if your kid is 3 or older). Why both? For long days trekking around the city you probably won’t want to carry your kid the whole time. However, there are some sites for which a stroller is either impractical (like Park Guell) or forbidden (like the Alhambra). Come prepared! The latest generation of travel strollers is so compact that you can fold it up and put it in a backpack when you don’t need it, which is pretty amazing to those of us whose kids were born even five years ago.
Portable high chair
One thing we were shocked not to find in Spain were high chairs in restaurants. It became a bit of a game for us, constantly walking in and asking “tienes trona?”, only to be rejected 9 times out of 10. The high chairs we did find were 50 year old wooden chairs without a bar between the legs… meaning there was nothing to prevent our kid from sliding right down if he felt like it. We did bring a fabric contraption that was supposed to attach to the chair and keep him upright, but it turned out to be such a safety hazard that it’s no longer for sale!
A better choice is to buy this folding booster seat, which we got after that trip. It works perfectly with almost any kind of chair and boosts kids nicely so that they can reach the table. The harness also keep older babies (9 months and up) and toddlers seated properly.
Read more: Choosing the best baby gear for travel
Travel car seat
If you plan to ride in cars in Spain, you’ll need a way to keep your kids safe. We’ve heard of so many issues from fellow travelers with renting seats – from older-than-dirt seats to boosters being given for babies to reserved seats just not being there – that we prefer to bring our own travel car seats. That also gives us the flexibility to take a taxi from the airport when we’re jet lagged and loaded with bags. Find out everything you need to know about traveling with car seats or get help choosing the best convertible car seat for travel.
Europe-ready SIM card
Unless your cell phone from home offers unlimited global roaming, you’ll be best served by picking up a local SIM card for Europe. Most US cell phone carriers offer a $10 per day roaming plan, but that obviously adds up very quickly! We’ve used this European SIM card in multiple countries and it works great – if you’ll be in Europe for more than two weeks, just register it online to extend its life. It includes 10GB of data, 1000 texts and 120 minutes of talk time. Once you have it in your phone you can even top it up. Just make sure your phone is unlocked before you go, which can take a few days depending on the carrier.
Great travel camera
You may not want to lug a huge DSLR on your relaxing vacation, but what if you want better photos than your cell phone can muster? The best solution these days is a so-called bridge camera. It has many of the features of high-end cameras like some manual controls (only if you want them!) and plenty of zoom, but comes in a compact package and doesn’t require swapping lenses.
Best family destinations in Spain
It’s really hard to narrow down the best places in Spain for kids when the country is so huge and offers so many completely different experiences! Figuring out your Spain itinerary with kids will be a fine balance between figuring out what sounds perfect for your family in the descriptions below, how much time you have and the logistics of moving around the country.
Mapping the best places in Spain for kids
Barcelona with kids
What’s great about visiting Barcelona with kids? What are the best things to do in Barcelona with kids?
If I had to pick one can’t-miss place to take kids in Spain, it would be Barcelona. The city is a true feast for the senses and will fill your entire family with wonder – from Gaudi’s fantastical architecture to the smells of tapas wafting out of bars to the sounds of Catalan music and language drifting through the air. Even just wandering the streets at night is one of the best things to do in Spain with kids – for ours, it inspired their own love of travel.
Read more: Must-eats on your trip Barcelona
There’s no shortage of things to do in Barcelona with kids. Our tops picks are visiting Park Guell (but get your tickets in advance!), wandering the varied and charming neighborhoods, venturing to the top of Montjuic and relaxing on the beach in Barceloneta on a nice day.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Barcelona?
While we’ve never felt at risk of violent crime as tourists in Barcelona, petty crime like pick pocketing is prevalent (especially in busy, popular areas like Las Ramblas). Make sure your kids understand how to play it cool and avoid distracting you (and attracting attention!) when you’re in those places.
The other challenge for families with young kids is that the schedule in Barcelona is late. Often restaurants don’t begin their dinner service until 8 or even 9pm. If you have a little one who is likely to sleep in the stroller, it’s ok to grab a slice of pizza from a little shop while you stroll around – often it costs just 1 or 2 euros!
How long should you stay in Barcelona?
I’d recommend at least four days in Barcelona to see the major sites and soak up the city’s energy without constantly rushing around. On our second visit to Barcelona with kids we stayed for a week and still could have had more to explore, especially with plenty of great day trip options like Girona, Sitges and Montserrat.
What’s the best way to get to Barcelona?
There are plenty of direct flights from the US to Barcelona, and often they can be as cheap as a few hundred dollars roundtrip! If you can find a better deal on a flight to Madrid, the train trip takes about 3 hours and costs $65-130. Even better, for the same price you can usually get a cheap flight from Madrid to Barcelona. Just be mindful of baggage allowances and make sure to only take carry-ons if you plan to book two separate flight itineraries.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Barcelona?
We’ve stayed in a few different neighborhoods, but next time we’ll stay in El Born. It’s a nice balance of walkability, charm and convenience. I have my eye on this wonderful apartment, which has laundry facilities, a balcony and a separate room for the kids.
Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Barcelona, Spain
Read more: What to do in Barcelona with kids
Girona with kids
What’s great about visiting Girona with kids? What are the best things to do in Girona with kids?
Girona is a small city north of Barcelona, but feels so different! The old part of the city retains its ancient charms and isn’t nearly as crowded with tourists. Girona is on the sleepy side compared to many bigger cities in Spain, but that’s part of what makes it a great counterpoint as a daytrip.
Our main reason for visiting Girona was to see the Museum of Jewish History, which chronicles the centuries-long Jewish community of Girona. It showcases the traditions and physical space of Spain’s Jews through years of tolerance as well as the 700 years of the Spanish Inquisition (that’s not a typo). In recent decades there’s been amazing archeological excavation and strong preservation efforts and it was fascinating to see up close.
If you plan to visit the museum, I highly recommend reading “The Mezuzah in the Madonna’s Foot” before you go. It includes some amazing storytelling spanning almost a millennium of Spanish history and will give you a new perspective on your trip to Spain. But skip the last chapter – it’s not that interesting and feels disconnected from the rest.
Beyond the museum, Girona is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon strolling the windy cobbled streets, wondering at the beautiful Cathedral and its attached garden and soaking up some local Catalan culture. I’ll admit that we were surprised to meet an older gentleman who didn’t speak any Spanish, only Catalan! In that respect, Girona has retained the unique Catalan traditions even moreso than larger, more diverse Barcelona.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Girona?
The biggest challenge for families visiting Girona on a day trip is that it’s about a 1 mile walk from the train station (in the new section of the city) to the historic part of the city. But the old city isn’t ideal with a stroller, so young kids will either need to walk the entire distance (and back in the evening!) or ride in a carrier.
The train schedule can also be more limited than you might hope, depending on how long you want to visit. We went during Holy Week in the spring and some trains were completely booked because of a famous parade in Girona.
How long should you stay in Girona?
We visited on a day trip from Barcelona to Girona. If we’d been able to go on an earlier train as we had planned, the full day probably would have been enough time. For families who prefer a quieter pace or who have already visited Barcelona, staying a few nights in Girona in lieu of Barcelona might be a great option! That would also give you better access to the Dali Museum in Figueres, another 40 minutes north by train.
What’s the best way to get to Girona?
Girona is a quick train ride from Barcelona.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Girona?
Most families stay in Barcelona and take a day trip to Girona. If you want to stay in Girona, this hotel has been beautifully restored and offers an ideal balance of convenient location near the old city with traveler-friendly modern amenities.
Valencia with kids
What’s great about visiting Valencia with kids? What are the best things to do in Valencia with kids?
Valencia is one of my favorite cities because it is so incredibly family friendly! There’s a perfect mix of old and new here with plenty of things for families to do. You can check out the City of Sciences and Arts to experience a multi-block museum filled with hundreds of exhibits, bike the length of the inner city at Turia Park, or visit Valencia Bioparc to see the animals of Africa in one of the few zoo immersion sites in the world. If you visit in March, you can even experience the Las Fallas festival complete with larger than life puppets.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Valencia?
Valencia is a popular city with many seasonal festivals and events. Depending on the time of year you visit, the city (especially in the Old Town) can be very busy. However, we found everyone to be very accommodating to families with children – even in a crowd.
How long should you stay in Valencia?
Ideally, a week will allow you to truly explore everything that Valencia has to offer. But if you’re short on time, you can get a really good feel for the city in 3-4 days.
What’s the best way to get to Valencia?
The best way to get to Valencia is by car. Flights directly into Valencia from the United States can be pricey. Catch a deal to a nearby city and enjoy the scenic drive up the coast. If you happen to start in Barcelona and drive to Valencia, there are some “hidden” gems along the way like the town of Peniscola (with one of the castles featured in Game of Thrones). Check rental car prices here.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Valencia?
Valencia Flats Centro Cuidad is one of the best places for families to stay in Valencia. They feature apartments with family friendly amenities like a kitchen and multiple bedrooms – making it a perfect choice for families big and small. It’s also perfectly located in Old Town Valencia where many of the popular tourist attractions are. Click here to check prices and availability.
Plan your family trip to Valencia
Thanks to Montoya of The Spring Break Family. Find out more about visiting Valencia with kids.
Ibiza with kids
What’s great about visiting Ibiza with kids? What are the best things to do in Ibiza with kids?
Ibiza has a reputation as being a party island but there is so much more there for families to enjoy. The beaches are beautiful and there’s plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling and water sports. Our favorite day out was to see the illuminated Can Marca caves in Puerto San Miguel. The original hippy market in San Carlos is also a must. Go there to buy handmade jewelry, art and textiles, or just to hang out.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Ibiza?
If you do choose to stay in one of the more built up and well connected resorts of Ibiza Town or San Antonio you have to expect them to get very busy with revelers in the peak summer season. If you have teens that might be just the type of atmosphere you’re looking for. But with younger children I’d recommend going off the beaten track to explore the north of the island.
How long should you stay in Ibiza?
We stayed for a week and I think this a good amount of time for families to make the most of the island.
What’s the best way to get to Ibiza?
Flying is the easiest option for families travelling from outside Spain. There is a ferry from the mainland which takes two hours, but with flight times from the UK about the same we’d only opt for the ferry if we were on a road trip to see more of the Spanish mainland. Once on the island I’d recommend you rent a car to make the most of the opportunity to explore.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Ibiza?
We stayed in the Santa Eulària region of Ibiza, which is in the North West of the Island. This is a sleepier part of the island, away from the main party zones of Ibiza Town and San Antonio. Here you’ll be much closer to the authentic Ibiza with cute towns like San Carlos which is where the hippy movement discovered the beauty of the island. We stayed in a luxury villa just outside San Carlos which was a wonderful retreat, but there are also hotels and campsites in the area.
Thanks to Claire of Tin Box Traveller. Find out more about visiting Ibiza with kids.
Granada with kids
What’s great about visiting Granada with kids? What are the best things to do in Granada with kids?
Granada is a fantastic destination in Andalusia. For one thing, it’s got the amazing Alhambra (most people’s reason for visiting the city) but it also has an authentic Moorish vibe. Think narrow streets with Moorish-influenced architecture, cafes selling Moroccan tea, and Islamic style craft shops. It’s more than a little like walking around Marrakech in places. Granada is a hilly town and so there are several breathtaking viewpoints over the city.
The Alhambra palace complex is Granada’s biggest draw and there’s a lot to interest kids in this incredible palace. There are beautiful gardens, pools and ponds filled with frogs, and former castles and palaces in this enormous complex. You will probably end up spending a whole day here – just remember to book your tickets in advance. Also note that you are not allowed to bring a stroller into the Alhambra. Bring a baby carrier instead if you don’t think your child can walk the whole time.
The food is fantastic (well, it is Spain!) and you’ll often be given free tapas along with any drinks you order. There are several tapas trails that you can follow. For more kid-friendly things to do, don’t miss the science museum and the nearby water park – perfect on hot summer days.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Granada?
Granada is a safe city and it’s easily walkable although it’s quite hilly. Temperatures can get very high in the summer and small kids might not cope. Getting tickets for the Alhambra might pose a challenge as they sell out very quickly. Book several months in advance, and don’t expect to pick them up on the door.
Note from Melissa: Learn from our mistakes. Do not bring your stroller to wander the Albaicín! It’s all hills and steps and cobbles. Only bring your carrier in that part of the city. Also note that many restaurants in the Albaicín are closed in the winter, as the thin tourist crowds don’t cover their high heating bills!
How long should you stay in Granada?
We’d recommend a minimum of two days; one to see the Alhambra properly and at least one to explore the city (two is better). We went in May and the temperature was perfect.
What’s the best way to get to Granada?
Although Granada has its own airport, nearby Malaga has far more flights and it will be much cheaper to fly into Malaga. From here you can either rent a car or take a train to Granada.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Granada?
We stayed slightly out of town, right by the Alhambra. This meant that we had to walk about a mile downhill into town. It was fine for us but you might want to stay in Granada at the foot of the Alhambra so you’re not walking up and down the hill all day, especially in the summer!
Thanks to Emily of Kids and Compass. Find out more about visiting Granada with kids.
Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Granada here
Costa Tropical with kids – Wagoners Abroad
What’s great about visiting Costa Tropical with kids? What are the best things to do in Costa Tropical with kids?
This area on the southern coast of Spain is ideal for nature lovers. You have the perfect combination of mountains, sun and the sea. It is perfect for those who love the outdoors to go hiking, biking, water sports, boating, kayaking, snorkeling and more. It is ideal to be in a smaller city and just absorb the culture and let the kids run around in a safe and welcoming environment.
The best part is Almuñécar is the 5th oldest city in Spain, with ruins dating back over 3000 years. There is a castle , Roman aqueducts, a Phoenicia fish salting factory and traditional Spanish charm. This area also has a Moorish influence with some of the architecture and names.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Costa Tropical?
The biggest challenge for a family would be finding a place to stay in the summer. July and August are high tourist season, but the fireworks every August 15th are an event to remember. If you have the time there are great 1-10 month rental deals from Sept – June. The best time to visit is in the Fall, after the tourists have gone and the weather is still sublime.
How long should you stay in Costa Tropical?
Ideally as long as you can, but a minimum of a week.
What’s the best way to get to Costa Tropical?
It is easiest to access Costa Tropical (Almuñécar, La Herradura, Motril, Salobreña) by car. It is located about 1 hour to the east of Málaga and 1 hour south of Granada city. There are also options via, bus, taxi, and shuttle from the Málaga Airport.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Costa Tropical?
Almuñécar & La Herradura are the locations with the traditional Spanish charm, with activities, sights to see, great places to eat and 19km of beautiful beaches.
Thanks to Heidi at Wagoners Abroad and Almunecar Info – they love the area so much that they now call it home! Find out more about Almunecar and the rest of Costa Tropical here.
Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Costa Tropical here
Gibraltar with kids
What’s great about visiting Gibraltar with kids? What are the best things to do in Gibraltar with kids?
Gibraltar is one of the most unique places to visit in Spain. This peninsula in the south of Spain is actually a British territory. It’s a fun place to explore with kids because almost everyone speaks English, and there are wild monkeys roaming near the top of “The Rock”, Gibraltar’s main attraction.
Most of what you want to visit can be reached by the Gibraltar Cable Car. Take ride from town to the Top of the Rock. This is where you will find the Barbary macaques (wild monkeys), St. Michael’s cave, the Great Siege and World War II tunnels, and The Rock of Gibraltar, which offers views of Gibraltar, Spain, and Morocco. In town, around the Main Street and Irish Town you will find plenty of shops and restaurants to explore when you need a rest.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Gibraltar?
The top of the mountain can be challenging. There is a lot of walking, but if you have a stroller, you should be ok. There are plenty of taxis waiting around to give tired families a ride if they need it. Make sure to bring a folding car seat in your day bag if your children are young.
How long should you stay in Gibraltar?
Gibraltar is the perfect day trip from elsewhere Southern Spain.
What’s the best way to get to Gibraltar?
We drove a rental car to the border. There is plenty of parking. We then walked across the border. You will need to bring your passports since it is a British territory.
What’s the best place for families to stay near Gibraltar?
We stayed in Estepona, Spain and made a day trip of it. We stayed in Marriott’s Playa Andaluza.
Thanks to Kirsten of Kids Are A Trip. Find out more about which beaches to visit in southern Spain on your trip.
Seville with kids
What’s great about visiting Seville with kids? What are the best things to do in Seville with kids?
I’ve never felt more safe in a ‘large’ city than I did in Seville. It was incredibly walkable, lots of pedestrian-only streets, kids everywhere, flamenco dancers on the streets, student bands playing in public squares and just overall a very happy friendly vibe. The architecture is incredible, such a cool mix of Moorish and Spanish buildings, lots of castles, churches – really a Photographer’s playground. It’s also incredibly affordable. Airbnbs were reasonable, food was cheaper compared to other areas of Spain.
You can also tack on a day trip to Ronda, since it’s only about 2 hours away and doesn’t really merit an overnight stay.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Seville?
Since it’s such a walkable city, I would find it a bit tough to navigate with a car due to all the one way and pedestrian-only streets. We didn’t have a car when we visited, so if accessibility is a concern, then it might be a bit difficult to get around.
Another thing to note is you need to book all sorts of tickets far in advance. The Alcazar can sell out or you might end up standing in line for hours. It’s best to buy tickets to the palace a few days to weeks in advance!
How long should you stay in Seville?
You can hit most of the city’s highlights in 3-5 days, though it also makes a great base for day trips.
What’s the best way to get to Seville?
I would highly recommend taking the high speed train here! A train from Madrid will take 2.5 hours vs 5 hours by car. There’s also a small airport, but I don’t see a need to fly in if it’s from another city within Spain.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Seville?
Anywhere within the city limits is a good choice. It’s so walkable that it doesn’t really matter too much. I would try and stay closer to the historic center just to minimize walking, but it’s most likely easier to find accommodation just outside of that area.
Thanks to Dalya from Sweet Little Journey. Find out more about visiting southern Spain with kids.
Córdoba with kids
What’s great about visiting Cordoba with kids? What are the best things to do in Cordoba with kids?
Cordoba is a charming Spanish City and is a great place to visit with kids.
The highlights include flamenco dancing, where all the little ones were busting out their best moves, and spotting the lovely patios which Cordoba is so famous for.
The Mezquita Cathedral is a Cordoba essential as is the Roman Bridge. The bridge featured as the Long Bridge of Volantis in Game of Thrones. For more Game of Thrones, the nearby Castillo Almodovar del Rio was the setting for the Highgarden, the residence of the House of Tyrell, and Casterly Rock.
The Aquasierra Water Park is a fun family day trip and is easily accessible from Cordoba.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Cordoba?
If you visit in summer be sure to reserve accommodation with air conditioning. We visited in the midst of an August heat wave and air conditioning was essential to keep cool.
How long should you stay in Cordoba?
2 or 3 nights will allow time to see all the major sights. It also makes an easy day trip from Seville, with just 45 minutes on the train.
What’s the best way to get to Cordoba?
Cordoba is also easy to reach by rental car from the surrounding airports. Seville is the closest airport and is a 2 hour drive from the city or 45 minutes by train. Granada and Malaga are also good options.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Cordoba?
The historic centre of Córdoba is our favorite place to stay. We stayed in Hotel Boutique Patio del Posadero and we loved it.
Thanks to Elaine of The Whole World is a Playground.
Madrid with kids
What’s great about visiting Madrid with kids? What are the best things to do in Madrid with kids?
Madrid is certainly a more formal city than Barcelona and destinations in southern Spain, but has a lot to offer when it comes to Spanish history and culture – especially with older kids.
Even with just a few days in Madrid, you can see some sights that are truly unique. In nice weather, little kids will love running around in El Retiro park and even renting row boats to go our on the lake. The century-old Mercado San Miguel is the perfect place to wander and try some local snacks (while also picking up dinner ingredients). If your kids are interested in castles and knights, take them to see Spain’s royal palace in the center of the city, complete with a room full of suits of armor.
Of course, Madrid is also home of Spain’s most epic dessert: churros con chocolate. Let your kids indulge and maybe even line up a scavenger hunt to find the best ones in the city!
We also enjoyed a day trip from Madrid to Toledo. It has interesting churches and synagogues to visit amidst the well-maintained medieval city walls, plus it’s home to some of the world’s best marzipan.
If you’re visiting Madrid with kids who are interested in history and mature enough to understand, you can take them to Museo Reina Sofía to see Picasso’s evocative Guernica. It’s a good opportunity to discuss the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship with older kids, who may be shocked (along with their parents) at just how new Spanish liberties are.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Madrid?
In contrast to laid-back Barcelona, Madrid can come across as a bit more serious. It’s the country’s capital for both government and business, so there’s lots of hustle and bustle.
Because it’s the national capital, there are often protests in Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor. We inadvertently stumbled on one during our visit!
How long should you stay in Madrid?
We felt like 3 days was enough time to see the essentials, and there are also some great day trips like Toledo and Segovia if you want variety without moving around too much.
What’s the best way to get to Madrid?
There are abundant cheap flights from the US to Madrid, sometimes in the $200 range for a roundtrip! If you’re coming from elsewhere in Spain, the high speed rail network is incredibly fast. Madrid is in the center of the country and it takes about 2.5 hours to get anywhere on the coast by train (twice as fast as driving).
What’s the best place for families to stay in Madrid?
For a central location in Madrid, it’s hard to beat Salamanca! It’s just north of El Retiro and close to Puerta del Sol and is lovely for families. The downside is that the convenience and charm don’t come cheap. But if you plan to mostly spend your days out exploring, this studio apartment accommodates four people and is a real bargain.
Segovia with kids
What’s great about visiting Segovia with kids? What are the best things to do in Segovia with kids?
Segovia is a laid back, history filled town that has just enough attractions to fill up your day, while still being able to get lost in the winding streets. As you enter the city, you will pass under a Roman aqueduct and move up the main street towards the cathedral and the Alcazar, old fort. These three spots can fill up your day if you take it slow, and especially if you are traveling with young kids.
One thing you don’t want to miss, unless you are a vegetarian, is having lunch at one of the restaurants that serves cochinillo (roast suckling pig). Note that when you order this dish, the pig is all you will get. You need to order side dishes separately. Also don’t miss the chocolate and churros at the Alcazar café. We tried a lot of hot chocolate in Spain, and this was one of our favorites.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Segovia?
Getting to Segovia can be a bit of a pain, as it takes at least one train and a bus to get to Segovia from Madrid.
How long should you stay in Segovia?
1-2 days is fine, although we found one day to be more than enough time to explore the highlights.
What’s the best way to get to Segovia?
Rental car or a train plus bus is your best way to get to Segovia.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Segovia?
You can stay in Madrid and day trip to Segovia or you can stay at Hotel Real Segovia, which has family rooms and is centrally located in the old part of the city.
Thanks to Keryn of Walking on Travels. Find out more about taking a day trip from Madrid to Segovia.
Basque Country with kids
What’s great about visiting Basque Country with kids? What are the best things to do in Basque Country with kids?
Known to locals in Basque as Euskadi, The Basque country is the land of mountains, lakes and an abundance of lush greenery, nature and wildlife. A place that demands slow travel and family hikes. Rewards with spectacular unspoilt views and a quality of local food that is unlike anywhere else in the world.
Families will be spoilt for choice from the rugged coastline and surf beaches to the mountain views or paddling in the river beaches. Cultural trips to the amazing Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or eating out in the cosmopolitan coastal resorts of San Sebastian.
The Basque Country is all about getting off the beaten track, finding a quiet hideaway and exploring the charming nature of this region. Ullibarri-Gamboa Lake, near the North-west coast of Spain is our favourite stop for families. Pack a picnic and laze all day by the gently sloping gravel beach, perfect for little ones who want to take a dip. During summer months kayak and paddle board hire is available to entertain the older children.
Fans of Game of Thrones will love the day trip to the picturesque hermitage San Juan de Gatztelgutxe. Walk the winding path that connects this atmospheric island outcrop to the awe-inspiring landscape of the mainland. Scenes from Daenerys Targaryen’s home ‘Dragonstone’ were filmed here. It is roughly half an hour walk from the car park, so be sure to pack a carrier and snacks for little ones. Older children will love the sense of adventure if they pack up their own back pack with supplies, the views and sense of accomplishment on reaching the hermitage makes for a fun day out.
The Galleon Park will be high up on your children’s to-do list. Catch a metro and find this whimsical FREE children’s park in the Green Capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz. The park sprawls around a huge life-size wooden pirate ship, complete with crows nest and zip line. Shady benches and a separate area for under 5’s complete with water play stream, sand pit and bridges ensures there’s fun for all ages. Our children still talk about how much fun they had at this park, to this day!
What are potential challenges for families visiting Basque Country?
The Basque Country has a unique culture and climate compared to the rest of Spain. Do not expect flamenco dresses, endless sunshine or paella. This area is all about rugged landscapes, fairy tale villages and world class food and wine. Learn a couple of Basque greetings before you travel and pack rain jackets for Spring and Autumn visits, the weather is cooler and wetter here than other areas of Spain.
How long should you stay in Basque Country?
A minimum of 1 week is necessary to really soak up the relaxed vibes and get lost in the stunning scenery of the Basque country. This family destination is all about disconnecting from the distractions of the modern world and reconnecting with each-other. The Basque region is not a whistle-stop tour to tick off a list of sites in a weekend. Time is needed to relax, unwind and discover.
What’s the best way to get to Basque Country?
Our favorite option (for travelers from the UK) is the overnight ferry to Santander, book a cabin and enjoy the on-board entertainment and food while the kids run around and have fun. The Basque Country can be reached in an hour from the port of Santander. Breath taking views will make you want to drive for longer though! The route to the Basque Country, from Santander is perfect for a family road trip.
For international travelers the main Basque region airport is Bilbao, flights can be purchased on Skyscanner. Car rental is available at the airport and highly recommended for taking that family road trip.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Basque Country?
Any of the rural local guesthouses that are available in the mountain villages make for a wonderful family stay. Locals are friendly and not at all tourist-weary, the area is still relatively undiscovered, so these rural boutique B&B’s are a great way to travel.
We recommend this amazing guesthouse for rustic wooden beams & natural stone family rooms, indoor swimming pool. They offer fresh local breakfast options. You’ll love to cozy up and play family board games by the fire in the evening. Doubles from £80.00.
Thanks to Rachel of Undercover Hippy Bus. Find out more about visiting Basque with kids.
Costa Brava with kids
What’s great about visiting Costa Brava with kids? What are the best things to do in Costa Brava with kids?
Palafrugell carnival in early summer is a fantastic celebration with giant floats, live music and street parades. The beaches along the coast are a mix of sandy and rocky and the waters are calm: perfect for families.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Costa Brava?
The Costa Brava can be very hot and busy in July and August (but perfect in May and June).
How long should you stay in Costa Brava?
One to two weeks is perfect.
What’s the best way to get to Costa Brava?
Renting a car allows visitors flexibility to explore a different beach each day. Girona and Barcelona airports are both under two hours drive.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Costa Brava?
Hotel Aigua Blava is close to some of the best beaches. Otherwise, Vintage Travel features some great villas in the region.
Thanks to Annabel of Smudged Postcard. Find out more about visiting Costa Brava with kids.
Lanzarote with kids
What’s great about visiting Lanzarote with kids? What are the best things to do in Lanzarote with kids?
Often considered a great winter sun destination for package family holidays in Spain, the Canary Island of Lanzarote offers do much more. Hire a car and escape the resorts to explore a wild and barren island with secluded beaches, great surf, volcanic landscapes and whitewashed villages to stroll. It’s just a case of knowing where to go in Lanzarote with kids.
What are potential challenges for families visiting Lanzarote?
To escape the crowds, base yourself in the North of the island should you wish to experience a more authentic side of Lanzarote. Vegetarians and vegans will struggle to find something suitable at restaurants, so consider self catering accommodation.
How long should you stay in Lanzarote?
At least a week. Although I visited with just my three year old for almost two weeks, and that seemed perfect.
What’s the best way to get to Lanzarote?
There are lots of budget airlines that fly into Arrecife Airport. You can also catch a ferry from nearby Fuerteventura (though you’d need to fly there first).
What’s the best place for families to stay in Lanzarote?
We recommend staying at family-run Finca de Arrieta. This is an enclave of luxury yurts, just outside the sleepy village of Arietta, in the North of Lanzarote. This is an off-grid eco-resort running off wind and solar panel, with water fed from an underground well onsite. There are yurts for all budgets and there’s a playground, small pool and farm animals on site.
Thanks to Jenny of TraveLynn Family.
Tenerife with kids
What’s great about visiting Tenerife with kids? What are the best things to do in Tenerife with kids?
Tenerife is a perfect destination for a family holiday. As a popular tourist location, there is fantastic infrastructure for visiting families such as a range of self-catering accommodation, good healthcare and public transportation. Most tourists choose to stay in the south or west of the sunny island but if you head to the cooler north coast you will find quieter villages and scenic landscapes with lush flora and fauna.
Tenerife offers great beaches, dramatic landscapes, waterparks and theme parks but also excellent hiking and wildlife spotting. Families should make a trip to the interior of the island to visit the easily accessible active volcano, Mt Teide, the summit of which is the highest point in Spain. This area is a complete contrast to the built up busy coastline and has incredible hikes with spectacular views. You can take a cable car up the snowy slopes of Mt Teide; just go prepared for temperature and altitude changes!
What are potential challenges for families visiting Tenerife?
If you choose to explore the island by car, some of the roads are steep, narrow and winding with sheer drops.
How long should you stay in Tenerife?
To fully explore all that Tenerife has to offer – with a bit of relaxing beach time thrown in – I would recommend a stay of one-two weeks.
What’s the best way to get to Tenerife?
Tenerife is an island so the only way to get there is by plane to one of the Canary Islands.
What’s the best place for families to stay in Tenerife?
If you like beach culture, restaurants and tourist facilities on your doorstep stay in the sunny south west around Adeje. For a quieter family holiday, stay on the north coast around Puerto de la Cruz.
Thanks to Sinead of Map Made Memories.
Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Tenerife here
Where will you go on your family trip to Spain?
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