A vacation in Spain with children is sure to create unforgettable memories, but planning family-friendly trips always comes with special considerations. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about vacationing in Spain with your kids, including recommendations of places to go and things to do, as well as important tips to make the trip go smoother. Let’s get started!
Why is Spain a perfect destination for a holiday with kids?
Here are just a few reasons why a family vacation in Spain is always a good idea:
- With so many amazing things to do and see with kids in Spain, you would need a lifetime of exploring to cover it all!
- While traveling in Spain with children, there is something for every style of family. You can choose to explore cities, hike in nature, go on food tours, or relax on the beach!
- Spain is a very friendly place for traveling with kids, as some English is spoken in certain areas, transportation is efficient, and there are food options for even the pickiest of eaters.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About Vacations in Spain with Children
Is Spain a family-friendly destination?
Spain’s nightlife is world-renowned, and as exciting as it is for adults, you might be wondering if visiting Spain with young children is the best idea. The thing is, the nightlife is just one piece of the puzzle. There is, in fact, so much else to see and do in Spain that is totally family-friendly! From enjoying Spanish cuisine to visiting some of the best beaches and museums, there is no shortage of family-friendly activities to enjoy.
When is the best time to travel to Spain with kids?
Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world and there doesn’t seem to really be a particular season here. However, Autumn and Spring tend to be a bit less crowded. In terms of weather, Spain has a fairly warm climate in summer but has pleasant temperatures throughout the rest of the year. The only exceptions will be coastal areas, which are temperate all year round, and mountainous areas, which can be relatively cold in the winter.
What’s the best way to get around Spain with kids?
Unless you plan to stick to one area, renting a car is probably the best way to get around Spain with kids. Train travel can also be a fun and adventurous way to move around the country, or domestic flights are an option.
Our Top Destinations for a Vacation in Spain with Kids
A trip to Barcelona with children is simply an unforgettable experience. Spectacular streets and cathedrals display a unique combination of Roman, Catalan, European and Islamic influences. Many buildings were designed by the famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.
Park Güell (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which also includes the works of Antoni Gaudí, is another architectural marvel that combines naturism with real nature. The park’s mosaics and gardens are the main attractions, but there are also lots of fun things for the little ones to burn some energy on, like playgrounds and exhibitions.
The beaches of La Barcelona neighborhood consistently rank among the best in Europe. Taste tapas, catch a tan under the sun, and enjoy the mellow waves.
One of the most culturally impressive cities is undoubtedly Seville. It is a lively and friendly place for families and children. As the birthplace of flamenco, it’s not uncommon to see the streets of the city filled with dancers moving to the beat of live music.
One of the best things to do in Seville is eat. Seville’s culinary scene is one of the best in the world, and millions of visitors travel to the city every year to sample the tasty dishes consisting mainly of grilled meats and seafood.
Not every kid is passionate about architecture, we know, but the grand cathedrals, palaces, (especially the majestic Alcazar) and the friendly atmosphere around will make you and your kids feel like you’re walking through a fairy tale.
Is there any kid alive who doesn’t love castles? Granada is the perfect place to go on an adventure in the south of Spain with children because of the picturesque palaces. The Alhambra Palace, in particular, is one of Granada’s top attractions, but the city is also full of stunning architecture, delicious food, and plenty to do for kids and families.
And if you want to get out of the city, Granada is located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, so there are plenty of opportunities for skiing, hiking, and outdoor activities that kids are sure to love.
Ibiza may be better known as a bachelorette party destination in Spain (or a popular party destination, in general), but the island also brings a lot of family fun.
Ibiza is one of the best places to visit in Spain because it offers a condensed version of most of what Spain has to offer, including amazing culinary options, rich culture and coastlines, and stunning views. In addition to the many cool clubs and bars, there are plenty of great places to shop, have a good meal, and find a bit of peace.
Madrid is the capital of Spain and the second-largest city in the European Union. By far the best place to visit Spain with kids, Madrid is bursting with a variety of options. Top attractions include Spain’s beautiful Royal Palace, the magnificent El Retiro Park, and especially for food lovers, Mercado San Miguel, which offers a variety of tapas and desserts from all over Spain.
The largest city in Spain’s Basque Country lies just 16 miles south of the Bay of Biscay. Because its climate is milder and more humid than most of the rest of the country, the city’s parks and riverbanks are fertile and green, as are the rolling hills surrounding it.
Bilbao was best known as an important port city in northern Spain until the construction of an architectural marvel in the 90s known as the Guggenheim Museum. Since then it has experienced a boom in tourism with this museum being celebrated as one of the most important architectural works of its time, and now shines as Bilbao’s city symbol.
Other places to visit in Bilbao include Santiago’s 14th-century Gothic Cathedral and Begonia Basilica. Built in 1909 and recently renovated, the Alhondiga is a multifunctional complex featuring a library, restaurants, and a glass-floored rooftop swimming pool.
One of the most popular cities to visit in Spain’s Castilla-La Mancha region, Cuenca is located where two river gorges meet. The place was conquered and ruled by Muslims and Christians alike, with Napoleon himself leaving his mark at the beginning of the 19th century. Lots of centuries-old churches, a cathedral, and a castle can be found hidden among the winding streets of the medieval old town. Here, you and your kids can enjoy the galleries, cafes, and excellent restaurants on site.
Potential Challenges of a Vacation in Spain with Kids
Traveling to Spain for the first time with kids can be incredibly exciting, but it doesn’t come without a fair share of potential challenges. Among the expected issues may include a language barrier, as many local people may not speak English fluently, if at all. This complicates communication when ordering food or navigating unfamiliar areas.
In addition, adapting to a new culture can sometimes be challenging for young children and exposure to different foods and heat can affect them physically.
Tips for vacationing with children in Spain
Learn Some Spanish
Although it is possible to get by in many places in Spain with solely English (especially in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona), it would be wise to learn a few basic phrases in the local language beforehand. This will be especially useful if you plan on visiting the less touristy areas where locals speak mostly Spanish. Fortunately, online language learning platforms are there to help you these days, and you can easily learn some Spanish with the help of different apps like Duolingo.
Book Attractions in Advance
Spain has some of the most famous tourist destinations and attractions in the world. Pre-booking tours before arrival guarantees space for you and your family, saving time and money while avoiding the possibility of missing out on an experience. Early booking also provides an added benefit as you get more information about attractions/exhibitions/shows etc.
Plan your Accommodations Wisely
For the best holiday experience, you may also want to choose family-friendly apartments or hotels that cater to children’s needs, with facilities, parks, swimming pools, children’s menus and playrooms.
Experience Tapas Culture
Spain is famous for its tapas but many tourists have no idea how the country’s tapas culture works. While there are plenty of tapas-style restaurants, the smaller local bars have a selection of ready-made tapas to choose from, with selections varying by region.
In many parts of Spain, you get some free tapas every time you order a drink. It can vary from a small montadito (small sandwich) or a few olives up to a fair portion of food. This is a great way to get the kids to try new things!
Take a Trip Up North
Some of Spain’s best dishes are found in the north of the country where tapas come in the form of pinchos (Basque Country). While many tourists from abroad head straight to the Costa del Sol or Costa Brava, Spain’s north coast is often overlooked, mainly because it has a more humid and unpredictable climate.
But the north is debatably the most beautiful and interesting part of Spain. The northern regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, and the Basque Country boast some of the best countryside in Spain with green hills and lots of great hiking trails.
Use Public Transport
Spain has an excellent high-speed rail network, operated by Renfe, but unfortunately, it can be relatively expensive. For longer distances, it’s a good idea to book as far in advance as possible. Traveling around Spain by bus is the best way to get to places at affordable prices.
Book Domestic Flights in Spain
In some cases, domestic flights should be considered, especially if you are with children. When traveling to mountainous Bilbao or Barcelona to some other coastal destinations, flying might be the best option. You can check and compare prices and flight timetables with prices and train timetables to see what makes more sense for your route. Just be aware of the limited baggage limits of cheap European airlines.
Be sure to also take into account the cost of public transport to get from the city center to the airport. The bus may be cheap, but with a few kids and some backpacks or luggage, a taxi might be a good option.
Time Your Vacation with a Festival
There is no shortage of festivals in Spain, with some of the world’s most famous festivals taking place there every year. The Valencia region holds two of the biggest with the spectacular Palace celebrations in the city of Valencia and the festival “La Tomatina” taking place in August in the nearby town of Bunol. Meanwhile, Spain’s best-known festival is San Fermin, which features bull runs through the streets of Pamplona every summer.
Easter is also celebrated in large parades in some cities, especially in Andalusia. In Seville, huge Easter parades two weeks later, the Feria de Abril, another of Spain’s biggest festivals, with the city almost closing for a week of parties and dancing.
Check for Local Festivities
Even if you can’t time your trip to fall on one of the major festivals, it’s worth looking at local events, parties, and festivities. All 17 of Spain’s autonomous communities have their own regional or national day – and they celebrate as Spaniards do.
Not only that, but many districts even within cities have their own private celebrations and festivals, especially during the summer months.
Try Local Dishes & Drinks
In Spain you will have many culinary opportunities – and I urge you not to miss anything. Valencia is the birthplace of paella and the best place to try it. Andalusia boasts gazpacho, a refreshing cold soup to cool you down on hot days. But in my opinion, northern Spain should be a top priority, with regions such as Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country being infamous for delicious eats.
Avoid Summer Vacation
If you are planning a trip that will include visiting several different parts of Spain, it is recommended to avoid the peak summer period, between late July and August.
Not only are many beach towns and resorts busier and more expensive during this time, but it is very hot in many cities in Spain.
Late spring, early summer, or even early autumn is the perfect time to travel to Spain. It’s not too hot, it hardly rains, and you can enjoy reasonable prices.
Things to Consider Before Flying to Spain with the Kids
Think About a Car seat
If you are planning to rent a car in Spain – you should take care of a safety seat for your children. I’ve heard about so many problems with renting car seats – from being old and nearly useless to ones that don’t meet safety standards, so it’s recommended to bring your own car seat or buy one there.
Read Books for Children
Before you visit Spain with children, it is a good idea to get them excited about the trip with some books! You can easily order some children’s books on Amazon and show them pictures of the country, teach them a few Spanish words, and explain the culture a bit.
Get an eSIM for Spain and Europe
Most people are used to buying SIM cards to Europe in the destination country they’re flying to, but you really don’t need to do that anymore. Keep in mind that Spain has become very expensive – if you fly for more than a week, the local cellular packages are relatively costly. If you are looking for a more convenient and affordable solution, I personally recommend trying eSIM for Spain, which is valid in more than 69 countries and allows you to keep your regular number. The best part is that no physical SIM cards are involved. All you have to do is download the app, choose your plan, scan a code, and boom, you’re connected as soon as you get there.
A trip to Spain with children is an unforgettable and enjoyable experience. There’s plenty to explore from the cities to the beaches to the mountains and everything in between. I hope this guide helped to get you excited about all that there is to see and do in this magical country!
Do you have any more tips or ideas? Feel free to leave a comment!