Given that Spain’s biggest industry is tourism and that the Spaniards are innately family-friendly, this sunny destination puts everything in place to have a family holiday of a lifetime. For a definitive guide of where to go, check out this concise and informative piece by the Lonely Planet. From that list and from personal experience, Kids in Madrid recommend the following summer holidays destinations in mainland Spain:
Tarragona’s Sant Magi festival in August and the Santa Tecla festival in September are great fun for children, with their ingenious combination of water fights & foam parties, castellers human towers and fireworks. For more ideas for family fun in Tarragona, click here.
Devour Barcelona’s walking tour for kids, which include technical stops for snacks and activities, is probably the best way to sight-see around the city with your family. Designed for children aged 4-12 it offers a unique tour of the city with special activities depending on their ages.
The Science Museum of Valencia is vast and has something for everyone. Children particularly love the aquarium, the hands-on experiments and the incubators where chicks are hatching.
The Interactive Music Museum of Malaga is probably the most child-friendly place you will find in Malaga, apart from the beach. Take your kids there to try out all those weird and wonderful instruments you’ve seen but never had a chance to touch. Find out what the sound of joy or enthusiasm is like!
The huge Cuidad de los Niños y Niñas park in Jerez de la Frontera is a fun day out. Free at the point of entry, there are many rides, swings and climbing frames that can be used by visitors without requiring a pre-paid wristband. Don’t forget to take socks for the trampolines! There is a similar park in Cordoba which is currently closed for reformation but is due to open again in October 2018.
Taking a ride around Seville on a horse-drawn carriage is a highlight for every tourist, old or young. Pick one up at the Plaza Nueva and allow yourself to see the sites in style.
The best way to ensure your children “get” what Toledo is all about is by booking a tour with local experts Across Madrid. This medieval city is fascinating for children, especially as they can visit shops full of swords and eat marzipan sweets every step of the way.
The Way of St James ends in Santiago de Compostela, a picturesque city famous for being a centre of pilgrimage, which offers free concerts and festivities around the day of St James on 25th of July. However our favourite is the baroque spiral staircase inside the Museum of the Galician People which provides a perfect photo opportunity within a fun museum that explains random facts such as why people in Galicia play the bagpipes and the purpose of wearing clogs.
Visiting Bilbao is a personal favourite for the writer and her kids, who never bore of the Guggenheim or the Museum of Fine Art which is nearby. For those of you with more time on your hands, make sure you visit the cultural centre Azkuna Zentroa with the glass bottomed swimming pool under which you and your children can stroll; and the transporter bridge in north Bilbao – Vizcaya Bridge – where you can ride across the bay in a swinging basket-like construction considered to be a UNESCO site of industrial heritage.
The interior of Spain is a high, dry plateau surrounded and crisscrossed by mountain ranges. Families can ski in Sierra Nevada in the winter months, explore the stunning Picos de Europa in spring time, travel by cable car up the steep hillside of Montjuic Park (Barcelona) in the summertime and spend autumn roaming around the Serra de Barbanza (Galicia) mountain range on horseback.
Pebble beaches, sandy beaches, city centre beaches, unspoilt beaches, party beaches, Spain has the lot. For those who love watersports, children can learn to surf in spectacular locations along the Cantabrian coastline without fear of knocking over bathers or being swept away by heavy currents. For braver souls, surfing is taught to beginners of all ages in Cadiz and windswept Lanzarote.
Spain caters for thrill-seeking tourists with a series of adventure parks and water parks that attract thousands of seasonal visitors a year. For dinosaur-mad youngsters, Dinopolis in Aragon is a must-visit theme park. Our favourite adventure parks are Warner Bros in Madrid and Port Aventura in Tarragona. Our favourite water parks are Aqualand in Cadiz and Aqualandia in Benidorm.
Any more suggestions? Please leave comments below. We’d love to hear from you!