Spain is a country that is full of vibrancy, sunshine, history, incredible food, gorgeous landscapes, and friendly locals – I Love it! It is no surprise that it makes for a great family holiday destination. We often talk about the trip we took to Malaga when Ethan and Megan were small, not only did we have a wonderful time and create treasured memories, but I loved using my basic Spanish too! We hope to visit more of spain over the coming years, with Valencia and Barcelona at the top of the list for this beautiful part of the world.
As we near the end of 2019 I can’t help but dream of where 2020 might take us as a family and I have been thinking of how Spain makes for such an easy accessible and reasonably priced holiday destination for all. We might not do it this coming year with the other places we have talked about, but it is definitely on the radar again very soon and, I hope it might give you some ideas for your plans next year.
Tips for travelling to Spain as a family
Rent an apartment or Air BnB
Where you stay during your holiday can make all the difference both financially and for overall experience – especially on a family holiday. Renting an apartment or house is a great way to make sure you can live by your own schedule, have the freedom to come and go as you please, cook meals and make pack ups for ease and picky eaters, and have an element of privacy. I love to live amongst the locals when traveling together, and I love being able to make food prior to a day out (or for some of our dinners) to cut down on spending.
Learn some of the language
Not only is it respectful, but it also enriches your experience when you can communicate with locals. Whenever you travel to a destination where you don’t speak the local language, it would be extremely helpful to learn some of the language to at least feel a bit more comfortable getting around. One of the best ways we have found is to use technology; for example you can easily learn Spanish online by using language apps such as Babbel. I myself speak Spanish pretty well from the places I have lived, but I find that using these kinds of apps is a great way to practice and not ‘lose’ those language skills. Plus, the fact that it’s interactive makes it appealing to children, and they just love being able to use other languages when we are away too!
Ask the locals for recommendations
When I think of some of the best places we have been to on holiday, it has come by recommendations of those who live there. We discovered an amazing lake in Tuscany thanks to our neighbour and this was true also for us when we went to Spain. We had the most lovely day in Mijas village on the costa del sol – it was a piece of beautifully preserved spanish culture and history, and the best part – a free day out for us! Plan an itinerary but allow yourself to roam and explore on the recommendations of those who know the area best.
Let them enjoy treats!
Food is an incredible way to get to ‘know’ a country and most definitely one of my favourite parts of travelling! Spain is rich in delicious cuisine, so make time to let your kids indulge in some tasty treats whilst in Spain! The classic flan as well as chocolate and churros are common treats you’ll see here, not to mention Tapas and our favourite – Paella!
Hit the beaches
Spain is well known for its beaches and hours can be spent relaxing at the gorgeous seaside. A couple of popular seaside towns are Sitges and Cadaqués. We found the whole section of the Costa del sol to be delightful and pretty, and the sea a nice inviting temperature!
I briefly mentioned Tapas, but if you are not familiar, Tapas are ‘small plates’ of classic local dishes that are very fun and a great way for older children to pick out their own small plate options rather than an entrée they may not finish. Tapas are ingrained into the Spanish social culture, so be prepared for places to get lively! Everyone can sample different flavors and choose their own orders, making it a fun eating experience and a wonderful way to taste your way through Spain.
Walk around and let them walk as much as possible
Walking is arguably the best way to explore a new area as it gives you the opportunity to absorb everything. I love to explore the side streets off the touristy places and discover life there. Walking is also a great way to tire your kids out and help them sleep better at night! We easily walk miles when travelling, and its great to see the kids run and play in new and exciting surroundings, so let them walk as much as possible to run around and explore too. But, as a word of warning – be aware of the sun and know when enough is enough and you are verging on cranky tired kids, as that can quickly make for a stressy holiday!
Now you have a few tips, here are 5 cities in spain you might want to consider to visit as a family.
6 Cities in Spain to visit as a family
Barcelona is a major hub in Spain that is full of life and color. There are churches to visit, beach areas (including La Barceloneta, promenades, the Sagrada Familia basilica, and Castell de Montjuic) to explore and we have had it in our top 10 for a while! It just looks really cool!
Located in southern Spain, Granada is a city full of history, which is why it appeals. The most popular site here is the Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, that is a famous monument everyone in your family is sure to enjoy. Granada is also a great city to catch a flamenco performance in, which would make for a wonderful cultural and fun experience.
I would recommend Malaga again, because not only was it cheap to get to as a family, it is a short train away from the coast too, giving access to a beach holiday! Malaga was a cool city to explore with its Renaissance cathedral and ruins up on the hill.
Majorca is well-known for its gorgeous and safe beaches. From here, you can visit Cabrera Island, visit Cuevas del Drach, spend some time at Western Water Park, and spend your days soaking up the sun. It is truly a beautiful place that I have said before I want to take the kids back to.
Seville looks to be such a beautiful city that is easy to get around and has something for everyone (With these characteristics alone making it an ideal destination for family travel). The river throughout looks to add a special character to the city, and you can stop off at the Maria Luisa Park for some playtime, which would be fun for the kids, as well as soak up the architecture and culture.
We almost went to Valencia this summer and, what appealed to it for us was the beautiful beaches, incredible history and the massive aquarium they have. It is still on our list, because there is so much beauty to see and things to do as a family.
It is clear to see that Spain is rich with delicious foods, sunshine, history and natural beauty. With it being close it is also cheap to get to and there is plenty to fill your time with, whatever your budget.
Have you been to Spain before? If so, which cities would you recommend to us?
*Written in collaboration with Emily Jones