Planning a trip to Spain with the family and wondering where to begin? There are so many family-friendly activities in Spain, from exploring the white villages in Andalucia (including a super cute blue Smurf-themed village and a spooky witch-themed village) to discovering Mars-like landscapes and having fun at the beach. These are some of the absolute best things to do in Spain with kids at any time of the year.
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Is Spain a good place to visit with kids?
Spain is a great place to travel with children. Typically, the weather is quite mild (with the exception of some cold winter days and summer heat), public transportation is excellent, the people are friendly, and there is delicious food.
Major cities offer the same amenities as other destinations around the world and families can easily find a play area, park, or sandy beaches where kids can simply enjoy being kids.
There are different regions throughout Spain, each with something unique for families. Basque Country offers a taste of France and Spain, a stunning Guggenheim museum, beautiful beaches, and a thriving food scene. Costa Dorada has an awesome water park, hilltop villages, Roman ruins, and water sports. Costa del Sol offers caves to explore, golden beaches, white-washed villages, and some of the best seafood in the country.
The official language is Spanish, but in the major cities, you will find a lot of locals who speak English. We would recommend downloading a translation app before you go, or trying an app like Duolingo to learn a few key phrases before you travel.
For families choosing to explore off the beaten path, you’ll find the Spanish people are quite welcoming and love to share their Spanish culture with visitors. We think Spain is one of the best family destinations in Europe.
How do I travel in Spain with kids?
First, let’s have a look at how to travel around with your family in Spain. There are fairly good bus and train connections between big cities. However, if you plan on going off the beaten path or to smaller but well-known towns, it can be harder to get around with public transport and you’re better off renting a car.
Having your own vehicle gives you the freedom to move around as you please, see some unique smaller cities, and see everything on your own schedule. Because if we’re being honest, one of the best options is planning your own road trip and being able to stop as needed, especially when traveling with young children.
Best Places to Visit in Spain with kids
1. Explore the Moorish remains in Málaga
You should spend at least one day in Malaga to explore the Moorish remains. Your kids will love walking around the ancient castles and wandering the fortress walls of the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro.
The Alcazaba was built in the 10th Century as a palace-fortress to protect the city from invaders. In the 14th century, the Gibralfaro Castle was built on Gibralfaro Hill to protect the Alcazaba. These attractions have a whole lot of history to reveal and spectacular views, which means you’ll get some epic family pictures.
You can easily split the visits to have lunch or ice cream before heading to the second site as the entrance of the Alcazaba is right in the middle of Málaga city center with a whole heap of restaurants nearby. There are plenty of things to do in Malaga, so be sure to give the city at least a few days!
2. Walk Rio Chillar
One of the most adventurous things to do in Spain with kids is going on a river walk. This is best done in summer and one of the most epic riverwalks in Spain is through the canyon where the Rio Chillar runs. This hike will require good sneakers that you can walk in the water with as the entire walk is in the actual river bed.
The hike is about 8 kilometers one way, leading to a waterfall. Families can stop whenever they want to splash in the swimming holes, have a picnic, and then turn around whenever the kids are tired.
If you can avoid weekends and the month of August, you will have a much better experience as you avoid the large local crowds on this popular river.
3. Take a chocolate workshop at the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona
You can’t go wrong visiting the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona with kids. Especially not when taking a chocolate workshop where you can make sculptures of chocolate.
Here you can learn everything there is to know about the history of chocolate in Europe and the manufacturing process. There are machines on display that are fun to check out. This is a fun way to spend a few hours of your family vacation in Spain.
4. Visit the Royal Palace, Casa de Campo Park, and the Zoo in Madrid
Madrid is one of the main cities in Spain and it has a lot of options the entire family can enjoy. One of our favorite places to explore in the city is the Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the royal family in Spain.
While it is not possible to visit the entire palace, there are certain areas you can explore with a tour. If you’re visiting during the high season, we recommend booking your tour in advance.
When you’ve finished exploring the palace, head to Casa de Campo Park, the largest public park in Madrid. There are playgrounds, row boats to take out on the lake, and plenty of shaded areas for relaxing.
We recommend grabbing snacks ahead of time for a picnic or sitting down at one of the restaurants in the park. There’s also an amusement park, and we’re sure older children will love an opportunity to try out their thrill rides.
If you still have time, head to the Madrid Zoo. It’s a great option for a day out and there’s an aquarium on-site as well. If there’s an animal lover in your group, you won’t want to miss it.
5. Ride the old mine train in Rio Tinto
Did you know there is a red river in Spain? It’s true! Located in the lesser-visited Huelva province in the southwestern part of the country. Due to the heavy metals from mining in the area, the river – Rio Tinto (meaning red river) – has adapted an orange-reddish color. There is a lack of oxygen in the water and NASA has a large interest in the river due to its resemblance to Mars.
Tourists can ride an old mining train that stops by some of the most important mining pits and the red river. Be sure to take pictures because no one will believe this place is real.
6. Try a marzipan workshop in Toledo
The medieval city of Toledo is a must-visit when traveling to Spain. Located in central Spain, it’s an easy day trip from Madrid. The old city has a rich history. Toledo dates back to the Roman Empire, and played a key role in Spanish history, having been the home to the Arab, Jewish, and Christian cultures throughout the years.
It was also the capital city of Spain until 1560 and its old town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. But what Toledo is really famous for is its marzipan.
The history of marzipan in Toledo dates way back and there are several theories of how it became an important part of the town, including that the Muslims brought it over. However, legend says that it was the nuns of the convent of San Clemente that had a large number of almonds which they used to crush together with sugar to make a sweet alternative to bread when flour was scarce.
A family trip to Spain wouldn’t be complete without a marzipan workshop. You will learn about its history and try the ancient recipe while creating your own marzipan figurines. And the best part, you can eat them freshly baked from the oven.
7. Walk the unique karst landscape in El Torcal de Antequera
The incredible karst landscape in El Torcal de Antequera in southern Spain formed millions of years ago when the land was pressed up from below by earthquakes. The unique formations make for a fun natural playground that the kids will love.
There are two trails going from the visitor center that you can choose from. One takes 45 minutes and the other takes 2 hours to walk. You can easily spend half of a day or more exploring the area. There are also fossils to be found, so make sure the kids keep an eye out for them!
El Torcal de Antequera is frequented by mountain goats too and kids will love seeing these wild animals in their natural habitat. Make sure not to feed them or get too close as they are wild animals.
There is a café at the visitor center where you can buy some snacks, but it is a good idea to bring sandwiches to enjoy a picnic along the trail. Just make sure you do not leave anything behind for the mountain goats to find.
8. Have a beach day out in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the must-visit cities and lucky for you, it also has some of the best beaches in Spain! Taking your kids to the beach is always a winner and when you find beaches with everything you need from sunbeds, umbrellas, toilets, food, and ice cream available, you’re set for a successful day.
Some of the beaches in Barcelona even have kids’ clubs, playgrounds, and water activities. Go kayaking, paddle boarding, or rent a pedal boat with a slide to enjoy the water. Beaches worth mentioning are the Playa de Calella beaches, as well as Playa de l’Astillero, and Playa de Castelldefels.
9. Explore the Alhambra and watch a flamenco show in Granada
The Spanish city of Granada is the perfect place to learn about the Moors roles in the country’s history. Here you can explore the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and fortress that dates to the 9th century.
Kids will love wandering through the gardens and exploring the hidden nooks and crannies throughout the complex. It’s a popular destination for families visiting Spain, and it’s definitely a must-see.
When you’ve finished exploring the Alhambra, continue your day in Granada and head to Sacromonte, home of Granada’s gypsy families. It’s the best place to take in a flamenco show, and we are sure kids will love the heart-thumping music and dance.
10. Visit the Smurf Village in Andalucia
One of the most unique villages in Andalucia is surprisingly not white, but blue. Júzcar is a tiny village in the mountains in the Serrania de Ronda region in the province of Malaga. In 2011, the locals decided to paint the white houses blue and do an all-over Smurf theme in the village. Since then, it has received hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.
There are Smurf-themed playgrounds, wall paintings on the houses, Smurf workshops, Smurf face painting, and other fun Smurf activities for the kids.
11. Go dolphin watching and whale watching in Tarifa
There is no better way to see animals than in their own habitat. In the Strait of Gibraltar, there are both dolphins and whales year-round and there are several companies offering boat trips to see them.
The best time to visit is the summer months, when a larger number of whale types can be seen, like the Orca. However, there really isn’t a bad time.
The only thing that might hold you back is the extreme wind in this area of Spain that could cancel your day out. For this reason, we recommend flexibility on your trip to Tarifa. If your plans change, the town is super charming with an ancient castle and plenty of surf shops.
12. Hunt for witches in Soportújar
Soportújar is one of the most underrated destinations for overseas travelers with kids. The tiny mountain village hides a unique history of black magic and witchcraft. Today, it has a complete witch theme where you can walk a witch route with cool statues and sculptures featuring witches, dragons, spiders, and other spooky images.
Highlights are the house elevated on enormous chicken legs and the Hansel and Gretel caramel house. A big hit is to get some witch-themed souvenirs like a witch hat on your walk around the village.
13. Day trip to Gibraltar
Gibraltar is actually a British territory located just off the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. It has a rich history, and kids will love seeing the Barbary Macaque monkeys that wander around the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s easy to reach Gibraltar from Spain, just drive to La Linea, park your car, and walk across.
Once you’re on the peninsula, take the Gibraltar Cable Car to the top of the rock. Your family can spend several hours exploring the caverns and World War 2 tunnels, as well as taking in the view. On a clear day, you can see North Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.
The monkeys do roam freely at the top of the mountain and are known to jump on people and vehicles. If your children have food, be especially careful, as the animals are not shy about taking what they want.
14. Explore Sevilla with kids
One of our favorite Spanish cities is Sevilla (aka Seville). This is the home of flamenco dancing and stunning architecture, and families will enjoy wandering its narrow streets and lounging at the local cafés.
Top things to do in Sevilla include the Royal Alcázar, a Moorish palace and gardens where kids can wander freely and see what life was like as royalty. Plaza de España and the adjacent Parque de Maria Luisa offer several hours of entertainment for families. Consider renting a row boat to navigate the man-made lagoon, watching the fish in the koi ponds, and taking a carriage ride through the park.
For fabulous views of the city, climb the Giralda, Sevilla’s bell tower that was once the tallest in the world. There are large ramps to reach the top, making the climb a bit easier, but be sure to rest along the way if necessary.
If you’re visiting during the summer and need to escape from the heat, head to the Casa de la Ciencia (science museum) which has plenty of hands-on learning opportunities.
And if your family loves theme parks, don’t miss Isla Mágica and Aqua Mágica the adjacent water park.
15. Alcázar de Segovia to see real life Disney inspiration
If your kids are fans of Disney, head to Segovia to see the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle. This beautiful town is an easy day trip from Madrid and families will love it.
Wander the streets of the town, have lunch in the Plaza Mayor, and admire the massive Roman aqueduct that was built over 2,000 years ago. There are also plenty of parks and shops to explore in this walled city, and it’s a chance to show children what it would have been like to live in this former medieval city.
There is no question that there are plenty of fun things to do in Spain with kids of all ages. The beaches and waterparks are extremely popular with families traveling to Spain, but many of the unique places and experiences are equally deserving of a visit.
Whether you plan on spending your entire vacation in Spain or going there as part of a Europe trip, you will find enough entertaining activities to do for the whole family. So with this list of things to do, you can start packing your bags and enjoy your family holiday!
About the author: Linn Haglund is a travel writer that has been based in southern Spain for 10 years. To help travelers discover the ins and outs of this fascinating region, she created Amused by Andalucia where she shares curated travel guides, itineraries, and off-the-beaten-path places.
Book Your Flights – You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.
If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.
Book Your Accommodation
We regularly use Expedia.com and Hotels.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.
If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.
Book Your Transportation
For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service. If you need airport transfers, we recommend Welcome Pickups.
When traveling in Europe, we use AutoEurope to make our bookings. They find the best rates and allow you to compare different car rental agencies. Europcar is another option. If you plan to take the train, we recommend using Rail Europe.
Book Your Tours and Travel Photos
We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages. Other companies to look at include Tours by Locals and Withlocals.
If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Both are worthwhile investments.
Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours. For unique, curated activities, check out Headout.
One of our favorite things to do annually is taking photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master or World Nomads to find the best policy for your group.