Since spending 2 months exploring Spain with our kids, we’ve been receiving a fair number of emails about visiting Spain with kids and which cities would be best for a family holiday. Spain is filled with so many amazing cities and to be honest, every city was kid friendly. Spain’s culture is one that is very family focused and so I can tell you this much-no matter where you visit, you and your family will feel welcomed. Every city we visited had playgrounds every couple of blocks, ice cream shops at every corner and plenty to keep parents and kids busy. That said, I do understand that most families only have a week to ten days for a family vacation and will have to narrow down a couple cities to visit, so here’s my advice based on some of the questions we’ve received.
Do We Visit the North or the South of Spain?
Oh this is such a hard one! We loved the relaxing vibes of the south and the north was filled with so many amazing cultural and culinary finds so my advice is this; If you’re looking for beach vibes (especially during the winter months) you want to head to the South. For those looking for culture and culinary delights, the north is a good area to explore. Spain has a great train network and so you can easily zip between major cities and I definitely recommend trying to make it to some of the spots in the middle even if you can’t get to the opposite end of the country.
How Many Days Should We Spend in Spain?
We spent two months and still didn’t get around to seeing all of the cities we should have so the answer is, spend as many days as you can. I had been saving our visit to Spain for years because I knew I wanted to explore the country in depth (Italy is another of those countries) but you can visit for as long or as short as you’d like and will have to cut back on the number of cities you visit. We tried to spend at least a week in each spot but if we were visiting for a week in total we would have tried to fit in 3-4 cities.
Which Cities to Visit in Spain
Ah! Probably the most popular question we receive weekly. Here’s a quick run down of how many days we recommend at each of the cities we visited (click the city names for more details)
Malaga : A lovely beach and city vibe this city is great for those looking for the best of both worlds. 3 to 7 days. Click here to see some amazing pictures of Malaga.
Marbella and Mijas: Not much was open when we were in Mijas so if you’re looking for a beach town to laze around at, be sure to have a car and ensure it’s “in season”. We’re not beach bums but definitely found it very pretty and 3 days was plenty for us. Great area to make a day trip to visit the Rock of Gibraltar!
Ronda : Such a cute town and totally took our breath away. You could do a day trip here but I recommend a overnight stay just so you can enjoy one of the best flamenco shows you’ll find in the country. 1 day. Click here to see some amazing pictures of Ronda.
Granada : The tapas culture reigns supreme here and there’s much we missed during our visit but can tell you that this city has plenty of Andalusian culture to share (especially if you haven’ visited Morocco). Plan ahead because everything books up early in the city and I know I’m biased but I did find it hard to navigate this city with a stroller. 2 days.
Seville : We loved the culture and food here and would choose Seville over Granada if we had to. Plenty to eat here and highly recommend 3 days. Click here to see some amazing pictures of Seville.
Barcelona : However many days you have, they’re just never enough for this city. The entire city is absolutely massive and I recommend booking your accommodations in two parts of the city so you can get a good feel for this vibrant and delicious Spanish city. 4 to 14 days.
Madrid : We took it easy in Madrid and didn’t visit many of the museums but there’s quite a bit to do here. If I had to choose between Madrid and Barcelona as a food and art lover, I’d opt for Barcelona. 3 to 5 days.
Zaragoza : A small city that is often forgotten about but a great one for kids as it’s easily navigable and there’s a great food and craft beer scene as well. 2 days.
La Rioja : You need a car to explore this wine region and things are a bit spread out but if you base yourself in Logrono there’s a charming vibe that made this my favourite food spot in Spain. 3 days if you want to visit the wine region.
San Sebastian : Every food and craft beer lover needs to visit this Spanish city that borders France. It’s known for the rambunctious nightlife but we found it quite charming with kids as well. 2 days (perfect weekend getaway).
General Tips for Visiting Spain With Kids
Groceries were easy to find and we stocked up on snacks for our day trips- deli meat, cheese, fresh fruit and crackers can be found easily but remember that some spots shutdown during the afternoon and on Sundays. You do need to plan ahead and we found ourselves grocery shopping in the night more often than not.
Fresh milk isn’t as easily available (though can be found in bigger supermarkets) but we were happy with the shelf-stable UHT milk packs and opted for “Entera” which meant full cream/whole milk. We also couldn’t find any Pampers in Spain but did find that the local brand was good enough and we did spot Huggies at every pharmacy and big supermarket. Most cities are quite walkable so we definitely needed our stroller and most attractions (and many restaurants) were easy to navigate with a stroller.
City passes were helpful once we got to the north of Spain as some allowed us to use the local buses at no additional cost and so we were able to leave the stroller at home since the kids are 3 and 5 years old and capable of walking for about an hour with one or two brief stops.
The Spanish love kids so we were able to hang out on patios late into the night without anyone giving us the stink eye. Best part was that some cafes and bars even had a playground attached! Everyone spoke English in the bigger cities but we did find Google Maps and Translate helpful for the smaller towns.
One thing that caught us off guard is the rampant smoking – we even saw grandparents puffing away sitting in front of infants. You may want to sit indoors to avoid the smoke or atleast scan a patio before sitting down next to a table of smokers (hard to avoid as 3 out of 5 people on average were spotted smoking at any given time during our 2 months of travel).
Spain is an amazing country and I’m so glad I saved this one until we were able to spend a significant time exploring this Spanish wonderland. Will we be back? Definitely, there’s so much more for us to see and eat!