Spain Vacation Ideas
Spain Vacation Ideas
Spring, summer, fall
Spain is so rich and diverse in culture, geography, landscape, cuisine and history that one sample itinerary hardly does it justice. The country has 17 regions in all, each with its own unique character: the orange blossoms and Moorish flavor of Andalucia; the stately elegance of Madrid; the wild coastal beauty and exuberant art of Catalunya. Fortunately, families typically love their Spanish vacations so much that they’re soon planning a return trip to see more. Madrid, Seville and Barcelona are easily connected by high-speed train and fit nicely into a two-week itinerary; all three cities are great home bases for a wide range of day trips. With more time, consider a jaunt to the island of Mallorca or a drive up the rugged Costa Brava.
Costa Brava, Spain
Spend your first few nights exploring Spain’s majestic capital city, which is also its largest. World-class museums like the Prado and the Reina Sofia scratch the artistic itch, and pleasant urban parks, such as the vast and well-manicured Parque del Retiro, will give the kids plenty of space to stretch their legs. A visit to the Royal Palace, home to centuries of Spanish monarchs, is a kid-friendly favorite, and football (soccer) fans won’t want to miss the behind-the-scenes tour of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home base of the wildly popular Real Madrid team.
Exploring the city’s historic streets, stopping at the most authentic taverns and local markets to taste tapas like a real Madrileño. Cap it off with a cooking class afterward.
Immerse yourself in creativity via this Picasso-inspired painting lesson with a local artist, which begins with a private visit to see "Guernica" at the Reina Sofia.
Embark on a guided scavenger hunt through Madrid's most legendary art museum, the Prado.
Just an hour or so from Madrid, the hilltop town of Toledo weaves together centuries of religious and cultural history.
A sunny jewel among European cities, Barcelona is a dream for architecture lovers, foodies and even beach bums. Its wonderful food markets and bustling neighborhoods are destinations in and of themselves. Gaudi’s fantastical buildings and outdoor spaces, such as La Sagrada Familia and the mosaic-tiled Park Guell, feel straight from a child’s imagination. For contrast, take a walk through the Gothic Quarter, the historic center of the old city, and visit its spectacular cathedral.
Spend the day in the ancestral farmhouse of an acclaimed chef, touring the olive oil and winemaking facilities and then enjoying a delicious meal of Catalan fare.
Barcelona is known for its sweets, and a stop at a chocolate museum pairs perfectly with sampling churros con chocolate in a local cafe.
It’s impossible to not feel inspired by Gaudi while in Barcelona, so try out his iconic art form for yourself.
Stroll centuries-old cobbled streets and discover Modernist gems built by Gaudi and his contemporaries in this kid-friendly private tour with a local expert.
Should your schedule allow, add a few days on the fabulous Costa Brava, which stretches from north of Barcelona up to the French border. Its beaches, coastal walking trails and open spaces contrast with tranquil, delightful villages and the outré works of Salvador Dali, who called this area home. The cuisine in this region is an enticing blend of French and Spanish, unlike any other you’ll find in Spain.
Kids adore the imaginative work of this Spanish master, whose house and museum you'll visit with a local art expert.
The best way to immerse yourself in the medieval towns of this region is on two wheels. Cap off the ride with a gourmet lunch.
Paddle in the wake of ancient pirates and smugglers, exploring their escape routes and hideouts.
Board a sailboat for the town of Cadaqués (where you'll find Dali's home-turned-museum), stopping to swim and snorkel along the way.
South of Madrid lies Andalucia, where families can spend a few days exploring the confluence of Jewish, Christian and Muslim history. Sunny Seville makes a wonderful home base, as it is considered by some to be Spain’s most beautiful city; this is where some of the most prominent Spanish traditions, like flamenco and bullfighting, were born. Architectural marvels such as the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita de Cordoba, as well as the many white villages tucked amid Andalucia’s hills, are among the region’s biggest draws.
A private guide will escort you to a family-friendly venue and explain the incredible history of Andalucia's signature dance form.
Visit the Alcazar of Sevilla with a local expert and learn about its secrets as part of a fun history game (costumes provided), followed by a carriage ride through Sevilla’s historic quarter.
Immerse yourself in Andalucia's equestrian dance tradition with this visit to a private home in the company of an expert horse trainer.
Flat and easy to navigate, Seville is ideal for a private guided city tour on two wheels.
The Alhambra, Granada’s storied and majestic palace, is the star of this region. Its size and layered history call for spending a night or two here — after a full day within its walls, you’ll never forget seeing it lit up against the night sky. But there’s more to Granada, such as the ancient, atmospheric Albaicin quarter that invites wandering at will. From here, it’s also quite easy to visit some of the distinctive white villages for which Andalucia is famous.
A kid-friendly guide is a must to appreciate the rich history and symbolism of this incredible place.
Visit the famous pueblos blancos, or white villages, that dot Andalucía, featuring the Moorish architecture and labyrinthine streets typical of the region.
Your guide will lead you through the historic heart of Granada, from cobbled alleyways to the 16th-century chapel that houses royal tombs.
Granada has some of the best tapas in all of Spain. Taste them on a progressive tour of venues for a live-like-a-local experience.
It’s just a quick flight from Barcelona to Mallorca, a large isle that features outdoor activities galore, stunning natural scenery and well-preserved history. Its sand beaches (more than 200 in all) and calm, clear waters make the isle particularly popular for families with younger children, and this is also the perfect place to get out on the water via yacht or catamaran. Explore Palma de Mallorca, the island’s capital, for a taste of urban bustle.
Take an easy guided hike through medieval towns in the Tramontana Mountains, stopping to taste the island’s traditional pastries.
All aboard! A daylong private sailing experience includes some of the coastline's loveliest spots.
Go spelunking with an expert in Mallorca's dramatic caverns, full of fanciful rock formations.
Hop on the 1912 wooden train that connects the towns of Palma and Soller, an hourlong journey with lots to see along the way.
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