- Discover the highlights of Barcelona on an entertaining family-focused tour
- Explore the kid haven of the City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia
- Travel to mountain villages and hilltop castles in Andalusia
- Be a royal for the day while exploring Madrid's historical legacy
|Day 1||Arrival in Spain—Self-Guided Barcelona Tour||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Family Tour of the Gothic Quarter—Ascend Mt. Tibidabo||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Train to Valencia—Family Tour of the Historic Center||Valencia|
|Day 4||Family Activities & Flavors of Valencia||Valencia|
|Day 5||Train to Madrid—Explore the City||Madrid|
|Day 6||Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy||Madrid|
|Day 7||Family Day Trip to Toledo||Madrid|
|Day 8||Train to Seville & Private City Tour||Seville|
|Day 9||Day Trip with the Family to Ronda||Seville|
|Day 10||Depart Spain|
Day 1: Arrival in Spain—Self-Guided Barcelona Tour
Welcome to Spain!
Upon arrival at Barcelona's El Prat Airport, a private driver will take you and your family into the city, where you can check into your hotel and unwind. You'll then have a free afternoon to explore all the exciting sites on a self-guided tour, choosing what you and your family want to see and do the most.
For families, we recommend first visiting Mt. Montjuic and the surrounding area. Montjuic is a famous hill that stands 1,988 feet (606 meters) high and overlooks the Port of Barcelona. Kids love taking the Montjuic Cable Car from the metro station near Olympic Park, which takes you up to the 17th-century Castle Montjuic and offers panoramic views of the city. You can also access Montjuic via another cable car from Barcelona Beach and by a funicular elevator adjacent to the cable car.
The Poble Espanyol is also fun to visit, especially for families. Constructed in 1929, this open-air museum features over 100 buildings in the style of traditional Spanish villages. When the sun goes down over the city, make sure you're near the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, named for the dazzling display of water and colored lights that occur after dark. It's the best free show in the city, so grab an ice cream and settle in to watch the performance!
Day 2: Family Tour of the Gothic Quarter—Ascend Mt. Tibidabo
Today you'll visit the most famous area in all of Barcelona: the medieval Gothic Quarter and its trendy El Born neighborhood. Enjoy strolling its narrow cobbled streets and discovering its highlights, but you'll do so on a two-hour tour geared toward families—that means a little extra fun "discovering" some of the most important monuments.
After meeting your guide, walk down the streets and enjoy the rich history as you pass Roman ruins, the grand Plaça Reial, and the Gothic Barcelona Cathedral, which dates to the 13th century. Kids between will have a blast as they take part in a "dragon hunt," learn about Spanish legends, visit candy stores, and stop at the Casa dels Entremesos, a "museum of giants" home to costumed, paper mache figures that locals parade around the city during Corpus Christi celebrations.
After the tour, you'll head to the mountains in the city's north. Here you'll board a funicular elevator and ascend to the peak of Mt. Tibidabo, which sits at an elevation of 1,680 feet (512 meters). Besides the incredible views, the whole family will love visiting the grand Temple of the Sacred Heart basilica and the adjacent theme park, which was inaugurated in 1905 and features carnival attractions, rides, and a Ferris wheel.
After all the walking and sightseeing, you'll likely be hungry. You and the family can head to Carrer De Blai in central Barcelona for a traditional dinner. This street is known as the "tapas route," as it features many spectacular tapas bars where you can enjoy kid-friendly grub paired with great wine for the adults in your group.
Day 3: Train to Valencia—Tour the Historic Center
Bid farewell to Barcelona as you hop a morning train bound for the city of Valencia. After a 3-hour journey, you'll arrive at one of the most beloved cities on the Mediterranean coast. From the train station, transfer to your hotel and settle in before meeting your local guide for a half-day tour of the city.
Valencia is unique in that modern buildings exist alongside a well-preserved historic center. There's also a distinct culture here that reveals itself in the city's gastronomy—after all, this is the place that gave the world paella. In Valencia, a perfect pastime is strolling by the historic churches and castle ruins of the city center while breaking for refreshments. For kids, the local horchata (a sugary drink made with tiger nuts) steals the show, but adults might prefer agua de Valencia (a champagne/liquor/orange juice cocktail).
On a walking tour of the historic center, you'll visit the major highlights, including the Plaza Del Ayuntamiento, where Valencia's Baroque City Hall is located. Kids love walking through the many stalls at Mercado Central, which, having opened in 1839, is one of the oldest municipal markets in Europe. Other stops include the 15th-century Llotja de la Seda, a Valencian-gothic fortress that was once a financial center when Valencia dominated the silk trade, and the UNESCO World Heritage Valencia Cathedral, a 13th-century basilica. Your local guide will cater all these sites to the younger travelers, keeping them entertained with stories, tales, treats, and exciting monuments!
Day 4: Family Activities & Flavors of Valencia
It wouldn't be a family trip to Valencia without visiting the City of Arts and Sciences. This architecturally unique complex covers nearly 75 acres (300,000 sqm) and is where families could easily spend all day without running out of things to do and see! The grounds feature an IMAX theater, the interactive Prince Philip Science Museum, an open-air oceanographic park, and one of the most-visited aquariums in the world. L'Oceanogràfic, as it's known, is a celebration of the Earth's oceans and faithfully recreates the most vital marine ecosystems. It's the largest aquarium in Europe, with its longest underwater tunnel, where kids can observe animals like mantas, sharks, and even beluga whales.
After an exciting morning at the museums and aquariums, enjoy a stroll through Valencia's historic streets in search of a traditional paella lunch. Alternatively, you could stay at the City of Arts and Sciences and dine in its rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the city.
Next, enjoy a leisurely walk around the Turia Gardens and the impressive Gulliver Park. The gardens are actually a long green space on the site of the dry bed of the Turia River that encircles the city and is popular with cyclists, joggers, and families. Gulliver Park is a play area where children can have fun climbing on massive structures inspired by the character of Gulliver.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Train from Valencia to Madrid—Explore the City
After breakfast at the hotel, you'll transfer to the train station and embark on a 3.5-hour journey to the nation's capital. Upon arrival in Madrid, check into your downtown hotel and then have the rest of the day free to explore the city at your own pace. Tomorrow will be the grand tour of this historic metropolis, so you might want to opt for more leisurely activities this afternoon and evening.
Perhaps you could take in a show! Gran Vía is Madrid's answer to Broadway, and on it, you'll find plenty of theaters showcasing plays and musical productions, many of which suit family outings. Past kid-friendly options have been El Rey León (The Lion King) and Aladdin: The Musical. Needless to say, the options for culture in this city are vast, and you could also visit museums, art galleries, and live music venues if the mood strikes. For example, Madrid's most important museum, El Prado, provides an excellent kids' tour with a scavenger hunt.
When night falls, indulge in Madrid's world-class culinary scene. If you want to dine amid history, head to the city center and Botín, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world—it first opened its doors in 1725. Kids are always excited to eat here, and adults will love it, too, as Ernest Hemingway described it in his seminal novel The Sun Also Rises as the best restaurant on Earth.
Day 6: Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy
Today you and the family will be honorary royalty and enjoy a tour of Madrid's royal legacy led by an expert local guide. Over the course of its long history, Madrid has seen many different eras, and today the city adorns itself with that rich history in its architecture, public spaces, and culture. An organized tour is ideal, as your guide can reveal insight into how these different time periods influenced Madrid's neighborhoods, buildings, and most interesting sights, all while keeping the kids entertained.
One area you'll visit that's awash in regal splendor is Madrid de los Austrias, built in the 16th century during the reign of the Hapsburg Dynasty's first ruler, Charles I. It's home to one of the grandest plazas in Spain, the Plaza Mayor, which was once the heart of Old Madrid. Today, this is a kid-friendly square with street performers, street food, and lots of room to run around.
Of course, your little royals will explore the Royal Palace, which was the official home of the Spanish monarchs until 1931. You'll tour the exterior and interior of this 3,418-room monument of luxury, entering the parade grounds, the chambers of Charles III, several salons, the Royal Chapel, and the Hall of the Crown, which displays Charles I's crown, scepter, and throne.
After the tour ends, consider a visit to El Retiro Park. This 308-acre expanse of foliage is the green lung of Madrid, abounding with sculptures, fountains, and an artificial lake perfect for a family boat trip. There are also must-visit gardens here, including the Jardín de Vivaces ("Garden of Vivacious Plants"), Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (inspired by the Andalusia region), and a garden home to over 4,000 roses (best to see these blooms from May through June). Kids love visiting the tiny house known as Casita del Pescador and exploring the Crystal Palace, a structure made almost entirely of glass with free art exhibitions.
Day 7: Family Day Trip to Toledo
A half-hour train ride south of Madrid lies Toledo, a historic city once Spain's capital in the 16th century. It enjoys a scenic location atop a gorge overlooking the Río Tajo, an impressive sight for even the youngest travelers.
In the Middle Ages, Toledo was the "city of the three cultures," a place where—legend has it—Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities peacefully coexisted. You can see remnants of this in the old Arab, Muslim, and Christian monuments that still stand. These include the 15th-century Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the former Roman palace known as the Alcázar de Toledo, and the Moorish Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, which dates to the 12th century.
Accompanied by an expert guide, you'll visit these historic landmarks and others, including the grand 13th century Toledo Cathedral and the 12th century Church of Santo Tomé. Throughout it all, you'll tour the ancient streets of an incredible city that could aptly be described as an open-air museum—perfect for curious kids—and listen to exciting stories and tales of Toledo's history.
Toledo is also known for its steelwork, and on a visit to the city's historic foundry, your kids will surely love seeing where ancient blacksmiths forged the famous swords made from Toledo steel. The Roman general Hannibal and armies in the Middle Ages all used these swords, as they are of incomparable quality.
This area is also famous for producing delicious marzipan, a confection made from almonds, sugar, eggs, and honey. You'll head to the outskirts of Toledo and visit a cigarral, a manor estate hosting a workshop where, with the help of a master confectioner, you and your family will learn the history of traditional Toledan marzipan and how to confect this delicious treat. Needless to say, the workshop ends with you indulging in your sweet creations!
Day 8: Train from Madrid to Seville—Private City Tour
After a leisurely breakfast with the family, transfer to the train station and board your 2.5-hour journey to Seville, the capital of Andalusia and a historical metropolis in its own right. After checking into your hotel, a private guide will meet you and your kids for a half-day tour of the city.
Enjoy the best of Seville on a family-friendly tour, witnessing this remarkable city through your kid's eyes. Your private tour includes fun activities, entertaining stories, a tasty treat, and unforgettable memories. Enjoy trivia questions, fun facts, treasure hunts, and new words in the local language, all ways to show kids how delightful Seville can be! For the adults in the group, every stop has a story to tell, and your guide will help you get familiar with the city and how to enjoy it with your family for the remainder of your stay.
You'll start by visiting the Seville Cathedral, a 15th-century Roman Catholic church home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Then, travel back to the era of the Christian conquest when you visit the Alcázar of Seville. This royal palace was commissioned for King Peter of Castile in the 14th century and built over the site of a former Muslim fortress. It features well-manicured gardens, and the building is one of the nation's finest examples of Mudéjar architecture. Kids love all the excitement of Seville's Royal Alcázar, but all the hidden corners (one that unexpectedly plays music and another revealing an underground water source) and all the animals on the grounds always seem to be the highlights.
Next, walk to the fashionable Santa Cruz neighborhood, once the Jewish Quarter. It's a colorful and well-preserved part of the historic center, with many cafés and tapas bars with plenty of kid-friendly food options. You can also visit craft markets and shops where artisans produce intricate silverwork and elegant garment embroidery.
In the evening, head to Seville's historic Old Town for delicious tapas at family-run taverns and authentic Flamenco, a musical style birthed right here in Andalusia. Tip: choose a seat near the back so your kids can have a little fun dancing! For dinner, feast on local delicacies like acorn-fed Iberian ham, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp in oil), bacalao (salt cod), and plenty of kid-friendly grub, including patatas bravas, croquettes, and Spanish omelet.
Day 9: Family Day Trip to Ronda
Get ready for an adventure you and your kids will never forget! A driver will meet you in the morning for your journey from Seville to the ancient white villages nestled in the Sierra de Grazalema Mountains. About an hour into the trip, you'll stop at Zahara de la Sierra, one of the most impressive villages in the region. Sitting atop a mountain, this town was a Moorish outpost until the early 15th century. You can see remnants of this in the form of the iconic castle perched atop the rocky mountaintop just above the town.
From here, you'll drive a short way to Ronda, an ancient city dating back to the 6th century when the Celts first settled it. It's a storybook locale carved out of a mountain and situated over a deep gorge, one of the country's most unique and dramatic cities. You won't be exploring on foot; instead, you and your crew will enjoy an exciting off-roading experience.
Trade your private car for a 4WD buggy and embark on an-off road excursion of the rugged terrain around Ronda. Your guide will drive you along dirt paths through the gorge that is inaccessible by any other type of vehicle. You'll then go around the city, passing through Ronda's historic center and by its ancient Plaza de Toros (bullring), Puente Nuevo, and Mirador de Ronda. There will, of course, be plenty of stops to admire the spectacular views of the gorge.
Next, head down from the city for more off-roading along routes, stopping for some refreshments. Then, your buggy will make its way back to Ronda along the Tagus River, which features even more incredible city views.
Day 10: Depart Spain
It's time to say farewell. After a train ride back to the capital of Madrid, you'll transfer by vehicle to the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. This concludes your great Spanish adventure. Adiós!
More Great 10-Day Spain Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Spain? Check out these other 10-day Spain itineraries, with outdoor adventures, family-friendly trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.