Who hasn't dreamed of a family vacation to Europe? This 11-day tour of Spain allows you and the kids to live that dream as you visit sunkissed Barcelona, the capital of Madrid, and the ancient Andalusia region. Along the way, you'll marvel at hillside castles, sample some of the finest cuisine in the world, visit royal palaces, and even enjoy a 4WD off-roading adventure.


  • Discover Hansel and Gretel-style houses in Park Güell 
  • Explore Madrid's historical legacy by visiting its most ancient sights
  • Travel to mountain villages and hilltop castles in Andalusia
  • Climb Seville's 12th-century belltower for stunning views of the city

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Spain, Explore Barcelona Barcelona
Day 2 Visit Park Güell & Sagrada Família Barcelona
Day 3 Family Tour of the Gothic Quarter, Mount Tibidabo & Theme Park Barcelona
Day 4 Train to Valencia, Tour the Historic Center Valencia
Day 5 Explore Valencia's City of Arts & Sciences & Gulliver Park Valencia
Day 6 Train to Madrid, Free Afternoon Madrid
Day 7 Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 8 Family Day Trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 9 Train to Seville, Guided Family Sightseeing Tour Seville
Day 10 Family Day Trip to Ronda, 4WD Experience Seville
Day 11 Train to Madrid, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Spain, Explore Barcelona

Welcome to Barcelona
Welcome to Barcelona!

Welcome to Spain! Upon arrival at Barcelona's El Prat Airport, a private driver will take you and your family into the city. Settle in, and when you're ready, head out with the kids to explore. The city's best view is from the top of Montjuïc—a 1,988-foot (606 m) high hill with a 17th-century castle. Make your way to the metro station near Olympic Park and enjoy a fun ride to the summit on the Montjuïc Cable Car. Reach the top, and there's plenty to entertain the kids. Play on the castle grounds, visit the Olympics Museum, or stroll the botanical gardens and admire the views.

Afterward, immerse yourselves in Spanish heritage with a visit to Poble Espanyol, an open-air museum featuring over 100 recreated buildings in the style of traditional Spanish villages. Wander the craft stalls, grab a bite to eat at one of the cafés, and don't miss the Picasso drawings and ceramics at the site's modern-art museum. As the sun dips, make your way to the nearby Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, named for the dazzling display of water and colored lights that occur after dark.  End your evening at one of the city's family-friendly restaurants and raise a toast to your trip!

Day 2: Visit Park Güell & Sagrada Família

The gothic-modernist marvel that is the Sagrada Familia
Sunlight streams through the stained glass windows in the Sagrada Família 

Rally the kids this morning for a captivating half-day tour of works by the famous architect and master of Catalan Modernism, Antonio Gaudí. First up is the UNESCO-listed Park Güell, perched atop Carmel Hill in north Barcelona. It's a wonderful place to take the kids with pavilions that resemble Hansel and Gretel's gingerbread house, a mosaic lizard, and plenty of imaginative and colorful nooks and crannies for the little ones to explore. 

The city's famous Sagrada Família is your family's next stop, and despite being unfinished, it is considered one of the best examples of Gaudí's unique style. Explore the interior while your guide reveals insights into the church's fascinating history and impressive mix of Gothic, Catalan-Modernism, and Art Nouveau architectural styles. Even the weariest of teens will be impressed by the stained-glass windows, which flood the sky-high ceiling and vast columns with a dazzling display of color as the light streams through.

Part ways with your guide, and if you've worked up an appetite for lunch, you have plenty of options. Dine at one of the nearby neighborhood restaurants or take a picnic to Ciutadella Park. Relax as the kids burn off some energy in the playgrounds and explore the sculptures before a visit to the nearby zoo. Otherwise, follow the locals and head to Barceloneta Beach, the city's main stretch of coastline. Enjoy a swim with the kids and some downtime on the beach before heading to one of the beachfront cafés for helado (ice cream) or a glass of cava. 

Day 3: Family Tour of the Gothic Quarter, Mount Tibidabo & Theme Park

The view from Mt Tibidado makes for a great family selfie
The view from Mount Tibidabo makes for a great family selfie

After a leisurely breakfast, introduce the kids to Spanish culture and history with a fun, family-friendly tour of the city's famous Gothic Quarter and buzzy El Born neighborhood. Wander the narrow cobbled streets and discover the hidden Temple of Augustus, a 2,000-year-old Roman ruin nestled in a quiet courtyard and unearthed by accident in the 19th century. Stroll the grand palm-tree-lined Plaça Reial (Royal Plaza) with its elegant porticoes, and stop for a delicious mid-morning snack of churros con chocolate.

Soak up Barcelona's (or, as the locals say, "Barna") atmosphere as your guide leads the kids on a "dragon hunt" and regales the little ones with enchanting stories of Spanish legends and heroes. Then visit the intriguing Casa dels Entremesos (Museum of Giants) to see the enormous papier-mâché figures used in local festivals throughout the year. After you've worked up an appetite, dine at one of the neighborhood restaurants while the excited kids get to practice some of the simple Spanish phrases they've learned from their guide.

In the afternoon, you and your family will head to the mountains in the city's north. It's a fun journey up to the 1,680-foot (512 m) peak of Mount Tibidabo as you and the kids board the funicular up to Barcelona's best vantage point. It's the perfect spot for a family selfie as you admire the views and take in the grand Temple of the Sacred Heart, Tibidabo's neo-Gothic marvel. Make the kids' day with a trip to the adjacent theme park, and as the sun sets, head to the famous Carrer de Blai—a street famous for its vast number of mouthwatering tapas restaurants.

Day 4: Train to Valencia, Tour the Historic Center

Valencia's Las Fallas festival
The Las Fallas festival in Valencia

It's time for the next leg of your Spanish adventure this morning as you hop on a train for a three-hour journey to the charming city of Valencia on Spain's east coast. Settle in at your hotel and then stretch your legs with a family-friendly tour of the town. There are plenty of historic landmarks and striking architecture to see in this 2,000-year-old town, including the Plaza Del Ayuntamiento (the Baroque City Hall), the historic Mercado Central, and the 15th-century Gothic fortress of Llotja de la Seda

Take a break in the  Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Valencia's main square, and enjoy an agua de Valencia, a fruity citrus cocktail, while the kids try the local horchata (a sweet and creamy refreshing drink made with tiger nuts). End your tour with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Valencia Cathedral, a remarkable 13th-century Gothic basilica in the heart of the Old Town. If tummies are starting to rumble, you have plenty of options. Valencia is the undisputed home of paella, and your guide will be happy to recommend some of the best local spots. 

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Day 5: Explore Valencia's City of Arts & Sciences & Gulliver Park

City of Arts and Sciences
The dazzling City of Arts and Sciences, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava

Today is yours to discover Valencia's attractions at your own pace. The stunning City of Arts and Sciences should be at the top of your list. The unique leisure and cultural complex designed by architect Santiago Calatrava is home to the interactive Prince Philip Science Museum and the world-famous L'Oceanogràfic aquarium. Wander through Europe's largest aquarium and don't miss the vast underwater tunnel where the kids will be right among some of the giants of the ocean, including sharks and even beluga whales. 

Break for lunch and enjoy some downtime in the beautiful Turia Gardens, one of Spain's largest urban parks. It's a delightful place for kids of all ages, and the impressive Gulliver Park play area features massive structures inspired by the characters of Jonathan Swift. As dusk falls, stroll around the Old Town before deciding which friendly tapas restaurant to dine in and recount the highlights of your trip so far.

Day 6: Train to Madrid, Free Afternoon

Mother and daughter in El Ritero Park Madrid
Enjoy classic churros on the go in El Parque Retiro

Continue your Spanish tour this morning and board a two-hour train bound for Spain's historic capital. While Madrid's streets are steeped in art, history, and culture, the city is also filled with family-friendly plazas, playgrounds, and plenty to entertain the kids. You'll get to see the main sights on tomorrow's tour, so settle into your hotel and relax after the journey. When you're ready, stretch your legs with a walk to El Parque Retiro—a relaxing oasis created as a retreat for the royal family and opened as a park to the public in the late 1700s. 

If your kids are older and keen to delve deeper into the city's culture, there are plenty of options. Take in a show on Gran Vía, Madrid's answer to Broadway, where you'll find plenty of plays and musicals geared toward the whole family as well as a plethora of museums and art galleries. In the evening, sample Madrid's world-class culinary scene. From Ernest Hemingway's favorite haunt Botín (the restaurant dates back to 1725 and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records), to wonderful neighborhood eateries, you'll be spoilt for choice.

Day 7: Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy

Explore Madrid's stunning plazas and royal palace
Explore Madrid's stunning Plaza Mayor

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and meet your guide for a fascinating morning as you discover the city's regal history and iconic landmarks with a city tour. Stroll to the grand Plaza Mayor (easily a contender for Spain's greatest plaza) and today a bustling hub for locals and tourists. Youngsters will be enthralled with tales of royalty, artists, and explorers as you see sights such as the 17th-century statue of King Felipe III. Cool down with a glass of something cold and sharpen your tastebuds with a visit to the gourmet San Miguel Food Market and the bustling Puerto del Sol.

Next, a kid-friendly tour takes you behind the scenes at the 18th-century Royal Palace, a compelling mix of neoclassical and Baroque architecture and the official residence of the Spanish royal family. Discover the crowns, swords, and jewels on display while the kids channel their inner prince and princess and explore the Throne Room, Royal Armoury, and Hall of the Crown. If your family is into art, don't miss the stunning Painting Gallery with works by some of Spain's most notable artists. Afterward, take the kids to watch the changing of the guards and say hi to the peacocks at the Sabatini Gardens.

The rest of the afternoon is yours to spend at leisure. If you didn't get the chance yesterday, hire a rowboat in El Parque Retiro and enjoy a gentle paddle on the park's serene lake. Garden enthusiasts should visit the  Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez, a beautiful rose garden home to over 4,000 blooms. In the evening, head to the Old Town and dine out in style as you recount the highlights of your trip so far.

Day 8: Family Day Trip to Toledo

Valdeverdeja festival Toledo
Local children dressed up for Toledo's Valdeverdeja Festival 

It's off to the medieval city of Toledo this morning as you and the kids take a half-hour train ride south of Madrid. Meet your guide and let the cobbled streets and the town's towering location above the Tajo River fire up the youngsters' imaginations as you explore the historic sights. Often described as the "city of the three cultures," legend has it that Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities peacefully coexisted here, and you'll visit monuments to these three faiths during your tour. 

See the 15th-century Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the former Roman palace Alcázar de Toledo, and the 12th-century Moorish Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, before heading to a nearby foundry. Here you'll see where ancient blacksmiths forged Zorro-worthy swords, learn about the forging process and admire the famous Toledo steelwork of the blades on display. Finish your visit with a sweet treat the whole family will adore—a marzipan-making workshop. Invented in Toledo and first made by the city's nuns, you'll master the techniques in creating this traditional confectionery.

Day 9: Train to Seville, Guided Family Sightseeing Tour

Traditional dress is customary at Seville's annual fair
Traditional dress is customary at Seville's annual fair

After breakfast, you and your family will embark on a 2.5-hour train journey south to the beautiful region of Andalusia. Your destination is Seville, the region's charming sun-drenched capital on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Check into your hotel and settle the kids before meeting your guide and heading out for a half-day city tour.

If the little ones are fascinated by stories of explorers, then pique their interest in your first stop—the vast 15th-century Seville Cathedral—with tales of Christopher Columbus. This remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site is the adventurer's final resting place. For beautiful views of the city and Andalusian countryside, climb La Giralda, the Gothic church's famous bell tower. Your next stop is the Royal Alcázar, a 14th-century royal palace commissioned for King Peter of Castile, and a great place for the kids to run around and explore while you admire the Mudéjar architecture.

Seville is renowned for its gastronomy, and if you've worked up an appetite, you're in the right place. The pretty, colorful streets of the Santa Cruz neighborhood provide the perfect backdrop for a spot of lunch, and you'll find plenty of options to sample the local tapas washed down with a glass of the local vino blanco. Spend the rest of the day browsing the crafts markets and local shops, or return to your hotel for some downtime before dinner. 

Day 10: Family Day Trip to Ronda, 4WD Experience

Ronda, Spain
The Puente Nuevo bridge that separates the two historical sides of Ronda

Make treasured memories today as this morning, you and your family take a private transfer to Andalusia's famed Pueblos Blancos, the ancient white villages nestled in the Sierra de Grazalema mountains. After an hour or so, you'll stop at Zahara de la Sierra, one of the most impressive. Task the kids with spotting the impressive Moorish castle perched above the town as you stroll the pretty streets dotted with whitewashed houses and colorful bougainvillea.

Hop back in the car, and it's just over a half-hour drive to the ancient city of Ronda. The town's dramatic setting above the El Gorge seals its fascinating history and separates the 15th-century new town and its legendary 18th-century Plaza de Toros (bullring) from its Islamic Old Town. To fully appreciate its storybook setting, you and the kids will enjoy an off-roading adventure as you clamber into a comfy 4WD and embark on an exhilarating excursion around Ronda's rugged terrain.

Your experienced guide and driver will navigate dirt paths through the gorge inaccessible by other types of vehicles before driving around the city and into Ronda's historic center. Stop to admire the spectacular views of the gorge and head down from the city for more off-roading routes before taking a break for refreshments. Eventually, you and the kids will make your way back to Ronda along the Tajo River, where you'll have time to shop for souvenirs. After a transfer back to your hotel, dine on traditional Spanish fare and raise a toast to your family adventures.

Day 11: Train to Madrid, Depart

Goodbye, Spain
Goodbye, Spain

It's time to say goodbye, as after breakfast, you and your family will take a private transfer to the station for your train to Madrid in time for your flight home or to continue your European adventure. Safe travels!

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Map of Family Trip to Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid & Andalusia - 11 Days
Map of Family Trip to Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid & Andalusia - 11 Days
Written by Ramon Tormos, updated Jul 11, 2023