- Find the dragon staircase and other quirky highlights at Barcelona's Park Güell
- Ride a Ferris wheel at the top of a mountain
- Go on a scavenger hunt at the Prado Museum in Madrid
- Eat lots of tasty, kid-approved tapas in Valencia and Málaga
|Day 1||Arrive in Barcelona, Self-Guided Barcelona Walk||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Visit Park Güell & Sagrada Família, Explore Ciutadella Park||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Gothic Quarter Family Tour, Ascend Mt. Tibidabo||Barcelona|
|Day 4||Barcelona to Valencia, Tour of the Historic Center||Valencia|
|Day 5||Family Activities & Flavors of Valencia||Valencia|
|Day 6||Valencia to Madrid, Free Day in Madrid||Madrid|
|Day 7||Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy||Madrid|
|Day 8||Tour the Prado Museum with Kid Activities||Madrid|
|Day 9||Family Day Trip to Toledo||Madrid|
|Day 10||Madrid to Seville, Private Seville City & Food Tour||Seville|
|Day 11||Day Trip to an Olive Oil Estate, Evening in Seville||Seville|
|Day 12||Seville to Málaga, Family Fun in Ronda||Málaga|
|Day 13||Málaga Family Walking Tour, Explore Tapas Culture||Málaga|
|Day 14||Depart Spain|
Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona, 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.
Kids tend to love visiting Mt. Montjuic and the surrounding area. Montjuic is a famous hill that stands at 1,988 feet (606 m) and overlooks the Port of Barcelona. Your kids will certainly enjoy riding 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 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: Visit Park Güell & Sagrada Família, Explore Ciutadella Park
After breakfast at the hotel, today's guide will whisk you and your crew away in a chauffeured vehicle for a fun and entertaining half-day tour of works by the legendary Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí. First, visit the colorful and whimsical Park Güell. The park covers 42 acres, and your kids will love marveling at every unique building as you stroll the walkways and gardens. Kid favorites are the stone palm trees, the covered Laundry Room Portico, the colorful bench and gingerbread houses at the pavilions, and the dragon staircase.
Next is Sagrada Família, the iconic Roman Catholic basilica that's an impressive mix of Gothic, Catalan-modernism, and Art Nouveau architectural styles. Despite work on the church beginning in 1882, it's still technically under construction and only consecrated in 2010. Upon arrival, your guide will reveal insight into Sagrada Família's fascinating history, and you'll glean even more info as you explore the interior. Watch your kids' eyes light up as they witness the sky-high ceiling meant to look like a forest as colorful light streams in from the stained glass windows.
Around lunchtime, it's time to part ways with your guide. On your own, you can visit Ciutadella Park. Open since 1881, this green lung of Barcelona includes 70 acres and features sculptures, lakes, gardens, playgrounds, and the Barcelona Zoo. You could easily spend the remainder of the afternoon here and not run out of things to do!
Day 3: Gothic Quarter Family Tour, Ascend Mt. Tibidabo
After meeting your guide, stroll the cobbled streets and enjoy the medieval Gothic Quarter and trendy El Born neighborhood's rich history on a two-hour tour geared toward families. You'll pass Roman ruins, the grand Plaça Reial, and the Gothic Barcelona Cathedral, which dates to the 13th century. Kids 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 m). 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 4: Barcelona to Valencia, Tour of the Historic Center
Bid farewell to Barcelona as you hop a morning train bound for the city of Valencia. After a three-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 family-friendly 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 this walking tour of the historic center, you'll visit the Plaza Del Ayuntamiento, where Valencia's Baroque City Hall sits. Kids love wandering through the many stalls at Mercado Central, 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 5: Family Activities & Flavors of Valencia
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
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 and is where families can easily spend all day. 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. The aquarium celebrates the Earth's oceans and faithfully recreates the most vital marine ecosystems. It's also the largest aquarium in Europe with its longest underwater tunnel, and 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 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's Travels."
Day 6: Valencia to Madrid, Free Day in Madrid
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.
Consider taking 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." The opportunities for culture in this city are vast, and you have plenty of museums, art galleries, and live music venues to visit if the mood strikes. You could also hang out at Retiro Park to eat churros and row a boat in the artificial lake.
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, 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.
Day 7: Discover 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. Throughout its long history, Madrid has seen many eras, and today the city adorns itself with its rich history in its architecture, public spaces, and culture. One area you'll visit that's awash in regal splendor is Madrid de los Austrias, built in the 16th century and 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, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure! If you haven't visited El Retiro Park, it's an excellent spot for a fun afternoon with the family. Check out 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 also love the tiny house Casita del Pescador and the Crystal Palace, a structure made almost entirely of glass with free art exhibitions.
Day 8: Tour the Prado Museum with Kid Activities
The Prado Museum isn't merely the most famous museum in Madrid, or even in Spain for that matter—it's one of the world's top museums. You'll dedicate a whole morning to this iconic gallery, which draws three million visitors annually, including families with energetic kids. That's because its treasures are many, and viewing them on a guided tour will allow you to get the most out of the experience.
Located in the city center, the Prado features works from some of the most vital and legendary artists over the last few centuries. The tour is chronological, beginning with works from the 15th century. One masterpiece that always fascinates kids is "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Bosch. Still, you can view many more, including "The Nobleman with his hand on his Chest" by El Greco, "Las Meninas" by Velázquez, and "The Family of Carlos IV" by Goya.
But you won't view these works by simply walking and stopping. Instead, you'll put a kid-approved twist on a museum tour by adding a few fun activities, games, and even a treasure hunt to your experience!
Day 9: 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.
Enjoy visiting these historic landmarks and more in this incredible city that many describe as an open-air museum—perfect for curious kids—and listening to exciting stories and tales of Toledo's history. Then, take part in two kid-friendly activities. You'll first explore the world of Toledo steel and visit a foundry where ancient blacksmiths forged unique swords. Lastly, visit a cigarral, a manor estate, to learn how to make the city's famed (and perfectly sweet) marzipan.
Day 10: Madrid to Seville, Seville Private City & Food 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, you'll head out to enjoy the best of Seville on a family-friendly tour, witnessing this remarkable city through your kids' 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!
You'll start by visiting the Seville Cathedral, a 15th-century Roman Catholic church, and 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 with roaming peacocks and other birds, and the building is one of the nation's finest examples of Mudéjar architecture.
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. In the evening, head back to Santa Cruz and elsewhere in the Old Town for a food tour in family-run taverns. You'll taste quite a few delicious bites, including the famed gazpacho soup, acorn-fed ham, Iberian pork loin, ceviche, and much more.
Day 11: Day Trip to an Olive Oil Estate, Evening in Seville
Take your kids on a countryside adventure to learn about the production process firsthand at an Andalusian olive oil estate full of history—it was at this very estate that Spain began exporting olive oil to the New World. You'll start your morning excursion with a typical Andalusian breakfast of coffee, hot chocolate, churros, and toast with olive oil and tomatoes. Then, you'll explore the old manufacturing center, with historic 16th-century olive-oil presses and their modern counterparts. Then, visit the onsite museum featuring exhibits showcasing 150 varieties of olives from 13 countries.
End your day by relaxing on the estate's patios to enjoy the Andalusian scenery of wide-open fields, purebred Spanish horses, Arabic gardens, and a private collection of horse-drawn carts dating from the 7th to the 19th centuries. Pair the views with an olive oil tasting and see if you and your kids can put your newfound knowledge to good use.
Day 12: Seville to Málaga, Family Fun in 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 Málaga, stopping in the ancient Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) in the Sierra de Grazalema Mountains. About an hour into the trip, you'll reach Zahara de la Sierra, one of the most impressive towns in the region. Sitting atop a mountain, this hamlet was a Moorish outpost until the early 15th century, and you can see remnants of this in the form of the iconic castle.
Next, you'll drive a short way to Ronda, an ancient city dating to the sixth century when the Celts first settled it. It's a storybook locale carved out of a mountain and sits over a deep gorge, one of the country's most unique and dramatic cities. You and your crew will enjoy an exciting 4WD off-road excursion of the rugged terrain around Ronda, riding along dirt paths through the gorge inaccessible by any other type of vehicle. You'll then go around the city, passing through Ronda's historic center and its ancient Plaza de Toros (bullring), Puente Nuevo, and Mirador de Ronda.
After returning to your private car, you'll continue toward the coast. After about 1.5 hours, you'll reach Málaga, where you can check into your hotel and spend the remainder of the evening as you'd like.
Day 13: Málaga Family Walking Tour, Explore Tapas Culture
Located at the top of the Costa del Sol, the ancient metropolis of Málaga dates back 3,000 years to Phoenecian times, and it just so happens to be the city that produced Picasso. Depending on when you arrive, you may have time to walk around the city. One landmark that kids love is the magnificent 10th-century Castillo de Gibralfaro, which sits on a hill overlooking Málaga. Stroll along pretty paths lined with greenery and flowers like jasmine, bougainvillea, and orange and lemon trees.
On a family-friendly half-day tour of Málaga, your guide will show you some highlights of the city, including the unconquered Alcazaba fortress and the majestic Cathedral of Málaga, built on the site of a mosque. Learn about the city's history and all the civilizations that left their mark here through exciting stories and tales of royalty, battles, and artists. Also, check out Plaza de la Merced, where Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born.
For dinner, you can sample the local cuisine, which is big on fish and seasonal vegetables, as well as olives, almonds, grapes, raisins, and baked goods. Check out the waterfront or the Old Town along Calle Marques de Larios, which has some excellent restaurants with kid-approved grub.
Day 14: Depart Spain
When ready, check out of your hotel and head to the airport, as it's time to say farewell to Spain. Safe travels!
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