- Introduce the kids to Gaudí's masterpieces in Barcelona
- Learn how to confect marzipan in the fairy-tale setting of Toledo
- Explore the Andalusian countryside with a visit to an ancient olive oil estate
- Enjoy an exhilarating 4WD tour around the breathtaking hilltop town of Ronda
|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, Family Walking Tour||Valencia|
|Day 5||Explore Valencia with the Kids||Valencia|
|Day 6||Train to Madrid, Free Afternoon||Madrid|
|Day 7||Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy||Madrid|
|Day 8||Tour the Prado Museum, Visit the Parque de Attraciones||Madrid|
|Day 9||Family Day Trip to Toledo||Madrid|
|Day 10||Train to Seville, Half-Day City Tour||Seville|
|Day 11||Family Visit to an Andalusian Olive Oil Estate||Seville|
|Day 12||4WD Adventure in Ronda, Transfer to Málaga||Málaga|
|Day 13||Family Walking Tour of Málaga||Málaga|
|Day 14||Depart Málaga|
Day 1: Arrive in Spain, Explore Barcelona
Welcome to Spain! Upon arrival at Barcelona's El Prat Airport, a private driver will transfer you and your family to your downtown hotel. Settle in after your flight, and when you're ready, head out with your family to explore. For great views and a fun stretch of the legs, take the Montjuïc Cable Car from the metro station near Olympic Park to the summit of Mount Montjuïc. Little ones will enjoy exploring the 17th-century castle at the top of the 1,988-foot (606 m) high hill, and you'll find plenty of features and history to capture the kids' imaginations.
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, wander over to the nearby Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, named for the dazzling display of water and colored lights that occur after dark. End your evening by sampling delicious tapas at one of the city's family-friendly restaurants.
Day 2: Visit Park Güell & Sagrada Família
There's a reason most visitors to Barcelona make a beeline to visit Antonio Gaudí's infamous works and glorious examples of Catalan-Modernism, and this morning you'll discover why. Meet your guide and head north of the city, where you'll spend an enchanting few hours at the whimsical Park Güell. 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.
Next up is the world-renowned Sagrada Família, a towering church considered one of the best examples of Gaudí's unique style. Hear from your guide how the church—an impressive mix of Gothic, Catalan-Modernism, and Art Nouveau architectural styles—is still unfinished. Explore the interior, and even the weariest of teens will be impressed as the stained-glass windows flood the sky-high ceiling and vast columns with a dazzling array of colors.
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 at 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
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, and then introduce the kids to Spanish culture and history with a fun, family-friendly tour of the city's famous Gothic Quarter and trendy El Born neighborhood. Stroll 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. Wander 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.
Continue to explore and soak up the 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, enjoy lunch and a cool drink 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. Perfect your family selfie skills and admire the views before visiting 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, Family Walking Tour
Embark on 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 rally the kids for a family-friendly tour of the town. Get your bearings as your guide leads you to the town's historic center and see major landmarks, 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 for refreshments 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 you and the kids feel hungry, you'll be spoilt for options. Valencia is the undisputed home of paella, and your guide will be happy to recommend some of the best local spots.
Day 5: Explore Valencia with the Kids
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with the family and spend the day discovering Valencia's attractions. Top of your list should be the City of Arts and Sciences, a unique leisure complex home to the interactive Prince Philip Science Museum and the world-famous L'Oceanogràfic aquarium. Stroll through the longest underwater tunnel in Europe and marvel with the kids at its various denizens of the deep, including manta rays, sharks, and even beluga whales.
After lunch, relax in the lush surroundings of the vast 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. Little ones will love channeling their inner Lilliputian as they climb onto the park's giant reclining figure's fingers, legs, and hair! In the evening, savor the city's sights with one last stroll around the old town before dining out in style at one of the local restaurants.
Day 6: Train to Madrid, Free Afternoon
Pack snacks and head to the station this morning as you and your family catch a two-hour high-speed train to Madrid. Spain's family-friendly capital is awash with playground-filled plazas and quaint streets steeped in art, culture, and history. You'll see the main sights on tomorrow's tour, so unwind after the journey and take the kids to El Retiro—a relaxing oasis created as a retreat for the royal family and opened as a park to the public in the late 1700s. It's the perfect spot to stretch the legs, let the little ones burn off some energy, and enjoy a bit of family downtime.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
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 and numerous museums and art galleries. As dusk falls, sample Madrid's world-class culinary scene. You'll be spoiled for choice with options varying from local family-friendly restaurants to the famous Botín, described by Ernest Hemingway in "The Sun Also Rises" as the best restaurant on earth.
Day 7: Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy
Spend the morning getting to grips with Spain's regal history and discover Madrid's iconic landmarks with a half-day city tour. Accompanied by your expert local guide, stroll to the Plaza Mayor in the Madrid de los Austrias area, considered one of Spain's grandest plazas. Little ones will be enthralled with tales of royalty, artists, and explorers as you see sights such as the 17th-century statue of King Felipe III. Stop for a cold drink before discovering the gourmet San Miguel Food Market and the bustling Puerto del Sol, Madrid's central square.
Finish your tour with a visit to 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 your little ones channel their inner knights and royals and explore the Throne Room, Royal Armoury, and Hall of the Crown. Visit the stunning Painting Gallery with works by some of Spain's most notable artists and pop next door to the nearby Sabatini Gardens, where you and the kids can watch the changing of the guards.
Afterward, grab some downtime back at your hotel or spend a few more hours at El Retiro. If you didn't get the chance yesterday, hire a rowboat, enjoy a gentle paddle on the park's serene mirror-like lake, or 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: Tour the Prado Museum, Visit the Parque de Attraciones
It's off to the world-famous Museo Nacional del Prado this morning to introduce your budding culture enthusiasts to some of the most important and legendary artists of the last few centuries. Located in the city center, you'll have time to grab a croissant and a café con leche before meeting your guide. Wow the kids with a chronological tour of the Prado's masterpieces starting from the 15th century. Alongside works by Bosch, El Greco. and Goya, you'll see Velázquez's "Las Meninas," the museum's most famous piece depicting the Spanish royal family that dates back to the 16th century.
There are plenty of activities to keep the little ones occupied if their attention starts to wander, with various games and even a treasure hunt. After lunch, it's all about the kids, big and little, with a trip to the city's premier amusement park, the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid. The expansive Casa de Campo park has carousels for toddlers, hair-raising rides, thrilling rollercoasters, and unique experiences to enthrall even reluctant teens. Cool off with one of the park's water rides and head back to your hotel for a refresh before settling on a shady spot for dinner.
Day 9: Family Day Trip to Toledo
Today's adventure takes you to Toledo, the historic city that once served as Spain's capital in the 16th century and a 30-minute train ride south of Madrid. Described in the Middle Ages as the "city of the three cultures," legend has it that Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities peacefully coexisted, with remnants of monuments of the three faiths, found throughout the city. Travel back in time with visits to 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.
Continue exploring the historic sights with your knowledgeable guide, and let Toledo's towering location above the Tajo River fire up the kids' imaginations as you make your way 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. End your day with a fun-filled marzipan workshop and tasting where you and the kids will learn how to confect this traditional Spanish treat.
Day 10: Train to Seville, Half-Day City Tour
Your tour of Spain continues this morning with a 2.5-hour train journey south into Andalusia. Your destination is Seville, the region's charming sun-drenched capital on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Check into your hotel before meeting your guide and heading out for a half-day city tour.
First up is the 15th-century Seville Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest Gothic church in the world. Fascinate the kids with stories of Christopher Columbus, whose tomb is held aloft by four statues in the church. Climb the famous La Giralda (belltower) for beautiful city views and spot the stylistic differences of the 12th-century pillar, initially built as a minaret for the Great Mosque. Then travel back to the era of the Christian conquest with a visit to the Alcázar of Seville, a 14th-century royal palace commissioned for King Peter of Castile.
Admire the intricate tile work and Mudéjar architecture as the little ones explore and recreate their own conquests in the palace's well-manicured gardens, filled with plenty of fountains and courtyards. Afterward, stroll the pretty, colorful streets of the fashionable Santa Cruz neighborhood, once the city's former Jewish Quarter and the perfect spot to break for lunch and discover Seville's renowned gastronomy. Spend the rest of the day browsing the crafts markets and local shops, or return to your hotel for some downtime before dinner.
Day 11: Family Visit to an Andalusian Olive Oil Estate
Experience the Andalusian countryside today as you and your family meet your guide and drive to a historic olive oil estate 30 minutes outside Seville. Enjoy a warm welcome and a typical Spanish breakfast of churros, café con leche, and pan con tomate (Spanish tomato bread), and hear about the estate's fascinating history. Learn how in the 17th century, Christopher Columbus' son Hernando began exporting olive oil into the New World and see the centuries-old olive oil presses preserved from the 16th century.
While the kids play in the estate's wide open fields and meet the resident purebred Spanish horses, discover the on-site olive oil museum with over 150 varieties of olives from 13 countries. You'll learn about the characteristics and qualities of the olives and then have the opportunity to put your newfound knowledge to good use with an olive oil tasting. Spend time relaxing on the patio and enjoy the stunning views across the Andalusian countryside before returning to Seville.
Day 12: 4WD Adventure in Ronda, Transfer to Málaga
After breakfast, continue your trip to the south of Spain with a private transfer to Málaga. Enjoying an enviable location on Spain's Costa del Sol, a vast stretch of the Mediterranean coast famous for its abundance of golden beaches, the port city is one of the oldest in the world and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. There are many breathtaking sights along the drive from Seville to the sea, including the ancient white villages within the Sierra de Grazalema mountains. Around an hour into the trip, you'll stop at Zahara de la Sierra, one of the most impressive.
Stretch your legs, and it's hard to miss the impressive Moorish Castle perched above the town—a reminder that the village was a Moorish outpost until the early 15th century. From here, it's just over a half-hour drive to the ancient city of Ronda. With a dramatic setting above the El Tajo gorge, Ronda is a compelling mix of its historic Islamic old town and the 15th-century new town with its legendary 18th-century Plaza de Toros (bullring). To fully appreciate the setting, you and the kids will embark on an exhilarating off-roading adventure around Ronda's rugged terrain.
Settle into your comfy 4WD and enjoy the ride as your experienced guide will navigate dirt paths through the gorge before a drive around the city and into Ronda's historic center. It's a fun way for the kids to learn about the town's history and see the sights. Stroll the cobbled streets, shop for souvenirs, and take a break for refreshments before hopping back in the car. It's around 1.5 hours to Málaga, so sit back and enjoy the views. Spend the evening relaxing at your accommodation or wander along the seafront to dinner. The seafood here is among the best in Spain.
Day 13: Family Walking Tour of Málaga
Enjoy a leisurely wake-up and a day of no driving as you and the kids take it easy and experience Málaga's laid-back, artsy charm. The city is brimming with history and culture, and the best way to get to grips with its treasures is a private half-day tour. First up is the Alcazaba, a vast 11th-century Islamic fortress and a perfect spot for the kids to play among the ramparts and gardens as your guide shares tales of its history.
You'll also see other sights, including the magnificent 16th-century Málaga Cathedral, one of Spain's finest examples of Baroque-Renaissance architecture. The kids will be wowed by the 131-foot (40 m) ceilings and the breathtaking views from the rooftop. Venture back in time with visits to an ancient Roman theater and Muslim palaces before finishing your tour with a trip to the Mercado Central de Atarazanas, a covered food market with plenty of delectable treats.
Part ways with your guide and spend the rest of the afternoon as you wish. Feast on Spanish fare at one of the many superb dining spots hit the beaches with the kids, or continue the cultural theme with a trip to the Museo Picasso or the Center Pompidou Málaga, the only branch of Paris's famous contemporary art museum outside France. As dusk falls, settle into one of the seafront restaurants and raise a toast to your family trip as you recount your favorite moments.
Day 14: Depart Málaga
It's time to say farewell. Depending on your flight time, you can squeeze in one last walk through the streets of Málaga and view the city's extraordinary sights. At the designated time, a private driver will transfer you and your family from your hotel to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!