Fall in love with Spain on this epic 16-day family tour that starts in Barcelona and finishes in one of the world's oldest seafront towns, Málaga. You'll tour the Royal Palace in Madrid, introduce the kids to Gaudí's famous works, and discover the kid-friendly attractions in Valencia and Seville. You'll even fit in fun at Spain's gorgeous beaches and an off-road tour across ancient towns in the Sierra de Grazalema mountains.


  • Discover the highlights of Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, and Seville
  • Learn how to make traditional marzipan in Toledo
  • Tour the stunning whitewashed villages in the Sierra de Grazalema 
  • Explore the ancient city of Ronda and the towering El Tajo Gorge by 4WD
  • Uncover art and Islamic ruins in Málaga, one of the world's oldest towns

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, Guided Family Tour Valencia
Day 5 Explore Valencia Valencia
Day 6 Train to Alicante, Family Tour Alicante
Day 7 Guided Drive Around the Costa Blanca Alicante
Day 8 Train to Madrid, Explore Madrid
Day 9 Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 10 Tour the Prado Museum, Visit the Parque de Attraciones Madrid
Day 11 Family Day Trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 12 Train to Seville, Half-Day City Tour Seville
Day 13 Family Visit to an Andalusian Olive Oil Estate Seville
Day 14 4WD Adventure in Ronda, Transfer to Málaga Málaga
Day 15 Family Walking Tour of Málaga  Málaga
Day 16 Depart Málaga  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Spain, Explore Barcelona

Welcome to Barcelona
Kids love Barcelona's friendly Ciutadella Park

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.

Grab a bite to eat and a cold drink at one of the cafés in nearby Poble Espanyol, a living museum recreating typical Iberian village life through different architectural styles from across Spain. Wander the artisan stalls and appease the little ones with a trip to the Sculpture Garden, where you'll find a kid's area with several slides. It's worth staying until dusk as when the sun dips, the nearby Magic Fountain of Montjuïc puts on a colorful display that's enchanting for kids and adults alike. 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

Gingerbread style houses in park Guell
The enchanting gingerbread-style houses in Park Güell 

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 on this morning's tour, 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 is the 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, and explore the stunning interior. Even the weariest of teens will be impressed by the stained-glass windows, which flood the sky-high ceiling and vast columns with 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 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

Head to Mount Tibidabo for spectacular sights
Head to Mount Tibidabo for spectacular sights and a Ferris wheel

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 midmorning snack of churros con chocolate.

Soak up Barcelona's 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, Guided Family Tour

Welcome to Valencia!
Welcome to Valencia!

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 historical 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 peckish, you'll be spoiled 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

Gulliver Park playground
Discover the impressive kid's playground, Gulliver Park, in Valencia's Turia Gardens

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. Wander through Europe's largest aquarium and don't miss the vast underwater tunnel where the kids will be right among some of the ocean's giants, including 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 Alicante, Family Tour

Head to Postiguet Beach for a splash and a swim in the Med
Head to Postiguet Beach for a splash and a swim in the Med

It's time to head south this morning as you and your family take a two-hour train journey to Alicante, a port city on Spain's stunning Costa Blanca. After a private transfer to your hotel, settle in with the kids, and when you're ready, get your bearings with a private family tour. Stretch your legs with a gentle stroll down the palm tree-flanked Explanada, a promenade notable for its stunning mosaic paving that comprises 6.5 million glimmering tiles that evoke the waves of the Mediterranean. 

Continue to the nearby hillside neighborhood of Santa Cruz. Known by locals as El Barrio, it's home to the city's historic center and a beautiful place to wander and take photos. Admire the brightly-colored houses adorned with flowerpot-filled balconies as you meander the winding, narrow streets. From here, you'll head to the ancient Santa Bárbara Castle, which is sure to be a hit with the kids. While the elevator up to Mount Benacantil is the easier option for little ones, the ninth-century fortification can be accessed via a steep hike. Either way, you'll be rewarded with gorgeous views at the top.

Finish the tour, and if the kids fancy a dip in the sea, the beautiful Playa del Postiguet lies at the foot of the castle. Spend time on the beach or head to Avenida de Maisonnave, a popular boulevard filled with shops and restaurants. Grab a bite to eat and sample the area's famous gamba roja de Dénia (Dénia red prawn), a tasty flavorsome shrimp considered a local delicacy washed down with the local vino blanco

Plan your trip to Spain
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 7: Guided Drive Around the Costa Blanca

Explore the stunning Costa Blanca
Explore the stunning Costa Blanca around Alicante

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then rally the kids for a day touring the Costa Blanca's stunning coastal mountains, golden bays, and picture postcard villages awash with history. Meet your driver, and your first stop, an hour north of Alicante, is the tiny mountaintop hamlet of Guadalest. Stop to admire the sweeping views of the Mediterranean and explore the 11th-century Guadalest Castle, a Moorish fortress overlooking the entire region. Enjoy your guide's tales of the village's history while the enchanting setting captures the kids' imaginations as they play among the ruins. 

If tummies are starting to rumble, then your next stop is the ideal place for deliciously fresh seafood. You'll head to Calpe, a beautiful coastal town home to medieval ruins and ancient Roman baths fashioned out of sea pools. Enjoy lunch on the waterfront before hopping back in the car for a 15-minute drive to Altea. Considered the most beautiful village in the province, the town's exquisite historic center is a maze of narrow white streets and beautifully-preserved buildings. Stop for a cool drink at one of the many picturesque cafés before returning to Alicante for the evening.

Day 8: Train to Madrid, Explore

Welcome to Madrid!
Relax in Madrid's family-friendly park known as El Retiro

Pack snacks and head to the station this morning as you and your family catch a 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. 

If your kids are older and keen to delve deeper into the city's culture, plenty of options exist. 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 9: Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy

Explore Madrid's Royal Palace
Discover Madrid's royal history with a visit to the Palace 

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 nobles and knights 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 10: Tour the Prado Museum, Visit the Parque de Attraciones

Explore the iconic Museo del Prado
Jump into a world of fine art with a kid-friendly tour of the Prado 

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. Located in the expansive Casa de Campo park, there are carousels for toddlers and various 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 11: Family Day Trip to Toledo

Toledo's whimsical turrets and spires
Toledo's enchanting turrets and towers

Today's fun-filled day trip starts with a half-hour train ride south of Madrid to Toledo, a historic city that served as Spain's capital in the 16th century. 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. These include the 15th-century Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the former Roman palace Alcázar de Toledo, and the Moorish Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, which dates to the 12th century.

Explore the historic sights with your knowledgeable guide and let the cobbled streets and 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—invented in Toledo and first made by the city's nuns.

Day 12: Train to Seville, Half-Day City Tour

Seville's beautiful Plaza de Espana
The beautiful Plaza de Espana in Seville

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 belltower, La Giralda, 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, with plenty of fountains and courtyards to see. 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 13: Family Visit to an Andalusian Olive Oil Estate

Kids will love today's visit to an ancient 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 14: 4WD Adventure in Ronda, Transfer to Málaga

Visit one of Andalusia's gorgeous white villages
Explore the gorgeous white villages in the Sierra de Grazalema mountains

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 Pueblos Blancos (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 relax 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 15: Family Walking Tour of Málaga

Welcome to Malaga!
History and culture meet the beach in Málaga

Enjoy a leisurely wake-up and a day of no driving as you and the kids take it easy and experience Málaga's easygoing 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, considered 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 16: Depart Málaga

Goodbye, Spain
Goodbye, Spain

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 hour, a private driver will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Spain Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Spain? Check out these other Spain itineraries, explore different ways to spend 16 days in Spain with your family, or discover the best time to visit Spain.


Map of Family Trip to Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid & the Costa del Sol - 16 Days
Map of Family Trip to Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid & the Costa del Sol - 16 Days
Written by Ramon Tormos, updated Aug 2, 2023