This two-week family vacation combines Portugal's beaches, palaces, and flavors with Spain's flamenco, royalty, and parks. Start your trip in Portugal with highlights kids and adults love, including playing on the beach, sailing in the ocean, and spotting dolphins. Then, make your way to Spain, where unique cultural experiences await, including sites like Granada's Alhambra, Madrid's Plaza Mayor, and Seville's Royal Alcázar.

Highlights

  • Snorkel, swim, and dolphin watch in the Algarve
  • Sail to the Benagil and Carvoeiro caves in Portugal
  • Watch a flamenco show in Seville
  • Ride a cable car over Madrid's skyline

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Family Food & Cultural Walk Lisbon
Day 2 Lisbon Guided Family Excursion, Free Afternoon Lisbon
Day 3 Sintra for Young Explorers Lisbon
Day 4 Lisbon to the Algarve, Enjoy the Beaches of the Algarve Algarve
Day 5 Catamaran Sailing Cruise to Benagil & Carvoeiro Algarve
Day 6 Dolphin Watching in the Algarve, Hiking on Rota Vicentina Algarve
Day 7 The Algarve to Seville, Best of Seville Family Excursion Seville
Day 8 Kid-Friendly Visit to the Alcázar, Flamenco Experience for Families Seville
Day 9 Seville to Granada via Adventures in Ronda Granada
Day 10 Visit the Alhambra & Generalife Gardens, Self-Guided Walk in Granada Granada
Day 11 Granada to Madrid, Madrid for Kids Tour with Activities & Snacks Madrid
Day 12 Cable Car Ride Over Madrid, Self-Guided Walk in Madrid Madrid
Day 13 Family Day Trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 14 Depart Spain  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon, Family Food & Cultural Walk

Enjoy exploring the historic center of Lisbon with a food tour

Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at the airport, your driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in, then set off for a kid-approved food and culture walk through Lisbon

You can learn a lot about a place through its traditional gastronomy, and what better way to start a vacation than with a food tour? After meeting your guide, you'll make your way to the most famous market in the city, Mercado da Ribeira, a haven offering fresh and natural products. As you move from stall to stall, your guide will ask your kids to ponder a few questions. What vegetables would you choose to make soup? And what types of fish do you find on the market? Then, feel free to ask your own questions, like why you'll always find sardines and cod fish on a Portuguese table.

You can't enjoy a food tour without tasting! Bites and sips include traditional snacks, tasty appetizers, beloved drinks, and delicious desserts. Even kids tend to love local delights, like canned fish and cod fish cakes, and everyone will enjoy the custard treat pastel de nata. As the saying goes, "If it tastes good, it tastes like Lisbon!"

Day 2: Lisbon Guided Family Excursion, Free Afternoon

Visit the 16th-century Belém Tower

Today is about exploring Lisbon's beautiful and fascinating corners with your family. You'll start with a guided tour, perfect for first-time visitors with young kids. Take your time as you stroll through the winding streets and stop at the city's most important sites. Along the way, your guide will help you discover some hidden treasures, a fun and interactive way to learn more about famous neighborhoods like Baixa, Ribeira, Bica, Bairro Alto, and Chiado. Listen to entertaining stories, ride one of the famous yellow trams, search for city symbols, and more.

After saying farewell to your guide, the rest of the day is yours to continue enjoying Lisbon at your own pace. Feel free to cater the afternoon to your interests and needs. One idea is to check out Lisbon's LX Factory, an old textile factory turned into a hip collection of street art, shops, and eateries. For more food options, you could also visit the Timeout Market, which hosts events and workshops.

Some other family-friendly museums and monuments include the National Azulejo Museum (with its panoramic painting of Lisbon before the devastating 18th-century earthquake), the Jeronimos Monastery in picture-perfect Belém (one of the few historic buildings to survive the earthquake), and the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian (home to Western and Eastern art). 

Day 3: Sintra for Young Explorers

Sintra's hilltop setting near Lisbon

Sintra will capture the hearts of everyone in your group, and it's the perfect activity to complete your time in Lisbon. With kids in mind, this day trip to Sintra entertains young travelers as they explore nature, history, art, and architecture. You'll start by visiting the historic village, then head to the two palaces, Quinta da Regaleira and the National Palace of Sintra. Along the way, discover the legends and myths that make the area's history entertaining.

Besides stories of royalty, battles, and romance, you'll also learn about how this magical place continues to inspire the arts. Many famous authors and international artists have passed through Sintra, leaving their marks, which you'll find with the help of your guide. In the end, you'll discover Sintra through its stories and pathways, meeting challenges, and completing fun activities and tasks!

Day 4: Lisbon to the Algarve, Enjoy the Beaches of the Algarve

One of the many beautiful beaches of the Algarve

After breakfast, you'll say goodbye to Lisbon and take a transfer south to the coastal region of the Algarve, home to the country's best beaches. After settling into your accommodation, enjoy playing in the sand and surf for the rest of the day! Most beaches are perfect for swimming, flanked and protected by towering cliffs and sea stacks. 

One picture-perfect option is Praia Dona Ana, the Algarve's most photographed beach. Enjoy over 500 feet (160 m) of fluffy sand bordered by cliffs offering cool shade on hot days. Since these cliffs protect the beach, it's the perfect spot to swim safely and snorkel. For a more secluded option, try Praia do Pinhão. Hidden and peaceful, you won't find any amenities here, so bring plenty of snacks and water. One highlight that kids love is the beach's blowhole that shoots water into the air.  

There are many other options, too, such as Ponta da Piedade, named by the Huffington Post as the "most beautiful beach in the world." Praia do Camilo is another iconic choice, with golden cliffs and dramatic caves, all protected for safe swimming and with plenty of shade. For more space, the second-largest of the area's beaches is Praia de Porto de Mos, a massive swathe of soft, pristine sand. And because it's further away, it's also less crowded.

Day 5: Catamaran Sailing Cruise to Benagil & Carvoeiro

The beauty of the Benagil Caves

One of the natural highlights of southern Portugal is the incredible sea caves, many only accessible by water. Today, you and your family will set sail from Portimão, making your way to the world-famous Benagil Caves. The journey is half the fun, as you'll enjoy a soft sea breeze while passing iconic beaches like Praia da Marinha, other caves like Algar Seco, and the Alfanzina Lighthouse. Kids love relaxing on the catamaran's sunbathing nets as you glide over the water and cruise along this coastline. 

Upon reaching the caves, your captain will drop anchor in the coves of João de Arens, where you'll have plenty of time for kid-friendly swimming, paddle boarding, or snorkeling. 

Day 6: Dolphin Watching in the Algarve, Hiking on Rota Vicentina

Spot dolphins and whales in the Algarve region

Get up close with wildlife as you sail along the Algarve coastline. You'll combine an exciting catamaran cruise with spotting sea life, enjoying water sports, and eating local snacks. Then, end the day with a beautiful kid-friendly hike on Rota Vicentina to admire beaches, dunes, and pine forests. 

The waters off the coast of the Algarve are home to dolphins and other creatures, including orca whales. Dolphins are fun-loving animals, and watching them swim and play in their natural environment is exciting for any age! Your captain will maneuver your catamaran to areas where dolphins socialize, frolic, and feed, giving you a better view. As you watch, your guide will share information about the animal's history and habits. After viewing the animals, you'll drop anchor in a secluded bay to enjoy swimming, going down the waterslide, or playing on the beach. 

Plan your trip to Portugal
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
To wrap up the day, say goodbye to your captain and enjoy a hike on the Rota Valencia trail network. You'll enjoy a shorter, kid-approved route, though the trails run for 280 miles (450 km) through the western Alentejo and Algarve. Starting from Bordeira, you'll follow a circular path through pine forests, passing idyllic beaches and vast sand dunes. As the area is home to remarkable biodiversity, keep an eye out for the numerous migratory birds.

Day 7: Algarve to Seville, Best of Seville Family Excursion

Seville's Plaza de España
Seville's Plaza de España

It's time to leave Portugal behind and cross the border into Spain. A transfer will collect you at your accommodation and drive you to Seville, where a family-friendly walking tour awaits. Settle into your hotel and meet your guide for an exciting walk through this historic city. 

Any walking tour of Seville requires numerous stops and must-sees, but this one caters to the interests of young minds. That means pairing iconic monuments and sites with fun and enriching activities entertaining kids and parents alike. Together, you'll discover public art, water fountains, and hidden stories, all adding to the excitement. If you wish, end the walk at Plaza de España to enjoy rowing boats on the river. 

Day 8: Kid-Friendly Visit to the Alcázar, Flamenco Experience for Families

The Royal Alcázar in Seville

Have you ever imagined playing inside a palace with your kids? Let your local guide take your family inside the Royal Alcázar and learn how this architectural gem and gardens evolved in a tour designed to inspire all generations! Through exciting and educational games, you'll discover unique art masterpieces, fascinating interiors, stunning courtyards and gardens, and stories and legends involving various kings and queens throughout the centuries.

Kids love all the excitement of Seville's Royal Alcázar. Still, all the hidden corners (one that unexpectedly plays music and another revealing an underground water source) and the animals on the grounds always seem to be the highlights.

Next, enjoy a flamenco show, a form of music, art, and dance fundamental to the Andalusian culture. With a local guide, you'll start with an introductory lesson on flamenco, so you're not just watching the performance but also participating in it! Discover the rhythm and fun of this famous dance and its history. Then, end the day with a professional flamenco show, grabbing a seat near the back so your kids can have a little fun dancing.

Day 9: Seville to Granada via Ronda

Ronda's gorge setting
Stand atop the Puente Nuevo and look into the gorge in Ronda

Today you'll make your way from Seville to Granada with a stop in Ronda, one of Andalusia's most famous Pueblos Blancos (White Villages). This area has many historical influences, including Roman, Visigoth, and Berber, so many of these towns have unique elements kids love, such as caves, cave-like homes, and rock paintings. During the Roman times, these villages painted some of the buildings white, a practical solution to stave off the region's hot weather, as white reflects light and heat. Prepare for breathtaking scenery as you pass through some of Andalusia's most enchanting places.

Drive through olive groves, lavender fields, rolling meadows, cork forests, and mountainous terrain before stopping in Ronda, where you'll have three hours to explore this beautiful city. Built atop a river gorge carved out by the Río Guadalevín, Ronda shares its dramatic history with tales of outlaws, bandits, warriors, rebels, romantics, artists, and writers. Kid-friendly activities include visiting the bullfighting ring and museum, stopping at the lookouts along the cliffs, crossing all three bridges (Puente Nuevo, Puente Viejo, and Puente Romano), and walking down into the gorge on the paved trail.

After visiting Ronda, your private driver will continue the journey to Granada. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and enjoy a relaxed evening wandering around the Old Town at dusk.

Day 10: Visit the Alhambra & Generalife Gardens, Self-Guided Walk in Granada

Generalife Gardens of the Alhambra in Granada

Granada was once the last bastion of Al-Andalus (the name of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule). You can see examples of this history at Granada's most famous landmark, the Alhambra.

In the morning, enjoy a family-friendly tour of this site. Constructed in the ninth century, this famous palace/fortress complex was home to rulers of the Moorish/Muslim Nasrid Dynasty and the Royal Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Your local expert guide will explain all you need to know about the Alhambra in a fun and energetic way, keeping the little ones entertained as you move from room to room. The charming Generalife Gardens, filled with colorful flowers and fountains, highlight the tour.

After the tour, enjoy free time to explore Granada at your own pace. You can walk around the labyrinthine streets of the Albayzin and Sacromonte quarters, the well-preserved historic neighborhoods of the city, or grab something to eat at Plaza de Bib-Rambla, lined with family-friendly eateries, trees, and bubbling fountains. Kids also love visiting the Granada Cathedral, walking through the colorful Alcaicería (old silk market) filled with goodies, and playing at the park along Carrera del Darro near Fuente del Paseo de los Triste—complete with a fountain, river, Alhambra views, and a playground.

For dinner, grab some tapas along Calle de las Teterias, then wander this famous street lined with colorful clothes, rugs, and glassware. Stop in one of the many tea houses for unique spiced coffees and churros con chocolate, then find one of the lookout points to watch the sunset paired with amazing views of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains. 

Day 11: Granada to Madrid, Madrid for Kids with Activities & Snacks

Madrid's Plaza Mayor

After a leisurely breakfast, you'll make your way to the train station in Granada, catching the 3.5-hour journey to Madrid with your pre-booked tickets. Settle into your hotel, then head out for a fun and delicious exploration of the city! Today is about enjoying Madrid from a kids' perspective, so get ready for games, wonder-filled stories, and even a little practice with the Spanish language. While exploring, you'll make stops for two kid-approved snacks: Spanish-style ham sandwiches and churros dipped in chocolate.

This private walking tour explores the city's historic center. Along the way, you'll pass Madrid's main sights: the Royal Palace, Plaza de la Villa, San Miguel Market, Plaza Mayor, and the Puerta del Sol. Your entertaining and energetic guide will keep the kids engaged throughout the walk with intriguing stories of Spanish history—think explorers, kings and queens, princes and princesses, artists, and more. You'll make your first stop at a family-owned jamón shop to taste Spain's prized Iberian ham and other cured meats, plus learn how to make bocadillos (traditional Spanish sandwiches).

Toward the end of the route, you'll make your second food stop at one of the city's most famous spots for piping hot churros and chocolate. When it's time to say goodbye to your guide, your children will leave with a new understanding of Madrid—a memory they'll remember for years to come!

Day 12: Cable Car Ride Over Madrid, Self-Guided Walk in Madrid

Row boats at Retiro Park

Start your day with an exciting ride on Madrid's cable car, El Teleférico, created to give travelers a bird's-eye-view of Madrid as they fly over the city. In about 15 minutes, you and your crew will travel approximately 1.5 miles (2.5 km) between the two stations, sailing over 130 feet (40 m) above the city. If you're using a stroller, you can easily bring it onboard with you.

Watch your kids light up as they observe legendary buildings and iconic sights such as Plaza de España, the Royal Palace, and the Almudena Cathedral. (See if they can recognize any sites they saw during yesterday's city tour!) In addition to offering unbeatable views, the cable car is a fast and sustainable transport to reach the heart of Casa de Campo, one of the city's green lungs and the perfect place to run around. 

After this adventure, you'll have a free afternoon to explore Madrid on your own. One idea is to visit Retiro Park, where you can rent a rowboat and paddle around the park's lake, see the tiny house known as Casita del Pescador, and check out the Crystal Palace, a structure made almost entirely of glass with free art exhibitions. When hungry, head to San Miguel Market, where you can buy various kid-adored-and-approved tapas from the many stalls. 

Day 13: Family Day Trip to Toledo

Toledo's incredible hilltop Old Town

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 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 14: Depart Spain

Say goodbye to Madrid and its Almudena Cathedral

When ready, check out of your hotel in Madrid and head to the airport, as it's time to say farewell to Spain. Safe travels! 

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

Map

Map of Family Vacation to Spain & Portugal - 14 Days
Map of Family Vacation to Spain & Portugal - 14 Days