Enjoy 10 unforgettable days exploring Spain with your family, starting in the royal city of Madrid and ending in the culturally rich Andalusia in southern Spain. Kids love trying all the different Spanish snacks and tapas (churros con chocolate and croquettes seem to be a favorite), spending all day at the beach, cruising the coast in a catamaran, and discovering exciting cities like Toledo, Seville, and Granada.

Highlights

  • Explore Madrid with your tastebuds on a kid-friendly food adventure
  • Be royals for a day as you learn about Madrid's historical legacy
  • Learn how to make marzipan in Toledo
  • Enjoy a beach day and discover a network of caves in Nerja
  • Spend the morning cruising the Andalusian coast on a catamaran

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Madrid, Family Food Adventure Madrid
Day 2 Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy, Free Afternoon Madrid
Day 3 Family Day Trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 4 Travel to Granada & Explore the City Through Its Scents Granada
Day 5 Family Tour of the Alhambra & Flamenco Show Granada
Day 6 Family Excursion in the Andalusian Countryside Granada
Day 7 Travel to Málaga via Frigiliana & Nerja Málaga
Day 8 Enjoy the Beaches of Málaga Málaga
Day 9 Catamaran Málaga Cruise with a BBQ Lunch Málaga
Day 10 Depart Spain  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Madrid, Family Food Adventure

Taste all the delicious and traditional tapas in Madrid

Welcome to Spain! Upon arrival in Madrid, a private driver will take you to your hotel, where you can settle in before exploring the city through your tastebuds.

Madrid is a city made for families; from playground-filled plazas to kid-friendly markets, discover the magic of Madrid through its food, people, and history! Your local guide can tailor this private food adventure to you and your family's ages, interests, and favorite types of food. Some popular highlights that many families love to include are meeting the friendly fishmongers at the local market, peeking into the kitchen of a century-old churro bakery, and enjoying a proper tapear (tapas walk through the neighborhoods).

Along the way, you'll try plenty of kid-friendly bites (and some food adventures), enjoy a few playground breaks, and partake in interactive activities to keep everyone engaged and having fun.

Day 2: Family Tour of Madrid's Royal Legacy, Free Afternoon

Enjoy walking around Madrid with your family

Today you and the family will be honorary royalty and enjoy a half-day tour of Madrid led by an expert local guide. This historical walking tour explores the city's oldest barrio (neighborhood), the Austrias district, to give you a sense of what life was like in Old Madrid. As you journey through medieval streets, you'll learn about the Iberian Caliphate's reign in the 8th century and how Madrid became the capital of Spain in 1561. Adults will discover many interesting facts and anecdotes about the capital's unique history while kids stay engaged with exciting and unforgettable stories.

After the tour, you'll have a free afternoon to explore Madrid on your own. One idea is to explore Retiro Park. You can rent a rowboat and paddle around the park's lake, visit 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.

Alternatively, you could ride on Madrid's cable car, El Teleférico, to the heart of Casa de Campo, one of the city's green lungs and the perfect place to run around and burn off any jetlag. If you're using a stroller, you can easily bring it onboard with you. 

Day 3: Family Day Trip to Toledo

Family poses for a picture with the Toledo skyline in the background
A family poses for a picture with the Toledo skyline in the background

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 4: Travel to Granada & Explore the City Through Its Scents

The Alhambra in Granada
An iconic view of The Alhambra in Granada

After a leisurely breakfast, you'll make your way to the train station in Madrid with your pre-booked tickets and board a 3.5-hour train service to Granada. Upon arrival, settle into your hotel before enjoying an afternoon exploring this incredible city through its signature blend of scents.

This unique, family-friendly guided tour of Granada will submerge you in an authentic experience, transporting you to different eras in the city's history through scents tied to every age and locale. Discover the fragrances of sites like The Bañuelo, a hammam (Arab bath) from the Ziri period, the grand Granada Cathedral, built in the 16th century and constructed over the site of a mosque, and the colorful Alcaicería, once the traditional Moorish bazaar that's now full of Andalusian treats, trinkets, and souvenirs—a kid favorite!

You won't leave the scents of Granada behind; at the end of the tour, you'll receive a little box of the fragrances you've discovered during the guided route. Smells can bring you back to an experience or place, so you and your family can re-live this dynamic memory of your stay in Granada as often as you like.

Day 5: Family Tour of the Alhambra & Flamenco Show

Aerial View of the Alhambra in Granada
Aerial View of the Alhambra in Granada

No visit to Granada is complete without exploring the Alhambra, the city's most iconic landmark. Dating back to the 9th 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.

Next, immerse yourself in one of the most distinct elements of Spanish culture, as the Andalusian region is the birthplace of the Flamenco dance. You'll get a fascinating overview of this culturally distinct musical genre, from its origins to its current global renown. You'll experience authentic Flamenco's power, passion, and drama during the evening's dance performance. Tip: Choose a seat near the back so the kiddos can have a little fun dancing themselves!

Day 6: Family Excursion in the Andalusian Countryside

Explore the beautiful and rural Andalusian countryside

Today's adventure takes you one hour from Granada into the idyllic and time-trapped Las Alpujarras Mountains, which stretch south from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Historically, the range was Alpuxarras, suggesting that it may derive from an Arabic word meaning "grassland." This verdant region certainly lives up to the name, with water from snowmelt tinting the area in greenery despite the foothills below remaining arid.

Your private driver will take you into the mountains for a hike of your choice. Most options include visiting a tiny mountain village, where residents love welcoming young travelers and sharing their centuries-old history, architecture, and gastronomy. You'll stop for lunch in one of the villages along the way to sample the region's cuisine (with plenty of kid-friendly options). While in the countryside, your guide will help the kiddos keep an eye out for the area's abundant birdlife, especially the distinctive hoopoe with its special chirp.

Day 7: Travel to Málaga via Frigiliana & Nerja

The balcony of Europe in Nerja
Hang out in Plaza Balcón de Europa

Today is a day for a family adventure! A private driver will pick you up and take you to Málaga via the beautiful white villages of Frigiliana and Nerja. 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. Today, you and your kids can enjoy exploring their ancient streets.

Some highlights in Frigiliana include visiting the Molasses Factory housed in a 16th-century manor, the very last sugarcane factory still in operation in Europe, and walking up to the remains of a historic Arab Castle, where you'll enjoy truly incredible views. In Nerja, hang out in Plaza Balcón de Europa, a beautiful and buzzy square that eventually leads to the famed Balcón de Europa observation deck that sticks out over the water. Find a good place for lunch along the famously narrow and charming Calle de la Gloria

Your excursion wouldn't be complete without a visit to the magnificent Caves of Nerja, a series of caverns that stretch 5 miles (3 km), complete with hanging stalactites and columns, magical cave paintings, and a unique theater that holds regular concerts. You could also stop at the 19th-century El Acueducto del Águila or the Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo, a nature preserve and stretch of coastline with hiking trails leading to caves, beaches, coves, and incredible viewpoints. 

Day 8: Enjoy the Beaches of Málaga

Swim, play, and relax on one of the beaches in or near Málaga

Kids love playing at the beach, so a family trip to southern Spain should include at least a day of swimming, lounging, snorkeling, and splashing around on the coast! In Málaga, you have plenty of options. For an easy beach day, opt to stay in the city and enjoy the golden La Malagueta Beach, located in the neighborhood of the same name in the city center.

If you prefer to explore the coast a bit and get away from the city, you can head about an hour east of Málaga by car to the fishing village of Nerja, which you visited yesterday. Known for its coastal cliffs and beautiful beaches, it's an excellent option for a day on the coast. You'll find several choices, including a few beaches inhabiting hidden coves if you prefer a more peaceful outing. 

Whichever beach you choose, save time in the afternoon or evening for a meal on the coast! Southern Spain is known for its fun and lively chiringuitos, casual and family-friendly beach bars serving some of the region's freshest seafood. You can find these on any beach in the area. If you prefer to return to Málaga, the tapas culture in the city is just as strong as anywhere else in Andalusia. You'll be spoiled for options of atmospheric spots serving these tasty, casual bites.

Day 9: Catamaran Málaga Cruise with a BBQ Lunch

Sailing in a catamaran
Catamaran excursion along the Costa del Sol

For a truly unforgettable experience that your kids will remember for years to come, end your trip with a catamaran cruise along the picturesque coast of Málaga, the Costa del Sol. In the morning, you'll head to the Port of Málaga and meet your expert crew as they prepare a comfortable and fun voyage. The spacious catamaran offers the exciting possibility of sitting or lying on a net over the sea. Don't forget your swimsuits! Your captain will drop anchor in a quiet cove away from the crowded beaches, where you can play and swim in the water.

After your refreshing swim, enjoy a delicious, kid-friendly BBQ lunch with salad, meats (chicken, pork, and/or vegetarian options), bread, seasonal fruit, and beverages. Kids can enjoy sodas, juices, or water, while adults have the chance to sip on local beer, wine, or sangria.

You'll head back to the port in the early afternoon, watching the incredible coastline pass you by. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your own pace, as it's your final night in Spain! If you haven't already, consider visiting some of the city's monuments. Kids tend to love the Roman Theater, the Alcazaba, and the majestic views atop the Cathedral of Málaga. You can also view the Plaza de la Merced, the neighborhood where Picasso was born, or walk up to the Castillo de Gibralfaro.

Day 10: Depart Spain

Farewell, Spain!

Your family adventure in Spain has come to an end! You'll make your way to the airport to catch your flight back home. Safe travels! Adiós

More Great Spain Itineraries

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.