Zena Goldman blogs at Zena’s Suitcase and has travelled all over with her family, but there’s a reason why Spain tops their list of destinations they love. Here, she shares her top suggestions for quick breaks for all types of families and interests.
Spain is by far our favourite country visit on holiday with our children. We’ve been going to the country regularly for nearly 20 years, which tells you something about how much we love this European holiday destination. The culture is one of the most family friendly I’ve come across and don’t even get me started on the incredible food and amazing beaches Spain has to offer. We could be here all day! #spainforfamilies
With flight times from the UK of just over 2 hours to Barcelona and other aeroports and around 4 hours to the Canary Islands, there’s no reason why a short break to Spain shouldn’t be a part of your family travel plans. Short breaks to Spain with kids also provides families with budget-friendly holiday options.
Because of the short flight time, you can hop over and back easily. And when you start to reduce the number of nights you are on holiday to 2, 3 or 4 and if you are able fly on less popular days of the week, the cost of your holiday to Spain is significantly reduced. Less expensive travel has to mean more family holidays, right? (Such as more holidays to Spain!)
Here’s a list of some perfect short breaks to Spain and why you should add them to your travel plans sooner rather than later.
Son Bou, Menorca
Good for: Gentle beach fun and a culture vibe
Menorca is a picturesque and family friendly Baeleric Island, so you’re guaranteed the warmest of Spanish welcomes here. Son Bou is the perfect base for a short getaway as it’s just 20 minute drive from Menorca airport, but also provides great access for exploring the rest of the island. Son Bou has 3 kilometres of stunning white sand beach and the shallow blue waters provide children of all ages the perfect place for building sandcastles and taking a splash in the sea.
In Son Bou, families can also combine a relaxing break with local sightseeing. With it’s unique UNESCO status you will have many talayotic sites to explore — children find these fascinating — and you can also easily add a visit to El Toro, the largest mountain in Menorca for wonderful 365 views of the entire island.
Nerja, Costa Del Sol
Good for: Natural history and good food on the beach
The Costa Del Sol is packed with purpose-built holiday resorts, but if you are looking for a more authentic family holiday, then Nerja could be the perfect choice.
Following your flight to Malaga, take an hour’s drive along the coast road to this once traditional fishing village and spend a lovely few days soaking up the Mediterranean sun.
Nerja has developed a lot over recent years, while still retaining plenty of simple Spanish charm. Visit the Cueva de Nerja for a breathtaking lesson in natural history and remember you are just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful hillside village of Frigliana. You could even enjoy a family day trip to Granada and visit the historic Alhambra Palace if you would like to make the most of your time here.
The beaches in Nerja are brimming with family-friendly restaurants serving fresh fish and authentic paella. Fresh lamb stew is one the top dishes among tourists and locals alike. Active families can do watersports like scuba diving or waterskiing or grab yourself a pedlo for a more gentle trip out to sea.
Asturias, North West Spain
Good for: Getting away from the crowds to walk and explore dinosaurs
Once you and your family have experienced Spain’s traditional culture and landscape, there is literally no going back. Asturias offers families a unspoilt holiday experience in the north west of the country that you don’t want to miss. It’s hard to believe that this location hasn’t hit more people’s radar, as a flight from London Stansted to Asturias will catapult you and the kids into the warm Spanish sunshine in around 2 hours.
Emma from Bavarian Sojourn visited Asturias with her family in Spring and reliably informs me that it was beautiful. ‘Not too hot, not too busy, empty beaches and blossom everywhere.’ That’s the kind of holiday weather that appeals to me and the kids when we fancy a break from grey skies and city crowds.
Asturias is great for families who enjoy the Spanish culture, walking and the natural environment. The rock formations make for a more interesting visit to the beach and Lake Covadonga is highly recommended for it’s family-friendly walking routes. Dinosaur enthusiasts would also love a visit to the Jurassic Museum in Colunga.
If you are looking for a new culinary experience then the Emma from Bavarian Sojourn insists that the lobster rice, known locally as Rinlo is a must. I’ve certainly added it to my list of must-try Spanish foods.
North Costa Brava, North East Spain
Good for: Cycling, boating kayaking and day trips
Costa Brava is in the Northern region of Spain, and you have the choice of flying into Girona or Barcelona airport. When you get there, Monika from Mum on the Brink recommends heading to Roses, Empuriabrava or L’Escala for your getaway.
North Costa Brava has lots of fun activities including accessible cycle routes, and endless possibilities to explore the coastline by boat or kayak if you are feeling a little more adventurous.
There are no shortage of day trips to choose from, and Monika recommends ‘a boat trip along the canals of Empuriabrava, a nature walk in Parc Natural del Aiguamolls de l’Emporda or a coastal path walk along the rugged path of the Cap de Creus peninsular’ for making the most of your family time in the region.
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Good for: Beaches, waterparks, cave villages and camel rides
Gran Canaria is a wonderful location for a short family break all year round with regular flights from the UK taking just over 4 hours. If great beaches, fun-packed waterparks andsight seeing feature in your daily holiday plans, then you and your family are in for a real treat.
Cathy from Mummy Travels strongly recommends hiring a car to explore the island and I’m in total agreement with her after she shared with me the different places it allowed her and her family to explore. For a relatively small island, the activities on offer range from visiting cave villages, unforgettable camel rides on the dunes of Maspaloma, a visit to Aqualand or catching the ferry along the south coast to pretty Puerto de Mogan for a mini boat trip. What a lot of variety right on your doorstep!
While visiting Gran Canaria you can also enjoy the islands very own take on Spanish cuisine and test out their papas arrugadas (little salty potatoes) served with mojo sauce as well as an abundance of fresh fish and local tapas.
San Sebastián, Basque Region
Good for: Fantastic food and beachside amusements
Not only is San Sebastián an excellent place for a short family break, but it’s a brilliant destination for families who love to explore new food. You can visit the area by talking a short flight to Bilboa and then hop on a bus right outside the airport to take you to San Sebastián, which is perfect for kids who enjoy their different modes of transport.
As well as an array of fantastic restaurants San Sebastián has a wonderful aquarium called Oceanarium, a must for shark and stingray fans. La Concha Beach is the perfect sandy beach for families, and you can also visit the promenade to enjoy a few rides at the fairground as well as a large play area if you are travelling with younger children.
The beauty of taking the kids on holiday to an area like San Sebastián is you are guaranteed to find something for everyone during your stay. Ting from Travel Monkey recommends booking a family-friendly apartment near the Old Town so that you have easy access to all the local attractions to keep you and your family entertained during your stay. Sounds like the perfect place to stay to me!
Good for: One of the world’s top cultural destinations, with fun for kids
We can’t talk about short breaks to Spain without mentioning a visit to the beautiful city of Barcelona. It’s got beaches for relaxing as well as a wide range of cultural attractions to explore. It’s a vibrant Spanish city that knows how to tick a lot of boxes for visitors of all ages. The only problem can be knowing where to start.
My top tip would be to join the hop-on/hop-off bus tour, as a fun way to see a lot of the city and visit marquee attractions like the Sagrada Família and Gaudi’s famous Park Güell. A bus tour is also a great chance to pick up some fun local facts that you might otherwise have missed. There are neighbourhoods to meander through, the picturesque and historic Tibidabo Amusement park with views over the city (great for selfies!), green spaces with playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants.
You can also take a leaf out of Claire from Tin Box Traveller blog’s book and visit the the L’Aquarium Barcelona, which is brimming with family activities and perfect for an escape from the heat or in the unusual event of a rainy day in Spain. My girls love watching sea life, so it would make perfect sense to add this to our itinerary.
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Tell us where you’d like to go in Spain or where you’ve been that you and your family enjoyed!
This post is part of a paid project with Spain, promoting family travel across the country. All opinions are my own.
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