Spain is one of our favourite family holiday destinations. More than ever Spain is a destination for culture, outdoor pursuits, gastronomy and more, along with the usual sun-and-beach holidays. But with so much to choose from, how do you decide where to go, either on a weekend away, short break, weeklong holiday or even longer respite?
Here, we feature the favourite destinations of top family travel experts revealing their favourite places, attractions and sights that make Spain the destination to visit in 2019!
Go to: The Asturias
Good for: Off-the-beaten track nature
Get off the beaten track in this gorgeous area accessible from Bilbao airport with a raft of activities for families who love the great outdoors. In Ponga Natural Park, nestled between the Picos and Redes National Park, charming villages yield gorgeous views; crystal clear rivers beckon for swimming and canoeing; and the nearby coast promises beach fun within easy reach of the mountains. Charly of PODtravels, who loves Northern Spain, details more activities to enjoy in the Asturias.
Go to: Seville
Good for: Quintessential Spanish delights
Go to: San Sebastian
Good for: Pinxtos…& kiddie attractions
San Sebastian is known for its pinxtos — delectable snacks typically held together with a stick (pincho means spike in Spanish). In addition to enjoying a vast array of these on your visit, you should also visit the Monte Igueldo Theme Park — Maria from One Tiny Leap called it a highlight of her family trip there. A funicular takes you up to the park, which has a pretty carousel, toboggan slide, trampolines, a haunted house, the Mysterious River boat ride and an old-fashioned rollercoaster complete with driver! Other things to love: a boat ride to Isla de Santa Clara with its little beach and jetty for jumping off, green spaces and playgrounds where kids can roam and plus beaches for easy swimming, playground fun and (at Zurriola) surfing and bodyboarding (woohoo!).
Go to: Menorca
Good for: Clifftop drinks, fabulous beaches and quarantine island
Menorca was for years the ‘little sister’ to Majorca. Now it’s all grown up with a vibe that’s all its own: laidback with natural surroundings and just enough buzz to make it lively without being overrun. Our favourite bits (featured on our BritMums cofounder’s blog Jenography) include the 100 beaches, the haunting quarantine island where arrivals who were ill or suspected of being ill were kept, the long list of festivals and the Cami de Cavalls path that encircles the island crossing gullies and wetland, past watchtowers and lighthouses. Don’t miss the Favaritx Lighthouse, striped like a barber’s pole on a craggy outcrop. And whatever you do, visit the Cova d’en Xoroi bar set on the side of a cliff with views over the water. It’s family-friendly during the day and party central at night. See the top 11 reasons to go with kids to Menorca on Jenography, plus Penny’s breathtaking pictures of Cova d’en Xoroi on Parentshaped.co.uk.
Go to: Galicia
Good for: Culture and architecture
In addition to its delicious seafood, Galicia is host to historic cities, including Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the northwest region. Here, the grand carved facades of the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, the purported resting place of apostle St James and one of Europe’s main pilgrimage sites. Another great place to visit is in La Coruna, with the 2,000-year-old perfectly preserved Hercules Tower, a Roman lighthouse continuously in operation since the 1st century AD.
Go to: Calella de Palafrugell
Good for: Family-friendly food on the beach
Sam from North East Family Fun tipped us off this little beauty with these words: ‘cobbled streets lined with tapas bars, seafood restaurants by the beach and tavernas selling catch of the day’. Plus there’s snorkeling, boat rides, swimming, even a lifeguard on duty. After a day outside, you can head to the ice cream parlour in the middle of town which makes 40 types of ice cream. Whether you choose Limoncello or Oreo is based on your age.
Go to: Alhambra
Good for: Ticking off a classic site off your bucket list
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a former fortress and palace with impressive gardens, and a noteworthy example of Moorish artistic influence in Europe. You’ll need to book ahead and with kids in tow, especially young ones, you won’t be able to see everything. Combine a run round the garden with the Nasrid Palaces with carved interiors and gorgeous tiling (don’t miss Patio of the Lions) and enjoy the views over the city of Granada. Read the tips from Daisy of Dais Like These to make your family visit a success. This post from Devour Granada Food Tours also has some handy advice.
Go to: Lanzarote, the Canaries
Good for: Volcanos, camels and Cesar Manrique
Get outside the party locales on this island and you can discover something wild, stark, beautiful and exciting. The Mountains of Fire national park showcases the drama and thrill of volcanos close-up. There’s a museum where families can learn about the history and science, along with a simulated eruption. There are coach rides over the moonscape of the Ruta de los Volcanoes. There is a restaurant where the food is actually cooked over a volcano (yes, really!) along with a chance to feel hot ash and see a geyser shoot up from a volcanic tube. After that, there’s the creativity and style of artist Cesar Manrique, who shaped the island: snap pics in the Jardin de Cactus, visit the cool underground restaurant Los Jameos del Agua, check out the mid-century modern resort Meliá Salinas, which hews to Manrique’s philosophy of art-in-nature and low-rise developments. Check out Travel Loving Family’s guide to Lanzarote.
Go to: Calella
Good for: Scenic cycling and the beach
Just 20 minutes from Barcelona-El Prat airport lies the region of Costa Barcelona. The name is name as familiar as its northern neighbour Costa Brava, but that should be exactly why you want to visit! (So says BritMums co-founder Susanna, who blogs at A Modern Mother, and it’s true.) At its heart is Calella, a cute beach town that is the perfect mix of urban and beach where locals and tourists mix. Don’t miss the Calella Light House, where you get sweeping views over the white sand of Calella, and the watersports, such as the banana boat rides just off the city’s sandy shores in the Mediterranean. Sseveral beachfront cycle paths means you can pedal your way all around the city and surrounding countryside.
Go to: Tenerife
Good for: Family activities from mountaintop to shore
Tenerife is by no means a secret destination, but some of its delights are less publicised than the beaches and resorts you may have heard about. Ting from My Travel Monkey has a post that delineates some of the highlights: Its Carnival celebration in February is the second largest in the world and full of amazing costumes, exciting music and singing that will have you on your feet. There are 15 Blue Flag beaches for every type of swimming. The Tiede National Park features dramatic volcanic landscapes you can explore via hikes or by riding the cable car to the top (we did it in the evening and witnessed a fab sunset). Siam Park is a water park with a Thai theme, which extends to the food and even the massages available (!). The upshot? Don’t underestimate Tenerife.
More top-notch advice for visiting Spain: