Spain is jam-packed with fun family activities from north to south. While most people might think about beach holidays in the sunny Spanish coastlines, there is so much more to this varied country. From hiking in the mountains to going on a road trip through fun kid-themed villages, there are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Spain.
The best way to get around is to rent a car, as you will reach less trafficked areas and avoid the stress of public transport, especially with younger kids in tow.
Read on to uncover the best things to do in Spain with your family.
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Going on a boat trip in Malaga
Malaga is renowned for its beautiful coast and golden beaches. The best way to see all of this is to go on a boat trip. There are many different options, from catamaran tours with stops for paddleboarding and snorkeling to private sailing trips where you can bring food and drinks on board. There are dolphin-watching tours too which are fun for the entire family. No matter which of the Malaga boat tours you and your family prefer, there is something for everyone, and it is bound to become one of your top vacation memories.
Explore the Smurf Village
Nestled in the Serrania de Ronda in Andalucia, you find the unconventional blue village of Júzcar. While it is completely blue painted as opposed to the traditional whitewashed villages, it is one of the most fun places to take younger kids.
Júzcar is completely Smurf-themed and Smurf paintings decorate the walls of the houses, Smurf statues are erected around the village, and the kids can play at a Smurf-themed playground.
On weekends, there are activities, face painting, and fun games going on in the center of town. It is a fun day out for the entire family, with a few restaurants to have a bite once the small tummies are getting hungry.
Hike Los Cahorros de Monachil
One of the most fun hikes for families is nestled in the lower Sierra Nevada in Monachil. Sig-zagging through a deep ravine along a river, the path crosses several hanging bridges, the longest one is over 60 meters long. You will pass waterfalls and swimming holes which are excellent for a dip in summer, but not so tempting in winter. The narrowest part of the ravine includes sections where you must crawl and hold onto the rock wall to climb around it (relax, there are handlebars in the rock where needed, and it is not steep.) It is such a fun experience and only a 4-hour hike, yet it can take a lot longer if you decide to explore the waterholes and waterfalls.
If you go in summer, make sure you know what to wear hiking in hot weather, as it can get pretty hot. Luckily, there are a couple of places you can reach the river and cool down. However, it is advisable to return the same way and avoid the loop when it is very hot, as the last bit has no shade (and it is the most boring part of the hike too.)
Wander around the historical center of Toledo
With more historical sites per square meter than Rome, Toledo’s old town is a delightful addition to your family vacation in Spain. You can dive into Medieval times strolling through the cobbled streets and old buildings. Visit the Gothic-Mudejar Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes to learn more about the Christian reconquest and step inside Toledo Cathedral to admire the magnificent frescoes inside. If you want to break the history lesson and have some fun with the kids, why not take a Marzipan workshop to dwell in one of the most ancient sweets Toledo is known for?
Explore Gaudí’s fairytale buildings
Barcelona is on most people’s bucket list and it is an exceptional family destination. Gaudí’s fairytale structures will spellbind big and small with their rounded shapes and colored tiles. Most famously, the Sagrada Familia that still is under construction rises high above the city and encompasses a sense of grandeur and wonder as you step inside the spacious interior. But also the houses like Casa Güell and Casa Batlló are incredible inside and Gaudí’s iconic dragon is present in his colorful work as it is in Park Güell too. There you will witness the fairytale houses that were once planned as private residences – now reminding more of a set for a Hansel and Gretel movie. The incredible architect surely has left his trace in Barcelona, and you are lucky to experience it.
Go on a day trip to Gibraltar
On the southern tip of Spain, in the Strait of Gibraltar, there is a tiny, British territory connected to the mainland. Gibraltar is mainly recognized by the iconic Rock of Gibraltar and is famous for being the only place in Western Europe where you can see wild monkeys. The monkeys of Gibraltar were once transported from Africa and have since lived on the tiny peninsula. You can see them at the Ape’s Den from the viewpoint of The Rock. But be cautious, because these are wild, naughty monkeys that you cannot feed or try to pet. While monkeys sometimes might jump onto your shoulder out of curiosity, they might also attack your bag to get hold of the cookies you hide inside. So, hold onto your belongings. Other attractions you can see on a day trip to Gibraltar are the red, British phone boots, the prehistoric St. Michael’s Cave, and the Moorish Castle.
Visiting the witch town in the Alpujarras
Tucked away in the Alpujarras mountains in Granada, there is a tiny village known for being “The Witch Village.” The tiny town has its own witch trail where you can explore different statues of witches, dragons, and giant spiders. There is also a Hansel and Gretel House set on top of long, skinny legs, among other fun statues and details.
This is by far one of the most unique places to go in Spain with kids and they will certainly have a memory for life.
Visiting the Red River
One of the most unique things to do in Spain for families is to visit the Mars-like river in Riotinto tucked away in the province of Huelva in southern Spain. This is one of the best-hidden gems in the country, yet NASA has been onto it for a very long time. Due to the river’s hostile environment being nearly deprived of oxygen, they believe life in the river is very close to the one on Mars. If this is not an incredible place to visit with family, we do not know what is. Not only is it educational, but seeing the reddish water flow is a once in a lifetime experience. There is an old mine-train you can take to see the river and the mine ditches. The color in the water is said to come from the minerals and iron in mining area traveling down the river. This fabulous site is only an hour out of Seville city.
Chase Roman Ruins in Merida
Merida is one of the lesser-known cities in Spain that deserves a lot more attention. It is home to the biggest concentration of Roman ruins in the country and also the best preserved. Most magnificent are the Roman Theater and Amphitheater which are set in the same area and can be visited together with the remains of a Roman villa. Besides, there are several remains in plain sight on the street that are free to view, like the Temple of Diana and the Pórtico del Foro. Also, the Casa Mitreo is a magnificent Roman villa whose remains are still being dug out. Another great sight not to miss is the 1st-century Roman Aqueduct. But there are also plenty of other attractions in the city like the Moorish Alcazaba de Merida. Visiting Mérida is by far one of the best family-friendly things to do in Spain.
Visit the Alhambra in Granada
One of the highlights of any Spain vacation is to visit the imposing Alhambra castle, fortress, and Generalife gardens in Granada. This is an unforgettable experience for the entire family. Not only does it tell the tale of the different kingdoms that have ruled in Granada, from Romans and Moorish to the Christians. It is important to book the Alhambra in advance to secure a spot as tickets sell out fast as one of Spain’s most visited attractions. Besides walking through the majestic structures, the Generalife Gardens are a maze of paths, colorful flowers, Moorish fountains, and detailed arches that will amaze the entire family.
Summing up the best family-friendly things to do in Spain, there is no wonder why the country is such a popular family destination. Besides being a great beach destination, there is so much history and unique things to discover beyond.