Advice about Visiting Spain

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Questions


Christmas in Spain, based in Barcelona

Nov 2013

One of our children is studying in Spain this semester and we are thinking of joining him, along with our two other teenagers, for a week or so at Christmas. He is in Barcelona and we will be staying there. Any suggestions of things to be sure to do and see - we are happy to travel within Spain but don't want to stretch ourselves too thin. Travelling


You will be two hours by high speed (AVE) rail from Madrid and Sevilla. Both are delightful in their own right. From Madrid you can take advantage of Toledo, Segovia, and El Escorial. Depends on what you like. Lots of flamenco and history in Sevilla, lots of history and art in Madrid. Just depends on the experience you want. Enjoy! Anon


I wish we were going to Barcelona at Christmas!! A week is enough to visit the city well, I wouldn't bother travelling 'within Spain' as you put it with that short period of time. Think of jet-lag if you're flying straight there from California. It's usually takes about a week to recover! Anyway, a must for the holidays: a Christmas concert at the Palau de la Música Catalana (http://www.palaumusica.cat/en). They're not held on Christmas Day but either before or after Christmas, so check their calendar of events. The Palau is an amazing building that you'd want to visit anyway and I've always felt the best way to see it is by attending a concert See the Gaudí buildings: la Sagrada Família, la Casa Batlló, la Pedrera (Casa Milà), Palau Güell, Park Güell...

Have tapas in la Barceloneta, a seaside neighbourhood in Barcelona. Dont' have tapas along Las Ramblas (only tourist do...) A favourite bar/restaurant is La Bombeta. You can google it for directions and opening times.

Join one of the literary/history guided tours at http://www.itineraplus.com/en (My parents have in the past and always enjoyed them). Visit Camp Nou if your family is into soccer. Walk around the city and enjoy its architecture and Christmas decoration, nothing like what we get in Berkeley! Visit the gothic quarter, the cathedral and carrer (street) del Bisbe (only pedestrians). Plaça Sant Jaume (Saint James' Square) with the Catalan Government facing the Town Hall. As for Museums, it depends on what you're keen on. There's the Museu Picasso, and Fundació Joan Miró http://www.fundaciomiro-bcn.org/?idioma=2 (a must if you're into art)

About an hour away from Barcelona, and reachable by train, in Figueres, there's Casa Museu Dalí, http://www.salvador-dali.org/museus/figueres/en_index.html another must for art lovers.

Also, please note both Christmas Day and Boxing day (26th December) are holidays and museums, shops etc will be closed. Bones vacances (i Bon Nadal ) I wish we were going back to Barcelona too!
 


Trip to Spain with 3 and 6 year old

April 2012

My husband and I are planning a trip to Spain, bringing our 3 and 6 year old (at the time of the trip). We're looking for a place to absorb the culture and not worried too much about hitting all the sights. Can anyone recommend a mellow, young-child friendly city in Spain to have a relaxing holiday? Or any young-child friendly sights? Thank you! Travelling parent


We are taking this very trip this summer. We're going with extended family, including a 5 and 8-year-old and my own two kids who will be 4 and 1. We are going to San Sebastian in northern Spain/Basque Country. We went there on our honeymoon and decided to go back with the family because we saw so much mixing of generations in tapas bars and all over, really. It's a small, walkable, interesting city, with lots of day trip options in pretty much every direction with not too much driving required for a change of scenery. But it is pretty small town-y and it is in the north, so you won't get your Gaudi/Picasso/mudejar/Alhambra fix there. --Spain-lover


I went to Spain when my kids were about that age, and we had a great time in the Costa Brava (north of Barcelona). My in-laws rented a house in Platja de Pals, and it was a great base for exploring the surrounding area. We ended up doing less exploring than I had anticipated since it was wiltingly hot -- we spent a LOT of time in the pool or at the beach, and the rest of it seeking out cold drinks and ice cream. But we all had a terrific time, and a person can see a lot of culture while seeking out cold drinks and ice cream. I haven't seen the rest of Spain so I can't offer other recommendations. Jennifer


Spain with a 4 year old: somewhere less urban?

May 2009

We are heading to Spain for 2 weeks in August with our 4 year old. We will be flying in to Barcelona and anticipate staying there for at 4-5 days and were also thinking of possibly going to Valencia, Granada or Seville, but would like to spend at least a day or two somewhere a bit less urban and would like recommendations for a smallish village or farming community somewhere along this route with a comfortable place to stay and something interesting to do or see for two grownups and a 4 year old.


Friends and I drove from Madrid to Cordova to Sevilla to the Pueblos Blancos and on to Granada. All were wonderful but my favorite place was Arcos de la Frontera (one of the Pueblos Blancos). My friends and I loved this small town. We stayed at El Convento and ended up changing our plans to stay an extra night (look it up on Trip Advisor). The restaurant associated with the hotel was very good too. Just walking and relaxing around the town was fun. There are other small towns to visit in the area and we also visited a cave with wall paintings. Jerez de la Frontera is also interesting - sherry wine, the Andalusian horses, and flamenco. In my opinion you can't lose in this area. Have a great time! Mary in Oakland


Sevilla and Granada with a 3-year-old

April 2008

hi everyone - we're traveling to Spain in mid-May, and will be spending some time in Granada and Sevilla. We'll have our 3-year-old with us. Does anyone have any recommendations for places to stay, and fun things to do in either of these two towns? I'm going through a handful of books, of course, but am looking for ideas about must-sees and hidden gems and whatnot. Gracias! anon


In Sevilla, take your child to Plaza Alfalfa on Sunday morning. There is a pet market going at that time. My daughters loved seeing all of the dogs, cats, birds, etc. Just touring around these Granada and Sevilla will be quite fun for your whole family. Both cities are warm, colorful and inviting.You might consider a horse-drawn carriage ride -- touristy but fun. Of course, the Alhambra is amazing in Granada. There will be lots of walking, so plan to go during a time that your child is most rested. Spain is child-friendly -- you should have a great time. The high-speed train between Madrid and Sevilla is also pretty cool. anon


Visiting family in Spain with an 18 mo. old - what gear should I take?

April 2005

Does anyone have advice about traveling abroad (Spain) with an 18 mo. old. What gear exactly do I need? I feel like we need to take everything carseat, stroller, crib, highchair, ect. Do you have tips for the long plane ride. We will be there for 3 weeks in June. We are staying with family members that have no kids. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! Cristi


We're also going to Spain this summer to visit family with our 2 year old and 4 month old. It will be our fourth trip there with kids and the most helpful thing your relatives can do (if possible) is to have a car seat and other items that you might need already there. It makes your load a lot lighter. I actually like to take a stroller to the airport for layovers-it makes it easier to navegate through the airport while not having to run after a toddler. The flight is a long one and I recommend a portable DVD player and buying your child his/her own seat on the plane. Spain is very kid friendly and I hope you have a great trip. Feel free to e-mail if you have specific questions, and I'll try to help if I can. Jodi


I lived in Spain for many years and travelled there with a toddler visiting family. All I can say is don't bring all that stuff, you'll really regret it! First of all, everything is on a much smaller scale, even in the smaller towns, than we are used to here. If you take all that stuff plus luggage, there isn't a car that it'll fit into, taxi drivers will give you the cold shoulder, and people will think you're crazy for travelling with so much. Plus homes are smaller and usually pretty crowded, so it will be a hassle.

I would take a small lightweight compact stroller, and a car seat if you're going to be doing a lot of driving around. That's it. We bought a basic McClaren for our trip to Spain and it was worth every penny. If you are going through the airport in Madrid, there are endless, endless mazes of hallways and passasage ways to go through, and usually a bus ride from the airplane out on the field to the terminal. There's no ADA compliance there so you'll be pushing the stroller and then having to carry it up flights of stairs. A small umbrella stroller was also easy to throw in the back of a taxi or manuver in a crowded shop or restaurant.

As for the car seat, our relatives thought we were over reacting. We used it for a couple of longer drives, but for day to day it was a hassle, and just not worth it for taxis. But if you are going to be pretty much in the same car the whole time there, it's worth it.

Even though your relatives don't have kids, kids are in abundance there and I'm sure they can borrow a crib from someone as our relatives did. And if you go on any excursions, be sure to ask for a crib when making hotel reservations.

You'll have a great time. It's such a kid friendly country, and everyone is used to having kids around. When our son would have a melt down, everyone would take it in stride and you won't get those looks like you can get here. Buen viaje! anon


We just last week returned from 5 weeks in Spain with our 2-year-old. We brought a sit n' stroll (carseat that turns into a stroller) but ended up buying a $30 umbrella stroller there because ours wasn't sturdy enough. If you want to bring a highchair, I highly recommend buying the portable clip-on kind weighing 2 lbs (http://store.babycenter.com/product/gear/highchairs_and_booster_seats/highchairs/1641).

We didn't want to bring a pack 'n play, so we transitioned to a big-boy bed 3 weeks before the trip, but your babe is probably too young so you'll probably need yours. As for the plane ride, I went to the toy store just before and stocked up on lots of small new stuff to bring out one by one on the flight--finger puppets, markers and a pad, magnetic doodle board, small paperback books, stickers, a little plane, etc. Please feel free to contact me for more specific Spain info if you need it. We were in a small village in Andalucia. Debbie B


Spain trip with 6 and 10 year olds

Dec 2004

We are going to Europe July 23-August 18 next year with our 6 and 10 y.o. boys. We are flying into London and need to get to Costa Del Sol, Malaga, Spain to see our au pair. Other than that we are just starting to plan our trip. We don't want to jump around too much, preferring day trips more. Any suggestions of how to set up a trip to Spain or places that are must see for kids (and us) in Spain? Shall we add a stop in Paris and London? My husband has never been to Europe. Thanks Linda B


Toledo is an easy day trip from Madrid and would be a big hit with young boys. It's an old, walled city that still feels medieval (we walked under a portcullis that seemed to still be in working order). Toledo is famous for its historic steel industry and knives and swords remain a big tourist item. Streets are narrow and maze-like. If you feel like subjecting the kids to art, Picasso's Guernica (on display in Madrid) is awe-inspiring (the size alone should impress them), and since it's the only piece in the building the kids shouldn't get bored.

Barcelona is my favorite city in Spain (at least that I've seen so far). Cathedral Sagrada Familia is really cool, and other Gaudi architecture and sculptures are weird enough to appeal to kids. Parc Guell contains many examples and would be great for kids. Have fun! I love Spain! The food is great! I want to go back now. Thanks for letting me dredge up memories. Carrie


We flew into Malaga this summer and then took the train to Sevilla for several days. It's a beautiful and historic town that is easy to walk around and tour if you stay in the main downtown area. We had our son who was almost 2 with us. Have a great trip! Stephanie
 


Madrid and a beach town with 2 energetic boys?

August 2003

I am planning on going to Spain next summer with my 2 boys (8 and 9). We have been told to go to either Madrid or Barcelona for part of the time and then to a beach area (Cadiz or others). Any recommendations out there as to areas to be for a month with 2 energetic boys? iwonder


We have traveled twice to Spain with young children, so the advice may not apply for everything since your children are older. The first trip we stayed at an aparthotel in Madrid, which was a good way to go since you can cook light meals in the room. Madrid was not very child friendly for our kids (1 and 3); it's like Paris, New York, or other big cities . There is a large park (the Retiro), museums, and a zoo. We spent a week there before going to our favorite beach town. The following trip we only stopped in Madrid long enough to catch a plane to Almeria, the closest airport to Roquetas de Mar, a cute beach town on the Mediterranean. It is a well kept secret with American, until now, though the Brits and the Germans know it well and you get bratwurst or pub food as easily as sangria. We rented a two-bedroom townhouse right on the beach for about $2,400 a month. If you can go in August, Almeria, which is 20 minutes away from Roquetas, has a terrific fair (feria) with a parade, rides, games and even nighttime musical entertainment for the adults. Have a great trip. Anon


Madrid is terrible in the summer. Very hot, very dry and a ton of air pollution. We lived there for 4 years until my son was born and then fled. There's also not much to do there with kids except walk around. The parks have either dirt or cement on the ground with no trees for shade and there are very few public pools, etc.

Go to Barcelona where you have beaches and cool breezes from the sea. The architecture and food is more interesting in Barcelona and it's a generally more pleasent city. Then you can go to the beaches along the Med. coast of northern Spain (Costa Brava) which tend to be less overrun and commercial.


I lived in Spain for 4 years in the 90s and I would say that, if you can swing it, the best place to go would be a rural village which is close enough to a beach and/or larger city to make interesting side-trips. Most Spanish city-dwelling families spend at least a month in the summer in ''their'' village (where their family migrated from in the 60s or 70s usually, but sometimes just an adopted village or ''urbanizacion''(a modern, constructed village with 2nd homes)). Many villages have packs of kids in the summers, where life-long friendships are made. If I were you, I'd try either Andalucia (around Cadiz is nice, and there are some nice villages by the beach, like El Puerto de Santa Maria, or around Granada there are also some nice villages) or in the north near Santander is very beautiful. You really almost can't lose with the part of the country you choose, but I would try a Spanish speaking area if you want your kids to learn Spanish and not, say, Catalan or Gallego. The most important thing would be to somehow ask around and find a village where a lot of people return in the summer and which would be friendly... The summers I spent in a village in the mountains of Andalucia were among the most relaxing, wonderful times in my life. Good luck! anon


Visiting Marbella with kids

April 1999

We have 2 kids and are traveling to Spain in July/August. We found a relatively well priced apartment to rent for 3 weeks in Marbella through a website: www.holiday-rentals.co.uk. For the place we wanted we got in touch with a travel agent in England who has been very easy to work with.  Mel