Vibrant cities and beaches make for the ideal family holiday under the sun
Spain is a great place to take the family on holiday, and you can be there in no time at all as flights from the UK take just two hours.
Spain’s countryside, cities, beaches and towns are all extremely diverse, and this diversity translates to its family holidays. Whether you’re looking for an active trip full of waterparks and bustling cities, or a peaceful beach-centred holiday under the palm trees, you’ll find it here in Spain.
Costa de la Luz in southern Spain is a cultural hotspot, rich in Roman history and full of interesting landmarks, museums and galleries, as well as several laid back family excursions.
For a seaside family getaway Costa Brava boasts long stretches of serene beaches, with sailboats and watersports taking centre stage on the seas.
For a wild holiday full of thrills and adventure, Costa Blanca is your best bet. This bustling region is chock-full of waterparks, zoos and theme parks as well as it’s main attraction, Benidorm.
Best family friendly beaches
If you’re looking for a beach holiday with classic gold sand and warm water, there are few better places than Spain. This country has a monopoly on perfect coastlines as well as Blue Flag beaches at every turn.
Costa del Sol has 160 kilometres worth of coastline and several beaches to choose from.
Playa del Cristo in Costa del Sol is a Blue Flag winner and faces west, giving it spectacular sunset views. It also has calm waves and a gentle slope into the sea that make it ideal for children.
For a little more action, Benidorm’s beach in Costa Blanca is kitted out with swinging bridges, diving boards, rafts and a wet playground. There are also banana boats, beach playgrounds and tons of restaurants all along the sands. Costa Brava translated means ‘rugged’ or ‘wild’ and this epitomises its secluded beaches.
Tamariu in Costa Brava is another Blue Flag winning beach and is tucked away from the crowds, giving you and your family some privacy and your own little stretch of sand.
Even though it’s a quieter beach, Tamariu still has a handful of shops and restaurants so you can pop in for a bite to eat or do some souvenir shopping.
Best family activities in Spain
For a truly wet and wild holiday, Costa Blanca is the one.
This region has plenty of fun family activities and splashzones to enjoy including Aqualand waterpark, with 15 rides and some of the world’s highest slides. The Terra Mitica theme park is also a must-see, with rides for all ages and a 5D cinema to test your senses.
Meanwhile, Costa de la Luz has the Aquopolis Cartaya waterpark. This family attraction never gets too busy in the summer and has a large range of slides.
Costa del Sol is home to the one of the highest waterslides in Europe, which can be found in its waterpark, which so happens to also be called Aqualand. This family hotspot has a variety of rides and attractions including the Kamikaze slide, with its 22-metre drop.
Spain beats to its own relaxing rhythm – a midday nap is a cultural norm and dinner is eaten from 9pm onwards, although many restaurants in tourist areas are open earlier.
With the later nights you’ll find children scampering around well past 10pm, and it’s likely your own little adventurers will be keen to adopt the local late night mindset.
Keep in mind that Spain lives life louder than the UK, so everything from conversing families at the next restaurant table to mopeds whizzing through the streets could interfer with nap time if you’re unprepared.
Though your kids’ sleeping patterns may be out, they’ll receive plenty of attention. Spanish people love children, so your little ones will likely be fussed over wherever you roam, especially off the beaten tourism path.
Included among the most vibrant and child-friendly cities in Europe, the major Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona have wonderful shopping opportunities and family sightseeing activities that make them well worth a train or bus trip.
You’ll feel comfortable knowing that smaller souls are welcomed in these cultural hubs and, what’s more, museums and galleries often offer discounted, if not free, entry for kids.
Pick up some lingo
If you primarily travel to major hubs in Spain, you’ll likely get by fine with just English. That said, a little bit of Spanish not only impresses the locals, but ensures you can communicate if you head to more secluded spots.
Luckily, Spain’s laid-back locals are easygoing when it comes to communication. Even if you’re just starting to learn the language, you won’t gravely offend anyone with a mispronunciation – in fact, the locals will likely help you and your loved ones practice.
Plus, with so much Spanish surrounding them, your kids will get an immersive experience, and you might find you’ve got a translator in your entourage by the end of your holiday.
Other family holiday destinations
For more great family holidays check out some of Spain’s neighbours like Portugal, Italy and Morocco. But if your heart is set on Spain, have a look at our travel guide for more information on how to make your family holiday unforgettable.
While you’re here, you can also find our top family hotels in Spain below.
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This lively family holiday hotel is pulling out all the stops. You'll be right on the edge of your own sandy beach for hours of splashing in the shallows and suntanning on the shore.
Children will love this hotel's two outdoor pools, kids' club, and daily entertainment team running fun, family activities. You may even spot some of the hotel's mascots parading around the pool.
This family friendly hotel is what children's dreams are made of, with a large pool scene, the beach right at your finger tips, and tons of fun activities for the family like tennis, football and archery.
Children will be well catered for in one of the many kids' clubs, with character-themed club rooms and fun-tastic sessions. There are also plenty of spots to grab a bite to eat, including the buffet, Italian restaurant and American diner.
Calling all water lovers, Aquasplash Estival Resort has got plenty of splash-tacular water rides and activities for you. You'll get unlimited access to the Aquopolos waterpark with Kamikazes, Boomerang, ziplines across the pool and a Dolphinarium.
Back at the hotel little ones will have a blast at the mini-disco, play area and hotel-run kids' club. You'll also be just a 10-minute walk from the beach where you can swim to your heart's content and catch some rays.
This Robin Hood-themed hotel was completely renovated for 2017 and is perfect for family holidays to Spain. Its large outdoor pool comes with windy slides, a whirlpool bath and swim-up bar.
The accommodation itself is all Sherwood forest and Robin Hood-themed, with outdoor tree houses and fun fairytale murals on the walls. Location wise you'll be just a 10-minute walk away from the Albir beach, with sunbeds and parasols lining its sands and a palm tree promenade.