Exploring Spain with kids can be a stunning experience for the whole family if you know the right places to go. The Iberian Peninsula is full of epic family destinations – one can be spoilt for choices. Yet some locations are so unique that my family simply can´t stop visiting them over and over again. Let me share with you a few lesser-known gems you simply can´t miss in Spain with kids.
Spain with kids
For both kids and adults
First of all, let me clarify one thing. While in this post I keep the focus on family travel and exploring Spain with kids, all of these unique places I am about to share are quite interesting to explore without kids as well. In fact, I initially visited some of them long before I even planed having kids. But now, as a mom of 2, I just have an extra excuse to return every now and then.
For more ideas, let me also send you to my blog section Family Travel. Note, that in this post I will NOT focus on large amusement parks in Spain, if that´s what you´re looking for – head to my post Family Travel Destinations in Spain.
Therfore, in this post I´d like to share with you a few lesser-knon places that we love visiting as a family.
Favorite Places to visit in Spain with kids
1. Jardin del Papagayo in Benicarlo / Castellon
Years ago, while exploring the Province of Castellon we discovered Jardin del Papagayo in Benicarlo by a pure accident. After visiting Peniscola ( a GOT filming location and one of the most beautiful small towns in Spain), and having an Artichoke tasting menu in Benicarlo, we had a few hours left before heading back home. So I pulled out my phone and searched on Google Maps for the nearest attractions. This is how we ended up discovering this gem back in 2016. I still can´t believe I’ve never heard of Jardin del Papagayo before, even despite being an expat in the region for quite some time.
Also read: Blue Smurfs Village – Juzcar, Andalusia
You can read the full story of that first visit in my post All Colors of The Rainbow: Jardin del Papagayo in Benicarlo. To put it short – since my very first minute at Jardin del Papagayo, I felt like the birds were having a blast. It honestly took me a while to adjust, as I was initially expecting some kind of a bird-watching experience in spain. Having 10 birds on my head and shoulders from minute 1 was a bit of a shock. I was not ready to be the “pigeon lady” from Home Alone 2. On the other hand, my husband had a parrot of his own and enjoyed the experience to the fullest. After our first visit we returned to Jardin del Papagayo with kids, relatives, and friends.
2. Wild West in Almeria / Andalusia
Ever since I´ve seen my first cowboy movie, I´ve been obsessed with visiting a Wild West Town somewhere around the world. Our trip to Almeria made this dream come true.
The Spanish Wild West can be found at Las Tabernas Desert of Almeria. Two main stops for the fans of westerns should be Fort Bravo and Oasys Mini-Hollywood. For more details and impressions about both – check this post Wild West Town experience in Spain – Theme Parks in Almeria.
This is the only place in Europe you could channel your inner cowboy while walking the streets of a Wild West Town. If visiting Spain with kids, Almeria´s desert is definitely one of the coolest landmarks in Spain. Last time we visited mine were toddlers, but they loved it anyway and were really curious about all the details. Neverthelees, we plan to return to Almeria again in the nearest future, cause now they can understand and appreciate the Wild West topic even more.
In case you did not know – many of the top Hollywood Westerns were actually filmed in Almeria. You can check IMDb´s full list here, I´ll just name a few: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Cleopatra (1963), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Trinity Is Still My Name (1971), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Dance of the Vampires (2001), Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014).
3. Aitana Safari Park / Alicante
While Alicante is one of the top family destinations in Spain both for the Spaniards and the international visitors, in the off season we always enjoy visiting Aitana Safari Park.
This places offers a unique experience to go on a safari without heading to the far-away Africa. You access the park with own car and drive around, while making stops in places where the stuff is present (otherwise it is not allowed to leave a car). They also organize private tour, for those who want an even more immersive wildlife experience.
Aitana Safari Park is a great place for kids to learn and experience more about wildlife and to see the exotic animals from the comfort and safety of own car. I feel like it´s a much better option than heading to the zoo.
4. Dinopolis of Teruel / Aragon
I always enjoy traveling to the Spanish region of Aragon, as it is still the lesser-known part of Spain for the international visitors. So, it fuels my Blog Series Undiscovered Spain and fills up the constantly-growing list of secret villages. While it is known for one of the most famous Spanish Romatic Legends – The Lovers of Teruel, stunning mudejar architecture, and secret mountain villages – the absolute favorite for my kids is always the Dinopolis of Teruel.
If you plan a trip to Teruel, check this post Top Things to See in Teruel.
Dinopolis is a large thematic space dedicated to the world of dinosaurs and paleontology. The main exposition is located in Teruel, but there are also several paleontological areas nearby (you´ll need to drive around to visit them all). While Dinopolis is full of activities for kids, history geeks won´t get borried eithe.
Dinopolis tends to be closed on weekdays during the winter months. Check their calendar and opening hours before visiting here. You can get a Dinobaby entrance for kids from 0 to 3 years old, which is free. For adults, you have a few options – Dinopolis park entrance only (29 euros) or Dinopilist Park + More sites (31 euros). For kids from 4 to 11 and seniors (60 years old and up), you´ll pay 23 euros and 25 euros respectively.
I recommend you check the details here on the additional sites and activities Because if your kids love dinosaurs and you plan to see it all – you really need to buy the full ticket from the beginning. Go for Dinopolis Park and More sites (Inhóspitak + Legendark + Región Ambarina + Bosque Pétreo + Mar Nummus + Valcaria + Titania) entrance ticket. Otherwise, each of these additional sites would cost you separately from 4 to 5 euros.
5. Manantial de los Sueños / Madrid
Every year around Decembre/January we love visiting Christmas Madrid. For a few years in a row (involving the pandemics, small kids, and moving to a new house) heading to one of my favorite Christmas destinations in Europe was not an option. So, Madrid has been our best bet to get into the holiday spirit.
This year we enjoyed a family getaway to Mananatial de Los Sueños and it ended up on the list of my top 2022 experiences in Spain. This place offers an immersive Christmas experience with a touch of magic and fairytale, including a Fairy Walk, ice-gorges, dazzling lights, parades, a skating rink, a holiday market, Santa´s and Elf houses, and a beautiful show set on ice. You can check the videos via IG Highlights and Tiktok.
By the way, in 2023 we plan to head to another Madrid winter gem – Torrejón de Ardoz. So, stay tuned for the updates.
6. Bosque Mágico de la Fuente del Pino / Soria, Castile and Leon
Bosque Mágico de la Fuente del Pino (or the Magical Forest) turned out to be one of the most surprising places of our family trip to Soria. This forest is located nearby the small town of San Leonardo de Yague (where we went to try one of the traditional Spanish delicatessen – torreznos).
This place is full of tiny houses of fairies and gnomes, some of which can be touched. Needless to say that this experience of searching for the flower fairies and exploring their houses had made our kids to feel beyond excited. As I´ve confessed on Instagram when talking about our favorite illustrators around the world – my girls love the fairy books of Cicely Mary Barker “How To Find Flower Fairies” and “Flower Fairies Magical Doors”, so searching for the flower fairies in real life was definitely a highlight of the whole trip for them.
7. Muelle de Las Carabelas / Huelva, Andalusia
Another great way of exploring Spain with kids is to time-travel back to the Age of Discovery by following the steps of the famous Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in Spain. There are a few Columbus-related sites in Spain no adventurer can miss. Muelle de Las Carabelas is one of them.
Caravel Dock Museum (or “Muelle de las Carabelas” in Spanish) is located in Palos de la Frontera, a small town in the Spanish Province of Huelva. It was one of the stops on my road trip from Algarve back to Andalusia. This place was built in 1992 to celebrate the 5th Centenary of the Discovery of America. The museum offers reproductions of La Niña, La Pinta and La Santa María (the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first transatlantic voyage back in 1492).
Also read: The Most Colorful Villages in Spain
Besides the replicas of the boats, you could enjoy the medieval quarter and the Island of Encuentro. The last one attempts to recreate the indigenous culture of the island of Guanahani, the first island where Christopher Columbus disembarked on the 12th of October 1492.
All kids were clearly having a blast at Caravel Dock Museum, while playing pirates, explorers and Native Americans. Even for us, the adults, being able to step on board of the Columbus ships felt exciting.
8. The Enchanted city of Cuenca / Castile-La Mancha
Although the Spanish region of Castile-La Mancha is globally famous for its Don Quixote route (which could be another great idea for a book-themed road trip in Spain with kids), its province of Cuenca has quite a few authentic gems, like The Castle of Belmonte, secret medieval village of Alarcon, the hike Ruta de las Caras, and the natural phenomenon – The Enchanted city of Cuenca (called La Cuidad Encantada in Spanish).
You can check the the full post about this place here.
The Enchanted City of Cuenca is one of the top fairytale places in Spain that are straight out of the Storybook. It is a circular walking route full of impressive rock formations, sculpted over the centuries by ice, wind, and water. Once you get your tickets, you´ll be given a small map with 13 main stops on the route. This is where you let go of normal directed thinking and liberate your imagination by looking at the peculiar rock formations of the Enchanted City. You can find anything from “A fight between an elephant and a crocodile” to “The lovers of Teruel”.
I find this place particularly interesting for family travel in Spain (there´s even a mystical Spanish legend behind it). The only drawback is that The Enchanted City is still not fully adopted for baby strollers.
What about you, dear reader? Have you ever visited any of the places on the list (with or without kids)?