With a short flight time, year-round warm weather and a choice of affordable resorts, it’s easy to understand why Spain has long been a popular choice for British holidaymakers. Add culture-packed cities, glorious coastlines, fun-filled theme parks and some of Europe’s best wildlife experiences to the mix and you’re guaranteed an unforgettable family holiday. If you’re planning on getting away for a week or two with the kids, here’s a roundup of some of Spain’s best family-friendly holiday destinations.
Benidorm, Costa Blanca
Located on Spain’s well-loved Costa Blanca coastline, Benidorm is a popular family hotspot – and with good reason. The seaside resort is famous for its cheap holiday packages and vibrant nightlife, but its main draw is the trio of Blue Flag beaches. Top kids’ activities in Benidorm include watersports and world-class attractions including the thrilling Terra Mitica theme park, Terra Natura wildlife park and Aqualandia water park.
There’s more to Benidorm than golden beaches and amusement parks, though. For a taste of authentic Spain, head to the charming Old Town and spend the day exploring its cobbled streets and quaint squares lined with shops, traditional tapas bars and markets.
Benidorm’s coastline is teeming with family-friendly resorts, most of which go the extra mile to make sure young guests are well catered for with adventure playgrounds, kids’ clubs, daily entertainment and splash pools. There’s no shortage of places to eat either, and a stroll along the main promenade will take you past a selection of cafés and restaurants with kids’ menus.
If unique culture, delicious food and interesting sights is what you’re after, Barcelona ticks all the boxes. This lively coastal city offers everything from sun-kissed beaches to iconic architecture, not to mention a handful of quirky museums that little ones will love, including a wax museum and chocolate museum.
Families usually make a beeline for attractions such as Park Güell, famous for its playful artwork and gardens overlooking the city, or hop on board the funicular railway to the Tibidabo amusement park for fun rides and rollercoasters with spectacular panoramic views. If you’ve got any budding footballers in tow, don’t miss the chance to tour FC Barcelona’s stadium and walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s best players.
For a spot of culture, head to the Gothic Quarter and get lost down the narrow streets, browse the boutique shops and try some of Spain’s famous street food on La Rambla. Of course, there’s always the option to simply flop down on one of Barcelona’s sandy beaches and spend some quality family time building sandcastles and paddling in the sea.
If you’re keen to explore the road less travelled, the small, northern region of Cantabria offers an alluring mix of beautiful coastline, rolling valleys and rugged mountains. This northern Spanish region is a great choice for active families who want more than just beaches.
Santander, the region’s capital, has plenty of activities to appeal to both children and adults. Visit the Maritime Museum on the waterfront to marvel at the huge whale skeleton and watch sharks being fed at the aquarium. Thrill-seekers can head to the city’s coast for surfing and paddle boarding, with lessons available for all ages.
Just a short journey south of Santander is Cabárceno Natural Park, home to a wide range of exotic animals such as tigers, giraffes and bears. You can opt for a self-guided tour or explore the park with an expert biologist for a behind-the-scenes experience. If you’ve got the time, head to the Picos de Europa mountains for more outdoor adventures including hiking, biking and canoeing.
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
Sitting on Tenerife’s quieter northern coast is Puerto de la Cruz, which has become synonymous with sun-soaked family holidays. The city has a traditional vibe with its harbour and picturesque old town, and like most resorts on the island, there’s no shortage of fantastic beaches. The black-sand Playa Jardin comes with sun loungers and changing facilities and is backed by tropical plants, terraces, bars and restaurants. There’s also the Lago Martianez pool complex, which has shallow waters suitable for youngsters.
Just outside the city is the huge Loro Parque zoo, where you can see everything from penguins to parrots, plus many other endangered species. Nature lovers may also enjoy the Botanical Gardens or a trip to Mount Teide, one of the world’s highest volcanos. Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz, is also just a 30-minute drive away from Puerto de la Cruz and makes for a fun family day out with its museums, gardens and shops.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach break or an action-packed adventure, you’ll find the perfect setting for your next family holiday with Spain’s diverse range of destinations.