Spain is a holiday hotspot for families in search of sea, sand and scorching summer sun. As one of the most family friendly destinations in Europe, it isn’t difficult to find excursions to appeal to kids of all ages. From tiny tots to older teens, our pick of the best family-friendly excursions in Spain has something for everyone.
Oceanographic City – Valencia
Valencia’s Oceanographic City is the largest marine complex in Europe and each of its impressively designed buildings represents one of the planet’s seas and oceans. Watch a colony of penguins in the Antarctic, see the only beluga whales in Europe in the Arctic centre or watch octopus and rainbow coloured fish work their way between shipwrecks in the Mediterranean.
Perhaps the most impressive of all is the Ocean centre; one of the biggest aquariums in the world at 7 million litres. Take to the underwater tunnel as tiger sharks, sawfish and sunfish join a whole host of other ocean creatures as they swim all around you.
The Dolphinarium features five huge pools in which the centres dolphins perform demonstration to entertain the crowd. Younger kids will love becoming a trainer for the day and interacting closely with the wildlife, whilst older kids and parents who are qualified divers even have the opportunity to swim with the sharks in the Ocean centre.
Finish the day with dinner at the Submarino Restaurant, where floor to ceiling windows into the aquarium make it feel like you’re dining beneath the ocean. We can’t promise the kids will be too focused on eating their dinner though!
Tibidabo – Barcelona
Barcelona is one of Spain’s most popular destinations for family holidays and also a favourite port on the itineraries of many cruise lines, details of which can be found here. While there is plenty of choice for something to do in the city, a trip to Tibidabo mustn’t be missed; the 100-year-old amusement park is one of the world’s oldest and still considered one of the best family days out in Spain.
Take the short train ride from the centre of Barcelona to halfway up Tibidabo Mountain, where you will meet the quaint blue Tramvia Blau train that has been transporting visitors to the top of the mountain since 1901.
Tibidabo will appeal to everyone in the family for different reasons. Older kids will love the 4D cinema and Avio; the world’s oldest flight simulator taking daring fliers soaring above the mountain scenery. Younger children will have a ball on the theme park’s whimsical rides including the Ferris wheel and carousel, whilst parents will just be happy to relax in peace and take in the incredible views across Barcelona from the theme park’s position 500 metres up the mountain.
Tibidabo’s restaurants offer a range of dining options but we prefer to gather everything for a picnic in Barcelona and eat it in the amazing picnic area of Tibidabo, with the whole city of Barcelona stretched out below you.
Kartingmania – Port Alcudia
For families who prefer their activities with a little more adrenaline, karting can be the perfect excursion to please everyone.
Kartingmania is a huge custom-built karting track surrounded by hilly scenery and bathed in gorgeous Spanish sun. With sessions separated into age categories, the whole family can get their helmet on and get involved.
You needn’t even book your place in the race, simply arrive and drive anytime between 9.30am and midnight.
There is no better way to nurture a little competitive spirit between siblings!
Sian Park – Tenerife
This Thai-inspired water park was actually opened by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand and has since proven a popular addition to Spain’s array of waterparks.
Attractions vary from the tame Sea Lion Island and tubing along the Mai Tai River, to the bone shaking Mekong Rapids and lengthy Jungle Snake Flume. Absolute daredevils will soon be in line to experience Sian Park’s signature feature, the Tower of Power; a 28 metre water slide plunging into the waters below. The Dragon and The Volcano are equally as terrifying as their names suggest, and a highlight of the day is slipping and sliding through the acrylic tubes that wind their way through shark filled waters.
Those who prefer a more sedate affair should head to the serenity of Siam Beach or visit the Floating Market for some light shopping and indulgences in the Tea House.
Jeep Safari – Ibiza
The Jeep Safari of Ibiza tends to generate a heady combination of both terrified screams and excited squeals; great for families looking for something to keep older kids entertained on the White Isle.
This exhilarating experience sees you take your seat in an all-terrain Jeep for a tour of the island’s rockiest terrain and scenery that only a 4×4 can negotiate. Multilingual guides provide an interesting and humorous commentary as you travel around the island for around 4 or 5 hours.
Climb dirt tracks through pine forests overlooking the Ibizan coastline and make your way to the beach for dinner with a view.
If you’re looking for something different to the usual pools and water parks, a 4×4 Jeep safari is an awesome alternative! Just don’t forget your hat, water and sun protection!
Michael Wilson is the Managing Director of Bolsover Cruise Club and regularly writes for the company’s blog and on occasions for travel and cruise industry publications.
Image by Luigi Strano under cc license