By Tamara Toti
Spain is a beautiful and interesting country divided into regions, each with its own unique customs, food, festivals and language, the same goes for the climate.
The Spaniards love visitors, hosting strangers, drinking good wine, laughing and enjoying a good meal whilst celebrating life.
People just aren’t in a rush here. A famous saying is ‘Barriga llena, corazón contento’, which translates to “A full belly and a happy heart”!
A PEEK INTO SPAIN
The key to having a great holiday in Spain is to plan early and the best time to visit is during Spring when there are fewer crowds, accommodation is cheaper and it’s the best time to hit the beach. Avoid visiting in April and September as it becomes overcrowded. The Spaniards welcome kids in their restaurants with many being smoking- free. You can expect hotel staff to be friendly and fluent in English. Each hotel has free Wi-Fi and some have bicycles for hire, which is great for sightseeing.
Valencia is Spain’s best kept secret and the third largest city with five neighbourhoods for you to choose from – consider staying in Ciutat Vella the heart and soul of Valencia.
Nicknamed the City of Arts and Science, the city’s landscape has stunning architecture that tells a story of its past and future. Pedestrian and stroller friendly, Valencia is small enough for you to walk from place to place. The city is full of fun activities, such as science exhibitions and everyone will love the underwater world of L’Oceanografic and the
Bioparc Valencia, a unique zoo where the animals live in big open spaces, similar to their natural habitats. Visit the museums scattered around the city, or cycle through the beautiful green Turia Gardens and have fun in the sun at one of the beaches in the area.
THE REAL MADRID
Not only is it the capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2180ft above sea level, the Spaniards rightly say it is the nearest thing to heaven. Madrid is the most popular travel destination in Spain because it’s home to the Spanish Royal family, it has incredible sights such as the Royal Palace and Picasso’s best work and let’s not forget that the city is home to the football team, Real Madrid. Football fanatic or not, you have to visit the Real Madrid stadium. The city has several neighbourhoods to choose from – many of these neighbourhoods are compact and thus no tedious, long walks. Paseo del Prado offers the perfect family accommodation. There’s lots to see too; visit the Wax Museum to see statues of famous footballers, actresses and celebs. Another must-see is the Warner Brothers Movie World theme park and don’t forget to visit one of the amazing tapas bars. Spain’s tapas is said to be delish.
Visit Barcelona to experience a cultural diversity like no other. The city offers visitors a cosmopolitan urban feel, with the most picturesque villages and landscapes. To enjoy the pleasures of the city, choose a central location – El Born, Gothic Quarter and Eixample – are firm favourites. Also, Gaudi’s fabled architecture marks the skyline apart from any other. Barcelona has loads to offer families. With the beach a short walk from the centre, you can easily enjoy a day of building sandcastles and also visit the chocolate museum where you can sign up for a chocolate making class. There are also many interactive exhibits and gardens to visit, the Parc d’Atraccions will entertain both young and old. For the foodies at heart, you’ll be glad to know that Barcelona has the best to offer in seafood and traditional cuisine.
Known as the historic centre of Spain, Seville has stunning Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance architecture that speaks of days gone by. Visitors to the area will be treated to a wealth of attractions and a guarantee of superb weather with its steamy-hot summers and mild winters. The Metropol Parasol is by far the favourite attraction in the area, also known as the ‘mushrooms of Seville’ and the largest wooden construction in the world. Designed by the German architect, Jürgen Mayer, this wooden construction doesn’t only cover the square, but on top of the parasols, there is a special walkway and a terrace with a beautiful panoramic view. Metropol Parasol also offers an archaeological museum, shops, several bars and restaurants. A stroll across the Metropol Parasol is certainly worthwhile during your trip to Seville.
Seville is also home to one of the largest Gothic Cathedrals and kids are sorted with plenty of activities to keep them entertained too. The city of Seville is made up of maze-like streets and tall buildings. Take a walk with the kids and spend time admiring this beauty. Visit Maria Luisa Park and Plaza de Espana and have the kids enjoy a day of boating and exploring. Plan to see the Royal Alcazar, spend some time at Seville Aquarium or enjoy a sweet treat at one of the excellent restaurants.
Planning a family trip with the kids can be tricky, but if you’re going to be visiting Spain, why not try planning your trip with the help of Costsaver, they will make your time in Spain special and memorable.