SPAIN FOR FAMILIES
SPAIN FOR FAMILIES
There are few countries that celebrate children with as much exuberance as Spain. Its colorful cities, gorgeous coastlines, as well as the vibrant Spaniards themselves, create a welcoming and magical experience for the whole family. On our Spain for Families itinerary, you’ll be able to immerse yourselves in Spain’s varied and fascinating culture by experiencing the country’s most alluring destinations. These include Barcelona, Madrid (with a day trip to Toledo), Seville (with a day trip to Granada and the Costa de la Luz), and finally a ‘vacation within your vacation’ on the beautiful island of Mallorca.
Our 14-day Spain for Families itinerary allows you to combine history and culture with lots of fun for everyone!
BARCELONA – 4 NIGHTS
Welcome to Spain! The first stop on your Spain for Families itinerary will be the colorful city of Barcelona. There is a mix of everything on this lovely stretch of the Mediterranean. Nestled between the sea and the mountains, the aesthetics of Barcelona impress from afar and close up. From the famous gems of legendary Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí to a full range of contemporary avant-garde architecture dotted in between its 19th-century promenades and thriving local neighborhoods, the city is an architectural dream.
Upon arrival at Barcelona Airport, your private driver will be waiting to take you to your lovely accommodations. Our preferred accommodation choices are plentiful and range from boutique to elegant luxury. During your 4 days in Barcelona, you will enjoy the following experiences:
- Have you ever dreamed of having a local friend in every city that you visit? Someone that is always looking for new spots and takes you to the best authentic places in town? On our private Welcome to Barcelona Tapas Walk tour, your personal and exclusive “foodie advisor” will meet you at your hotel to take you to find the genuine cuisine from Barcelona, beyond just tapas. The whole family will enjoy witnessing how the city comes to life in the evening. Your guide will accompany you on a walk that traces the history of Catalan cuisine, through bars, restaurants and wineries, sampling ‘tapas’ or fun, Spanish, finger foods. Immerse yourself in Barcelona’s culinary scene and libertine spirit, which survives in some of the best bars in town. Although tapas is one of the culinary concepts that helps to define the current food scene in Barcelona, there are many others that demonstrate how eclectic Catalan cuisine is. You will be taken to places that show how the old coexists with the new, for you to get an overall view of the gastronomy in the city, where locals eat, and why. The whole family will enjoy getting this first ‘taste’ of Spain through its delicious food and drinks.
- A Private Half-day Highlights Tour of Barcelona including La Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell. Barcelona, with typical Catalan pride and creativity, remains determined to project itself as Spain’s most innovative city. It offers a staggering array of attractions. Your privately guided tour will cover how the city was reborn with the Olympics in 1992 and stress the importance of Catalan history and culture in its development. A highlight will be the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s most famous work and a worldwide symbol for Barcelona. The temple is a synthesis of his overall conception of architecture. Your guide helps you fully appreciate the fascinating and extraordinary mind and genius of Gaudi. Then, your tour will take in the Passeig de Gracia, the most stylish street of Barcelona, lined with boutique shops and art galleries. You will also see La Rambla, with its outdoor cafes, flower stands, exotic birds, and equally colorful street performers. Subsequently, you will head to Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter rests on the ancient Roman city of Barcino. Today it is full of buildings from the 13th to the 15th century. The Quarter is full of interesting shapes, peaceful plazas, and winding alleyways, with its medieval Cathedral. It is also home to the Picasso Museum and also the Roman Ruins. Last but not least, you will visit Parc Güell which Gaudí designed for his greatest patron. Kids will love running around this colorful park that seems like a fairy-tale world. After the tour, say farewell to your guide and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
- E-Biking Through the Empordà Countryside. On this tour, the whole family will have a fun and panoramic day of relaxing cycling through the countryside. During the day, you’ll visit charming medieval villages, ride through groves of almond trees, and meet local producers of typical food products. You’ll first meet your private driver in the morning who will accompany you outside of the city, towards the coastal towns on the Costa Brava. At the start of Les Gavarres Nature Reserve, you will pick up your e-bikes and start your adventure. You’ll marvel at the small, delightful villages in which time stands still. Feel the essence and the lively pace of the genuine Empordà region by getting to know the people who live there, because the attraction of the Empordà is its countryside, its climate and the stones, but, above all, is its people. You will ride throughout Pals, a medieval hilltop village with remarkable historic heritage. When strolling through its walled enclosure, you can sense the magic in the stones that are practically unchanged over centuries. The Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque styles all combine beautifully here. You can admire the delicate craftsmanship of the stonemasons and blacksmiths in the windows and iron grilles and grates. Then, you will cycle along to beautiful Peratallada, a medieval village that looks like it comes straight out of a fairy tale. You ́ll continue your route between local farmhouses, fields, woods, and picturesque villages. You will finally reach the ruins of the Iberian village near Ullastret. Here, you can enjoy the wonderful panoramic views over the area before your driver accompanies you back to Barcelona.
- One afternoon, meet your captain at the Barcelona port. From there, set off on a 3 and a half hour Private Sailing Excursion. Ten minutes after stepping aboard, you’ll hoist the sails, switch off the engine, and start sailing. During your boat tour, you’ll sail along the Barcelona coastline, enjoying a very different and spectacular view of the city. You can kick back and relax, or help with sailing the boat, just as you wish. A great way to enjoy Barcelona from a totally different perspective! Your tour will have you back on land in the afternoon, in plenty of time to prepare for dinner.
MADRID – 3 NIGHTS
After checking out of your hotel, your private driver will accompany your family to the Barcelona train station in time to catch a high-speed direct first-class train to the next stop on your Spain for Families tour, elegant Madrid. Your driver will be waiting for you upon arrival and will escort you to your centrally-located family-friendly hotel. As always, Bella Vita Travels will help you select a hotel that is perfect for you and your family.
During your stay in the capital city, we will arrange for you to enjoy a selection of tours led by our expert guides, specially designed to engage and delight a range of age groups and interests:
- A Private Half-Day Tour of Madrid including the Royal Palace: Our expert guide and driver will meet you at your hotel. Together you will enjoy the architecture, history, and anecdotes of Spain’s capital. Enjoy a tour that includes some of the capital’s most impressive sights. These include Plaza de Oriente and the historic quarter including the 17th-century Plaza Mayor, a wonderful Baroque square lined with arcades filled with picturesque cafes. Go through the peaceful Plaza de la Villa where the City Hall stands. Then head to the narrow streets of Madrid called the “Austrias”, named after the Austro- Hapsburg dynasty which came to rule over in 1561. Much of the Austrias neighborhood today is a gastronomic center. Among the traditional favorites is the famous Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world. The nuns of the Convento nearby occasionally offer their homemade cakes too! The tour will also include an in-depth visit to the huge and opulent Royal Palace. Home to the Kings of Spain; from Charles III to Alfonso XIII, Madrid’s Royal Palace takes us on a journey through the history of Spain. Though it is no longer the royal family’s home, it continues to be their official residence. The decoration of the palace’s rooms and their layout has gradually changed over the years as the building has been adapted to suit the needs of its residents. Here, there is an outstanding collection of paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. There is also the Royal Armory, considered one of the best of its type in the world. When ready, your driver will escort you back to the hotel.
- Soccer is the reigning sport in Spain and the Real Madrid team represents the pinnacle of Spanish athletic excellence. On our Private Real Madrid Bernabeu Stadium Tour, your family will have the chance to immerse yourselves in the world of Real Madrid. You will visit the stadium, the changing rooms, the tunnel, dugout, and even walk on the field. Everything that you have seen on television, you’ll be able to experience for yourselves! You’ll also visit the Real Madrid museum and learn about the history and evolution of this iconic team. Truly a must-do for soccer fans!
- Matador for a Day! Bullfighting (la corrida) is part of Spanish culture. This introduction tour will focus on the traditional aspects of this controversial sport. You’ll meet your private guide at Madrid’s iconic bullring, Las Ventas arena. Take in the history and cultural significance of bullfighting in Spain. Here you’ll also be able to walk behind the scenes and onto the arena floor. Learn about the colorful suits that the matadors wear when they are in the arena and the characteristics of a typical bullfight. You’ll then drive into the countryside a short distance outside of Madrid to visit an authentic matador school. Here young people learn all of the techniques to become Spain’s matadors of the future. After a visit to the on-site bullfighting museum, our young guests will take part in a demonstration of bullfighting techniques. A real chance to try their hand at being a matador (all on a stuffed bull!). This hands-on experience will be a highlight of your family’s trip!
- A wonderful excursion just a short distance from Madrid is our Private Half-day Excursion to Toledo, via high-speed train. On arrival at the Toledo train station, meet your local guide. From there, you will take a taxi above the city. Here, you can marvel at the overwhelming panoramic view of the former capital of Spain. Toledo is a thousand-year-old masterpiece created by various cultures including the Romans, Moors, Jews, and Christians. Its heyday was in the 16th century when it became the capital of the mighty Spanish empire. The beautifully preserved buildings of this ancient town provide striking testimony of Toledo’s rich and colorful past. The city of Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. Its location on a rocky promontory, bordered by the river Tajo in the very heart of Spain, is breath-taking. Its stone churches, brick houses, and winding streets embody Spain’s past. Some of the sites you will visit on your tour include the imposing Alcazar and its two Spanish synagogues. Then, explore the soaring Gothic Cathedral, Santo Tomé, and marvel at El Greco’s famed Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Ultimately, say farewell to your guide and head to one of the many local restaurants for lunch. Recommendations will be given! After lunch, you might opt for some strolling or shopping this afternoon before returning to Madrid.
SEVILLE – 4 NIGHTS
Next on your Spain for Families itinerary is beautiful Seville. Your private driver will escort you to the train station in Madrid. From here, you’ll take the high-speed, first-class train straight to Cordoba. Before traveling to Seville, you will enjoy a private tour of this fascinating city. Your guide will meet you at the train station, while your private driver will hold on to your luggage during your exploration.
After your tour, your private driver will accompany you to Southern Spain’s most colorful city, Seville. Here you will have several lovely 5-star options to choose from based on your travel style and taste. All of our lodging choices are located within walking distance of Seville’s incredible landmarks and fabulous restaurants. During your stay in Seville, you will enjoy your choice of the following special experiences.
- Upon arrival in Cordoba, meet your driver and local expert guide for a wonderful half-day tour of the Cordoba. First, you will visit the Judera (The Former Jewish Quarter) and peek into the Synagogue. Next, head on to the emblematic local neighborhoods and typical streets. You will also visit a wonderful boutique hotel made out of 2 ancient houses in the Old Town. You’ll explore the Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos as well as the Sinagoga to the Mosque-Cathedral. The highlight of the trip will be your stroll into the Mesquita. This is the former Mosque of the mighty Al-Andalus Muslim kingdom. On this tour, you’ll be able to appreciate how three different cultures; Christian, Muslim, and Jewish, came together to create this unique and fascinating city.
- No visit to Seville would be complete without a Half-day Private Tour of arguably Spain’s most enchanting city. With your private guide, be seduced by its enchanting neighborhoods. There are twisting narrow streets, stunning patios, and squares lined with orange trees. Visit the Cathedral, the largest Gothic building in the world. It features the tomb of Christopher Columbus and its 12th-century bell-tower, La Giralda, originally built by the Moors as a minaret. Explore the ornately decorated Alcazar Palace and its Andalusian gardens. And eventually, wander through the Barrio de Santa Cruz: originally the Jewish Quarter and now the prettiest quarter of Sevilla.
- Fun for the whole family will be our Market Tour and Andalusian Cooking Class. Today you’ll meet your local guide and take off to explore a colorful food market in the center of Seville. Here, together with your chef/guide, your family will choose the ingredients to create a typical Andalusian meal. Depending on the season and your personal tastes, you’ll choose the freshest vegetables, meats, and fish before starting your private hands-on cooking class. You will cook and taste some of the most famous dishes of Andalusian Cuisine. Enjoy the traditional salmorejo, beetroot and avocado cream and Spanish omelet or fried aubergine with honey. You will learn how to prepare paella with saffron, vegetables and chicken or seafood. If time allows, you will also have some Tortas de Aceite. After your class, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor with a delicious, and authentic, Andalusian feast!
- A Culinary Pilgrimage to the home of Jamón Iberico with a Hiking in the Sierra de Aracena. Iberian ham has become much better known over the last few years. Therefore, it is no surprise as it’s the best ham in the world, especially if it’s the acorn-fed variety. On this excursion, you’ll visit the Sierra of Aracena, north-west of Seville. This is the most important area for the production of Iberian ham in Spain. Here you’ll first enjoy a leisurely 2-hour hike through the rolling hills of the natural park of Sierra de Aracena. Enjoy the scenic walk led by your expert guide, take in the surroundings and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Afterward, continue on for an afternoon as Spanish as can be! Iberian ham or “ibérico” ham has become much better known over the last few years, which is no surprise as it’s the best ham in the world, especially if it’s the acorn-fed variety. These hams are cured in the mountain air for up to 3 years. They are considered to be the jewel in the crown of Spanish gastronomy. You’ll visit a farm, meet the farmers and learn how the world’s most coveted pigs are raised. Then, go on to see the facilities of one of the best ham producers in the town of Jabugo, a mythical name in Spain for fine ham. An expert will show you around, explaining the processes involved in the production of ham and of other products that come from the Iberian pig. You’ll see thousands upon thousands of hams that are hanging up and slowly curing. Afterward, you will be able to taste the wonderful ham along with a glass of the best fino or manzanilla sherry, a perfect pairing of food and wine! Then, head to the town of Aracena. Here, you will enjoy a gourmet lunch at the finest restaurant in the area or a simple home-style restaurant enjoying the local traditional fare. Dishes might include asparagus, artichokes, wild mushrooms, cheese, and acorn-fed Iberian pork- and don’t forget dessert (and lovely Spanish wines)! After all the food, your guide will recommend a walk up to the local castle before heading back to Seville.
- Enjoy an evening of Flamenco and Tapas. Your guide will transform into a translator as you ́re joined by a local of the Sevillano flamenco community, the most famous in the world. Learn about the true world of flamenco from the performers themselves. With roots tracing from Andalusian, Islamic and Gypsy origins, flamenco is a combination of intricate guitar playing, powerful singing ranging from the exuberant to the sorrowful, and passionate yet graceful dancing. A visit to Spain without a flamenco experience is not complete. Your host for the evening will provide a deeper understanding of its origins, its meaning, and its place in modern-day Spain. Enjoy an excellent performance before combining the evening with another of Sevilla’s defining art forms, tapas! Sevilla is the home of the tapas and has the largest number of bars per inhabitant anywhere! Of course, for this, it offers an amazing range of food. The variety is extensive, encompassing seafood, salads, cured hams, cheeses, red pepper dishes, the obligatory Spanish potato omelet, and so on. Who could be better than a local resident to show you the ropes into the world of Spanish food? Introducing you to the intricacies and/or delightful simplicity of Spanish cuisine amidst an informal, authentic setting is a special experience. ¡Buen provecho!
- Day Excursion to Granada and the Alhambra. Today after checking out of your hotel in Seville, you’ll meet your private driver in the lobby for your excursion to Granada. Upon arrival in Granada, you will meet your local expert guide for a Private Tour of the Alhambra. This is the best-preserved example of a Moorish fortress palace in Europe. It is also one of the world’s most romantic monuments dating back more than 600 years. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the Alhambra was a courtly city where the sultans of the Nasrid Dynasty, rulers of the last Spanish Moorish kingdom, lived. In addition to the ornate palaces of the sultans, your guide will take you to the military fortress for rewarding views of Granada and the surrounding mountains. You will then walk over to the Generalife, the country retreat of Moorish royalty just behind the Alhambra. Its beautiful gardens are abundant with diverse flora and stunning fountains.
MALLORCA – 3 NIGHTS
After your tour of the sites of Granada, a private transfer will take you to the Granada airport for a short flight to the beautiful island of Mallorca. Here your family will have a relaxing ‘vacation within a vacation’ on your Spain for Families tour.
The largest and best known of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca offers beautiful coves, mountains, tiny villages where ancient customs are still preserved, a cosmopolitan capital city, sumptuous seafood, great local wines, and many more treasures. Half of the island’s population lives in Palma, where palm trees and yachts abound, all presided over by the imposing Cathedral and Castle of Bellver. It is here in the capital that many of the island’s attractions can be enjoyed, whether by day or at night. Moving towards the north of the island are the wonderfully picturesque villages of Deiá and Valldemossa. You also do not want to miss the rugged coastline with uninhabited coves and crystal clear sea. There is just about everything on the island!
In Mallorca, you will have several wonderful choices in luxurious family-friendly accommodations, in fact, a few of our favorites! During your stay on the island, you will enjoy the following special activities:
- A Private Walking Tour of Palma de Mallorca. With your private guide, visit the waterfront Cathedral, which took 300 years to construct (from the 14th to the 17th century) and was renovated a hundred years ago, with Antoni Gaudí playing a key part. Then, you will find the Palau de l’Almudaina. A castle has stood on this spot since Roman times. The current building dates largely to the era of the Catalan kings who overthrew the Moors’ rule of Mallorca. The Spanish royal family still uses the Palau de l’Almudaina as their official residence in the Balearic Islands. You will tour the palace’s halls and courtyards with your expert guide and enjoy the fabulous views of the sea from the terraces. Below the palace walls lies a pedestrian area that resembles the Ramblas in Barcelona. Closer to the harbor, Sa Llotja once housed a commercial exchange sponsored by the local merchants’ guild. The Gothic building was constructed in the 15th century and today plays host to temporary exhibitions. The area around Sa Llotja contains a thriving bar and restaurant scene. When your tour concludes, you may wish to stop here for some tapas or lunch. Before leaving Palma, you may wish to stop at the Gran Hotel. Designed by Lluis Domènech I Montaner, this building introduced modernista architecture to Mallorca at the turn of the 20th century. Today it houses a gallery and café.
- Enjoy a Full-day Sailing Excursion along the north-west coastline of Mallorca, the most scenic that the island offers. Start your morning by embarking on a beautiful yacht and heading out of the port in search of Soller Dolphins on your way to Sa Calobra, a picture-postcard Cala featured in many films including the opening scene to “Cloud Atlas” with Tom Hanks. You will sail down the cragged coastline, cruising into sheltered bays with crystal clear waters. It’s the ideal opportunity to view the island from the sea and even better, plunge into its turquoise waters. Your captain and crew are all expert sailors and extremely knowledgeable about the island and will be happy to customize the day to best meet your preferences as well as show you all the secret hidden spots only experts and locals know about. For lunch, we recommend that you stop at a traditional and authentic restaurant on the coastline, but if you prefer to stay out on the water, lunch on board is possible. We strongly recommend a sailing experience whilst in Mallorca to enjoy the essence of the island and to plunge into the beautiful turquoise waters of some of the best coves and inlets that Mallorca has to offer. Normally, you would return to Port in the early evening, but if you would like, you can always extend your sailing experience and end the day watching the sunset from the sea.
On your day of departure, you will have a private transfer to the airport.
If you are not yet ready to go home, we can add several options to your Spain for Families tour. A few days on the Costa Brava? Or a visit eno-gastronomic haven of San Sebastian and the Rioja wine region? Or head to the Canary Islands for a bit more of sun, sea, and fun? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish.