15 Things to do with Kids in Andalusia, Spain

1 February 2018 0 Comments Category: Active Lifestyle, Cat Gaa

Kids_in_andalusia

Spain’s mos flamboyant region, Andalucía, overtakes the southern tip of the country, a destination for those passionate about food, culture and history. But the country’s recent surge in tourism is making headlines as more than just a low-cost holiday spot – especially when it comes to the youngest travelers.

It doesn’t hurt that Lonely Planet voted Seville as the best place to travel in 2018 and Málaga gussied up their port to welcome cruise ships. Without a doubt, tourism is booming in Spain’s southernmost province and more activities for kid travelers are popping up. And It’s more than water parks and theme parks and programmed day activities at resorts.

While my family is still quite young, I’ve included my favorite things to do for families around Andalusia’s eight provinces:

Explore castles and churches

One of Andalucia’s biggest draws is its cultural heritage, and Andalusia boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the lovely World Heritge City of Córdoba. In fact, Cádiz is considered to be the oldest continusously-inhabited city in Europe and the home of Spain’s modern constitution. Columbus sailed from the port of Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) onto the Americas in his famous voyage and Napolean’s army was handed its first defeat in Bailén (Jaén).

My picks:

The Cathedral compex (Sevilla): The Andalusian capital’s touristic charm is anchored around three buildings: a castle, a cathedral and a treasury.

The Alcázar, which Game of Thrones fans might recognize as Dorne, is more than just a lovely castle with intricate carvings. Kids can run around in the massive gardens (a great place to cool off in the hot summer months) or visit the grounds after dark with guides. The Cathedral, the largest Gothic building in the world, might be a yawn for some, but the iconic Giralda bell tower, once a mosque minaret, has 35 ramps to the top to race up and down. Finally, the Archivo de Indias has maps, miniature ships and books related to the discovery of the New World. Official Seville Tourism site

The Mezquita (Códoba): The red- and white-horseshoe arhces  – of which there are 856 – characterize the Mezquita of Córdoba, once considered the city of Enlightenment in the Muslim world. Kids will also enjoy the whitewashed alleyways and stately homes dripping with flowers, called patios, and eating a flamenquín as long as their arm. Official website

The Alhambra (Granada): Spain’s most visited monument, the Alhambra, Arabic for the Red One, doesn’t disppoint at any time of year or time of day. Perched on a hill above the city of Granada, it was in ruins before Washington Irving wrote about his months living in the Nazarene palace. Kids of any age can appreciate its Arabic style fortress, dreamy palace and the rotating exhibits in the Palacio Carlos V. Official website

Visit world-class museum

Museums are more than just an option for a rainy day (don’t fret – Andalusia, on the whole, recieves more than 300 days of  sunshine annually)  due to the region’s rich history of Moors, Visigoths, Christians and Jews. Even small towns and hidden cities are home to quirky and cultually significant museums, many of which host special events and workshops for kids, like craft activities or historical reenactments.

My picks:

Science Museum (Granada): If your kids love to do science expermients, the relatively young Parque de las Ciencias in Granada is sure to be a hit. From a planetarium to a permanent exhibit focused entirely on the legacy of Al-Andalus in science and technology, this museum also hosts a cafeteria, observation tower and endless interactive exhibits with science experiments. Official website

Pabellón de la Navegación (Sevilla): The Guadalquivir River slices through Andalusia, providing vital communication with the sea and several cities. The newly inaugurated Pabellón de la Navegación chronicles the role of the river and the Atlantic in the discovery of the New World, of trade and of Seville’s once-booming ship building industry. A school field trip favorite, this museum is a great surprise and boasts fun activity options on special events and models of old galardones. Official website

Itálica (Sevilla): A short bus ride from Seville’s Plaza de Armas bus station lies what was once a thriving Roman settlement on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. There’s a small museum and lucky youngsters can catch a reenactment and scavenger hunt among the ruins and excavations taking place. Official website

Explore the great outdoors

There is no shortage of outdoor activities that are kid-friendly in Andalucía. Owing partly to the weather and also to the Andalusian tendency to be outside, rural tourism and natural elements have become a huge draw to the area.

My picks:

The Caminito del Rey (Málaga) : Dubbed the World’s Most Dangerous Footpath, the regional government in Málaga recently reopened this dizzying sendero that was once used by workers to reach the electrical plant located at Ardales to the local train station. You can now trace their footstapes on a modern, safe footpath. Be sure to bring a sandwich for the hike, which is about six kiometers roundtrip. Official website

And if you have time, the ancient rock formations in Antequera are whimsical and a moderate hike for youngsters.

Hiking in the Sierra de Grazalema (Cádiz): Straddling Málaga and Cádiz, Grazalema is a white village known for its rainfall (the highest in Spain!) and hiking trails. Kids will enjoy the rivers, waterfalls and rock formations, and many of the hikes are short and easy. Official website

Grutas de las Maravillas caves (Huelva): Discovered by children a century ago, the caves of Aracena are an underground delight in the Sierra de Huelva. Though this lovely small town is known for its production of acorn-fed pork products, the crumbling castle ruins, mushroom hunting with a guide and a visit to the caves to see the rock formations makes a great trip for the Autumn. Official website

Festivals

Feria del Caballo (Cádiz): You don’t need to be a horse lover to enjoy the annual Feria de Caballo in Jeréz de la Frontera. Situated halfway in between Seville and Cádiz, this sleepy town hosts a raucous spring fair, typically held the first weekend of May. Carriages, amusement park rides and delicious food are the hallmarks of this free festival. More infomation

Lanjarón Water Festival (Granada): Known for its underground springs and simplicity, Lanjarón hosts a huge water fight in the heat of summer. Grab your swimsuit, water guns and mójate! More information

Moros y Cristianos (Almería): Taking place in the whitewashed village of Mojácar, the annual Moros y Cristianos festival commemorates the handing over of the village to Christians during the Reconquista. Expect parades, battle reenactments and even a horse race when Mojácar celebrates during three days in June.More information

Sports and active options

Attend a football match (Málaga, Sevilla): Fútbol is as much a part of life in Andalusia as tapas or sunshine, and Andalusia is home to three teams in the top tier league: Betis, Málaga and Sevilla. Attending a match is adreneline-inducing and ultimately a fun activity to enjoy with young people. Prices and times will vary accoding to match ups. But if you can’t attend a game, be sure to tour the atadium or pick up your favorite team’s scarf.

Spend a day at the beach (Almería, Cádiz, Granda, Huelva, Málaga): Andalusia sits at the southern tip of Spain and has more than 900 kilometers of coastline – resulting in 80 beaches with a blue flag, recognized for the excellent conditions and safety. It goes without saying that the beach is a huge draw, and kids love a sandy strip of land, a healthy dose of sunscreen and water. My favorites are in Huelva for family-friendly fun and hotels offering activities.

Skiing at SolyNieve (Granada): Andalusia’s only ski resort is a fun winter activity for all ages, and SolyNieve has ski runs, tubing and plenty of hot chocolate for the young ones. Additionally, it’s far more affordable than skiing in the Alps and other European hotspots. Check Groupon for deals on rentals! Official website

And there’s more – the tapas culture, the rural hideaways and flamenco – to ensure your children are enterained and enlightened with fun activity options in Andalusia. Be it an outdoor activity or an indoor activity, southern Spain is one of Europe’s best destinations for the whole family.

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