As summer draws nearer, schools will be closing soon and vacation plans will be made. Why not bring the family to Madrid, a family-friendly hot spot! What makes Madrid such a great travel destination? Well, It’s got everything, from zoos to world renowned museums, palaces and amusement parks. And each step of the way you and your family will experience the thrill of Spanish culture.
Rail Europe can offer you some great products to help make your trip to Madrid an enjoyable one. With our selection of passes covering Spain and other countries, you can explore more of Spain by train than you thought possible and if you wish to venture to even more destinations, we can help you with that too! Combine Spain with France, Italy or Portugal and travel by train the whole way.
In this post, enjoy reading our Top Ten memory making activities to do with your family in Madrid. These activities are proven favorites of adults and children alike!
10. Parque Warner Madrid - After enduring the flight over to Spain, you’ll want a fun activity to wake the family up. No better way to do that then a visit to the Parque Warner. You and your family can meet many of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters while waiting to board your next roller coaster! A visit to this fantastic amusement park will certainly start your vacation off on the right foot. And with all there is to see and do at this park, family memories are just waiting to be created!
9. Faunia Madrid - This is a fun and educational day out! Faunia Madrid is a huge nature park. Here you will find thousands of animals of all types of species. The park has indoor and outdoor environments to explore. Eight of the world’s eco-systems have been recreated within this park. Take advantage of seeing as many animals as you can. You can visit the monkey area and actually might get lucky enough to pet them! Also, the rainforest section will amaze you with its brightly colored animals and reptiles. You will get wonderful photos on a trip to this park due to the wonderful background scenery! Highly recommended for families.
8. Museo Ferrocarril (train museum) – Learn a thing or two about the trains in Spain on your visit to this locomotive museum. You can explore trains, model trains and see how the Spanish railroads have evolved over the years. Kids will love this museum as most children find trains exciting (with good reason, of course!). Children see trains differently then adults. If you ask a child, a train is your ride to adventure and wonder, not just a steel locomotive to get you from city to city. Do your kids a favor and be sure to add this museum to your itinerary!
7. Plaza de España - After exploring the world of trains, switch tracks and visit the Plaza de España. Depending on the age of your travelers, they may truly appreciate this activity because they know what they’re looking at, or, they will want to learn more about what they are seeing because it is interesting! In the Plaza de España you can visit the stone obelisk with a statue of Miguel de Cervantes. Of course, Cervantes was the mastermind behind Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha). Below the statue of Cervantes, you can admire the statues of Don Quixote atop his horse, Rocinante. Alongside Don Quixote is Sancho Panza, on his donkey. And to the left of Don Quixote is Dulcinea, his fair lady. If you’ve not read the book, or seen the movie, we highly suggest doing so, it will make this stop that much more exciting!
6. Palacio Real de Madrid - Though royalty does not take residence in this palace any longer, a visit here is still amazing. Stroll up to the palace through the Plaza de Oriente, filled with beautiful gardens, hedges, statues and fountains. As you get closer, you will begin to see the grandness of the palace. Once you get to the structure, stroll around and explore. Visit the quarters of the King and Queen, see the luxury they lived in. Then, we also suggest a stop by the pharmacy, filled with hundreds of bottles to cure whatever ailed them! Between the gold, silver and marble decoration, you will certainly begin to feel royal yourself, just by being there! Don’t skip out on this palace on your visit to Madrid.
5. Museo de Prado - The Prado museum houses some of the world’s greatest works of art. The Spanish collection includes works by Velázquez and Francisco de Goya. There are also many foreign artist’s works here too. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce art to your children. A good idea would be to research a few paintings before your trip. This will make it even more special when you find them in the museum. A trip to Madrid should definitely include a trip to the Museo de Prado.
4. Parque del Retiro - Treat the family to an afternoon of relaxation in the Parque del Retiro. Here you can stroll through the park at your own pace and just enjoy each other’s company while enjoying the serene ambiance. Walk down to the pleasure lake. You can hire a boat and row the family around for a bit. A good way to relax for a little while in between all your action-packed days! Pack a some sandwiches and snacks and have a little picnic before leaving the park.
3. Day trip to Seville - While Madrid has much to see and do for families, you may want to get adventurous and experience other Spanish cities. Seville is a great day trip location. You can hop on a train and be there in about 2 1/2 hours. Many travel to Seville to experience a big part of Spanish culture, the bullfight. It is pretty amazing, the tradition and sport of the fight. It is not for everyone, but, it is a big part of the culture in the region. If you don’t go to a bullfight, there is many other things to see and do, simply let your adventurous side take over and have fun doing spur-of-the-moment things!
2. Overnight journey to Paris - Take the night train to Paris for some true adventure. The train ride is approximately 13 1/2 hours and in that time you can experience the thrill of sleeping on a train. You save spending a night in another hotel and are transported to a whole new country! Once in Paris there are countless things to do. This may be an activity you want to do once you’ve seen all you wanted to in Spain. Of course, you could take an overnight train back to Madrid as well, the option is completely up to you (another great thing about taking a train, so many options and a great deal of flexibility!).
1. Plaza Mayor - Remember back in the days of your high school Spanish class, most every class included repeating lines similar to “we’re going to meet Maria in the Plaza Mayor”. Well, if you go to Madrid, you should definitely take a stroll to the Plaza Mayor to see why it was mentioned in every Spanish class! The architecture is spectacular and the atmosphere is overflowing with culture and history. Stroll around, take it all in. Stop into the Casa de la Panadería for some fine baked treats. Then sit in the square and enjoy an afternoon of people-watching. Be sure to take lots of pictures too, you want to capture the memories forever!
Madrid is a terrific city for families to visit. The list above provides a mere fraction of things to see and do while in Madrid. For even more great ideas and activities to add to your itinerary, visit the Tourist Office of Spain.
And keep in mind, traveling with your family is an adventure in itself, no matter how near or far from home you roam. Be patient and remember to laugh and have fun. For most, a trip to Europe could be a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t be afraid to try new things, rather, embrace the new cultures that surround you and take back irreplaceable memories from your travels.