Spain with kids: Costa Brava and Costa Blanca
To which most beautiful places in Costa Brava and Costa Blanca could you take your kids? What to see in Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante? Spain with kids – read the article below and find out how we spent a family Easter holidays in Costa Brava and Costa Blanca.
How to get to Costa Brava?
The best connection you can find is Girona (airport near Barcelona). All the cheapest airlines are flying there including Ryanair. I would recommend searching for a return from another place, so that you do not have to return to the same place. We were coming back from the popular Alicante, which has easy transfer to the airport and many flight options available.
If we don’t travel with camper or using couchsurfing, we prefer to book our accommodation through booking.com. Great filters on website allow us to limit the list of objects by choosing the price range, breakfast (we love to have it included!) even a swimming pool, sauna or car park for the rented car. Book directly through this link, so that I will take part in the booking.com affiliate program.
The most entertaining travel option for a family with active kids are Road Trips, which are moving from one place to another, allowing you to visit different attractions every day. We’ve planned the route through beautiful coast down Spain namely, Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante.
The more to the south we hit, the warmer it becomes.
It is worth renting a car for such trips. Nowadays it is not so expensive anymore if you do it through “searching engines”. Of course, you can also rent a car at the airport and either return it over there or choose different destination (note! there might be additional payment). It is always good to book the car earlier – the price will be much cheaper.
If you arrive late, which happens quite frequently, it is good to book an accommodation at the airport hotel. You will pay one less for the car, children will get up well – rested and your day as a parent will be definitely more enjoyable! You will see that Spain with kids can be really fun.
Couchsurfing, being open to others
If you crave a real journey, you need to embrace spontaneity and get yourself ready for any unexpected turns of fate. We need to read and plan before the trip, use Couchsurfing as well as be open for the advice of fellow travelers. At the Wroclaw airport (from where we start our trip) we meet a Spanish family who returns from one week trip around Poland. We get advice about the most beautiful place on the Costa Brava is Cadaquéz – the town where Dali lived and painted.
Cadaquéz, the peninsula of Creus
I can honestly say, that Cadaquéz was the most beautiful point during our trip along the Spanish coast. It is a tiny, charming town with rocky coastline placed on the bay of Punta de la Costa on the Creus peninsula. White several-storey houses are adhered to the rocky slope like clams stuck to the stones on the jetty. Twisted streets reveal the secrets of the town that are hidden ice cream parlors, beautifully decorated gardens, fruit shops and cafes.
For those who like sunbathing and swimming, the town offers many small beaches hidden between the coastlines. You can see jellyfish, collect the shells and watch the octopus hiding around the jetty.
Begur Castle (Castel de Begur) is located on a hill, to which you have to climb a twisted path between the intense aromas of Mediterranean vegetation. The short bushes along the path are so dense that they look almost like a jungle. This is a great tackle for children – boring climbing can turn into an exotic journey in the unknown and you will quickly reach together up to the hill. On the top of the mountain castle walls are located. Here you have to watch out for children, your brave explorers may want to climb on that high walls. Views compensate fear and allow you to enjoy satisfaction of reaching that point. Strong aromas of Mediterranean herbs and warm southern sun are great additions to this adventure.
Calella – hotel resort
Tourist Calella is not the loveliest place of Costa Brava – the city is built up with a large number of hotels, many buildings are still under construction. However, the prices of accommodation in this place are very affordable. With the rented car, we can go to a cheaper hotel and the next day drive up to the place that we want to visit.
In Calella, we rented a small room in a large and not the latest hotel via Booking.com. We shared the balcony with a French family, and in the evening we can hear music from the club. Most importantly – there was a swimming pool for children and adults in the hotel. The kids were not paying attention to the cold wind, they just jump and splash the water. Here is the proof that sometimes the views are not as important as having fun!
Barcelona – must-see
On your bucket list in Costa Brava you cannot miss Barcelona! This is a unique city with its special atmosphere thanks to Gaudi and the history of the city. However, note – the city in the season is very crowded, hot, stuffy and unpleasant the only exceptions are outside places with green parks. Many attractions need to be booked in advance, especially Güell Park.
Sagrada Familia has a large queue of visitors – long ques , narrow corridors – it is not the best idea for visiting with young kids.
If you want to see the Sagrada Familia church, I would recommend to have a walk around and have patience for buying tickets. Later it is equally uncomfortable, but it is one of the places to must see. If you have doubts, maybe it is worth coming back in some time with slightly older kids?
I definitely recommend to book tickets a few days earlier to Güell Park. It is a relaxing, wonderful place with Gaudí’s characteristic sculptures. One of the symbols of Barcelona, and in addition an ideal place with children. After visiting the park, it is also worth visiting the 4-D cinema, where kids will find out who Gaudi was and what inspired him. The film presents the history of the dragon, who was killed by medieval knights, which carcass rests on the roof of Casa Batillo, becoming an inspiration for Gaudi, as well as all the children watching this movie.
Camping in the seaside Cambrils
We are running away from the crowded and hot Barcelona to camping in Cambrils. Of course, during such trip you must try the Spanish paella. Lobsters are fascinating view and opportunity for our kids to have fun. The pool in the camping is for sure a reward after a two-hour drive by car.
Tarragona – Roman arenas
Go back in time in the Costa Brava! After seeing the 9th century Barcelona and medieval castles, visit the Roman gardens and arenas. In Tarragon, you can touch, smell and see the Roman Empire heritage – plants, burned incenses, sculptures and old practices. I would recommend seeing the model of a town from the Roman Empire times that is located in the town hall, as well as an app for phone, where you can see Tarragon from the time of its Roman glory days. All these references to the Roman Empire fascinated our boys and I can guarantee you that they will also evoke your children’s imagination, especially if you read one or two Asterix comics before you go!
In Tarragona, you can also go back in time and visit the medieval cathedral and priory. In that kids will calm down a little and fall into reflective moods. In the priory garden, you can see oranges on trees and fish in ponds. While being in the cathedral and its cold cloisters, you will see bloody paintings of saints and gloomy sculptures, which will definitely calm down the kids.
Valencia – the old town and Oceanografic
On the Costa Brava route, you need to see Valencia – a city rich in culture, both Muslim and Christian. I would recommend to stroll around the old town of Valencia and see the cathedral and Mercado Central. We are Walking Tours’ enthusiasts, which means joining a sightseeing group, although with kids we often have to split off from the group in the middle of the walk.
The Oceanografic – one of the largest oceanariums in Europe will be definitely a blast for children. The place will take at least few hours of your time. There is a mesmerising dolphins show, loads of multimedia content and of course easily accessible and wide viewing terraces to admire all water creatures. The part about Antarctica is very inspiring, where it is very cold and mysterious and you can see huge aquariums with sharks, jellyfish and countless fish.
There is also a 4D cinema, where one of the special effects are soap bubbles, foam and tickling pieces of material that imitate the crab’s touch. Definitely worth visiting.
It is worth seeing a Spanish interior that is raw and savage. Here we stay in camping where the conditions are not as nice as on the coast. Mosquitoes bite overly, ants and other insects are everywhere. In these tough conditions around the mountains, we find the route of medieval castles, to which we drive with some small stops for ice cream and shopping.
Alicante is a well known tourist resort. In fact, even at the beginning of the season, the beaches are crowded and full of tourists and sellers of all beach props. We definitely wanted to swim in the sea before our departure, so we spend the last day of the trip on this beautiful beach located in the city. We were lucky to see Easter parade, which reminds us of the strong, Christian roots of the Iberian country.
Our route: Cadaquez (Dali) – Palafrugel – Begur – Calella – Barcelona – Cambrils – Tarragona – Oropesa del Mar – Valencia – Las Virtudes – Villana, other castles – Alicante
Guides for traveling to Spain with kids:
* Book your flight in advance to get a low ticket price.
* Book a car in advance. Pay attention to additional insurance costs when signing a rental contract.
* Book accommodation in advance if you want to have good prices in hotels / hostels.
* Booking.com – great opportunities to view offers, good filters, a transparent reference system.
* Airbnb.com – you can find accommodation in the downtown at a better price.
* Couchsurfing.com – to experience a meeting with local families, try real local culture. Remember! Through Couchsurfing you have to book accommodation in advance and be accepted by the host.
* Barcelona – book entrance to Güell Park online in advance.
* Valencia – save full day of your time for a trip to Oceanografic.
* Taste Spanish paella, wine, olives and cheese.