Spain appeals to the child in everyone, so how could it not delight children? The Spanish find pleasure in the simplest of activities – sitting in a café drinking a frosty glass of horchata, watching children play soccer in a plaza, strolling through a park – and their enjoyment of life is contagious for all ages.
Any place you look for homes for sale in Spain will have something to delight children, but these are some of the sure kid-pleasers.
Barcelona: Gaudi’s crazy buildings on Paseig del Gracia include Casa Batllo, with balconies like skulls and a dragon-scale roof, and Casa Mila, whose wavy façade is draped with balconies of wrought-iron seaweed. The inspiration for Darth Vader came from its chimneys, so be sure to tour the inside and roof. These buildings could interest a kid in architecture and make him/her look at buildings in a new way.
Granada: The Alhambra, a fairy tale castle unlike any they have imagined, each space covered in intricate stone carving. Be sure to try the whispering corners.
Valencia: L’Oceanográfico, Europe’s largest aquarium, is only part of the brilliant complex of science parks and museums. Mangrove swamps to the igloo-shaped Arctic exhibits and Mediterranean sea life to the movie-star dolphin, Flipper, if it’s wet, the kids can learn about it here.
Avilla: Who could help being fascinated by an entire city surrounded by Medieval walls, especially when they can walk on top of them and look down into streets right out of the Middle Ages?
Jerez de la Frontera: Watch horses march and dance choreographed ballet at daily shows of the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art.
Seville: Get hooked on Flamenco at the new Museum of Flamenco Dancing (Museo del Baile Flamenco), attend a Flamenco show and return for dance lessons at the museum. Bring home the right clothes and shoes, too, from the museum shop.
Madrid: Visit the two giant pandas in their air-conditioned pagoda at the Madrid Zoo. It’s in a vast park behind the Palacio Real – royal palace, well worth a visit to see the official home of a real king and queen (although they actually live just outside of the city in another palace).
Tenerife (Canary Islands): Loro Parque combines a zoo, marine park and gardens, where whales, tigers, monkeys, parrots and sharks – some 4000 creatures in all — live in their own natural environments. It is Spain’s most popular zoo, and its top attraction is the frequent daily shows featuring Europe’s largest dolphin pod.
Malaga: For those seeking sun and sand at family prices, plus multiple amusements for non-beach hours, the Costa del Sol may be jus the ticket. Along with miles of golden beaches, diversions include Selwo (a nature park/zoo with animals of five continents living in semi-wild environments), Aquapark (Europe’s largest water park with rides for all ages) and Tivoli World (for all ages, but with a special section of 11 rides designed just for toddlers).
Cádiz: Less well-known (except to the Spanish), the Costa Ballena is another beach area, this one on the Atlantic side of Gibraltar, but with gentle waves and nearly four miles of fine-sand beach. Tidal pools form a natural aquarium where children are fascinated for hours.