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Best family holiday destinations in Spain: child-friendly resorts for your next holiday

Discover scenic beaches, vibrant cities and family-friendly resorts in our roundup of the best destinations in Spain for a family holiday, as recommended by Mumsnetters.

By Kim Gregory | Last updated Feb 15, 2024

Mallorca swimming cove

Spain has been a popular family holiday destination for decades thanks to its pleasant climate, family-friendly hotels and relatively short flight times from the UK. But it’s so much more than bucket-and-spade breaks. Spain is a country rich in culture and tradition with historic sites, culture-packed cities and delicious cuisine - all alongside world-class beaches and national parks across the mainland as well as the perennially popular Balearic and Canary Islands.

From Barcelona to Tenerife, we’ve gathered recommendations from Mumsnetters to help you plan your next family holiday to Spain.

Best family holiday destinations in Spain at a glance

1. Best for beaches: Menorca

Binigaus Beach, Menorca

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Best family hotels in Menorca at a glance

What Mumsnet users say

"I can recommend Menorca: it’s quiet (not a ‘party’ island at all), family friendly, clean, lovely beaches" -  PiggyBeekman

"I’d recommend Es Castell in Menorca, it’s definitely not Brits abroad. The Cala Fonts harbour has restaurants, tapas bars and shops. It’s lovely in the evening to people-watch. Five minutes’ drive is Mahon, definitely worth a visit. Beautiful city, amazing restaurants and yachts on the harbour" - recommended by Mumsnet user, bellamountain

Our verdict

If you’re a family of beach lovers, choose Menorca: a tiny island in the Balearics that’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where you’ll find gorgeous sand beaches and brilliantly blue waters. Choose from popular, amenities-packed beaches like the southern resort of Cala Galdana; or quieter beaches like La Vall in the north of the island, which boasts two stunning bays. Break from sunbathing and sandcastle-building to see Menorca’s charming, historic towns like Mahon and Ciutadella. Mumsnet user-recommended Es Castell is near Mahon with an atmospheric town and harbour of its own.

Read next: Searching for the best suitcase for your next family holiday? See our top recommendations

2. Best for a coastal city break: Valencia

L'Hemisferic, Valencia

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What Mumsnet users say

"Valencia city is stunning and the beach is beautiful. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and attractions. Accommodation is also very reasonable" - recommended by Mumsnet user, rooinspace 

"Valencia region is a fantastic area for children. There’s a waterpark at Benicassim, a zoo and a science museum. The best beaches north of Valencia are part of the national park Sierra d’Irta so there are lovely nature trails" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Umlauf 

Our verdict

Valencia is Spain’s third largest city but its atmospheric Old Town is small enough to walk around with older children. Meander through the cobbled streets, admiring the balconied houses and impressive sites like Valencia Cathedral and the iconic Mercado Central (central market) where you can taste local produce. You’ll find pretty squares and parks that the kids will love, like Parque Municipal La Granja with its miniature railway. Make fun memories at Bioparc Valencia, where you’ll see animals, and Oceanographic aquarium with its underwater restaurant. Sunny Valencia (which can get very hot in summer) is on the east coast: break up exploring with sunbathing and sandcastle-building at La Malvarrosa, the closest beach to the centre (around four miles away).

Read next: The best hotels with waterparks in Spain, according to Mumsnetters

3. Best for family-friendly activities: Tenerife

Family on holiday in Tenerife

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Best family hotels in Tenerife at a glance

  • Best overall: Tivoli La Caleta | Book now 

  • Best budget: Royal Sun Resort Apartments | Book now

  • Best all-inclusive: Tagoro Family & Fun Costa Adeje | Book now

  • Best with waterslides: Adrián Hoteles Roca Nivaria | Book now

  • Best for teens: Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife | Book now

What Mumsnet users say

"The biggest waterpark in Europe is there (Siam Park). The Costa Adeje area is lovely with an enormous beach and plenty of restaurants. It’s away from the 18-30 resort" - Ellabella989

"I second Costa Adeje in Tenerife" -  VirginiaCreeper

Our verdict

As the biggest of Spain’s Canary Islands, picturesque Tenerife offers tons of fun family activities to pack out your holiday. Make memories by joining a whale and dolphin excursion, trying water sports like kayaking or snorkelling and visiting Jungle Park Aguilas zoo to see animals and bird shows. Areas like Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas are known for having a lively nightlife scene; Mumsnetters recommend nearby Costa Adeje, a southern coastal resort home to family-friendly amenities like the huge water park, Siam Park.

4. Best for culture: Malaga

Skyline view of Malaga

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What Mumsnet users say

"Malaga is beautiful. There’s a great mix of sea/beach, restaurants on the seafront and the lovely historic town centre for shopping and sightseeing. The town itself isn’t overly huge so it’s easy to navigate your way around" - DeRigueurMortis

"Malaga is small, right on the coast, with a lovely long boulevard along the seafront. There’s a buzzy town with some nice architecture, an old fort on the hill, good food, the Picasso museum, beaches and a nice redeveloped port area" - MangosteenSoda

Our verdict

Culture vultures should visit Malaga, a coastal city packed with interesting museums and vibrant street art. There’s an Old Town, and sites like Gibralfaro Castle that offers stunning panoramic views from its hilltop setting. Some streets are pedestrianised which is handy when you’re exploring with children. Spend days on the beach (a 15-minute walk from the centre) and evenings strolling by the boat-filled port, stopping at playgrounds on your way round. Malaga has a well-connected train station so you can go on family adventure trips to other nearby destinations like the big, historic city of Cordoba.

Read next: Keep things organised on the go with the best packing cubes

5. Best for active adventures: Costa Dorada

Cambrils, Costa Dorada

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What Mumsnet users say

"We went to a Eurocamp park in the Costa Dorada area. The beach was lovely and quiet, we were near Cambrils which has shops and restaurants, and we could do day trips to Barcelona. We could have easily gone to PortAventura Park" - BackseatKnitter

Our verdict

Families with older children might consider an active holiday on the Costa Dorada, known as ‘the golden coast’ because of its many beaches - some of which offer watersports and snorkelling. Pack your walking boots for hikes along the lengthy, coastal path and hire bicycles for family bike rides along the many cycle lanes in Cambrils, a charming port town where you can stop for seafood. Choose paths to suit your abilities and be prepared for heat! Reward tired teens with a trip to PortAventura theme park.

Read next: The best Canary Islands for your next family holiday

6. Best for a bit of everything: Benalmadena


Search for hotels in Benalmadena| Search for Benalmadena family holidays

What Mumsnet users say

"We’ve been all over but both my children say this is their favourite and if they could only go to one holiday destination for ever, it would be Benalmadena. You’re near  Torremolinos (there’s a water park there), Fuengirola and Malaga - regular buses and trains run on one route to all of them. There’s a lovely marina, you can walk all the way along the front to it. It really is a lovely place" -  CarolDanvers

Our verdict

Fly to Malaga and take a train or taxi to Benalmadena (around seven miles away) where the weather is still pleasant enough for family winter sun holidays. You’ll have your choice of family-friendly beaches and there’s a lovely seafront promenade for evening strolls. Make your way to the marina to spot luxury yachts, dine with a sea view and visit the aquarium. The old town, Benalmadena Pueblo, is a maze of cobbled streets with hillside views and authentic eateries. You won’t be far from other family-friendly destinations on the Costa Del Sol like Fuengirola and Torremolinos: both can be reached easily by train or bus.

Read next: We've rounded up THE best cabin bags for your next family escape

7. Best for foodies: Palma de Mallorca

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca

Search for hotels in Mallorca| Search for Mallorca family holidays

Best family hotels in Mallorca at a glance

  • Best overall: Puerto Azul Suite Hotel, Port de Pollensa | Book now

  • Best budget: Eix Lagotel Holiday Resort, Playa de Muro | Book now

  • Best for views: Hotel Migjorn, Campos | Book now

  • Best luxury: Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa, Port de Soller | Book now

  • Best for pools: Zafiro Mallorca & Spa, Can Picafort | Book now

What Mumsnet users say

"We took our toddler to Palma de Mallorca. There were lots of green spaces and parks to keep her entertained in between visiting sites and wandering the Old Town streets. Also lots of pedestrianised areas. She particularly enjoyed the Palma to Soller train ride and the aquarium. One of our favourite spots was Parc del Mar (with a large playground) which is right next to the cathedral and across from the seafront, where we could watch the horse and carriages'' - recommended by Mumsnet user, Fivemoreminutes1 

Our verdict

The Balearic island of Mallorca has been a family favourite for years and where better to visit than its capital, Palma? Explore the charming old town and its historic sites like the cathedral, the Royal Palace of Almudaina and the many museums. Make sure you work up an appetite because Palma is a great choice for foodies with regional cuisine influenced by its history. Sample it together at restaurants in town, by the beach or on guided tours, exploring authentic Mallorcan and Balearic dishes like sobrasada (sausage) and sweet ensaimada (pastries).

Read next: The best family hotels in Mallorca, according to Mumsnetters

8. Best for city breaks with teens: Barcelona

Casa Mila, Barcelona

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Best family hotels in Barcelona at a glance

  • Best overall: H10 Madison | Book now

  • Best budget: Novotel Barcelona City | Book now

  • Best city centre: K&K Hotel Picasso El Born | Book now

  • Best apartments: Paseo de Gracia Bas Apartments by Aspasios | Book now

  • Best in the Gothic Quarter: Aparthotel Arai 4* Superior | Book now

What Mumsnet users say

"Barcelona: perfect destination with an airport about 15 miles from the city. It’s right on the coast - beaches are beautifully clean and have toilets, showers, bars and restaurants, sunbed hire and volleyball nets/football goals. There are lots of historic places to visit - the Old Town, centred on Las Ramblas, is amazing - and attractions like the aquarium and zoo. A great day out is to the Illa Fantasia water park. The shops and restaurants are amazing and the public transport is excellent" -  ClaireBunting

Our verdict

Older children will appreciate the uniqueness of Barcelona. Discover the city’s Catalan culture, museums and famous sites like the breathtaking Sagrada Familia Cathedral (make sure you go inside!) and Parc Guelle, a stunning city-view park designed by famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. Get lost in the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter and enjoy the city’s food scene, from its harbour-side seafood restaurants to its street food markets. Add in the promenade-lined Barceloneta Beach and the panoramic Funicular de Montjuic, and you’ve got a winner for families with teens.

Read next: The best Barcelona hotels for families, according to parents

9. Best for nature: Costa de la Luz

Ronda, Andalucia

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What Mumsnet users say

"My recommendation is ALWAYS Andalucia! I love the Costa de la Luz, we find so much to do there. We hire a car because we love the cities (Seville is fabulous for a day or two) but the local buses are fine and you can explore Cadiz on public transport. The beaches are absolutely amazing in the area: golden sand backed by dunes with great watersports. Nice Spanish bars and restaurants with proper tapas, lively but not nightclub lively" - casaisaelena 

Our verdict

The Costa de la Luz is a 124-mile stretch of coastline in southwest Andalusia. Explore the many beaches and other natural sites like Donana Natural Park where you’ll see birds and wetlands. If you’ve outdoorsy teens in your party, Tarifa is famous for great windsurfing. The historic port city of Cadiz is worth a trip for its lovely views.

10. Best for a chilled out break: Nerja

Nerja, Spain

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What Mumsnet users say

"We had a lovely holiday, very chilled out. Lots of good bars and restaurants. We did trips to the caves, which were incredible, Frigliana (loved it) and Malaga for the day. We will probably return" -  blue25 

"I’ve been several times - I love it. Nice beaches, plenty of places to eat out for all budgets. Town is very traditional. Reasonable public transport for short trips to nearby places such as Frigliana but we hired a car so we could travel further afield to places to Granada and the Alpujarras'' -  grannycake

Our verdict

Kids and grownups would struggle to get bored in Nerja, a scenic resort town on the Costa del Sol, with beaches, play areas and kid-friendly activities galore. Must-do experiences include the Balcon de Europa coastal viewing platform and Cueva de Nerja, a series of impressive underground caverns where you can join guided tours and even see concerts. Back in town, ride the fun train or a horse and carriage for a tour and finish the day eating alfresco in the old quarter. Be aware that Nerja can get very hot in the summer months.

Is Spain good for a family holiday?

With a mix of stunning beaches, cultural cities, active pursuits and kids’ activities galore, Spain is a great choice for a family holiday as each destination offers something different. Check out our family holiday packing guide.

Read next: The best Club Med breaks for families

When’s the best time to visit Spain?

Choose your travel dates according to how much you like the heat. Many destinations can get very hot in the summer months, particularly southern Spain, so spring and autumn can be a better option if you like cooler temperatures. Some destinations like the Canary Islands stay warm in winter, making Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria great for a winter sun holiday.

Which part of Spain is best for a family holiday?

It depends what you want. City break? Coastal Valencia or lively Barcelona. Active holiday? Costa Dorada. Beaches? Menorca. We hope this handy guide helps you to choose a Spanish destination to suit your family. And if you’re travelling with babies or toddlers, you might like our handy planning tips.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which Spanish destinations were being recommended. We then did some online research, looking at which destinations had been featured in ‘best’ lists across trusted travel publications as well as user reviews. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the best destinations at the moment.

About the author

Kim Gregory is a freelance writer who specialises in travel content and destination guides. Her work has appeared in Fodor's, Fabulous Magazine, the Metro and Culture Trip.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.