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Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Madrid is known for its cosmopolitan vibe and sophisticated retail and café scenes. But there’s also no end to kid-friendly attractions. You’ll stay busy exploring urban parks, incredible art museums, and street markets where vendors offer the best in authentic local cuisine. And this is just the start when visiting Madrid with kids.
We’ve researched and spent time on the ground in this gorgeous Spanish city. And as seasoned family travelers, we’ve also got the inside scoop on the destinations that will grab your kids’ attention and keep it.
Keep reading for a few of our favorite things to do in Madrid with kids.
Take a deep dive into Spanish culture by sampling the varied flavors of the nation at the Mercado de San Miguel. Explore a patchwork of colorful stalls where locals sell authentic eats and sweet treats. The Mercado de San Miguel opened in May 1916 and remains a staple of the city’s landscape. The famed food market showcases more than 20 stands featuring everything from Mediterranean rice dishes to finely cut Iberian ham and mouthwatering cheese from across the nation.
Children especially love noshing on the food sold at Arzábal, a spot celebrated for its deep-fried croquettes crafted with a delish admixture of Idiazábal cheese, cod, porcini mushrooms, and Iberian ham. You’ll also want to check out Madrí, serving up Spain’s favorite tapas, patatas bravas, showcasing spicy tomato sauce and sauteed potatoes.
Museums and children mix beautifully in Madrid, where you’ll find plenty of institutions designed to captivate the attention of all ages. At the Prado Museum, your family will learn about Europe’s great masters like Velasquez, Goya, El Greco, Picasso, and Rembrandt while exploring Spain’s primary national art museum. A handful of local companies offer art tours explicitly geared to kids. They explore themes such as mythology, artistic techniques, the role of animals in artwork, and much more.
Other museums that appeal to families include the Museo del Ferrocarril, one of Europe’s largest historic railroad museums. At the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional, explore vibrant art exhibitions from various periods and styles. The museum offers family programs, which greatly enrich your experience. You’ll also want to check out the National Museum of Natural Sciences, which houses a wide variety of specimens collected from the Upper Paleolithic, prehistoric osseous objects, artifacts from various ages and cultures, and much more.
Parque del Retiro (or El Retiro) is ranked as one of Madrid’s top destinations, and with good reason. It’s an excellent place for leisurely outdoor activities, encompassing 125 acres and 15,000 trees. The verdant grounds include Andalusian-inspired classical gardens like the Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez and the stunning Rosalda rose garden.
At the Palacio de Cristal, explore the finest in 19th-century architecture, and be sure to pack food for an afternoon snack. The gardens invite relaxed, informal picnics where your kids can run around and blow off a little steam. Finally, you won’t want to pass up a boat rowing experience on El Retiro’s artificial lake.
When your family needs to stop for an afternoon snack, hoof it over to Chocolatería San Ginés for a delectable assortment of sweet treats. Locals and tourists flock to this most famous of Madrid’s cafes for deep-fried churros accompanied by a thick and creamy chocolate dip. Yes, it’s as decadent as it sounds!
You’ll find this time-honored hotspot located in the quaint passageway “El Pasadizo de San Ginés.” The café is just five minutes from the Puerta del Sol Square, where more adventures await you and your kids.
Madrid’s vibrant atmosphere comes to life at Puerta del Sol Square. Located in the city’s heart, this famed square has witnessed much of Madrid’s storied history. For example, in 1931, it saw the proclamation of the Second Republic.
Here, you will find the giant, 20-ton statue of a bear eating fruit from a tree. Known as “El Oso y El Madroño,” it remains one of Madrid’s most well-known symbols.
An Egyptian temple in the middle of Madrid? Yep! The ancient Egyptians built the Temple of Debod in Egypt in the 2nd century B.C. But in 1968, it was relocated to Spain as a donation. Today, it sits perched atop a water feature in Parque del Oeste.
The water feature reflects the temple’s clean-cut lines and symmetry, enhancing the beauty and serenity of the location. Best of all, younger kids will have plenty of opportunities to run around in the park when they start feeling antsy.
Covering nearly 4,000 acres, the Casa de Campo is Madrid’s largest public park. Characterized by rolling hills of green and pine and oak trees, it offers an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Besides a great diversity of flora and fauna, you’ll also find plenty of kid-friendly attractions at the park.
If you’re after good old-fashioned fun, head to the Parque de Atracciones amusement park, where you’ll find exhilarating rides for all ages and adventure thresholds. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. You’ll also want to check out the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium, which houses more than 6,000 animals. And when you’re ready for a change of venue, take a ride on the Cable Car, which links Casa de Campo with Oeste Park.
The Royal Palace is known for its opulent Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. Containing no less than 3,418 rooms, they are elegantly decorated and chock full of stunning frescoes, beautiful antiques, fine works of art, and one of the largest Royal Armory collections in the world. These features make the palace a must-see for your family.
When you time your visit right, you can also watch the changing of the guard, an event filled with spectacle. It takes place daily on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 am to 2 pm and involves soldiers dressed in the pristine uniforms of the Royal Guard. Arrive early at Armory Square to secure the best spot to watch the festivities and pageantry.
During the summer months, from July 1st through August 31st, the event occurs from 10 am to 12 pm due to heat. The first Wednesday of each month is the Solemn Changing of the Guard, lasting approximately 50 minutes. Find out more and get the current schedule.
The fast train (AVE) is one of the best ways to get around Spain. Whether you’re traveling to Barcelona, Seville or Malaga, arrive early and take some time to explore the tropical garden located in the Atocha Train Station, an impossible display of lush greenery containing more than 7,000 plants representing 260 species. Specimens hail from Australia, Asia, and the Americas, representing an inviting and surprisingly verdant stopover point in Madrid’s concrete jungle.
The garden is a spot you won’t want to miss. And it provides chances to scope out plants from all over the world, including cacao plants from the New World, eye-popping heliconia flowers, a fantastic collection of carnivorous plants, and Gingko Biloba plants from Japan.
On a family vacation to Madrid, you’ll want to pack comfortable walking shoes. After all, you’ll put plenty of miles on your feet. But let’s face it. Sometimes getting kids to walk around is like pulling teeth, and that’s where Segway tours come into play.
Segway tours are suitable for children nine years and older. They’ll let your family explore the most scenic locations in the city while giving your feet a break. Segway city tours of Madrid provide an inside glimpse into some of the city’s most ancient secrets, monumental landmarks, lush parks, and historic buildings. (For those hesitant to try a Segway tour, many great walking tours also exist.)
Looking for more experiences in Spain? Check out our list of must-do activities and must-see destinations when traveling Spain with kids.
Madrid is one of the most colorful and dynamic cities in the world. A treasure trove of historic buildings, monuments, and museums, there’s no better place to get your fill of Spain’s history and culture. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You’ll also find plenty of fantastic ways to sightsee while keeping the kids entertained with visits to parks, markets, and incredible museums.
Ready to find out more about planning the ideal itinerary for Madrid with kids? Or perhaps you’d like to explore other family-friendly destinations? We’re here to help. We’ve got the travel expertise and family-friendly know-how to craft compelling family travel itineraries. You’ll enjoy the ideal combination of independent exploration, hands-on tours, and kid-friendly experiences, bringing Spain to life for your family.
Want to know more? Let’s chat!
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