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Madrid with Kids: How to Plan the Perfect Family Trip

With its glamorous palaces, plentiful parks, and sweet treats galore, visiting Madrid with kids makes for a memorable vacation that everyone will love. This guide will help you make your dream family getaway a reality.

A woman and a young boy smiling while walking out of a cafe

Madrid—and Spain in general—is the perfect place for a family getaway. There are plenty of things to do for kids, but adults will still be able to have a great time as well. The city is easily walkable and offers a safe, efficient public transit system that makes it a breeze to get from point A to point B. There are even plenty of free things to do in Madrid!

However, a successful trip requires some prior thought and planning—especially with little ones in tow. This ultimate guide to visiting Madrid with kids will help you plan a trip that the whole gang will remember forever!

When to Visit Madrid with Kids

The best part about visiting Madrid with kids is that no matter what time of year you go, you’re sure to have a great time! However, spring and fall are your best bets for a successful family trip. You’ll miss peak tourist high season and enjoy Madrid like a local, with lovely temperatures and plenty to do.

If you’re on a tighter budget and don’t mind a bit of cold, consider visiting in the winter. Many hotels drop their prices in the off season—perfect for a family vacation that won’t break the bank!

A little girl carrying a clipboard while walking through a busy city with a young boy and two women
Enjoying a beautiful spring day in Madrid!

Where to Stay in Madrid with Kids

Madrid has dozens of rich, vibrant neighborhoods, each unique in its own way. But when visiting Madrid with kids, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a home base.

Consider somewhere that is close to the attractions you and your family want to see, with reliable public transportation and great food options nearby. A few of our favorite neighborhoods for families are:

  • Barrio Salamanca: Clean, comfortable, and quiet, this neck of the woods is a favorite among local families. Its wide, smooth streets make getting around with strollers easier than in many other neighborhoods.
  • Huertas/Literary Quarter: This historic neighborhood provides super easy access to some of Madrid’s top sights, but is quite calm and laid-back despite its central location.
  • Chamberí: One of the city’s last few genuinely madrileño neighborhoods, the warm and welcoming local atmosphere here makes it a great family-friendly option.

Check out our complete guide to where to stay in Madrid with kids for a complete neighborhood breakdown and our top accommodation picks in each.

View of the central building of Madrid's Plaza Mayor with a statue of a man on horseback in the foreground.
Centrally located and full of charm, Plaza Mayor is always a hit!

Using Madrid’s Public Transportation with Kids

Trying to wrangle kids in a new city can be tough, especially when you barely know your way around yourself. However, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by how easy getting around Madrid with kids can be. The Spanish capital boasts an extensive, efficient and easy-to-use public transportation system. Plus, if you prefer to get around on foot, it’s easy to walk between the main sights in the city center.

Cabs & Car Seats

Sometimes, the easiest option for getting around Madrid with kids is just to call a cab. Trying to juggle kids and luggage can be a hassle, so a cab is a safe and comfortable way to get your family where they need to be.

The official app for Madrid city taxis is called TXMAD and available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. If you need a car seat, a great option is the Cabify app—just be sure to choose the Cabify Kids option, which will let you select the size of seat you need.

Metro

Madrid’s excellent metro system can get you wherever you need to go in a flash. Trains come frequently, the system is easy to use, and it’s often the most comfortable choice for getting around Madrid with kids.

The metro system in Madrid is one of the oldest in the world, but updates have been made over the years to improve accessibility. Most of the major stops in and around the center now have elevators, so taking the metro with a stroller isn’t nearly as much of a hassle as it has been in the past!

Some of the most transited central stations with elevators and other accessibility features are:

  • Sol
  • Atocha Renfe
  • Ópera
  • Plaza de España
  • Callao
  • Lavapiés
  • Nuevos Ministerios

A full list of accessible stations can be found on the Madrid metro website.

A white and blue train of the Madrid metro arriving at a station.
Madrid’s metro is fast, inexpensive and easy to use. Photo credit: Sharon Hahn Darlin

Buses

Madrid’s extensive bus network consists of nearly 200 lines throughout the city, making it one of the most efficient ways for navigating Madrid with kids. The large blue buses, operated by EMT, are comfortable and offer many features suitable for families. Many of the newer buses even feature special child seats for young children.

As with buses anywhere in the world, getting on board with a stroller often depends simply on how crowded the bus is. All of Madrid’s buses are equipped to hold at least one stroller or wheelchair at a time, with many having space for more. For safety, EMT requires that strollers be facing backwards (to the direction the bus is moving) with the brakes activated.

Two blue city buses on the road in Madrid.
Madrid’s blue buses can get you anywhere you need to go! Photo credit: ra_fus

Things to Do in Madrid with Kids

There’s plenty to see and do in Madrid during your family vacation! Here are a few of our favorite kid-friendly activities.

Don’t miss our ultimate guide to things to do in Madrid for kids. It’s packed with both kid-friendly activities and tips for visiting other iconic sights with little ones.

And if you need some help narrowing down your itinerary, we’ve got you covered as well. Here’s how to spend three days in Madrid with kids!

A guide leading a family on a food tour in front of the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid
A food tour is a fun and delicious way to experience Madrid for the whole family!

Eating in Madrid with Kids

When traveling with kids, mealtimes are one of the most important yet most complicated parts of the day. You might barely understand what everything is yourself, so just imagine how foreign all of this food must seem to a child! Luckily, eating in Madrid with kids doesn’t have to be much of a hassle. 

In Spain, kids are more than welcome at bars and restaurants. It’s not unusual to see entire families of madrileños, little ones and all, eating dinner out until close to midnight (or later!).

It’s worth noting that kid’s menus aren’t a thing here in Spain; instead, children simply eat whatever the adults are eating. While this can sometimes involve some pretty surprising dishes (an entire cocido madrileño, anyone?), many typical Spanish dishes are great for kids who may not be used to them.

Here are a few great kid-friendly options you can find on many menus throughout Madrid.

  • Croquetas: Crispy and creamy croquettes are a favorite among Spanish kids. The most popular filling is cured ham (jamón), but you can also find croquettes made with chicken, mushrooms, salt cod, and more.
  • Albóndigas: They may not come with spaghetti, but Spanish meatballs are a simple and delicious choice on their own.
  • Tortilla de patatas: Potatoes and eggs are always a solid choice, even for the pickiest of eaters.
  • Churros con chocolate: No explanation needed!
Family sitting around a small wooden table full of shared plates as a server places more food on the table.
Eating family style is the way to go at many Spanish meals.

Visiting Madrid with Teenagers

We all know traveling with teens comes with its own set of challenges, but it can also be incredibly rewarding when done right. After all, a trip abroad can be a life-changing experience, especially when that trip is to Madrid! Read on for a few of our favorite teen-friendly activities in Madrid.

1. Take a Boat Ride in Retiro Park

The crown jewel of Madrid’s myriad green spaces, Retiro Park is a must on any list of how to visit Madrid with teenagers. Check out the contemporary art exhibits at the Palacio de Cristal (glass palace), do some people watching, or go for a boat ride! The row boats are generally everyone’s favorite Retiro activity and perfect for teens looking to soak up some sun and snap an Instagram-worthy pic.

Small rowboats on the lake in Madrid's Retiro park with a monument visible in the background.
Retiro is the perfect place to relax as a family after a few hours of walking.

2. Visit an Outdoor Market

Madrid is a lively city where people tend to gather in the streets. There’s always something to do or see—it’s one of the best things about living in the capital! The vibrant spirit of the city is sure to enthrall teens.

Madrid’s outdoor markets are the perfect example of this, and luckily there are plenty to choose from. The most famous is the El Rastro flea market which happens every Sunday morning in the La Latina neighborhood. El Rastro has souvenirs and unique gifts that your teen will love—and in their price range for gifts.

If El Rastro isn’t near your neighborhood—or you’re just looking for something different—there are plenty more outdoor markets in Madrid to choose from.

Flea market stalls set up in a busy plaza surrounding a large metal statue of a soldier.
Plaza del Cascorro on a busy Rastro Sunday.

3. Tour Bernabéu Stadium

If your teen is into sports, then Bernabéu Stadium is a can’t-miss stop. Home to Real Madrid, arguably the best soccer team of the 20th and 21st centuries, Bernabéu is definitely worth the stop for any soccer fans visiting Madrid!

The stadium houses one of the most-visited museums in the city and the only museum dedicated to the history of Real Madrid. Tours will take you behind the scenes, into the locker rooms, out onto the field and even into the team’s trophy room!

View inside a large empty soccer stadium with green turf and blue seats, some of which are painted white to spell out REAL MADRID CF.
A visit to the Real Madrid stadium is a great way to experience local sports culture. Photo credit: Vienna Reyes

4. Take a Cooking Class

When it comes to how to visit Madrid with kids and teenagers, finding engaging activities is key. And what could be more engaging than a cooking class?

After a few days in Madrid, your teen will no doubt be loving Spanish cuisine (between Spanish omelet and patatas bravas, what’s not to love?), so take advantage of that! Learn to cook like a local and recreate your favorite dishes from your trip with a local cooking class in Madrid.

Best Family Day Trips from Madrid

Taking a day trip can be a great way for the whole family to relax and unwind from visiting busy Madrid!

A one-day escape is the perfect opportunity to chill out in a more laid-back environment without the stresses of the busy city. Here are our favorite day trips from Madrid with kids that the whole family will enjoy.

1. Parque Warner

In case the name (Warner Bros. Park) didn’t make it clear, this one easily tops our list of the best day trips from Madrid with kids! 

Parque Warner is full of wholesome fun for the whole family. Kids will love having the chance to meet some of their favorite characters, from iconic superheroes to cartoon classics.

In addition to dozens of rides dispersed throughout the five themed areas, they also offer fun live performances that will delight the kids. There’s even an onsite water park!

Costumed performers dressed up as Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Sylvester the Cat, and Tweety Bird
Kids will be so excited to spot some familiar faces all the way in Spain! Photo credit: Tuscasasrurales

2. Segovia

Your kids will love having the chance to step into a real life fairytale town. That’s right—the gorgeous Alcázar in Segovia was the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella castle! The coronation of Queen Isabella took place here in 1474 as just one of hundreds of royal events throughout the site’s rich history.

Of course, no trip to Segovia would be complete without visiting the iconic Roman aqueduct that towers over the city center. The stunning Gothic cathedral and well-preserved, picturesque Jewish quarter deserve a mention as well. All in all, with so much history around every turn, it’s no wonder that Segovia makes for one of the most fascinating day trips from Madrid with kids!

View of medieval castle with pointed turrets on a cloudy day.
Segovia’s stunning fairy tale castle. Photo credit: Mark Neal

3. Valladolid

Valladolid has played an integral role in Spain’s rich history over the centuries, and that helps make it one of the best day trips from Madrid for kids. They’ll enjoy visiting the marvelous royal palace and getting up close and personal with science through the interactive exhibits at the science museum. And if all else fails, there’s always the fascinating Valle de los 6 Sentidos, a unique and innovative playground.

Large fountain in a plaza in front of a huge building
Valladolid’s incredible Plaza Zorrilla. Photo credit: Andres Garcia

4. Ávila

As one of the best-preserved medieval strongholds in all of Spain, there’s so much in Ávila that will fascinate kids and adults alike.

Imposing centuries-old walls surround the entire city, holding many clues to its fascinating past. Within the walls, the stunning medieval architecture lining the storied cobblestone streets will surely take your breath away.

Exterior view of medieval-era city walls in Spain.
Ávila’s historic city walls. Photo credit: Alfredo Bobadilla

5. Toledo

The unrivaled historic city of Toledo is a fascinating place to explore with kids and an easy day trip from Madrid. It held great importance for each of the three major world religions throughout the centuries. This gives it a unique blend of Christian, Jewish and Muslim culture.

Kids will especially have a blast marveling at authentic suits of armor in the Alcázar, wandering through the historic streets and even ziplining over the river!

Brown concrete bridge over a river with medieval buildings in background.
Toledo is the perfect day trip for any curious traveler. Photo credit: Clive Kim

Madrid with Kids FAQs

Is Madrid good for families?

Madrid is an excellent city for families. Spanish culture is naturally warm, welcoming, and family friendly, and the capital is packed with things to see and do that both kids and adults will love.

What is there to do in Madrid for teens?

Some great activities for older kids and teens in Madrid are a stadium tour, a cooking class, and enjoying views of the city from a spectacular rooftop. There are also plenty of excellent museums to explore if you’re looking for something educational yet entertaining.

Is Madrid walkable?

Madrid is an extremely walkable city. Most of the main attractions are easily reachable on foot from one another in the city center. However, if you’re traveling with tired kids, the fantastic local public transportation system is also an option.

Is English spoken in Madrid?

In Madrid, most staff at tourist-centric establishments like hotels, the airport, and major attractions will speak English. At bars and restaurants, it’s not always as much as a given, but there will likely be at least one staff member with a working knowledge of English, especially in the city center.

Update Notice: This post was originally published on April 11, 2018 and was republished with new text and photos on June 16, 2021.

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