Every parent who’s ever traveled with their kids probably knows that going sightseeing with little ones can be a bit of a challenge.
After all, kids might not understand the historical or cultural significance of many significant attractions, meaning they’ll get bored more easily. And the last thing any parent wants to deal with is a cranky, bored child! Luckily, visiting Madrid’s top sights with kids can be stress-free and fun with a little prior planning. Here are some of Madrid’s most iconic attractions, made kid-friendly!
As home to one of the world’s foremost collections of art, the Prado is perhaps the most well-known among the three museums comprising Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art.” Even if you’re not much of an art aficionado, the incredible collection of masterpieces by icons such as Velázquez, Goya and Rubens will take your breath away.
Book a kids’ tour: Many companies offer tours of the museum that specifically cater to kids. Across Madrid Tours has created a “treasure hunt”-style tour throughout the Prado that will teach them about the museum’s most iconic paintings in a fun, interactive way. Another excellent option is Context Travel’s Las Meninas & Little Princes Tour, which will make the artwork come alive through fun games and activities.
Hit the playground: The area around the Prado features several fun playgrounds, including one directly on the Paseo del Prado itself. Your kids will appreciate the chance to run around and wear themselves out in the fresh air after walking around the museum!
Combine the museum with a visit to Retiro: The most famous of Madrid’s many beautiful green spaces is located right behind the Prado! This makes it easy to couple the two into one day of family fun. Let the kids run and play at the park and enjoy an ice cream from one of the stands near the lake.
Mercado de San Miguel (or any market!)
Madrid is a city full of vibrant, lively markets. The most famous is easily the Mercado de San Miguel just off of Plaza Mayor. However, there are plenty more local markets that aren’t quite as overrun with tourists that are also worth a visit! No matter which one you choose, it’s easier than you think to get kids excited about this integral part of local culture.
Find kid-friendly food: At first glance, it might seem like markets are full of unknown delicacies like exotic seafood and strange meats. However, there are plenty of kid-friendly goodies in the mix! Order a plate of Iberian ham sliced razor-thin to share as a family, then top it all off with a treat from one of the bakeries.
Madrid’s stately and grandiose Royal Palace might not be the actual home of Spain’s royal family. However, the stunning building (which is used ceremoniously) is absolutely worth a visit! You’ll wander through room after room of ornate opulence and rich history that will leave you speechless.
Take a tour: The extravagant, luxurious rooms inside the palace will surely take kids’ breath away. However, an individual visit can seem quite crowded and rushed. A guided tour will provide more context about the kings and queens who called this palace home over the centuries, which will enchant and amaze little ones!
Don’t miss the armory: Your palace visit includes an entrance to the Royal Armory, located off of the same square in front of the palace’s main entrance. Kids will love seeing the incredible suits of armor, swords, shields and more!
Plaza Mayor & Puerta del Sol
Madrid’s most iconic plazas are must-visit sights for good reason. Puerta del Sol marks the geographic center of Spain, while Plaza Mayor’s stunning historic buildings will take your breath away with their grand beauty. Their proximity to each other makes visiting both a breeze.
Start a scavenger hunt: Kids will love seeing the famous statue of the bear and the madroño tree in Puerta del Sol. However, they might not know that this is the official symbol of the city of Madrid! Tell them to keep their eyes peeled and look out for the bear in more places as you make your way through town. They’ll have so much fun counting all the bears they can see!
Enjoy a treat at a historic bakery: Perfectly located right in between the two plazas, Confitería El Riojano (Calle Mayor, 10) offers so much more than just sweet treats. Founded in 1855 by the queen’s personal baker, its beautiful old decor hasn’t changed much over the decades. They’ve truly perfected their decadent homemade pastries and treats—the only hard part is deciding which to order! Kids and parents alike will certainly appreciate some time spent here to relax and enjoy a treat.
A walking tour is a great way to get to know a new place, especially shortly after you arrive. You’ll get the lay of the land and be able to start planning which sights you want to spend more time seeing later. However, while many tours are great for adults, it’s hard to find one that’s kid-friendly. Lots of walking can tire the little ones out and make them want to go back to the hotel—and that’s probably not how you want to spend your vacation!
Madrid for Kids Walking Tour with Activities & Snacks: We created this exclusive, private experience especially for families with kids ages 4-12. The light walking tour includes stops at some of Madrid’s most iconic sights that will amaze your whole family. You’ll be led by an expert guide who will enchant and amaze your kids with the stories and legends of Madrid.
And, of course, we can’t forget the food! Along the way, you’ll stop and enjoy a few simple snacks that Spanish kids love (and your will, too). It’s the most delicious way to experience the city with little ones!
Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.