Cost-effective Ways to Explore the Spanish Costas with Children
Spain is one of the best summer holiday destinations in Europe and it is easy to see why with beaches, sun, resorts, villas and amazing things to do.
Your teens will want Wi-Fi and a pool. Your 5-11 year olds will want play mates. Adults want decent food, fine wine, good coffee and time to relax and read a brilliant book. You will already know that getting some rest and relaxation on holiday isn’t quite so easy when you have kids in tow, especially little ones. Your toddlers will want your attention, almost all of the time.
It can be frazzling trying to meet everyone’s needs at home and that doesn’t change when you go on holiday. So, how do you get the balance right so everyone has a great time? Where are the best places to go? And what activities can you plan?
Why Spain & the Costas
The Spanish Costas are a great bet for family holidays. You are guaranteed sunshine, there are fantastic beaches and there are lots of things to do with kids, from toddlers to teens. But what’s the secret to a successful family holiday that won’t break the bank?
The areas along the coastline of Spain are referred to as Costas (coasts) and are one of the best places to go. The most popular Costas in southern Spain are Costa Brava, Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol. Millions of tourists visit annually and there are lots of affordable things to do and places to stay.
A Spanish seaside holiday doesn’t have to be expensive or overpackaged and overcrowded. There are lots of less crowded seaside towns between the larger resorts. And there are heaps of things to do that won’t cost the earth. You can read more about how to book the perfect beach holiday online.
Another reason Spain works so well for family holidays is the fact that the Spanish love kids. Babies are treated like royalty. You will be surprised at how many friendly gestures you will get from waiters and resort staff if you are holidaying with young children.
Hiring a car is probably the most cost-effective way of getting around and gives you a lot more freedom. It is a good idea to pre-book care hire and kids’ car seats as car seats especially are in high demand during holiday season.
There are a variety of car hire firms at the main airports. Alicante airport, for example, has Avis, Auto Europe, Rentalcars, Hertz and Sixt, as well as some smaller firms.
However, you don’t have to hire a car to get around. The Spanish transport system is one of the best in the world and high-speed AVE trains will get you swiftly across vast distances. Kids love the idea that they are travelling at nearly 300km/h! Children under the age of 4 generally go free on public transport and there are discounts for kids, usually for those under the age of 12.
The food bill when you are on holiday can easily mount up for a family. The trick is to eat out cheaply and intersperse with filling and nourishing snacks.
Fresh fruit is wonderful in Spain, so a trip to a municipal market to stock up every few days is a great idea. Strawberries, cherries, doughnut peaches and nectarines are particularly good. Municipal markets are found in most towns and many larger villages, and are usually open from 9am to 1pm.
Spanish families regularly eat out, so you can be sure there will be lots of child-friendly Spanish dishes the whole family can enjoy. You won’t find kids menus in the less touristy places, but that’s no bad thing.
Ordering dishes to share is common place in Spain (tapas) or consider ordering one main dish for two children to share. Also, ask about the Menú del Día, which is a fixed price and is usually very reasonable. A large paella for the whole family to share also goes down a treat. Don’t worry if you have a fussy eater, there are lots of Spanish dishes your kids will love.
Best Places to Visit in the Spanish Costas with Children
Here are some inexpensive child-friendly places to visit on the Spanish Costas:
1. The Beaches
Change up your holiday routine by venturing to a few different beaches. There are beaches offering watersports for teens and many quieter coves that make it easier to look after toddlers. The Spanish coast features more than 3,500 beaches, but they’re not all suitable for small children so check for the blue flag and suitability before you go. Here are 15 of the best beaches in Spain to go to with kids.
The Costa Water Park is a great alternative to the big and expensive water parks. It costs 10 euros per hour per child (or adult). It’s a great treat for your older children (kids under 6 must be accompanied by an adult). There are several of these along the coastline between Benalmádena and Guadiaro.
2. The Canelobre Caves
The Canelobre Caves are located in Busot, 23km from Alicante and are a perfect place for families to visit. Kids from tot to teen will love the experience. I mean who doesn’t love a cave (think Batman, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Lord of the Rings). The caves also provide a welcome break from the sun (remember to take jumpers as it’s chilly in there). It costs 7 euros for adults and children aged 14 and above. Kids age 5-14 cost 3.5 euros and children under 5 go free.
Spain is home to some truly amazing castles. A family trip to one is a must and breaks up the beach days. Don’t worry about moaning teenagers, they will actually secretly be impressed once you get them there.
Perhaps the most impressive castle in the south is the Alcazaba of Málaga, which is enormous and is one of the best-preserved citadels in Spain. As well as the castle, there is also a Roman theatre, which dates back to the 1st century. Take snacks as the food is pricey. Admission is free after 2pm on Sundays!
Hopefully our guide to the Spanish Costas will help you to choose this destination and has given you some suggestions for things to do. Now go book your next holiday today.