If you’ve ever traveled with kiddos, you know there’s nothing like seeing a place through your children’s eyes and watching them discover new cultures, flavors, and sights for the first time. Of course, traveling with children comes with its challenges. So we’re giving you to the inside scoop on traveling with kids in Spain in Portugal (though a lot of these travel tips can be applied to any destination). These aren’t just random suggestions here. We’re doling out wisdom based on our first-hand experience as both travel designers and people with families of our own.

Tips for Transport

Getting kids from one place to the other is probably the biggest concern when it comes to traveling with kids in Spain and Portugal. Luckily, it’s easier than you think and there are lots of ways to relieve some of the big stressors.


traveling with kids in Spain and Portugal

Let’s start with planes. International flights can be long and uncomfortable, so you’ll want to make sure to you have enough space on the plane for everyone. Though kids under two fly for free, you may want to consider getting them a seat so everyone has space to spread out. It’s not necessary, but it can be helpful.

Once it’s time to fly, we recommend getting to the airport earlier than usual. That way, you’ve got all the time you need to check extra bags or strollers, get everyone through airport security, and take as many bathroom breaks as you need before boarding the plane. Most airlines actually let families board first so you can get comfortable and situated without worrying about inconveniencing anyone behind you. They’ll often let you check the strollers at the gate as well, meaning you can easily roll the kiddos from the check-in counter to the gate. It’s also a good idea to make sure all of your seats are together before you board. It’s no fun walking onto the plane and realizing your kids are halfway across the plane from you.

Keeping kids entertained on the plane depends on their ages and preferences, but we like to treat it like a fun event. Get them excited about following the plane on the real-time map on the TV, for example. Or bring along bags full of stickers, coloring books, special snacks, and even treats for when they’re on their best behavior. And of course, the in-flight entertainment is stocked with endless TV shows and movies for kids of all ages. Honestly, it’s almost impossible for them to get bored.

Trains and Automobiles

Family transportation in Europe

If you have kids that are still in car seats, no need to worry. They aren’t required on public transportation—kids ride safe on trains and buses in Spain and Portugal. Taxis usually won’t offer them, but ride shares like Uber or Cabify (the local ride share) usually do, and you can request them when you book.

Rental cars are an excellent and easy way to travel with kids in Spain and Portugal, especially if you’re going from one town to the next. You simply need make sure you book a vehicle that’s big enough for the family and the luggage, and request a car seat if you need one.

One option we highly recommend while traveling in Europe is private transportation. A private driver always comes in the appropriate size vehicle (car seats included) and takes away the stress of having to navigate while dealing with kiddos.

Finding Accommodations

Whether you’re in a big city or a rural area, vacation rentals, apartments, and villas are the best options when it comes to traveling with kids in Spain and Portugal. It gives them (and you) enough space to run around and spread out, and also offers them of a sense of home while they’re traveling.

Many hotels can feel a bit cramped for families, but there are definitely hotels that accommodate kids with offerings like family suites, bigger rooms, and connecting rooms to give parents and kids some privacy. The Almanac Hotel, for example, is a great brand that works well for families with children. We also love the H10 brand for their bigger rooms and fun kid activities.

Choosing Activities

family beach time

Spain and Portugal are fantastic places to take kids. Both countries are dotted with plazas and parks, where kids can run around and get their energy out before moving on to the next activity. There’s so much to see and learn in the region, and there are tons of child-friendly activities for families. Private guides, for example, are a phenomenal way to experience monuments like the Alhambra or a cathedral. A child-friendly guide can really make the place come alive and make history fun for kids. And of course, with so many miles of coastline in both countries, a beach vacation means days of built-in entertainment for the whole family.

There are also tons of fun food tours with companies like Devour that work well with kiddos and families, and even offer special activities for kids during the tour. You can also check online for city-specific activity books for kids to get them more involved educationally before and during the trip. Pro tip: ask us about our Guides for Children Seville book, which incudes lots of fun activities and stickers!

Setting the Pace

Getting rest while traveling with kids

Pace is a big part of traveling with kids in Spain and Portugal. You don’t want to jam too much into one day or little nuggets will be totally exhausted. And you need consider how to create spaces in your schedule for naps (for you too!) and general downtime. Eating schedules and nap schedules tend to go out the window during travel, so be prepared to let your kids nap when they need to and always bring snacks.

Eating Out

Eating out with kids in spain and Portugal

There’s not much division between child-friendly and adult restaurants in this part of world, unless you’re heading to a very upscale Michelin-star spot. You’ll find families with kids in tow at restaurants and tapas bars late into the night and way past American bedtimes. (Strollers make great beds for Spanish kiddos.) In general, children are welcome everywhere and eating with them is a breeze. There are no kids’ menus and they’re honestly not necessary. Spanish and Portuguese food is light and simple and you’ll always find something for kids! Dishes are generally shared (tapas-style!), making it very comfortable for families.

One of the most brilliant Spanish inventions is the plaza-playground surrounded by tapas bars and restaurants. You’ll find kids running sliding down slides all afternoon while parents lounge on patios and comfortably enjoy their meals in the sunshine. Kids love it. Parents love it. And you’ll get to experience an authentic part of Spanish culture in the process. Ask us about our favorite spots and we’ll add them to your itinerary.

Ask an Expert

Sarah and her three kids in Spain

Sarah, our founder and lead travel designer, has three kids of her own. When she designs trips for families, she’s sharing her own insider knowledge based on her own experience towing three kiddos around the world. She understands that each child has their own personality, need, and limits when it comes to travel—and so do you as a parent.

These years of experience translate to this: getting you the right transportation for your needs and budget, the best accommodations so everyone sleeps comfortably, and the right schedule for activities so you and your kids can rest and enjoy the trip. The Spain Savvy team can help you book the best driver, get you those car seats, and find fun activities that line up with your family’s interests. And if you’re looking to sit back and watch your kids play on the swings while you much on a plate of jamón, we’re here for that too.

We’re all about encouraging families to travel together, no matter your kids’ ages and the extra prep. Start them young and they’ll be more flexible and better traveler buddies in the future, meaning you can keep on traveling too. We also believe it makes them more well-rounded individuals who understand that the world is full of different ideas, languages, and ways of living. And that’s a really good thing in our book.

Contact us ASAP about getting expert travel design for your family’s next trip to Spain and Portugal!