Top Ten Family-Friendly Things To Do in Madrid

Parque del Buen Retiro is the most popular park in Madrid, Spain.
Parque del Buen Retiro is the most popular park in Madrid, Spain.

What makes Madrid such a great travel destination? Well, It’s got everything, from zoos to world renowned museums, palaces to amusement parks. And each step of the way, you and your family will experience the thrill of Spanish culture!

Rail Europe can offer you some great products to help make your trip to Madrid an enjoyable one. With our selection of passes covering Spain and other countries, you can explore more of Spain by train than you thought possible.

In this post, enjoy reading our Top Ten memory-making activities to do with your family in Madrid. These activities are proven favorites of adults and children alike!

10. Parque Warner Madrid – After enduring the flight over to Spain, you’ll want a fun activity to wake the family up. No better way to do that then a visit to the Parque Warner. You and your family can meet many of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters while waiting to board your next roller coaster! A visit to this fantastic amusement park will certainly start your vacation off on the right foot. And with all there is to see and do at this park, family memories are just waiting to be created!

9. Faunia Madrid – This is a fun and educational day out! Faunia Madrid is a huge nature park. Here you will find thousands of animals of all types of species. The park has indoor and outdoor environments to explore. Eight of the world’s eco-systems have been recreated within this park. Take advantage of seeing as many animals as you can. You can visit the monkey area and actually might get lucky enough to pet them! Also, the rainforest section will amaze you with its brightly colored animals and reptiles. You will get wonderful photos on a trip to this park due to the wonderful background scenery! Highly recommended for families.

Faunia Animal Park in Madrid
Falcon flight demonstration at Faunia Park in Madrid © jsogo

8. Museo Ferrocarril (train museum) – Learn a thing or two about the trains in Spain on your visit to this locomotive museum. You can explore trains, model trains and see how the Spanish railroads have evolved over the years. Kids will love this museum as most children find trains exciting (with good reason, of course!). Children see trains differently then adults. If you ask a child, a train is your ride to adventure and wonder, not just a steel locomotive to get you from city to city. Do your kids a favor and be sure to add this museum to your itinerary!

7. Plaza de España – After exploring the world of trains, switch tracks and visit the Plaza de España. Depending on the age of your travelers, they may truly appreciate this activity because they know what they’re looking at, or, they will want to learn more about what they are seeing because it is interesting! In the Plaza de España you can visit the stone obelisk with a statue of Miguel de Cervantes. Of course, Cervantes was the mastermind behind Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha). Below the statue of Cervantes, you can admire the statues of Don Quixote atop his horse, Rocinante. Alongside Don Quixote is Sancho Panza, on his donkey. And to the left of Don Quixote is Dulcinea, his fair lady. If you’ve not read the book, or seen the movie, we highly suggest doing so, it will make this stop that much more exciting!

6. Palacio Real de Madrid – Though royalty does not take residence in this palace any longer, a visit here is still amazing. Stroll up to the palace through the Plaza de Oriente, filled with beautiful gardens, hedges, statues and fountains. As you get closer, you will begin to see the grandness of the palace. Once you get to the structure, stroll around and explore. Visit the quarters of the King and Queen, see the luxury they lived in. Then, we also suggest a stop by the pharmacy, filled with hundreds of bottles to cure whatever ailed them! Between the gold, silver and marble decoration, you will certainly begin to feel royal yourself, just by being there! Don’t skip out on this palace on your visit to Madrid.

5. Museo de Prado – The Prado museum houses some of the world’s greatest works of art. The Spanish collection includes works by Velázquez and Francisco de Goya. There are also many foreign artist’s works here too. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce art to your children. A good idea would be to research a few paintings before your trip. This will make it even more special when you find them in the museum. A trip to Madrid should definitely include a trip to the Museo de Prado.

4. Parque del Retiro – Treat the family to an afternoon of relaxation in the Parque del Retiro. Here you can stroll through the park at your own pace and just enjoy each other’s company while enjoying the serene ambiance. Walk down to the pleasure lake. You can hire a boat and row the family around for a bit. A good way to relax for a little while in between all your action-packed days! Pack a some sandwiches and snacks and have a little picnic before leaving the park.

3. Day trip to Seville – While Madrid has much to see and do for families, you may want to get adventurous and experience other Spanish cities. Seville is a great day trip location. You can hop on a train and be there in about 2 1/2 hours. Many travel to Seville to experience a big part of Spanish culture, the bullfight. It is pretty amazing, the tradition and sport of the fight. It is not for everyone, but, it is a big part of the culture in the region. If you don’t go to a bullfight, there is many other things to see and do, simply let your adventurous side take over and have fun doing spur-of-the-moment things!

2. Overnight journey to Paris – Take the night train to Paris for some true adventure. The train ride is approximately 13 1/2 hours and in that time you can experience the thrill of sleeping on a train. You save spending a night in another hotel and are transported to a whole new country! Once in Paris there are countless things to do. This may be an activity you want to do once you’ve seen all you wanted to in Spain. Of course, you could take an overnight train back to Madrid as well, the option is completely up to you (another great thing about taking a train, so many options and a great deal of flexibility!).

1. Plaza Mayor – Remember back in the days of your high school Spanish class, most every class included repeating lines similar to “we’re going to meet Maria in the Plaza Mayor”. Well, if you go to Madrid, you should definitely take a stroll to the Plaza Mayor to see why it was mentioned in every Spanish class! The architecture is spectacular and the atmosphere is overflowing with culture and history. Stroll around, take it all in. Stop into the Casa de la Panadería for some fine baked treats. Then sit in the square and enjoy an afternoon of people-watching. Be sure to take lots of pictures too, you want to capture the memories forever!

Madrid is a terrific city for families to visit. The list above provides a mere fraction of things to see and do while in Madrid. For even more great ideas and activities to add to your itinerary, visit the Tourist Office of Spain.

And keep in mind, traveling with your family is an adventure in itself, no matter how near or far from home you roam. Be patient and remember to laugh and have fun. For most, a trip to Europe could be a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t be afraid to try new things, rather, embrace the new cultures that surround you and take back irreplaceable memories from your travels.

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Avatar Jaun Millalonco says:

    Just wanted to say great job with the blog, today is my first visit here and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts so far 🙂

  2. Avatar Patricia says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Avatar Jim montek says:

    Very nice article. Your article has inspired me to go to Madrid and spend some vacations over there in near future

  4. Avatar Don says:

    My daughter is graduating in May 2009 and I talked her into a trip to Spain for two weeks instead of me flying to her graduation. I work in Saudi Arabia, and it is a long way just to see a diploma handed to you… So my wife, daughter, myself and her boyfriend are going to do Spain for two weeks..!! Can you plan me a trip with things to do and still have some relaxation time too..?

    Four adults, tow hotel rooms, etc… tours and sights, et… build a package and we will purchase it.

    Please forward me some emails or suggested routes. We are talking May 9, for two weeks.. 2009

    1. Avatar akoos says:

      Hi Don, thanks for your comment. You mention working in Saudi Arabia, are you a US resident? Sounds like a great plan, Spain is a fabulous destination to spend two weeks. There is much to see and do, but Spain can be very relaxing as well. In terms of putting together a trip for you, well, I can provide you with some advice, but you may want to consider speaking with a travel agent.

      I’m going to get some information together and I will email it to you. Right now, I can give you estimated costs for rail products, but they could change for 2010. Do you have any idea of what part(s) of Spain you’d like to see? Many first-time travelers to Spain like to hit the main cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Granada. Do you or the other travelers have any specific interests? Art, sports, outdoors etc? Answers to these questions will help gain better perspective and help me provide you with more customized information. Look forward to hearing back from you!

  5. Avatar Jane Bateman says:

    Interesting blog. Two friends and I will be traveling to Madrid April 3, 2010. Two of us will fly from Houston, Texas and the other from Paris, France. We plan to take train to Seville afternoon of April 4 , drive to Granada April 6 and take train back to Madrid via Toledo on April 8. We fly out of Madrid April 10. Does this sound doable? I tried to book train on line but response was that it was too early to book. Is it better to use a travel agent? Any suggestions?

    1. Avatar akoos says:

      Most European trains cannot be reserved more than 60 days in advance. What you can do is use a date within 60 days from today’s day, the same day of the week as what you wish to travel in April, and you can get an idea of the train schedules for each of your desired train journeys. It does sound doable, however, a travel agent is a great idea, they’ll be able to assist you with all aspects of the trip and provide you with expert advice on the regions and areas you’ll be traveling in. Hope that helps you a bit!

  6. Avatar World Travel says:

    In my eyes, the most beautiful destination for travel is Spain. I like Madrid, Barcelona and all other cities. Very beautiful country.

  7. I see you are all interested in travelling to spain! It is beaitiful! I was there about 3 months ago travelling for business. It always seems that one out of every 3 or 4 times we travel that something goes wrong, I lost my passport and wallet! There is a travel company my company uses to support travellers with travel help services and travel emergencies. If it wasn’t for them I would of been stranded in Spain for much longer than I would of liked!:-) I’ve signed up my kids to now, lol. They are called Calluma. Their travel help services are used by big businesses for a reason : their services work! They are cheap, reliable and they go the extra mile for you! Really would reccomend checking them out before you jet off anywhere :

    If california legislature used calluma travel services they would probably save a lot of money when travelling.

  8. Avatar MOHSEN ANSARI says:

    I want to learn the spanish lenguage!please can you make a suggestion?

  9. Avatar andrew wilson says:

    We would like to take our Tandem on a train from Valencia to Cordoba ? Is there any restrictions with this ?

  10. Avatar Rail Bonding says:

    I love Madrid and these tips are useful for when I go down to watch el clascio.

  11. Avatar Pill AZ says:

    Compelling theme. Your information is interesting. This is the most judicious, encompassing and agreeable post.

  12. I just came from Barcelona and Madrid. The article is very interesting and provided me a good backdrop of information of the places I’d been to. Madrid is truly a beautiful city. Majestic and monumental- just like it’s twin city- Barcelona!!

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