Places to visit in Andalucia
Andalucia in southern Spain is the most popular overseas family holiday destination among Britons. But while most clans descend on the infamous Costa del Sol, there is much more to this region than the high-rise developments of Fuengirola and Torremolinos, including the Alhambra Palace, the mountains, and the wonderful cities of Granada, Seville and Cordoba.
Things to do with kids in Andalucia
Whether you're staying on the Andalucian coast or inland, time at the beach is a must for family holidays (unless you've come for the skiing; see below). Most beaches get crowded in the summer but there are plenty of secluded, and beautiful, coves to seek out.
Discover Granada and the Alhambra Palace; the latter is the 'most exciting, sensual and romantic of all European monuments', according to the Rough Guide. Most kids will be happily occupied exploring the complex and its magnificent grounds, but do buy tickets in advance as they are restricted. Granada itself enjoys an amazing setting surrounded by often snow-capped mountains; check out the Albaicin Moorish quarter. And at Granada’s Science Park (Parque de la Ciencias) kids can learn all about our planet; don’t miss the tropical butterfly house and the planetarium with its films.
Visit Cadíz, Seville, Ronda and/or Cordoba, depending on where you are staying. Cadíz has thrived as a port since Roman times. Seville, the vibrant capital, is the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro; it gets extremely hot. Ronda is most famous for being split in half by a spectacular 130m-deep gorge with each side linked by an amazing 18th-century arched bridge. Cordoba is home to the awe-inspiring Moorish mosque, the Mezquita.
Explore the Alpujarras, valleys housing 70 or so whitewashed villages with intricate terracing that may date back as much as 2,000 years, and that are popular year round, especially with hikers. Populated by Moorish communities until their expulsion, the villages, as well as the surrounding countryside, can either be a good excursion or even a base for a family holidays, although there are no child-focussed 'attractions'.
Ski. Solynieve resort boasts a fine snow record through April.
Having dragged the kids round a palace or mosque, let them drag you to one of Andalucia's many water and nature parks, on the coast or inland. Options include Torremolinos and Mijas aqua parks, Tivoli World, and Selwo Aventura nature park in Estepona.
See also our destination guide to Costa de la Luz coastline of Andalucia.
Andalucia is an excellent place for sampling traditional tapas or bar snacks, which can be great for convivial meals that might form one of the highlights of a family holiday. Think tortilla española (omelette stuffed with potato), patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a piquant tomato sauce), sardinas (deep-fried sardines), boquerones (deep-fried anchovies), calamares en su tinta (sliced cuttlefish braised in its black ink), chorizo en vino (spicy pork sausage stewed in wine), pincho (a veal or pork kebab), albóndigas (meatballs) and setas en ajo (mushrooms baked with garlic). However, if your kids are very fussy eaters, familiar international dishes are widely available, especially in tourist centres.
When to go to Andalucia
Andalucia is at its best for family holidays Apr-June and mid Sept-Oct. Days are usually hot and sunny, but it can get cool – even cold – particularly in early spring and autumn. In summer it can be hot, with daytime temperatures averaging 30°C.
Cadíz is famous for its February carnival.
Traditional local festival
Accommodation prices for family holidays in Andalucia vary enormously, with self-catering apartments or villas generally offering better value for money. Hotels are often less expensive as part of a package.
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Flying time2.75hrs All flight times are based on flights from UK London airports, to the capital or nearest destination airport.
Carbon footprint2.75 CO2 Estimated tonnes of CO2 produced for return flights for a family of four.
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