Finding a destination that keeps everyone happy for a family vacation can be a complicated task. However, Spain might just be the perfect choice for your next family vacation. With beautiful beaches, countless activities, good food, culture and incredible nature Spain is a great travel destination.
I have been traveling to Spain (and on and off living in Spain) for 15 years now. I have been lucky enough to see a lot of this diverse country and meet a wide range of Spanish people. Because of its size and diverse offering Spain really is a suitable country for any type of traveler. But, because it is such an easy country to travel in and offers a lot of facilities for families, it is especially suitable for family travel.
For this article I have selected three popular and beautiful coastal regions in Spain: Costa Brava, Costa Dorada and Costa Verde. Each region offers great options for a family vacation in Spain, so let me share something about each of these.
3 Regions for a Family Vacation in Spain
1. The Best of The Costa Brava
The Costa Brava is located in northeastern Spain, in the province of Girona. It is well-known for the many resort towns such as Lloret de Mar and Blanes. Apart from those resort towns though there are also many hidden gems on the Costa Brava. Charming seaside towns, typical fishing villages, impressive cliffs, diverse beaches and quaint coves.
The Costa Brava is a diverse and beautiful region with a very rich history. The area boasts significant ruins, dating back to Roman, Greek and even Palaeolithic times. Aditionally there are many medieval villages and castles on the Costa Brava.
A selection of towns worth visiting on the Costa Brava:
- Roses, a historic town dating back to the 8th century BC, with a notable seafaring tradition. Roses is the only coastal town on the Costa Brava that faces west, which means it offers great sunsets.
- Pals, a medieval town on top of a hill, overlooking its main city beach, Platja de Pals. It is not as well-knows as most beach resorts but with its pretty cobbled streets, craft shops and traditional bars and restaurants it is a lovely place to visit.
- Begur, a medieval village with cobbled streets and whitewashed houses located below the ruins of a stone castle. Begur is great for water sports such as snorkelling and kayaking, thanks to its many coves and its proximity to the Medes Islands, which are a marine reserve and a popular location for scuba diving.
- Calella de Palafrugell, an attractive fishing village with beautiful whitewashed houses and narrow streets. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages on the entire Mediterranean, offering rocky coves, sandy beaches and excellent fish restaurants.
- Tossa de Mar, a cute town with cobbled streets, constructed around an impressive medieval castle. The surrounding countryside with its valleys and rivers is a great place to hike and cycle and the city beach is perfect for a day of relaxing with the family.
- Blanes, one of the most popular seaside resorts on the Costa Brava. It still retains its original charm though. Its harbor, sandy bays and small rocky coves, historical buildings and the botanical gardens are well worth checking out.
Costa Brava’s best beaches
The Costa Brava’s coastline is almost 300 kilometres (186 miles) long and very varied, with wide bays, small coves and high cliffs. Whether you are looking for a beautiful stretch of golden sand or a tiny, hidden cove, you can find it here.
The whitewashed town of Tamariu boasts one of the most beautiful sandy beaches of the Costa Brava: Platja de Tamariu. It has great water sports facilities and connects to several smaller coves. The village of Cadaqués is home to the Cap de Creus Nature Reserve which forms a series of beautiful, unspoilt coves. Or, check out Empuriabrava, which offers some of the Costa Brava’s widest and longest beaches with excellent facilities.
La Cala del Golfet, in Calella de Palafrugell, is another stunning beach worth visiting. But there are so many beautiful beaches that it is impossible for me to choose a favorite. I therefore highly recommend exploring as many different beaches as you can if you decide to take your family vacation in Spain to the Costa Brava!
Costa Brava’s food
The Costa Brava is well known for its cuisine and boasts a surprising number of really high quality restaurants (including one of the best restaurants in the world).
Costa Brava’s cuisine mainly consists of fish and seafood, olives, fresh vegetables, pasta, rice and olive oil. But, since the north of the Costa Brava is close to the Pyrenees, there are also excellent meat and game dishes. And, being such a popular tourist destination, you can find many international dishes here as well and enough variety to keep everyone in the family happy.
Family fun on the Costa Brava
There are several waterparks on the Costa Brava which are renowned for their safety, comfort and quality. At many beaches you will find all sorts of water sports and great boat trips. In the villages you can find mini golf, go karts and many other activities for the whole family.
Tip: the Costa Brava is a beautiful destination for a summer vacation in Spain. But, that does mean it attracts a lot of tourists, especially in July and August. If you like a quieter family vacation you might want to avoid these months or stay in smaller towns slightly more inland.
2. The Best of The Costa Dorada
Costa Dorada means Golden Coast which is a perfect name for this part of Spain’s mediterranean coast filled with long stretches of golden sand beaches and numerous resort towns.
The Costa Dorada extends south and west from Barcelona and is a surprisingly multi-faceted destination. It offers a wide range of fun activities, culture, nature and history in a tranquil setting.
If you want more than sun, see and sand on your vacation to Spain then venture away from the beach to the Costa Dorada’s lowlands. This area between the coast and the mountains boasts an expansive natural landscape with quiet villages and farms surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and almond trees. Also check out the delta of the river Ebro with its labyrinth of lakes.
Many towns on the Costa Dorada are built around a castle or a fortress. And most are still small and traditional, not overdeveloped with tourism.
A selection of towns worth visiting on the Costa Dorada
- Costa Dorada’s largest city, Tarragona, is as well-known for Roman ruins as it is for inventive seafood. The town has some of the best Roman remains in Spain and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage City.
- Sitges, known as the gay-friendly party town with bustling nighlife and numereous festivals. But despite being such a popular tourist destination it does retain much of its old-world charm, has a lovely old town and some good museums.
- Reus, birthplace of architect Antoni Gaudí, is a lovely town with gorgeous architecture.
- Tortosa, an underrated inland town with an impressive fortress and some good museums.
- El Perello, a charming agricultural village, famed for its honey. Check out the well-maintained centre with its bustling market and town square. Just outside of town you can find La Cueva de la Mallada; a cave with prehistoric cave paintings.
- Torredembarra with its beautiful stretch of fine, sandy beach. It combines an ultramodern harbour and excellent shopping, with a medieval influence in its architecture and a long maritime history.
- Altafulla, a small fishing village which is quickly becoming a preferred tourist destination. Situated on the banks of the river Gaia, the town has retained its ancient character, combined with excellent amenities and many cultural attractions.
- Sant Carlos de la Rapita, a major fishing port and paradise for food lovers. The town is filled with excellent seafood restaurants. Water sports are also popular in the area.
- The beautiful medieval monasteries of Poblet and Santes Creus.
- Finally, take a day trip to Barcelona if you want to include some great museums, culture and city vibes into your family vacation.
Costa Dorada’s best beaches
The Costa Dorada has a great offering of beautiful beaches. Cunit beach, split-up into seven half-moon-shaped mini beaches is especially family friendly with its calm, shallow waters and great facilities including toilets, water sport rentals and beach side restaurants.
Long, sandy Calafell Beach is another favorite of many and a great place if you want to combine a trip to the beach with some sightseeing at the historical town of Calafell. There are children’s playgrounds at the beach and the water is calm and clean, making it perfect for younger children.
Other beautiful, family friendly sandy beaches include Altafulla Beach, Platja de Tamarit, Playa del Regueral and Riumar Beach (with great sand dunes).
But the good thing about the Costa Dorada is that most beaches are suitable for kids of all ages so just check out a number of different beaches during you stay here!
Costa Dorada’s food
The Costa Dorada offers typical Mediterranean food and is mainly known for its fish and seafood. With its many traditional Spanish towns you will have many opportunities to taste authentic Catalan dishes.
Family fun on the Costa Dorada
Apart from perfect family friendly beaches the Costa Dorada is also home to PortAventura, a large theme park that is often named as one of the best in Europe. There is a popular water park in Pineda, a fun magic show at the House of Illusion in Salou and plenty of activities in each town to keep the entire family entertained.
3. The Best of The Costa Verde
The Costa Verde, meaning Green Coast, is a lush, green coastal strip in the Asturias region, in northwest Spain. It is a more rugged coastline with spectacular cliffs, scattered sandy beaches, national parks and dramatic mountain ranges.
If you love nature, hiking, mountain villages, great forests and a view of snow capped mountains, then the Costa Verde is for you.
The Costa Verde is wild and beautiful, with an abundance of caves to explore and breath-taking scenery to admire. Visit Somiedo National Park to try and catch a glimpse of a bear or a gray wolf. And, the Costa Verde is also one of the only places in Western Europe where brown bears still roam…
A selection of towns worth visiting on the Costa Verde
- Cudillero, one of the most charming fishing villages on the Costa Verde. It offers colorful houses, a beautiful view as you climb up the hill and a traditional Asturian town feel. Aditionally Cudillero is close to one of Asturia’s most famous beaches: Playa del Silencio.
- Gijon, which began as a fishing village nearly 3000 years ago. It is now considered the maritime capital of Asturias with one of Spain’s busiest shipping ports. Gijon is a modern, energetic and prosperous town but has managed to conserve that authentic fishing-village vibe. The city has great opportunities for shopping, a beautiful seaside promenade and a wide range of restaurants. It also offers plenty of squares, parks and museums to keep the whole family entertained.
- Ribadesella, a pretty town in a bay, surrounded by high mountains, beaches and steep cliffs. The town is known for the Tito Bustillo Cave, which is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site. Prehistoric drawings of more than 14,000 years old have been found here – some of the oldest prehistoric art in the world.
- Cangas de Onis, which forms the entrance to the Picos de Europa National Park. The most popular attraction here is a medieval bridge and a small chapel built in a small cave, high above the ground.
- Llanes, a charming, historical village. It is one of the most visited villages on the Costa Verde boasting remains of a medieval wall, a 13th century tower and a 15th century palace. It is also close to many great beaches.
What makes the Costa Verde such a great part of Spain though is its countless small fishing villages and mountain towns. Therefore take my suggestions merely as a guideline and definitely go on a road trip to explore some of the other adorable places this region has to offer.
Costa Verde’s best beaches
Costa Verde’s coastal area is both stunning and dramatic; with long sandy beaches, coves, cliffs and hidden caves against a backdrop of rugged mountains.
Some of the most stunning beaches include the Playa de Cuevas del Mar (the Beach of Sea Caves), hidden treasure Playa de Xago and the wild gem Playa Cobijeru.
Do check out Playa de Gulpiyuri, the “beach without a sea”: a small inland beach and one of Asturias best-kept secrets.
Long, sandy Playa de Rodiles makes a great beach for any family with kids and Playa de la Griega, with dinosaur footprints still present in the rock formations, is also a great recommendation.
But, similar to the other two costas, this part of Spain offers a nearly endless number of beaches so do go out and explore!
Tip: Keep in mind that many of the beaches on the Costa Verde are fairly remote and offer limited facilities so do bring enough water, snacks and anything else you may need for your perfect beach day.
Costa Verde’s food
Asturian food is based on wholesome and hearty home cooking. You will find a lot of meat and rich dishes here. The most famous regional dish is Fabada Asturiana, a rich stew made with large white beans (fabes de la Granja), pork shoulder (llacón), morcilla (black pudding), chorizo, and saffron.
Asturias is also famous for its cider, so do try that when traveling to the Costa Verde.
Family fun on the Costa Verde
With so many outdoor adventures the Costa Verde is a great region to keep your kids active.
If your kids are into dinosaurs then do check out the Jurassic Museum of Asturias – the building itself is a giant dinosaur’s footprint and has exhibitions, workshops and play areas for all ages.
Traveling to the Costa Verde might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are considering a family vacation in Spain. But that makes this area just that tiny bit extra special! The Costa Verde is much more unspoilt than the other coastal areas of Spain. It is absolutely stunning, the people are friendly and it will show you a side of Spain you don’t see in every travel guide.
Family-friendly vacations in Spain
Consider staying in one of Eurocamp’s family-friendly vacation homes, bungalows or tents. They have campsites in each of these 3 Spanish coastal regions and their campsites offer great aminities such as pools, waterslides, restaurants and shops.
If you’re struggling to decide on your next travel destination, Spain is a great choice to keep all the family happy! With so much to see and do Spain is the type of destination you could easily visit every year and still have a completely different vacation each time.
So, take your kids on a family vacation to Spain! I am sure you will enjoy this diverse country as much as I do!
Also read: 5 Crazy Spanish Festivals You Have to See to Believe and my other articles about Traveling in Spain & Living in Spain
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This is a collaborative post. However, as always all opinions are my own and I would not endorse anything I did not enjoy!