A Family-friendly Guide to Madrid

The Plaza Mayor in Madrid | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
The Plaza Mayor in Madrid | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
Photo of Lori Zaino
10 August 2017

Madrid is the perfect city to visit with kids. Most bars and restaurants are extremely child-friendly and you’ll see families almost everywhere you go. Here are the very best activities you shouldn’t miss out on when visiting Madrid with little ones.

Ride the Teleférico

Madrid’s famous cable car, the Teleférico, has been running since 1969. Kids will adore the views of the beautiful views of the Palacio Real and the Almudena Cathedral. Although the ride is just 11 minutes long, it’s the perfect way for children to see the city of Madrid from up above as you fly 40 meters (130 feet) over Casa de Campo park, the famous Egyptian Templo de Debod and several other small parks and gardens, including the Manzanares River.

Casa de campo, Calle Cerro Garabita, s/n, Madrid, Spain

The Teleférico | © Lori Zaino

Chill in the Plaza Mayor

Pay a visit to Madrid’s most famous square, where children and adults alike will be in awe of this very special red plaza featuring 237 balconies that face the center statue of Felipe III on his horse. While the kids may not care that the Plaza Mayor dates back to the 1600s, they will enjoy the street performers and the gadgets and trinkets stands will sell during the square’s epic holiday markets.

Get churros and hot chocolate

The hot chocolate offered in Spain isn’t quite like the simple milky drink kids enjoy in other countries. Instead, it’s more like a steaming mug of melted chocolate – as if someone were to simply melt down a chocolate bar into liquid. Children of all ages (and adults) will adore dipping the crispy, fried sugary churro sticks into the chocolate. Just don’t forget the bib – this activity can get messy fast!

Hot chocolate and churros | © Lori Zaino

Visit the Museo Arqueológico Nacional: MAN

Map View
The Museo Arqueológico Nacional, also know as the MAN, recently underwent a huge renovation and has an enormous space dedicated to the famous prehistoric Cuevas de Altamira that kids will love. The museum, which is educational as well as fun, has artefacts from many different time periods and occupations including Prehistoric, Egyptian, Celtic, Iberian, Greek, Roman, Visigoth and Christian.

Splash around at Madrid Río

This area along Madrid’s Manzanares River is ideal for a family day out. Children can make use of 17 different play areas featuring bridges, webs, hammocks, vines and swings all created from sustainable materials like rope and wood. If you’re with older children or teens, you can rent bikes and ride around the area. Plenty of terraces overlooking the river allow for a relaxing dining experience as you and your family enjoy the view. There’s also a beach area for sunbathing, with various fountains for little ones to splash and swim in when the weather is warm.

The ‘beach’ area at Madrid Río | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

Enjoy nature at Faunia

Faunia is a nature park/zoo featuring many different groups of animals and ecosystems. With special sections dedicated to penguins, rare birds and reptiles, kids can explore and learn about nature while having fun. There are many activities and workshops such as lectures, film screenings, music, art exhibitions and walks – all related to animals and the environment. During holidays like Halloween and Christmas, the center offers plenty of exciting special events geared towards kids, and even holds day camps.

Av. Comunidades, 28, Madrid, Spain, +34 902 53 55 45

Run the maze at the Sabatini Gardens

While parents enjoy the epic views of the adjacent Palacio Real, kids can chase each other through the maze-like labyrinth gardens of this small park – a great thrill for those big enough to peep over the tops of the maze bushes. You’ll be surprised at how long this natural park will amuse the kids, giving you a nice break to breath in the scent of fresh flowers and pine trees.

Calle de Bailén, 2, Madrid, Spain

The manicured Sabatini Gardens | © iurikothe/Flickr

Get cultured at Matadero

Matadero, which was once Madrid’s largest slaughterhouse, is now one of the city’s largest cultural and arts centers. The space prides itself on offering exhibitions related to visual art, literature, music, cinema, design, fashion and architecture, and they often have educational, kid-friendly courses related to reading, music or sports. Check their schedule before you visit to see if you can find the perfect event for your family to attend.

Paseo de la Chopera, 14, Madrid, Spain, +34 915 17 73 09

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