Fun Things to do in Madrid, Spain with Children
I have vivid memories in high school of desperately wanting to visit Spain. I took Spanish classes, read every book I could find about the history, and spent many hours daydreaming of the time I would set foot on Spanish soil.
I traveled a little in college, and then more before I got married and had children. In that time, the opportunity to get to Spain never arose. Finally, more than three decades after the dream was born, I found myself headed toward a dream come true. Only now I found myself planning what things to do in Madrid, Spain with children.
We flew into Madrid on our way to Venice, Italy, knowing that on our way home we would linger for a few days in the city of my dreams. One of the most striking things about travel into Madrid was the airport in this world capital — the airport was clean architecturally interesting. The colors and shapes kept us entertained as we waited for our flight.
Hilton Madrid Airport
There is only one Hilton hotel in Madrid, Spain. Located at the airport, it is very convenient when flying into the city for business or pleasure. Hilton Madrid Airport was by far the best part of our trip to Madrid.
We checked out of our hotel in Venice at 3 a.m. and caught an early flight to Spain. The hotel shuttle was easy to locate and very convenient. By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was nearing 11 a.m., and I had not fed my children besides the omnipresent snacks in the travel bag. Check in was a breeze and we were given the keys to our adjoining rooms. Behind me, my younger daughter said, “Mom, I’m really hungry.” The desk attendant’s eyes snapped up and she immediately called the Executive Lounge. Though they were clearing the morning food, they escorted us to the Lounge for a delicious brunch of granolas, fresh fruits, milk, and juices.
We typically book a suite if available when we travel with our children, and I was a little nervous when I learned that standard rooms at this location only sleep two people. This meant that Roy and I would have a room and the girls would have their own connecting room. My fears were completely unfounded. We were completely comfortable with the security of the room and were able to keep the doors open, giving the combination a suite-like feel. The bedrooms and bathrooms were spacious and comfortable with a modern, yet elegant, feel.
We had the opportunity to experience room service, a traditional Spanish meat and cheese tray with wine for the adults and a tray of sweets and fruits with milk for the girls. We also chose to eat at Reserva Grill, the restaurant at Hilton Madrid Airport, on our first night. With a variety of options, everyone was pleased. The cuisine rivaled any five star restaurant we could have chosen. The food was well prepared with unique and interesting techniques that enhanced the high quality of ingredients. The service was fabulous and the food exquisite with both experiences.
Though located near the airport and not downtown, the hotel is convenient. There is a hotel shuttle which will take you downtown throughout the day. Though there is a single drop off point, our driver asked where we were headed as he helped us out of the van. When we told him, he immediately put us back in the van and drove us closer to the area we wanted to visit.
Museo Nacional del Prado (The Prado Museum)
As a young Spanish teacher, I plied my students with history and art as we learned to speak the language. I showed pictures of famous art and shared about the lives of the artists. Many of the artists I taught about were from Spain and were represented in the Prado, which was one of the stops on our first day.
The museum is large with a variety of rooms dedicated to period or artist. Coats, bags, and cases are scanned and can be checked with security during your visit (a huge help with the kids!). As always, we rented the self-tour audio guides for the girls. This keeps them busy, answers their questions, and allows me to enjoy my time in the museum. Though you could spend days at the Prado, we got a good introduction to the museum (and it held the girls’ interests) in the three hours we visited.
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (Royal Botanical Gardens)
Almost next door is Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid. These gardens share a great amount of history for a nominal charge. Over 250 years old, the gardens display thousands of species of plants, trees, flowers, and feature a large vegetable garden. With plants blooming year round, it is a special treat at any time.
Spending four days in Madrid only scratched the surface of my imagination. Be on the lookout for another article that features amazing standout places to visit and a tip that might make your visit a little easier.
Heather and her family were born and raised in east Texas, where she is an assistant principal. Her husband teaches high school chemistry and her daughters are…