traveling safely with children in Spain

Hi there,

I'm traveling with my son's 11 and 12 years old, early 2017 for 2-3 months. I've heard about high risk safety issues currently in Spain. What areas are the safest for New Zealand/English speaking families? any advise would be appreciated.
Thanks, paranoid mama.

Hello there again, I just saw this separate post. Places I can recommend from experience that are safe for families and children would be the Valencia communidad (region). I am based in Vinaros which is a lovely little town by the beach and it's connected to a series of other little towns; Benicarlo and Penniscola. There are places to visit around here such as Morella, which is listed as one of the top places in Spain to visit (among many others). If you have 2-3 months and depending on your budget, you can see all of Spain really. I have visited many cities in Spain and I would recommend you see; Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba (go to see the flower festival if you are there in May), Sevilla, Malaga, Granada, Valencia, Peniscola, Vinaros- if you want an affordable base to do some car travel / day trips from, Tarragona (there's a big fun park there), Barcelona .... that's kind of all of the cities I can recommend from experience. I know a few more in the Pyrenes but depends on the sort of travel you would like to do. If you like nature and want to take the kids horse riding or hiking I highly recommend spending time in the Pyrenes area near the French border.

The safest places I know are the Valencia communidad (the three towns), Morella, Pyrenes, Cordoba - but I haven't been there for a long time. When I traveled there I felt very safe.
Cities to take care in; Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia - mainly large cities.

Hi, thanks so much. Sounds like you've been busy exploring, good on you!
My daughter is traveling ahead of us Nov 2016, from Germany to Xabia. So we will meet around Xabia at some stage but are flexible with areas and activities. We will definitely do a few adventure parks I'm sure. We all like old ruins and villages and we love markets and food. I have been looking at horse trekking so thanks for the advise. I would love to see the flamingo dancing or do a class. My boys wanted to watch the soccer at the stadium as well. My daughter wants to learn crocheting or knitting and computer coding, she is staying longer in Spain with her boyfriend.
I really appreciate your help and guidance.

If you're into horse riding, as I said Arragon (Pyrenes) is a good place but if you need a contact there is a horse riding ranch/ place near Vinaros. If you like ruins, villages etc, there are many ruins of castles in this region (Valencia communidad). If you're into hiking there are a few castle ruins you can visit near Castellon and Benicasim... I've seen about three or 4 from memory but if you also like to explore a very very pretty town with a castle (ruins) definitely check out Morella.
The other very very beautiful castle which has a lot more activity and life (in the warmer months) is Peniscola, which is about 20 mins from Vinaros. That castle was used in Season 6 Game of thrones. Has lots of restaurants, cafes, shops inside it and also has very incredible views. In the warmer months you can swim at the base of it or even try paddle surfing - there are lessons for about 35 euro for 1.5 hours and they take your photo, you explore some caves.

Good luck with your planning and enjoy Spain when you get here!

Wow, cool- that sounds amazing! my daughter is keen on the Game of thrones, It's not my thing but it still sounds mesmerizing.. My younger son loves fossils and all of us old buildings, Thanks so much!!

You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it!!

One more thing I wanted to mention to you about security  that I forgot to include...
If you haven't booked your flight, when you fly to Spain you usually have to stop in Germany; Frankfurt, Munich or Switzerland to take your flight to Madrid or Barcelona. In my opinion it's best to try and avoid taking a flight via Germany these days because of their increased security issues. Zurich is okay but their border security is very time consuming and they interview everyone before they let you in the Schengan region. I just find it time consuming and annoying. Definitely don't take a flight via Paris or Brussels airports.

I fly with Finnair which flies via Helsinki and only has a stop over for about 2-3 hours. In my opinion Helsinki is a lower terrorism threat than airports in Germany. If you fly from NZ, I think Finnair ticket is via Hong Kong with Cathay. I got my ticket on special so see how you go. You can also fly with a Chinese airline like China Eastern (via mainland China; Beijing or Shanghai), China Air and the BIG PLUS about flying with those airlines is that they let you take 2 suitcase around 20kg each. If you travel for 2-3 months you'll want more baggage allowance, so take that into consideration when you shop for prices and want to think about convenience.

As for security in Spain, of course there is a higher threat in the large cities, particularly Madrid and Barcelona, but I would also think Valencia and maybe Sevilla as well (probably not). The good thing you should know about Spain is that their police/ security system here is semi militarized. There is the normal policia and there is the Guardia Civil and then there is also the army who are very active in working in cities when it's required.

Last year in Mardrid I saw a military presence the following day after Denmark had a terrorist attack. I felt safe with them in the streets. But in general, Guardia civil (national police) are everywhere which is a good thing.

If you would like to design a 'safer' lower risk trip, stick to small towns and minimise your stay in large cities.

I'm based in Vinaros and I feel very safe here. If there was a terrorist attack in Spain I would still feel safe here and I already thought about this before going to Spain. The big cities are great to explore but personally I think that REAL Spanish culture, architecture and cuisine can be experienced better in the smaller towns. In the larger cities you get the 'tourist' perspective of Spanish life.

So in summary, security includes choosing a safer city in Europe to do your stop over, minimise time in big cities, more more time in small cities, town and villages.

Good luck!


I only just saw this post. Thanks so much, you have been super helpful!

I haven't booked our flights yet, as I was researching the different airlines-thanks for the help on that. We will be arriving in May 2017 for a few weeks but not sure where we are heading to just yet. Somewhere with a pool, hopefully the weathers warm. We'll be flying to Madrid and going to the South of Spain "somewhere" to meet up with our daughter who leaves in a fortnight, ahead of us. She'll be arriving in Germany and catching a train to Spain so sounds like she might have an interesting time.

Many thanks for your help, I really appreciate the effort.

Hi there,

If you plan to travel in May I HIGHLY recommend you travel to Cordoba during their fiesta de flores. It's apparently one of the most beautiful fiestas in Spain. Even I haven't seen it and it's on my bucket list.
It's a festival where the residents of Cordoba with patios (courtyards) display their beautiful flowers. It happens in May.

If you need a place to stay in Vinaros, I know somewhere you may be able to rent very affordably.
That apartment doesn't have a swimming pool but if you rent a house with a pool I know as a fact you will definitely pay significantly more. But it's walking distance to the beach (less than 10 mins) and I was at the beach nearly every day during my lunch hour. And honestly... if you really really wanted to swim at a pool, I have a couple of friends who have friends I'm sure I could have a chat to and they would allow you to use theirs. 

Let me know and I can help you get in touch with the owner of the apartment. If your kids are young you'll love Vinaros. It's one of the most child friendly cities on earth. Play grounds everywhere, beach, close by, a beach library with a kids section. Also FYI there is a kids yoga class during their holidays which is on the beach. My friend's daughter goes to that each day. She loves it.

There is a library directly across from that apartment which is great for kids and the cafe down stairs (one of the cool places to hang out) is great for kids too (kid friendly). Parents have their coffee and kids play in the square.

Thought I'd pass on the tips :)
Happy planning!


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