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Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

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Nashville, Tennessee
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Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

Our family of 4 (kids 6 and 8) will be traveling to Madrid for a wedding next May. If we stay around 2 weeks, where else should we try to go? Never been to Europe, but when we took them to Japan 2 years ago, and 3 cities were a bit much for only 2 weeks (of course they were younger). We have extended family traveling there as well, that could possibly share our itinerary and be extra helping hands.

Destinations? Must sees, knowing we're with kids?

Barcelona seems like the exciting spot for sightseeing. others are advising we go to the Tuscany region of Italy and do a few day trips- but im starting to think we should save Italy for a future trip when kids are older. Or Rome. France is obviously closer, but maybe not as great for young children?

And now Portugal has been brought up. So maybe Madrid, Barcelona and Portugal?

Transport?

Trains/ rail system? A few short flights? Others are saying a car, which seems like might be a headache. Loved the trains in Japan.

Lodging?

Hotels? Or would renting houses be more ideal for a family of four?

We plan on trying to balance the days with sightseeing and then open outdoor/park time. Don't know that we can really attempt the great art museums with the kids at this age, as my husband and I were both art majors and would want to give it proper time.

Advice and opinions greatly appreciated!

Madison, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

Loved the trains in Japan. The trains in Spain are of the same caliber...modern, immaculate and fast. That is the easiest thing for children that age. They don't have to sit tight. Well, if you've experienced rail travel in Japan, you know all the advantages.

You wouldn't take children that age to an art museum. And why not? Maybe you can't take them to the theatre, concert, but an art museum is a move-around, look-at-things, and if you do a little prep work, it surely to be a success. Kids get bored? Take them to the museum cafeteria for a snack or meal break.

Oh, and you're art major...Well, you are so well-equipped.

Also, there's a very small but well-located museum to Spain's tooth fairy, "Raton Perez" which your kids will get a kick out of it. (The link is from a Madrid Card ad. FYI, I have never purchased a Madrid Card so I'm not trying to pitch it...but it's got info for you.)

madridcard.com/en/casita-museo-de-raton-perez

This is another Top Questions (right hand side of this page) which answer many of your questions

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187514-s401/Madrid:S…

FYI, the Prado's website has suggested tours for if you have one, two or three hours for a self-tour. Look at those to help YOU preselect some children-centered pieces. I remember when our oldest was about

five, and we reentered the Institute of Art in Chicago for maybe the fifth time (We live three hours away.) and she said to herself as we passed a huge cloud work, "And that's an O'Keeffe."

This is a blog of a friend who was a year in Madrid a year ago with her middle school and high school age sons. Nevertheless, she explores some interesting places, some of which may be interesting for your children. She gave me permission to post. She does describe Raton Perez' museum. We've been there as well. Not far from Sol.

http://everymuseummadrid.blogspot.com/

Edited: 12 September 2013, 13:38
Charlottesville...
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2. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

I think I might be inclined just to stay in Spain. There is a huge amount to see and do there and with the ease of train travel you can really see quite a lot easily by taking your time. With children of that age there's really a lot of magic in Spain (castles, city walls, medieval cities) and it's not terribly far from Madrid. I might do a week in Madrid and a week in Barcelona, renting apartments in both places. In Madrid, I'd do day trips to Segovia for the Roman Aqueduct and the Alcazar, to Avila for the city walls (which the kids can actually walk on and explore) and to Toledo for the twisting twining city medieval streets, the cathedral and a stop at Las Monjas Café for hot chocolate and sweets made by the convents in the area. In Barcelona you can go to the amazing Parque Guëll (http://www.parkguell.es/en/portada) which is something straight out of Doctor Suess. There is also incredible art in both places! The Ave between the two cities is a quick easy ride (just a couple hours) and there are also nice day trips from Barcelona as well (not to mention the amazing architecture, Sagrada Familia, food etc).

Check out the link to the lower right on what to do with children in Madrid. There are so many activities. And children are extremely welcome all over Spain.

Madison, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

Wombat, I supplied "your" link about what to do with kids in my post. It answers a good share of her queries. Thank you for doing your part in that.

Edited: 12 September 2013, 18:09
Charlottesville...
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4. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

My bad! I barely had time to read through as I was answering between my classes!

Nashville, Tennessee
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5. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

thank you both so much for all the info! I will check all the links. excited about the trains, don't know why my father in law is so hooked on the idea of renting cars.

haha on the museums. I meant-- with the kids we wouldn't spend long amounts of time in the art museums. they do and will love them, they just go through them quite a bit quicker than we would without them in tow. So in Madrid we'll have the advantage of letting them run off with relatives, while we take our time. We probably won't have the extra help in other cities, as they are really focusing on going on to Italy.

Madrid, Spain
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6. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

Your children even can "ride" a train on Sunday (11.30am and 2pm) at the Museo del Ferrocarril (Railway Museum) on Paseo de las Delicias # 61.

http://cimaf.es/DATV.htm

Los Angeles
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7. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

Another vote for Segovia. We went there last month and my 5.5 y/o absolutely loved it.

As for another city in Spain, Valencia can be a pretty good option and the train ride only takes 1.5 hrs.

8. Re: Madrid and where else with a 6 & 8 yr old for 2ish weeks?

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