Spain with a Baby

Author: Elizabeth and Celine Brewer

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Before my husband and I got married, we had a long conversation about what we hoped our life would look like. The two things we agreed most passionately about were lots of travel and several kids. We would gladly shift our lives to make room for kids, but we didn’t want to change who we were or what we loved to do. We would take them with us any and everywhere.

A year and half later, we were expecting Carolyn, and simultaneously considering a trip to Spain. We started planning the trip with my sister-in-law, at which point our daughter would be almost 6 months old.

After extensive research, we decided we wanted to make the most of our two week trip to Spain with a baby by exploring four cities: Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, and Barcelona.

Spain with a Baby

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Travel Essentials for Spain with a Baby

Jogging Stroller

Since we planned to fly with our stroller and most airlines allow strollers to be checked for free, bringing our jogging stroller was a no brainer. We were often on cobblestone roads and sidewalks, so the larger wheels absorbed some of the shock. We could also easily go off road.

There were some points, however, when we had to carry the stroller up and down stairs. My husband and I weren’t typically bothered by this, as it was overall easier than wearing her all day.

Baby sleeping in Stroller - Spain with baby
Baby sleeping in stroller in Spain.

Looking for something more lightweight? See all our recommended airplane travel strollers.

Minneababy Darkening Cover

Of the four hotels we stayed in, only one had actual bedrooms. The rest were one open space. I started looking at travel darkening covers, and after reading the reviews, decided on the Minneababy darkening cover.

The Minneababy travel crib darkening cover blocked out 80% of light, was well ventilated, and fit right over the pack-n-play. As a bonus, it weighed only three pounds and took up very little space in my suitcase. It was an absolute necessity for us and continues to be whenever we travel.

Diapers

Instead of packing two weeks’ worth of diapers, we visited the local Carrefour. Carrefour is a very popular convenience store in Europe and the Middle East and is on almost every street in Madrid. Purchasing diapers here saved us space and I highly recommend it.

Travel Changing Pad

Most backpack diaper bags come with a change pad and you’ll be glad you have it while visiting Spain with a baby. Diaper changing tables are hard to find around Spain, so this allowed us to do diaper changes anywhere.

See all our recommended travel changing pads.

Noise Canceling Headphones

Because Carolyn wasn’t a newborn on this trip, she was already growing more sensitive to noise. I decided to purchase some noise canceling headphones for the overnight flight. They also frequently came in handy when napping on the go.

baby wearing noise canceling headphones on airplane
Baby wearing noise-cancelling headphones.

Sun Protection

Spain in the summer was sunny and very warm. I packed an adjustable bucket hat for Carolyn that included a drawstring chin strap for warm days when she wasn’t content to sit in the stroller’s shade.

See all our recommended baby sun hats for travel.

It wasn’t until we were already in Spain that I realized I myself needed protective sun gear as well! Spaniard style hats were everywhere, so purchasing locally was an easy decision.

Packing

When considering what to pack for this trip, we had to take into account that we would frequently travel between cities, so we needed to pack lightly. As you can imagine, that’s no easy task with a baby. We were able to fit a weeks’ worth of clothes for three in a medium sized checked suitcase and a small carry on suitcase. Travel documents and other necessities were in our two backpacks, one of which doubled as a diaper bag backpack.

As I booked our hotels, I took into consideration that we would need either an in-unit washer, or a laundry service. As it happened, our hotel in Cordoba had one and was the halfway point for our trip. So I packed enough laundry detergent for three loads and spent our last day there washing and air drying. It worked beautifully and saved so much space!

Here’s a complete packing list for travel with a baby or toddler, but if you are looking to pack light, renting baby equipment while traveling is an excellent way to do that.

Look into renting baby gear in Spain.

Baby Hip Carrier

The one item I was eyeing before the trip but didn’t purchase was the hip baby carrier. This carrier is ideal for older babies who want to see everything, and also for toddlers who may need to be carried at times.

Carolyn occasionally didn’t want to be in the stroller or the wrap, so the hip baby carrier would have been ideal. I purchased it right after our trip and have enjoyed it when traveling.

See all our recommended baby carriers for travel.

Transportation and Navigation Around Spain with a Baby

Public transportation is available throughout Spain, so we decided to avoid rental cars and taxis, and stick to metros and trains. By using the public transportation in Spain with our baby, we eliminated the need to bring a travel car seat.

metro station in Spain - how to get around Spain with a Baby

To get from city to city in Spain with our baby, we took the bus and/or metro to the train station. The train stations had some light security, so we had to send our belongings through detectors before continuing to our platform.

We learned the hard way to board the train as early as possible when traveling with lots of luggage. Storage is limited, so storing the stroller was a struggle on our first trip. The train ride itself, though, went very smoothly! Watching the countryside roll past was beautiful. And after nursing for a few minutes, Carolyn almost always fell asleep and took some of her best naps on the train.

Taking a Train in Spain with Baby

When I needed to change her diaper, I found that there were a few changing tables in the train bathrooms, similar to plane changing tables. However, you had to either happen upon them or look diligently.

When I lucked out, I often just placed her travel changing pad on the toilet lid and sanitized the area around her. She was still small enough and it worked in a pinch.

Best Places to Visit in Spain with a Baby

Seville with a Baby

Seville was charming and filled with character. Quaint patio restaurants were everywhere, and shopping opportunities abounded. We spent two full days in Seville with a baby, though I think we could have easily enjoyed a third.

mother holding baby - Seville with a Baby

Flamenco Museum

When in Seville, the home of flamenco, seeing a show is a must! Local bars often put on evening shows, but the museum flamenco show was more baby friendly. The museum had several shows throughout the day and was so well done. Carolyn loved the tapping and the music!

It was a little loud in the small performance room, so the noise canceling headphones once again came in handy and even allowed her to take a quick nap. After the show, we got to tour the museum for a while.

Unfortunately, this was cut short by a baby blowout, at which point we discovered that this museum did not have a changing table, which I generally found to be a hit or miss throughout Spain.

I recommend allotting more time than expected at an attraction for this reason. The bigger cities like Barcelona and Madrid were more likely to have a changing table, but it wasn’t always a guarantee.

I always had her changing pad and sanitizing wipes in her bag for these occasions. Disposable plastic bags for dirty clothes and an extra pair of clean clothes were also a necessity.

Setas de Sevilla and Shopping

Setas de Sevilla, or the mushrooms of Seville, are a beautiful example of Seville’s innovative design. After taking pictures and exploring that area, we found a market nearby and spent the rest of the morning shopping.

This was our favorite shopping day. We found so many beautiful, locally made pieces of jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs for a ridiculously low price.

Setas de Sevilla with a Baby

Plaza de Espana

Of all the plazas we visited, this one was the most remarkable. There was music, dancing, and beautiful views.

It’s worth noting that many travel blogs recommend visiting plazas throughout Spain, but unless you plan on eating there, they take up very little time and look similar. Plaza de Espana was the exception.

Plaza de Espana in Seville Spain

As was often the case on our trip, Carolyn started complaining of hunger as soon as we arrived. I was exclusively breastfeeding, and I found that as soon as I slipped a nursing cover over her as she ate, we became invisible.

I breastfed our baby everywhere in Spain and no one batted an eye. It made the trip so much easier!

Read more on Seville with a Baby or if traveling with older children, see this post on Seville with Kids.

Restaurants in Seville with a Baby

Our second day in Seville was my favorite. We had breakfast at La Cacharreria and it was my favorite breakfast place of the entire trip. I highly recommend the orange juice and fruit smoothies.

Here, as in most restaurants, Carolyn stayed in her stroller at the table. I did notice most restaurants had highchairs, but since Carolyn was just six months, they weren’t necessary for her.

Need a travel highchair? Here are all our recommended portable highchairs for travel.

Cordoba with a Baby

We had four days in Cordoba, but it could be done in two days. Beware of planning things during siesta hours as this smaller city adhered to this cultural standard more than the other three we visited.

It’s also worth noting that the older part of Cordoba is very walkable, and besides the trip from the train to our hotel, we didn’t take a bus the entire time.

We stayed at Suites La Posada De Pilar and it was our favorite stay by far. It was well priced, and the larger rooms offered two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a living room.

The best part, however, was the patio and rooftop. The patio was covered in beautiful flowers and water features. The rooftop offered a quaint view of the surrounding area, including the cathedral across the street.

The only thing I would caution is that the manager spoke minimal English. We frequently ran into this problem throughout Cordoba and Seville. Fortunately, my sister in law is a Spanish minor, but all others may need to keep Google translate handy.

mother and baby in Cordoba Spain

Festival of Patios

Our arrival to Cordoba lined up perfectly with the Festival of Patios, a yearly festival in May. During the Festival of Patios locals open up their usually closed off patios bursting with flowers for the public to view and enjoy.

Following an online map, we explored several of the patios close to our hotel and enjoyed the close up view of local living.

Festival of Patios - Cordoba Spain with Baby

Mosque Cathedral

The Mosque Cathedral was a highlight of the trip. We opted to do the audio tour and found it very educational. The history and beauty of this building was breathtaking, and altogether stroller friendly.

However, Carolyn often grew restless in such settings. This was one of the moments I wished I had the hip baby carrier.

Mosque Cathedral Cordoba Spain

Anadulsian Horse Show

This performance was outdoors in the cool of the evening and combined flamenco dancing with horses. It was stunning and well worth the price of admission.

Archeology Museum of Cordoba

At this fascinating museum, we learned more about the intricate history of Cordoba and got to see part of an arena below the museum that dates back to the Roman era. Most of the museum had elevators, but the arena portion was only accessible by stairs.

While not stroller friendly, it’s still definitely worth taking turns to see! Alternatively, bring a baby carrier and leave the stroller behind!

Restaurants in Cordoba with a Baby

We stumbled upon Patio Romano and treated ourselves to a slightly fancier dinner at this beautifully enclosed patio. The dinner did not disappoint and was quite the delicious cultural experience.

Where to Eat in Cordoba with a Baby

Madrid with a Baby

Madrid was the city we flew into and out of, and we stayed here several days in the middle of our trip.

As you might imagine, Madrid is huge and often requires a bus or metro. Our hotel was centrally located, so we could often walk, but exploring anywhere outside of the city center necessitated public transportation.

Where to Stay in Madrid with a Baby

We were delighted to get the same hotel each time, staying at THC Bergantin Hostel. The highlight of this hotel was its central location and fabulous owner.

He was kind enough to give us the same room all three times we stayed there and remembered our names each time we returned. We felt especially safe and looked out for at this hotel.

Royal Palace of Madrid

When we were in Madrid, the Royal Palace of Madrid was free on Wednesdays! Unfortunately, the Wednesday we were there some national proceedings were happening inside, so we were limited to the courtyard.

Determined, we returned later in the trip and were so glad we did! It was worthwhile to see the beautiful, intricately decorated rooms. The staff was also very accommodating with our stroller and led us to a private elevator to transport us between floors.

Royal Palace of Madrid with a Baby

Prado Museum

Students and educators receive discounts at the Prado Museum, an acclaimed art museum, which was a great surprise. The museum was very baby friendly and very impressive.

Prado Museum - Madrid with Baby

Madrid Restaurants with a Baby

Since we were in Madrid in the summer, we often wanted an iced drink. Ice is a very American preference, so we were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon iced lattes at Federal. We were even more surprised when the breakfast and lunch options turned out to be so good!

La Rollerie was another favorite here and just a few blocks from our hotel. Their hazelnut lattes were fantastic, and I don’t think there was a mediocre item on their breakfast menu. We went there several times because it was so close and delicious.

Madrid Restaurants

Read more on Visiting Madrid with a Toddler.

Barcelona with a Baby

Being on the coast, Barcelona was the warmest and most humid of the cities we visited. It was also the easiest to navigate, though we often encountered stairwells going into the metro with no elevator in sight.

One thing to note about Barcelona is that it is especially hilly. Beware that if your GPS says a location is in walking distance, it might contain sets of stairs, or steep hills. Definitely use the bus or metro system when you can!

A baby carrier is also a good option for places that aren’t stroller friendly.

Palau Nacional

Home of the National Museum of Catalonia, the palace grounds were beautiful and had panoramic views of the city. The museum also offered a lovely view of the Olympic stadium at the top of the museum. The museum itself was very stroller friendly, though the area surrounding the museum was less so.

Palau Nacional Barcelona - with a Baby

Magic Fountains

This nightly fountain light show is in front of Palau Nacional, but down several sets of stairs. Whatever navigation you have to do to get the fountains, do it. This show was free and captivating.

It was very crowded, but one of the highlights of the trip, and Carolyn was fascinated by everything. Just keep your belongings close and beware of the splash zone!

Magic Fountains in Barcelona with a Baby

Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter is an area of town with beautiful architecture, plentiful shopping, and incredible food. I highly recommend spending an evening eating and exploring.

The Beach

While in Barcelona, we of course had to see the beach. Unfortunately, it was a little chilly the day we went, so we didn’t get in the water. The beaches were crowded and overrun with people selling beach gear, but it was still worth the bus trip and the ocean was beautiful.

Mother holding baby at Barceloneta Beach - Barcelona with a Baby

Restaurants in Barcelona with a Baby

We had several delicious meals in Barcelona, but I’ll limit myself to two recommendations. On our first night, between touring the museum and waiting for the fountain show to start, we stumbled upon Dumplings, an Asian restaurant. The food was spectacular, plentiful, and well-priced.

After sticking our toes in the sand at the beach, we had worked up an appetite. We viewed a few menus of restaurants on the beach, but the prices were high, and the food looked mediocre.

We ventured inland a few blocks and found Tacos Alto. This was my husband’s favorite meal, and he reminisces about it often. The owner offered very helpful suggestions, the food was all fresh and delicious, and I highly recommend trying a margarita.

Read more on Visiting Barcelona with a Baby and Best Baby-Friendly Hotels in Barcelona.

Final Thoughts on Spain with a Baby

We’re several months past our trip now, and I still think about the fun we had, and the memories we made with our daughter. If you’re waiting for the perfect stage to start traveling with your baby– don’t. Prepare the best you can, accept the chaos, and start adventuring.

Visiting Spain with a Baby

This article was written by Elizabeth

Elizabeth is living her dream as a stay-at-home wife and mom in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to writing, she loves new adventures, quality coffee, and a good conversations with her family and friends.

Spain with a Baby

This post was written & edited by:

Visiting Spain with a Baby
Elizabeth
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Elizabeth is living her dream as a stay-at-home wife and mom in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to writing, she loves new adventures, quality coffee, and a good conversations with her family and friends.

info@babycantravel.com | Website | + posts

Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.

Read more about Celine Brewer.