So much changes when you have children. Your idea of what constitutes an early night, for example, and for that matter what constitutes an early morning, gets turned on its head. Your concept of ‘clean and tidy’ gets all messed up. Packing light is a hopeless dream and of course your decisions about where to eat out and where to go on holiday are based on a whole new set of criteria.
So, if you are ‘married with kids’ here are 5 reasons why you’ll love Granada:
1. The Spanish love kids
This may sound a little ridiculous. After all, we all love our kids don’t we? Yes, but in Spain it seems that there are very few places where children aren’t welcome. If you walk down Granada’s marbled pedestrian Carrera del la Virgen on a summer’s evening you will be struck by the sheer number of baby buggies and children that you see out with their parents.
You won’t be ‘getting looks’ from fellow diners in a restaurant if your kids are running slightly wild (by English standards) between courses. And you will feel no tangible waves of disapproval washing over you if you need to breastfeed in public either.
Along with a great love of children, the Spanish also enjoy a bit of noise, as you will know if you have ever been to a fiesta in Spain. So, your young baby crying lustily throughout dinner will hardly even register, and if it does it will be drawing looks of admiration not disapprobation.
You may, however, be the recipient of unsolicited advice from passing abuelas – grannies – on how you might dress your baby better for the time of year/day. Do not be offended by this, because offence is not intended. Just smile and nod and continue as you were.
2. We’re on Spanish time here
Perhaps you may have heard that in Spain things start later and move more slowly? This might be frustrating at times when you live here, but when you are on holiday this is a good thing. Go with it.
Granada is no exception to the Spanish timetable so you won’t have to rise at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds (except if you are getting up to queue for Alhambra tickets of course, in which case set your alarm and click here for more useful tips on getting the best out of your visit). The crowds, are probably sleeping in, and sleeping it off, after being out until all hours of the madrugada, stumbling around the Albayzín or trawling Calle Elvira for, well, for whatever it is that people without children look for on a night out in Granada.
So, let the kids sleep in, start the day a little later, and don’t rush breakfast because it will be a long time until lunch which doesn’t really get underway until 2pm. Late lunching of course has the knock-on effect that diner will be late too. You are unlikely to find somewhere that begins serving dinner before 8pm.
Spanish children tend stay up late, especially in the hot summer months when families, quite understandably, like to be out of the house to enjoy the cooler air that the evening brings. You may see children up as late as 11pm and your kids aren’t going to want to go to bed early either. Staying up late is all part of the fun of family holidays in warm Mediterranean destinations.
3. Eating out is easy
Eating out is family activity in Spain but don’t expect most places to have a ‘kids menu’. This is not such a bad thing, especially if you want your kids to experience and enjoy the local cuisine. This key is knowing how and what to order.
When visiting Granada with kids, take advantage of one of the things for which it is most famous: free tapas. In a bar or restaurant when you order an alcoholic drink (or even an agua con gas these days) you will also be brought a little something to eat. With each new drink comes a new tapa. The more you drink, very often, the better the tapas get.
Of course your children won’t be drinking alcohol, but the snacks that accompany your drinks could be welcome if you are out in the early evening and the kids are struggling to make it through to dinner time.
When out for lunch always check to see if the restaurant offers a Menu del día. These set menus, which normally include a drink and/or a dessert, offer very manageable portions and represent great value. Prices generally range from €9 to €15. If you’re ordering raciones off the menu, bear in mind that they tend to come in huge portions and really work best as sharing plates.
4. There are lots and lots of things to do
OK, it’s not Disney Land but Granada province offers so much diversity that it makes a great destination for a family holiday all year round.
The Sierra Nevada not only offers skiing in the winter but lots of other activities in the spring and summer. Whether you are on a beach holiday, or just day-tripping from the city, the Costa Tropical is a beautiful stretch of coastline with some fantastic beaches for families to enjoy. There are also aqua parks near the city and on the coast.
In the city itself, there is, of course, the Alhambra, which can be a wonderful experience for kids if you can take it at their pace.
5. YOU will love Granada
No, it’s not Disney land. Granada is a beautiful, romantic city and you will love it. And if you are happy, the kids are more likely to be happy too.
Keep your plans realistic and don’t be tempted to do too much in one day. Take the sight-seeing at their speed and pepper the trip with plenty of snacking and resting.
However, while I am all for bribery and corruption, when engagement is waining, it will only get you so far.
If they are old enough, get them involved in making some of the decisions about destinations and activities during the holiday.
For more inspiration check out our Top 10 things to do with kids in Granada.