Exploring Spain

Jul 9, 2024
My family traveled to Spain this summer and were left in awe of this nation's deep history, beautiful architecture, and the delicious food. 

We visited the old city in Madrid, Spain's capital. The old city boasts beautiful historical monuments and public areas, such as Plaza Mayor, a 400-year-old public square in the heart of the old city, perfect for a stroll and grabbing a light bite, or just sitting and people-watching. There's an enormous El Retiro Park nearby, where families can relax, and maybe catch a boat ride. 

We also spent a few days in Cordoba's old city. The ancient Great Mosque (also called the Mosque-Cathedral) was located adjacent to our hotel, and it was nice to just walk to this ancient house of worship and view one of the greatest monuments of the Islamic architectures in the West. The ancient mosque is an emblem of the Ummayad dynasty and was built in the 700s when the ruler Abderrahman I bought a small Visigothic church. The mosque consists of beautiful characteristic high arches. During the 1400s, when the Christians took over Cordoba, they converted the Great Mosque into a Cathedral. A Christian nave was among the renovations completed in the Mosque's center later on. 

From Cordoba, we took a 2-hour train ride to Granada, where the majestic Alhambra Palace complex is. This complex sits atop a hill and features inspiring castles and buildings in red tones along with lush gardens. First constructed in the 1200s, Alhambra was a city unto itself. It was a fortress. It housed palaces for the royal family. There was a public square with shops, public baths and a mosque. After the conquest of Granada in 1492, the royal court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella was at Alhambra, and Christoper Columbus received his expedition's endorsement at Alhambra.    

We left inspired by the rich history of Spain and our long walks in the old city of Madrid and Cordoba. 


1. Spain has a good public transportation system. We decided to take the Renfe train from Madrid to Cordoba, and then from Cordoba to Granada. The train ride was 1.5 to 2 hours each way - pretty manageable. We also took local taxi when going around town. Highly recommend booking train tickets at least a few days in advance. 

2. Traveling light is helpful. We packed one large suitcase with 3 outfit changes each for a family of 4. We also brought two backpacks, but no backpacks for the kiddos. We brought along a set of shoes and a set of comfy flip flops for each family member. 

3. We traveled in summer, where temps ranged from low 80s to high 90s, even 100s. In hot weather, it's crucial to take breaks and find indoor spots to cool off at, and drink plenty of water. Senior citizens and people with health conditions should consult their doctors about traveling safely during summer. 

4. You will need to bring an adapter to plug in and charge your electronics. 

If you'd like to share any travel tips, please message us, and we'll share on social media. 

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