I wanted to do a write-up about our recently completed trip with our kids (12 and 9) and hopefully can provide a bit of insight to others planning future trips with kids. We appreciate all of the help and advice from folks on this board, it was invaluable in planning our trip.
We flew from California to Malaga via Frankfurt. This was a very cheap award ticket we found many months ago and worked perfectly. We arrived around 10pm and were in our hotel near the Malaga airport by 11:30. We stayed at Hotel Romerito which is not in the greatest area but was very comfortable and perfect for what we needed (sleep!).
We arranged a two day driver/tour with Letango Tours, which we were recommended on these boards. They were perfect, expertly organized, punctual and friendly. Our tour included transport from Malaga to Granada, a guided tour at the Alhambra, a walking tour of the old city, transport to Ronda, overnight in Ronda on our own, and then a white villages tour on day 2 finished with a drop-off in Sevilla. This tour worked perfectly to see some of the highlights in Andalusia before settling in to Sevilla for four nights. We would highly recommend the tour company - they were very flexible in planning something which fully met our needs, which can be really important when travelling with kids. We had a great visit to the Alhambra and with kids I would say one late afternoon / evening + one morning in Ronda was perfect.
We visited Sentenil and Olvera on our way to Sevilla with a few hours in each village. For Sentenil, our guide took us to the top of city and gave us a walking map to make our way all the way to more famous streets below. This was early enough in the day that we were the only people on the streets at the higher points and had some great views/photos. Olvera is just a magical town and highly recommend the castle with kids - it has a great interactive museum and is allows for great roaming access.
Now were on to Sevilla which was a magical four nights right in the midst of Semana Santa. We stayed at Casa 1800 splurging a bit but it was wonderful to be right in Santa Cruz and steps from the cathedral. Tip if travelling with kids: My Laundry is a small chain through the old city which has easy to use laundry facilities. Very helpful in midst of a long trip! Having four nights was perfect to not be rushed and allow for seeing all the sights but also taking in the processions which were absolutely incredible. The kids will remember these.
After Sevilla we went to Cordoba via AVE train and stayed one night at the AC hotel. This hotel is two minutes walk from the train station and a great use of Marriott points. We did the Mezquita and old city tour with Isabel (another guide highly recommended on these boards). She lived up to all of the reviews and was incredibly charming for our kids. We had a late lunch/early dinner at Tera Olea. All I can say is "reserve here at all costs!". Wonderful restaurant very deserving of its reputation and likely to receive many more accolades in the future. We finished our day in Cordoba watching processions in the old city which was very different to those in Sevilla.
Our final leg was the AVE train to Barcelona for four nights in Barri Gotic. I think there are plenty of amazing tips available for Barcelona and the sites are very well known, but my own real world learnings with kids in Barcelona: Book the Park Guell, Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia tickets as soon as you can. We did, but we noted others who were very much out of luck trying to buy tickets at the doors (and this was not high season!). We did Tibadabo amusement park - our kids loved it, they really felt it was magical and different. It was very crowded though (we went on a Friday afternoon). I would say get there at the open if you want to do this. Kids loved the market. I've mentioned in another thread: No issues with safety but please be vigilant!
Thanks again for all of the great tips!