Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain

 

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain pin

Madrid is a popular travel destination for international travelers. It’s high standard of living, and thriving economy attracts many visitors year round and the culture that is prevalent throughout the city keeps them coming back for more. There are dozens of attractions throughout the city that attract all ages. Here are our favorite spots in Madrid for families who have children with autism. 

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain church

Theme Parks

Warner Brothers Movie World (Parque Warner)

Parque Warner, just south of Madrid, is a booming amusement park full of well-known and beloved movie characters. From Superman and Batman to Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo, visitors can find the park littered with rides and shows that feature all Warner cartoon characters.

There are many different rollercoaster rides perfect for all visitors, from children to thrill seekers. The park also features water rides for hot summer days. For those who are not interested in rides, the live shows, performances, and food attractions are the best in the area.

Teleferico

The Teleferico cable car runs a fifteen-minute track from Paseo del Pintor Rosales to Casa de Campo. Here, travelers can get a fantastic view of the Parque del Oeste, the Egyptian Deborde temple, the Manzanares River, and the Royal Palace.The cable car runs noon to nine PM, and rides are free for Madrid card holders.

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain color

Parque de Atracciones

Parque de Atracciones is Madrid’s main amusement park. This park is open every day May to mid-September and weekends for the rest of the year. Young children can enjoy a special area of the park, and there’s plenty of thrilling rides for older kids. Families can enjoy the park’s bars, restaurants, and outdoor shows.

Faunia

Faunia is a zoo theme park that features miniature versions of different ecosystems in several domes. Travelers can see the Amazon jungle filled with exotic birds and a recreated tropical storm as well as a Penguin World with an artificial Antarctic in the same park.
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Outdoor Areas

El Retiro

El Retiro is a must-visit spot for anyone visiting Madrid. This beautiful park is home to over 15,000 trees. The lush landscape makes El Retiro the best location to lounge around, take a break, and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Kids can enjoy activities like biking and roller blades or take a boat ride over the pond.

Guests here can find several gardens with classical themes, a lake where visitors can go for a boat ride, and monuments and fountains dedicated to historical figures. Located in the center of Madrid, El Retiro is easy to get to, so there is no excuse to pass up stopping by this beautiful park.

Burrolandia Donkey Refuge

This Donkey Refuge is only a fifteen-minute drive outside of Madrid. Kids can pet or feed the over twenty-six donkey residents. While entry is free, any donations will go to the center’s upkeep. The center is open Sundays from 11 AM to 1:30 PM.
Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain building

Real Madrid Stadium

The Real Madrid Stadium hold over 85,000 spectators and is home to numerous football games throughout the year. Even the FIFA World Cup has taken place at the Real Madrid Stadium. The stadium was first constructed during the 1940’s and has since become an even larger venue. Tours offered throughout the stadium. This place gives sports fans a chance to see some behind the scenes action right up until the game begins.

Historical/Art Museums

The Prado

Located in the center of Madrid, the Prado is the national art museum. It is home to many historical art pieces from throughout Europe. There are pieces dated from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries. The beautiful old building holds 7,600 paintings and thousands of sculptures, drawings, and historical documents. The entire collection at the Prado is based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. Within the Prado, one can find numerous pieces from famous artists such as Francisco de Goya, Diego Velazquez, El Greco, Titian, and Peter Paul Rubens.

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Museo del Arte de Reina Sofia

The Reina Sofia is one of the world’s largest contemporary art museums. The museum used to be a hospital. Today, it houses the works of several famous artists such as Dali and Picasso as well as more modern artists in temporary exhibits. Parents can let kids enjoy various workshops and tours, and children will likely find the exterior glass lifts fun to travel inside.

Caixa Forum

The Caixa Forum in Madrid features numerous exhibitions on history, art, political debates, and social events. Here, families can observe Spain’s first vertical garden, boasting 15,000 plants. They often host great workshops for parents and kids.The Forum is open daily from ten AM to eight PM, and admission is free, though some events may charge.
Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain street

Palacio Real de Madrid

This palace originally held the local royalty, though now it is mainly used for ceremonies. Today, visitors can see the Palacio Real de Madrid’s beautiful gardens and architecture. For free, guests can explore the King and Queen’s quarters as well as the palace’s pharmacy with hundreds of bottles for herbal remedies. Art from different famous Spanish artists decorate the walls throughout the palace.Travelers should check out the Changing of the Guard, a popular event every Wednesday from eleven AM to two PM.

Shopping

El Rastro

The El Rastro flea market happens every Sunday morning all along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores. Here, visitors can find many interesting artistic items that one can’t find anywhere else. It is certainly the best place for a unique souvenir.

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain play

El Corte Ingles

The El Corte Ingles is a famous shopping center on Gran Via. This center is made up of several buildings and features a vast collection of Spanish designer clothing. Brands here include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior, Hugo Bos, and Bulgari. Those looking for some high-end fashion directly from Spain should come here.

Fuencarral Market

At the Fuencarral Market, one can find interesting and offbeat items. This market was originally made as an alternative to department stores and has grown to feature the art of some of Madrid’s most skilled artisans and designers. Family members into alternative items like piercings, tattoos, and extreme hairdressing will love this market, though it is certainly for older kids. At the market, travelers can also listen to the on-site DJs playing music.
Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain tree

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Faunia is not a cheap day out. Guests are not allowed to bring in food from outside, and queues can be long.
  • In Palacio Real de Madrid, one can rent a locker for coats and cameras since photos are not allowed inside the buildings.
  • Caixa Forum’s workshops are great to bring flighty kids to since the admission is free and one can leave at any time without wasting money.
  • Some artwork in Reina Sofia is extreme in their content, which is either violent or sexual. Parents should make sure to avoid particular areas that might be too much for younger kids.
  • Those with the seventy-two-hour version of the Madrid card gets free entry to the Parque de Atracciones. There are no accommodations in the parks.
  • There might be long queues to enter the Prado in the summer so parents should consider purchasing tickets online.

Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism

 

 

 

Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism pin

Madrid‘s central location makes it an ideal base to stay in for families wishing to explore Spain‘s nearby cities of Avila, Segovia, and Toledo. In fact, families can explore a variety of medieval castles, religious shrines, and local culinary delicacies while staying comfortably in one place and driving less than two hours at a time. For parents wishing to explore the famous spots here are our best Madrid Day trips for all families including those with autism.

Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism avila view

Avila

Our personal favorite is Avila, the City of Stones and Saints. Only an hour’s drive away from Madrid, a magnificent medieval wall surrounds the city. To this day, Avila is still the highest town in Spain. It is a World Heritage site, founded in the Celtic-Iberian era of the fourth century. It is today considered the best-preserved medieval walled city in the world.

Sightseeing

City Walls

The walls built in 1090 remain one of Spain’s most famous attractions today. Visitors can experience the City Walls tour where they can even see re-enactments of historical battles. For a special treat, travelers should stay after dark and walk along the ramparts when the walls become illuminated.

Cathedral

The Cathedral of Avila is another iconic location in this city. This church is the oldest cathedral in Spain built in the thirteenth century. It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Avila for its mixture of Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance styles. Visitors can enter the church to see alabaster sculptures and centuries old tapestries. Furthermore, those interested can stop by the Cathedral Museum to see a display of coins and paintings.
Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism ramparts

Convent of Saint Theresa

Avila is also the birthplace of Saint Theresa. Travelers can visit the Convent of Saint Theresa and view the room where Saint Theresa was born as well as the alter created by Gregorio Fernandez that displays Saint Theresa’s vision of the Cross.

Unique experience for kids

Visitors can rent bikes for a tour of the surrounding area or rent horses to ride outside of the town for a real Medieval experience.

 Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism aquaduct

Segovia

Families looking for a longer day trip to take should put Segovia on their list. The city has been home to the Celts, the Romans, Islamists and Christians and is teeming with history.

Sightseeing

Plaza del Azoguejo (Roman Aqueduct)

The city’s most iconic feature is its aqueduct located in Plaza del Azoguejo. The aqueduct is a prime example of Roman engineering in Spain and spans 818 meters with over 170 arches. Emperor Trajan’s engineers built it around the second century to carry water from the Frio River into the city, a Roman military base at the time. It was an impressive piece of architectural genius back then and continues to wow visitors to this day.
Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism alcazar

Segovia Cathedral

Adorned in gold and curvy spires,  Segovia Cathedral is a beautiful church to visit. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Cathedral was completed in 1768 and is considered the last Spanish Gothic cathedral built.

Alcazar of Segovia

Originally built by King Alfonso VIII in the 12th century, the Alcazar of Segovia features a moat, drawbridge, and towers. Many members of the Spanish royalty have used this palace as their home, adding personal touches to the castle.Over the years, it has served as the wedding location for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella as well as a military academy.

Today, the palace is a museum featuring multiple armory rooms filled with weapons, swords, crossbows, and cannons. For antsy kids, there is a maze ready to be explored on the side of the palace.
Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism tower

Unique experiences for kids

Garden of La Merced

Segovia has parks and gardens throughout the city where travelers can take a break from the hustle and bustle. The Garden of La Merced is the first public garden opened in Segovia and is also considered to be the most beautiful.

 Shopping and dining in Plaza Mayor

Travelers looking for something to eat after visiting the city’s sites should head to the Plaza Mayor. There are a few souvenir shops including an old fashioned toy shop.Whether it is for lunch or dinner, travelers shouldn’t leave without trying the city’s roasted suckling pig, a local delicacy.

 

Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism toledo

Toledo

Another fantastic city to visit for the day is Toledo known for its well-preserved medieval architecture.In 711BC, Arabs moved into Toledo which already housed Christians and Jews, and their harmonious coexistence helped the city become a culturally vibrant spot.

Sightseeing

Medieval Gates and Bridges

The city boasts several old gates.The Old Bisagra gate, the original main entrance of the city and the Puerta de Nueva Bisagra, marked by Charles V’s coat of arms. Further up the hill, travelers can see the Puerta de Sol or Gate of the Sun a beautiful Moorish Style gate built in the fourteenth century.

Toledo also features several impressive bridges, since the Tagus River surrounds it on three sides. The Puente de Alcantara, Arabic for Bridge, located on the eastern side of Toledo as the oldest bridge in the city. The Punte de San Martin over 130 feet long with five arches of solid stone on the western side of Toledo was hailed as an engineering feat for its time back in the fourteenth century.
Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism cathedral

Cathedral of Toledo

Those wishing to learn about the city’s reputation as a religious and cultural melting pot should visit the Cathedral of Toledo. This cathedral frequently compared to Notre Dame for its beauty is also one of the biggest Gothic cathedrals in the world.Built between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries it features sculptures, paintings, gold and silver altar pieces, and 750 stained glass windows.

Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter occupied a large area in the city back in the Middle Ages. After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, it nearly disappeared, and the synagogues converted to Christian churches.

Today, there are two Jewish synagogues that travelers can still visit.
The Synagogue Maria la Blanca, a beautiful pristine white decorated building, and the Synagogue El Transito, built by Samuel Levi, lavishly decorated with lattice windows and hand carved ceilings.

Avid history buffs will get a kick out of walking the narrow alleys in the quarters and envisioning how neighbors in such proximity got along with the absence of basic sanitation.

Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism synagogue

Unique experiences for kids

Damascening

Many stores throughout the city sell jewelry, plates, swords, boxes and various other objects that feature the famous Toledo damascening. Children will be fascinated to watch the artisans demonstrate the delicate and intricate inlay process.

Unique Sweets

No one should leave Toledo without trying the Toledo almond paste marzipan. This dessert inspired by the Moors is a marzipan cupcake with powdered sugar. For parents wishing to give their kids an extra dose of sugar, the ponche toledanas, which are shortcakes filled with quince jam and topped with almonds are perfect.

Best Madrid Day Trips for Families with Autism souvenirs

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Those wishing to visit Segovia should print a map with English names online before arriving since it might be challenging to find one in the city
  • Segovia ‘s narrow cobblestone roads can get crowded during the summer weekends which may be hard for travelers with autism. Also, pedestrians share the streets with cars and scooters, which can be daunting.
  • Toledo features lots of stairs and steep street to navigate. This fact can be difficult for travelers with wheelchairs or sedentary kids.The ZocoTren (mini train) is a great option to explore the city without getting tired.
  • Temperatures during the summer can be as high as 111 degrees Fahrenheit in all the cities. Therefore, parents should bring a mini fan and plenty of water for temperature sensitive kids.
  • Parents tempted to purchase their kid an authentic sword as a souvenir should remember the weapon needs to fit in luggage and go through customs.
  • Kids should wear close toe shoes since there is a lot of walking and climbing involved.

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