We had looked at a lot of options for fall holiday (2017), which happens in mid-October here in the UK, and Spain was somewhere we'd never been. Searching for flights in Europe always reflect peak travel times and really do spike during UK school breaks. However, coming from London, we always see great deals to Spain. We decided on Spain and it was one of the best trips we've ever been on. The cities we went to and will discuss in our "Spain" section are: Madrid, Cordoba, Grenada, and Alicante.
Here's a few key facts if you are considering Spain in October.
Obviously a factor in planning any trip. We wanted somewhere that was borderline hot. I had asked around and searched the web (like you may be doing now) on "Spain in October" and I found that it can be on the hot side or rainy. Luckily, we found it to be almost perfect. For reference, we were mostly in the South: Cordoba, Grenada, and. Alicante. More on that later, but if you are worried about the weather in October, our experience was nearly perfect: vivid blue skies (I mean NO clouds) and high 20s C or 70s F.
“There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day.” – Ernest Hemingway
We found Spain very family friendly with lots of nice parks and playgrounds in all of the cities we mentioned. The Mediterranean Sea offers a lot of amazing beaches and islands and the cities are very accessible for families. One thing to note is that it is very true that the Spanish eat dinner very late. There was a night when we showed up to a restaurant around 7 pm and it wasn't even open! Our kids were excited and were staying up late anyway, so we just adapted and enjoyed the experience.
Renting a Car in Spain
We are from the US where this process is very quick and easy. We've found that most countries have different processes for renting a car and can take a bit longer. One tip for Spain, do NOT use the company called InterRent no matter how good the deal looks. I won't get into the details, but it's not worth it. We ended up using Avis, which has always been reliable for us. Lesson learned!
Driving in Spain
We debated taking a train everywhere, but rented car for our 10 days and drove all over the country. To sum it up, driving in Spain is very easy and not too much different from driving anywhere in the US. They drive on the right side of the road, roads are organized, and drivers seem to be pretty normal. One thing I'd make sure you do is have a GPS in English (or use your phone) because the signs are in Spanish. Also, you may think you are getting away with speeding or minor traffic violations....but you are not! They have cameras and will send you a ticket. We actually received one several months after our trip for doing a U-Turn in the middle of a big intersection (I wasn't being reckless with the family in the car, don't worry!).
There is so much to write here! We'll cover that in our specific city sections, but the food was really amazing. We tried to stick to family friendly places that were as authentic as we could find. We were not disappointed! You MUST try Paella at least once. We loved that in Alicante. Also, if you are near the sea, you'll have amazing seafood options.