Sharing with you the top things to do in Peniscola, Spain on a weekend trip for families with small kids.
This is based on our personal experience as a family of 4 with 2 small kids (aged 3 and 1) on our weekend trip to Peniscola last May 14-16,2021 in the hope that it will be useful once you decide to visit the beautiful place sooner or later with your family.
But first, let me tell you a bit about Peniscola.
Peniscola (Peñíscola in Spanish) is a municipality in Castellon Province that is part of the Valencian Community (Comunidad Valenciana), one of the 17 regions of Spain. It is also known as “the city on the sea” and is located on the Costa de Azahar.
Peniscola town is becoming one of the most important tourist destinations on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It is also an ideal holiday destination all year round because of its warm climate, outstanding water quality, and stunning beaches.
It is located about 150 kilometers from Valencia and about 200 kilometers from Barcelona.
A road trip to Peniscola is super easy since it is connected by road via the AP-7 motorway and national road N-340. It is also very accessible because of its proximity to some of Spain’s major cities like Reus, Valencia, Barcelona, Tarragona, and Salou.
Top Things To Do On A Weekend Trip For Families With Small Kids In Peniscola, Spain
Peniscola is a very beautiful place full of history and there are certainly a lot of nice places to see and visit.
But going there with small kids, aged 3 and 1 in our case, means that you can’t see all or most of the beautiful spots.
Trying to do so will just make you super tired or make the kids super grumpy. We definitely don’t want that to happen.
After all, the purpose of taking a family vacation is for the entire family to enjoy and unwind. So, we want to have a stress-free trip, as much as possible.
Squeezing a lot of places to see on a weekend trip with small kids just spells disaster for us.
Everytime we go on a trip, we always take it slow to avoid stress. And the trip to Peniscola was no exception.
We only got to see few places, but we went home relaxed, happy, and constantly talking about our recent trip out of happiness and satisfaction.
Here are a few, yet enjoyable and memorable things to do on a weekend trip with small kids in Peniscola, Spain.
1. Explore Peniscola Castle.
I think it is fair to say that you haven’t been to Peniscola if you haven’t been to Peniscola Castle! I think it’s the most iconic tourist spot of Peniscola. In other words, it’s a must-see when you go there!
The Peniscola Castle is also known as Castillo De Papa Luna (Papa Luna Castle) was built in 1294 and completed in 1307 by the Knights Templar.
The castle also became a refuge for Pedro Martinez de Luna, who became Pope Benedict XIII (commonly called Papa Luna) from 1411 to 1423 when he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
It got more famous because it’s where the famous Game Of Thrones was filmed. But I can’t relate because I haven’t seen it, but our recent trip made me wanna see even just a part of it.
Going up towards the castle is a fun family activity on its own! But be prepared for a lot of stroller-pushing – or in other words: let your husband prepare for the stroller-pushing. 🙂
Pushing the stroller is a bit harder because of the cobble-stoned path, but the beautiful cobblestone patterns are definitely worth the extra effort.
We were not able to enter the castle though because the guard in the entrance said that the inside is not “stroller-friendly” since it’s full of stairs.
He told us that we can surely enter and leave the stroller in a corner, but it’s not their responsibility just in case the stroller gets stolen. 🙁
So we decided to just skip going inside the castle, and just roamed around the area.
2. Take Photos With The Famous Papa Luna Statue.
Papa Luna as mentioned earlier is the other name of Pope Benedict XIII whose name was originally Pedro Martinez de Luna.
Papa Luna became a Pope in 1394. But he was ousted from the Catholic Church and was considered as an antipope.
An entire avenue is named after him and our hotel was actually located in that avenue: Avinguda Papa Luna 156.
Take photos with the famous Papa Luna statue, but without taking off your eyes on your kids because the railings are only surrounding the statue, but not the entire place.
I was constantly telling our 3-year-old to be careful and looking at him the whole time we were taking photos with the statue.
3. Roam And Explore The Streets Near The Castle And Buy Some Souvenirs And Gift Items.
If your family can’t enter the castle because you still have a kid in a stroller, like us, you can still enjoy by exploring and roaming around the streets near the castle.
And while you’re at it, take advantage of the time to buy some souvenirs in the stands nearby.
We bought a ref magnet (like we always do), a coffee mug for my husband, and some gift items for my parents-in-law.
My husband bought me a pair of red, heart-shaped earrings that are made of corals from a souvenir shop specialized in pieces of jewelry made out of corals.
4. Say A Prayer In The Chapel Of The Virgen Of Ermitana.
The Chapel Of The Virgen Of Ermitana (Ermita de la Mare de Déu de l’Ermitana de Peníscola in Catalan) is located just beside the castle.
We went inside the chapel and said a prayer, after going to the castle. The chapel has a big area in front where you can sit, relax, and rest after a lot of walking.
We stayed outside for a while with some other couples who were also having some rest while their kids were climbing on the side walls (that inspired #1 to do a bit of climbing, too, with the help of the husband).
The only downside is that you have to carry the stroller to get into the chapel because there’s 2 staircases (one from the street and another to get inside).
We just left the stroller just below the 2nd staircase while we get inside the church (I made sure to bring my handbag with me that I usually hang in the stroller).
5. Have A Taste Of Local Food.
There are also a lot of restaurants in Peniscola, especially around the vicinity of Peniscola castle. The way to the top of the castle is lined with souvenir stores, restaurants, and bars.
We stopped by a store to buy some bottled water (we brought our reusable bottles, but forgot to bring refill, arggg) and the husband asked the woman for a good place to eat and she recommended us El Peñon.
We passed by it on our way to the top of the castle, so we stopped to make a reservation for 1:30 pm.
We came back after exploring the outside of the castle. We were all famished! The kids were already eating the bread that was served in advance.
And because we were in the Valencian Community which is known for their paella, so we made sure to order paella. There were different types, but we ordered the one recommended by the waiter. My husband and I agreed that it’s the best paella we have eaten, so far!
Definitely, the diet was thrown out the window with this trip! I gained 2 kilos after this trip and currently in the work of shedding it off again with Avocadu 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge.
Always ask the locals for recommendations on places to eat. And try the local delicacy, as much as possible. This is what we practice everytime we go on a trip. If we keep on eating the same food as we usually eat in Catalunya, then it feels like we are not in another place.
6. Take Photos With The Colorful Peniscola Signage And Enjoy The Scenery.
Make sure to take photos of the beautiful Peniscola signage for remembrance. And after taking photos, enjoy the tranquil scenery of the castle, of the beach, and of people passing by.
You can also let your kids run and play in the pathway and the small dragon park nearby.
Come back for photos with the peniscola signage after eating lunch (around 3-4pm) to avoid a crowd and to ensure good photos.:) We passed by it in the morning, but there were a lot of people lining up for photos with the signage. You can take photos for sure, but expect other people to be in the frame.
We skipped the photos and kept going towards the castle. After lunch, we went back and we had the signage all for ourselves (except for 2 other couples who took some photos and then left). We took our time taking photos while #1 was also having a good time playing with the letters.
7. Play In One Of The Many Children’s Parks.
One of the reasons why I like Peniscola and why my husband and I think it’s family-friendly is because there are children’s parks everywhere!
On our way to the castle, we saw several parks and we came back to them after exploring the castle for the kids to play.
#2 fell asleep though right after eating lunch. So, it was only #1 who had so much fun playing in the parks.
He also enjoyed looking at the fishes, birds, and a turtle that we encountered in the river while walking in between parks.
1. Make sure to bring water with you, so you can constantly give a sip to your kids. Peniscola is warmer than Barcelona (we took out our jerseys most of the time).
2. Don’t forget to bring hats and sunglasses, too.
8. Have Fun In One Of The Many Peniscola Beaches.
Going to the beach is a must and so much fun especially if you have small kids as we do.
Peniscola has several beautiful beaches and one of them is Playa Norte or North Beach.
We all enjoyed our short trip (30 minutes) to a part of Playa Norte. The kids had so much fun playing in the sand.
Playa Norte is a 5km large, attractive beach of fine sand with Papa Luna Castle as its backdrop.
Going to the beach was so convenient because our hotel, Hotel & Spa Peniscola Plaza Suites, is an oceanfront property and it has a backdoor that leads to the beach in a minute or less of walking.
1. Make sure to bring some beach toys, so your kids will enjoy the time on the beach more.
2. Make sure to put sunscreen on for both kids and adults. My husband didn’t put any and the top of his head got sunburned. He is a bit bald on the top part of his head, so if you’re the same, make sure to wear a hat or put on sunscreen. He was suffering from the pain for days after our vacation.
3. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water to the beach. We forgot and my husband tried to find stores nearby to buy a bottle of water, but there was none. It’s not like Barcelona that there are plenty of small stores near the beach and vendors constantly roaming around to sell water, umbrellas, and other things.
9. Enjoy And Explore The Amenities Of Your Hotel Accommodation.
There are a lot of hotels in Peniscola and a lot of choices for hotels close to Peniscola Castle.
I chose a hotel close to the castle since it’s our main purpose to see the castle. And because it’s our first time to go on a trip after almost a year in lockdown, I decided to go for a fancier hotel as a treat to my boys.
I chose Hotel & Spa Peniscola Plaza Suites among several choices (I will write a review soon). We had an enjoyable stay in this hotel.
My husband said that the mini-golf course and the mini-park of the hotel were already worth the price of going to Peniscola! Our kids just enjoyed the mini-golf and mini-park, we stayed there on both nights until 10:30 in the evening!
I always book our accommodations at booking.com. I search there and read reviews. The hotel was fully booked though, so I went directly to the hotel’s website and booked from there.
After checking a hotel on booking.com, make sure to check their website, too, and compare the prices. And do the booking where it is cheaper. I learned this after my husband called and talked to the hotel staff where we booked a stay in Ribes Freser.
We had to cancel the booking due to the lockdown. The staff asked if we booked directly on their site, and my husband said that we booked it from booking.com. The staff said that we can book directly on their site next time and it’s usually cheaper.
Final Thoughts On Top Things To Do In Peniscola, Spain On A Weekend Trip For Families With Small Kids
Peniscola, Spain is definitely a beautiful destination for a weekend family getaway. But if it’s possible for your family to stay for longer, then I suggest you do, so you can explore more.
A weekend getaway is enough for us though, especially now that kids are very small (I will share with you soon why we like short trips compared to long vacations).
Going to Peniscola, Spain with small kids means that you can’t see all or most of the beautiful tourist spots, but with the 9 things to do in Peniscola, Spain listed above, your family will surely make enough memories to remember, just like what my family experienced.
The husband already said before we left Peniscola that we are definitely coming back in the future (God willing) when kids are bigger so we can go biking (there are a lot of biking lanes in Peniscola and the terrain is flat).
Would you like to visit Peniscola one day? If yes, when?
Or have you been there already? If yes, did you have a nice experience? Where do you want to go next?
Please feel free to share your answers in the comment section below.