EN / FR / NL

Name:
Erika Van Tielen
Blog:
www.erikavantielen.be 
Follow Erika live:
   

What type of traveler would describe yourself?

Former backpacker following the flow of her little kids. And they do make sure there are enough twists and turns during our trips :)

Which are your go-to websites or blogs to look for destinations tips?

vlaanderenvakantieland.be, www.classetouriste.be, booking.com, lonelyplanet.com

Which apps do you use when you travel?

Facebook, Whatsapp, Instragram, Google Maps... the same ones as I use at home actually :)



Erika goes on holidays with her family. Viva Andalucía !

spanje - 25

A natural-born traveler and former presenter of the travel show Vlaanderen Vakantieland, I've traveled to many corners of this world these past few years. But ever since I have kids, I try to (temporarily) satisfy my travel hunger a little bit closer to home. That's how we came to choose Spain for the second year in a row for our family vacation. As a #BrusselsAirlinesReporter and with a focus on the Costa del Sol and Andalusia, for a perfect combo of nature, culture and shameless relaxation.

What follows are my must-sees and must-do's. Although I admit that on vacation (especially one with kids), "must" is a very relative concept.

Transport

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 21.05.57

Flights:
Brussels-Seville with Brussels Airlines.
If you're flying with kids, don't forget to enroll for their b.family package. It takes one click and you'll be sure to have a smooth and happy flight for you and your family.

Rental car:
We always research online in search of the best deals. The best and most interesting prices vary depending on the period.

Accommodation

Hacienda Riogordo, in Riogordo. A beautiful B&B with a phenomenal view and a large pool, run by a very friendly Belgian couple.

spanje - 2spanje - 3spanje - 2spanje - 22

Eat / Drink

We so much love good food, but when we're out and about with the kids, we find the location of the restaurant equally important as the quality of what's on the menu. We usually look for a restaurant on a little square, on the beach or next to a playground. Because you just cannot enjoy good food if you constantly have run around after your kids who are wandering off on the street or sitting at other people's tables.

Excursions

Not always very easy to get out (on time) with two little mosters, but our 'new' tactics work! In the morning we take plenty of time for breakfast and then we go lay by the pool. That way the kids have time to splash away and we can read a book. Then we give the kids their lunch and we get dressed to get going. Somewhere between 13h30 and 15h everyone was ready in the car, on our way to splendid places in the (not always so nearby) neighbourhood. While we were driving, Rowen and Finn could take a nap. Zero loss of time.

SEVILLA

Seville is one of my absolute favorite city trip destinations, but we unfortunately did not get to visit it this time. Too hot this time of year and not so interesting for small children. Would you like to visit? Make sure to check these tips. , which I wrote for the TV show Checklist.

MALAGA, CORDOBA, GRANADA, CADIZ, SIERRA NEVADA,… are also top places to visit in that region. But I think that they're all best explored without children, or with kids that are a little bigger.

TORRE DEL MAR

This is somewhat of a banal Costa del Sol seaside resort. Ugly, but it has many shops, a large beach and lots of entertainment for the kids (bouncy castle, go cart rental, watersports,…). Located close to the Bed & Breakfast.

spain - 3

GIBRALTAR

This is where we made the biggest mistake of the year: we forgot the children's passports… This meant that we could not enter the "country". The English custom is relentless. A serious disappointment, because it was a long drive up there and we had been queuing quite some time at the border crossing and Finn had been so looking forward to seeing the 'wild' monkeys on the rock. We ended up taking some pictures from a distance with my own little creatures instead.

spanje - 4 spanje - 6 spanje - 8

ANTEQUERA/ EL TORCAL

One of the most beautiful pieces of nature in the region. All special rock formations. We had bad weather, but even so, it was a phenomenal view from up there. Don't forget to pack warm clothes if you go hiking (there is a short and a long route) because the temperature difference with the valley is a whopping 10 degrees!

spanje - 10 spanje - 11spanje2 - 1

FORT BRAVO- TABERNAS/ ALMERIA

Mostly faded glory, this western 'theme park', but that's exactly why it had this very intriguing atmosphere. Especially with its astounding surrounding nature. A little piece of Wilde West in the south of Spain. The location has been featured in the biggest Holywood Westerns back in the days, as well as many commercials and music videos. My own boyfriend even shot a Dutch movie here a couple of years ago. A real photogenic background, but fair's fair: you don't need to expect much more than that. If you don't count the horse and carriage ride and the somewhat pathetic western show. But still I would recommend a visit. If you don't mind to pay €20 per person, that is (children under 5 can enter for free, children over five pay €10).

spanje - 30 spanje - 35spanje - 9 spanje - 34 spanje - 33 spanje - 32 spanje - 28

NERJA

A fisherman's village that's somewhat bursted at the seams. But the beach (Playa Burriana) is tranquil and a perfect size, surrounded by nice beach tents. Ideal for families. Also the view from the "Balcon de Europa", a promenade that walks right into the sea, is stunning.

spain - 1

MARBELLA and PUERTO BANUS

Fancy Schmancy, but I like it. I don't like the m'as-tu vus per se (although they are also cool in a certain way), but I love the neatly landscaped promenades and beaches. Everything here is nicer and neater. Especially Puerto Banus (the town at the marina, a 8km drive from Marbella, but you can also take a boat) was a very nice discovery. Lovely beach over there! Expect to pay a bit more for drinks and food here, though.

In June there's a gi-gan-tic fair just outside Marbella: La féria de Marbella. Nicer and bigger than the Sinkensfoor (Antwerp) even. Highly recommend it. Rarely have I seen so many fun rides for toddlers. And what a great atmosphere!

spanje - 18spanje - 39 spanje - 40spain - 2

So.

Was our life on vacation always as idyllic as the above pictures make it out to be? Forget it. We obviously enjoyed our little holiday, but with a toddler and an infant you rarely have a moment's peace. In an unguarded moment one of my two monsters is coloring the terrace tiles of the B&B, while the other is intruding in the kitchen of the restaurant. Even with their swim jackets on, you're still terrified that they might fall into the pool sooner or later. The aisle in the plane and the promenade at the beach, I keep running back and forth after them. And, oh yeah, falling asleep before midnight is not what you don on vacation. Even when you're only four years old.

I wouldn't exactly say that we are well rested after this holiday. Not them, nor us. But even so, my had is was empty for a little while.

More (general) tips on traveling with small children? Click here.

 
 

Erika is the first of our 7 Brussels Airlines Reporters. They will all follow in the footsteps of Belgian's most well-known reporter: Tintin! Just like the world famous comic book character, the Brussels Airlines Reporters will leave on an adventure to help you discover the most beautiful places abroad.


Follow our #BrusselsAirlinesReporter live: