This week, we've got a guest post from Emily Powell from Be Travel Savvy, who help deal with travel dilemmas (in particular travelling with kids)
When it comes to planning holidays with a baby, few people consider a city break. Why head to a bustling metropolis when you can lie and unwind on a beach?
The reality is that beach holidays with babies aren't always very relaxing. You'll barely have time to open your airport paperback between nappy changes and once your child can walk you'll wish you had eyes in the back of your head.
Babies are small and portable and, along with a good camera and a guidebook, they're the perfect accompaniment on a city break. So, with quick, low-cost flights from a variety of UK airports and a vibrant family atmosphere, the Spanish capital is the perfect destination for a short, romantic getaway with baby in tow.
There are plenty of child-friendly places to stay in Madrid, including the landmark Westin Palace. If you're travelling on a budget, check in to the modern Room Mate Laura Hotel or consider staying a little out of town in the Eurostars Zarzuela Park. We recommend travelling to Madrid in spring or autumn, when it isn't too hot. The actual city centre is relatively small and easy to navigate on foot. Make the most of being able to push your baby around while they're still small enough for the buggy - dragging a dejected three-year-old around a strange city does not make for a fun holiday!
Enjoy shady strolls in Retiro Park, explore the grandeur of the Palace and admire world-class art at the iconic Museo del Prado. Take the Telerifico (cable car) over the city and arrive at Casa de Campo, a green space that houses an outdoor theme park and an indoor soft play centre.
Madrid is a capital city and a busy one at that, but it's also home to thousands of children, who are very well-catered for. There's a very good Metro (underground) system in Madrid, but it isn't very pushchair friendly, which is a blessing in disguise: Walking around the city, you'll discover inviting pavement cafes, parades of quirky shops and the little play areas on almost every corner that remind you kids are very welcome here.
Sightseeing can be hard work and if your baby sleeps in the afternoon, you might consider returning to the hotel and joining them for a siesta. The evening meal rarely takes place before 10pm and when it does, it is very much a family affair. Back home, you would probably never consider taking your baby out with you for dinner, but the beauty of Madrid is that young children are welcomed with open arms and wide grins at most restaurants. Here, there's no need to worry about arranging a babysitter or dirty looks from other diners when your baby starts grumbling. Everyone brings their babies out at night. Enjoy tapas and sangria with your baby at the table and when he or she starts to get tired, just meander back to the hotel.