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Spain is home to a rich variety of landscapes and cultures, and the travel opportunities are endless. From the green mountains of Basque Country and the Pyrenees in the north to the rocky coastline and sandy beaches of the south, Spain has a little something for everyone. Get ready to admire the landmark Gaudi architecture in Barcelona, browse the Prado Museum in the country’s capital, and dine on tapas late into the night in the ornate city of Seville. When you’re not city hopping, you’ll likely be attending a music festival on the coast or relaxing in the Canary Islands, sangria in hand.
Whether you’ve got a few days to spare and are looking to enjoy a quick city break, or you’re entertaining the idea of a three-week adventure, Spain is a country that caters well to all traveler types. Ten days is the optimum amount of time to explore two regions or cities with time left to venture to the rural neighborhoods, including Barcelona’s Catalonia coast and the Andalusian city of Cordoba, which sits a two-hour drive north of Granada. However, we recommend a minimum of seven days when it comes to Spain itineraries as this is just enough time to visit two destinations in one trip (like Madrid and Barcelona, or Seville and Granada). Those with two to three weeks in hand can enjoy the luxury of discovering the depth of a city like Madrid, Barcelona, or Valencia or choose to fit multiple destinations into one epic Spain travel itinerary.
A great Spain vacation itinerary of seven days in length could start in Barcelona and end in Madrid. Arrive in Barcelona and become acquainted with the city, explore at leisure and dine late into the night before spending the following two days visiting the city’s Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas, and Gaudi’s Park. After three days in Barcelona, fly to Madrid and spend the next three days exploring the capital city. The Chueca and Malasana neighborhood, the Royal Palace, and Fuencarral Street should all be on your to-do list.
Alternatively, you can also spend seven days exploring Northern Spain including the cities of Bilbao and Santander. Exploring on foot is a popular way to uncover the north, and a walking tour along the northern coast takes you through the small towns of Laredo, Portugalete, and Noja as you follow one of the original pilgrimage routes to Santiago. As you walk, you’ll enjoy a variety of landscapes including the dramatic coastline of the Iberian Peninsula, the bright lights of Bilbao city, and the rolling mountains of the French border.
If your type of vacation includes relaxing on soft sands and doing little else, consider spending a week in the Canary Islands. While the islands boast endless things to do for families including amusement parks, water parks, and water sports, they’re the perfect place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the Spanish weather. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote all offer a modern beach break and relaxing island getaway.
For the best Spain itinerary, give yourself 10 days to explore this beautiful country. Consider starting your trip in Madrid where you can enjoy a picnic in El Retiro Park, marvel at world-class European art, and sample local cuisine at the San Miguel Market. After three days in the city, move on to Toledo, an ancient city set high on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha. The medieval town makes a great stopover on your way to Barcelona and a day or two can be spent exploring the old quarter and its Moorish architecture. Continue your ten-day itinerary with a visit to Barcelona, a cosmopolitan seaside city known for its art and architecture. We recommend spending at least two days in Barcelona to cover most of the city’s highlights, and a third day could be spent exploring the nearby beaches along the Catalonia coast including Platja de Morer and Cala de l’Home Mort. Finish your 10-day itinerary by flying south to Seville and Granda, two medieval cities found at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
If you consider yourself to be a bit of a foodie, why not spend 10 days exploring Spain’s northern coast on a culinary adventure to remember? Starting in Barcelona and ending in Santiago de Compostela, discover the taste of the north as you eat your way through the towns of Oviedo, San Sebastian, and Santa Catarina on a small group tour. Visit a traditional cider house in Oviedo, taste fresh seafood in the coastal town of Galicia, and swing by a local farmers market in Potes.
History buffs and culture vultures alike should consider spending 14 days in southern Spain exploring the Moorish cities in the Andalucia region. Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Grazalema, Ronda, and Cazorla should all form part of your itinerary if you’re interested in historical sites, natural landmarks, and religious attractions. From Alcaxar’s Palace in Seville to the Moorish architecture of Granada, this southern circuit makes the perfect two-week itinerary.
If you’d prefer to spend your time soaking up the country’s best coastline and beaches, choose to spend two weeks exploring Barcelona and the Costa Brava. While Barcelona is bursting with things to do and attractions to enjoy, it’s worth spending some time outside of the city exploring the surrounding mountains and coastline. The medieval beach town of Begur, the riverfront city of Girona, and the county of Baix Emporda should all be included in your two week Catalonia road-trip itinerary.
If you’re lucky enough to have three weeks spare to dedicate to Spain, then we’ve got just the itinerary for you. The ultimate Spain trip itinerary begins in Barcelona before departing west for Madrid, then on to Toledo, Seville, and Tarifa before heading further south to Gibraltar. From here, continue along the coast to Nerja, inland to Grandad, and then on to Segovia and Salamanca. The tour ends on Spain’s northern coast as you tick off Santiago de Compostela, San Sebastian, and Bilbao from your to-see list. On this itinerary, expect to enjoy all manner of activities including surfing on Barcelona Beach, exploring renaissance palaces in Seville, and hiking in the mountains around the Camino de Santiago.
Travelling to Spain? Chat with a local travel specialist in Spain who can help organize your trip.
Sean O'Rourke Travel Expert in Portugal & Spain
Sandro Pinheiro Travel Expert in Portugal & Spain
Laura C. Travel Expert in Spain