After a fabulous trip to Ireland with my boyfriend’s parents, we sat around enjoying an Irish meal to reminisce and then my boyfriend’s dad asks. “So, where to next?” I knew another trip would be on the horizon but was surprised his parents were so quickly ready to galavant around some other country again so soon. I guess our crazy, action-packed way of travel didn’t scare them off. David, my boyfriend, consulted some of our recent emails from Scott’s Cheap Flights and discovered that there were some great deals on tickets to Spain, which was actually on his dad’s bucket list and low and behold, Spain trip planning ensured. Soon after my mom even decided she would be coming so it really became a family trip. Here is the one-week Spain itinerary I came up with and I hope it helps you in planning our own trip.
We had great luck using Travelocity for this trip. The great thing about Travelocity is that they can look for round trip flights but it can also scan for 2 one way flights that, at times, can be cheaper. This was the case for our Spain trip. Booking through Travelocity secured us the two one-way trips without the hassle of booking through two different sites. Give it a try when you start your plans.
We flew into Madrid since that was the cheapest flight at the time, you can do the same or start the trip from Barcelona as well if the price is better.
Day 1 – Madrid
How you spend day one will partly depend on when you arrive in Madrid. We arrived in the afternoon.
In Spain, some places you will see they observe the “siesta” so some businesses will be closed for parts of the day. We noticed this the most in Madrid.
After a long flight, a good meal will likely sound great. For lunch, I recommend Restaurante Botin. This is the most ancient restaurant in the world! It features all original architecture, you can really feel the history as soon as you walk through the door. The menu features traditional Castilian-style meals like suckling pig and lamb roast.
Read more about The Oldest Restaurant in the World.
Botin is located just down the stairs from the Plaza Mayor. Before heading on to the next stop explore this historic area of the town.
Museo del Prado
Once you are well fed a great way to spend the evening is at the Museo del Prado, one of the world’s oldest and more famous art galleries. There are as many as 1500 paintings on display in the museum and include paintings by Velázquez, Las pinturas negras (The Black Paintings) of Goya, and other artists from all across Europe. It is hard to say how long you will need here. That depends on your interest level in art and paintings, we spent about two and a half hours and felt we saw all we needed. Some will need more time than that.
Read more about the Museo Del Prado Here
We chose an Airbnb near the Prado and train station, I suggest you do the same since your day ends at the Pardo and tomorrow starts at the train station. This will save you on a taxi or public transit fees. This is the one we stayed in.
Curious Why We Airbnb?
Day 2 – Toledo
Spend today in Toledo. It is a short 30 min ride from Madrid. They leave several times during the day, I recommend getting the earliest start. We went with the 10:20am train. It is really easy to buy tickets online and there is an app you can get to use digital tickets. Very handy. There are lockers for luggage at the train station so you can leave your bags there instead of lugging them around Toledo.
How long you spend will depend on you and what time your Barcelona flight is, if you are following this Itinerary. We had about 4 hours and that was plenty of time to take a walking tour of the town.
Toledo is very small making it very walkable. We went on a walking tour. It features stops at all of the must-see spots in Toledo including San Martín’s Bridge, Sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca, Mezquita del Cristo de La Luz, and Alcázar de Toledo. It is a nice easy tour and it takes you right through town so it is easy to find snacks and shopping along the way.
You can read more about how to spend the day in Toledo and get a map of the walking for here. (coming soon)
Toledo isn’t very big so you only need a few hours, I suggest an afternoon train back to Madrid, we took the 3:25 train. You want to leave plenty of time to catch an evening flight to Barcelona.
Flights between the larger cities in Spain are very affordable so it’s a quick and easy way to get around. Our Barcelona tickets were around $45USD. You can book at the Vueling website. getting to Barcelona in the evening will give you time to get settled and get dinner before heading out to sightsee the next couple of days.
Arriving in Barcelona
Depending on when you land and what day of the week it is you can stop at the Font Màgica. It is a lovely fountain with a brilliant light show in front of the palace. It is best at night, being a light show and all. We, unfortunately, didn’t make it but really wish we had.
Getting around Barcelona is fairly easy, especially if you find a place to stay near a subway stop. We found this great place overlooking the water and an easier ride to the sites.
Day 3 – Barcelona
A trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the Sagrada Familia. It is admittedly the main reason I wanted to see Spain in the first place. You will need about an hour and a half. Buy the tickets online well in advance, as you will need to reserve a time and the spots fill up.
The Church is like nothing you have ever seen before. The attention to detail and unique take on architecture makes for such an experience you will never forget.
Read more about the Sagrada Familia here.
Gaudí House Museum and Park Güell
Another famous spot to check out some Gaudí is the Gaudi House Museum and Park Güell. The entrance to the museum can be purchased as a bundle with the Sagrada Familia tickets. You will need a reserved time here too and once again, book well in advance. Depending on how much time you wander the park you will need at least a couple of hours.
Much of the park is free for you to roam but to get to the famous parts and to be up close with some more Gaudí work you will need a ticket (10€). Not only do you get to skip the line but it ensures your spot. Tickets will sell out. Book in advance.
You notice I mentioned booking in advance more than once here. I cannot emphasize enough to book what you want to see in advance, sooner the better. Many things were close to sold out when we booked over 2 months in advance.
After all of that walking around the perfect end to the evening is a sunset sail. Take in the Mediterranean coastline, the city lights, and the stunning sunset while the salty air runs through your hair. We booked this sunset tour with Viator for around $56USD
After the sail, there are a few restaurants in the harbor for some fresh seafood.
Day 4 – Barcelona
The Labyrinth Maze Park
This hidden gem is a great way to start the day. The Labyrinth Maze Park adjacent to the college is peaceful to walk around. Unlike many of the places in Barcelona, not very crowded. We only saw one other group while were there. Plan to spend 1 to 2 hours there. You will also get a great view of the whole city from up there.
Down the street from the park, just a few steps from the subway stop is a little cafe that is great for some sandwiches.
Gaudí walk around Barcelona
After some lunch, take a tour around the town of the works of Gaudí. The outsides of these buildings are amazing, most offer tours of the inside as well. You will need tickets in advance for this. You can choose based on the amount of time you have for the day which to tours to do. I will indicate which ones we did.
Read more about the Gaudí walking tour and get a handy map here. (coming soon)
The first stop is Casa Vicnes. This one we just looked at it from the outside before walking to Casa Milá. It is a very fun and bright-looking place.
Of the places on the walking tour Casa Milá, also known as La Pedrera, is one you should most definitely tour. You should buy tickets ahead online. This is one of his more famous buildings of his and it also gives you the most insight and information into Gaudí, his life and his work.
From there walk, or subway ride if you would rather (but it’s close) to Casa Batlló. This is probably the most famous of Guadí’s work aside from the Sagrada Familia. This famous facade is so unique and iconic. It looks lovely in any light. You can tour the inside if you like and have the time.
Casa Calvet is worth a walk by, we didn’t make it over there, however. It is one of the more conservative works of Gaudí.
A day in Barcelona would not be complete without a stroll down La Rambla. There is plenty of shopping all along the main road and you will find St Josep Market. It is a huge market with delicious food, treats, and fresh juice its all really cheap. We had some tasty empanadas and I drank probably 8 of the juices. You can buy candy, nuts, dried fruit and chocolates by the pound. We got way more than we needed but it was all very tasty.
Day 5 – Granada
To get the most out of seeing Granada by taking an early flight into Granada and grab a rental car, we used budget. (budget affiliate link)
You can go to Granada without checking out the Alhambra. We had planned to tour it but we didn’t get tickets in time so we walked the parameter of it. It was still really cool to see even if you can’t get inside. If you want to look around get the tickets really far in advance.
Next, you will head to the Sacromonte area. If you like to walk, walk to it from the Alhambra, it’s about 45 minutes walk but you get to see a lot of Granada along the way. If not you can drive there. There is a bus line, the C34, that runs all along the area for 1.40 euros per person. Since we walked there we utilized this to get to the Museum and the Abby.
Museo Cuevas del Sacromente
Museo Cuevas del Sacromente is the first stop to see. It is a small little museum that tells you the history of the native people that lived in the caves in the area. You can submit for reservations online but it was not busy at all when we went.
Abadia del Sacromonte
From there you can head up the Abadia del Sacromonte, Tours in English take place every day at 14:00 and 17:30 and they last for about 1 hour, they 5 euro. The Abbey is considered the birthplace of Christianity in Granada. It is a stunning place to see, religious or not. They are very punctual so be early. We missed our tour and had to go back the next day, which was not convenient.
Mirador de San Nicolas
After the tour, preferably around sunset, head over to Mirador de San Nicolas, it is the most stunning view of Granada and of the Alhambra. It isn’t too far from the Abbey.
Dinner in Sacromonte
For dinner, you can head down the road of the Sacromonte area. There is plenty of options. For a real local feel check out La Fragua bar, it’s a little hole in the wall with a lovely bartender named Luciano. Which you enjoy a drink you will be given yummy tapas.
Stay in Granada for the night. We stayed in this great Airbnb.
Day 6 – Jaén
This day could look different for you depending on when you go. We chose this city because it was the only place that still had a bullfight going on. This was important for the two of us on the trip. It worked out because there was also a high festival going on that week in the town. We loved the idea of seeing a festival in a less touristy town so we opted to stay the whole day. You can choose to explore this little town or stay another day in Granada. It is up to you.
We went in October and were there for the festival of St. Lucas in Jaén. We walked the festival, had some delicious food and walked around the town. In the evening we split up to explore the town more while two of us went to the Bullfight.
There is a tasty Ice cream place in town if ice cream is your thing.
If you chose to explore Jaén you have a couple of options for where to stay. We were not able to get a place in town since the festival was going on, if you are going at another time you will be able to stay in the town. Since we could not stay in town we drove to a city that was on the way to Seville, where you will be the next day.
If you want to really get off the beaten path and see a part of Spain many do not see then I recommend staying in la Esparragal. This tiny tiny town is a great break from the hustle and bustles of the larger towns.
Day 7 – Seville
Get a earlyish start to head to Seville. It is a stunning drive through the olive groves and gives you a great sense of what the Andalusia region has to offer.
A good place to start is Real Alcázar. We did not do a guided tour we opted for the audio tours which let us move at our own place. If you are a Game of Thrones fan this is a spot not to be missed, though as someone who did not watch the show it is a great piece of history.
I would grab lunch at Dos de Mayo they have good tapas and a good price, the goat cheese toast is to die for.
If you want a fun way to see the town grab a horse-drawn carriage tour through downtown. We really enjoyed this and it was a great way to rest your feet after so much walking.
You can’t go to Seville and not see a flamenco show, we went to a late show so make sure there was plenty of time in the day to explore. There is a ton of places that have shows but after much research, we opted for this show and it was phenomenal. It is a must-see.
Spend the night in Sevilla.
Day 8 – Back to Madrid
To get a little more time in Seville we took a midday train back to Madrid. You can decide for yourself if you would rather spend some more time there or if there is something you are wanting to see in Madrid I didn’t include then you can head back earlier, It’s only about a 3-hour train ride.
Once in Madrid, a great way to see whatever you didn’t see on the first day is to do a scavenger hunt! I would this great company that lets locals make these fun scavenger hunts for their towns. They are filled with fun clues, tidbits of history and they take you to all of the most notable spots in town. This is the one that we did. I highly recommend it.
On your last night in Spain, of course, you will have to get more tapas. If you did the scavenger hunt it will end at a street filled with great tapas bars so take your pick.
Grab an Airbnb in Madrid.
Day 9 – Departure
Depending on the time you leave today will dictate how much you get to do. We left at noon so we opted for one last chocolate and churro feast before heading to the airport.
Shout out to Wander Station! Their one-week Spain itinerary was a great starting point for planning our own trip!
There you have it. The way we packed a tour of some of the key cities in Spain in just one week. It is action-packed and nonstop but also so so fun. I hope this helps you in planning your own trip! If you have questions or comments let’s chat below!
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