Spain Itinerary Barcelona Seville Madrid by JetSettingFools.com

Spain Itinerary: Barcelona, Seville, Madrid

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Spain features varied landscapes, vibrant cities and incredible cuisine. The large country has numerous destinations – and with so much to see, planning a vacation to Spain can be perplexing! To help fellow travelers, we created an easy-to-follow, day-by-day Spain Itinerary that highlights the absolute best of the country. 

We designed our Best of Spain Itinerary when a friend from the States joined us on our European travels. She had limited time, so we planned a Spain One-Week Itinerary to show her the best of the country (not an easy task when planning a trip to Spain!). On this One Week in Spain vacation, we visited the three most popular cities in the country: Barcelona, Seville and Madrid.

 

Places to Visit in Spain

For our Spain travel itinerary, we include top Spain destinations: Seville, Barcelona and Madrid. We think the three cities offer the perfect introduction for a first time visitor to Spain. Read a quick summary of each location before jumping into our detailed day-by-day tour of Spain.

 

Barcelona

With an array of sights, Barcelona dazzles visitors. The city features an old town rife with Gothic buildings and Gaudi’s Modernism architecture, but the city is so much more than historic buildings. Barcelona highlights include nature (a stunning shoreline, beach and mountains) and phenomenal Barcelona Tapas as well! 

Find out more in our detailed 3-Day Barcelona Itinerary!

 

Seville

The city of Seville is comprised of quaint neighborhoods and delectable Sevilla tapas bars. The city is best discovered on foot. Top activities include exploring the best attractions – like the Cathedral and Alcazar – and sampling an array of scrumptious tapas. 

Find out more about Seville neighborhood destinations!

 

Madrid

Madrid is a buzzing city with a compact center. Top features of Madrid include spacious plazas, lush parks, the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum. The capital city is one of the largest capitals in the European Union (only London and Berlin are bigger), yet the city sights are easy to navigate. 

Find out more in our self-guided Madrid Walking Tour!

Top Tip: While we think these three cities constitute the Best Spain Itinerary for One Week, there are other top destinations in the country and across borders. We include trip variations to other top spots – like San Sebastian in northern Basque and Lisbon across the border in Portugal – at the end of the post. 

 

Spain Trip Planner

Choosing where to go in Spain in only the first step in planning a trip. Visitors also need to consider their route. The cities we include in our One Week Spain Itinerary are well-connected for touring Spain by train (our version of a Spain road trip!). We discuss options for getting around Spain in more detail at the end of the post. 

 

How Many Days in Spain

How much time you spend in Spain should be decided based on your personal interests and total allotted time for your trip. We have spent as little as one day in Spain while transiting between countries (clearly, not enough time!) – and could easily spend more than a month touring Spain.

Our 1-Week in Spain Itinerary is an ideal way to spend 7 days in Spain. But, what if you only have 5 days in Spain or are trying to plan a 10-Day Spain Itinerary? We’ve got your covered with numerous sample Spain itineraries, which we share after the details of our 7 Nights Spain Itinerary. 


 

Our Spain Itinerary 7 Days: Overview

With 7 days in Spain, it is possible to visit the major sights in three cities, which is why we created our Barcelona, Madrid, Seville Itinerary. For this Spain travel itinerary, we decided to plan our time as follows: 3 days in Barcelona, 2 days in Seville and 2 days in Madrid. Our 1-week Spain Itinerary outlines what to see in Spain in 7 days.

 

Map of Spain Itinerary Destinations

Spain Itinerary Destinations Barcelona, Seville, Madrid, Lisbon, San Sebastian

Top Tip: While our Spain-in-One-Week Itinerary features activities and information for each day, we also recommend using a Spain guide book (Lonely Planet and Rick Steves are our favorites!). It’s also a good idea to learn basic Spanish phrases and bring a pocket phrase book with you on your trip!

 

1 Week in Spain: Day-by-Day

In our one week in Spain trip, we took in the city sights and top attractions, visited museums and appreciated architecture, explored neighborhoods and consumed a ton of tapas and sampled several of Spain’s well-known red wines. You can use our guide as your Spain trip planner for Barcelona, Seville and Madrid exactly as it is written or use it as a base and tailor it to best fit your travel style. Now, it is time start your One week in Spain in Barcelona!

 

Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona

Arrive in Barcelona and waste no time getting acquainted with the city. Our Spain vacation itinerary begins with exploring the top city sights. Start in the heart of the city on Las Ramblas, the city’s wide pedestrian path lined with shops and street entertainers, and walk to La Rambla del Mar on the waterfront.

Follow the coastline north past the harbor full of sailboats to Barceloneta, the city’s best beach town. Next, venture into Parc de la Ciutadella and wander the paths to waterfalls, ponds and monuments before exploring the streets of the La Ribera and Barri Gothic neighborhoods.

Top Tip: Because you are only in Spain for a week, you have got to get right to it! Day 1 of our itinerary for Spain covers 5+ miles. Find detailed information for exploring Barcelona on foot in our self-guided Barcelona Walking Tour.

 

Day 2: Explore Barcelona Sights

On the second day of your 7-day trip to Spain, get an early start and hike up Montjuic (Jewish Mountain) to the hill-topping castle for views of Barcelona and the sea. The Montjuic Castle dates to 1640 and was built as a military fortress (and can be visited for a fee). Bring a picnic lunch and dine al fresco. Retrace your steps back down the hill and spend the afternoon visiting the MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalyuna) art museum. In the evening, discover the best tapas in the city in the neighborhood near the base of Montjuic. 

Top Tip: What is a One Week in Spain Itinerary without eating copious amounts of tapas?! Get our tips for top recommended spots for the Best Tapas Bars in Barcelona.

 

Day 3: Discover Barcelona Modernism

A trip to Barcelona would not be complete without contemplating the works of the city’s most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi – and that is exactly what you will do on Day 3 of your 1 week trip to Spain. His unique works are scattered throughout the city, but he is best known for his (still) unfinished Sagrada Familia church, but other must-see Gaudi sights are Casa Batllo and Casa Mila. Join a Gaudi tour to best learn about his life and work.

In the afternoon, wander through more of Barcelona’s picturesque neighborhoods, like L’Eixample (or the La Ribera and Barri Gothic quarters, if you didn’t have time to see them on your first day). 

Top Tip: To help you better plan the Barcelona part of our Spain in a Week trip, use our tips for things to do in Barcelona in our Best Barcelona Itinerary!

 

Day 4: Arrive in Seville

Begin Day 4 of your one-week trip to Spain on board the morning AVE train from Barcelona to Seville in the Andalucia region (6 hours). Note: If you are making the Barcelona to Seville road trip with a rental car, expect the journey to take at least 9 hours…but perhaps even longer. After checking into your Seville accommodations, head straight for the city center.

Visit the landmark Seville Cathedral, which was built between 1401 and 1519 and is one of the largest Medieval churches in the world. Climb the 12th century La Giralda tower, then enter the Alcazar palace that stands opposite the cathedral (where scenes for Game of Thrones have been filmed). Spend the evening tapas-tasting and then seek out a spot to watch Flamenco dancing.

Top Tip: Find our recommended spots for the Best Tapas in Seville or join a combo tapas/flamenco tour

 

Day 5: Wander Seville Neighborhoods

For day 5 of our Spain itinerary, we’ll spend time soaking up the charm of Seville by discovering the quaint neighborhoods of the city. See more of the city center, then step into Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter. Cross the river and get lost in the colorful lanes of Tirana. Go south of the Seville Center to the ornate Plaza de Espana and Parque de Maria Luisa…but don’t miss Macarena (and the Basilica de la Macarena) on the north side of the city!

Top Tip: Many itineraries for Spain only include one day in Seville, which we don’t think is enough! Read our guide to visiting the most picturesque Seville neighborhoods so that you can find out how to truly immerse yourself into the city!

 

Day 6: Arrive in Madrid

Take the morning train to Madrid (3 hours) for your final two days of your 7-day tour of Spain. Discover the top sights in the city on your own (or join a guide for a tour of Madrid!). Linger over a long lunch in Plaza Mayor before visiting two of the city’s top sights: the Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace. Take a leisurely stroll while window shopping (or really shopping!) on Gran Via, Madrid’s high-end shopping street.

Tip: Wondering what to see in Madrid? Leave the Madrid, Spain travel planning to us! Use the information from our Madrid Walking Tour as your Madrid Trip Planner.

 

Day 7: Visit Madrid Top Attractions

It is the last day of your 7 Day Spain Itinerary – and there is a lot to see! In the morning, peruse the goods at the Mercado San Miguel and gather items for a picnic lunch (resisting the temptation to consume the tapas on-site). Walk to the east side of town to 300-acre royal park, Retiro Park, and find a nice spot to enjoy your picnic lunch among the lush gardens. Spend the last hours of your time in Madrid examining the prestigious artwork at the world-renowned Prado Museum.

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What is the Best Itinerary for Spain? 

Naturally, we think our Spain Itinerary for 7 days is the best way to discover the country! It is how we planned our One Week trip to Madrid, Barcelona and Seville – and it was a perfect introduction to the country for our visiting friend.

That said, there is no right or wrong way to visit Spain. To help other travelers create their best Spain itinerary, we are offering several suggestions for ways to spend time in the country. 

 

Spain Trip Itinerary Variations

When designing your best Spain vacation itinerary, use our Spain One-Week Itinerary as a base – and alter it for longer or shorter stays. How to plan a trip to Spain really depends on how much time your have and what your interests are. Use the following Spain travel planner suggestions to get the most out of your trip!

Top Tip: Travelers who have more time than a week can add a combination of destinations and day trips to their itinerary. Below, we highlight top-rated day trips from each city for some ideas to help you when planning a vacation to Spain.

 

Spain Itinerary 3 Days

With just 3 days in Spain it will be difficult to get a good feel for the country. That said, there is a lot you can squeeze into a 3 day holiday to Spain. 

3 Day Spain Itinerary: Seville, Madrid or Barcelona

On such a short trip to Spain, it is ideal to pick only one destination to spend time in. We recommend choosing either Barcelona or Madrid to visit, as both of those cities are better connected to other destinations. Use our guides of what to see in Madrid and what to in 3 days in Barcelona to help determine which city to visit – and what to do once you are there! 

Fast-Paced Spain 3-Day Itinerary: Madrid and Barcelona

Travelers who like to move quickly could create a 3 days in Spain Itinerary that includes two cities – ideally, Madrid and Barcelona. Arrive in Barcelona and spend the first two days there. Then, on the third day, either take the AVE train (3 hours) or fly (1.5 hours, plus time to get to the airport) to Madrid and spend the rest of the day sightseeing. 

 

Spain Itinerary 5 Days

With only 5 days in Spain, travelers will be limited with what they can see. However, we recommend making the most of the time in Spain! 

5-Day Spain Itinerary: Barcelona and Madrid

Visitors who like to explore big cities can spend their 5 days in Spain in the top two cities in the country: Barcelona and Madrid. Use our Spain week itinerary, but eliminate Seville to create a Madrid-Barcelona Itinerary.

Fast-Paced Spain 5-Day Itinerary

Alternatively, visitors who like to see it all and are intent on squeezing as much as possible into 5 days in Spain can create a fast-paced Barcelona-Seville-Madrid Itinerary. We would recommend spending 2 days in Barcelona, 1 day in Seville (1 very short day) and 2 days in Madrid. Be aware, however, you will be rushed if trying to see Spain in 5 days!

 

Spain-Portugal Itinerary 7 Days

As an alternative to our detailed Spain One-Week Itinerary, visitors with limited time who want to visit both Spain and Portugal can create an 1-week itinerary that includes both countries. 

To create a Portugal and Spain vacation trip plan, the route we would recommend is Barcelona (3 Days), Seville (2 Days) and Lisbon (2 Days). Use our Lisbon Itinerary to plan your time in Portugal (including Sintra!). 

 

Spain Itinerary 9 Days

If you expand our 7 day Spain tour to 9 days in Spain, you only need to make a few slight adjustments to our outline. In a 9-Day Spain Itinerary, visit Barcelona, Seville and Madrid with 3 days in each city. Add day tours to each extra day in Seville and Madrid – see the suggestions below! 

 

Spain Itinerary 10 Days

With 10 days in Spain, travelers have the opportunity to see a lot more of the country – either on day trips or with added destinations. 

10-Day Spain Itinerary: 3 Destinations

An ideal way to spend 10 days in Spain is to use our outlined 1-Week Spain Itinerary and simply adding one additional day in each city. Visitors would spend 4 days in Barcelona, 3 days in Seville and 3 days in Madrid – for a more relaxed Spain travel route. On the additional day in each city, we recommend taking a day trip (see the list below!).

Spain 10-Day Itinerary: 4 Destinations

Alternatively, follow our Spain week itinerary as outlined, then add a fourth destination to visit on the last three days of your trip. Our top recommendations for additional destinations are Lisbon and San Sebastian

Spain Portugal Itinerary 10 Days

Lisbon, Portugal is a fascinating destination. The colorful city is spread over seven hills – with top sights, like the castles of Sintra – just a short train ride away. Classic yellow trams rattle through the historic center and locals abide by old traditions. Find out more about the city in our guide to the Top Things To Do in Lisbon.

10 Day Spain Itinerary with Basque Country

San Sebastian is located in the northern part of Spain in Basque Country. The region is distinctly different from the rest of the country, featuring a unique cuisine, seaside landscapes and small towns. Get our tips for how to spend the last three days of your trip in San Sebastian in our 3-Day Basque Country Itinerary.

3-Day Basque Country Itinerary by JetSettingFools.com

Also Discover Basque Country!

 

2 Weeks in Spain

With two weeks in Spain there is so much you can see! To create your ideal Spain Two Week Itinerary, use our tips in our above 10 Day Spain Itinerary – and build out from there. 

Two Week Spain Itinerary with Portugal

We think the best way to see Spain in 2 weeks is to follow the suggested itinerary for Spain in 10 days (4 days in Barcelona, 3 days in Seville and 3 days in Madrid) and then venture across the border into Portugal to spend the last 4 days in Lisbon.

2 Week Spain Itinerary with Basque Country

Alternatively, a two-week Spain Itinerary could be spent entirely in the country by following the suggested itinerary for Spain in 10 days (4 days in Barcelona, 3 days in Seville and 3 days in Madrid) and then heading north to San Sebastian. However, you would most likely have to return to Madrid to fly back to your home country.

 

Spain Itinerary 3 Weeks

With 3 Weeks in Spain, you can get creative! You could easily spend a week in each city (Barcelona, Seville and Madrid) taking time to really experience each place.

3 Weeks Spain and Portugal 

Alternatively, you could add more destinations to your trip. To get the most out of the trip, we suggest adding both San Sebastian (with a side trip to Hondarribia) and Lisbon, Portugal (with a side trip to Porto) to your 3-Week Spain itinerary.

 

Southern Spain Itinerary

Southern Spain is so incredibly different from the rest of the country. Although we have only visited Seville in Southern Spain, other top destinations are Granada and Cordoba. 

10 Day Itinerary for Southern Spain

On a 10 Day trip to Spain, you could easily create a Madrid-Seville-Granada-Barcelona Itinerary that spends more time in Southern Spain (rather than more time in Spain’s biggest cities). 

Guided Southern Spain Travel Itinerary

Alternatively, you could add a guided tour of Southern Spain to your trip plan. Check out this Andalucia Itinerary to tour Cordoba, Seville and Granada in 4 days on a guided tour from Madrid.

 

Top Spain Day Trips

If you are extending your 1-Week Itinerary for Spain to include day trips, use the below suggestions for top-rated trips and activities from each city! For that matter, even if you are just spending a week in Spain, you may want to rearrange our suggested outline to include a day trip into your travel plans. 

 

Barcelona Day Trips

Seville Day Trips

Madrid Day Trips

 

Guided Tours of Spain

We opted to see Spain on our own – and we think we outlined the perfect 1 Week In Spain Itinerary to help other travelers do the same. That said, there are many tours around Spain that are led by qualified guides. Although guided Spain tours usually cost more than planning the trip on your own, booking Spain tour packages can be a hassle-free way to see the country. 

Start your search for guided tours of Spain with Intrepid Travel, a trusted brand dedicated to designing the best guide-led tours. We particularly like their Spain tour itinerary for The 15-Day Best of Spain Tour (Barcelona, Valencia, Cordoba, Ronda, Costa de la Luz, Seville, Granada and Madrid) and the 15-Day Spain and Portugal Tour


 

Spain Itineraries Travel Info

When planning a trip to Spain, visitors need to consider how to get to each destination. On a trip to Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, visitors can travel by plane, train, car or bus. (We detail tips on How To Get To Spain in a minute!). 

 

Spain by Train Itinerary

Exploring Spain by Train is an incredible way to see the country. We chose to take train trips in Spain because we wanted to view the scenery along the way.

For our outlined Spain 7 day Itinerary, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying Spain rail passes, as they are likely not an economical choice. (However, we always recommend doing your own research!). Instead, buy individual tickets in advance. Always compare ticket prices – as prices can differ according to type of train and time of ride. 

 

Travel Spain by Plane, Car or Bus

Although we explored Spain by train, it is possible to also fly via airplane, self-drive with a rental car or take a bus during your 7 day trip to Spain. There are flights from Barcelona to Seville that take about the same amount of time and cost about the same amount of money as the train. Flights are also available from Seville to Madrid but flying doesn’t necessarily save time or money.

 

Road Trip Around Spain

For those interested in a Spain road trip from Barcelona, you can still use this Spain 1 Week Itinerary as the base for your Spain Road Trip Planner. You will need to account for additional time on the road (drive times from Barcelona to Seville are 9+ hours depending on the Spain road trip route).

Search for the best car rental rates on Expedia!


 

Our Top Tips for your Trip to Spain

We have detailed what to do in Spain for a week, but we have a few more tips for planning a Spain trip!

 

When to Go to Spain

If you are waiting for the best time to travel to Spain, it’s…now! Summers can be crowded, but the days are longer (optimal for sightseeing!) and it’s a great time for the beach. Winters are cool, but sunny, and the cities are beautiful when decorated for the holidays. In fact, we spent Christmas in Barcelona and New Year’s Eve in Madrid – and it was fabulous! Autumn and Spring can be ideal, but the weather is unpredictable.

 

Where To Stay in Spain

When planning your own trip to Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, you will need to decide where to stay in each destination. Because of limited time in each city, you will want to make sure you book accommodations that are close to the city center and attractions. 

Spain Airbnb

During our visit to Spain, we stayed in Airbnb apartments. As we considered where to stay in Spain for a week it became abundantly clear that holiday apartments were the way to go – especially as we had three people in our travel group. Not only were apartments less expensive than most hotel rooms, but we had the added benefit of a kitchen where we could cook basic meals. 

Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!

Spain Hotels

However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Spain hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center in Barcelona, Seville and Madrid. Note: On other trips to Spain, we have stayed in hotels, but usually opted for accommodations near the airport, which we do not necessarily recommend for this 1 Week Itinerary Spain. 

Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip:

In Barcelona: Hotel ConcordiaCatalonia Magdalenes | Hotel The Serras | Hotel Casa Camper

In Seville: Hotel Casa Del Poeta | Hotel Amadeus & La Musica | Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla 

In Madrid: Francisco I | Catalonia Puerta del Sol | Preciados

 

Budget travelers can search for Spain Hostels in Barcelona, Seville and Madrid on Booking.com.

 

Getting To Spain

Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!). All of the destinations included in our sample Spain itineraries – Barcelona, Seville, Madrid, San Sebastian and Lisbon – can be reached by plane. 

For our highlighted 1-Week Spain Itinerary, we recommend booking a flight that arrives in Barcelona and departs from Madrid. To travel from Barcelona to Seville and from Seville to Madrid, we took the train, but it is possible (and possibly faster and/or cheaper) to fly. 

Start your search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.

 

What To Pack for Your Seville, Barcelona and Madrid Itinerary

Our final tips for your Spain trip planning covers what to pack. You can find more of our detailed tips on our Packing page. 

 

Walking Shoes

We cover a lot of ground in our Spain vacation planner! Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable city walking shoes for your trip. I like to explore cities on foot in my Columbia shoes – and Kris likes wearing Merrell trail shoes for men. Read all of our tips in our Travel Shoes blog post!

 

Weather Appropriate Gear

What you will need to pack for your trip to Spain will depend on the season. Summers are hot and sunny – so bring sunglasses, plenty of sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and a refillable water bottle. In the wintertime, you will likely want to wear layers, temperatures can range from cold to warm throughout the day. On the chance of rain, make sure you are prepared with a packable raincoat and travel umbrella

 

Real Camera

Spain is an absolutely gorgeous country! Capture the beauty of the cities with a real camera, rather than using your phone. We carry a DSLR Canon Rebel (which is great for beginners!) with an everyday 18-135mm lens (so that we only have to carry one with us!). 

 

Map and WiFi

It’s so much easier to get around if you know where you are going! We recommend purchasing a Spain destination maps (at least for the big cities – Barcelona and Madrid) before your trip so that you have time to learn the layout of each place. 

Travelers relying on Google Maps (or using the links to our detailed walking tours) will need WiFi. While it is possible to adjust your phone plan for international data, frequent travelers (or those traveling as a group) may find it more beneficial to buy a GlocalMe Mobile WiFi Hotspot. With GlocalMe, you can purchase data online – so it is ready to go the moment you land. Furthermore, you can connect up to 5 devices at one time and it doubles as a power bank

 

Anti-Theft Travel Bag

Tourists are prime targets for pick pockets – and no where is that truer than in Spain! We have (thankfully!) never had an issues, as we keep our valuables – like wallets, phones and camera – tucked away in a zippered bag. Travelon makes a full line of anti-theft bags, but you can read more of our tips in our blog post, The Best Day Packs for Travel

 

Travel Insurance

Now more than every, travel insurance is essential! Not only does it protect against cancelled trips and lost luggage, but it can come in handy if you get ill or injured abroad, too. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.

 

Start planning your trip to Spain! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

We want to know:  Do you have any tips to add to our Spain Itinerary? What are your Spain must-see cities and sights? Give us your best tips and advice in the comment section! 

 

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4 thoughts on “Spain Itinerary: Barcelona, Seville, Madrid

  1. Mahani Liau

    Thanks so much for this useful information. I’m planning my next trip to Spain next year and hope to follow the advice and suggestions that you’ve provided. This is certainly very helpful.

    Mahani Liau

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