Amazing Spain Itinerary: 7, 10, or 14 Day Plans
If you’re planning a trip to Spain, but aren’t entirely sure where to start, I’ve got three amazing ideas for a Spain itinerary to choose from. These Spain itineraries include a 7 day, 10 day, and 14 day plan.
I’ve included approximate travel times between cities as well as the quickest mode of transport. However, be aware travel times may vary depending on different factors, so be sure to double check your actual travel time when you purchase your tickets.
Now before we delve into these exciting Spain itineraries, let’s cover a few important basics about visiting Spain.
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A Few Important Things to Know Before Planning a Spain Itinerary
Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe, and is neighbored by Portugal to the West and France to the North. It meets the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the Mediterranean Sea to the East.
The far eastern region of Spain known as Catalonia has its own distinct identity apart from the rest of the country, including its own language, Catalan. In fact, some have expressed interest in Catalonia breaking apart from Spain to create its own country.
When planning outings, keep in mind the siesta hour, especially in small towns. The siesta hour is a part of Spanish culture where people head home in the early afternoon for a long, leisurely lunch, and maybe even a nap. During this time, businesses may have fewer personnel scheduled, or may even close altogether. As a result, you can also expect late dinners and late nights to be a normal part of the day as well.
As Spain is part of the European Union, their currency is the Euro. However, the majority of places accept credit or debit cards in Spain. As for tipping, the service industry in Spain is well compensated for their time and tipping is not considered necessary.
Public transit in Spain includes buses, subway, and train. The public transit system in Spain is generally reliable, clean, and safe, although you’ll want to watch for pick pockets as you would in any large city.
Spain Itinerary Option One: 7 Day Itinerary
This seven day Spain itinerary entails lodging in Madrid and a series of day trips to four towns in the surrounding area: Ávila, Segovia, El Escorial, and Toledo.
I love this option for its ease and convenience. You can skip the hassle of packing your bags every day or two and schlepping them from one hotel to another. You don’t have to worry about checking under the bed for run away socks every morning before you leave the hotel, because you know you’re coming back to the same room each night.
And yet, there’s still so much variety of things to do and see in this itinerary, you won’t get bored. This Spain itinerary takes the least amount of planning, and the day trips can all be booked at a travel kiosk on Puerta del Sol once you’ve already arrived in Spain.
Arrive in Madrid in the morning and get settled into your hotel. I highly recommend Hotel Europa for its central location and good price. Hotel Europa is located in Puerta del Sol and has quick, easy access to public transit. After getting settled, take a moment to book a few day trips for the week. You’ll find a travel kiosk just outside Hotel Europa where you can do this.
Then, get ready to explore Madrid in the afternoon and evening! Wander around Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayor, or take a Hop on Hop off bus tour to get to know the city. Check out my post about Madrid for more ideas of what to see and do there.
Take a day trip to Ávila, Spain. Ávila lies about an hour and a half northwest of Madrid. This small medieval town is surrounded by a wall you can walk the perimeter of. Other sites of interest in Ávila include the cathedral and the Convent of St. Teresa.
Travel back to Madrid in the afternoon with plenty of time left for site-seeing in the evening. You can catch a Flamenco show with dinner, or take a Spanish Inquisition tour.
Travel Time: Madrid to Ávila is about 1 hour 30 minutes by tour bus or 2 hours by train
Adventure to the fairy tale town of Segovia for another day trip. An hour northwest of Madrid, Segovia is a UNESCO world heritage site. Take time to wander through the Jewish quarter, visit a 1st century Roman aqueduct, and stop in at the last gothic style cathedral built in Spain. You’ll also want to see the Alcázar de Segovia, the castle that Disney Snow White’s castle was modeled after!
Return to Madrid in the afternoon. Stop in at the Royal Botanical Garden or visit the Crystal Palace at Buen Retiro Park.
Travel Time: Madrid to Segovia is about 1 hour 10 minutes by train
Stay the day in Madrid. Maybe take a day to kick back and relax. Or discover Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art, the Reina Sofia, Prado, and Thyssen art museums.
Today, head an hour northwest of Madrid to San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the seat of rule and burial place of Phillip II. Take a guided tour through this fortress of a monastery to see a stunning library.
Head back to Madrid in the afternoon and catch a Real Madrid soccer match at Bernabéu Stadium.
Travel Time: Madrid to El Escorial is about 1 hour by train
The last full day in Spain, take one final day trip an hour southwest of Madrid to the medieval town of Toledo. Walk down Toledo’s cobble stone streets and explore it’s walled “old city” quarter. Visit El Greco Museum, the Alcázar de Toledo, a gothic cathedral, and Puente de San Martín, an old medieval bridge.
Return to Madrid and go shopping along Gran Via for some final souvenirs.
Travel Time: Madrid to Toledo is about 1 hour by train
On your last day in Madrid, catch any sites you missed before packing up and flying home.
Spain Itinerary Option Two: 10 Day Itinerary
This 10 day plan was our actual Spain itinerary, and I feel like we were able to see and do a little bit of everything. We ate delicious food, went to parks, gardens, and museums. We watched sports, went shopping, and spent time outdoors. And of course we saw plenty of castles and cathedrals! I also love that we spent time in both big cities and small villages. This Spain itinerary really covers it all.
Arrive in Barcelona and get settled into your hotel. We booked our first stay in Barcelona at Hotel Neri in the gothic quarter. Stroll along La Rambla, a romantic tree-lined street, on your way to La Boquería, an open air food market. Visit the Cathedral of Barcelona before tapas bars for dinner.
Spend a day in Barcelona all about Antoni Gaudí. Start at the Gaudí House Museum, before moving on to Casa Milà and Park Güell. End the day at La Sagrada Familia to catch the sunset through the stained glass windows.
Hop on an early train to Madrid, and get checked in at your hotel. Again, I recommend staying at Hotel Europa on Puerta del Sol. Take a moment to book some day trips from Madrid at the travel kiosk in Puerta del Sol. Then take a Spanish Inquisition walking tour before dinner.
Travel Time: Barcelona to Madrid is about 2 hours 30 minutes by train
Take a day trip to Segovia and Ávila. In Segovia, see a 1st century Roman aqueduct and the Alcázar de Segovia, the castle that Disney Snow White’s castle was based on. You can also visit the last gothic cathedral built in Spain.
In Ávila, you can visit the first gothic cathedral built in Spain, as well as walk the perimeter of the medieval wall surrounding the town. Then return to Madrid to catch a Flamenco show with dinner.
Travel Time: Madrid to Segovia is about 1 hour 10 minutes by train or bus. Segovia to Ávila is about 50 minutes by bus. Ávila to Madrid is about 1 hour 30 minutes by tour bus or 2 hours by train. (Some tours will allow you to book Segovia and Ávila together in one day)
Spend the day visiting Madrid’s Golden Triangle of art museums: the Reina Sofia, the Prado, and the Thyssen Museums. Or spend some time outdoors and check out the Royal Botanical Garden and the Crystal Palace at Buen Retiro Park.
Take a half day trip an hour northwest of Madrid to San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Tour the monastery and see an elaborate library. Then return to Madrid and catch a Real Madrid soccer match at Bernabéu Stadium.
Travel Time: Madrid to El Escorial is about 1 hour by train
Option A). Take an early train from Madrid to Córdoba. Spend the afternoon exploring Córdoba before continuing on to Ronda by train for the night. In Córdoba, you can see a 1st century Roman bridge, the Mezquita of Córdoba, and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.
Travel Time: Madrid to Córdoba is about 1 hour 45 minutes by train. Córdoba to Ronda is about 2 hours by train.
Option B). Take a plane from Madrid to Málaga. Then spend the afternoon exploring Málaga, and rent a car to drive to Ronda. In Málaga, you can see a 1st century Roman amphitheater and the Alcazaba, a fortress to rival Granada’s Alhambra.
Travel Time: Madrid to Málaga is about 1 hour 15 minutes by plane. Málaga to Ronda is about 1 hour 20 minutes by car OR about 1 hour 50 minutes by train
Our original plan was option A, but we made a last minute change in plans for option B. This allowed us to catch some southern Spanish sun on the beach in Málaga.
In Ronda, I suggest staying at Hotel Montelirio. It sits in the Moorish Quarter on the edge of the breathtaking Tajo Gorge and is very reasonably priced.
Once settled in your hotel, hike or take a taxi down to the Arco de Cristo for a postcard-worthy view of Ronda’s Puente Nuevo (The “New Bridge”).
Spend the morning in Ronda visiting the Plaza de Toros de Ronda Museum, the oldest bullring in Spain. Explore the Arab Bath ruins, and go inside Puente Nuevo. Take the afternoon to hike Caminito del Rey or see some prehistoric drawings inside Pileta Cave, both about an hour to an hour and a half outside of Ronda.
Fly back early from Málaga to Barcelona. This time around, we booked our stay at Soho House just across from the bay. If you haven’t already, find some time to stroll along Barcelona’s beach.
Did you know Barcelona has more than 80 museums? Pick a few and use today to check them out. We visited the Picasso Museum and the Chocolate Museum, but the Barcelona History Museum also caught my interest.
Travel Time: Ronda to Málaga is about 1 hour 20 minutes by car OR about 1 hour 50 minutes by train. Málaga to Barcelona is about 1 hour 35 minutes.
Enjoy one more morning in Barcelona before packing up and saying good-bye to Spain.
Spain Itinerary Option Three: 14 Day Itinerary
This 14 day Spain itinerary includes an overnight in Lisbon, Portugal. You’ll fly into Barcelona, Spain, and fly home from Lisbon, Portugal.
Arrive in Barcelona and get settled into your hotel. Explore La Rambla and La Boquería, an open air market. End your day strolling the beach before going out for tapas for dinner.
Take your first full day in Barcelona to learn all about Antoni Gaudí. Visit the Gaudí House Museum, Casa Milà, Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia. I suggest visiting La Sagrada Familia towards late afternoon to catch the sunset through the stained glass windows.
Spend the day checking out some of Barcelona’s 80 plus museums. For just a few examples, there’s the Picasso Museum, the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona, the Barcelona History Museum, the Chocolate Museum, and even a Museum of Funeral Carriages!
Hop an early flight south from Barcelona to Granada, the final foothold of the Moors. Spend the afternoon in Granada visiting Spain’s second largest cathedral, the Hammam El Bañuelo (the Moorish baths), and exploring the Moorish Quarter. End your day at San Nicolás Viewpoint as you watch the sun set on the Alhambra.
Travel Time: Barcelona to Granada is about 1 hour 30 minutes by plane
Use your second day in Granada to visit the Alhambra, a Moorish palace. You’ll want to be sure you’ve made a reservation in advance, as tickets are often sold out!
Take the train from Granada to Málaga. Spend the afternoon in the Southern Spanish sun looking out on the Mediterranean Sea.
Travel Time: Granada to Málaga is about 1 hour 10 minutes by train
Spend the day in Málaga visiting a 1st century Roman amphitheater and the Alcazaba, said to rival the Alhambra in Granada. You can also visit Málaga’s cathedral, the “one-armed lady,” so nicknamed for its unfinished state, having only one tower instead of the originally planned two towers.
If you’re feeling brave, rent a car and drive out early to Ronda. Otherwise, you can reach Ronda by train. Although many people see Ronda for a day trip, it’s worth staying over night to see Puente Nuevo (the “New Bridge”) and the Tajo Gorge in the twilight, after most of the tourists have returned to the bigger cities. On the way there, stop to hike Caminito del Rey or see prehistoric drawings in Pileta Cave.
Travel Time: Málaga to Ronda is about 1 hour 20 minutes by car OR about 1 hour 50 minutes by train
Take today to explore Ronda. Visit the Plaza de Toros de Ronda Museum, the first bullring in Spain. Tour the Arab baths, walk through the Moorish Quarter, and go inside Puente Nuevo. Hike or take a taxi down to the Arco de Cristo to catch a stunning view of Puente Nuevo at sunset.
Set out west by bus to Sevilla early in the morning. In Sevilla, you can climb the bell tower of the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, tour the Bullring and Bullfight Museum, and visit the Flamenco Dance Museum. Visit the Royal Alcázar and catch a flamenco show in the evening.
Travel Time: Ronda to Sevilla is about 2 hour 20 minutes by bus
Travel by train from Sevilla to Córdoba. See a 1st century Roman Bridge, the Mezquita (a Mosque Cathedral), and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.
Travel Time: Sevilla to Córdoba is about 45 minutes by train
Plan to arrive in Toledo early for a full day of sight seeing. Wander through Toledo’s cobble stoned streets in the “old city.” Visit the El Greco Museum, the Alcázar de Toledo, a gothic cathedral, and Puente de San Martín (an old medieval bridge).
Travel Time: Córdoba to Toledo is about 2 hours 30 minutes by train
Take an early flight from Madrid to Lisbon, Portugal. In Lisbon, visit the Castelo de São Jorge and the National Tile Museum. Grab something to eat at the Mercado de Ribeira, a food market. And take a tuk tuk tour of the city!
Travel Time: Toledo to Madrid is about an hour by train. Madrid to Lisbon is about 1 hour 20 minutes by plane.
Purchase any final souvenirs, pack your bags, and say good-bye until next time!
Which of these Spain itineraries would you try? There’s so many exciting things to see and do in Spain. If you’ve been to Spain, do you have a favorite city or site I’ve left out?
If you’re looking for more details on things to do in a specific city on your Spain itinerary, I’ve written blogs posts on many of these places. Check out my blog posts on Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia, Ávila, El Escorial, or Ronda for a deeper look. And be sure to check back, because a blog post on Málaga is soon to come!