A strong Spain itinerary is the perfect starting point for your once-in-a-lifetime trip to the country. Spain is a big place and making the most of your short time there requires smart planning.
I spent over two months in the country in 2022 and explored many of the best places to visit in Spain. My journey around western Europe taught me a lot about how to plan a strategic Spain itinerary. If you only have 10 days in Spain at your disposal, then read on for how you should structure your trip.
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10 Day Spain Itinerary
Day 1 & Day 2 – Barcelona
Let’s start off your Spain itinerary with two days in one of the most iconic cities in Spain – Barcelona. This makes for a very logistically-savvy starting point if you’re traveling overseas to visit Spain.
In the morning, head over to the famous Las Ramblas street in the heart of the city. From here, go a block over to Caravelle for one of their brunch plates. Once you’re sufficiently stuffed, check out the area for a bit. After all, La Rambla (as it’s also known) is one of the most bustling streets in the city.
Then, it’s time to see one of Spain’s biggest classic attractions – La Sagrada Familia. Book a skip-the-line ticket in advance for a designated time slot and bring your camera along. You’ll want to capture the iconic stained glass in this famed Basilica.
For dinner, I recommend booking a table at the famous Disfrutar restaurant – it’s the 3rd best restaurant in the world. Then, to finish off your evening, get to know Barcelona’s famed nightlife scene at Paradiso, the #1 ranked best bar in the world as of 2022.
Don’t party too long, though. You’ll need some energy to finish off the next nine days.
Good morning! It’s bright and early on your second day in Barcelona, so let’s make the most of it. Start the day with coffee and an exquisite egg sandwich from Citizen Cafe right in the city center.
After breakfast, it’s time to see the rest of Barcelona’s big historical and cultural attractions. Stop by Casa Batlló, the Picasso Museum, and the Cathedral of Barcelona.
Chances are this will work up quite an appetite, so make your way to Mercado de La Boqueria for a sense of the local culture and a little snack. In the late afternoon, continue getting to know Barcelona at Park Güell before returning to the city center for dinner.
What’s on the menu tonight? Of course, another sensational meal – this time at Viana Barcelona right near Park Güell. Have one final drink at Dr. Stravinsky cocktail bar before saying goodbye to Barcelona and continuing on your Spain adventure.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Praktik Èssens ($$$, centrally located in Eixample), Room Mate Pau ($$$, friendly staff & super comfortable)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Disfrutar ($$$$), Le Bistro Sensi ($$), Viana Barcelona ($$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Paradiso ($$), Dr Stravinsky ($$)
Day 3 – Valencia
For day three on our ultimate Spain itinerary, we’re off to the enchanting city of Valencia. The easiest way to get there from Barcelona is by train (which is a 2 hour and 40 minute ride away), or by renting a car if you want to make this an epic Spain road trip.
This festive city has a lot of attractions to see and activities to do, so I recommend getting to the city as early as you can and then checking out the Central Market of Valencia. With over 1,000 stalls to discover and some humblingly beautiful architecture, this isn’t your everyday market. Then, stop by some of the city’s iconic sites, such as Valencia Cathedral, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, and La Lonja de la Seda.
Once you’ve got a few of these notable Valencia attractions under your belt, eat some of that delicious Spanish food. Grab a table at Lia València for a taste of Mediterranean cuisine with ingenious spins on traditional dishes.
You’ll be well-suited to Valencia if you’re a museum lover. Spend the rest of the day at one of the city’s information-packed museums or wildlife parks, such as Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L’Oceanogràfic, or Bioparc Valencia.
Finish the night off with a hearty steak dinner at Asador El Porteño before heading to bed after a long day.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Venecia Plaza Centro ($$, right in the city center), Only YOU Hotel Valencia ($$$, 5-star hotel with chill communal lounge area)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Asador El Porteño ($$), La Salita de Begoña Rodrigo ($$$) Lia València ($$),
- 🍺 Where to Drink: HAWAIKA ($$), Cafe de las Horas ($$)
Day 4 – Granada
A 6-hour train ride from Valencia, Granada is a dreamy Spanish escape in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain. However, you’re going to want to get an early start to make it there at a reasonable time.
But don’t worry – I imagine you’re pretty knackered after all the exploring you’ve done already, so this is going to be a relaxing day.
First, get your caffeine and pastry fix at Cafetería d’Sano. Then, slowly make your way over to Granada Cathedral in the city center. Only five minutes away from Granada Cathedral, you’ll find the Royal Chapel – a gorgeous building from the 1500s.
Now that you’ve done a little bit of must-see sightseeing, wander around the old Arabic quarter of Granada and take in all the unique architecture.
Since this is going to be your recharge day, spend the rest of your time indulging in some tasty eats. Have a divine and colorful dinner spread at El Mercader and don’t miss the goat cheesecake.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Hotel Granada Center ($, affordable and cozy), Áurea Catedral by Eurostars Hotel Company ($, near major city attractions)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: El Mercader ($$), La Vinoteca ($$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Bar Poë ($), Hannigan & Sons ($$)
Day 5 – Nerja
It’s day five and you’re officially halfway through your epic Spain itinerary. Today, it’s time for a beach day in the beautiful coastal city of Nerja. Nerja is about an hour’s car ride from Granada, or you can get a connecting bus from nearby Malaga.
Get up nice and early to head straight for Playa Burriana, the city’s major beach. Soak up some sunshine on the shore, go swimming, or opt to rent a kayak like I did. When you start feeling those hunger pangs, walk over to RAW Lounge for an early lunch right near the beach.
After a bit of beachside fun, it’s time for an attraction that’s unlike anything you’ve seen in Spain so far – Fundación Cueva de Nerja. Take an audio-guided tour through this 25,000-year-old cave system to really understand how deep the history of this area goes.
Then, right before dusk, head over to Balcon de Europa (The Balcony of Europe) to catch the sunset below the Mediterranean Ocean.
For dinner, check out Restaurante Oliva and take advantage of their wine pairing suggestions. To finish off the day in Nerja, have a cocktail at Terraza Buddha Lounge Bar.
- 👉 Pro Tip: If you’re in the mood for an additional little day trip, check out the adorable town of Frigiliana (only 15 minutes outside of Nerja).
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Mena Plaza ($$, pool with ocean views), Hotel Puerta del Mar ($, affordable with large outdoor pool and terrace)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Restaurante Oliva ($$$), Bar El Pulguilla ($)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Hemingway’s ($$), Terraza Buddha Lounge Bar ($$)
Day 6 – Malaga
On day 6, we’re going to beautiful Malaga – one of Spain’s hubs of art and culture.
If you take the bus, Malaga is about an hour and a half from Nerja. However, there is a lot of stuff to see and do in Malaga, so get ready.
Fuel up for the day with a simple breakfast platter and some coffee or juice from The Cereal Boom Coffee.
In the afternoon, dive into the museum and historical scene of Malaga. Start with a visit to one of the most well-known attractions in the city, the 11th-century Alcazaba. Then, pick one or two art museums to check out such as Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Centre Pompidou Málaga, Carmen Thyssen Museum, or Picasso Museum.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, try some of the incredible (and insanely affordable) tapas selections from Casa Lola. Next, treat yourself to rejuvenation at Hammam Al Ándalus Arab Bathhouses.
Close out your day in Malaga with dinner at Pampa Grill Málaga. If you’re still wide awake, grab a couple of drinks at The Shakespeare bar before settling in for the night.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Vincci Selección Posada del Patio ($$$, located in heart of Malaga), Mediterranean Suites ($, optimal location & free bikes during stay)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Casa Lola ($), El Mesón de Cervantes ($$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Chester & Punk ($$), The Shakespeare ($)
Day 7 – Seville
Seville is just under a 2 hour train ride from Malaga, and I recommend getting another early start on this one.
When you get to the city, head straight for La Mala Brunch Rivero as early as possible because tables will fill up fast.
After filling up on a fresh fruit bowl or tostada, cover the major sites of Seville before anything else – Plaza de Espana and Catedral de Sevilla. You’ll want to have your camera out for these two spots because the architecture of these attractions is beyond photo-worthy. Then, walk over to Barrio de Santa Cruz, a central neighborhood that displays a lot of the Sevillian personality.
For lunch, try to nab a table at Bar Alfalfa for some Andalusian tapas and maybe even a brew. Next, visit the Metropol Parasol structure near the city center and ride the elevator up to the top for a different perspective of the city.
As evening rolls in, catch an electric, traditional Flamenco performance at Casa del Flamenco. For dinner, you cannot miss the dishes from Sal Gorda Tapas Bar (their Tinto Vino is also delicious). Have a few drinks and a dance or two at Le Xix to top off the night.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Hotel Fernando III ($$$, spacious and modern rooms), Hotel Rey Alfonso X ($$, conveniently located in the historic center), Soho Boutique Catedral ($$$, near Seville Cathedral)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Espacio Eslava ($$), El Rinconcillo ($$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Le XiX ($$), Bar Garlochí ($$)
Day 8 – Toledo
It’s time for a city so historically important it’s designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Toledo. The fastest train from Seville to Toledo takes about three hours, although the city is only a 33 minute train ride south of Madrid (your next stop).
When you arrive in the morning, grab a cup of coffee from Central Perks cafe and decompress in Paseo de La Vega.
Then, head over to Museo El Greco. This museum is dedicated to the world-renowned painter of the same name who lived in the city for much of his life. Once you’ve gotten your fill, snap a few photos of picturesque San Martin’s Bridge.
Next, visit Tienda La Catedral del Mazapán for a taste of the local handmade marzipan, a sweet almond candy. After your midday treat, have lunch at Restaurante Reconquista.
Then, stop by Alcázar de Toledo or Mirador del Valle around sunset. For dinner, try the elevated plates from La Orza followed by local craft beers at Cerveceria Lupulo.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Sercotel Toledo Renacimiento ($, affordable yet luxurious), Hotel Santa Isabel ($, historic building near lots of attractions)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: La Orza ($$$), Lo Nuestro Tapería & Restaurante ($$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: El Trébol ($), Cervecería Lúpulo ($)
Day 9 & Day 10 – Madrid
On Day 9 of your Spain itinerary, hop on an early 30-minute train from Toledo to Madrid and spend your morning at the adorable Pum Pum Cafe (make sure you order the rainbow brioche breakfast sandwich). After the most important meal of the day, check out a couple of the city’s crown jewels – the Royal Palace of Madrid and Plaza Mayor Madrid.
For lunch, grab a few snacks to-go from the 100-year-old San Miguel Market and have a picnic at El Retiro Park in the heart of the city. After relaxing in the park and munching on the rest of your takeaways, rent a boat to paddle out on Retirement Pond in the middle of the park.
For dinner, grab a table at Ramon Freixa, a delicious fine-dining restaurant. Or, switch it out for Taberna El Sur if you’re on a tighter budget (it’s equally as tasty at about a tenth of the cost). After dinner, indulge in Madrid’s world-class cocktail bar scene at Salmon Guru.
After sipping down the craziest-looking cocktails you’ve ever seen, hit the hay and get some rest for your last day.
The time has finally come for your last day in the beautiful country of Spain, so let’s do it right! In the morning, fuel up on calories with an el tartuffo from Nomade Cafe. Don’t waste any time before seeing a few more notable Madrid attractions such as Puerta del Sol and Temple of Debod.
Next, choose one of Madrid’s most notable museums to check out – either Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, or the National Archaeological Museum. Each is awe-inspiring in its own way, but you’ll likely only have time for one.
When you have moments in between these activities, just try to wander around a bit and soak it all in before finishing your 10-day Spain trip.
In the evening, get a final taste of Spain’s food and nightlife. Eat one of the most delectable meals of your life at DSTAgE. For each mind-blowing dish they put in front of you, treat yourself to the suggested wine pairing. It’ll elevate the whole experience, I promise.
Then, take one last dive into Madrid’s nightlife at Bad Company 1920.
If you have an extra day or two, check out my full Madrid itinerary. You could spend the extra time taking one of our best day trips from Madrid, for example, like visiting the Roman aqueduct at Segovia.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: VP Plaza España Design ($$$$, located on famous Gran Via), B&B Hotel Madrid Centro Puerta del Sol ($$,sleek rooms, near Plaza Mayor & Puerta del Sol) Hostal Central Palace Madrid ($$, near Royal Palace)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: DSTAgE ($$$$), Taberna El Sur ($), Ramón Freixa Madrid ($$$$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: 1862 Dry Bar ($$), Salmon Guru ($$), Bad Company 1920 ($$)
Spain Itinerary Map
Here is a Google Map with all the stop, attractions, and hotels mentioned in this post.
How to Get Around in Spain
🚶 On Foot – If you’re spending most of your time in one city, you can probably get around easily on foot. Most of Spain’s cities and towns are very walkable.
🚕 By Rideshare – If you’re not going very far, but still don’t want to walk all the way there, the best option is to use rideshares. Uber, Cabify, and Free Now are in quite a few Spanish cities. However, other rideshare services will only be available in larger cities, like Barcelona and Valencia.
🚘 By Car – Renting a car through Discover Cars is the best option if you plan on covering a lot of different Spanish regions on one trip. However, it might take a little practice driving in the cities, and you won’t be able to bring the car into every city center. Non-EU drivers will also need an international driver’s license to rent a car, but it’s a simple process.
🚂 By Train – Spain has one of the best train systems in all of Europe. It’s easy and affordable to reach any of Spain’s major cities on the train. However, you may not be able to get to smaller towns in the countryside on the train.
🚏 By Bus – If you want to get to towns in Spain that aren’t available on the train, the most cost-effective option is to take the bus. The bus is also the cheapest way to travel around Spain. The only downside of the buses in Spain is that they can get crowded and they take the longest amount of time.
Spain Itinerary Planning Tips
Tip #1 – Visit Spain During the Right Season
The perfect trip to Spain can quickly curdle if you don’t think about the season you’re visiting. The best time of year to visit Spain for most travelers is the shoulder season from April to May. During this time, prices are still low but the weather is divine. However, you may like Spain better during the summer or winter depending on your preferences.
Tip #2 – Consider Travel Insurance
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- Super easy to customize your coverage in Spain
- Quotes tend to be cheaper
- So many options & choices may be overwhelming
If you have a covered accident while abroad, travel insurance for Spain can save you thousands of dollars if you end up getting hurt or sick on the trip.
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Tip #3 – Soak Up Spain’s Incredible Nature
Spain is best known for food and parties, but its nature should be added to that list of notoriety. When you visit Spain, spend time getting to know the country’s top natural sites, like Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park and Picos de Europa.
Tip #4 – Go On Day Trips To Spain’s Hidden Gems
Everyone wants to go to Barcelona and Madrid, but fewer people are lining up around the block for Spain’s lesser-known gems of towns. Some of my favorite smaller places in Spain were Frigiliana, Nerja, and Competa in southern Spain.
Tip #5 – Consider Taking A Road Trip
It can be difficult to get between different regions of Spain relying solely on public transportation. It’s a little easier to rent a car and make the journey yourself.
On my trip to Spain, I drove all the way from Seville, up the coast to Barcelona, and finished in Madrid. Along the way, I discovered a bunch of interesting places I never would’ve found otherwise. Just make sure you get your international driver’s license before arriving in Spain or you won’t be allowed to drive in the country.
Tip #6 – Make Itineraries for Northern & Southern Spain
As I mentioned previously, Spain is a big country with a lot of things to do. That’s why it may be wiser to break up your trip into a northern and southern itinerary. This will give you more breathing room to take in the Spanish culture without rushing through your trip.
Tip #7 – Stay In A Major City And Go On Day Trips
One of the easiest ways to structure a trip to Spain is by sticking to a core big city as your home base and going on day trips. For example, if you’re staying in Barcelona for a week, you can go on a couple of day trips to nearby places like Andorra or Girona to fill the time.
Day trips are awesome for keeping your trip exciting without getting overwhelmed by moving around too much.
Tip #8 – Know the Festival & Holiday Schedule
Spain has a ton of festivals and fun traditional holidays throughout the year. Depending on your style, these can make your trip super fun or add unwanted crowds. Do a bit of research into the festivals and holidays happening during your Spain trip.
Spain Itinerary FAQs
How many days are enough for Spain?
10 days in Spain is enough time to have a comprehensive trip through the country. With 10 days, you’ll have time to spend a few days in each major city with a day trip here and there.
However, Spain is a big country and it takes time to reach different sections.
Is 8 days in Spain enough?
Eight days in Spain is enough time to get a feel for one region of the country. However, 8 days won’t be enough time to see every inch of the country because it takes too long to get around. It provides just enough time for visitors to get a taste of Spain and a few key locations.
That’s it for my perfect Spain itinerary! Which place has definitely earned a place on your Spain trip? Another crucial thing to consider is what you’re going to pack, so make sure you read my comprehensive Spain packing list.
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