The landscapes, historical sites, museums, and regional delicacies in Spain are incredibly diverse. It can be intimidating to try to fit in as much as you can in a week, but with careful planning and our recommended itinerary, you will get a fair sense of what Spain is really like. Beginning in the south with Malaga and moving north as far as San Sebastian is an excellent idea because the north and south have extremely diverse landscapes and cultures.
If you don’t decide to rent a car and make your trip a road trip, plan on using Spain’s outstanding train service bus because you’ll have some significant distances to traverse.
Day 1: Malaga
Take a city bus from outside terminal 3 at Malaga’s International Costa del Sol Airport after landing to go to the city centre in about 20 minutes. After checking into your accommodation, it’s time to start acclimating to Spanish culture, see the city’s various attractions, and enjoy a satisfying lunch or tapas while sipping local wine.
In the city of Malaga, art and history coexist. The Alcazaba and the Castillo de Gibralfaro, two magnificent Moorish structures that stand atop two hills and dominate the city and were the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. You may visit both locations in one trip, which will keep you busy all morning. Take a taxi or a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city to gain an overview because it’s a long way from the starting point and a very steep ascent.
It’s time to visit a museum in the afternoon, and Malaga boasts more than 30! Remember that many museums are closed in the afternoons and on Mondays.
The tastiest tapas may be found at the Atarazanes Market when you’re hungry. Tapas will become a regular dinner for you because of all the touring you’ll accomplish throughout your weeklong stay.
Day 2: White Villages, Nerja Caves
Along the Costa del Sol, white settlements from Andalusia are scattered throughout the mountains that face the sea. The two most well-known are likely Frigilania and Nerja, which are best accessible on this tour’s day trip from Malaga.
Explore Frigilania’s steep, winding streets and take in the whitewashed homes and numerous flower pots there. Then, visit the magnificent Nerja caves, home to the largest stalactite in the entire world, and uncover the tale of how the caves were found.
The voyage comes to a conclusion in Nerja, where you can see Africa across the Mediterranean from Europe’s balcony. Head to the adjoining Calle Pintada 1 and stop at Didier Borgeaud’s shop for the most exquisite hand-painted fans and matching jewellery if you want to get a really lovely keepsake.
Day 3: Granada and Cordoba
Set out for Granada after packing your things. Depending on the train you take, the trip takes two to three hours. Place your luggage in storage and go exploring when you arrive. Although the Granada train station lacks lockers, you can leave your belongings in safety at the minimarket a hundred yards away.
You are travelling to Granada to see the renowned Alhambra; taking in the magnificent gardens and Moorish structures takes many hours; as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain, we advise taking a guided tour and purchasing your tickets in advance.
You should return to the train station to board a train to Cordoba, where you will spend the night, after visiting the Alhambra and enjoying a lunch in the city. Even smaller than Granada, Cordoba is simple to stroll through and discover on foot. The Mezquita, a stunning example of Spanish architecture and history, is the first destination; the ancient mosque still exists inside the current catholic cathedral. After that, wander across the Roman Bridge, explore the ancient town’s history, and stop at the Jewish neighbourhood. Pay close attention to the patios and homes that are covered with an abundance of flowers in celebration of a festival in May.
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Day 4: Valencia
Since the train travel from Cordoba takes three to four hours, you’ll probably arrive in the middle of the afternoon, which is Spanish lunchtime. After checking into your accommodation, go out and have paella, the most well-known Spanish meal that comes from Valencia. The La Pepica restaurant on Calle Neptuno 6 is among the top spots.
Enjoy the old district for the remainder of the afternoon and evening, taking in La Lonja (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the cathedral, the town hall, and the numerous bustling streets lined with café after café. It should be the pottery museum housed in a baroque mansion if you only have time to see one museum.
Day 5: Barcelona
Take the train from Valencia to Barcelona in the morning. There are 12 trains every day, with a three-hour average trip time. After checking in, get ready for a day of art and architecture. Gaudi is to Barcelona what Picasso is to Malaga—the city is awash with his recognisable masterpieces. The Sagrada Familia cathedral is arguably the most well-known (and frequently visited). To see additional Gaudi structures, you may also stroll along the Rambla de Catalua and other major streets like Paseo de Gracia.
Later, travel to La Boqueria, a vibrant market, and the charming Gothic Quarter, which features churches with incredible architecture and streets dotted with little art and craft stores. Locals love El Nacional, a fantastic restaurant with a fascinating past.
The Grand Teatre de Liceo is a stunning structure and the second-largest opera house in Europe. Opera, music, and theatre enthusiasts should go there (after Paris). Try to attend a performance in the evening or sign up for a tour with a guide to see the backstage areas. Additionally, you ought definitely schedule some time to visit Las Arenas, a former bullring turned modern shopping mall close to Plaza de Catalua.
Seven parks are available for visitors to explore in Barcelona, including the beautiful Monjuic and the Gauid-dedicated Guell. Visit the cocktail bar Blue Wave in the old port, which is close to the yacht port, for some nightlife.
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Day 6: San Sebastian
San Sebastian, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, is among the great northern cities that must be seen on any trip there. Take a train; they are all direct and leave early in the morning because it takes five to six hours to get there. You’ll observe how significantly the landscape alters as you travel northward. Mountains are seen in the background, and the train travels alongside dense forests, lush meadows, and streams.
At the mouth of the river Urumea on the Bay of Biscayne, San Sebastian, also known by its Basque name Donastia, served as the European Capital of Culture in 2016. Check into your hotel and unwind on La Concha Beach or explore the area’s various attractions, including as the San Telmo Museum, the cathedral, the old town, and the Palace of Miramar, which was constructed in 1893 as the Royal family’s summer retreat.
The diet of the Basque country is more heartier than that of the south. Joining a pintxos tour is a wonderful option if you want to experience as many different varieties of the regional variation of tapas as you can.
When you return to your hotel, make sure to get some rest since your final day in Madrid is going to be a hectic one.
Read More: Things to do in San Sebastian
Day 7: Madrid
Take the first train to Madrid in the morning. Although the trip takes almost six hours, you certainly must visit the capital before leaving Spain. Even if you’re only there for a short while, it will be ample time to experience the city’s multicultural vibe.
The hub of Madrid is Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, which is constantly crowded with people. Spend some time at the El Prado Museum; there are tours that run one or two hours and take you through the most well-known pieces of art.
Spend the remainder of the day (and your trip) in El Retiro Park, the city’s largest green space. There are many things to do, like sailing, running, and visiting the Rosaleda rose garden or the glass palace. Alternately, you can rent a bike and ride around the entire park, which spans more than 300 hectares.