In the summer of 2016 a few friends and I went to Europe. We went to Portugal, Spain and Ireland. Portugal and Spain was a girls only trip, then my husband joined us in Ireland. I have split each country into its own post: Welcome to Spain!
While in Spain, I visited Barcelona, Madrid, Granada and Seville. Each city was unique and worthy of a longer visit. Barcelona and Granada were probably my favorite cities due to each having old winding streets you could happily spend hours getting lost in.
This was my second time in Spain. On my first visit I spent two week in Salamanca living with a host family,trying to learn Spanish and about Spanish healthcare. I won’t go into much detail about Salamanca (this post is about my recent trip to Spain that sadly didn’t include Salamanca), however I HIGHLY recommend going. I will be writing a separate post about Salamanca in the near future. It is a beautiful city, but I also think this is true of most cities in Spain.
|14-Day Spain Itinerary|
|Day 1:||Arrive at 11:20pm- Go to sleep!|
|Day 2:||Morning: Wander to Sagrada Familia, and down Passeig De Gracia to see the Block of Discord (casa Batllo, Amatller, & Lleo Morera) and Casa Mila and then down Las Ramblas|
|Afternoon: Wander the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) and the Chocolate Museum|
|Day 3:||Morning: Palace of Catalan Music, and Picasso Museum|
|Afternoon: Tour of the Sagrada Familia|
|Day 4:||Morning: try to buy tickets at the Train Station… Wander/Barcelona History Museum|
|Afternoon: Shopping and wander in the Barri Gotic|
|Day 5:||Morning: Train to Madrid (takes about 3 hrs)|
|Afternoon: Wander and visit Reina Sofia|
|Day 6:||Morning: Prado Museum, Royal Botanical Garden and Plaza Mayor|
|Afternoon: Royal Palace, and surrounding gardens|
|Day 7:||Morning: National Archeological Museum|
|Afternoon: Retiro Park|
|Day 8:||Morning: Slept in|
|Afternoon: Lazy day wandering and laying out in parks|
|Day 9:||Morning: Morning trains were full so we relaxed in a park|
|Afternoon: Train to Granada (takes about 5 hrs)|
|Day 10:||Morning: Walk around Granada’s Old Town (Cathedral, Alcaiceria, etc)|
|Day 11:||Morning: Granada’s Old Town|
|Afternoon: The Albayzin (old moorish quarter with shopping)|
|Day 12:||Mid-Morning: Train to Seville (about 4hrs)|
|Day 13:||Morning: Alcazar|
|Siesta: Midday nap to escape the heat|
|Late-Afternoon: Wander, and Plaza de La Encarnacion for sunset|
|Day 14:||Morning: Cathedral and Giralda Bell Tower|
|Siesta: Midday nap|
|Late-Afternoon: Wander and carriage ride to see Plaza de Espana|
- The food, drinks and culture! This is why you go to Spain, right?!
- Ogling at hot Spanish cops. No serious, the cops in Spain could have been models!
- All the tapas! Mmmm!!!
- Alhambra. The architecture is more beautiful than words can describe. I could have wandered there for days
- I really loved the Moorish architecture and culture of southern Spain. So Seville and Granada hold a special place in my heart.
Type A Tips: Barcelona
- My favorite parts of Barcelona were wandering the Gothic Quarter (lots of cute narrow, wandering alleyways), the Palace of Catalan Music (gorgeous stained glass) and the food!
- Don’t try to speak Spanish in Barcelona. They speak Catalan, and identify as Catalan- they are not big fans of Spain. Click here for more details about their recent attempts to leave the Spanish government.
- I had the worst experience in the Barcelona train station! First no one spoke english (we literally got bounced between the three same people/departments trying to get answers to our questions). Here is what I figured out: You can only buy tickets in person (with an actual person) they day of your train. They do have kiosks, but those require cards with chips (something we didn’t have at the time). You can buys tickets online, but the website is in Spanish/Catalan- at least while you are in Spain…
- Block of Discord (casa Batllo, Amatller, & Lleo Morera) and Casa Mila has some beautiful architecture. Make sure you check it out! I walked from Sagrada Familia to the Block of Discord to Las Ramblas. This is do-able, but definitely a long walk.
- La Boqueria Market, Columbus Monument, Marina: All of these are along Las Ramblas/within walking distance and are a fun experience. If you want to see food you would NEVER see in an American market, make sure you check out La Boqueria Market (plus they have some yummy food!).
- Alcoba Alzul: it is legitimately one of the BEST restaurants I have been to! Their tapas are incredible and the perfect price. I highly recommend the goat cheese stuffed pepper (I dream about them still). To add icing on the cake, the restaurant is down some small, adorable winding alleys and is located in an old building, which just added extra charm to the already incredible restaurant. I have recommended this restaurant to all my friends who have gone to Barcelona and they have all loved it! Seriously just go there!
- El Petit Princep is a great breakfast/brunch place! I highly recommend checking them out!
Type A Tips: Madrid
- Again, I found Madrid fairly walkable, but I also don’t mind walking…
- If you aren’t a big fan of modern art (like me) then don’t even bother going to the Prado. However if you love modern art then the Prado is a must!
- My favorite museums were: Reina Sofia, and National Archeological Museum. The Reina Sofia is a museum made up from a private collections, so it has a wide selection of artwork from Van Gogh to modern art. The National Archaeological Museum has some great pieces from Spain’s past. Most of the museums are on the same road: Paseo de Prado
- El Retiro Park is a vast, gorgeous park, that reminds me of Central Park in NYC. I easily could have spent at day wandering the park.
- The Royal Palace and surrounding gardens are also worth a visit.
Type A Tips: Granada
- Granada is very walkable! It is a distance from the bus station so that is the only time we took a taxi.
- Sunsets at the San Nicolas Viewpoint are gorgeous and overlook the Alhambra. There are bars and restaurants nearby that offer similar views, but also include yummy tapas and sangria’s.
- Pre-book your Alhambra tickets! We almost didn’t get to see it! I would recommend doing this once you know your tentative schedule. Alhambra is something you don’t want to miss out on!
- Arrayanes: it’s an amazing Moroccan restaurant that is family run. Not only do they offer some amazing food, but it’s not expensive either.
Type A Tips: Seville
- Make sure you explore the Royal Alcazar, Sevilla’s Cathedral, Giralda Bell Tower, and the Plaza de Espana.
- Royal Alcazar: tickets can be purchased on site, but I highly recommend purchasing tickets online, in advance (I bought mine the night before) so that you can skip some of the lines.
- Watching the sunset from the Plaza de la Encaracion. This is a very cool building waffle-like wooden building. The top has pathways you can walk along (with a bar). You must go to the basement of the building and take the elevator up.
- I highly recommend the evening carriage ride! I was a sweet way to spend our last night in Spain.
- Like most my trips, I exchanged money with my bank prior to leaving. Since I was going to be gone for about 1 month, I exchanged $2,000 USD. I did occasionally pay with my credit card, but I didn’t have to take any more euros out.
- I spent about 40 euro a night on hostels. However, I did splurge and get private rooms most of the time. Granada and Seville were cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona.
- On average I spent about 100 euro or $120 USD per day. This sounds like a lot, but a most of the famous sites were a bit pricey, but worth it!
I hope this has helped you plan your perfect Spanish vacation! Leave any questions or comments below!
Teresa, the Type A Trekker!