You’ve got a bit more than a week to spend in Spain? Lucky you! As a resident of Barcelona, I’m of course tempted to say that you could easily spend the whole time in my city, but most visitors try to see more of Spain than just the northeastern corner when they come.
Indeed, you’ve not quite seen Spain if you’ve only been to Barcelona. Many tourists come here and ask where they can find the following: bullfights, flamenco and sangria. In Barcelona bullfighting has been banned. It’s not part of the Catalan culture, and neither is flamenco for that matter. Can you see a flamenco show in Barcelona? Oh yeah. And go for it, but keep in mind that it’s from the south of Spain, and you should head to Seville if you’re truly interested in experiencing “real” flamenco. In fact, why not travel to Madrid too, one of the finest cities in the world.
So with an average, 10-day vacation, where should you go in Spain? There are many itinerary combinations you could concoct, but here is one suggestion that includes highlights of things to see and do along the way:
I recommend starting your journey in Barcelona. While here, don’t miss:
• Get a sip of Catalan cava, reds and whites at fun wine bars.
• See a concert at the Palau de la Música
• Take a lovely stroll (or even swim!) along Barcelona’s many beautiful beaches.
• Check out one of the city’s best neighborhoods, El Born, a trendy and historic place to explore.
To save time, hop on a cheapo flight from Barcelona to Seville that takes less than two hours. The train can take more than five hours.
• Take in the difference in climate and vibe. Seville is much smaller and quieter than Barcelona and less overwhelming. It’s a nice change of pace.
• Eat delicious and cheap tapas in the plethora of bars all over town. The low prices in Seville restaurants will make Cheapos very happy.
• Drink sherry, which is a delicious fortified wine produced in Andalusia.
• Gawk at the architecture of the Real Alcázar.
• See a flamenco show for free (or at least the price of a drink). and visit the flamenco museum. Ask around to avoid touristy spots.
Take the Ave fast train to Madrid for a quick 2 hour and 30 minute journey.
• Madrileños know how to have fun, so check out the nightlife scene, said to be the best in Spain. Whether you like bar hopping or live music and cinema, there’s something for everyone. Here are some tips for a great night on the town.
• Sample traditional foods and drinks of Madrid with a a tasty tapas tour.
• See a bullfight, if that’s your bag. Madrid is a good place to experience it.
Train: Getting from Madrid back to Barcelona is easy. You can take the Ave fast train from Atocha Station to Barcelona is less than 3 hours.
Flying: You might be able to find a flight that’s cheaper than the train, but in the end with transportation to the airport and security, it will take about the same time.
It’s almost time to go home, but you still have one more night on the town. Just make sure to stay centrally to have easy access to the El Prato airport bus which takes about an hour. We like Hotel Atlantis which is a clean and efficient stay in the heart of the city.
A whirlwind tour? Yes, and not in step with the trendy slow-travel movement. However, with stops in Barcelona, Seville, Córdoba and Madrid, you’ll have a great introduction to the country and a much better idea of what Spain really is—a beautiful country with rich and diverse cultures and climates.