Spain is one of Europe’s top travel destinations, and rightfully so! It’s not too expensive. It’s beautiful. The people are friendly. There’s more than enough to do and see. The food is incredible, and there is an immense amount of history! Basically, you can’t go wrong in choosing to visit Spain!
However with everything we just mentioned, it’s hard to finalize a travel itinerary for Spain, especially one that is more limited in time, like say one week…
Luckily for you, here at MY Travel BF, we’ve put together a One Week Itinerary for Spain that has you visiting Madrid, Sevilla, and Granada and then going back to Madrid to fly home. You will get to experience the metropolitan and historical capital of Spain in Madrid while being able to experience the rich, culture of Andalusia in the cities of Sevilla and Granada.
Throughout this one week itinerary for Spain, you will see 3 of the top 10 most visited cities in Spain and be able to experience a lot of what this marvelous country has to offer in just a week’s time.
Day 1: Madrid
¡Bienvenidos a España! You’ve made it to Spain!
The Madrid Barajas Airport is well connected to Madrid’s city center. You can easily take the Metro, cheap and efficient, to the center of Madrid or to your hostel, hotel, or Airbnb. Taxis and Uber are available at the Madrid airport but will be more expensive than public transit.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before we highly recommend it! Here’s a code for first-time users where you can get $30 in travel credit when you book a place.
Once you get to your accommodation in Madrid, you will be able to get your bearings. Depending on what time your flight lands and you get to where you’re staying, use this time to relax, eat, or start exploring Madrid. If you are jet-lagged, try not to fall asleep, but rather force yourself to stay awake and get adjusted to the Spanish time zone.
Chances are that if you are anything like us, you will be looking for food immediately after setting your stuff down at wherever you’re staying in Madrid. If you are looking for something super Spanish and sweet, stop by Chocolatería San Ginés or Los Artesanos 1802 Chocolatería for some churros con chocolate. This will satisfy your sweet tooth and allow you to sample some traditional Spanish food from two of the most famous churro con chocolate places in Spain.
If you’re not wanting something sweet, swing by a market so you can have your pick of other fresh, Spanish foods. There are public markets all over Madrid, so you may want to head to the one closest to you if your tummy is rumbling. The Mercado de San Miguel and Mercado San Antón are excellent markets in Madrid, but there are plenty of others as well. Check out some other markets in Madrid here and here.
Once you’ve satisfied your appetite, head over to one of the most famous and best views of Madrid at the Círculo de las Bellas Artes. It will cost 4€ to go up to the top, but the bar at the top offers one of the best views of Madrid. Enjoy the outstanding atmosphere with a drink and soak up the Spanish sun while a DJ is spinning some chill background music.
From here, head out for dinner and hop around devouring tapas all over Madrid. One of the best tapas areas in Madrid is La Latina. There are tons of options in this area, so you will be able to find something you like!
Day 2: Madrid
Day 2 in Madrid of this one week itinerary of Spain has you heading out to see some of, not only the best art museums in Spain, but the best art museums in the world! The Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia are two of the best in Madrid, Spain, and the world.
As a side note, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum rounds out the big 3 art museums in Madrid and is worth a visit if you have another art museum in you. Obviously, visiting 1, 2, and especially 3, art museums in one day can be overwhelming and too much if you’re not an art aficionado.
If you’re only going to pick one museum to go to in Madrid, most people would say the Prado because it has a wide variety of art that goes throughout different periods in history. However, we’d recommend the Reina Sofia because it has more modern art, like Dalí and Picasso, which is more our style. You are also able to see Picasso’s Guernica at the Reina Sofia, which is not only an important art piece in history, but it also symbolizes a terrible time in Spanish history and the horrors of war. It’s truly a masterpiece and is definitely worth seeing.
Make sure to buy tickets for the Prado Museum in advance, so you don’t have to spend time waiting in line. You can get those here.
The Reina Sofia is free Monday-Saturday from 7-9 p.m., with the exception of Tuesdays because they’re closed. This is an excellent option for those traveling to Madrid on a budget. The line will start early, so get there early to be one of the first in at 7 p.m. or expect the wait in line.
Day 3: Sevilla
Day 3 of this weeklong itinerary for Spain has you leaving Madrid for Andalusia and the incredible south of Spain!
The best options to get from Madrid to Sevilla without renting a car are bus, train, or BlaBlaCar, a ride-sharing app. Each have their own pros and cons, so the choice is up to you. If you are weary of riding in a stranger’s car with BlaBlaCar, opt for the train because it’s faster and more comfortable than the bus while only being a little bit more expensive. Leave from Madrid early in the morning too, so you have more time in Sevilla!
Once in Sevilla, get to where you’re staying, put down your stuff, and explore the Andalusian capital, which is much different than Madrid.
There is plenty to do and see in Sevilla, so take advantage of your time there and make sure to get out and see the city. Start at the Plaza de Sevilla, which was built in 1929 and has been used as a filming location in movies such as Star Wars.
From there, move north to the Real Alcázar de Sevilla and the Catedral de Sevilla (Sevilla Cathedral). Both of these attractions in Sevilla cost money to see, but encompass so much of Sevilla’s and Spain’s history.
The Real Alcázar de Sevilla is a royal palace and one of the premier examples of Mudéjar architecture in Spain. It’s also where Dorne was filmed for HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series. The Sevilla Cathedral is the 3rd largest church in the world and is where Christopher Columbus is buried.
If you’re not looking to pay to get in, unfortunately the Real Alcázar won’t be an option for you. However, you can visit the Sevilla Cathedral for free! You can go during Sunday mass or you can visit on Monday’s from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can reserve your spot to see the Sevilla Cathedral for free here. Otherwise, it will cost you 10€.
After sightseeing, toss your map—or put away your smartphone’s GPS—and get lost walking the narrow, romantic streets of the SantaCruz neighborhood in Sevilla. This neighborhood in the center of Sevilla is known for narrow, winding streets that twist and turn and suddenly empty out onto small, picturesque plazas.
Spend your night exploring Sevilla after dark and eating at the many traditional tapas bars! Just hop from one to another and enjoy the active street life.
Day 4: Sevilla
For your second and last day in Sevilla on this itinerary, walk up and down the Guadalquivir River that cuts through Sevilla. On the river walk you’ll pass the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Cabellería de Sevilla, or the Plaza de Toros for short (bullring). It’s one of the most famous bullfighting rings in the world. Attending a bullfight is up to you, but we recommend at least walking by the bullring and admiring the architecture.
Nearby is the Torre del Oro, which was first constructed in the 13th century as military watchtower over the Guadalquivir River. Again, a fascinating piece of Sevilla’s history that is still standing today.
Later, cross the river and explore the Triana neighborhood where you can find some of the best places to eat in Sevilla. It’s far less touristy here, so you know the food will be more authentic and cheaper! Check out Cat Gaa’s guide on How to Spend an Afternoon in Triana.
After lunch, head back across the river and explore some more. By sunset check out Setas de Sevilla (Mushrooms of Sevilla). It’s the world’s largest wood structure and a great place to see the sunset in Sevilla.
Day 5: Granada
Early in the morning on day 5, you will head to Granada, Spain. Granada will give you a completely different vibe from Madrid and Sevilla, even though it’s also in Andalusia.
The best way to get from Sevilla to Granada is by bus or BlaBlaCar. Again, if BlaBlaCar isn’t your thing, take the bus. It’s about a 3 hour ride and doesn’t cost too much money. Get up early, hop on the bus, and sleep on your way to Granada. Check out the Sevilla to Granada bus schedules here.
Once in Granada and at your hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, grab a bite to eat, or rather something to drink. Granada is one of a few cities in Spain where you will receive a free tapa when you order a drink, making Granada an excellent travel destination for people traveling on a budget!
Either stick around to eat and drink at one bar where the free tapas will likely get bigger and more delicious with each drink ordered or hop around and try out different places.
After eating, take a siesta if needed and then head out to the Albaicín neighborhood. It’s a maze of winding streets and white-washed houses, some of which are caves built into the hillside. As you wander through the Albaicín, make sure you look over at the adjacent hillside to the Alhambra. You’ll want to wander and take your time here as you will undoubtedly take tons of photos.
Make sure to stop at the Mirador de San Nicolás, which is one of the best views in the world and the best of the Alhambra. Stop here. Be in the present, and enjoy the moment. When you’re done venture around the Albaicín and into Sacromonte, a neighborhood within the Albaicín.
Many of the homes in Sacromonte are actually caves that are built into the hillside. Sacromonte was originally made up of people who were nomadic or had been excommunicated from the city of Granada. Today, those people still live there and have blended their different cultures over the course of history. As you walk through Sacromonte and eventually up to La Ermita de San Miguel for another spectacular view of Granada and the Alhambra, be respectful of the people who live there and do not go on their property.
At night, you will want to catch a flamenco show. After all, flamenco was born in the caves of Sacromonte and Granada, so Granada is the best place in Spain to see flamenco. Check out Casie of a Wandering Casiedilla’s post on Where to Find Granada’s Best Flamenco Shows.
Day 6: Granada
On Day 6 in Granada, you have a couple options…
1. Visit the Alhambra
The Alhambra is the crown jewel of Granada. It’s a remarkable work of art and architecture and is 100% worth a visit, even if you will be surrounded by a bunch of other tourists. It truly showcases centuries of history that you can see during your visit.
However, you do have to buy tickets to visit the Alhambra in advance—months in advance. You can book tickets to visit the Alhambra here.
2. Head to the Beach
If you came to Spain wanting to relax on the Mediterranean for a week, we hate to break it to you, but this one week itinerary for Spain is not for you. Although we hope you’ve figured that out if you’ve read into day 6 of this 7 day itinerary.
However, there is still a glimmer of hope for you here. Granada is located about an hour bus ride from Spain’s beautiful Costa del Sol. The closest cities to the beach are Motril, Salobreña Almuñécar, but while the beaches there are nice, they are a little rocky. Nerja is a little further away, but the beach is much nicer!
3. Explore Granada Some More
While Granada is smaller than Madrid and Sevilla, there is still plenty to do, see, and eat in this Andalusian city. Get out there and check out the Granada Cathedral, explore the Old Jewish Quarter of Realejo, and check out some less touristy neighborhoods like the one closer to the university on Camino de Ronda.
Day 7: Madrid
On Day 7, take the bus, train, or BlaBlaCar back to Madrid early in the morning so you can enjoy whatever time you have left in Spain in its capital city. If you have one meal left in Spain and are craving the paella that’s eluded you so far, our recommendation in Madrid is to go to Templo de Debod and watch the sunset before heading to Casa de Valencía for the best paella in Madrid. This is a fantastic way to end your week in Spain!
Hopefully, this One Week Itinerary for Spain where you visit Madrid, Sevilla, and Granada helps you in planning your trip to this wonderful country.