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7 Days in Spain Itinerary

7 Days in Spain Itinerary

Wondering how to spend 7 days in Spain?

The destinations on your Spanish itinerary will be somewhat dictated by the weather and season.

Northern Spain is a joy in the high season when southern resorts are swamped. Mediterranean seaside towns are nicer in early summer and early fall. Some inland cities are best avoided during the peak of summer when temperatures soar.

This one-week Spain itinerary is designed for first-time visitors traveling by train and seeking a mix of culture, food, and nature. As it’s your first trip to Spain, you’ll definitely want to visit Madrid and/or Barcelona; this itinerary incorporates both.

The slick train system means you can cover a decent amount of ground over one week in Spain.

Where to start a 1 week Spain itinerary

You will want to start your 7 days in Spain based on which city is the easiest and cheapest to fly into.

Madrid Barajas Airport and Barcelona El Prat Airport are the natural first-choice contenders. Both are served by international carriers and low-fare European airlines and tend to have the most connections.

Seville, Valencia, Alicante, and Málaga all have excellent connections too, especially if you’re traveling from the UK or another European country.

Ideally, you will fly into one airport and leave via another. This itinerary is based on spending 7 days in Spain starting in Barcelona and departing from Seville.

If you have roundtrip flights from one of the airports, you can always fly back there with budget airlines like Vueling. Internal flights in Spain are very affordable and quick.

If you are happy to take it slow, you can simply spend one week split between Madrid and Barcelona. Or if you are a true slow traveler, pick one of those cities and spend the entire 7 days exploring each neighborhood in Barcelona or the different fun areas in Madrid.

Both cities have so much to offer in terms of food, culture, history, and day trips. However, if you want to pack 7 days full of different Spain adventures and think you have the energy to move between cities every few days, this is a fun itinerary that will help you make the most of your week in Spain.

parque retiro with a lake and monument behind the lake in madrid is a great thing to do with 7 days in Spain.

Exploring Madrid’s Retiro Park is a fun thing to do on a sunny summer day during your 7 days in Spain.

7 days in Spain starting in Barcelona

Let’s assume you landed on “Day Zero” and are ready to start your 7 days in Spain on “Day One”.

This is a summary of how to spend your 7 days in Spain starting in Barcelona:

  • Day 1: Full day in Barcelona
  • Day 2: Full day in Barcelona + evening train to Madrid
  • Day 3: Full day in Madrid
  • Day 4: Morning train to Córdoba + day in Córdoba
  • Day 5: Morning train to Seville + time in Seville
  • Day 6: Day trip from Seville (optional)
  • Day 7: Seville + evening departure from Spain

If this looks a little full-on, you can skip the day in Córdoba and/or the day trip from Seville.

7 days in Spain starting in Madrid

For 7 days in Spain starting in Madrid, you have two choices.

Option 1) Save Barcelona for another time and spend longer in Madrid, Córdoba, and Seville.

Option 2) Adapt this 10 days in Spain itinerary starting in Madrid and visit Zaragoza and Valencia in place of Córdoba and Seville.

This guide is also helpful if you’re spending longer than one week in Spain.

Spain travel itinerary for 7 days

This one-week Spain itinerary involves using the Spanish train system to get around. Book tickets in advance using Omio or Trainline to get the cheapest fare.

And now, over to what to do in Spain for a week, ¡vamos!

sagrada Familia church in Barcelona with four large spires at the front of the church.

It’s worth spending a day or two in Barcelona just to come to the Sagrada Familia.

Days 1 and 2: Two days in Barcelona

Beautiful Barcelona sits at the top of any Spain bucket list. This sprawling Catalan city has buzzing neighborhoods, gorgeous beaches, historic landmarks, great food, and incredible nightlife.

The snag? Barcelona is pretty pricey these days and will eat into your accommodation and sightseeing costs.

Two days in Barcelona is sufficient for seeing the main sights although you’ll need to be ruthless about which spots make the final cut.

Barcelona is easy to get around via metro. Save costs by purchasing a 48-hour Hola Barcelona travel card – it gives you unlimited travel.

Things to do in Barcelona

These are the key sights of interest to help whittle down your own shortlist.

  • Go for a stroll down La Rambla and Rambla de Mar.
  • Visit the churches, synagogues, plazas of the Gothic Quarter.
  • See street art and contemporary galleries in El Raval.
  • Eat Catalan food at La Boqueria Market and the tapas taverns in El Born.
  • Die-hard foodie? Book a food tour in Barcelona.
  • Trace Gaudí’s heritage at La Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Mila (La Pedrera), and the Church of Colònia Güell.
  • Dip into Cubism art at the Picasso Museum.
  • Swing by the Design Museum.
  • Relax in Ciutadella Park.
  • Visit the underrated former hospital-turned-museum, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau.
  • Explore Montjuïc’s museums, parks, and viewpoints.
  • Swim or sunbathe in La Barceloneta’s beaches.
  • Make time for a cocktail at one of Barcelona’s rooftop bars.

Where to stay in Barcelona

These hotels are close to Plaça de Catalunya. This location is handy for La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, and jumping on the metro.

ME Barcelona: This is your splurge option! The hotel has posh rooms with contemporary decor and coffee makers and there’s a rooftop pool with killer views.

Hostal Lausanne: This is a no-frills guest house with private bedrooms and the option to save money with a shared bathroom or upgrade to a room with a balcony.

front of a gaudi building with colorful blue and green splattered paint and funky windows designed by Gaudi in Barcelona.

Explore some of the unique Gaudi architecture during your time in Barcelona.

Day 3: One day in Madrid

Travel information: The fastest trains between Barcelona Sants and Madrid Puerta de Atocha take 2 hours and 30/45 minutes. You can travel on the evening of Day 2 (recommended) or early the morning of Day 3.

Spain’s capital is a powerhouse for the arts. The three institutions that form the “Golden Triangle” put Madrid on the map for art but there are offbeat galleries and street murals to add to your schedule.

If you’re not too fussed about art galleries, you can immerse yourself in street art, royal history, tapas culture, footie, and glorious urban parks.

One day in Madrid is a little tight but it’s enough to scratch the surface. If you prefer to spend two days in Madrid then you can either skip Córdoba or reduce your time in Seville.

You’ll want to pick up a rechargeable multi card to cover any metro or bus rides. They cost €2.50 and are sold at most stations.

Things to do in Madrid

Madrid has fewer sights than Barcelona, especially if art museums aren’t high on your agenda. One of the nicest activities is simply to meander your way through Madrid’s distinct barrios.

  • Explore the gardens and monuments of Retiro Park.
  • Tour the Royal Palace and Madrid Cathedral. Definitely opt for fast-track entry to maximize time.
  • Dip into Madrid’s Art Walk institutions: Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and Reina Sofía Art Center.
  • Go behind the scenes of Real Madrid with a Bernabéu Stadium tour.
  • Hunt for street art in Lavapiés/Embajadores.
  • Catch the sunset at the Temple of Debod.
  • Cruise the tapas bars of Calle de la Cava Baja in La Latina.
  • Enjoy Spanish snacking culture – la merienda – at Madrid’s countless chocolatería (chocolate shop cafes) and churrería (churro cafes and stalls).
fuente de cibeles fountain and palace in Madrid Spain with bright blue skies above.

The architecture in Madrid is absolutely breathtaking. Allow some time to just wander along the Gran Via and around the city center to discover it all.

Where to stay in Madrid

It’s best to stay close to Madri’s main train station. This spares you from lugging your bags around and makes coming and going easier.

Radisson RED: This 4-star hotel is 300 meters from Atocha Train Station. Luxurious rooms are accented with neutral hues and modern art, some have a city view.

Hostal la Estación Terrazas: Close to the train station and central areas, this budget-friendly hotel comprises recently refurbished rooms all with a private bathroom. It’s simple but safe and most rooms have a mini fridge and kettle.

Day 4: One day in Córdoba

Travel information: The fastest high-speed trains between Madrid Puerta de Atocha and Córdoba take 1 hour and 46 minutes. Again, you can either travel in the evening or early in the morning. Spending the night in Córdoba is recommended but not strictly necessary.

Welcome to Andalucía! Córdoba is both a city and province in this southern autonomous region.

This region first caught the attention of the Romans who were taken by the fertile valleys of the Sierra Morena. It later became pivotal in the Al-Andalus kingdom and contains one of Spain’s most fascinating landmarks, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba.

It’s also known for its ornamental patios that look especially radiant in summer. Try and visit in May when private patios are temporarily opened to the public as part of the Córdoba Patio Festival.

Córdoba is a popular day trip from Málaga and Seville. It’s a large place but much more compact than other big cities. One day is sufficient for the main things to do in Córdoba.

roman bridge with a grand mosque at the other end in the city of Cordoba Spain

Cordoba is one of the most magical towns to visit during any trip to Spain.

Things to do in Córdoba

Depending on your specific travel plans, expect visiting the Mosque-Cathedral plus two or three other main sights while exploring the Old Town.

  • Tour the Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. It’s worth booking a guided tour but not essential.
  • Visit the palace, gardens, and baths at the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs.
  • Have a look at Córdoba’s Roman ruins including the bridge, city gates, and remains of the old Roman temple.
  • Catch an Andalusian equestrian show at the Royal Stables (known as the Córdoba Ecuestre and Caballerizas Reales).
  • Wander around the Jewish Quarter.
  • See what’s in bloom at the postcard-pretty Calleja de las Flores.
  • If you spend the night, splash out on a treatment at Hammam Al Andalus.

Where to stay in Córdoba

Córdoba is a lot smaller than Barcelona and Madrid, so you can choose accommodation anywhere in Centro. Prices are lower in case you’re looking to treat yourself during your one week in Spain.

Make sure you book a hotel in Córdoba, SPAIN, not Córdoba, Argentina!

Hospes Palacio del Bailio, a Member of Design Hotels: This designer hotel has swanky bedrooms, two pools, and a flower garden. The spa is incredible, it’s just a matter of squeezing a session into your 7 day Spain itinerary.

Eurostars Patios de Córdoba: Oozing old-fashioned charm and vintage style, this historic hotel is perfect for romantic souls. The rooms are modern but the architecture is like stepping back in time.

main plaza in Spain with a building that has a Tio Pepe advertisement on the top.

Madrid is a great central location in Spain. From here you can get the fast train almost anywhere in the country!

Days 5, 6, and 7: Three days in Seville + day trip

Travel information: Trains from Córdoba to Seville Santa Justa take 54 minutes. There are only a handful of services each day. You can either spend the night in Córdoba and leave the following morning or take an evening train to Seville. If necessary, you can use Luggage Hero or Radical Storage to store your bags in Córdoba for the day.

If you were spellbound by the first three cities, just wait until you alight the train in Seville.

Founded by the Romans, inhabited by the Moors, and a key player in the Golden Age, Seville offers a rich insight into Spanish history. It’s an architectural dreamboat bursting with grand plazas, Mudéjar buildings, and Andalucían courtyard residences.

As the supposed birthplace of flamenco, the city is awash with theaters where you can watch a performance.

Seville is another large city although like Madrid, the tourist areas are relatively compact. There’s a good balance of paid attractions and free things to see, particularly when it comes to plazas and towers.

You can conclude your 7 day Spain itinerary at Seville San Pablo Airport or connect to a different airport if necessary.

Things to do in Seville

Use this 2 days in Seville itinerary to map out how to spend your time in the city.

  • Admire the spectacular Plaza de España, a monumental plaza with tiles and fountains. Follow up with a wander around Plaza del Cabildo.
  • Learn about how the Royal Alcázar and Seville Cathedral were built atop Moorish foundations. A guided tour combining both sites is a wise use of time.
  • Take in views from the Setas de Sevilla installation.
  • See a flamenco performance. Of all the destinations featured in this one week Spain itinerary, Seville has the most variety.
  • Cruise (or kayak) along the Guadalquivir River.
  • Admire palatial architecture at such places as the Casa de Pilatos, Palacio de las Dueñas, or the Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija.
  • Spend a morning at the Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Cross the river and explore Triana, the old tile-making district with a reputation for producing flamenco dancers and folk musicians.
boardwalk in Seville along the Guadalquivir River with a stone tower along the right side and palm trees in front.

Walk along the Guadalquivir River in Seville to discover some of the historical sites like this Torre del Oro.

Day trips from Seville

This 7 days in Spain itinerary makes time for a day trip to see more of Andalucía. Seville is well-positioned for visiting the coast, mountain towns, and national parks of southern Spain.

Here’s a flavor of the best day trips from Seville.

  • Pueblos Blancos: These “White Towns” are scattered across the mountain ranges and coastline of Andalucía. The mountain towns are the most dramatic as the straddle ravines and are carved right into the rocks. Ronda, Olvera, Zahara de la Sierra, and Setenil de las Bodegas are just some of them. They’re best visited by renting a car or as part of an organized day trip.
  • Cádiz: This ancient port city sits on a peninsula and has a fun mix of defensive structures, urban parks, and sandy beaches to explore. It’s possible to visit with public transport or on a tour.
  • Doñana National Park: This protected wetland and dune reserve provides safe harbor to mammals and birdlife including Iberian lynxes and Spanish imperial eagles. It’s easier to navigate as part of an organized tour.

Where to stay in Seville

If you’re spending 7 days in Spain in summer, you might want to book a hotel with a pool in Seville. Spain’s summer weather is stifling in this southern, inland city.

Indulge en Sevilla Cuna: This luxury aparthotel comprises studios and family lofts with kitchenettes. All guests have use of the rooftop pool while select units come with a private plunge pool.

Catalonia Giralda: This modern hotel is right in the heart of Seville’s Old Town and has an indoor pool. Premium rooms have a terrace and a view of the Giralda. Breakfast is available if desired.