my spain itinerary

Today, I’m so excited to share with you my complete itinerary from my recent trip to Spain! I had the opportunity to travel with four close friends from college, and truly had the time of my life. This beautiful country and the people we met exceeded my expectations in every way!

Below, you’ll find a layout of where we went, what we did, and perhaps most importantly… what we ate! As we stayed in a mix of different places, my friend’s apartment, airbnbs, etc, I won’t be including those details below. Thank you so much for each of your recommendations. I read each and ended up using many of them!

Read below for a peek into my week in the beautiful country of Spain, and be sure to pin the image at the bottom of this post to your travel board so you can alway have it on-hand! If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comment section below. Enjoy!

CARDIGAN   pink drape cardigan (similar here)   |   JEANS   distressed skinny jeans   |   SHOES   grey leather sneakers (so comfortable!)   |   BAG   tory burch tassel crossbody   |   TOP   white tank   |   SUNGLASSES   classic black aviators

TOP   white lilly pulitzer ruffle top   |   BAG   raffia tote (old Forever21, similar linked) |   SHOES   ancient greek sandals (so comfortable!)   |   JEANS   white skinny jeans   |   EARRINGS   blue tassel earrings (similar pair for $9 here)

ROMPER   blue embroidered romper   |  SHOES   ancient greek sandals  |  BAG   raffia tote (old Forever21, similar linked)  |   EARRINGS   lisi lerch disk earrings

DRESS   red flamenco dress (purchased in Seville)   |   EARRINGS   lisi lerch disk earrings

DRESS   orange embroidered halter dress   |   BAG  raffia tote (old Forever21, similar linked)  |  SHOES   ancient greek sandals  |   EARRINGS   lisi lerch disk earrings

TOP   pink gingham halter top   |   BAG   tory burch tassel crossbody   |   JEANS   white skinny jeans

JACKET   denim jacket   |   SCARF   ombre burberry scarf   |   TOP   white tank top   |   SUNNIES   black ray ban aviators

TOP & SKIRT   white lace matching set   |   EARRINGS   lisi lerch earrings

Friday // Madrid

  • Lunch at Antón Martín
    • This was such a fabulous introduction to Madrid! Picture a huge room filled with all sorts of different mini restaurants. (That’s a very rough analogy, but it gives you a feel for the layout.) You could walk around and get a little of everything, from beer and wine to sushi and fresh seafood to traditional Spanish foods. Heads up, it can get very crowded, but I definitely recommend!
  • Palace de Royal
    • I loved walking through this beautiful palace. It isn’t an exhaustingly long visit, but gives you a great feel for height of the Spanish monarchy. I was so impressed! Definitely a must-see if you are in Madrid.
  • Churros at San Gines
    • This spot came highly recommended as the “go-to” for churros in Spain, but to be quite honest, I didn’t find them to be very sweet. Picture churros with no cinnamon sugar on the outside, and more of a tart dark chocolate dipping sauce. Definitely yummy, but not the best I’ve ever had.
  • Sangria at Azotea
    • To top off our first day in Madrid, we went to Azotea for rooftop Sangria and a view of the city! While it was fun seeing this vantage point of the city, it was a bit chilly and windy. I’d recommend saving this for a sunny, balmy evening. Keep in mind, you have to pay a fee (I don’t believe it’s more than 6 or so euros) to get to the roof.
  • Picnic dinner at Retiro Park
    • My friend Kendall, who teaches English in Madrid, stopped by the market and picked up a bunch of cheeses, bread, meat and a couple bottles of wine before taking us to Retiro Park for a picnic dinner. It was one of my favorite memories of the trip! The park is stunning. I was completely blown away. Even if you don’t go for a meal, I definitely recommend at least taking a walk through!

Saturday // Madrid

  • Brunch at Ojala
    • This was an adorable (and yummy!) spot for breakfast. The atmosphere was really hip and cute, and the menu had a lot to offer. I ordered a hamburger (classic) but forgot to order it well done. They make their hamburgers very, very red there, so be sure to keep that in mind if you fancy a burger abroad. Also, be sure to make reservations for this spot!
  • Shopping at Gran Via
    • We spent the afternoon shopping along Gran Via and had the best time. There was a 3 story Zara and a huge Primark to name just a few. We only spent about an hour and a half here, but I could have made a whole afternoon out of it and would suggest that to any shoppers out there. It has a really fun NYC/London shopping vibe.
  • Dinner at La Tita Rivera
    • We stopped into La Tita Rivera after our first restaurant choice ended up being full. While it was yummy, I don’t know that I’d necessarily recommend.
  • Drinks and dessert at Jardin Secreto Salvador
    • This restaurant was in the basement of a large store, and the decor was very jungley  and fun. The only downside was that the restaurant was pretty empty when we went, so the atmosphere was a little lacking. But what made up for that was the incredibly fun and creative drink menu!

Sunday // Madrid & Seville

  • El Rastro Flea Market
    • Before hopping aboard our train to Seville, we made a quick trip to the El Rastro flea market. This was such a cool sight to behold. Tons and tons of tents with everything from dream catchers to vintage jean jackets. Unfortunately, we only had time to dash through, but I’d definitely recommend making this a part of your Sunday in Madrid.
  • Train to Seville
  • Dinner at Bar Estrella
    • Upon arriving in Seville, we headed to this cozy little spot for dinner. It had a lovely, authentic feel and the staff was incredibly kind and helpful, but I must say I wasn’t blown away by the food.
  • Arab Baths at Aire
    • This was by far one of my favorite things we did in Spain, simply because I’ve never seen anything like it! After dinner, we spent an evening at Aire floating through all of their different baths. While that sounds strange, click through to the website to get a feel for the place. It was dark, beautiful, serene, soothing and so very relaxing. (Just what we needed after our train ride!) I especially loved the salt bath – the feeling of floating in it was incredible. My friends and I opted for a 15 minute massage while we were there and walked away wishing we’d signed up for an hour!
  • Free Flamenco Show at La Carboneria
    • After leaving the baths, we headed to a free flamenco show at La Carboneria. The atmosphere was really fun, as the place was packed (all with tourists, but that didn’t bother me) but because of the crowds, I couldn’t actually see the bottom half of the flamenco dancer. Because of that, I left a little underwhelmed. I’d recommend getting there early to get a spot up front (the shows happen every hour starting at 9:30 pm) or spending the money to see a full-on show.
  • Gelato at La Abuela
    • We stumbled across La Abuela on our way home and each stopped for Gelato. Tons of flavors and very yummy!

Monday // Seville

  • Breakfast at Bar Europa
    • We started our Monday with breakfast at this cute cafe. I really enjoyed the authentic feel, and the food was yummy. A great, easy start to the day.
  • *** Alzacar
    • Oh my word… if you go to Seville, you can’t miss this spot! This fortress and royal residence was one of the highlights of the trip for me. The Arabian architectural influence is a sight to behold, and my friends and I were blown away by the gardens. There were orange and lemon trees everywhere, and the biggest roses I’ve ever seen! I highly recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, and opting for the package that includes the tour of the royal quarters. It’s definitely a must-see, and the tour is always sold out the day of so plan ahead!
  • Lunch at Los Coloniales
    • We stumbled across this spot while switching Airbnbs, and ended up snagging a seat out on the sidewalk after a bit of a wait. The tapas were yummy and the atmosphere was great! Our waiter wasn’t exceptionally friendly, but we so enjoyed the experience of dining outside on the beautiful, sunny day that we didn’t really mind.
  • Bought Flamenco Dress
    • I was determined to find a flamenco dress for our trip to the Féria that evening, so while the group waited for a table for lunch, my friend Amanda and I rushed through the surrounding neighborhood in search of a flamenco dress shop. (We had seen them all over the city the day before!) The first spot we found was Micaela Villa, and I was wow’d by the selection! I ended up finding, trying on and purchasing this dress all in under 5 minutes. It was definitely an expensive purchase, but worth every penny for the experience of shopping for it and wearing it to the fair that evening! I’ll remember that night for the rest of my life! Even if buying a flamenco dress isn’t on your radar, I’d recommend stopping into a store and trying some on. They are so fun to wear!
  • Plaza de Espana
    • I was blown away by this impressive square. We spent about 30 minutes walking through it and taking in all of the architecture! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and definitely a must-see if you’re in Seville.
  • Jardines Maria Luisa
    • We walked through these beautiful gardens on the way to the fair, and yet again… I was blown away by how beautiful they were! I only wish I’d had more time to soak them in. I’ll admit, walking through in wedges and a big, ruffly flamenco gown wasn’t the most conducive outfit for seeing this spot. I’d recommend visiting in something a little more comfortable. :)
  • *** Féria de Abril
    • If you read my recap of the Féria de Abril here, you already know that this was my favorite experience of the entire trip. A sight to behold, for sure! While as an outsider you can’t get into the vast majority of the tents (as they’re private parties) you can still get a feel for the festivities if you’re able to find a public tent. I strongly recommend spending at least an hour wandering around if you happen to be in Seville during the time of the fair. (Or better yet, going with a local and getting inside a private tent!) I know I had my mouth open in shock the entire time I was there.
  • *** Dinner at Enrique Becerra
    • After the fair, we were dead-set on finding paella for dinner. After heading to a recommended spot that no longer existed, we found Enrique Becerra right across the street. This was hands down one of my favorite meals of the trip. The ambiance was gorgeous, and it was filled with locals. Even though we were very obviously tourists, the staff was so gracious and kind. The paella? Delicious. They warned us it would be a 45 minute wait as they were making it fresh for us. I can’t recommend this spot enough!

Tuesday // Seville

  • *** Breakfast at Pan y Piu
    • We wandered by this darling bakery on the way to visit the Cathedral, and stopped in for pastries and coffee to go. I ordered the “Rosa de Manzana” which was absolutely delicious! The staff was so kind, and the atmosphere was bustling and local. Definitely recommend for a breakfast on the go or mid-afternoon snack!
  • Catedral de Sevilla
    • While I’ve been lucky enough to see many beautiful cathedrals and churches across Europe, I’ve never seen anything like those in Spain. This one in particular was absolutely breathtaking. We made the ascent to the top of the bell tower (which was made up of ramps instead of stairs – praise!) and loved the view of the city. As it turns out, the cathedral is also where Christopher Columbus is buried. We arrived at about 11am and waited for approximately 20 minutes before getting in. Definitely a must see!
  • Lunch
    • At this point in the trip, we were all tapa’d out and each one seriously craving a hamburger, of all things. It was a bit of a cat and mouse game, as the initial place we were headed for turned out to be closed, but we ended up walking by a cute brewery that had burgers on the menu. I’m so bummed I can’t remember the name, but will continue to try to find it for y’all!
  • Metropol Parasol
    • Next, we headed to Metorpol Parasol – a huge, strange-looking structure in the middle of a square. We paid about 3 euros to get to the roof, where we stopped for a drink at the little cafe. (Nothing too impressive.) Next, we walked up on top of the structure where a windy, hilly path afforded a great view of Seville. I will say, I didn’t absolutely love this. I think it was because we went mid-afternoon and it was just so hot, but it does provide a great view of the city if that’s what you’re looking for!
  • Gelato at Amorino
    • For a mid-afternoon snack, we stopped for flower-shaped gelato cones at Amorino. The shop felt a bit touristy, but it was a nice spot to take a break after such a busy day!
  • Dinner at San Marco
    • Still on our “anything but tapas” kick, we decided on this sweet Italian spot for dinner. I can’t recommend enough! We had delicious wine, pizza and desert. The ambiance was lovely and romantic, and the staff very kind and accommodating. We had no trouble getting a table as we were eating early for Spain (about 7pm) but I’d recommend making a reservation for later on.

Wednesday // Seville & Barcelona

  • Train to Barcelona
  • Lunch at 365
    • After the 5 hour train from Seville to Barcelona, we stopped for a quick lunch at 365. (We went to the Carrer de Còrsega, 354 location.) This spot ended up being our go-to for quick breakfasts during the remainder of our trip in Barcelona! It’s quick and easy, and has a fun, busy vibe in the mornings. (Lots of locals stopped in to pick up their daily orders of coffee and a pastry.) If you go, get the chocolate muffin. I’m still dreaming about it!
  • Shopping at Las Ramblas
    • After hearing so much about it, we decided to head to the Las Ramblas area for some shopping! It didn’t disappoint, and I’d highly recommend!
  • Dinner at Robata
    • My friends and I were craving sushi that night, and found the most amazing place, Robata! I ordered the Unicornio roll and the Bad Boy. The Bad Boy was my favorite, and unlike any sushi I’ve ever had before! (See the full menu here.) Definitely make reservations before going, as this place turned out to be quite popular. I will say, the waiters definitely rushed us along during our meal which was a bit annoying. Once we ordered desert, however, they totally backed off. So weird!

Thursday // Barcelona

  • Fat Tire Bike Tour
    • Since non of us had been to Barcelona, we decided to take the Fat Tire bike tour to get a feel for the layout, history and character of the city. We ended up really enjoying this tour, which took us everywhere from historical sites to the beach! A great way to familiarize yourself with Barcelona if you’re a first-time visitor as well.
  • La Boqueria Market
    • Next up, we headed to the Boqueria market, which is nestled right next to the popular Las Ramblas area. It was incredible, and I highly recommend visiting! After one of you mentioned having the best smoothie of your life there, I decided to grab one and oh my word… it’s true. The best I’ve ever had! The market was full of beautiful, fresh fruit, gorgeous confections and everything else you can imagine.
    • A word on safety – Up until this point, we had had no issues with pick pocketers or anyone unsavory throughout the whole trip. (We made a point to keep our phones in our purses and always be aware of our surroundings.) Unfortunately, there was a fellow there who decided to put his hands where they did not belong as he walked by my friends and I. It was so unexpected and surprising that by the time I realized what had happened, he was gone. It definitely shook me up, though, and made the rest of my time at the market pretty tense and unenjoyable. Who knows if this market is a place he frequents, but I’d recommend keeping your hands behind your back and walking directly behind your young ones if you’re traveling with kids
  • Dinner at Cafe Godot
    • After another full day, we were exhausted and searched around on Trip Advisor for a yummy, local place near us. My friend Macaully found this little spot, and we ended up spending the most enjoyable, relaxed evening there. The environment was lovely and cozy, and we enjoyed all of our dishes immensely! I ordered the special, which was a delicious stir fried vegetable dish with shrimp, and had the best creme brulee of my life there! It had a slightly citrus undertone, and was fabulous.

Friday // Barcelona

  • Breakfast at 365 (again)
  • *** La Sagrada Familia
    • Apart from seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, no destination has taken my breath away quite like the Sagrada Familia. Words don’t do justice… all I can say is you must go. Be sure you buy tickets ahead of time, as the usually sell out the day-of. I could have stayed here for hours, and can’t wait to show you what I mean in the video I’m putting together of my trip!
  • Brunch at Brunch & Cake
    • Many of you recommended this spot for brunch, and it didn’t disappoint! They don’t take reservations, so we waited about 30 minutes for a table. The menu was fresh and unique, and the cake (obviously) was a huge hit! Nutella pancakes were on the menu, and I’m dying to go back to try them!
  • Park Guell
    • Another must-see spot that took my breath away! Everything designed by Gaudí is worth seeing, in my opinion. His creations feels almost other-worldly! This is another spot you need to buy tickets ahead of time for. You select an hour window to arrive at the park, but can stay until close once you’re there.
  • Eclipse Bar at the W Hotel
    • For our last night in Barcelona, we decided to dress up and check out the 24th story Eclipse Bar at the W Hotel. We were looking forward to this because apart from the brief visit on our bike tour, we didn’t spend any time at the beach and were wanting a view of the coast! I have mixed feelings about it… and overall I find myself looking back with a bit of laughter at the whole experience. We went early enough, about 7pm, to not need to put our name on the “guest list” (apparently you must do that to even get access to the bar if you’re going later on in the evening) and made sure to only sit at the bar instead of paying 250 euros for a table. The bartenders were kind, and we each ordered a cocktail, which were fabulous! (My friend Amanda and I had a coconut margarita, which was one of the best margaritas I’ve ever had.) It was fun to feel so posh and adultish, but y’all… the place smelled very bad. Like, public restroom bad. And the windows were pretty dirty, which definitely tainted the view. Overall, it was a fun way to top off our final night in Barcelona, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
  • *** Dinner at Sensi Tapa
    • If there is one restaurant I’d recommend in all of Spain, it’s Sensi Tapa! This was by far our favorite meal of the trip. The ambiance was chic and cozy, the staff was incredibly fun and accommodating , and the food? Unbelievable! After going over-board on tapas at the beginning of the trip, we were hesitant about this being our final meal. But every single thing we ordered was incredible! My favorites? The filet and thai curry! I can’t sing this restaurant’s praises enough. Truly one of the highlights of our whole trip. Be sure to get reservations a few days in advance, this place is always packed!

Saturday // Barcelona

  • Breakfast at Milk
    • The morning of our flight back home, we were all completely exhausted. (That’s when you know you’ve done a trip right!) Milk was recommended to us, and turned out to be the perfect pick-me-up before 12+ hours in the air! We ordered the burger and the mediterranean toast, which were both fabulous! They don’t take reservations for brunch, so we waited about 30 minutes for a table. Absolutely worth it!
  • Flight home!

Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by! I hope this Spain travel guide inspired and helped you as you plan your future adventures. Don’t forget to “pin” one of the two images below to have this article on-hand whenever you need it!

spain travel guide

Love from Texas,

Kate

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12 Comments

  1. Devon said:

    Oh my gosh Spain has been on my list for a while now– I need to go asap! All of the food sounds AMAZING. I’m totally craving some paella now! xo Devon Seventeen Dresses

    Published 5.10.17 · Reply
  2. Ann said:

    Did you time your trip to be there for that festival? It all sounds amazing and now I want to go!

    Published 5.10.17 · Reply
  3. I visited Madrid and Barcelona for the first time last year and fell in LOVE!!!! These photos are just perfect! Love this post!

    http://www.keepingupwithcandy.com

    Published 5.10.17 · Reply
  4. G said:

    Los coloniales is one of the best spots in Sevilla! but I know exactly what you mean about the waiters, one time they told us to stop ordering food because we were eating too much! Waiters aren’t usually tipped in Spain so it’s such a different experience going out to eat.

    Published 5.10.17 · Reply
  5. Fabulous!! I love your guide and am DYING to go to Spain sometime soon!
    http://www.oneswainkycouple.com

    Published 5.11.17 · Reply
  6. Kritsida said:

    Your outfits look great & I absolutely loveddd Spain!

    x. kritsida
    http://aperfectcanvas.net/

    Published 5.11.17 · Reply
  7. Elizabeth Peréz said:

    Ah! As someone who loves your blog it makes me so happy you got to see my home country of Spain! Love the photos and the recommendations/itenerary!! I recommend trying to visit during Semana Santa (Holy Week) for more festivities! Buen viaje!

    Published 5.11.17 · Reply
  8. Celeste said:

    I am a newbie to your blog & absolutely love this post! Thank you for the in-depth look into Spain. I felt like I was in Spain with you; Spain will definitely be on my list of places to visit! The flamenco dress was my favorite!

    Published 5.12.17 · Reply
  9. chichi said:

    so want to visit spain the pics are gorgeous!
    http://www.thestyletune.com

    Published 5.15.17 · Reply
  10. Katie said:

    Your trip looked so fun, Kate! I will definitely be saving this post for later if I find myself traveling to Spain!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

    Published 5.22.17 · Reply
  11. Sophie said:

    This makes me want to visit Spain. By now, I’m sure you’re an expert on long plane rides. You should write a post about surviving long haul plane rides.

    http://goldclutter.com

    Published 6.18.17 · Reply
  12. stephanie said:

    Wow only 9 days? That is such a short period of time… but I guess you did see the most important cities :)

    Published 8.27.17 · Reply