how long should you spend in each city in spain 1 825x510 - How Long Should You Spend in Each City in Spain?
  • 01 of 06

    What to Do With a Month in Spain

    How Long Should You Spend in Each City in Spain?

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    With a whole month in the country, I wouldn't recommend staying in one city the entire time unless you plan on Learning Spanish.

    It would be impossible to list all of the permutations of how you could spend a month in Spain, but I would suggest roughly breaking down your time like this:

    1. A week to ten days in Andalusia (spending the majority of your time in Seville and Granada, with short stops in Cordoba, Ronda, Jerez, and Cadiz.
    2. A week in Madrid, with day trips to Toledo, Segovia, and other destinations nearby.
    3. Up to a week in Barcelona, with day trips to Montserrat and the Dali Museum in Figueres.
    4. A week in northern Spain, splitting your time between the Basque Country and Galicia with one night in Oviedo.

    This, of course, involves a lot of travel time, so you might want to cut out one of the northern Spain sections and spend more time elsewhere. Consider taking the high-speed AVE train to dramatically shorten some travel times.

  • 02 of 06

    Ten Days to Two Weeks

    How Long Should You Spend in Each City in Spain?

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    Visit two regions of Spain—a week in each—when you have two weeks in the country. Common combinations are:

    • Madrid and Barcelona Split your two weeks equally between the two cities. Read more about Madrid and Barcelona Suggested Itineraries.
    • Madrid and Andalusia The high-speed train from Seville, Cordoba, and Malaga means you don't lose a day traveling.
    • Madrid and the Basque Country Make a stop in the Rioja wine region on the way.
    • Madrid and Galicia Making stops in Leon, Oviedo and perhaps Salamanca on the way. Read more about these itineraries here: How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Madrid
    • Barcelona and the Basque Country Stop in Rioja on the way.
    • Barcelona and Andalusia Consider flying to make this possible. Details of these itineraries can be found here: How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Barcelona

  • 03 of 06

    Five Days to a Week

    How Long Should You Spend in Each City in Spain?

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    We are finally in single-city territory. Ideally, one would spend a week in Madrid or Barcelona, particularly if you include day trips.

    Seville is another city you could visit for a week, but you definitely should take day trips if this is the case (to Jerez, Cadiz, and Cordoba).

    Barcelona in Seven Days

    You could spend at least a week in the Catalan capital just taking in the sights the city has to offer and then a second week seeing the countryside and towns around Barcelona. However, as so many of Barcelona's most impressive sights are best viewed from the outside, you could see the city as a day trip (for example, from Madrid or Perpignan)

    • Must-See Sight: The Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's unfinished basilica
    • Best Day Trip: Visit the serrated mountain of Montserrat 
    • How to Plan the Perfect Barcelona Vacation

    Madrid in Seven Days

    Madrid needs more time than Barcelona, as it is more of a 'slow burner'—its sights are less obvious. But I find most people like Madrid more the longer they stay. As a tour guide once said to me, nowhere in Europe has as many fantastic day trips within a 100km radius as the Spanish capital.

    • Must-See Sight: Madrid's three most important museums
    • Best Day Trip: Toledo is the most popular choice, but I'd go with Segovia
    • How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Madrid.

    Seville in Seven Days

    Everything traditionally associated with Spain—tapas, flamenco, and bullfighting—is at its best in Seville.

    • Must-See Sight: The cathedral and Giralda Moorish tower.
    • Best Day Trip: Fried fish in Cadiz for lunch, capped with sherry in Jerez in the evening.
    • Things to Do in Seville

    Bilbao and San Sebastian

    Stay in San Sebastian and take a day trip to Bilbao or vice versa.

    • Must-See Sight: The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao and the tapas in San Sebastian.
    • Best Day Trip: The other city!
    • How to Plan the Perfect Trip to the Basque Country

  • 04 of 06

    How to Spend A Weekend Break in Spain (Three or Four Days)

    How Long Should You Spend in Each City in Spain?

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    Some weekend break suggestions, some famous, some less so.

    • Santiago de Compostela is the most beautiful city in north-west Spain. More: Santiago de Compostela
    • Valencia Spain's third biggest city is the home of paella.
    • Leon and Oviedo Stay in Oviedo and visit Leon for a lunch of free tapas.
    • Cadiz and Jerez  Fried fish in Cadiz and sherry in the city where it was invented!
    • Granada The home to the Alhambra is also where you'll find the best free tapas in the country. Guide to Visiting Granada

    A Weekend Break in Spain's Most Popular Cities

    Though the cities listed below deserve more than a weekend break, they certainly can be appreciated in a shorter trip. Walking tours and hop-on-hop-off tour buses are a great way to get the most out a shorter trip. If you want to go on a day trip (or, better still on such a short stay, a half-day tour), take a guided tour.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.

  • 05 of 06

    Spend Two Days in These Cities

    How Long Should You Spend in Each City in Spain?

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    Most of these could be seen in a single hectic day or a more leisurely two.

    • Cadiz and Jerez Stay the night in Jerez so you can drink lots of sherry and not worry about traveling home.
    • Oviedo An afternoon or evening in Leon for its free tapas is adding a day for.
    • Merida Once you've seen the Roman ruins, spend an afternoon in the UNESCO-protected old town of Caceres
    • Valencia Spain's third biggest city doesn't have a huge amount to do, so a couple of days would be enough.
    • Segovia and Avila  Segovia is usually visited as a day trip, but I think it's worth more. Spend half a day in Avila en route to Segovia. 
    • Toledo Also usually seen as a day trip, but I recommend staying for longer, especially for a day in Consuegra.

  • 06 of 06

    Good as a Day Trip

    How Long Should You Spend in Each City in Spain?

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    Some of these cities could be visited in half a day, en route from one city to another.

    • Cordoba: On the train route from Seville to Madrid.
    • Salamanca: A day trip from Madrid.
    • El Escorial: Combine with a tour of The Valley of the Fallen.
    • Ronda: Visit from Seville or Malaga.
    • Tarragona: A day trip from Barcelona.