Barcelona, Madrid and Andalusia itinerary

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Barcelona is the start of many itineraries in Spain. Barcelona is Spain´s second-largest city in Spain and it offers fantastic airplane connections. We think a good option to enjoy this itinerary is to travel by train from Barcelona to Madrid and then, hire a car in Madrid to enjoy the rest of the itinerary. If you would like to enjoy a self-guided trip but without the need to use the car we recommend you have a look at this 6-day vacation from Barcelona to Seville in which the only transportation needed is the train.

A fast train will take you in less than 3 hours from Barcelona to Madrid, where you will enjoy one of the largest concentrations of art museums in the world, plus also fairy tale towns nearby like Segovia or Toledo.

This itinerary proposes to get to Andalusia from Madrid through Extremadura. This is one of Spain´s least-known corners, one more reason to enjoy it for sure. You will find here some of Spain´s top gems. From Extremadura, the itinerary takes you to Andalusia. It starts with probably the most well-known city: Seville. You will think you have arrived at a different country; a magical land where flamenco is danced, white villages shape the landscapes and Moorish heritage has been well preserved. Get ready to enjoy some of the most amazing monuments in the world, like the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the amazing Alhambra.

We recommend a minimum of 12 days to enjoy this complete itinerary from Barcelona to Andalusia via Madrid. For each of the main stops, you will find guides with many ideas and recommendations to ensure you will be able to extend your trip as needed and adapt the itinerary to your taste. At the end of this travel guide, we have included the top highlights in this itinerary, but you will find many more amazing things to see and do on each of the city guides.

Barcelona & Northern Spain itinerary - Stops

The itinerary day by day

Barcelona (2 1/2 days)

The city of Barcelona offers a fantastic mix of culture (from gothic to Gaudi), Mediterranean charm and cool city life. Two days and a half should leave you enough time to enjoy Barcelonás top highlights (Gothic district, Las Rambas, La Sagrada Familia and still be able to enjoy some time on the beach). In the city guide below you will be able to find ideas to adapt your stay to your needs. Barcelona boasts fantastic hotels and restaurants. We love the 1898 hotel and if there is a place where you should enjoy paella on this trip, this is Barcelona (not its hometown though!). If you have a bit of extra time make sure you find time to visit the famous monastery of Montserrat, the top day trip from Barcelona. And if you would like to enjoy beach time outside of the bug city, get a train to the beautiful town of Sitges.

Thumb Barcelona city guide

Barcelona is Spain´s second largest city and the capital of Catalonia. The city has something from everyone. Its Mediterranean character contrasts its gothic roots, which also contrast with its wide avenues and beautiful modern buildings.

Barcelona is a place where architecture and art melt together. The influence of Gaudi has been profound and exceeds his masterpieces.

Barcelona travel guide »

Madrid (3 days – to add Toledo or Segovia)

Madrid. Madrileños are sometimes too hard on themselves and complain about not having a beach in a country where you find thousands, or not enjoying the reputation of Paris, London or Rome as a tourist destination. But Madrid offers a lot: some of the museums in Madrid are amongst the best in the world, it is home to a spectacular Royal palace, boasts amazing parks, an amazing nightlife, fine dining, great shopping and is probably the city in Europe with more things to do at less than one hour drive. Amongst the day trips from Madrid you find Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, Aranjuez, Avila, or El Escorial (all of them Unesco heritage sites) If all of these things were not enough, no other country can claim to be home of the world’s number one soccer team: the Real Madrid soccer stadium is one of the city´s top attractions for this itinerary in Spain for sure. 

Madrid city guide

Madrid is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants but the entire metropolitan area gets to a population of approximately 6.5 million. It is a vibrant city, where art and fun co-exist. In this Madrid city guide you will find ideas to plan your trip and make the most out of it.

Madrid travel guide»

If you have time we recommend you to visit one of the top sights near Madrid. Amongst the most interesting day trips, El Escorial, Avila or the wine region of Ribera del Duero, are a safe bet (besides the already mentioned and must-do cities of Segovia and Toledo)


Trujillo (1/2 day)

As mentioned above, we believe a good way to enjoy this itinerary from Barcelona to Madrid and south Spain is to rent a car in Madrid (and travel from Barcelona to Madrid by train). We propose to head towards Extremadura, one of the least known regions in the country but where you will find amazing places like Trujillo.
The main square in Trujillo is amongst the most famous in Spain. The statue of Conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the fantastic renaissance palaces speak of a rich past. Gold from America arrived centuries ago to Trujillo and the town developed into an important center of commerce. City walls, towers, palaces, a castle on the hill, and a labyrinth of cobbled streets surround the Plaza, where you will find some good roasters to enjoy local food (get ready for a heavy meal!)

Trujillo, caceres, Spain
Hidden Gems

This picturesque town lies on a granite hill and is the birthplace of Fråncisco Pizarro (1475-1541), conqueror of Peru. Despite its size and importance Trujillo is a hidden gem for many visitors to Spain.
Trujillo, the Roman Turgalium, was fortified under the Arabs (town walls have survived in part) and given the name Torgiela or Truxillo. After the town was recaptured under Ferdinand III in 1232 it became the seat of the Trujillo Order of Knights.

Trujillo, Spain »

Cáceres (1/2 day)

You may have never heard of the amazing city of Caceres. We believe Caceres is one of the best cities to visit in Spain. Its Old town has remained almost intact from the XVIth century. Caceres is a place where you feel part of a history movie and visiting the city is pretty easy since most things are concentrated in the Old Town. You will find churches, palaces, towers, and beautiful squares. Just in case what we mentioned is not enough to get you convinced, Caceres is one the best places in Spain to enjoy Iberico ham.


Cáceres is located in Extremadura in south-west Spain. Cáceres is one of the most “medieval” cities in Spain, similar to Toledo. There are remains of medieval Cáceres are everywhere and the city feels frozen in time. The historic city center is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is an underrated food city.

Caceres, Spain »

Mérida (1 day)

If in Caceres you feel part of the middle ages, your time in the next stop in this itinerary through Spain will make you feel like a Roman Gladiator. Merida, the capital of Extremadura, was the Roman capital of Lusitania and holds the most impressive collection of Roman architecture in Spain. You will find ruins scattered all around the city. The most stunning monument is the Roman theatre, which still today holds 6,000 people at the time of the classic theatre festival and that has a two-storey structure with beautiful Corinthian columns that will take you back in history.


Mérida, also known as the Spanish Rome, was a stage on the silver road from Salmatica (Salamanca) to Italica (Seville). The name of the town is derived from the Roman Emerita Augusta, for it was founded as a colony for veterans of the V and X legions in around 23 BC. This city in Extremadura is a must do for art and history lovers who will enjoy every minute at the Theatre and Amphiteatre, the castle, acueduct, bridge or museum. Merida is a great stop on the way from Madrid to Seville

Merida, Spain »

Seville (2 days)

Get ready to change century and culture once more. During your next step in Seville you will get immersed in the beautiful contrasts of Muslim and Catholic arts. The impressive tower of La Giralda, the maze of white streets in Barrio de Santa cruz, gardens, flamenco music and the magical influence of the Guadalquivir river. Seville (Hispalis in Roman times) is a vibrant city that cannot be missed in any itinerary that covers the South of Spain.

Seville city guide thumb

The variety and quality of the artistic heritage in the city of Seville, the mixture of styles, eras and civilizations, and the special color of this city makes it an unforgettable place. White streets and squares, flamenco dancing, the river Guadalquivir and the Cathedral and Giralda are just a few of the reasons why Seville should be in your list!

Seville travel guide, Spain »

White villages (1 or days)

It is not easy to depart Seville, but you can rest assure that the itinerary has many surprised still waiting to be discovered. From Seville, our recommendation is to enjoy the white villages between Jerez de la Frontera and Ronda. Jerez de la Frontera, the capital of sherry wines, could be a very interesting stop if you have the time: this is a city whose personality has been built by flamenco, Andalusian horses, and sherry wine. Not a bad combination after all. On the road to Ronda, you may decide to stop in Arcos de la Frontera, one of the best well-known Pueblos Blancos, and drive through la Sierra de Grazalema. One of our favorite villages lies not far from Ronda: Setenil de las Bodegas. Imagine a village built inside a rock and you may get an idea of what you will find at Setenil.

Arcos de la Frontera
Hidden Gems

Arcos de la frontera is one of the jewels in the province of cadiz. It is a picturesque town on a rock on the North bank of the Rio Guadalete. From there it rises like a spectacular amphitheatre. Arcos de la Frontera was known as Medina Arkosh in Arab times, the name was changed after its seizure by Alfonso X in 1250. The Arab alcázar was succeeded by the castle of the Dukes of Arcos.

Arcos de la Frontera, Spain »

Ronda (1 day)

The dramatic location of Ronda and its beautiful bridge have attracted an array of artists through history that contributed to its appealing. Names like Hemmingway, Orson Wells, David Wikie (who was buried in Gibraltar) and even Alexandre Dumas visited Ronda and enjoyed its magical sunsets. Wine lovers will get surprise by the quality of the wines produced in the area (the cool winds of the Sierra contrast with the high temperatures during the day). We also recommend to pay a visit to the bullfighting ring in Ronda, the oldest in Spain. . Despite you may not enjoy the idea of bull-fighting, the visit is truly interesting.

Ronda city guide

Andalusia is home to many amazing cities, one of which is Ronda. Find out what makes it so special.

Ronda, Spain »

Malaga (1 day)

Malaga´s airport receives every year millions of visitors that tend to ignore the capital, and visit the resorts and golf camps in the province. Malaga has gone through a bright transformation in recent years. Its rich heritage has partnered with modern art (the city where Picasso was born could not turn its back to art after all)  Put those two elements together and add to the cocktail great night live, excellent beaches, and some amazing day excursions (Mijas, Gibraltar, Caminito del Rey or Nerja) and we are sure you will not regret having stopped here for a day, or tow, or more!

Malaga city guide thumbnail

Malaga city guide with a recommended list of hotels, restaurants, places to visit, weather, prices, monuments, things to see and do, and much more. Málaga is one of the best cities to visit in Spain and it offers great connections by plane and also now thanks to its harbour.

Malaga, Spain »

Granada (2 days)

Time has arrived to visit Granada. Spain´s most famous poet, Federico Garcia Lorca dedicated many rhymes to this magical place, but he was not the only one, and many are yet to follow. Could one of them be you? This is a city that leaves nobody indifferent. Granada means to most visitors La Alhambra and despite there are many more things to enjoy, nobody can deny that la Alhambra is an icon for the city, for Andalusia, and for Spain. This is one of the world´s most amazing attractions. Granada was shaped by Moorish and Catholic Kings, by architects and ordinary people with a taste for flowers, by warriors and gypsies who inhabited the Sacromonte and filled it with the sounds of Flamenco. If you did not enjoy Flamenco in Seville, you will find in the special version of Flamenco in Granada your second chance.

Granada city guide thumbnail

Almost unrivalled for its beauty and architectural splendour, the entire city of Granada has been declared a national monument. It lies at the foot of Spain’s mightiest massif, the Sierra Nevada, On the right side of the city lies the Albaicin district, the city’s oldest quarter; on the left rises the imposing Alhambra, which makes of Granada a must visit city in Spain

Granada,,Spain »

Cordoba (2 day)

Cordoba was one of Europe´s superpowers in the middle ages. A city where arts and sciences flourished. Codroba was a land of philosophers, a place that led research in medicine, and that boasted universities and libraries that were envied throughout Europe. Cordoba´s top attraction, the Great Mosque, is a hybrid; half cathedral, half mosque. We are sure the memory of its red arches will stay for long in your head, and so will also stay the tapas bars in the old Jewish district (that speak of the importance of Sephardic and Jewish culture in Spain). Cordoba is also a perfect place to enjoy its Baths. After all the days of discovery offered by this superb itinerary through Spain, we are sure you will truly enjoy this experience!

Mosque Cordoba thumb

A provincial capital with a very strong Moorish character, Cordoba is one of the most interesting cities not only in Andalusia but also in the whole of Spain. The lovely Great Mosque became a centre of Arab pilgrimage and Cordoba boosted a further 300 mosques, numerous palaces, schools, universities, libraries, hospitals and baths. Córdoba’s cultural life was so great that it became of European importance.

Cordoba, Spain »

Top highlights of this itinerary from Barcelona to Madrid and Southern Spain

This vacation plan in Spain covers some of the most amazing sights in the country. We have selected from the different cities shown above some of the top highlights you will find through the itinerary. Many of these are amongst Spain´s top attractions

Las Ramblas 9

Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Las Ramblas, Barcelona Las Ramblas is one of the icons in Barcelona. A long street which is a favorite amongst both locals and tourists alike. La Rambla is probably the best well-known street in Spain. This street is both known as La Rambla or Las Ramblas. In this guide to Las Ramblas, you will find information on the best attractions in the street, top things to enjoy, the best itineraries to enjoy la Rambla during

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia- Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona´s most important sight,  is an unfinished Catholic church which was designed by Antonio Gaudí after its construction had already begun. In this visitor’s guide to La Sagrada Familia you will learn about its history and anecdotes, and also get practical information to visit La Sagrada Familia in the best possible way.  Nowadays it is one of the most visited monuments in Spain and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you think about things

Casa Mila

Casa Mila in Barcelona

Casa Milà – Review  Casa Mila in Barcelona is a top attraction in the city and one of the most visited buildings in the world.  “Works of Antonio Gaudí” is the category that UNESCO has used to classify seven buildings of the architect in Barcelona as World Heritage Sites. Apart from the Sagrada Familia, many other interesting constructions are a part of this list such as Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. When it was designed

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu- Madrid

Overview The Santiago Bernabeu soccer stadium in Madrid is the home of one of the top sports teams in the world: Real Madrid. This imposing coliseum is located in the modern heart of the city, right on the Castellana, Madrid’s main artery. The Stadium is named after Real Madrid’s first great super star and is one of the most visited attractions in Madrid.  Mr. Santiago Bernabéu de Yeste was born in Albacete in 1895. He

Museo del Prado

Prado Museum in Madrid – Complete visitors guide

Museo del Prado, one of the world´s finest art galleries The Museo Del Prado is one of the main tourist sites of the city of Madrid and you should not pass it up. You can see masterpieces of the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools. Average customer review Score for Museo del Prado 9.2 Madrid CITY GUIDE Prado Museum – visit guide Plan your visit Depending on the time you have to visit the Museo del

Palacio Real

Royal palace of Madrid – complete visitors guide

Madrid Royal palace – history, tickets and tours The Royal Palace of Madrid was built after a fire that occurred on the 24th of December 1734 in the Real Alcazar. The first Wednesday of every month (except in summer) at 11 am, you can watch the change of guards. You can visit the interior of the Royal Palace and the different rooms such as the armory and also some of the paintings of the royal

Monastery of Guadalupe in Caceres

The spectacular Monastery of Guadalupe in Cáceres

Monastery of Guadalupe in Cáceres – Overview  The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe is a 14th-century Monastery located about 1 hour and a half by car from the center of downtown Cáceres. The building was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1993, so it is well worth the drive if you have the time. The temple features a mix of several artistic and architectural styles including Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance, Baroque and

Roman Theater of Mérida

The Roman Theater of Mérida is one of Spain´s most important tourist attractions. It is located in the community of Extremadura, about 3 hours southwest from Madrid, about 2 hours north of Seville, and about 3 hours from Córdoba. This spectacular piece of Roman history was constructed in the years 16 to 15 B.C. promoted by the consul Vipsanius Agrippa in what was at the time the Roman city of Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania,

Trujillo, caceres, Spain


This picturesque town lies on a granite hill and is the birthplace of Fråncisco Pizarro (1475-1541), conqueror of Peru. Despite its size and importance Trujillo is a hidden gem for many visitors to Spain.
Trujillo, the Roman Turgalium, was fortified under the Arabs (town walls have survived in part) and given the name Torgiela or Truxillo. After the town was recaptured under Ferdinand III in 1232 it became the seat of the Trujillo Order of Knights.

winding streets santa cruz seville

Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville

Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville  The Santa Cruz neighborhood of Seville is the city’s main tourist area. Here you will find some of the cities top attractions including the Gothic Cathedral of Seville and the famous Giralda, as well as the gorgeous Real Alcázar and its lush gardens. The Santa Cruz neighborhood also has a beautiful and charming Jewish Quarter with narrow winding lined with shops and quaint little bars.  It is one of the most

Flamenco Shows

Flamenco Shows in Seville

Flamenco shows in Seville – Guide to decide the best show for you This shows offers great value for money and it is a perfect way to be introduced to the passion and art of Flamenco in Spain. More than just a dance, flamenco was born as a state of mind ; a expression of deep emotions. Once you have enjoyed this show you will understand why Flamenco is regarded as an icon of andalusian

Giralda and Cathedral

La Giralda and Cathedral in Seville – The largest in the world

La Giralda and cathedral – Compelete visitors guide History and styles A lot has been said and written about the Sevilla Cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, and the Giralda, which was minaret of the old mosque on which it was built in the XV century. This is one of Spain´s top attracions. Seville was the capital of the Iberian Peninsula during the Almohad domination, it was its biggest mosque three centuries earlier. has two

El Caminito del Rey

El Caminito del Rey

El Caminito del Rey or the King’s Path is a famous pathway through the mountains of Málaga, Andalusia, connecting Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls, reserved for only the most adventurous hikers. It has become today a top tourist attractions. For decades it was considered to be the most dangerous hike in the world. Between 1999 and 2000, 5 people died attempting the trek. The walkway is just 1 meter (3 ft) wide and rises over

Ronda bridge

The Puente Nuevo or “New Bridge of Ronda” is Ronda’s main tourist attractions and one of the icons of Andalusia and Spain. You will find the Ronda bridge in our list of Spain´s main attractions too. This is one of our favorite sites in Spain; let us share with you why this bridge is so special.  The city of Ronda, located in the region of Malaga,  is perched high on a cliff and is split in

La Alcazaba de Malaga - Gribalfaro

La Alcazaba de Malaga – Gribalfaro- Malaga

La Alcazaba de Malaga – Gribalfaro An Arab castle with particularly beautiful gardens and numerouscourtyards. The fortress dates back to Roman origins. It was altered several times,especially under the Nasrite dynasty (14C) and extensively restored in 1933. An Ar-chaeological Museum (Puerta de Granada) now occupies the buildings. Ondisplay there are Roman and pre-Roman finds, sculpture from Visigoth up to andincluding Arab times, Renaissance art, collections of coins and inscriptions and animportant collection of Moorish ceramics

Wooden roof in Pampaneira

Pampaneira, the beauty of La Alpujarra

Pampaneira is one of the most charming villages in Las Alpujarras, and one of the highest.

With its 2 sisters, Capileria and Bubión, they shape a beautiful landscape of white villages in the Sierra. The charm comes at a price, and this merit has also brought along an increasing number of visitors. Las Alpujarras is a land of white villages south of Granada and the Sierra Nevada.

El Albaicin

El Albaicin in Granada – the best view points of la Alhambra

El Albaicin in Granada The Albaicín in Granada retains both the original urban physiognomy as well as various medieval buildings. The three elements have a complementary value creating a universal and unique meaning. Average customer review Score for El Albaicin 9.5 El Albaicin- visitor guide What is the Albaicin of Granada? The Albaicín was Ziríes Court monarchs in the XI century and is considered the last Arab stronghold before being expelled completely from Granada. Since

Romantic hotels near the Alhambra of Granada

La Alhambra palace in Granada – A complete guide

La Alhambra On the Sabika hill is the palatine city, called Al-hambra, which means “Red Castle” (redness of its exterior walls). Nowadays the Alhambra Palace in Granada is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of Spain’s and Europe’s culture. The number of visits to the Alhambra Palace sky rocketed years ago and reached a whooping two million people per year. The Alhambra Palace in the city of Granada was: a palace, citadel,

The mosque of Cordoba 9.5 rating

Great mosque of Cordoba – visitors complete guide

Great Mosque of Cordoba . A complete guide The Great Cordoba Mosque is a grandiose and fascinating part of the Muslim art, initiated by the Caliph Abderraman I, that resumes in its history the evolution of the Omeya style in Spain on top of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style of the Christian construction, This is one of Spain´s landmarks, a must-visit, unique place in the world and for many people Spain´s most beautiful cathedral