3 Days in Barcelona: The Perfect Itinerary for Your First Visit
Barcelona Bucket List: 25 Best Things to do in Barcelona
Racing Ironman Barcelona
Tapas! Tapas! Tapas! Restaurants and Rooftop Bars in Barcelona
We’re in Barcelona!
Where to Stay in Barcelona: Best Hotels and Neighborhoods
Montserrat Day Trip: How to Visit Montserrat from Barcelona
Hiking Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain
Europe Travel Inspiration & Practical Info
Do you dream of visiting world-class cities like Paris, Barcelona, or Venice? Or would you rather hike the Alps, go on a scenic train ride, explore the beautiful beaches and coastal towns in southern Europe, visit fairytale towns and castles, island hop in Greece, or go on an unforgettable road trip in northern Europe?
In this article we list 25 ways to spend one week in Europe.
10 Days in Europe: 10 Amazing Itineraries for Your Next Trip
12 Things You Should Know about Renting a Car in Europe
30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe (+ Map and Photos)
7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe
Best Hikes in Europe: Our 20 Favorite Day Hikes
Travel Photography Gear Guide: What’s In Our Camera Bag
Top Experiences in Spain
Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain…this is a city that deserves to be on every traveler’s must-see list. Why? Barcelona is a beautiful city. Think Rome meets Paris. This city is spotless, with wide streets, beautiful architecture, beaches, palm trees, cafés, and boutique shopping. Throw in some tapas, Gaudí, and cava, and you have yourself a fabulous destination just waiting to be explored.
Girona. Girona, located in Catalonia, Spain, sits between Barcelona and Costa Brava. It’s a gorgeous place to visit, with medieval walls, narrow winding city streets, and one of the best preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe. All you need is one day to see the best of Girona, making it a great destination on even the quickest itineraries through Spain.
Montserrat. A visit to Montserrat is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona. It is also Catalonia’s most important religious retreat, for sitting on top of the mountain range is the Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery. Many people come here to hike to this monastery, as well as to view the unique sawtooth mountain range and its views over the stunning countryside. If you enjoy hiking, or simply want to ride a cable car up for some stunning views, Montserrat makes a perfect day trip destination.
Madrid. Dive into Spain’s lively capital, a city rich in museums, stunning architecture, and a vibrant nightlife. Embrace Madrid’s beauty in the Puerto del Sol, and see some of the world’s most famous paintings in the Prado Museum. Then, join the locals and stroll Madrid’s historic neighborhood streets, each lined with fantastic tapas bars and upbeat cantinas.
Granada. Granada is a favorite destination for many travelers, for it’s a city brimming with impressive monuments, unique North African influence, and a mix of Roman and Moorish history. Step inside the Alhambra Palace complete with Arabic inscriptions and painted tiles, see the city’s Royal Chapel, and wander the Albayzin neighborhood which offers beautiful views over the city.
Seville. Seville is a must-visit destination for any traveler exploring Spain. Historic cathedrals and towers rise up alongside the Guadalquivir river. The streets are lined with a mix of Islamic and Catholic architectural styles, and they are spirited with festivals, tapas bars, and orange trees. Seville’s magic lies in its grand architecture, flamenco music, unique cuisine, and inviting street life.
Córdoba. Home to the magnificent Mezquita de Córdoba, one of the oldest structures still standing from Muslim’s rule of Al-Andalus, Córdoba hosts some of Europe's best Islamic sites. Additionally, to cool off from Spain’s sunny skies, stop at a few Patios de Córdoba: courtyards brimming with flowers, orange trees, and pools of water.
Santiago de Compostela. For thousands of years pilgrims have trekked along the Camino de Santiago to gaze up at this city’s glorious Cathedral de Santiago. With the city’s unique culmination of culture, spirituality, and festive attitude, Santiago de Compostela is a truly magical destination to visit.
Toledo. Toledo is considered the cultural center of Spain, as it teems with historical landmarks and grand festivals. At the top of the city lies El Alcazar, an old Roman fortress, and below lies intricate mosques, plazas, cathedrals, monasteries, and museums. But even if you are not enthralled by Spain’s history, Toledo’s historic architecture makes it a beautiful city to explore.
Salamanca. Salamanca is a picturesque historic city with a beautiful skyline and even more dazzling interior. Step inside sandstone monuments, enjoy a bottle of wine at the Plaza Mayor, and walk the city streets where at every turn lies another hidden gem.
Cádiz. Cádiz is a lively, gorgeous city located in Spain’s southwestern corner. The city is surrounded by the Bay of Cádiz, so the city flourishes with white-sand beaches and sea-side forts with views over the calm azure ocean. Some claim Cádiz to be Europe’s oldest city, and the city boasts a beautiful historic center with remnants of Roman architecture. For visitors wanting to try an authentic meal, visit the Mercado Central for fresh seafood and local Spanish rum.
San Sebastian. San Sebastian is a popular tourist destination replete with golden beaches, a quaint historic old town, and renowned Basque cuisine. The romantic city is a great place to spend a pleasant day in Spain’s Basque country.
Pamplona. Pamplona is best known for hosting the Running of the Bulls, one of Spain’s most famous and lively festivals. But Pamplona has more than just bulls. After the festival season, Pamplona becomes a calm and welcoming city to wander, and it hosts a fabulous culinary scene.
Costa Brava. Costa Brava runs along north-eastern Spain, and it is a magical destination to spend some time on the beach. Due to its vicinity to the Pyrenees, Costa Brava is made up of rocky cliffs and hidden coves. Historic towns also line the coast, many marked by their stone fortresses and impressive castles. Below, golden speckles of beach cascade into the azure Mediterranean sea. Costa Brava does get very crowded in the summertime, however its long coastline and small inlets make it possible to separate from the crowd.
Pyrenees. The Pyrenees Mountains are a beautiful expanse of snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, medieval towns, and it holds an array of outdoor activities. Exploring the Pyrenees is a great getaway from the crowded cities, especially if you enjoy hiking, skiing, or want to wander its fairytale-like land of castles and fortresses. The Pyrenees also offers exhilarating hot air balloon flights over its gorgeous peaks and nearby coastline.
Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is one of Europe's favorite pilgrimage routes, and it is many traveler’s most loved treks. The route stretches across Northern Spain from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to the city of Santiago de Compostela, and along the way the route passes through some of Spain’s most impressive cities. Hostels and guesthouses line the way providing delicious meals and small dorm rooms. The trek is an unforgettable experience and it is a wonderful authentic Spanish adventure.
Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are an archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa. Each island boasts a variety of landscapes from beachside resorts to impressive volcanoes, and from lush forests to arid deserts. The islands are an exceptional place for a beach getaway and for exploring Spain’s national parks and preserves.
Best Time to Visit Spain
The best time to visit Spain is in the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November), as temperatures are warm, crowds are minimal, and prices are cheaper.
In the summer, temperatures tend to range from 26º to 32º C (80º - 90º F), and tourist destinations become crowded. If you have plans to visit during peak season (June through September) expect long lines and higher prices for accommodations. In order to have the best experience, I recommend booking your attraction tickets in advance. This will save you hours of waiting in line.
The cheapest time to visit Spain is in the winter months. Though temperatures will be cooler (10º - 15º C or 50º - 60º F), Spain still remains warmer than most other European countries. Some travelers recommend visiting Spain in the winter for its lack of tourism, which remains lower than most other European countries during this time. However, you will not get the beautiful blossoms and hot summer sun typically thought of with Spain during its winter months. Thus, visiting in the spring or fall is recommended.
Spain hosts some of the world’s most unique and exhilarating festivals. La Tomatina is celebrated on the last Wednesday of August every year in Buñol, Spain. The Running of the Bulls occurs on the second week of July every year in Pamplona, Spain.