I visited Spain back in the summer of 2013. For anyone interested in a 10-day itinerary, tips on places to visit and stay, read along! 🙂
I’ve had a few friends visit Spain in the last couple years and checked with me on my itinerary. I spend hours digging through Gmail and Evernote to find excerpts of the itinerary I so diligently researched and put together. I’ve started to forget names of half the streets and tapas bars from over 3 years ago, so I thought I’ll start documenting these.
I planned a 10 day trip to Spain, flew in from San Francisco to Madrid and flew out of Barcelona.
Madrid: 2 nights
Seville: 3 night
Cordoba: half day
Granada: 1 night
Barcelona: 4 nights
Whenever I visit Europe, my choice of hotels is *always* to stay a little away from the city center, but to be within walking distance of a metro station so you can get to most destinations within 10 mins. My fav thing about Spain was – you could literally stop in the middle of any street, in front of any house, and you’ll be surrounded by vibrant colors, ornate doors and cheerful warm incredibly attractive people! 🙂 The picture below was taken on a random street somewhere in Seville.
Flew into Madrid in the morning, and checked into hotel Aparto Suites Muralto, within walking distance of the Royal Palace and Plaza de España.
Museo del Prado:
Beautiful art museum located in central madrid featuring European art between 12-19th century. (if you’re not big into museums, you can skip the rest, this one’s worth the visit)
Within walking distance from Prado, take a walk/stroll in Retiro park – I believe its the largest parks in Madrid. Super relaxing and a great way to soak in the summer
Royal palace of Madrid:
I particularly planned to get here close to sundown coz of its beautiful lights. Beware the palace closes at 7pm, so make sure to get there by 5pm, pick up a pass and explore the grounds and hang around to see the lights come on across the entire palace. It was gorgeous the night I was there, there were light showers … *Pictures taken on my iphone 4 *
and then I took the train to my FAV SPOT ON THIS PLANET – San Gines Churros! 🙂 This place I found by accident, but I was walking around looking for shelter in the rain and found a charming roadside bookstore to kill time till the rain stopped. The owner was this sweet old man who told me to just walk down this narrow alley from the bookstore to a lil hot-chocolate shop he was sure I’d love!
San Gines Chocolate con Churros –
HOMYGOD You CANNOT skip this hot-chocolate-dipped-churros-heaven, its literally the best hot chocolate and churros I’ve EVER and you will ever have! I went back twice after that btw! 🙂
After a dinner that comprised of multiple hot chocolates and maybe a 100 churros, I took the train back to my hotel to rest for the night.
Day 2 :
Puerto Del Sol: is a public square in Madrid, one of the best known and busiest places in the city.
is an ornate and upscale shopping street located in central Madrid. Today the street is known as the Spanish Broadway, and is one of the streets with the most nightlife in Europe.Next morning, I stepped out early to explore Puerto del Sol – for the shopping and food and drinks and walked by the Gran Via. Like other major plazas, they had tons of local artists, exhibits, bizarre art .. something i hadn’t seen before was this baba-act! I had to take a picture! And yes I know theres a trick to it, but it looked super cool!
If you’re a museum lover, you may want to checkout Thyssen for its showcase of 13-19th century European art. I instead decided to stroll Gran Via and revisit San gines for more Churros 🙂
This was so beautiful after sundown. Strolled down the cobblestone streets in the rain, light from the street lamps glistening off the droplets on the road and local musicians playing tunes through twilight. I felt so alone, and yet it felt like the most romantic walk down the chaotic streets of Madrid.
I got dinner by one of the many amazing Italian restaurants by the Plaza.
If you want to (and i think you should) experience the vibrant night life of Madrid, you have to take a metro to the Cava Baja neighborhood. Soon as you get off the metro station, you’ll see a streets lined with tons of small tapas and wine bars, young, incredibly good looking spanish men and women, dancing and drinking all the way till 6am! Seville: My fav place in Spain 🙂 Spent 3 nights here!
Day 3, 4 & 5 To Seville:
Took a train AVE from Madrid – Seville Checked into hotel Un Patio en Santa Cruz – this ADOOOORABLE hotel with whitewashed walls with hanging flower pots along the length – which is in fact a restored 18th-century house in Seville’s Santa Cruz neighborhood! Its on an incredibly narrow street, you can’t even take a cab all the way here. Its only a minute from the Alcazar Palace, and actually has a terrace with wonderful views of the Giralda and Seville Cathedral.
Day 3 & 4: Over the next 2 days I took my time to explore the Cathedral, Alcazar, Barrio de Santa Cruz, Giralda, Plaza de Espana – All within walking distance from one another and from the hotel.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary, better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world.
Alcazar: The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace in Seville, Spain, originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings.
Barrio de Santa Cruz:
former Jewish quarter of the medieval city. Santa Cruz is bordered by the Jardines de Murillo, the Real Alcázar etc and is the location of many of Seville’s oldest churches and is home to the Cathedral of Seville, including the converted minaret of the old Moorish mosque.I don’t have too many pics from this place but I remember spending all afternoon walking and exploring the neighborhood.
The BEST part was the line of Tapas bars that lined up the streets.Actually, the BEST thing about all of Seville was how early the drinking starts 🙂 I walked out of my hotel around 9am and found tourists at tons of outdoor tapas bars with white wine glasses in their hands 🙂 This seemed to carry across the rest of the trip through south of Spain 🙂
Day 5: Cordoba:
On the last day in Sevilla, I decided to take a day trip to the historic town of Cordoba. Huge change in scenery, wider crowded streets, no parking, tons of tourists again!There a lot you can do here, again all within half a mile from one another, I walked through:Alcazar, Jewish Quarters, Roman bridge and the Cathedral
A quick shot driving down to Cordoba from Seville:
Alcazar & Jewish Quarters:
Exploring the gorgeous structures that made up the Alcazar! Walk across the Roman Bridge – built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir river, in the Historic centre of Córdoba, Andalusia, southern Spain. Again I don’t have pictures unfortunately, but I found this silly pic of me taking a break after all that walking!
Granada – Day 6
Take a 4 hr train ride from Seville to Granada, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía. Checked in to Hotel Navas iwhich is a short 5 min walk from the Granada Cathedral and the Alahambra. I rented a bike here and explored the Gorgeous Alahambra, biked through Plaza Nueva on to Plaza de Espana.
Alahambra – the Fortress and Palace:
Atop a hill overlooking Granada, in southern Spain, is the majestic and stunning Alhambra. Both fortress and palace, it has been home to kings and vagabonds. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an awe inspiring blend of Moorish and Christian architecture and design.
Exploring the insides of the Alahambra !!
Spectacular view from atop!
Plaza de Espana:
After spend almost the whole day exploring the grounds of the Fortress, I biked down to through Plaza Neuva on to Plaza de Espana!
Barcelona: Day 7, 8, 9, 10:
There’s just SO much to do in Barcelona, I can spend ten blog posts on it.I’m instead going to list some of the places I explored that don’t normally show up on tourism sites coz I had local family walk me through my 4 days in Barcelona.
is a mountain top monastery in Catalonia, Spain, about an hour north of Barcelona. Situated atop an unusual rock mountain, it is very popular among Catalans, and Catholic pilgrims come from far and wide to see the Black Madonna.
I was going through a difficult time and really wanted to visit this Monastery – to make a wish lighting a candle and spending a few hours alone in the pin drop silence and serenity that surrounds this monastery.
This is close to the Columbus Statue. There is a VERY old bar that hangs meat all across their ceilings, serves local champagne along with a a side of pork chops made right before your eyes! I cannot remember the name of the bar and it isn’t listed on any of the tourism sites, but is a very popular locals joint. Here’s where I got a shot of the Columbus Status!
Don’t miss the fantastic Paella while in Barcelona 🙂
You’ve already heard about Gaudi, Sagrada Familia (which was still under construction when I visited), Ramlas for all the food and drinking and of course Paseo de Garcia for the fancy shopping!
Lastly, make sure to to check out the fountains by night at the Royal Palace of Barcelona. I have a pathetic picture from the night, but I still can picture how spectacular the lights were.
Lastly Lastly, the DOCKS! The night life by the docks is unparalleled. The fine food, cocktails, the upscale decks and the spectacular views of the city from across the sea – unforgettable!