Sunshine, tapas, and sangria.
These are the top 3 words that pop into my head whenever I think about Spain. They also happen to be 3 of my favourite things, so it’s only natural that I’ve been dreaming about visiting the country for as long as I can remember. It was hard to narrow down what I wanted to see since I only had 10 days. But ultimately I picked Barcelona and the Andalusian cities of Granada, Seville, Ronda, and Córdoba. For a first time visit to Spain you really can’t go wrong with these places, they truly highlight what the country has to offer. So here’s the perfect 10 day itinerary to cover Barcelona and Andalusia.
- We went in mid November. While the weather was sunny and pleasant, it was already getting pretty chilly at night. I would recommend going either April-May or late September-October for the best combination of weather and crowds.
- While renting a car in Andalusia is not entirely necessary, it does make seeing the Spanish countryside more convenient. Just be careful about the speed cameras, we got hit with a speeding ticket in the mail a month after our trip!
- There are a few entrance tickets that you should buy ahead of time online. Most important is the Alhambra in Granada, these tickets are sold by time slots and they sell out fast (see below for info on how to buy these). Others to consider are Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, and Casa Batllo in Barcelona.
Ultimate 10 Day Barcelona and Andalusia Itinerary
Day 1: Barcelona – La Rambla, Gothic Quarter, Barceloneta
Arrive in Barcelona and check into your hotel. We stayed at the Yurbban Trafalgar and loved it. It was the perfection location, had an amazing rooftop view, and they provide you with a free portable wifi device which is always handy. I would recommend staying near the Plaza Catalunya, it’s central to everything and it’s where the Aerobus stop from the airport is.
After check-in, walk down La Rambla, the popular pedestrian street that stretches from Plaza Catalunya down to the port. If you’re hungry grab a bite at La Boqueria Market. Even if you’re not hungry you should check it out because this place is a feast for the eyes and I challenge you to leave without buying anything.
Explore the Gothic Quarter after and stop by the Barcelona cathedral. Next to the cathedral is a narrow street called Carrer del Bisbe where you’ll find the Pont del Bisbe, a bridge you’ve probably seen many times on Instagram.
Next head down to the seaside neighbourhood of La Barceloneta for sunset and dinner. Walk along the boardwalk at Sant Sebastià Beach and watch the sky turn all shades of pink as the sun sets. For dinner head to one of the many tapas bars in the area. We went to Somorrostro and couldn’t have asked for a better first tapas feast. Other tapas bars worth considering are Bar Bitacora and Jai-Ca.
Day 2: Barcelona – Casa Batllo, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell
Day 2 is all about Gaudi and seeing his magical creations in Barcelona. I highly recommend starting with Case Batllo and buying the “Be the First” Tickets online here. It gives you access to the house at 8:30am, 30 minutes before it opens to the public, allowing you to truly experience the magic of this place without any crowds.
After Case Batllo head to the Sagrada Familia, the crown jewel of Gaudi’s work. You can buy tickets for specific time slots online here. There’s really no need to go early because I think you’ll find it equally busy at all times.
For lunch head to El Nacional. Not only was it one of the the best meals we had in Spain, but the place is so beautiful that you should go even if you don’t plan on eating there.
El Nacional is located on the main street of Passeig de Gràcia, where you can go for a stroll to work off some of the delicious calories you just consumed.
In the afternoon head to Park Güell (buy tickets online here). You might want to aim for sunset because the views are pretty spectacular at that time. The easiest way to get there is by taking bus 24 from Plaza Catalunya. It drops you off at the entrance of the park that’s at the top of the hill, meaning no climbing required.
Day 3: Barcelona – Montserrat Day Trip
Our plan was to take the train to Montserrat for a day trip and explore the monastery there. However at the last minute our Barcelona flight got cancelled and we missed out on a full day. If you can, definitely spent a third day in Barcelona and visit Montserrat! From what I hear and see it’s very much worth a visit. If you don’t want to visit Montserrat you can also use this day to check out the Palau de la Música Catalana, Tibidabo, or the Bunkers del Carmel.
Day 4: Barcelona to Granada
Fly from Barcelona to Granada. Domestic flights are pretty cheap especially if you book early. Aim to get to Granada by early afternoon so you have some time to explore.
Try to stay in the Albayzín neighbourhood, it’s absolutely charming and filled with beautiful views of the city set against a backdrop of snow capped peaks. We stayed at the hotel Santa Isabel La Real and were pretty happy with it.
For your first Granada sunset head to the Mirador de San Nicolás for arguably the best view of the Alhambra. It will be packed but the views will be worth it.
Granada restaurants are known for providing free tapas with your dinner even if you just order drinks. So take full advantage and check out one of the many tapas bars in the city. Restaurante Carmela and La Botilleria are both good options.
Day 5: Granada
Your full day in Granada should pretty much be dedicated to the Alhambra. It’s one the most beautiful places you’ll visit and probably the reason you’re visiting Granada in the first place.
It’s very important that you buy tickets to the Alhambra online ahead of time! There’s a lot of confusing information online regarding how to buy tickets as the process has recently changed, but this is the official website for buying Alhambra tickets now: https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/en
When you buy tickets you have to select the time that you wish to visit the Nasrid Palaces, which is the main palace of the Alhambra complex and the most beautiful part. Make sure you get there for your ticketed time otherwise you will not be let in.
Day 6: Granada to Seville
Take the train from Granada to Seville. Or you may want to rent a car, in which case you can stop by Ronda on the way. We went by train because at first we didn’t plan on renting a car at all, but our plans changed once we got to Seville. Looking back it would have made more sense to visit Ronda on this day since it is on the way from Granada.
Accommodation options in Seville are abundant. We stayed in an Airbnb near the bridge to Triana (Puente de Isabel II) and found everything to be well within walking distance.
This is a good time to decide which night you want to see a flamenco show and book ahead of time. I didn’t know too much about flamenco and thought the shows seemed touristy, but trust me you will not regret going. We watched the show at the Museo del Baile Flamenco and were absolutely transfixed, it was honestly one of the highlights of our trip.
After getting settled, you can explore the old town near the Cathedral and just enjoy strolling the bustling orange tree-lined streets. Catch sunset at the Metropol Parasol, a giant wooden structure that provides beautiful views of the entire city.
For dinner head to the oldest tapas bar in Seville, El Rinconcillo. For an authentic experience eat at the bar and watch the waiters scribble down your order on the counter in chalk. The tapas are delicious and the atmosphere lively, what more can you ask for?
Day 7: Seville – Plaza de España, Real Alcazar de Sevilla
Start your day early and head to the Plaza de España. This plaza was built for the 1929 Ibero-American expo and you can tell the Spanish were really trying to show off, it’s an extravagant and impressive place. Try to get here before it gets too crowded and enjoy the numerous photo ops.
After this walk the short distance to another Seville highlight: the Real Alcázar de Sevilla. We didn’t buy tickets for this ahead of time and had no problem getting in after waiting in a short line. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan (and who isn’t?) you will recognize the gardens of the Real Alcázar as the shooting location of Dorne. I was pretty giddy about seeing this, also it was just gorgeous.
For lunch try to get tapas at the popular Bodega Santa Cruz Las Columnas near the Cathedral. I say try because we came here twice and it was so packed both times that we gave up. There are plenty of restaurants in this area though so it’ll be easy to find an alternative.
After lunch walk around the Santa Cruz neighbourhood. This is the old jewish quarter of the city and filled with cobbled streets and charming buildings. You can also visit the Seville Cathedral and climb up its bell tower, the Giralda.
For dinner go to Restaurante Eslava. It’s one of the best meals we had in Spain and totally worth the wait.
Day 8: Seville – Day trip to Córdoba and Ronda
Rent a car and go on a road trip. We reserved a car online the day before and picked it up from the Seville train station. The roads are good and signs are easy to follow, making the drive pretty manageable. Just don’t speed!
First stop: Córdoba. It’s about 1 h 45 min away from Seville. The main reason I wanted to visit Cordoba was to see the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba. It’s a stunning structure with a rich history that resulted in a cathedral nave being nestled inside a mosque, hence the name. Park near the city centre and spend about 2-3 hours exploring the Mosque-Cathedral as well as the area nearby.
Second stop: Ronda, a scenic 2 hour drive away through the Spanish countryside. Park in one of the lots near the centre and explore the town by foot. The must-see in Ronda is the Puente Nuevo, a bridge that spans a deep gorge connecting two sides of the town. The views from here are pretty incredible. There’s a trail on the South side of the bridge that leads you down to the gorge, where you can get a great view of the bridge itself.
Ronda is a pretty charming place, spend some time walking around and grab a bite to eat. It’s about a 2 hour drive back to Seville.
Day 9: Seville
This is your last full day in Seville so relax and take it easy. Walk around the colourful Triana neighbourhood and visit the food market, the Mercado de Triana. They offer cooking lessons there where you can learn to make your own paella.
Day 10: Sevilla to Barcelona
If this is the end of your Spain trip, try not to be too sad that you’re leaving the country of tapas and sangria. Instead start planning your trip back since there are still tons of gems left to discover. If you’re continuing on to other areas of the country, lucky you!
Another great option is to cross the border and head to Portugal after Seville. The beautiful Algarve region is only two hours away! For some tips on the best beaches in the Algarve click here and for tips on Libson click here.