Spain is one of my favorite countries in the world. The stunning architecture, rich history, friendly locals, mouthwatering tapas and sangria, and famous sights make this a must for any traveler. One aspect I particularly enjoy about Spain is how diverse it is. The 17 regions of Spain offer varying landscapes, cultures, dialects, food, and traditions. The smaller Moorish cities of the South offer a wonderful contrast to the metropolitan cities of the North. If you are spending a week in Spain, combining Madrid, Seville, and Granada should be your first itinerary. It’s actually one of my favorite Europe itineraries in general!
Looking for additional ideas on how to spend a week in Spain? see Spain in a week | 5 Spain Itinerary Ideas.
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This itinerary gives you taste of Madrid, the metropolitan capital of Spain, as well as time in the Southern cities of Seville and Granada. These cities offer a glimpse into Southern Spain’s Moorish past with intricate architecture and colorful palaces. Seville just happens to be one of my favorite cities in the world and if given the chance, I would move there in a heartbeat.
Spain in a week is a whirlwind. Madrid, Seville, and Granada allow for some of the best sightseeing and have the easiest logistics. Because time is of the essence, I highly suggest booking a flight into Madrid and out of Granada so you don’t waste precious time traveling back to your arrival city. If you buy a roundtrip ticket to Madrid you will add at least 5 hours of travel time getting back to Madrid from Granada.
How to plan your time for a week in Spain
- Madrid: 2 nights and 2 full days. This allows enough time to see the main sights in the city; tour the palace, walk around Retiro park, eat and drink your way through a few tapas crawls, sample some of the best food markets, and wander a few neighborhoods. Madrid is easy to get around with the metro and fairly compact which makes a full itinerary doable. See this post for a complete itinerary on how to spend 2 days in Madrid.
- Seville: 3 nights. You don't want to rush the beauty of Seville. 3 nights will allow you to slow down and enjoy the sights, wander each neighborhood, and taste the spectacular tapas of Southern Spain. Visiting the Seville Cathedral, Alcazar Palace, Maria Louisa Park, and Plaza de Espana are all musts along with attending a Flamenco show or two. See this post for a complete itinerary on how to spend 3 days in Seville.
- Granada: 2 nights. You will have enough time to tour the famous Alhambra Palace, one of my favorite palace complexes in the world, and get lost in the twists and turns of the Moorish Albaicín neighborhood. This gorgeous university town is small enough to travel around by foot and is fun to just wander and get lost. See this post for an in depth look on the Top 10 Things to do in Granada
If you have more than a week in Spain I would start by adding 2 nights to Madrid. This would allow time to slow down in Madrid, add a few more sights and museums, and do a day trip or two. Toledo is the best day trip from Madrid and beyond picturesque with its medieval streets and hilltop location. You could also add an extra day to Seville in order to squeeze a day trip to Cordoba to see the famous Mezquita cathedral (former mosque) and explore the Jewish Quarter.
Logistics: how to get from Madrid to Seville
A fairly new highspeed train connects Seville to Madrid in just 2.5 hours. The completion of this route was a game changer as it eliminated the need to fly or take the slow 6 to 7 hour bus ride. Traveling by train is enjoyable, easy, and cheap, and a big reason why combining Madrid and Seville in a 7 day Spain itinerary is a no brainer. Trains depart from the Madrid Atocha train station and leave about every hour. Book your ticket in advance as this particular route can sell out.
Logistics: how to get From Seville to Granada
Take the 3 hour ALSA bus from Seville to Granada. Renfe is currently working on a highspeed train to connect Granada to other cities like Madrid and Seville. Construction started in 2015 and it has yet to be announced when the new service will be completed. I traveled from Granada to Seville in October 2018. I had to take a bus for the first hour and transfer to a train to complete the journey. This will be the case for any journey into and out of Granada by train. The total travel time between the two cities combining bus and train is just under 4 hours. If the new highspeed train is not completed by the time you travel I recommend saving yourself a headache and just booking the bus for the entire journey.
I hope this gives you a head start in planning your week in Spain. Visiting Madrid, Seville, and Granada will give you a taste of the different cultures Spain has to offer. Just know that once you visit, you’ll want to return again and again.
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