From Barcelona to Madrid: Our Spain Itinerary

Let me talk to you about my 2 week road trip adventure through Spain, from Barcelona to Madrid!

Spain is the first country I’ve ever visited in Europe. It was an all girls trip with my Grandmother, Aunt, and cousins. We stayed there for 2 weeks (13 days), and we visited 4 different cities namely, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia, and Madrid. Each of these cities have their own unique characteristics which make every single one of them worth visiting! I’ll focus mainly on the highlights and must-sees for each city as well as some general tips when traveling in Spain. If you want to know more about each city individually and in detail leave a comment below and I’ll make sure to write ’em as soon as possible and edit the links in this article! 

Our itinerary: 

  • Day 1 – 3: Barcelona 
  • Day 4: Barcelona – Zaragoza
  • Day 5 – 6: Zaragoza 
  • Day 7: Zaragoza – Valencia
  • Day 8 – 9: Valencia 
  • Day 10: Valencia – Madrid
  • Day 11 – 13: Madrid 

(Each city was approximately a 2 or 3 hour drive away)

Barcelona

Plaza de Espana, Barcelona

Barcelona! Home of Antoni Gaudi’s best architectural works and world-famous professional football club FC Barcelona. This city is full of attractions and famous landmarks. If you love art, architecture and shopping, Barcelona is the city for you. The most memorable thing about Barcelona for me was La Sagrada Familia.

If you grew up Catholic you’re probably thinking “another church? haven’t I seen hundreds of these already?”, these were my thoughts too at first, but you haven’t seen nothing yet if you haven’t seen the Sagrada Familia.

This was famous architect Antoni Gaudi’s greatest work! Gaudi is a very well-known and one-of-a-kind architect. He has several other works all over Barcelona but this is his best! He wanted to make sure that La Sagrada was perfect; A reflection of God’s greatest and most perfect creation, nature

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain! So many things to see and do here. You could visit Plaza Real for some restos and street entertainment or walk all 1.2 kilometers of the famous La Rambla street, you’d never get bored there. Why not see their beautiful art collection in the National Art Museum of Catalonia on top of Montjuic, where you could also get a good view of the entirety of Barcelona. There is so much to do! It could take you at least 3 days to really see and take everything in this beautiful and lively city.

Zaragoza

Zaragoza is a quiet city. There are fewer tourists here and it’s less crowded. Perfect for when you want to be in a city but don’t want to feel all the hustle and bustle of one. It’s smaller and there are fewer things to do here compared to Barcelona, but it is just as beautiful and full of history.

Man biking in Zaragoza, just behind the trees, you can see the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar.

If you like a more calm and slow-paced city, Zaragoza is for you. There are several highlights in this quiet city that show it’s deep history and beauty. Want to know the must-see attractions and landmarks? Want to know the best places to eat and drink? Don’t know where to stay? Well, don’t fret! I’ve got you covered. In this article, I tell you all about the highlights, must-sees, and do’s in Zaragoza. Read it here on Travelista: 5 Things You Can Do In Zaragoza In One Day.

Valencia

Valencia is known for their beaches and beautiful modern architecture (oh… and paella, yum). It’s warmer here compared to the other cities. Many music festivals and concerts are held in this city.  One of the largest aquaria in Europe can be found here as well: L’Oceanografic. Oh, by the way! Any Dr. Who fans here? Well if you are, then you might be familiar with Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences. This is where Dr. Who’s “Smile” episode was filmed. 

City of Arts and Sciences
Credits to papagnoc on Pixabay
Jellyfish in L’Oceanografic

When I first saw the City of Arts and Sciences I couldn’t help but think I was in a utopia. Something I could only dream of being in. But no, it’s here, it’s real, it’s in Valencia, Spain. 

Valencia has several museums, one of the museums that we went to was the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern. At the time we were there they had a huge collection of Joan Miro’s art. I have never seen art like Miro’s, he had a very eccentric and quirky style of art, definitely one of my favorite highlights!

Madrid

Last, but definitely not the least, Madrid! The central capital of Espana and home of FC Barcelona’s rival, Real Madrid. This city is known for a lot of things. It is the largest city in Spain. The Royal Palace is here, there are many museums here that host the world’s most famous paintings and just the city itself holds so much history. 

Museo Nacional Del Prado

Going to Madrid was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. Well, the entire trip to Spain was unforgettable, but Madrid has forever left a mark in my heart. I love art. I am somewhat an artist myself, and visiting museums is one of my favorite activities to do. In every country I visit, I always go to at least one museum.

The Museo Nacional Del Prado will forever be my favorite museum. There is a feeling you get when you look at art, a heavy one, and my visit to the Prado is one I will never forget. It’s different seeing famous artworks through a screen; You don’t think much of it. You just look at it and you’re like “oh okay”. But, when you see these masterpieces up close and in person, you start to understand and develop an entirely new appreciation for it.

I apologize, I don’t have more interesting photos of Prado, this was the only photo I could take. Photographs are strictly prohibited inside the museum, which is understandable. I have one last thing to say about the Prado though, you have to see it before you die… that sounded darker than I thought it’d be, but really, it should be on your bucket list! 

Another one of my highlights from Madrid was Mercado San Miguel! If you’re a foodie you gotta visit Mercado San Miguel. 

Mercado de San Miguel
Credits to 
CarlottaSilvestrini on Pixabay

This is a great place for a night out. They have all kinds of street food and tapas, and of course, tapas would not be complete without drinks. Which reminds me, they have really good sangria there, they have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions (for the young ones). They also have this drink called Damm Lemon, which is basically beer with lemon.

Tips for Travelling in Spain:

  1. First, and this is crucialBring your own water bottle/jug/container. Once you go around the cities it is rare to find restaurants or food places that offer free service water. Majority of the time you will have to pay for a bottle of water and it isn’t that cheap either.
    However, there are water fountains around the cities. So cherish your water and try to stay as hydrated as possible. 
  2. Local’s taught us that if you’re traveling in groups and you’re taking the metro, you can buy one pass with multiple rides, instead of individual passes. The trick is once one of you have passed the gate you pass the ticket to the person behind you, and then the next, and so on. It’s cheaper that way.
  3. Food can be quite expensive in Spain, but there is this franchise that sells 100 different kinds of bocadillos (sandwiches) for 1 euro each. It’s called Cerveceria 100 Montaditos, we saw this in every city we went to. So if you find yourself needing to budget, just google the nearest Cerveceria 100 Montaditos. 
  4. Spain takes their siesta’s seriously, so don’t be shocked or confused if the majority of the stores and restaurants are closed at around 2-5pm.
  5. This is sort of a general tip. Wherever you go, always be wary of your belongings. When you’re eating, especially outdoors, don’t leave your phone or your wallet on the table. Make sure your bags are always closed and don’t keep your valuables in your pockets. 
  6. Last, but not least, enjoy your trip! Enjoy every single moment of it!  Eat till you’re full! Experience their culture! Educate yourself!
    Stop and look around and just think to yourself how lucky you are to be in that moment.

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