10 days in Spain - what you will cover
Attractions checklist for Spain 10 days
Fort or Castle - Alhambra in Granada
The Alhambra in Granada was first recorded in written documents in the 9th century. It was built by the Muslims and its name refers, in Arabic, to the reddish tone of the walls which are lit up in the evening hours for yet another spectacular viewing experience. The Alhambra is by far the most spectacular fort in the country. It sits atop the highest point of the city seeing all that is below and can be seen from throughout the city.
It is strongly recommended to buy tickets in advance as visitor numbers are limited. With your ticket, you’ll have a specific time to visit the Nasrid Palaces, you must arrive at this time or you won’t be allowed access. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at other locations in person.
Church or Cathedral - La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is the yet unfinished work of the famous Spanish architect Gaudi. Construction began in 1882 and it is estimated to be fully completed, decorations included, in another 15 years. Though it’s not yet finished the church already stands as nothing short of amazing. When completed there will be 18 spires, three grand facades, and five interior aisles.
You should give yourself an hour or two to appreciate the church from all angles as well as to head up one of the towers. It is strongly suggested to purchase tickets in advance, a combination of entrance, audio guide, and tower entrance will cost €29 for an adult.
Beach - Barceloneta
On your 10 day trip, you will have one option for the beach which is in Barcelona. Barcelona has over four kilometers of beach with four main areas and lots of activities. All of this just 10 minutes from the city center. The first being Barceloneta beach and stretching from there northwards up the coast. The beaches can get busy in high season but just walk a little further and see if you can’t find yourself a spot of sand.
Museum - Prado in Madrid
The main Spanish art museum is in Madrid where you’ll find the Prado. Founded in 1819 the museum is a wonderfully complete collection of 12th to 20th century paintings and sculptures. You’ll find Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Titian, and the most represented artist, Francisco Goya, amongst many others. It’s not completely necessary to buy advanced tickets though it may save you a bit of queuing time.
A ticket to the Prado will cost you €15 or you can buy a Paseo del Arte ticket which gets you into the three main Madrid art museums; the Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Reina Sofía. Keep in mind if you don’t purchase in advance and you arrive at the Prado to find long purchase lines you could head to one of the other museums first and buy the package ticket to get you back into the Prado faster (with this visit plan).
Park - Maria Luisa in Seville
Parque de Mariá Luisa in Seville were originally royal gardens but were perfected even further in preparation for the 1929 Ibero-American exhibition. In the center of the park you’ll find half a mile of Moorish style décor including tiled fountains, ponds and benches, the park is also home to royal gardens which means you’ll find a plethora of plants and animals living here.
Entrance is free, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the peace and quiet and think about packing snacks for a leisurely picnic.
Activities for your Spain visit
10 days is a good amount of time to for experiences, tours, and activities in Spain.
The traditional dance has infiltrated the entire country and shows are advertised almost everywhere you go but some are certainly more authentic than others. Seville is the home of the dance so it’s the spot to seek it out. Try out Los Gallos where you’ll see an hour and a half show with 12 artists including dancers and musicians. A ticket to the event is €35 for one adult. Check out the best flamenco shows in Seville, here.
While the sport is extremely controversial, both in and out of Spain, it is very much a part of the history and tradition, specifically in the southern regions of the country. Currently, the practice is protected by the government noting it as “common cultural heritage” and there is no sign of E.U. powers stepping in to say otherwise. Some regions, most notably Catalonia, have made steps to ban the sport. In the end, it is your choice to decide your feelings about the practice and if you’d like to observe a fight. The best place to go is Plaza de Torros de Seville.
The national sport of the country and also, most certainly, the most important, you won’t want to miss out on a chance to miss the boys in action. The most popular club in the world is FC Barcelona. FC Barca’s slogan is ‘mas que un club’ which means ‘more than a club’ and refers to the relationship of the club with the history of the city, under dictatorship and persecution and how the club became a symbol of Catalonia, of its people, its language and its culture. It’s a proud, strong, supporter owned club and a visit to Camp Nou, with or without a game in action will be unforgettable. Game tickets can be bought online through the team website for about €60 and up, you should get them as much in advance as you can. If a game’s not in the cards for you, you can take a tour of the stadium, walk through the tunnel, see the locker rooms and much more.
Madrid has arguably one of the best shopping areas in the country known as the Preciados (precious) district. Preciados, Del Carmen and Arenal are all pedestrianized streets running from kilometer 0 of Spanish roads. You’ll find H&M, Mango and Zara amongst others. Be sure to check out El Corte Ingles, the Spanish department store in the mid to high range. And don't forget to buy classic Spanish souvenirs.
If you’re looking to fiesta with the best of them you’ve come to the right country. You’ll find parties everywhere you look but some of the best take place in Barcelona. Check out the Born district, just west of the Parc de la Ciutadella. Bars are plentiful along Passeig del Born and nearby Magic Club will get your dance feet moving to rock n’ roll its purest form. Be ready, night life in Barca quickly becomes morning life, get ready for an all nighter!
Food & drink during 10 days in Spain
Since you won’t be going to the Valencia, the birthplace of the dish you’ll have to make do with other cities. But don’t fret, you won’t really feel like you’re “making do” paella has been perfected the country ever by many, many a chef. And while you still get the best paella in a Spanish abuelo (grandma) kitchen the chefs don’t do too badly either. Get a bit to the outskirts of Madrid at Que si quieres arroz Catalina for arguable the best rice in the capital. Or in Barcelona, not far from the beach you’ll find Restaurante Cheriff with its excellent paella offerings.
This is the anglicized name of what you’ll hear referred to as simply tortilla. The first reference to the dish is in a document from the 1800’s talking about the food the farmers ate. That document came from the north east of Spain but the dish, in the past 200 years, has developed nationwide. You’ll find tortilla served at many, many bars as a tapa or a full main dish. It’s simple and not hard to get terribly wrong but at the same time it’s amazing how such simple ingredients can taste so decadent when done right. Try Casa Dani just north of El Retiro park in Madrid.
Jamon Iberico, the thinly sliced, carefully cured meat of acorn fed pigs that roam the green, rolling hills of Spain is to die for. It can be found throughout the country but its quality will vary and the best will cost you. But it’s worth at least sampling. Try it at Casa Roman in Seville where you’ll see it hanging from the ceiling as is normal in these parts.
Tapas, which truly just refers to the size of the dish you receive, can be found everywhere, but some places will charge while others will give you a dish free with any drink. Granada is one of those places. The old and renowned Bodegas Castañeda should be tried. Grab yourself a place at the bar and order away.
Here is how I would suggest you can plan your 10 days
Day 1 to 3
Barcelona (I prefer flying into Barcelona over Madrid. Often you have low-cost flights flying into Girona from London). Read the detailed 3 day Barcelona Itinerary.
Day 4 to 6
Explore Andalucia with Seville as your base. I would suggest Seville and trip to Cordoba and Cadiz.
Day 7 to 9
Explore Madrid and Toledo. 3 days is perfect to visit Madrid
- Return back to Barcelona
If you are flying into Madrid, you can start with Madrid, then proceed to Seville and finally to Barcelona. By AVE fast train, Barcelona is only 3 hours from Madrid.