Spain is a country unique to all of Europe. No wonder it’s one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. If you’re planning 5 days in Spain soon, this guide on where to go in Spain with 3 unique Spain itineraries will make your travel planning a breeze.
The diverse geography, rich heritage, and famous Spanish monuments offer travelers everything they desire, from beautiful beaches and medieval castles to luxurious party islands.
Before you dive into the plethora of possible Spain travel itineraries, it is wise to learn a little bit about Spain, like weather, currency, transport, and best travel destinations. Once you’ve learned the basics, all there’s left to do is pick the best Spain Itinerary for your Spanish vacation.
How to Get Around in Spain – 5 Days in Spain Itinerary
Getting around Spain has become much easier thanks to the excellent public transport options. These include long-distance buses, high-speed trains, and internal flights. Don’t worry. The options aren’t too overwhelming, and having such variety makes planning a trip to Spain easier.
Traveling by Bus in Spain
Buses are the most economical way to get around Spain, although long distances could be uncomfortable. If you’re interested in exploring smaller towns and villages, often the only option will be local buses (or private transfers).
Most of the time, you can buy your bus ticket from the driver as you get in, but long-distance routes can be booked in advance. The Movelia website makes it easy to search for buses online.
Traveling by Plane in Spain
If you’re pressed for time, budget airlines may be the best way to hop between cities. When traveling to the Balearic or other islands, flying is the fastest and often the cheapest way to get there. The cheapest airlines are EasyJet and Ryanair. Keep in mind that checked luggage is not included in the price and will cost an additional fee per bag.
Renting a Car in Spain
Renting a car is a great way to determine your own route and pace while traveling through Spain. However, even though the cost of renting a car can be low, there are a lot of additional costs to consider, like parking fees, fuel, toll gates, and an international driving license.
Tip: Check out Discover Cars for great car rental options when traveling in Spain.
Traveling by Train in Spain
Spain has a well-connected rail system with both high-speed and regular trains. Tickets can be quite cheap and save a lot of time, but booking in advance is often necessary. A train from Barcelona to Madrid on a high-speed train only takes 2.5 hours and can cost as little as 30 Euros ($33 USD).
Check out our post to learn more about traveling by train in Spain!
Europe is a safe and popular destination for hitchhikers, although this would require a lot of flexibility and could be uncomfortable. Online guides for travelers who want to hitchhike through Europe are great sources of information while you’re on the go.
The Best Time to Visit Spain
Spain is a lovely destination year-round, with the best time to visit Spain being Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November).
Peak season is during the summer, from June to the end of August. Prices are higher, it gets crowded, and many accommodations may be booked out, so it’s best to make reservations and plan your 5 day Spain itinerary in advance. This time of the year is best for beach hopping and partying.
Spain has a very moderate temperature, and even in winter, it doesn’t get too cold. The only snowfall occurs in the North, usually only in the Spanish Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Tip: Get inspired by these unique places to visit in Spain.
Should I Get Insurance for My Trip to Spain?
Although Spain is a relatively safe country, accidents do happen. Travel insurance is invaluable, especially if renting a car or doing more extreme activities like taking on Camino de Santiago while hiking in Spain.
Check with your insurance company if you are covered while traveling. If not, World Nomads is a very reputable company popular amongst travelers.
5 Day Itinerary, Spain – Best Cities in Spain
Spain is a diverse country with world-famous cities, quaint towns, charming villages, and stunning beaches. It also boasts culturally rich regions and over 50 beautiful provinces and islands.
Lest you give your life to exploring all the nooks and crannies of Spain, you won’t be able to see all the country has to offer, especially not with a short Spain 5-day itinerary. To make your travel plans simpler, and to ensure you see the best of Spain, we’ve gathered the top 10 places to see in this magnificent Mediterranean country.
The mesmerizing seaside capital of Catalonia is embedded with rich culture, fantastical art and architecture, and a world-renowned food scene. The city has found a way to merge its ancient Roman history with 20th-century Modernist architecture by Antoni Gaudí. Barcelona holds up to its title as one of the most attractive cities in Europe and one of the best cities in Spain.
Read more about the major sights like the historic Gothic Quarter and the famous Las Ramblas in this guide to Barcelona.
The capital city is famous for its lively nightlife, large museums, and flavourful tapas. Daytime can be spent viewing famous artworks in Prado, the largest museum in the world, or touring Palacio Real, home of the Spanish royal family.
To experience the magical energy of Madrid, you’d have to wait until the sun starts to set in the summertime. This is when the city is most vibrant.
Tip: Get skip-the-line tickets to the Prado museum to make the most of your Spain tour.
Sitting neatly on the Costa del Sol, Málaga is the soulful hub that gifted the world Pablo Picasso. The city is buzzing with youth culture, new art houses, and a culinary scene that would excite any foodie. The revamped city still has a rich history, with remnants scattered across Málaga, including Moorish Citadels and a Roman Amphitheatre.
The sandy beaches of Málaga are also ideal for relaxing and experiencing the local culture on your Spain trip.
The futuristic architecture of Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences includes a planetarium, oceanarium, and interactive museum. The innovative buildings may seem like science fiction, but the beautiful beaches, authentic paellas, and Old Town will remind you of the deeply ingrained Spanish culture of the city.
Bilbao will transform your idea about what port cities look like. Located in Northern Spain and surrounded by lush green mountains, the capital of Basque Country is home to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
The titanium structure of the museum receives more accolades than the famous contemporary art it houses. Bilbao is the perfect addition to any Northern Spain itinerary.
Seville is the largest and most popular destination in Andalusia. The student city boasts colorful streets, grand architecture, and buzzing festivals.
One of the main attractions is the Cathedral of Seville, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the largest churches in the world. There are also monuments dedicated to different regions of the country and the Jewish Quarter to explore.
Known as “The Moorish Jewel,” Granada is tucked between the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Experiencing its Arabic culture and Islamic architecture is like watching a masterful showpiece, with the Granada Palace, Alhambra, being the star of the show.
The sandstone buildings of Salamanca radiate with such beauty that the city has been nicknamed La Dorada, The Golden One. Its ancient history dates back 2000 years to the Celtic era.
It has picked up Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture along the way. It’s also home to the third oldest university in Europe, founded in 1218.
For centuries, Christians, Jews, and Arabs have co-existed in Toledo, awarding it the title of “the city of three cultures.” Marvel at the diversity of the Old Quarter as you wander past Gothic cathedrals, Horseshoe-arched mosques, Sephardic synagogues, palaces, and fortresses.
The city was also home to El Greco, who was one of the most famous artists of his time and still is to this day. Toledo is one of the best cities in Spain to visit for immersion in all the country’s best offerings, such as diverse culture and delightful wines.
During the 10th century, Córdoba was the greatest capital city in Europe, leading in architecture, art, and academia. The historical Andalusian city is most famous for its UNESCO-listed mosque, La Mezquita. Córdoba also has a fascinating Jewish and Moorish heritage, charming streets, artisan crafts, and gastronomy.
A Complete Spain Travel Itinerary: 5 Days in Spain
It’s an overwhelming process to decide what to see in Spain in 5 days. We’d be lying if we said you could create a 5-day Spain travel itinerary that covers the whole country.
Instead, we’ve created three 5-day Spain itineraries to pick from. All the itineraries can be done in reverse or combined and include minimum travel time in order to explore and absorb the rich Spanish culture.
There really is no best one-week Spain itinerary since each route is spectacular in its own right. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll be astounded by the rich history, amazing gastronomy, and vibrant nightlife.
The best Spain itinerary is the one you choose!
Southern Spain Itinerary: 5 Days From Granada to Seville
Southern Spain is an ideal region to soak up the sun and explore the remnants of Moorish rule. It is also home to some of the best cities in Spain to visit. The route spans 388 miles and takes you through some of the most beautiful and historic cities in Spain.
If traveling by car, you’ll have the luxury of stopping at places en route like Alcalá de los Gazules and the white sand beaches of Marbella. If you’re flying to Southern Spain, start your trip in Málaga, where there is an airport, and take a day trip to Granada.
Day 1: Granada
Your trip starts in Granada, one of the pearls of Spain, home to perhaps the most important remnants of Moorish rule, The Alhambra. A limited number of tickets are sold per day, so book your spot in advance.
Things to see:
- Royal Chapel of Granada
- Catedral de Granada
Accommodation: Hotel Granada Center is great value for price and is located just a 10-minute walk from the Granada Cathedral.
Day 2: Málaga
Start your day early to make the journey from Granada to Málaga, which is approximately 2 hours by bus. Málaga is the largest city on the Costa del Sol and is firmly rooted in Spanish culture and history.
Things to see:
- Picasso Museum
- Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga
- Roman Amphitheatre
Accommodation: Hotel Sur Málaga is in the center of Málaga, close to the Picasso Museum and Alcazaba. For backpackers, The Lights Hostel is an option where you can get a budget-friendly breakfast or dinner.
Day 3: Cádiz
The trip to Cádiz can take anything from 2 to 4 hours, depending on your mode of transportation. The cheapest and fastest way to get there is to rideshare.
Cadíz is known as the most important port in Spain. It is the meeting point of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Seas. The port city links trade between Europe, Africa, and America.
Things to see:
- Cádiz Cathedral
- Torre Tavira
- Castle of Santa Catalina
Accommodation: Plazas de la Luz Cadiz lies in the heart of the Old Town and is a very affordable option for couples. Backpackers may prefer Casa Caracol, where you can enjoy the hammocks on the rooftop terrace and free breakfast.
Day 4: Seville
Traveling to Seville can be done via bus, train, or ridesharing. All options take under 2 hours.
This Andalusian capital is famous for the Plaza de España and being the birthplace of Flamenco dancing. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch a performance in the Triana neighborhood and dine on tasty tapas.
Things to see:
- Royal Alcázar of Seville
- Plaza de España
- Catedral de Sevilla
- La Giralda
- Las Setas De Sevilla
- Parque de María Luisa
- Torre del Oro
Accommodation: Hotel Patio de las Cruces is set in the Jewish Quarter and is only a 10-minute walk to the city’s cathedral. Backpackers looking for good vibes and rooftop jams should check out La Banda.
Day 5: Córdoba
The journey to Córdoba only takes 45 minutes by train, whereas driving would more than double the travel time.
As the final stop on your itinerary for Spain, Córdoba signifies the tumultuous history of Spain. It was a major Islamic Center in the Middle Ages whose magnificent 784 A.D. mosque became a church in 1236. The city is also the birthplace of the Roman philosopher Seneca.
Things to see:
- Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
- Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs
- Roman Bridge of Córdoba
- Medina Azahara – Conjunto
Accommodation: If you’re looking for a clean and modern hotel with parking, Sercotel Hotel Selu is ideal. Córdoba Bed and Be is a popular hostel amongst backpackers, offering free breakfast, a kitchen, and a rooftop terrace where you can soak up the sun.
Northern Spanish Itinerary: Barcelona to Basque Country
This iconic route of Northern Spain spans approximately 447 miles. The trip conveniently starts in Barcelona, where many flights land and trains from across Europe stop. If planning to fly out of Spain, consider going to San Sebastian before heading to Bilbao since the city has a major airport.
Day 1: Barcelona
If you only have a day in Barcelona, it’s important to have a plan to ensure you see as much as possible. There are plenty of things to do in Barcelona. To simplify touring through the city center, consider getting a Hop-on Hop-off bus.
Things to see:
- Sagrada Familia
- Passeig de Gracia
- Placa Catalunya
- Casa Batlló and Casa
- Las Ramblas
Accommodation: For convenience’s sake, book accommodation near Placa Catalunya. There are plenty of hotels and hostels in Barcelona. We really like Catalonia Born Hotel and One Paralelo Hostel. Both offer both dorm and private rooms.
Day 2: Zaragoza
On day two of your 5 days in Spain, eat breakfast at one of the many cafés in the tourist area before making your way to Zaragoza. Remember to book your train ticket in advance if traveling by rail. The train takes under 2 hours compared to a 3-hour drive or longer bus ride.
Zaragoza has over 2000 years of history, with Romans, Christians, Jews, and Muslims all leaving their mark on the city.
Things to do:
- Basílica del Pilar
- Aljafería Palace
- Cathedral San Salvador
- Goya Museum
Accommodation: Zaragoza is much smaller than Barcelona but still has ample accommodation options. We recommend Silken Reino de Aragón for its excellent location in Zaragoza’s Old Town. There are fewer hostel options, but Albergue Zaragoza Hostel has a well-equipped kitchen and free breakfast.
Day 3: Logroño
The journey to Logroño takes approximately 2 hours, regardless of your transportation option. The cheapest option would be to rideshare or take a bus.
Logroño is a stop for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. The town is famous for its wine and pintxos (Basque tapas) bars.
Things to do:
- Co-Cathedral of Logroño
- Church of San Bartolomé
- Museo de la Rioja
- Parroquia de Santiago Real
Accommodation: Eurostars Fuerte Ruavieja is a charming hotel with a wellness facility, including a sauna, available to guests. Backpackers can stay at Winederful Hostel, one of the only hostels in the city.
Day 4: Bilbao
The cheapest and fastest way to get to Bilbao is by bus, and takes approximately 2 hours.
Bilbao is a beautiful port city with towering skyscrapers downtown, beaches reachable via the metro, and mountains surrounding the city. Its most famous attraction is the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum building.
Things to see:
- Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
- Bilbao Cathedral
- Zubizuri Bridge
- Arenal Gardens
- Teatro Arriaga
- Plaza Nueva
Accommodation: Santiago Apartments Bilbao offers large apartments with private kitchens, washing machines, and other facilities. It is also conveniently located close to the bus stop and taxi rank. A good backpacker option is the contemporary Ganbara Hostel, which includes a free breakfast and guest kitchen.
Day 5: San Sebastian
The final stop on your 5-day itinerary of Northern Spain is a bus ride under 2 hours away. San Sebastian is famous for its pintxos, cobblestone Old Town, resort beaches, and for having the highest concentration of bars in the world!
Things to see:
- San Sebastian Cathedral
- La Concha
- Mount Urgull
- Castillo de la Mota
- Cristina Enea Park
Accommodation: The film-themed Hotel Estoria7 is set by the River Urumea in the former Astoria Cinema. Each room is uniquely dedicated to an actor or director who has visited the city. Only 656 feet from Zurriola Beach, Koba Hostel, offers backpackers a cool space to hang out with a surfer atmosphere and free breakfast.
Spain by Train Itinerary: Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid
This route is nearly 621 miles but only takes 5 hours via high-speed train to complete. It gives you a tour of the best that Spain has to offer but allows a reasonable amount of time to spend in the three biggest cities in Spain.
Day 1: Barcelona
Things to see:
- La Sagrada Familia
- Park Güell
- Casa Milá and Casa Batlló
- La Rambla
- The Gothic Quarter
- Mercado de La Boqueria
- Plaça de Catalunya
- Magic Fountain on Montjuïc
- Cathedral of Barcelona
Day 2: Barcelona to Madrid
The high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid only takes 2.5 hours to cover 388 miles! The train can be taken throughout the day so you can spend the morning in Barcelona, covering places you missed the day before.
If you want to cut costs, consider taking a 6-hour night train and save on paying for accommodation for the night.
Day 3: Madrid
Welcome to the capital of Spain, where elegant boulevards and expensive shops adorn the city. Madrid is an art hub, housing works from all the Spanish masters, including Goya and Veláquez. It’s also possible to eat at the oldest restaurant in the world!
Things to see:
- Plaza Mayor
- Royal Palace of Madrid
- Museo Nacional del Prado
- El Retiro Park
- Mercado de San Miguel
- Temple of Debod
Accommodation: Madrid has plenty of accommodation options, although it can be quite pricey. An affordable but quality option is Amor de Dios 17 Luxury Suites set in the center of Madrid, less than a mile from Puerta del Sol.
Backpackers also have a variety of options. We recommend the boutique hostel, The Hat Madrid, for its cool atmosphere, free events, and eco-conscious approach.
Day 4: Madrid to Valencia
The fastest train in Spain is from Madrid to Valencia, covering 233 miles in just over 1.5 hours. The journey itself is an experience worth having! The train departs every hour, so you can choose how long to stay in Madrid before traveling to Valencia.
Day 5: Valencia
Valencia is the final stop on your itinerary of Spain by train. The city is one of the most cultural, cosmopolitan, and vibrant in all of Europe. If there is one thing not to miss, it’s the cultural and architectural complex of The City of Arts and Sciences.
Things to see:
- Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
- The Central Market of Valencia
- Valencia Cathedral
- Torres de Quart
- Torres de Serranos
- La Lonja de la Seda
- Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas
Accommodation: Hotel Malcom and Barret offer stylish and affordable accommodation within walking distance of the center. Backpackers can stay in the heart of the city at Center Valencia Youth Hostel. This fun place has a communal kitchen, daily walking tours, pub crawls, and, most importantly, free breakfast!
Final Thoughts on Our 5-Day Spain Itinerary
We hope this article guides you through this beautiful country and helps you create a unique travel itinerary for Spain. It is a truly amazing country, and you are guaranteed to have a blast regardless of which itinerary you choose. ¡Buen viaje!