Twelve days in Spain is a great trip duration for getting to know two of the country's regions. Pair six days in Barcelona with a sun-filled week exploring the Balearic Islands or the Costa Brava, or hop between the major cities of central and southern Spain. Or, stick to one region or theme and do a deep dive: take a Southern Spain road trip inspired by local expertise, or see the country through the lens of food and wine on a culinary tour.

Itinerary #1: Highlights of Central & Southern Spain

This 12-day highlights tour of central Spain leaves no stone unturned. Not only will you get to the heart of famous cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville, but you'll make day tours to unforgettable locales like Toledo, Granada, and the mountaintop postcard of Ronda.

The 16th-century Alcázar, which sits atop Toledo
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Madrid; Tapas tour Madrid
Day 2 Explore the Spanish capital Madrid
Day 3 Day trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 4 Drive to Sevilla - Visit Córdoba Sevilla
Day 5 Gastronomy tour & private cooking class Sevilla
Day 6 Drive to Ronda - Discover Arcos de la Frontera Ronda
Day 7 Explore Ronda Ronda
Day 8 Drive to Granada - Caminito del Rey excursion Granada
Day 9 Visit the Alhambra - Ceramic workshop Granada
Day 10 Fly to Barcelona Barcelona
Day 11 Day trip to Montserrat & Penedès wine region Barcelona
Day 12 Depart  


Upon touching down at Madrid's airport, you'll take a private transfer to your hotel. You'll then go on a delicious tapas tour, and on day two a private guide will take you to famous sights like the Plaza Mayor, the Arab Walls, the Teatro Real, and the Plaza de Oriente. On day three you'll visit the medieval city of Toledo, the first-ever capital of Spain until the 8th century. You'll see the old quarter, which was a melting pot of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities, and tour its cathedrals, synagogues, and Alcázars. 

Day four you'll travel south to Seville by train but not before stopping off at Córdoba, which will serve as your introduction to Spain's Moorish/Christian region of Andalusia. A tour will reveal more religious fusion as you visit the Mezquita (Mosque turned cathedral) and the Córdoba Synagogue, located in the old Jewish Quarter of the city. Day five is a discovery of Seville through its food as you browse local markets and participate in a cooking class while drinking regional wine like sherry. 

Day six you'll take a road trip south to Ronda, a medieval city perched on a gorge above the El Tajo River and offering incredible panoramic views of the Andalusian countryside. Before arriving, though, you'll take a break in Arcos de la Frontera, another charming village featuring incredible mountain views of Andalusia. After a day spent exploring Ronda, including visiting its historic Plaza de Toros (bullring), you'll drive to Granada for more living history exemplified in beautiful Moorish palaces.

Before arriving in Granada you'll take a break for an adrenaline rush in the form of a hike along the Caminito del Rey. This network of suspension bridges clings to sheer cliffs 330 feet above the ground and makes for an unforgettable hike. Day nine you'll visit Granada's most iconic landmark: the palace/fortress Alhambra that overlooks the town. You'll tour this Moorish "palace city" and later take a painting and ceramics class with a local artist.

Day 10 you'll fly to Barcelona where you'll have time to visit buildings designed by the legendary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, including the basilica La Sagrada Familia and the Casa Milá house. Day 11 is a trip to Catalonia's most sacred religious site, the abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat. Situated 1,236 meters (4,055 feet) atop a mountain, the views from the abbey are astounding. Later you'll indulge in a wine tour of the region, and on day 12 you'll depart Barcelona for home. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Culinary Journey Through Spain

Spain is a great country in which to plan an epic 12-day food tour. This itinerary covers many of the best regions for food, including Madrid's melting pot of restaurants and bars, the unique tapas culture of Basque Country, and of course Barcelona, home to some of the finest Catalan cuisine.

Dive into Spanish cuisine
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Madrid Madrid
Day 2 Madrid's culture and cuisine Madrid
Day 3 Madrid to Bilboa Bilbao
Day 4 Basque country and the coast Bilbao
Day 5 Bilbao to San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 6 San Sebastian by eBike & Basque Cuisine San Sebastian
Day 7 San Sebastian to La Rioja region La Rioja
Day 8 Famous wineries of La Rioja La Rioja
Day 9 La Rioja to Barcelona Barcelona
Day 10 Gaudí's Barcelona & Catalan Tapas Barcelona
Day 11 Day Trip to the Mediterranean and the Costa Brava Barcelona
Day 12 Barcelona - Depart  


You'll arrive in Madrid and spend the first couple of days on guided cultural tours. On day two, however, you'll dive into the city's gastronomic soul with visits to traditional tapas bars plus a three-course dinner at Botín, the world's oldest restaurant. Day three you'll head north to the Atlantic Coast, stopping in Bilbao where you can visit the famous Guggenheim Museum. Day four you'll visit medieval castles and ancient villages along the coast, including the islet of Gaztelugatxe, famous for its long stone bridge. 

On day five you'll arrive in the resort city of San Sebastian, one of the most beautiful seaside metropolises in the country. You'll spend day six touring San Sebastian's waterfront promenade and the ancient streets of its Parte Vieja on an electric bicycle. You can certainly indulge in the city's famous pintxos (tapas-like small plates), but save room, because that evening you'll be dining at the chef's table of a Michelin-starred restaurant. 

Day seven you'll leave San Sebastian for La Rioja, which is Spain's most famous wine-producing region. You'll spend the next couple of days eating at Michelin restaurants in postcard villages and hopping from winery to winery on tasting tours. Day nine you'll take a train to Barcelona and visit the most famous places, like the Gothic Quarter and the Picasso Museum. Day 10 you'll tour iconic buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí, like Sagrada Familia and Park Gúell, and take a tapas tour that evening. 

Day 11 is a special day-trip north of Barcelona to the Costa Brava, a gorgeous stretch of the Mediterranean coast dotted with medieval villages. Here you can visit the Dalí Museum plus dine on fresh seafood in local restaurants. At the end of the day, you'll return to Barcelona, and on day 12 you'll catch your flight home. Learn more

Itinerary#3: Barcelona & the Balearic Islands

This 12-day combined island/city adventure gives you one of the best cities and two of the most desirable islands in Spain. A trip this epic could only begin in Barcelona before abruptly changing course and heading off to the teal waters of Mallorca and Menorca.

Enjoy Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Spain - Self-Guided Barcelona Tour Barcelona
Day 2 Visit Park Güell & Sagrada Família Barcelona
Day 3 Private Bike Tour of Barcelona Barcelona
Day 4 Boqueria Market Guided Tour - Cooking Class Barcelona
Day 5 Day Trip to Montserrat & Wine Tour Barcelona
Day 6 Flight from Barcelona to Menorca - Explore Menorca
Day 7 Horseback Riding in Menorca Menorca
Day 8 Flight from Menorca to Mallorca - Explore Palma Palma de Mallorca
Day 9 Guided Tour of Palma de Mallorca Palma de Mallorca
Day 10 Mallorca Sailing Tour Palma de Mallorca
Day 11 Hiking the Tramuntana Mountains - Village Tour Palma de Mallorca
Day 12 Depart Spain from Mallorca  


You'll arrive at Barcelona's airport and hop in a private car to the city center. Over three days, you'll do it all, from taking the cable car up Mt. Montjuic and visiting the iconic landmarks designed by Gaudí, to cycling the Gothic Quarter to Barceloneta Beach. On day four you'll hit Boqueria Market (Barcelona's oldest market) to buy supplies for a cooking class, and on day five you'll travel outside the city and thousands of feet up a mountain to Catalonia's holiest site: the abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat.

Day six you'll hop a flight from Barcelona to Menorca, a smaller island of the Balearic Archipelago. You'll pick up a rental car and can hit the road, visiting whichever white-sand beaches you like. On day seven it's time for a horseback ride around the eastern side of the island, which has some great unspoiled beaches, like Cala Fustam. There are also fascinating historic sites you can visit on your own, like the 19th-century Mola Fortress and the megalithic monuments of Trepucó and Talatí de Dalt.

The eighth day you'll fly from Menorca to the larger Mallorca, and you'll enjoy a guided tour of its capital, Palma, on day nine. You'll visit incredible Moorish landmarks, like the 13th-century Palma Cathedral and the 10th century Royal Palace of La Almudaina, before taking a sailing tour around Mallorca on day 10. Day 11 you'll hike around the Tramuntana Mountains and stop in at charming mountain villages like Deià and Sóller. Day 12 you'll leave Mallorca for home. Learn more

Itinerary#4: Barcelona & the Costa Brava

Over 12 days you'll not only immerse yourself in Catalan culture in Barcelona, but you'll also take a road-trip north, towards the border with France. The destination is the Costa Brava, and you'll explore its stunning locales on foot, bicycle, and even kayak. 

Experience the Costa Brava by land and sea
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Barcelona Barcelona
Day 2 Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia Barcelona
Day 3 Explore Barcelona Barcelona
Day 4 Monserrat & Winery Day-Trip Barcelona
Day 5 Pick-Up Rental Car - Drive to Begur Begur
Day 6 Kayaking Excursion in the Costa Brava Begur
Day 7 Wine Tasting in the Empordà Region Begur
Day 8 Bike Tour of the Baix Empordá Begur
Day 9 Dalí-Themed Excursion in the Costa Brava Begur
Day 10 Explore Beaches & Hiking Paths in the Costa Brava Begur
Day 11 Drive from Begur to Barcelona - Return Rental Car Barcelona
Day 12 Depart Barcelona  


As with the previous itinerary, you'll arrive in Barcelona. However, you'll have the first day free to tour the city any way you like. Perhaps take a long stroll down Las Ramblas, the main pedestrian thoroughfare in the city. On day two you'll enjoy an architecture tour of the Gaudí classics, and day three is another free one to enjoy however you see fit. If the weather is nice, head to Barceloneta Beach and walk (or cycle) down its long waterfront promenade. 

Day four you'll not only head out of Barcelona for a trip up the mountain to Santa Maria de Montserrat, but you'll follow it with a wine tasting at nearby vineyards. On day four you'll pick up your rental car and road trip north to the Costa Brava, stopping in the medieval coastal hamlet of Begur. Days six, seven, and eight, are filled with unforgettable activities like kayaking around the rocky coast, wine tasting in the Empordà Region, and cycling the heart of the Costa Brava on an electric bike. 

Day nine you'll take a Salvador Dalí-themed excursion to his birthplace, the town of Figueres. You'll visit a museum here dedicated to the surrealist master and showcasing his works, plus stop at the town of Portlligat, where he lived from 1930 to 1982. On day 10 you'll do some hiking along the famous GR 92 route, which hugs the coast, and take a dip in the turquoise Mediterranean sea. On day 11 you'll return the rental car to Barcelona before heading home the following day. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Ultimate Northern Spain Road Trip

That's right, this 12-day self-drive road trip focuses on the north of the country. It's in this area you'll find Galicia, a historic region known for its pilgrimage routes and great seafood, and the Basque Country, famed for unique culture and beautiful cities. 

San Sebastian, one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the world
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Drive From Madrid to León - City Tour León
Day 4 Drive From León to Ribeira Sacra - Stop in Astorga Monforte de Lemos area
Day 5 Boat Tour of Ribeira Sacra - Drive to Vigo Vigo
Day 6 Tour the Cíes Islands - Drive From Vigo to Santiago Santiago de Compostela
Day 7 Santiago de Compostela - Cooking Class & City Tour Santiago de Compostela
Day 8 Drive to Oviedo - Stop in Lugo Oviedo
Day 9 Drive From Oviedo to Bilbao - City Tour Bilbao
Day 10 Coastal Drive From Bilbao to San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 11 Half-Day Tour of San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 12 Depart Spain  


You'll arrive in Madrid and spend the first couple of days discovering the city on guided tours. This includes visits to famous sights like the Fountain of Cibeles and historic neighborhoods like Barrio las Letras, the literary quarter that was once home to Cervantes. On day three you'll hop in your rental car and drive north to León. Founded in the 1st century BCE, this city exudes history. Many of its ancient landmarks, like the Roman Walls, still stand and you'll see them on a tour.

After León, on day four you'll continue west into the Galicia region and Ribeira Sacra, a fertile, wine-producing river valley. You'll enjoy the natural splendor of Ribeira Sacra on a boat tour down the river on day 5. Afterward, you'll drive to Vigo, a port city in southern Galicia. 

Day six you'll take a boat tour of the Cíes Islands. The beaches here are so powdery white and the waters so crystalline you'll think you're vacationing in the Caribbean. Afterward, you'll drive north to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and the destination for the famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. Nomads end up at the 11th-century Cathedral of Santiago, as it is home to the remains of Saint James the Great. Day seven you'll take a tour of Santiago plus a cooking class.

Day eight you'll travel further north, stopping in UNESCO World Heritage mountain towns like Lugo and Oviedo, which are famous for their medieval town centers and Roman ruins. Day nine you'll reach the coast of Basque Country and the city of Bilbao, which sits on an estuary. It's home to a well-preserved historic center and, of course, the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, a marvel of modern architecture. You'll visit these locales on a guided city tour.

On day 10 you'll enjoy a drive east along the gorgeous Basque coast to San Sebastian, a resort city whose many Renaissance and Belle Epoque buildings are a throwback to the late-19th/early-20th century. On a half-day tour on day 11, you'll visit famous buildings like the Victoria Eugenia Theatre and Maria Cristina Hotel, plus tour its historic heart, the Parte Vieja (Old Quarter). Naturally, you'll also indulge in San Sebastian's famous food scene. Day 12 you'll head home. Learn more

Itinerary #6: Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Now that you've seen what's possible with tours of the north of Spain and the Balearic Islands, it's time to consider a 13-day road-trip adventure to the south. This self-drive odyssey will take you from the capital of Madrid down into Spain's largest region, Andalusia.

Granada and the famous Alhambra
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Pick up Rental Car - Drive to Toledo - City Tour Toledo
Day 4 Drive From Toledo to Córdoba - Guided City Tour Córdoba
Day 5 Drive from Córdoba to Seville - Tapas Tour Seville
Day 6 Half-Day City Tour of Seville Seville
Day 7 Day Trip to Jerez - Sherry Tasting & Dancing Horses Seville
Day 8 Drive From Seville to Ronda - Stop in Arcos de la Frontera Ronda
Day 9 Drive from Ronda to Granada via the Caminito del Rey Granada
Day 10 Private Tour of the Alhambra - Ceramics Class Granada
Day 11 Drive from Granada to Málaga Malaga
Day 12 Depart Málaga  


But first, Madrid. Spain's capital is a singularly beautiful metropolis packed with culture, history, and delicious flavors. You'll experience the latter on the first day with an evening tapas tour. On day two it's a guided tour of Madrid de los Austrias, a historic plaza dating to the 16th century and which is home to the Royal Palace and the expansive Plaza Mayor

On day three you'll hit the road, first visiting Toledo and its famous mix of Muslim, Christian and Jewish architecture. Day four you'll drive to an equally culturally diverse historic city, Córdoba. Here you'll tour, among other landmarks, its Alcázar de los Reyes, an impressive 14-century palace with terraced gardens, fish ponds, and fruit trees.

After Córdoba, you'll drive to Seville and compare and contrast the tapas here with those in Madrid and elsewhere (hint: the portions in Andalusia are bigger). On day six you'll take a half-day tour of the city, which includes a stop at the largest Gothic church in the world, the 15th-century Seville Cathedral. The next day you'll spend the afternoon in the town of Jerez de la Frontera for an equestrian performance as well as a tasting of the region's famous sherry wine.

On day eight you'll drive south to Ronda, but first you'll stop at the traditional "white village" of Arcos de la Frontera. After strolling its old cobbled streets and enjoying a local lunch you'll arrive in Ronda and can spend the remainder of the day exploring this most romantic of mountaintop cities on a self-guided tour.

The next day you'll stop at the Caminito del Rey on your way to Granada. This is likely the most harrowing hiking trail in Spain, as its comprised of a network of walkways suspended against a gorge thousands of feet above the ground. In Granada, on day 10, you'll not only take a private tour of the famous Alhambra, but you'll also indulge your inner artisan with a private ceramic tile-painting class under the guidance of a local artist. 

On day 11 you'll drive from Granada to the coastal city of Málaga. Here you'll have time to stroll popular streets like Calle Marques de Larios and visit local attractions like the Picasso Museum, dedicated to the Málaga-born artist. Day 12 you'll depart. Learn more

Map

Map of 12 Days in Spain - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 12 Days in Spain - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas