In sixteen days you could experience two or even three different regions of Spain. You can combine a highlights tour of Madrid, Barcelona, and Andalusia with an island hop around the Balearic Islands. There's also the option for a self-drive road trip to either Basque Country or southern Spain, and you could indulge your appetites by visiting the best tapas bars and taking the best wine tours in the country.

Itinerary #1: Best of Spain - Barcelona, Madrid, & Seville

On the one hand, this highlights itinerary is a “greatest hits” tour of Spain. On the other, the lengthy timeframe allows you to go on plenty of side trips and enjoy cultural activities that most tourists never get to experience.

Madrid's Royal Palace
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Private Guided Art Walk and Artisan Tour Madrid
Day 4 Day Trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 5 Private Transfer from Madrid to Córdoba Córdoba
Day 6 Córdoba Private City Tour - Transfer to Seville Seville
Day 7 Private City Tour of Seville Seville
Day 8 Olive Oil Tour - Evening Flamenco & Tapas Experience Seville
Day 9 Iberian Farm Experience - Sherry Wine Tour Seville
Day 10 Private Transfer to Ronda - Wine Tour Ronda
Day 11 Hiking Ronda - Transfer to Granada Granada
Day 12 Private Tour of the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens Granada
Day 13 Flight from Granada to Barcelona - Private Cycling Tour Barcelona
Day 14 Visit Park Güell & Sagrada Família Barcelona
Day 15 Boqueria Market Guided Tour - Cooking Class Barcelona
Day 16 Depart Barcelona  

On day one, you’ll start experiencing Spain’s capital right away on a self-guided Madrid city tour. Days two and three involve private guided tours and art walks of the famous El Prado Museum. You’ll see the most famous sights, like the Royal Palace and Madrid’s green lung, El Retiro Park, but you’ll also stop in at the workshops of local artisans. These include masters of craftsmanship producing everything from flamenco guitars to bullfighters’ costumes.

Day four you’ll leave Madrid for the countryside and the medieval city of Toledo, a real treat due to its mix of Moorish, Jewish, and Catholic architecture. On day five you’ll head south from Madrid to Córdoba, located in Spain’s Andalusia region, where the merging of Moorish and Catholic history are most pronounced. You’ll see it yourself on day six with tours of Córdoba’s mosque-cathedral, the Mezquita, and its Alcázar of Christian Monarchs.

Then it’s off to the capital of Andalusia: Seville. On days eight and nine you’ll not just enjoy traditional tapas and an authentic tango show, but you’ll take day trips to olive-oil estates and Iberian ham farms for tastings. Days 10-12 you’ll visit the mountain-top city of Ronda and hike its surrounding hills, plus you’ll tour the famous Alhambra palace that’s perched atop the city of Granada.

Your journey takes a northward turn as on day 13 you’ll fly to Barcelona. There’s no downtime as right away you’ll discover the city’s historic neighborhoods, like Barrio Gótico (Gothic Quarter), on a bicycle tour. Days 14 and 15 you’ll enjoy an architecture tour of the most iconic Catalan-modernism buildings designed by Gaudí followed by sampling the flavors of Barcelona on a food tour of its markets. On day 16 your great tour of Spain ends with your departure from Barcelona. Learn more.

Itinerary #2: Spain Highlights & Balearic Islands

The only way a tour of Spain's highlights could be better is if you throw in a trip to the Balearic Islands. On top of visits to famous landmarks, you'll also enjoy day trips to historic cities like Toledo, olive-oil tours, wine tastings, and of course lazing on the sun-kissed beaches of Menorca and Mallorca.

Sail around the coasts of the Balearic Islands
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid - Optional Guided Art Walk Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Day Trip to Toledo Madrid
Day 4 Train from Madrid to Seville - Flamenco & Tapas Experience Seville
Day 5 Private City Tour of Seville Seville
Day 6 Day Trip to Córdoba - Private City Tour Seville
Day 7 Olive Oil Tour of Andalusia Seville
Day 8 Private Transfer to Granada - Wine Tour in Ronda Granada
Day 9 Private Tour of the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens Granada
Day 10 Flight from Granada to Menorca - Explore Menorca
Day 11 Horseback Riding in Menorca Menorca
Day 12 Flight from Menorca to Mallorca - Explore Palma Palma de Mallorca
Day 13 Guided Tour of Palma de Mallorca Palma de Mallorca
Day 14 Mallorca Sailing Tour Palma de Mallorca
Day 15 Hiking the Tramuntana Mountains - Village Tour Palma de Mallorca
Day 16 Depart Spain from Mallorca  

After arriving in Madrid, you'll spend two days touring famous sights like the Puerto del Sol and the Fountain of Cibeles. On day three you'll venture outside the capital to Toledo, a historic city home to well-preserved examples of medieval architecture like the former Roman palace Alcázar de Toledo, the 15th-century Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, and the 12th-century Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca.

On day four you'll take a train south from Madrid to Andalusia's capital of Seville, visiting its Old Town and indulging in authentic tapas plus taking in an evening flamenco show. Day five is a private city tour and on day six you'll make another day trip, this time to Cordóba, for a tour of its Moorish/Christian landmarks. On day seven you'll visit a working olive oil estate, and on day eight you'll leave for Ronda, a city atop a gorge that Ernest Hemingway called the most romantic in Spain.

After Ronda, it's then Granada, where you'll tour the Alhambra and its well-manicured Generalife Gardens. The next day you'll leave on a flight to Menorca, a small but gorgeous island in the Balearics. Over the next couple of days, you'll explore Menorca's white-sand beaches and hidden coves in your rental car and also go horseback riding along the coast. Day 12 you'll arrive at the Balearic's largest island, Mallorca, and over two days discover its capital of Palma and sail around the island.

Day 15 you'll strap on your hiking boots for an excursion around the Tramuntana Mountains, a beautiful range of limestone mountains on the northwest side of the country. Expect incredible views overlooking the coast and Mediterranean. On day 16 you'll leave Mallorca for home. Learn more.

Itinerary #3: Spain North to South - Basque Country to Andalusia

For this overland journey in Spain, we’ve designed a route that allows you to visit the major highlights. It begins with city tours in Barcelona, continues with delicious food and famous museums in the Basque Country, stops in Madrid for culture and day trips, and finishes amid the historic Moorish/Catholic architecture of Andalusia.

San Sebastian, in Basque Country, is known for its food
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival - Exclusive Food Tour of Barcelona Barcelona
Day 2 Private Tour of Barcelona Barcelona
Day 3 Free Day in Barcelona or Optional Day Trip Barcelona
Day 4 Train from Barcelona to San Sebastian - Private City Tour San Sebastian
Day 5 Getaria Uncovered San Sebastian
Day 6 Day Trip to Bilbao from San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 7 Train from San Sebastian to Madrid - Dinner Out Madrid
Day 8 Historical and Cultural Tour of Madrid Madrid
Day 9 Free Day to Explore Madrid or Optional Day Trip Madrid
Day 10 Train from Madrid to Granada Granada
Day 11 Private Tour of the Alhambra & Evening Flamenco Show Granada
Day 12 Private Transfer from Granada to Seville - Via Ronda & Grazalema Cádiz
Day 13 Private City Tour of Seville Seville
Day 14 Free Day to Explore Seville Seville
Day 15 Train from Seville to Madrid - One Last Night in Spain Madrid
Day 16 Depart Spain from Madrid  

You’ll arrive in Barcelona, and over the next few days you’ll lose yourself in Catalan culture and food tours plus visit historic sights like the Magic Fountain of Montjüic and Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia cathedral. Day three it's a day trip to the Montserrat Mountains and the 16th-century monastery that sits atop them: Santa Maria de Montserrat.

Day four you’ll leave Catalonia on a train east to the Atlantic Coast and Basque Country. First, you’ll take a tour of the city of San Sebastian, strolling its Parte Vieja ("Old Quarter") and sampling the delicious tapas that are a fixture of the culture here. Days five and six involve a scenic coastal drive south and a wine tasting before reaching the city of Bilbao, most famous for being the home of the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum.

On day seven you’ll transfer south to Madrid and on day eight you’ll take a city tour where you can visit historic and enormous plazas like the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. On day nine you can explore Madrid some more or make the trip to Toledo, and on day 10 you’ll leave by train for Granada. Day 11 combines highlights of Granada in the form of an Alhambra tour as well as an evening Flamenco performance.

Day 12 you’ll leave Granada for Seville, but not before stopping off at Ronda for a wine tour and at Grazalema, an ancient village located in the national park of the same name. Days 13 and 14 include both guided and self-guided tours of Seville, and on day 15 you’ll return to Madrid by train for one last blowout evening in the capital before heading home on day 16. Learn more.

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Itinerary #4: Ultimate Food, Culture, & Wine Tour of Spain

The word “ultimate” is no mere hyperbole—it’s an apt description of this comprehensive culinary tour of Spain. It involves cooking classes in Barcelona, gourmet meals in and around Madrid, and indulging in the famed olive oil, wine, and tapas of the Andalusia region.

Seville is a lively city
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Spain - Self-Guided Barcelona Tour Barcelona
Day 2 Private Tour of Barcelona by Land & Air Barcelona
Day 3 Private Cooking Class with a Master Chef Barcelona
Day 4 Train from Barcelona to Madrid Madrid
Day 5 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 6 Free Day in Madrid - Evening Flamenco Experience Madrid
Day 7 Day Trip to Toledo – Private City Tour & Gourmet Lunch Madrid
Day 8 Train from Madrid to Seville Seville
Day 9 Private City Tour of Seville Seville
Day 10 Visit an Olive Oil Estate Seville
Day 11 Private Transfer to Málaga - Wine Tour in Ronda Malaga
Day 12 Pilgrimage from Málaga Malaga
Day 13 Day Trip to Granada - Tour the Alhambra Malaga
Day 14 Private Transfer from Málaga to Córdoba Córdoba
Day 15 Private City Tour of Córdoba Córdoba
Day 16 Private Transfer from Córdoba to Madrid - Departure  

This gourmand’s odyssey begins with your arrival in Barcelona. After getting a feel for the city with a self-guided tour, day two you'll get an aerial overview on a helicopter excursion. Day three you’ll dive into Catalan cuisine with a cooking class taught by a master chef and in which you’ll prepare traditional tapas.

Day four you’ll take a train to Madrid, and you can choose to celebrate your arrival with dinner out at Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world. After city tours and flamingo shows on days five and six, day seven you’ll road trip outside Madrid to the city of Toledo for a gourmet lunch at a rural estate.

You’ll arrive in Seville by train on day eight and will have time to explore the city before capping the evening at an authentic tapas bar. Day nine is an official guided tour of Seville’s famous sights, but on day 10 you’ll tour a working olive-oil estate that has been producing this liquid gold for hundreds of years.

Day 11 you’ll be chauffeured to the coastal city of Málaga and stop en route in Ronda for a tour of a winery located in a historic building that in the 16th century was a convent. You’ll experience rich Málaga heritage and folkloric culture when you join the romería (religious procession) from the city to the countryside on day 12. Then, on day 13, it’s a drive to Granada and a tour of the Alhambra.

On the morning of day 14, a driver will pick you up for the journey north from Málaga to Córdoba. After a guided tour of Córdoba’s sights on day 15, your guide will lead you on an evening culinary tour of the city’s best markets and tapas bars. Day 16 you’ll transfer from Córdoba to Madrid for your journey home, sated with memories of Spain and its incomparable flavors. Learn more.

Itinerary #5: Ultimate Northern Spain Road Trip

Hit the road on a 16-day adventure that covers some of Spain's most beautiful yet lesser-visited regions. It begins in Madrid and from there you'll head north into Spain's famous wine regions before ending up in Galicia and finally the northern Atlantic coast and unforgettable Basque Country.

Bilbao and the famous Guggenheim Museum, in Basque Country
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 Ribera del Duero Peñafiel
Day 4 Free Day in Ribera del Duero Peñafiel
Day 5 Drive to León - City Tour León
Day 6 Drive From León to Ribeira Sacra - Stop in Astorga Monforte de Lemos area
Day 7 Boat Tour of Ribeira Sacra - Drive to Vigo Vigo
Day 8 Tour the Cíes Islands - Drive From Vigo to Santiago Santiago de Compostela
Day 9 Santiago de Compostela - Cooking Class & City Tour Santiago de Compostela
Day 10 Drive to Lugo - City Tour & Gourmet Lunch Lugo
Day 11 Drive From Lugo to Oviedo Oviedo
Day 12 Drive From Oviedo to Bilbao - City Tour Bilbao
Day 13 Coastal Drive From Bilbao to San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 14 Half-Day Tour of San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 15 Day Trip to the Basque Countryside San Sebastian
Day 16 Depart Spain  

You'll have some to settle in after your arrival in Madrid, and in the evening your off on a tour of the best tapas bars. Day two you'll get a full day to explore the city on a guided tour of famous sights like Madrid de los Austrias, the 16th-century historic center of Madrid. This is where both the Plaza Mayor and Royal Palace are located.

On day three you'll hop in your rental car and head north from Madrid into Ribera del Duero wine country. You'll have the next couple days to enjoy horseback riding through vineyards, going on wine tours, and visiting the historic sights in the nearby village of Peñafiel. On day five you'll drive to Léon, a city that was founded during Roman times and which boasts an Old Town that abounds with medieval plazas and cathedrals.

It's time to enter Galicia, and on day six you'll drive to the Ribeira Sacra river valley while allowing for a quick stop in the town of Astorga. The next day you'll take a riverboat tour of  Ribeira Sacra and witness its famous terraced vineyards. Then you'll drive to the coastal port city of Vigo. This is the home base for your boat excursion to the nearby Cíes Islands on day eight. These isles are positively Caribbean in that they feature some of the whitest sands and crystal-clear water in Europe.

After arriving in Galicia's capital of Santiago de Composetala the night before, on day nine you'll see the city on a tour. Santiago is the famous last stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and you'll visit the endpoint at the  Cathedral of Santiago, which is home to the remains of Saint James the Great. You'll also take a cooking class and learn the secrets to great Galician cuisine. 

Days 10 and 11 you'll spend in the colorful mountain villages of Lugo and Oviedo before ending up at the coastal city of Bilbao on day 12. This marks your official arrival in Spanish Basque Country. In Bilbao, you'll explore its historic center while also enjoying a bit of the modern in the form of the Guggenheim Museum, the world-renowned museum designed by the legendary Frank Gehry.

On day 13 you'll take a coastal drive to San Sebastian, one of the most beautiful coastal resort cities in Europe. You'll then spend half of day 14 on a tour of this city, visiting the Parte Vieja (Old Town), La Concha Beach, and the Puente María Cristina bridge. Day 15 you'll head to the Basque countryside for a glimpse of local rural life, which includes stopping in at a local farm and learning how to make cheese. Day 16 you'll head home. Learn more.

Itinerary #6 Madrid & Southern Spain Road Trip

This comprehensive road trip will take you from the plazas and palaces of Madrid to the Moorish alcázars and Gothic cathedrals of Andalusia. In between, you’ll stop in the near-mythic region of La Mancha, home of one of fiction’s great protagonists, Don Quixote.

Sunset over La Mancha
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 Valdepeñas - Guided Tour of La Mancha Valdepeñas area
Day 5 Drive From La Mancha to Córdoba - Wine Tour Valdepeñas area
Day 6 Private City Tour of Córdoba Córdoba
Day 7 Drive from Córdoba to Seville - Tapas Tour Seville
Day 8 Half-Day City Tour of Seville Seville
Day 9 Day Trip to Jerez - Sherry Tasting & Dancing Horses Seville
Day 10 Drive From Seville to Ronda - Stop in Arcos de la Frontera Ronda
Day 11 Drive from Ronda to Granada via the Caminito del Rey Granada
Day 12 Private Tour of the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens Granada
Day 13 Day Trip to Andalusian Countryside - Tapas Cooking Class Granada
Day 14 Drive from Granada to Málaga Malaga
Day 15 Private Tour of Málaga - Visit the Picasso Museum Malaga
Day 16 Depart Málaga  

Upon arrival in Spain, you’ll hit the ground running with a couple of days of walking tours of the major sights, like the Royal Palace, El Retiro Park, and the Puerta del Sol. You'll also head out for a foodie tour of some of the best tapas bars in the city. On day three you’ll trade your walking shoes for four wheels when you hop in your rental car and head south from Madrid.

Your first stop is about an hour away, in the historic city of Toledo. This postcard metropolis abounds with well-preserved Gothic architecture, which harkens back to a time hundreds of years ago when Toledo was the capital of Old Spain. On a tour of the city, you'll witness a mix of Moorish, Christian, and Jewish landmarks. 

After Toledo, on day four, you’ll get back in the car and drive further south into La Mancha. This arid plateau region is home to protected wetlands, countless vineyards, and hilltop windmills that have become a symbol for Don Quixote. Your destination is the wine-producing region of Valdepeñas, but on the way you'll stop for a traditional Spanish lunch and participate in a Manchego cheese workshop. Day five you'll take a wine tour before continuing to Córdoba, in Andalusia. 

After seeing the sights in Córdoba, on day seven you'll drive to Seville. You'll celebrate your arrival with a tapas tour, (Andalusia is famous for their large portions), and the next day you'll walk around the city and visit, among other places, the Seville Cathedral, which is the largest Gothic church in the world.

Day nine you'll travel to the countryside to see a bit of horsemanship performed by Spain's Royal Equestrian Academy. The next day you'll hit the road again and visit Andalusia's famous "white villages" on your way to Ronda. The next destination is Granada, but first, you'll stop at the Caminito del Rey for a hike along a network of walkways suspended on a gorge over 2,000 feet above the ground. Day 12 you'll tour Granada's magnificent Alhambra.

Day 13 is a bit of a retreat as you drive to the countryside and spend the day at a traditional farmhouse surrounded hy orange groves. You'll also enjoy a rustic lunch of homemade tapas. Day 14 you'll drive to the coastal city of Málaga, the birthplace of Picasso, and on day 15 you'll visit a museum dedicated to the cubist master. Day 16 you'll depart Spain. Learn more

More Great 16-Day Spain Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your Spain trip? Check out these other 16-day Spain itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.

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Map of 16 Days in Spain - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 16 Days in Spain - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas