Explore some of Spain's most treasured destinations, starting in the buzzy capital of Madrid where you'll discover its multicultural neighborhoods and nosh on tapas in the city's literary quarter. Then fly to the Canary Islands, enjoying idyllic coastal towns, white-sand beaches, lively port cities, and locally-caught cuisine, plus trips to smaller islands and leisurely days spent at renowned beaches. Get active with surf lessons, scuba-diving excursions, a guided tour of the unique terrain in Timanfaya Park, camel rides along sand dunes, and a hike to the highest peak on the islands.

Highlights

  • Go surfing or scuba diving in Lanzarote's year-round warm waters
  • Enjoy tapas and tintos while exploring Madrid's unique literary quarter
  • Ride a camel on the sand dunes and along the beach in Corralejo
  • Discover the lunar-like terrain of Timanfaya Park with a private guide
  • Hike to the highest peak on the Canary Islands and enjoy the incredible views

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Madrid Madrid
Day 2 Explore Madrid With a Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 3 Fly from Madrid to Fuerteventura Fuerteventura
Day 4 Enjoy a Camel Ride Along Corralejo Dunes Fuerteventura
Day 5 Lounge on the Famous Caleta del Fuste Beach Fuerteventura
Day 6 Outdoor Adventures in Jandia Park and Morro Jable Fuerteventura
Day 7 Depart Corralejo for Lanzarote Lanzarote
Day 8 Explore Timanfaya Park Lanzarote
Day 9 Day Trip to La Graciosa - Cave Experience Lanzarote
Day 10 Fly From Lanzarote to Madrid Madrid
Day 11 Depart Madrid  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Madrid

Madrid at night
Madrid at night

Welcome to Spain!

Upon arrival in Madrid, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in before heading out to explore. You'll definitely want to see some of the highlights, including the Puerta del Sol, one of the most historic and expansive plazas in the city. Nearby is Plaza Mayor, an excellent spot to sit and relax while enjoying tapas, cañas, and tintos.

After a little reprieve, find your way to Madrid's Fountain of Cibeles, which features a sculpture completed in 1782 depicting Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility, riding in a chariot pulled by lions. Down the block is Gran Vía, an impressive boulevard filled with stunning architecture and theaters showcasing plays and musical productions. If you're more of a museum person, head to the world-famous Museo Nacional del Prado. Nearby you'll find El Retiro Park, which hosts the stunning Crystal Palace.

When night falls, be sure to indulge in Madrid's world-class culinary scene. If you want to dine amid history, head to Botín. Ernest Hemingway described it in his seminal novel, The Sun Also Rises, as the best restaurant on Earth. 

Other great restaurant options in Madrid include:

  • San Mamés: People come to this family-run tavern to sample expertly-prepared cuisine that's traditional tp Madrid. Dishes include callos a la madrileña (a hearty stew of beef tripe, chickpeas, and chorizo), Cantabrian anchovies in pil pil sauce, and bacalao con langostinos (garlic cod with shrimp).

  • Lakasa: Located in Chamberí, a neighborhood heavy with museums and galleries, is this locally-celebrated gem. Its intimate space means it's moody and chic, yet it also has a solid menu featuring fresh seasonal produce, wild game, and homemade, rustic stews.

  • La Terraza del Madrid: This rooftop restaurant is sure to impress with two Michelin stars, a location in a swanky private club, and a 21-course tasting menu. Definitely book in advance and be sure to wear a jacket and tie, or they'll turn you away at the door.

Day 2: Explore Madrid With a Tapas Tour

Traditional Tapas in Madrid
Traditional Tapas in Madrid

The morning and afternoon are yours to explore the charms of Madrid's lively and diverse city center. Enjoy the multicultural atmosphere of the city's main neighborhoods, including Malasaña, Chueca, La Latina, and Lavapies by meandering the streets, popping into shops, and sitting in charming parks.

If you have time, take a stroll in one of Madrid's largest and most beloved parks, El Retiro. Here you can rent a rowboat on the lake, visit the Palacio de Velázquez to view its rotating contemporary art exhibits, and take in the beautiful Crystal Palace, which gleams at sunset.

In the evening, you'll dig into Madrid's culture on a food tour. A local guide will lead you on a 2-hour walking excursion that stops in some of the city's best tapas bars. On this tour, you'll visit Barrio Las Letras, which is known as the "literary quarter." This historic neighborhood in the city center was once home to Spanish lit legends like Cervantes and Quevedo. Besides visiting some historic sights, you'll also stop on Calle Huertas for a bite at one of the many tapas bars that line the street.

Day 3: Fly from Madrid to Fuerteventura

Views of the stunning Bay of Corralejo
Views of the stunning Bay of Corralejo

Welcome to the beautiful Canary Islands! 

Upon arrival at the airport in Fuerteventura, you'll collect your rental car and make your way to the northwest side of the island. After settling into your accommodation, start your exploration in El Cotillo's city center where you can meander the maze-like streets. If you're interested in the history of the area, stop at the hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje or the 17th-century fortress known as El Tostón.

El Cotillo is home to many stunning beaches, the largest being Playa del Castillo. Stroll along the sandy shores or enjoy a dip in its emerald waters. The coves of the northern beaches, particularly La Concha, provide excellent swimming.

In the evening, drive out to Corralejo, a quaint fishing village known for the large dunes along its incredible beaches, as well as the scenic area of Corralejo Natural Park. Enjoy local seafood here, eating at one of the restaurants or cafes near the port.

Day 4: Explore Corralejo Dunes With a Camel ride

Enjoy a Camel Ride Along Sand Dunes
Enjoy a Camel Ride Along Sand Dunes

After breakfast, visit Corralejo Nature Reserve, a long dune field which extends from Puerto Remedio beach all the way to the small peninsula of La Salina. It constitutes a large habitat with numerous protected and endemic species.

One of the best ways to enjoy the dunes is to ride a camel along the beach and through the park (short option), or up to the top of Roja Mountain (long option). The camels are always under the supervision of trained and experienced guides, who will take care of you at all times. Your only duties are to enjoy yourself and photograph the amazing  landscapes, if you wish.

In the late afternoon, head back to your accommodation to freshen up before enjoying dinner in El Cotillo.

Day 5: Lounge on the Famous Caleta del Fuste Beach

Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura

Today you'll enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches on the Canary Islands: Caleta del Fuste. With fluffy, golden sand and calm, emerald waters, it's the perfect place to swim and sunbathe. The beach is well-equipped with umbrellas, sun loungers, and showers, as well as a pleasant promenade with many restaurants and bars. If you're aching to be a bit more active, local clubs offer scuba-diving excursions and windsurfing classes.

After you've had your beach fix, head over to Puerto del Rosario. This lively city is the capital of Fuerteventura, filled with quaint houses, white-washed streets, and picturesque promenades. The deep-blue water in the port will captivate you as you watch the boats come and go, and the windsurfers fly into the air. Get out of the city center by exploring some of the surrounding neighborhoods and villages. Colorful buildings and rocky coastline meet local shops and cafes. A perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon.

Day 6: Outdoor Adventures in Jandia Park and Morro Jable

Jandia Natural Park's Unique Landscape
Jandia Natural Park's Unique Landscape

Today you'll have a full day to explore the beauty of Jandía Nature Reserve, which is set in the township of Pájara in the south of Fuerteventura. This area is renowned for its stunning beaches and a range of leisure activities. You can create your own itinerary, or sign up for guided excursions. Not only is there plenty to see along the shore, but the southern part of the island also encompasses some stunning interior villages and beaches.

If you prefer hiking, a great option is to brave the slopes of Pico de la Zarza, the island's highest point above sea level at 2,600 feet (807 m). The southern slopes of this great mountain are gentler and broader, with hills, crests, and valleys to enjoy. You can also walk through lower portions of the park, where you'll find unique plant and bird species, including kestrels, stonechats, Houbara bustards, broad-winged hawks, Egyptian vultures, and more. Lizards, golden skinks, geckos, and an array of insects are also present in the park.

End your adventure in the town of Morro Jable, home to one of the largest beaches on the island. The water is an unreal hue of turquoise and you can enjoy a seaside dinner before heading back to your accommodation.

Day 7: Depart Corralejo for Lanzarote

Unique Rock Formations of Lanzarote
Unique Rock Formations of Lanzarote

It's time to say goodbye to Fuerteventura and make the journey via ferry to the island of Lanzarote, where the town of Playa Blanca will be your hub for the remainder of the trip.

Upon arrival, settle into your hotel and start your exploration of the charming  island. Lanzarote is known for its black-sand beaches and incredible cave systems, such as Cueva de los Verdes and Cueva de los Jameos del Agua. You can also enjoy time in the art gallery and restaurant known as LagOmar, which is set in natural red-stone lava caves.

If you wish to be a bit more active, you can play golf amidst volcanic lava and cacti, go scuba diving, surf with waves that are considered some of Europe's best, and/or go deep-sea fishing in the local waters.

Day 8: Explore Timanfaya Park

The Lunar-Like Landscape of Timanfaya Park
The Lunar-Like Landscape of Timanfaya Park

After breakfast, meet your private driver at your hotel and transfer to the famous Timanfaya Park, where a guide will take you through some of Europe's most unique landscapes. Made up of volcanic soil and completely void of vegetation, the extreme roughness and quirky rock formations, along with the red-hued earth, will feel otherworldly. 

During the guided tour, you'll visit the breathtaking Montaña Rajada where you can observe a vast sea of lava that spreads out to the coast. Its impressive undulations and shapes are all uniquely formed by the lava flow. But perhaps what is most impressive of all is the way the local people have learned to coexist with this unusual, barren landscape.

Day 9: Day Trip to La Graciosa - Cave Experience

Sandy Streets of La Graciosa
Sandy Streets of La Graciosa

After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, make your way to the small port of Orzola for a day trip to the island of La Graciosa. Riding a bike is a great way to get some exercise and learn the layout of this amazing little island. Take time to wander, get lost, and try some of the local products in the shops, boutiques, and restaurants lining the beaches.

Leave the main town behind and enjoy the surrounding countryside, which has a number of fantastic trails and footpaths. In the afternoon, you'll return to the ferry and head back to Lanzarote. Upon your arrival, opt to visit the house-museum, The Mirador del Rio, or the fascinating Cueva Jameos del Agua caves, envisioned by artist and architect César Manrique.

Day 10: Fly From Lanzarote to Madrid

Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

It's time to say hasta luego to the stunning Canary Islands. After breakfast, you'll head to the airport to catch your flight from Arrecife back to the bustling capital of Madrid.

If you didn't already see some of Madrid's highlights at the beginning of the trip, consider the following for your last night in the bustling city:

  • Peruse the world-famous museum, El Prado.
  • Row a boat around the lake in El Retiro park.
  • Discover the favorite fuentes of Neptune Fountain, Fuente de Cibeles, Apollo Fountain, and Fuente de los Galápagos.
  • Enjoy the evening lights of the Royal Palace, the Dobod Temple, and Plaza España.

When you're finished wandering the city, settle into a cafe for some tapas before dinner. With so many options, it's best to be your own explorer. Grab a small beer (caña) or a small glass of wine (tinto) at numerous spots. Just meander and discover!

Day 11: Depart Madrid

Aerial View of Beautiful Madrid
Aerial View of Beautiful Madrid

In the morning, enjoy one final breakfast in Spain before your driver transfers you to the airport. Here you can catch your flight home or to your next destination.