A week in Spain suggestions

We will be going on a week in Spain tour in September. Will be arriving 2 days earlier in Barcelona and staying 2 extra two days in Madrid. Looking for suggestions as to what else to see that Tauck does not cover. Would appreciate input from prior travelers since the itenirary does not give detailed information as to what exactly is covered. TIA


  • What are your interests?

  • Barcelona - For a day trip, you might research Montserrat. Other than the lovely, but quite busy, market on Las Ramblas you might enjoy venturing away from that area and exploring other neighborhoods.

    Madrid - For a day trip, consider Toledo. If remaining in Madrid, consider the museums. Plaza Mayor is a lovely area to stroll around in. San Miguel Market is great for wandering through and getting a bite to eat. The surrounding streets offer what I consider to be some of the best tapas bars in Madrid.

    As mentioned, activities are dependent on your interests.

  • If you only have 2 days in Barcelona, I would personally just stay there, especially if you like vibrant and colorful cities that feature architecture that is way different than other European cities. You can probably decide that in advance by looking at some pictures of it online. We loved the Palace of Catalan Music. We did not get a chance to see a performance there, but did take a tour inside which is worth it. We also walked by it at night and it is spectacularly lit up. The Parc Guell and the Gaudi houses are also really interesting. La Boqueria market is a lot of fun. We also really enjoyed the Picasso museum. You probably won't have time because this is a little further away from the historic center, but one of our favorite places was the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau. This was originally a hospital after the turn of the 20th century that was designed as a healing space to allow beauty, art and light to help patients get better. It got "modified", shall we say, during the difficult years. It is now an art space that is being slowly restored to its original design. The displays, especially the holographic displays that depict it in its original time, are very well done.
    I don't have much to say about Madrid, having spent very little time there, except to say that if you need food gifts or are seeking specialty foods, the food department of the department store chain called Corte Ingles is excellent. The have a grocery store but also a specialty food and gift section.

  • Per Wan, there is much to do in Barcelona and no need to spend a lot of your precious 2 days traveling. Modernista architecture is interesting and varied. Gaudi gets top billing, but he was not the only architect whose works are easy to find in Barcelona. Wan mentioned Hospital de Sant Pau. It is a fabulous site and under appreciated, which means under visited. We had it nearly to ourselves. The audio guide was very good. You can get a combined ticket for that and one of Gaudi’s great works Casa Mila also called La Pedrera. You can see both in one day. San Pau is an easy cab ride (and they are everywhere). Just show the driver your ticket and have your hotels business card for the ride back. (Cabs all accept credit cards, tap to pay). If you need a refreshment break after Sant Pau walk towards the Sagrada Familia (you can’t miss it) and there are cafes where you can sit outside and have a coffee or cold drink and be the only non-Catalans. The Picasso Museum is his pre-cubist works. His talent as a “conventional” painter was astounding. Buy tickets in advance or stand in a long line. The Boqueria is probably the only reason to visit Las Ramblas (watch your belongings!). It is fun and crowded. Nearby, less crowded is another Mercado, Santa Cristina. You can get directions from your hotel and you’ll actually be able to sample the goods whereas at Boqueria you are in competition with many others. In Madrid if you want espadrilles for yourself or a friend go to Casa Hernanz. It’s right near Plaza Mayor. The shoes are all hand made, very inexpensive. Don’t expect them to last long but they are fun. Stand in the long line the place is tiny. But they get you in pretty quickly. . The Thysen Museum and Reina Sofia (home to Guernica considered by many to be Pacasso’s singular work) are worth your time. You visit the Prado but if you really love art you may want to linger or return.It’s huge! The usual tour of the “masterpieces” takes about 2 hours. The cafe and bookstore are great. And Retiro Park is very large, very peaceful, great for strolling or just cooling your heels, having an ice cream and people watching. Have fun!

  • Please post a review when you return. This is one of the trips we are considering.

  • Thank you for all the suggestions. Considering we don't have a lot of time, I am definitely staying in the city. Trying to line up at least some of the places that Tauck misses during their tour of the city. As far as interests, I would love to hit most of the highlights. Shopping is not on the list but the suggestions of a sidewalk cafe sounds wonderful. Of course its impossible to see everything in two days and I will definitely will be coming back at a different time. Just want to get a feel for both Barcelona and Madrid the best I can. This trip is moving at a much faster pace that we usually prefer and we are limited in time we can add on. As a rule, I try to spend at least 4-5 days in each city to experience it. Will definitely post my review.
    Thanks again for everyone input

  • Have a wonderful time!

  • milmil
    edited August 17

    For any Gaudi related site* Buy tickets here in U.S -Park Guel limits visitor per hour and you will need an appointment.
    The hop on- hop off red buses are ideal to see around, they are reliable and do cover all most see. -

  • Folsomdoc, how did I forget Guernica. Definitely worth the trip, just for that one painting. No internet photo can do it justice.
    I also forgot to mention the Spanish hot chocolate served with the churros. We went to Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid. Yum.

  • We too are going on A Week in Spain trip at the end of September- so thank you all for sharing!

  • edited October 1

    To begin with, the tour in fantastic. They effortlessly squeeze 5 cities into the week and you don't feel too rushed. Yes, you do get a couple of early mornings, but there is no way we would have done it on our own within the same time frame. Every stop was fantastic and not to be missed. Thanks again to everyone who contributed with their advice. Took everything into account and prebooked Gaudi experiences ahead of time. I would also recommend, if you are staying extra days in Madrid, getting tickets to museums and Royal Palace before you leave. They do sell out. Tauck is misleading in mentioning visiting Royal Palace during the tour. We only saw it from outside. If you want to go in, its a separate tour. Another treat during our extra time in Madrid was Monet exhibit that will be there for a while. Definitely worth visiting. Again, getting tickets ahead of time is helpful. The combination of great group of people, amazing TD Ronny and delicious sangrias resulted in an incredible week not to be forgotten.

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