I went to Spain last October and spent exactly 3 weeks there. Of course, I did not stay in one city only but traveled the country extensively. I have previously been to Barcelona, so this time I decided to explore other parts of Spain. My 3 weeks in Spain itinerary includes a visit to Madrid, roaming through Andalusia and a trip to Salamanca, the university city.
Below I give a detailed itinerary of those 3 weeks I spent in Spain. If someone meticulously counts the exact number of days I spent in those cities, it won’t be 21 exactly. The reason is simple: it takes time to travel between the cities, hence the difference.
Of course, this itinerary is a kind of a perfect one, but I did not follow it unconditionally. You can add tourist attractions you want to see and take out places you don’t want to spend your time on. It is just to give you an idea what you can do with your time in Spain. Just keep in mind that opening and closing times of tourist attractions in Spain depend on the season, that is in winter they close earlier, while in summer they are open until late. And don’t forget about days off!
3 weeks in Spain itinerary: 3 days in Cordoba
I decided to start my trip with Cordoba. It has been a dream of mine for many years, and I really wanted to see its Flower Festival. Unfortunately, I came there in October, while the festival is in May, so I did not get to see Cordoba in its full splendor, but I enjoyed the city very much. It is small and cozy, with narrow streets where pots with flowers hang on the walls and colorful bougainvillea spreads over one’s head. I would love to go back to Cordoba one day again, just to indulge again in its incredibly delicious food scene.
Why I started with Cordoba? Because my flight was to Madrid, and I decided to take Renfe train early in the morning from Atocha to Cordoba. Madrid was the last city in my itinerary, as my flight back home was from there.
I wrote a very thorough guide on my visit to Cordoba and it contains loads of useful info. You can read it here. And I have another piece on places to visit in Cordoba with detailed information about the tourist attractions, and it includes all the places I mention in the itinerary.
While in Cordoba, I stayed in a small hotel Funky Cordoba. My room was very simple, just a bed, a chest of drawers and a clothes rack. But the most important thing for me is that I had a private bathroom, the rest did not matter 🙂
And here are the places one has to visit in Cordoba at all costs (well, in my opinion, of course): Mezquita, Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Viana Palace.
Mezquita – Catedral de Córdoba
Galeria de la Inquisicion
Capilla Mudéjar de San Bartolomé
Walls of Cordoba
Jardines de Agricultura/Jardines de Victoria
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Baños del Alcázar Califal
Windmills of Cordoba
Puerta del Puenta
Torre de La Calahorra
Puente de Miraflores and Miraflores Park
Palacio de la Merced
Palacio de Viana
Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba
Roman temple of Cordoba
Plaza de la Corredera
Calleja de las Flores
Casa de Las Cabezas
If you have time, visit the Botanical Gardens: I did not manage to see them, and the reason is my laziness not the lack of time 🙂
3 weeks in Spain itinerary: 3 days in Granada
Granada, the city that is known for the majestic Alhambra is an absolute must. Frankly, it was the most crowded place I visited in Spain during these 3 weeks: there were crowds occupying every inch of the city’s main street Carrera del Darro that runs along the Alhambra.
Of course, many people, and I am one of them, go to Granada to see the famous Moorish fortress, which is a spectacular sight. The most beautiful parts of the Alhambra, in my opinion, are the Nasrid Palaces and the gardens. The gardens are amazing, with roses and other flowers I do not know the names of; pomegranate, persimmon and orange trees.
The cathedrals of Granada are worth a visit very much. And there are many observation decks to enjoy the view of Granada from above.
I took an ALSA bus that runs directly from Cordoba to Granada and it takes about 3 hours. I love ALSA buses and used their service whenever it was possible.
In Granada I stayed in a lovely hostel White Nest Hostel. There were 2 bunk beds in the room and a private bathroom, and everything was spotless. And I had lovely neighbours! I wrote more about it and other important things in my guide to Granada.
I have a long list of tourist attractions in Granada here. Places not to miss in Granada are the Alhambra, Ermita San Miguel Alto observation deck, the Cartuja Monastery and Basílica de San Juan de Dios.
Abadía del Sacromonte
Ermita de San Miguel Alto
Mirador de San Nicolas
The observation deck of Mezquita Mayor de Granada
Palacio de los Olvidados
• Palacios Nazaries
• Palace of Charles V
Paseo de los tristes
Palacio de los Cordova
La Cartuja Monastery
Puerta de Elvira
Basílica de San Juan de Dios
Monasterio de San Jerónimo
Royal Chapel of Granada
3 weeks in Spain itinerary: 2 days in Malaga
Malaga! I love it so much! I went there just because I had 2 days to fill in my itinerary, and Malaga seemed to be a perfect destination as it was between Granada and Ronda. And the only thing I regret is that I had only two days there.
Malaga is a lovely coastal city with blue sea, Malagueta beach, delicious food scene, lush greenery in parks, colorful flowers and amazing samples of Moorish architecture.
As I had two days in Malaga and wanted to see its historical sights, I spent only a couple of hours at the beach. It was cold for swimming, but still the brave ones dared to bathe. Anyway, sitting on the beach and watching the waves hit the shore is a very soothing experience. Jeez, I wish I were there now!
I stayed in a room with 3 bunk beds in Alcazaba Premium Hostel. Again, I was lucky to have wonderful neighbours. The room and the private bathroom were spotlessly clean, and the guy at the reception was really nice.
To get to Malaga I took the ALSA bus from Granada. It is a direct bus and it takes about 2 hours to get there. Again, I wrote more about it in my post on my stay in Malaga.
I have a long list of Malaga’s tourist attractions and places not to miss are the Malagueta beach, Alcazaba, Gibralfaro and the central Park of Malaga.
Santa María de la Victoria Basilica
Capilla del Agua
Plaza de la Merced/Torrijos Monument
Picasso Museum Málaga
Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga
Parroquia de los Santos Mártires
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón
Plaza de la Constitucion/Fuente de Genova
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista
Mercado Central Atarazanas
Teatro Romano – Alcazaba
Castillo de Gibralfaro: Mirador del Gibralfaro
Parque de la Alameda
Puerto de Malaga/ La Farola
Playa la Malagueta
3 weeks in Spain itinerary: 1 day in Ronda
I included Ronda to my bucket list just because I wanted to personally see THAT bridge and the gorge. Frankly, alongside with Cordoba, it was the main reason I chose Andalusia.
I took Los Amarillos bus from Malaga to Ronda in the morning and the evening bus of the same company to Seville. Very convenient, actually, as I felt that one day is enough for Ronda.
I fell in love with Ronda and you will do it too when you see its white buildings, old bridges, the famous gorge and the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Seriously, those mountains were the best thing I saw in Ronda!
I have a long recount of my day in Ronda including some funny things that happened to me there. And this is my itinerary:
Mirador de Ronda
Casa del Rey Moro
Felipe V Arch
Puerta de Almocábar
Palacio de Mondragón
El Tajo Gorge
3 weeks in Spain itinerary: 3 days in Seville
Ah, Seville with its flamenco dancers! I went there to see the famous Plaza de Espana as I was totally blown away by its pictures. And it lived up to my expectations!
Only when I came to Seville, I understood that the main beauty of the city is in its many palaces. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Real Alcazar, but the Duenas Palace, Lebrija Palace and the so-called casas are those places where I left my heart. Many movies were filmed in the famous buildings of Seville, so this is another reason to visit it.
When it comes to accommodation, Seville is expensive. I searched booking.com back and forth, but I could not find anything suitable within my budget, so I turned to Airbnb (click here for a discount on your first booking with AirBnB). I booked a room in a Sevillian house, and the main cathedral was about 400 meters away. I have a longer guide on my 3 days in Seville here.
Anyway, I have some alternatives for you in case you opt for hotel:
– For You Hostel offers dormitories with bunk beds for 20-30 EUR per night and double and family rooms for 140 EUR per night.
– La Banda Rooftop Hostel offers dormitories with bunk beds for 30-35 EUR per night.
– Apartamento junto Giralda is an apartment perfect for 3 people and it is very close to the main cathedral of Giralda. Prices start with 70 EUR per night for the whole apartment.
– NineSuits is another apartment in the center of Seville: the prices start with 70 EUR per night.
– Hotel Alminar is a 3-star hotel in the center of Seville with single and double rooms for 110-155 EUR per night.
– Hotel Gravina 51 is a 4-star hotel with exquisitely designed rooms. They have king suites and superior suites, with some rooms having access to the terrace. Of course, it comes at a price: the range is 120-300 EUR per night depending on the room type.
When it comes to places to see, all of them should be visited, especially the palaces. Frankly, I would choose to stay 4 days in Seville and explore the city in a more leisurely pace. I saw all those places I mention below (except Triana Barrio). I can’t say I rushed, but I would have loved to have 1 day more. You can see more info on Seville’s tourist attractions here.
Basílica de la Macarena Museum
Muralla de Sevilla
Monasterio de Santa Paula Museum
Palacio de las Dueñas
Las Setas De Sevilla
Palacio de Lebrija
Casa de Pilatos
Iglesia de San Ildefonso
Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Torre del Oro
Palacio de San Telmo
Plaza de España
Parque de María Luisa
Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla
Iglesia del Salvador
Catedral de Sevilla: La Giralda, Puerta del Perdón y el Patio de los Naranjos
Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes
Plaza del Triunfo
Patio de Banderas
Juderia – Santa Cruz
Casa de Salinas
3 weeks in Spain itinerary: 3 days in Salamanca
I think I told it a couple of times already, but the main reason I chose Salamanca over other cities is its university that offers courses of the Spanish language. So, my visit to Salamanca was a kind of exploratory mission to see if I could spend a month or two there without getting bored. In the end, I decided against this idea.
When I came to Salamanca, it was the end of October already. After 30 degrees in Andalusia, it was really cold in Salamanca, cold and windy. I was not prepared for this weather, so my first outing was a failure: I had to come back to the hotel and put on everything suitable I had with me.
So, what is Salamanca? To me it is a city with thick and tall walls, the old cathedral with its medieval charm, a magnificent courtyard in the Convent of St Stephen, Jesuitas Park, a lovely park outside the historical part of the city and Café Corrillo with yummy tapas.
To get to Salamanca I took ALSA bus from Seville. It was a comfortable but long ride, about 7 hours, but at that moment, it was the best option.
I stayed in Hostal Escala Luna and I have only good words about it. I had a huge bed, private bathroom, everything was clean, and the hotel was right in the city center. More info about my 3 days in Salamanca is here, and you can find a long list of Salamanca’s tourist attractions here.
Plaza de Anaya
Catedral Vieja e Nueva
Cueva de Salamanca
Huerto de Calixto y Melibea
The Roman Bridge
Iglesia de San Marcos
Iglesia de San Martín
Convento de San Esteban
Convento de las Dueñas
Parque de los Jesuitas
Torre del Clavero
Patio de Escuelas
Escuelas Menores: el cielo de Salamanca
Museo de Salamanca
Casa de las Conchas
Clerecía + Scala Coeli
Iglesia de la Purísima
Colegio Arzobispo Fonseca
3 weeks in Spain itinerary: 4 days in Madrid
Well, Madrid is the capital of Spain, and it should definitely be visited at least once. In my case, it was overshadowed by Barcelona and I did not know much about it. Well, I knew that Prado Museum is in Madrid, but that’s it. Only when I started researching the tourist attractions, I found about the Royal Palace, Retiro Park, its amazing plazas, markets with delicious food and the Temple of Debod.
I spent 4 days in Madrid, and I am still not sure if it was enough. I saw the main places of interest, but I could probably use another day. What I missed is the cable car to the hill and I deeply regret that I did not do it. Well, another reason to come back 🙂
I am not going to recommend the hotel I stayed at as I have some objections, but I have a list of places that could serve as a good alternative. What I advise you to do is to read the reviews first:
Hostal Delfina – a hotel offering rooms with private bathrooms right in Gran Via.
Fuencarall Rooms – a hotel offering rooms with private bathrooms not far from Gran Via.
Hostal Las Murallas – a hotel offering rooms with private and shared bathrooms not far from Gran Via.
Far Home Plaza Mayor – a hotel with private and shared bathrooms at Tirso de Molina subway station.
Hostal Mayor – a hotel with private bathrooms close to the Royal Palace.
Hostal Oriente – a hotel with private bathrooms close to the Royal Palace.
Hostal Inn Madrid – a hotel offering rooms with private bathrooms not far from Gran Via.
I came to Madrid’s Chamartin station by train from Salamanca. It is a direct train operated by Renfe, the state-owned company. The road took about 1,5 hours. I have a longer post with loads of useful information on Madrid and a list of free tourist attractions in the city.
Places not to miss in Madrid: the Temple of Debod, the Rosaleda, the Royal Palace and the Botanical Garden.
Mercado de San Miguel
Palacio Real de Madrid
Muralla Arabe and Parque Emir Mohamed
Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande
Climb to the 9th story of the El Corte Ingles Shopping Center for the free view of Madrid
Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales
Plaza de España
Egyptian Temple of Debod
San Antonio de la Florida Chapel
Plaza de Colón
Museo Arqueológico Nacional
Mercado San Anton
Plaza de Cibeles
Puerta de Alcala
El Retiro Park (a half of the park)
San Jerónimo el Real
Museo Nacional del Prado
Park at Paseo del Prado
Royal Botanical Garden
El Retiro Park (the other half of the park)
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