Over the summer of 2018 I took an amazing trip to Spain. We chose to visit Barcelona, Ronda, Granada and Seville.
We fell in love with each destination and Barcelona definitely felt like a second home. If you’re looking for a clean city to visit in Europe I would say Barcelona is just that. The streets are pristine, and the people that live in the city take pride in their area. Each region we visited had its own culture and beauty. Barcelona, being diverse and filled with art from Gaudi to Picasso, including beautiful history, gorgeous alleyways, cute parks and not to mention a fabulous beach area! Of course we visited La Sagrada Familia which is a MUST, I don’t want to post too many photos because it is something you have to see with your own eyes. The detail and the feelings that erupt while you’re in that place are unreal. We also opted to do the night tour of Casa Mila/ La Pedrera on our last night of the trip. It was an amazing, romantic and a super intimate experience. This tour included a brief history and details of the building with a special light projection show on the roof (with stunning views of the city) and champagne to cap the night off. We didn’t go inside Parc Güell or Casa Batlló or Barcelona Cathedral but they are definitely someplace you’ll want to visit even to just walk the premises and observe from the outside. We obviously ate some delicious food, I will list our favorite spots in the outline but I would definitely check out Mercado de La Boqueria, be a tourist and taste the fresh food and witness culture within each stand. In this area especially walking down las rambles and in front of the Barcelona Cathedral, keep your belongings secure, this is where pick-pocketers lurk. Enjoy a hike to montserrat, walk around the gothic quarter and stop into shops in la Gracia. Try to speak as much Spanish as you can everywhere you go, the locals really appreciate it. Most people do speak English though, especially in Barcelona, but if you find yourself having difficulty use google translate or gestures to help. I found myself in a conversation discussing food with a man strictly using animal sounds to determine the type of meat I was ordering. Anything goes! Here we spent 3 nights before setting off to the southern region; we eventually circled back for two nights before our flight home. Spending a total of 5 nights and 4 days in Barcelona.
The first stop we made in the south was Ronda in the Andalucia region. A quaint yet breathtaking city. We happened to hit it right, and were there for the Ronda Romantica (May Day) Parade and celebrations. During this time, thousands of people from neighboring towns parade down the streets of Ronda in traditional “romantic” clothing and represent their town with song, dance and surprisingly enough, liquor. It is really something to see the outfits and horses clad in tassels. Not to mention the delicious traditional food that is served in the street. The whole experience is to die for and if you plan to visit in the summer I would definitely look up when this celebration takes place- dates may vary year to year. Other than the parade, there was so much to take in; breathtaking views, beautiful wineries, the bull ring and of course the famous Puente Nuevo bridge. If you take nothing else from this article, please hear me on this tip; stay at the Molino Del Arco Hotel one of the most beautiful unique places I’ve stayed at. And visit the Joaquin Fernandez Bodega Winery, the husband and wife that own the winery were the most lovely people. With your tour they served a delicious lunch with all local, made from scratch, food. I will leave this Ronda segment with that, just go, thank me later. I would spend 2 nights in Ronda.
The next stop was Granada, the drive from Ronda was gorgeous with miles and miles of olive trees and just amazing mountains and waterfalls (if you can spot them). Also if you are worried about driving in Europe, in Spain they drive on the same side of the street as we do in the U.S. And in my opinion, the Spanish are more courteous drivers than we are. We only spent one night in Granada and had only planned to go to the Alhambra. I definitely would’ve booked more time there (maybe 2 nights) in retrospect. The city has a certain charm about it that made it unique. I think it was a combination of the Middle Eastern culture and the genuine friendliness of the people working and living in the city. If you are budgeting travelers this is the place for you. With every drink you order at a restaurant, they give you a free plate of food and in most places its a very generous portion. No matter where you go you MUST try the oxtail stew (I will attach our fave place), I know it sounds gross but its the regions specialty and I think its absolutely delicious! Now back to the Alhambra, this was my favorite historic site after those in Barcelona. You will learn more about American history and Spanish history than you ever could in any class. The mystery and detail in protecting the fortress is so intriguing. I can’t forget to mention how cute the resident cats (that now “rule the castle”) are. Definitely take your time moseying around the streets, walk into lantern shops and tea rooms and get lost in the culture, diversity and hipster vibes. I would spend 2 nights in Granada.
Our last stop before heading back to Barcelona and then back home was Seville. This city has so much to offer, you could spend days wandering and finding something new. Some people say it is their favorite place of all in Spain. In my opinion it was more crowded and dirtier than anywhere else we visited. But nonetheless, it was still a great destination with many aspects we enjoyed. Here we visited the Alcazar, if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll love this place and even if not, it is quite amazing and has such rich history. The gardens and the America checkpoint room were my absolute favorite. In the church across the street you can visit where Christopher Columbus is buried. The church itself has such history and is beautiful as well. The Plaza de España should also be at the top of your list. You could spend the whole day just wandering around the park and the building watching street flamenco shows. Speaking of flamenco, in Seville you have to see a real show we went to the Flamenco Museum to see a show at night where the venue is intimate and the performance is spectacular. I believe this is also a nice place to pay a quick visit to during the day. In another realm, if you want to see a real live bullfight or just visit the bullring, Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla is your place. Check in advance to schedule bullfight tickets. To get a more modern take of the town visit the Metropol Parasol. This park/attraction welcomes all types, skaters, parents, business people and tourists. This unique structure was erected from a historic site and is now a place where locals and tourists can enjoy magnificent vantage points with great views of the city. Seville is a popular place for street art and performers, while this can be entertaining please be weary of your surroundings and keep your belongings safe. I would spend 2 nights in Seville.
Barcelona 3 nights
Day 1: Take a Bus Tour (There are two big companies either are good) Be sure to utilize the coupons that come along with your bus tour booklet Visit Park Güell with bus transportation or stroll near the Arc de Triomf and Parc de Ciutadella
Day 2: Brunch at La Boqueria Visit La Sagrada Familia I highly suggest getting fast track tickets beforehand on http://www.getyourguide.com and explore around the Barcelona Cathedral Maybe explore the clubbing scene at night if you’re into it
Day 3: Hike to Montserrat and later stay local to hotel for dinner and drinks or visit Casa Mila or Casa Batlló
Flight to Malaga -Pick Up Rental Car – Drive to Ronda
Ronda 2 nights
Day 4: Settle at the hotel, go into the city, tour the bull ring and walk around the town
Day 5: Winery tour, go to as many wineries as your heart desires Talk to the hotel about horseback riding tours
Granada 2 nights
Day 6: Drive to Granada Walk around Albayzin Grab dinner or drinks that come with free food! Try Oxtail
Day 7: Tour the Alhambra get tickets at http://www.viatour.com
Seville 2 nights
Day 8: Drive to Seville Go to Plaza de España Go to Flamenco Show
Day 9: Visit the Alcazar and the Cathedral of Seville for both I highly suggest getting fast track tickets beforehand on http://www.getyourguide.com
Day 10: Visit the Metropol Parasol Flight to Barcelona
Barcelona 2 nights
Day 11: Spend a day at the beach
Day 12: Visit Casa Mila or Batlló try to do the night show at Casa Mila
Always check on momondo.com for the best rates and fares!!
I recommend staying at the Catalonia Born Hotel in the Gothic Quarter Barcelona https://www.cataloniahotels.com/en/hotel/catalonia-born
There is no other way to do it, stay at the Molino de Arco Hotel in Ronda https://www.hotelmolinodelarco.com/en/
Stay at the Barcelo Carmen Granada https://www.barcelo.com/en-us/barcelo-hotels/hotels/spain/andalusia/granada/barcelo-carmen-granada/
Stay at the Meliá Seville https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/spain/seville/melia-sevilla/index.html?esl-k=sem-google%7Cng%7Cc291880943721%7Cmb%7Ck%2Bmelia%20%2Bsevilla%7Cp%7Ct%7Cdc%7Ca50496017005%7Cg1060046561&&ds_rl=1263779&gclid=Cj0KCQjwj9LkBRDnARIsAGQ-hUcFAh0pZPSs3tgFcUPQNgM-kKNtf6P4t4hYLNAaTByqf3CbdO4Vn_YaAghZEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
Restaurants I Highly Recommend
- Santa Agustina- great drinks and tapas
- Casa Lolea- known for their sangria and delicious tapas, gets busy, make reservations
- Cervesería Catalana- amazing Tapas and Churros
- Alsur Café Palau- I just loved this little cafe by the Palau de la Música Catalana
- Restaurante Casa Delfín- great food nice to sit outside
- Albacara Restaurant- amazing views & best duck confit don’t get the asparagus app
- Panoramico Restaurant- another restaurant with great views and great food
- Legado Andaluci Bodega- everything here is yummy try the oxtail here!
- Génova- delicious tapas small plates my favorite was the duck
- La Bodega de la Alfalfa- friendly staff great drinks and tapas
The best part about this trip was that it was extremely affordable! We spent a total of $1,612.97 on airfare, car rental and hotels combined. Definitely keep checking prices on:
and the hopper app