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How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

Quebec City, Canada
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How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?


Here's another typical question... how should I split my time between Madrid and Barcelona?

I'm gonna have 17 days total... which is 14 in reality (2 days to get there... and 1 day to come back home... I'm from Canada), which is probably 13 days really because of the train ride between Madrid and Barcelona.

So, 13 full days to explore Spain... but I'm on a short notice as I want to leave May 20 (yeah, in a couple of weeks only) and I have nothing booked.

I was planning to fly in Madrid and out of Barcelona. I don't know why exactly, but I prefer to visit Madrid first then Barcelona... is the other way around a better idea?

Back to my main question, with 13 days, how would you split my time between those two cities.

I'm not into museums that much (only the "must sees"), I like to walk around, see beautiful architecture, learn about history...

I will probably do a day trip from both cities (or maybe two from both cities if worth it).

Any suggestions?

Right now, I'm thinking Madrid 5, Barcelona 8... or Madrid 6, Barcelona 7...

What do you think?

Is it too much or about right?

Any advices are appreciated!


Hermosa Beach...
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1. Re: How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

I'd consider spending a couple of nights in Salamanca. It's a beautiful town but at over 3 hours each way is too far for a daytrip from Madrid IMHO.

Depending on your travel style you may also consider a couple of nights in Toledo, Segovia, Girona or Tarragona versus daytrips. They're smaller cities and are very different after daytrippers have left.

If I had to choose 2 daytrips from Madrid I'd personally visit Segovia and Toledo. But there are many other possibilities - Avila, Cuenca, Aranjuez to name a few. For Barcelona my favorite daytrips are Girona and Tarragona. But lots of other possibilities - Monserrat, Sitges, Vic,.

Another idea would be to visit Valencia for 2-3 days. You can take the AVE from Madrid and then end up in Barcelona.

Winnipeg, Canada
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2. Re: How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

Based on my research on TA and the guidebooks I’ve been reading we’ll be looking to do the following on an upcoming trip. There are so many other options, it's almost overwhelming, but this is what we've narrowed things down to. It’s a loose itinery with some of the major sites. I’m sure we’ll find more or just enjoy some time wandering when we’re in each city.

6 days in Barcelona (includes day of arrival) – possibly including day trips to Monteserrat, Girona or Zaragova (overnight). Some things we’ll visit in Barcelona

• Guadi sites – Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Park Guell

• Barri Gotic/El Ribera sites – includes Cathedral, Picasso Museum and others

• La Rambla

• Barceloneta and beaches

• Mont Juic

• Hoping to see a FC Barcelona game if possible

4 days in Seville including a day trip to Cordoba – chose Seville as well based on all the wonderful things I’ve read. Some of the things we’ll visit in Seville

• Alcazar

• Cathedral

• Jewish Quarter

• Flamenco Show

• Explore Centro area and Barrios

4 days in Madrid including a day trip to Segovia and Toledo – some of the things we’ll visit in Madrid

• Royal Palace

• Museums – 3 world class museums in Madrid, all close to each other. Will visit Prado for sure and consider other two.

• Retiro Park

Will also consider a Real Madrid game.

I noticed someone from Hawaii is doing almost the exact same itinery – see her post at the bottom of page 2 for her itinerary.


What is missing from both of our trips in some time in Granada to visit Alhambra. Depending on what you’re interested in, you may consider swapping out a couple days from Barcelona or Madrid to do this.

I took out the Fodor’s Spain 2013 guide from our library and found it very helpful. I will definitely buy a copy before our trip. I also have Rick Steve’s Barcelona and Madrid/Toledo SnapShot guides.

Good luck and have a great trip!

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

We had 13 nights last October and we spent 6 nights in Madrid and 7 in Barcelona. Madrid was a revelation! We expected to enjoy Barcelona, but we loved our time in Madrid. We did a day trip to Segovia as well from Madrid. I would love to go back sometime. I've posted a trip report - if you click on my name, you'll find it.

Madison, Wisconsin
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4. Re: How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

Great suggestions so far. About the Alhambra. Would take a day+ out of your schedule. BUT there are two trains/day from Cordoba to Granada of 2 1/2 hours in length. Go to Renfe.com and read Online Guide for Buying Renfe ticket...Look to right hand side of this page for link. Also, read info about Alhambra on Granada forum. Consider booking tickets for Alhambra online in advance...to not waste ticket on vacation standing in line, stress about tickets, etc.

I would say squeeze the Alhambra in. You will not be disappointed esp. since you are visiting in a relatively, uncrazy time. Most families are dealing with school so lines, crowds will be sane and the weather should not (never say "never") be too hot.

Hermosa Beach...
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5. Re: How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

Is the OP interested in Andalucia? It's not mentioned in the original post. 14 days for Madrid, Barcelona and Andalucia would be a little tight but could be done. Madrid -4,Barcelona-4, Sevilla -4 and Granada -2. Train Madrd to Sevilla (daytrip to cordoba en route), train or bus Sevilla to Granada, fly Granada to Barcelona.

It's a little fast paced but would work.

Quebec City, Canada
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6. Re: How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

Wow, thanks for all the good suggestions.

The problem is that I'm leaving in less than two weeks... and I have nothing planned yet... hence why I was relying "only" on Madrid and Barcelona.

I'm sure Sevilla, Granada, Andalucia, etc... are worth it... but I'm afraid I won't have time to plan all this.

Right now, I need to book my flight ticket, my hotel in Madrid, my hotel in Barcelona and the train ride between Madrid and Barcelona. I'm on a budget and lots of hotels seem booked already... so I'm in a hurry.

That's why also I was relying on doing some day-trip from Madrid and Barcelona as it doesn't take much time to plan.

Beside what I listed above, are there other things I should definitely book before leaving, like some attractions, museums, tourist card, etc...

Thanks for all the help!

7. Re: How many days in Madrid and in Barcelona?

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