With this Spain and Portugal itinerary, 14 days is the perfect way to get your feet wet by exploring two amazing countries. The best part is that this guide is the perfect combination of sightseeing and relaxation without any crazy long driving days because you don’t want to spend the majority of your trip stuck inside a car, right?
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And spoiler alert about this Spain and Portugal itinerary: there’s an option to also visit Morocco, Africa, and Gibraltar, too! Of course, you can always stay somewhere shorter/longer, but there’s just enough time allotted with this guide to unpack your bags and explore a city. You’ll feel like you experienced it, by seeing as many places as possible.
We took this 14-day Spain and Portugal road trip during our kids’ spring break in April, and it was the perfect time to visit. The weather was excellent, we did and saw so many cool things, and it totally filled our bucket to see and experience new cultures. Surprisingly, we all got along just fine, too. I was almost certain we’d be at each other’s throats, but it went off without a hitch. (To be transparent: I was the one who got grumpy on the last day.)
If you’ve been searching for a great plan for two weeks in Spain and Portugal, look no further.
Quick Tips for Visiting Spain and Portugal
- Dinner starts around 8 pm. Keep that in mind if you like to eat early or if you’re traveling with kids. Since we were in Spain and Portugal for two weeks we decided to embrace the culture and get into a new routine. We ended up enjoying an afternoon siesta (see below), having a snack around our normal dinnertime, and then enjoying a Spanish or Portuguese dinner. And truly: try to do this if at all possible. Towns come alive after 8 pm in a way that’s hard to describe. The entire vibe changes and there’s an incredible energy in the evenings.
- Siesta time! Expect places to shut down in the afternoon for siestas—a block of time devoted to rest. We noticed this in smaller towns, and even in the bigger cities, so plan accordingly. My advice: embrace it. You’ll likely be staying up later, so a mid-day rest isn’t the worst thing.
- English is spoken everywhere. We never had an issue speaking English, and many places offered English menus, too.
- We were there during “shoulder” season (spring 2022) and it was already very, very busy. I highly recommend a great travel bag or backpack that locks. It was nice to not be terribly worried about pickpocketers.
Where this Spain and Portugal Itinerary Starts and Ends
I came up frustrated and empty-handed when I started researching this trip—many Spain and Portugal itineraries suggest flying from one side of the country to the other (Barcelona to Madrid or Seville, for example), but we were jonesing for a good road trip within Spain and Portugal and didn’t want to hop on a second or third plane.
Yes, a plane might let us see even more in a short amount of time, but the scenery we saw, and the impromptu stops we made during those 14 days in Spain and Portugal were spectacular, and we would’ve missed out if we flew.
We bought one-way tickets on RyanAir and flew into Madrid, Spain. From there we rented a car and drove for the rest of our journey, making our way over to the west edge of Spain, into Portugal, down the coast, along the southern Portuguese edge, and back into Spain. We returned our rental car and flew out of Seville, Spain.
Pro tip: Renting a car would’ve been one of our biggest expenses for this trip. Instead, we used credit card points and got it for “free.”
Quick look: 14-Day Spain and Portugal Itinerary
Here’s a quick look at the exact route we used for our Spain and Portugal 14-day road trip.
- Day 0: Flew into Madrid (late flight)
- Day 1: Madrid all day (slept in Segovia, Spain)
- Day 2: Segovia, Spain
- Day 3: Drove to/explored Lisbon, Portugal
- Day 4: Lisbon, Portugal
- Day 5: Sintra, Portugal
- Day 6: Drove to Algarve, Portugal
- Day 7: Algarve, Portugal
- Day 8: Algarve, Portugal
- Day 9: Drove to Tarifa, Spain
- Day 10: Tarifa, Spain (alternative: day trip to Morocco)
- Day 11: Tarifa, Spain (alternative: day trip to Gibraltar)
- Day 12: Drove to Seville, Spain
- Day 13: Seville, Spain
- Day 14: Seville, Spain
- Day 15: Flew out of Seville early AF
This may look like A LOT, and while it was a long trip, keep in mind that you’re balancing touristy attractions with a decent amount of relaxation.
Day 0: Fly into Madrid
To kick off our two-week road trip around Spain and Portugal we flew directly into Madrid via RyanAir. We picked a late flight on purpose; intending to really start our trip the next day.
Pick up a Rental Car
Do you really need a car for this Span and Portugal itinerary? 14 days around two countries is a decent amount of land to cover, so we loved renting a car; it gave us the flexibility to change plans if needed. Parking was plentiful (we only had an issue once in Lisbon, but it was a holiday weekend, and we only ended up walking a little further than intended); we didn’t spend very much on tolls.
What sealed the deal for us was that we used credit card points, making the car rental free for the entire two weeks in Spain and Portugal.
PRO TIP: We used the mifold boosters for all three kids (aged 5, 7, and 9) on this trip. This solution worked out fantastic instead of bringing their boosters with us, and best of all: they lugged them in their own backpacks when we flew on the plane. This compact and backless booster is designed for kids ged 4+, 40-100 lbs and between 40-59″ tall. It’s also safety tested and globally regulated, meaning you can use it in every country except Australia and Taiwan
Where to Stay in Madrid
I thought I picked a place to stay near the airport, when, in fact, it was actually about 30 minutes away, and I wouldn’t recommend it. If I had a do-over I’d pick a spot near El Retiro, one of the largest parks in Madrid.
Day 1: Madrid, Spain
If you’re sticking with this Spain and Portugal itinerary, then you only have a day to spend in Madrid, so make the most of it and start your day early, trying to cover as much ground as possible.
What to do with One Day in Madrid
If you’re driving into the city, I suggest parking here for the day. We were only in Madrid for about 8 hours, but we packed a decent amount into our day.
Start your morning with a stroll through El Retiro; the park is huge and gorgeous, and if you’re lucky you’ll even catch some live musicians playing for tips.
We loved walking through here in the morning—it was fairly empty except for locals out for a morning run.
Explore the park (go on a paddle boat ride, or check out the Palacio de Cristal), or just make a bee-line across the street to the Museu Nacional del Prado.
Enjoy El Retiro Park and Royal Palace of Madrid during this Madrid Royal Palace and Retiro Park Guided Tour with an expert guide. You will have an opportunity to discover the Palace’s various rooms and expansive grounds of El Retiro.
No, you don’t have time to go into the museum (but you can if you have two days in Madrid); you’re going to get on a HoHo bus(the hop on, hop off bus, obviously).
Hop aboard, grab a seat up top so you can see the sights, and hop off whenever you’d like. We rode the tourist bus all around and still managed to clock around 20,000 steps.
There’s so much green space in Madrid, but since we parked near El Retiro, we spent time in that area the most.
Where we Ate in Madrid
Our hotel served breakfast, so we filled up there before exploring Madrid.
Lunch was at a delicious tapas place near the Plaza Mayor. They spoke English but were also super patient while I attempted my rusty Spanish. The Sangria was fantastic (not all are created equal, as I found out along this trip), and we loved trying all their dipping sauces.
We stopped for a mid-day snack (and bathroom break) at a cafe across from the Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena.
Our dinner was in Segovia after we arrived there for the night.
Food tours in Madrid
- 🍷 Enjoy Madrid’s vibrant culinary scene: Madrid Tapas and Wine Tasting Tour (children under 9 years can not take part of the tour)
- 😋 Learn more about Madrid’s historical and culinary sides during this Tapas, Taverns & History Tour Madrid
- 🧑🏼🍳 Learn how to cook classic dishes of Spanish cuisine: 4-hour Spanish Cooking Class in Madrid an expert chef
- 🚶🏼♂️ Visit several authentic tapas bars while strolling through the atmospheric streets of the old city center: Madrid Historical Walking Tour with Food Tasting and Dinner
- 😋 Immerse yourself in a culinary world of Madrid during this Madrid Food Tour: Gastronomy & History with Lunch or Dinner
If we had More Time in Madrid
Even though we were only in Madrid long enough to basically “window shop” (we didn’t have time to go into places), I made a note of all where I’d like to go back. If you have more than one day to spare, or if any of these look great, make them a priority during your day in Madrid:
- Prado Museum
- it’s huge and you could spend hours/days looking at everything
- Royal Palace of Madrid
- There was a CRAZY long line to get in when we walked by; get skip-the-line tickets in advance
- Catedral de la Almudena
- a modern take on a cathedral
- Royal Basilica of Saint Francis the Great
- supposedly stunning inside, but they close for siesta, so keep that in mind)
- Puerta de Atocha
- the train station; there’s a tropical garden inside!
- Go on a boat ride around El Retiro Park
- either ride when they open at 10 am or get tickets early for later.
- Really long lies in the afternoon
- Juan Carlos Park
- a little outside the city, but super cool place
- San Miguel Market
Find even more to do in Madrid:
Day 2: Segovia Spain
A few weeks before our trip we watched the Spain episode on Europe from Above on Disney+, and decided we had to make a stop in Segovia, Spain, too. So we cut Madrid down to one day and spent the next day about an hour north of the capital city.
If Segovia doesn’t interest you, plan for an extra day in Madrid.
What to do with One Day in Segovia
Surprisingly, there’s more than enough to keep you busy for an entire day in Segovia.
The big site to see here is the aqueduct, but you can see that at any time of the day, so prioritize other places like the castle.
Start your morning at the Alcázar de Segovia—a castle that inspired Disney’s, Sleeping Beauty.
If you didn’t buy tickets ahead of time, get there early. We opted for the tower tickets, and if you go to the tippy-top you’ll have an excellent view of the whole area.
After the castle, walk up the narrow cobble-stone road and you’ll eventually see the stunning, and huge Catedral de Segovia.
While we thought it was slightly more impressive from the outside, it was nice to get out of the heat and go inside for a little bit.
The walk to the cathedral was charming.
PRO TIP: There’s a delicious ice cream shop just outside the Catedral de Segovia. Great pit-stop for kids who may need a little extra oomph to keep them going.
The main reason we went to Segovia was to see the Roman aqueduct that dates back to the 1st century. It was so impressive and bigger than I thought it’d be.
One of the coolest parts of this aqueduct is that the ginormous stones are held together simply by the force of gravity—there is no mortar or cement holding it together.
You can even climb up the side to see it from the top. Head to the stairs near the tourist information center and make your way up there to see the aqueduct from a different point of view.
Where we Ate in Segovia
There are several cafes and bakeries near the center of Segovia, along with many restaurants. Keep in mind that most restaurants take reservations, so plan accordingly.
Cochinillo, better known as “suckling pig” is popular in Segovia. It’s a perfectly roasted pig that’s so tender restaurants boast that it can be cut with a plate instead of a fork.
Several restaurants claim they have the best, but we tried one place simply because they had an opening when we were available. While I loved the atmosphere inside, and that it was directly next to the aqueduct, the service at Mesón De Cándido was less than stellar, and they didn’t have a kid’s menu (or even anything that my three wanted to eat).
The food, on the other hand, was fantastic. (We got a steak for the kids to split and it was amazing…even if they refused to eat it.)
FUN FACT: There’s a McDonald’s across from the aqueduct…just saying.
Where we Parked
We parked on the side of the road near the castle for our morning adventures, but you’ll also see signs for a parking garage near the cathedral.
When we went into town to see the aqueduct we parked in this parking garage.
Where we Stayed in Segovia
Because we didn’t want to be packing and repacking every other day, we spent two nights near Segovia. The place itself was fantastic. There was ample room and it was great for our family of 5; however, it was kinda in the middle of nowhere. The sleepy “town” lacked amenities, but we didn’t mind since we had our own car.
If you’re jonesing to stay closer to Segovia’s center, consider staying here; it has a fabulous roof-top view.
If You have More Time in Segovia
READ EVEN MORE ABOUT SEGOVIA IN THIS FULL POST!
Pit Stop in Alburquerque
On our way from Segovia to Lisbon, we actually made a pit stop in Alburquerque, Spain, the sister city to our hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Stopping in this sleepy Spanish town on Palm Sunday was a highlight of our trip. I’m going to do a full post on this stop.
READ MORE ABOUT OUR DETOUR TO ALBURQUERQUE IN THIS POST HERE.
Day 3 & 4: Lisbon, Portugal
Continuing with our Spain and Portugal itinerary, it’s time to make our way into Portugal! The drive from Madrid/Segovia to Lisbon was fine, although keep in mind that the time changes and goes back one hour as you enter Portugal.
Another interesting tidbit about the Lisbon area (and the Algarve region mentioned below): they love cilantro and put it on everything. Just something to keep in mind if you’re not a fan; ask for your dish without coriander.
What we did in Lisbon
Lisbon is a vibrant, colorful, and hilly city oozing charm and character, and it captivated us.
Our total time in Lisbon was two days, but it was half a day, a full day, and half a day, so these activities were all spread out over the course of three days.
✰ Go on a Tuk-Tuk Tour
Wanting to make the most of our time, we booked an afternoon tuk-tuk tour as soon as we arrived, and it was a fantastic decision. Riding around in a tuk-tuk let us experience so much more than we would’ve in a car, and we didn’t have to climb the crazy hills. I 100%, highly recommend going on a tour that’s at least three hours long (honestly, if I knew how much we’d love this, I would’ve found a full-day or a half-day tour).
✰ Sea the Aquarium (HA! “Sea” what I did there?!)
During our full day in Lisbon, we relaxed a little bit and kept things simple. Our first stop was the Oceanário de Lisboa, the aquarium, recommended by several friends. I highly recommend getting tickets ahead of time. Honestly, the aquarium didn’t impress me much, but the kids loved it. There is also a cafe on sight.
✰ Paint Your Own Tiles
We were enchanted by all the tiles we saw around Lisbon, so it’s no surprise that this was a highlight of our entire trip. We spent 3 hours with a local artist learning about azulejos, and then painting our own tiles. I thought we would just make one or two each, but the kids ended up making multiple tiles, and bowls and even painted some mugs. It was so much fun!
*If you’re going to do this, make sure to book it for the beginning of your time in Lisbon since the tiles need to be baked. Also, make sure you have room in your suitcase to bring them back with you!
✰ (Maybe) Visit the Tile Museum
The Museu Nacional do Azulejo is an art museum devoted to—you guessed it—the history of Lisbon’s tiles. While there were sections that were very pretty to see, our kids were all bored and mentioned that they liked seeing them on the buildings more. The museum also closes in the middle of the day, so keep that in mind.
If we had More Time in Lisbon
I still wish we had more time in Lisbon, and if my husband and I can ever sneak away, Lisbon will be my first choice of place to go with him. We purposely left one of our days in Lisbon to be a little more relaxed; I truly think that was part of why this Spain and Portugal itinerary didn’t exhaust us.
However, there’s still so much to see in Lisbon. Explore more here:
Where we Ate in Lisbon
All the Pastel de Natas
Oh. My. Great. Goodness. When in Lisbon, get yourself a (lot) pastel de nata! What is a pastel de nata? It’s basically an egg-custard pastry, but I don’t think that gives it any justice.
I was actually prepared to hate them; custard desserts aren’t really my jam. Thankfully, I’m VERY happy these proved me wrong.
The pastry is a super buttery and flakey, melt-in-your-mouth crust filled with a not-too-sweet egg-yolk custard with a caramelized crust. Top it off with a dusting of cinnamon and let’s just say that you’re in for a big treat.
Time Out Market Lisbon
You have to make time for this food hall when you’re in Lisbon. There are more than two dozen unique restaurants (with everything from pizza and hamburgers to local Portuguese favorite dishes and desserts), several bars, and a dozen shops.
This place fills up, especially on a weekend, so be prepared for long lines if you visit during peak times. But it’s well worth the wait!
Do you want to learn more about the local cuisine? If the answer is yes, then I recommend you to take a food tour and immerse yourself in the culinary world of Lisbon!
Where we stayed in Lisbon
We stayed here, just outside the city center in the Alfama area (near the Belém Tower), and it was a great location. The host was beyond helpful and spot on with his recommendations, the place itself was perfect for a family of five, and there was a washer and a dryer!
If you’re looking to stay more in the heart of Lisbon, here are a few places to check out:
For a couple on a getaway, check out this gem (and it includes breakfast). This 2-bedroom apartment looks great for a family. If you’re on a budget, this spot looks funky and fun, too.
Want to read more about Lisbon?
Check out all of my Lisbon posts here!
Day 5: Sintra, Portugal
Ah, Sintra. This is a wonderful spot to visit, and I highly recommend a full day here, if not longer. We decided that if we have a chance we’d love to come back and stay in Sintra for a weekend.
What to do with One Day in Sintra
One thing to know about Sintra is that you cannot drive your own car up to any of the main attractions, so it’s highly recommended that you hire a guide/tour. You can do it on your own, but if you plan on visiting more than a couple of places, it will be easier to have a driver.
Here are the places I suggest you check out (and the order you should visit them):
✰ Pena Palace
This is the main attraction: get there early, and get tickets in advance. Also, keep in mind that you have to get from the bottom of the hill up to the palace. The walk will take about 15-30 minutes, but there is a bus you can get included with your ticket.
After you’ve explored the palace: walk back down through the gardens. It’s beautiful and you won’t regret it.
✰ Monserrate Palace
Full disclosure: we did not visit this palace, and I 100% regret it. I’ve been told that it’s beautiful and a hidden gem in Sintra since most people flock to other more popular places instead.
✰ Quinta da Regaleira
A neat place to visit. Plan on spending at least an hour if not two, walking around here.
✰ Moorish Castle (IF you have time)
If you’ve seen castle ruins before, this won’t be all that impressive, which is why I think you can skip it.
✰ Cabo da Roca (AKA: the end of the world)
Welcome to the westernmost point of mainland Europe with breathtaking views. Getting to Cabo da Roca is about a half-hour drive from Sintra, and totally worth squeezing it into your plans.
Where we Ate in Sintra
We enjoyed snacks and treats at the top of Pena Palace and from Casa Piriquita; a popular bakery dating back to 1862. (NOTE: at Casa Piriquita, customers order based on a number, so grab a ticket with a number on it when you walk in!)
Lunch came in the form of tapas from Romaria de Baco, but all the other restaurants in the area looked great, too.
If we had More Time in Sintra
Since we didn’t make it to the Monserrate Palace, I’d definitely go there. I’d also like to spend more time at Pena Palace. We drove through the resort town of Cascais and it looked delightful. If we spent a weekend in the Sintra area, we’d definitely spend more time in Cascais.
Where to stay in Sintra
We stayed in Lisbon since it’s not that far away, but if you are specifically looking to stay in Sintra, here are a few options:
This villa looks stunning, and there are rooms for up to 6 people. This chalet also has accommodation for up to 6 people, and it’s in the heart of Sintra. If you’re looking for a boutique hotel, check out this one.
Day 6, 7, & 8: Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve region of Portugal is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and you could easily spend weeks in the area. We were only there for three days, but it was a glorious three days, and I would happily return.
One thing to note: Unless you’re staying directly on the beach, you will have to drive a decent amount to get to places. What looks like a “short” drive may end up being around a half-hour to get from place to place. Just something to keep in mind.
Things to do in Algarve
Spending time in the Algarve was relaxing for us. We didn’t have any specific “must-do” things except enjoy the area.
Keep in mind that women often go topless at the beach in Portugal.
If you’re looking for more beaches to explore, check out this post from my friend Bri.
✰ Hike Along the Cliffs
Truly, pick a spot and just start walking. There are trails everywhere, and the scenic views are breathtaking.
✰ Find Dinosaur Footprints
YES, like, actual fossilized dinosaur footprints right along the coast! This was a total highlight and a fun experience to see. I wrote all about it (including a detailed map with specific directions to find them) in this post.
✰ Go to the (other) end of the World
Cabo de Sao Vicente is the most southwesterly point in Europe. The views are fantastic (check it out during sunset) and if you’re in the area it’s worth checking out. During the Middle Ages, it was considered to be the “end of the world” by the people who lived there.
Opens at 10 am; closes at 6 pm; closed Mondays. There’s a gift shop and toilets available, free parking, and food trucks outside of the lighthouse area.
✰ Shop for Ceramics
You’ll pass by some cute ceramic shops (you’ll know where they are since they have fun plates hanging on the exterior walls). If you have room in your suitcase, stop in one and take a look.
✰ Explore the Caves
The famous caves of the Algarve are a must-see, especially Benagil. But be warned: it will get VERY busy unless you go early in the morning. We took a boat tour (and loved it), but if you want to get out in any of the caves you must do that via swimming, kayaking, or a private tour.
Here are some tours to look at for checking out the caves:
- Boat tour of the caves (we did this one and loved it; we did not get out of the boat to see the caves)
- Catamaran + kayak tour to see the caves (my friend Crystal did this one with her kids and they did get to kayak to the caves)
- Kayak to the caves
- Swim—or float—out to the caves (check out what my friend Bri did to get out to see the Benagil cave!)
If we had More Time in Algarve
There are tons to do in Algarve! If we had more time we would’ve done the following:
- Sand City in Lagoa
- Wine tasting
- Horseback riding along the coast
- Go check out more adorable seaside towns.
WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THE ALGARVE? CHECK OUT MORE POSTS HERE
Where we Ate in Algarve
We had several meals where we stayed (see more below), but here are a couple of other places we loved:
At Praia da Salema: We grabbed lunch from A Bóia nearby, and it was delicious. I highly recommend their sardines or the catch of the day—ask and they’ll bring out several different options.
At Praia da Salema: the pizza from Pizza Real was legit, one of the best pizza’s I’ve ever tasted. And we lived in Italy. It was just SO good, and it’s a good thing we had it on our last night, otherwise, I would’ve wanted to go back there for every meal.
Where we stayed in Algarve
We stayed at Turiscampo, part of Yelloh Village (which we LOVE), and their premium cottage was perfect for our family of five. The village has a little shop (with fresh baked goods every morning and everything you might need during your stay), two restaurants, indoor/outdoor pools, laundry, and so much more.
There are literally thousands of places to stay along the Algarve. Find your perfect spot here:
Day 9, 10, & 11: Tarifa, Spain
Our stay in Tarifa for this portion of our Spain and Portugal itinerary during our 14-day road trip was supposed to be our “home base” just for sleeping.
The first day was for leisurely driving from Algarve to Tarifa (which we did). On the second day, we were going to go to Gibraltar, and on our last day there we were going to hop a ferry to Morocco.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into Gibraltar and ended up turning around to come home. If you’re U.S. military, read this before attempting to go into Gibraltar.
And Morocco was just unfortunate timing. Tarifa has ferries that go back and forth to Tangier, Morocco, but they were closed because of the pandemic and actually reopened two days before we arrived. The problem was that anyone unvaccinated needed a PCR test to enter. Our (then) 4-year-old son was unvaccinated, and we couldn’t get the results from a PCR test in time, so we couldn’t go over.
All that to say: We ended up staying in Tarifa for much longer than expected, but it ended up being great and we really enjoyed the town.
Good to know: street parking is very limited in Tarifa. There is a parking lot, but I’m honestly not sure how much it is (or maybe it’s free). It was attended when we arrived and unattended when we left a couple of days later.)
What we did in Tarifa
If you find yourself with more time in Tarifa, you’ve gotta hit the beach and wander the adorable streets.
We really enjoyed both of those things and spent most of our time in the water, on the sand, and wandering the streets.
Windsurfing is really popular in Tarifa, because of the gusts that come from Africa and through the sea. If you have a chance, go to Valdevaqueros beach to watch the windsurfers there; it was remarkable to watch.
Where we Ate in Tarifa
Tarifa comes alive after 8 pm and the restaurants will all be filled to the brim. Any place you go is sure to be fantastic.
On the beach, though, I highly recommend Chiringuito Tangana; it was delicious and so enjoyable to watch the windsurfers from there.
Optional Day Trips from Tarifa
- 45-minutes away
- read this post before going, especially if you are U.S. military
Where we stayed in Tarifa
Our place in Tarifa was….good? One thing to note is that you can’t park your car anywhere near the town’s center, so we parked in a parking area that randomly closed the day we left (and I’m so thankful we got our car out!). The reason for my uncertainty in that first sentence is that our place had zero cell service and zero wifi. This is where we stayed… a great location within the town, but I’m not sure if I’d recommend it if you like to stay connected.
If you just have two or three in your party, check out this place in the heart of Tarifa. Traveling with four people? Here’s an apartment for you. For a little more space out of town, families may enjoy staying here.
Day 12, 13, & 14: Seville, Spain
Seville was so amazing that I’ll definitely do a more in-depth post, but in the meantime here are some things to do in a nutshell.
Our Day 12 was a travel day; we leisurely made our way to Seville from Tarifa, about 2.5 hours away. Days 13 and 14 were crammed with fitting as much as possible into our last days in Spain.
What we did in Seville
While we usually love going on HoHo (hop-on/hop-off tour bus rides), we didn’t like this one; it took you through parts of Seville that were definitely off-the-beaten-path (and not in a good way).
Instead, take a walking tour. We did this, and it was great to have some background on places, but you’ll want to plan on going back to the places since you don’t have much time to look around anywhere.
Here are the must-see/do things in Seville:
✰ Explore Plaza de España
This is one of Seville’s most popular places and for good reason. It’s remarkable, and you may recognize it from Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and Laurence of Arabia. It took 15 years to complete, and you can easily spend at least an hour wandering around. You can also rent paddle boats (note that they open at noon).
✰ See a flamenco show
If you’re in Seville you must see a flamenco show. The passion the performers express during the show is astonishing. It was a highlight of our stay.
HOT TIP: see the performers at Plaza de España for free during the day.
✰ Explore the Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Book tickets ahead of time, and I suggest going with a guide; I wish we did that so I’d know what we’re looking at. Plan for a few hours; the gardens are huge and beautiful.
✰ Drink sangria aka “tinto de verano,” eat all the tapas, and cool off with gelato during your Spain and Portugal itinerary.
✰ Climb La Giralda at the Seville Cathedral
The Cathedral and the grounds are a mix of Muslim and Christian architecture (so basically it’s beautiful). When you’re in the cathedral, keep an eye out for Christopher Columbus’s tomb.
Fun fact: the bell tower is made up of ramps, not stairs. Fair warning if you’re at the top of the tower at the top of the hour…the bells are LOUD! Also, skip-the-line tickets are awesome.
✰ Check out the bull ring (Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla)
It was really interesting seeing the museum portion of the bull ring; the kids really liked it and asked us TONS of questions.
And yes, there are still bullfights that take place here, but there weren’t happening while we were there (and I’m not sure if we would have gone anyway.)
✰ Stroll around Old Town; it’s adorable.
If we had More Time in Seville
There’s so much to do in Seville, but in case you can’t cram it into your already packed Spain and Portugal itinerary, rest easy knowing that it’s easily doable with just a weekend (if you have one to spare sometime). If you want more options, check these out:
Where we Ate in Seville
Everything was awesome. Truly. We ate at random places, and every time it was fantastic. Order the tapas version of whatever you get since the plates are small enough that you can try multiple things.
Where we stayed in Seville
We stayed here, about a 10-minute walk to the old town. The space was wonderful for a family of five. It was a two-level apartment, and the exposed brick added a ton of charm. The kitchen was a little limited, but we didn’t use it very much (when in Spain, enjoy the tapas). However, if we went again I’d try to stay closer to the old town — it was just so adorable.
Here are a couple of places I had on my radar, but they were sold out for our dates. This place looks a little more in central old town (and can accommodate large families), and this place looks amazing and families can stay there, too, but it’s possibly a splurge.
But there are SO many spots to stay in Seville. Start your search here:
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I truly hope this Spain and Portugal itinerary helps you plan your trip. Longer trips can often be difficult to put together, which is why I wanted to share as much as possible in this post. If this helps you in any way, I’d love to know; please let me know how it went!