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the Alhambra in Spain
Travel tips

Why you should add these 6 top-rated travel itineraries in Spain to your wish list

Oct 06, 2022 by Emily Houston

Want to see the best of Spain, but don’t know which trip to book? After crunching the numbers and scouring the reviews, we’re sharing our six highest-rated Spain tours. Check out the tours that made the list, then take our Tour Match quiz to see which Spain trip is your perfect match.

fireworks in madrid

1. New Year’s Eve in Madrid with Barcelona & Seville

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What sets this Spain itinerary apart

Industry insiders know the off-season is the top time to travel, and this best-of-Spain tour shows you why. Not only do you get more bang for your buck, but you get to take part in special events. Think: Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Madrid.

Visiting places in the winter also helps you get the most out of your vacation time. “Traveling over two different calendar years can help save some vacation days for summer months, and the cluster of paid holidays a lot of people get between December and January helps, too,” said staffer Jim.

Spain highlights on this tour

  • Ringing in New Year’s Eve in Madrid. You’ll soak up the local ambiance as you stroll through the illuminated streets of Madrid. Then, enjoy traditional Castilian fare and live tuna music (traditional Spanish songs sung by university students) as you celebrate the holiday at one of the oldest restaurants in the city.
  • Adding the extension to Costa del Sol. Any place named after the amount of sun that shines on it easily makes our list of the top destinations in Spain. Tack on the extension to relax in this coastal region—a surefire way to wash away any winter blues.

Take it from a traveler

“Our trip exceeded our expectations,” said traveler Julie. “The diversity of each city gave us a great feel for the overall culture of Spain. The accommodations, food, drinks, local guides, and flamenco dinner show blew us away. Our Tour Director, Snezana, gave us wonderful suggestions as to how to see each city, what to do, and where to eat when we weren’t on planned Go Ahead activities.”

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Sagrada Família in barcelona

2. Barcelona: The City Experience

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What sets this Spain itinerary apart

As our only City Stay in the country, this is one of the travel itineraries in Spain that allows you to take a deep dive into the city of Barcelona. That’s what our City Stays are, after all—immersive trips to a single city, so you can call one place home for your whole trip. One of the perks of this trip is that you’ll unpack only once, in a well-located hotel, of course.

Plus, it’s the only Spain trip where metro tickets are included. That means you’ll spend the week truly living like a local, whether you want to set out on your own or add highly rated excursions to spend more time with your group.

Spain trip itinerary highlights

  • Stepping inside La Sagrada Família. This stained glass-adorned basilica is Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s famous masterwork-in-progress. You’ll visit it during your guided tour of Barcelona, and coming here is one of the bucket list things to do in Spain.
  • Whipping up Catalan cuisine at a cooking school. There’s a farewell dinner, and there’s preparing regional dishes with a pro chef at a farewell dinner. This is one of the top-rated Spain itineraries because you get to do the latter in the Gothic Quarter, the city’s medieval district, which is listed as a must-visit neighborhood in our Barcelona Travel Guide.

Take it from a traveler

“The scheduled events, optional excursions, and the unscheduled times were in perfect balance on this tour,” said traveler Winter. “This tour allowed me to learn the layout of Barcelona and it allowed me to fall in love with this city.”

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olive tapas

3. Food & Wine: A Taste of Spain

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What sets this Spain itinerary apart

Calling all food and wine lovers! This is one of the best travel itineraries in Spain (along with our new trip through Spain with America’s Test Kitchen!). All of our Food & Wine Tours are are designed for groups of just 10-22 travelers, which is less than our standard group size of 38. That means you’ll travel to the top destinations in Spain alongside a smaller group, giving you exclusive opportunities to meet local producers who are at the forefront of preserving Spain’s culinary traditions.

Spain highlights on this tour

  • Munching on pintxos. You’ve maybe heard of tapas, but pintxos are the Basque-style take on these bite-sized snacks. Looking for a unique experience to have in Spain? Eat a sea urchin pintxo in San Sebastián. The city’s waterfront location makes it one of the top destinations in Spain to eat seafood.
  • Sipping Rioja in Rioja. There’s nothing like sipping wines straight from the source. One of the top places in Spain to visit if you’re a wine lover is La Rioja region in the north of the country. Here, you’ll see how Tempranillo grapes are grown and harvested to create the fruit-forward Rioja wine.

Take it from a traveler

“As you work your way across the country, you get to get lost in quaint towns and enjoy intimate vineyard visits with passionate storytellers,” said traveler Jacenta. “What would I change about the trip? Nothing. Enjoy the food and wine. Trust the locals to know what good food is and go for it. Embrace the social nature of Spain and get lost in the journey. This trip was the right amount of time to see things without getting too road-weary.”

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Find your Spain tour match. Answer six questions to get paired with a Spain trip that’s perfect for you. Take the quiz →

valencia spain

4. Grand Tour of Spain

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What sets this Spain itinerary apart

The name really says it all. If you’re planning a trip to Spain and want to visit as many nooks and crannies of the country as you can, this is the tour for you. Our Grand Tours are our most extensive trips, created for travelers who want to see all sides of a country in one fell swoop.

Spain trip itinerary highlights

  • Peering over the Puente Nuevo bridge in Ronda. Our Southern Spain Travel Guide gives you the full scoop on why you should visit Ronda, but we’ll give you a teaser. Ronda is a well-preserved Pueblo Blanco, or white village, built on a hillside. You’ll get the best view of the area from the Puente Nuevo bridge, which sits over a nearly 400-foot-high gorge.
  • Exploring the sites and sounds of Valencia. Madrid and Barcelona may steal the spotlight, but Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city and it holds its own. In fact, the treasure trove of things to do in Valencia make it one of the best places to go in Spain for a trip. Our tip for those planning a trip to Spain? Come in mid-March to experience Velencia’s Fallas, a cultural celebration centered around elaborately designed papier-mâché statues.

Take it from a traveler

“The tour was a perfect mix of old and new, group excursions and free time during which we strolled beautiful paseos with the Spanish inhabitants,” said a first-time traveler. “Our Tour Director gave us excellent tips and directions for our free days and evenings. The local tour guides were experienced and able to paint the centuries of history that made their respective towns and cities what they are now.”

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alcazar spain

5. Barcelona, Madrid & Seville

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What sets this apart from other Spain itineraries

At nine days long, this trip will show you the best of Spain in a little over a week. Most departures of this tour run from Friday to the following Sunday, so if you have to take PTO to travel, you’ll only need to request five days off. When planning a trip to Spain, going on an itinerary like this one lets you see the highlights without feeling rushed—and leaves enough PTO for you to plan a future adventure.

Best-of-Spain highlights on this tour

  • Trying chocolate gelato drizzled with olive oil. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! The pairing allows the flavor profile of both the oil and gelato to shine. It’s one of the unique elements on our Spain itineraries that you’d only discover by going guided.
  • Feel like a rey or reina inside the Royal Alcázar. This palace, found in the stunning city of Seville, was once home to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. If that claim to fame wasn’t enough, it also served as a Game of Thrones filming location for the city of Dorne. The tilework and lush courtyards will show you why it’s one of the most beautiful castles in the world.

Take it from a traveler

“As a first-time solo female traveler traveling internationally, I hesitated prior to booking this trip,” said traveler Victoria. “I am so glad I decided to go, and had the time of my life. I really enjoyed not having to stress about the logistics of getting to important sites, tickets, waiting in line, etc. It is also very nice to have a Tour Director who speaks the language and can give you advice on places to see during free time.”

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alhambra spain

6. Southern Spain & Andalusia: Seville, Granada & Málaga

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Why this is one of the best travel itineraries for Spain

This is our newest Spain itinerary and our only one completely centered around Southern Spain. This part of the country is notably tricky to travel around on your own. That’s because you have to weather multiple train transfers or rent a car in order to hit all the best places to go in Spain for a trip. Luckily, when you go guided, you have an expert motorcoach driver dropping you on the doorstep of Spain’s most sought-after spots.

Top places in Spain to visit on this tour

  • The Alhambra. This palace is the crown jewel of the region. It was the Moorish sultans’ last stronghold in Spain, and your included ticket gets you access to the upper and lower gardens, as well as the Nasrid Palaces—and that guaranteed access is just one of the perks of going guided to the Alhambra. Get ready to be wowed by intricately tiled facades, babbling fountains, and tree-filled courtyards that make the city feel like it’s a world away.
  • The port city of Málaga. Fun fact: This is our only tour that brings you to this beachside city. It’s home to Alcazaba palace, the Picasso Museum, and the Jardín Botánico Histórico—all of which you’ll have the chance to visit.

Take our Tour Match quiz to get paired with your perfect Spain tour. Then, click the heart icon to add it to your wish list to get notified when it goes on sale.

About the author | Emily Houston
Emily loves the simple travel moments—like watching hours pass by in minutes while sharing a meal and a laugh (or many) with her friends and family. Outside the office, you'll find Emily listening to anything and everything John Mayer, attempting to cook a New York Times recipe, or dreaming up her next trip.

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Overview of Madrid Spain at sunset
Overview of Madrid Spain at sunsetOverview of Madrid Spain at sunset
A Week in Spain: Barcelona, Madrid & Seville
9 days | 12 days with Granada & Costa del Sol extension

4.7 out of 5 stars

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