Highlights of Spain12 Days • 6 Cities Highlights of Spain
Eat, explore, experience, move on. Travel through five cities in 12 days, and discover the true highlights of Spain without wasting time. Get ready for world-famous museums in Madrid, beachside lounging in Costa del Sol, and a cathedral straight out of a Dr. Seuss book in Barcelona. Keep your eyes, mind (and mouth) open as you learn what it means to live like the Spaniards do. Who knows—you might even get used to eating dinner at 9 p.m. ¡Vamos!
What are the top highlights?
- Immerse yourself in Spanish culture, cuisine, and customs
- Fall in love with buildings (you didn't think that was possible, did you?)
- Dance the night away at beachside nightclubs in Barcelona
- Visit world-class galleries at The Prado, Reina Sofia, and Picasso Museum
- Taste-test tapas and wash them down with a glass of cava (and more tapas)
- Learn to dance flamenco/embarrass yourself in Seville
Your trip includes
- Round-trip flights & airport transfers
- Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
- Private deluxe motorcoach
- 10 nights in hand-picked accommodations
- Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
- Daily breakfast & three-course Farewell Dinner
- Metro passes in each major city
- Entrance to select attractions
You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.
Click here for examples of where you'll stay.
Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:
- Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
- Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
- Flights are booked with major airlines
- 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
- One checked bag included on most flights
- Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure
Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Board your overnight flight, bound for Spain. Get ready to drink sangria and cool off in the water. Don’t be shocked if the bathing suits you see are of the invisible variety. Public nudity is legal here.
Day 2: Arrive in Barcelona
Welcome to Barcelona, a city of endless parties, wacky architecture, and premium beaches—which also happen to be where the clubs are. So throw on your walking shoes, your party pants, and any shirt you’d like. Barcelona is the fiesta that keeps on fiesta…ing.
- Meet an EF representative at the airport.
- Transfer to your accommodations and check in.
- Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
- Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.
In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Mixer. Enjoy appetizers and drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Afterwards, take the party elsewhere.
Day 3: Tour Barcelona + Optional Sagrada Família Tour & Lunch
Experience Barcelona’s unique architecture and atmosphere with a local guide as you wander the city’s enchanting streets. This historic city is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seven of which were built by Gaudí (he’s kind of a big deal around here). Take in the impressive sites, and understand why Barcelona is the only city to receive a Royal Gold Medal for architecture—the buildings are basically art.
- Explore the Gothic Quarter with your guide. Don't forget your black eyeliner.
- Visit one of Antoni Gaudí's greatest work of modernist art, Parque Güell. This colorful park is adorned with tilework, dreamlike structures and not a straight line in sight.
- See the 1992 Olympic Park which lines the Mediterranean Sea.
- Check out the unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral, where construction started over 100 years ago by Gaudí.
- Take the evening to revisit any of the sights, hit the beach, or explore on your own.
Sagrada Família & Lunch(extra cost)
You ever just start something so ambitious it takes you 140 years to finish? That’s the story of Antoni Gaudí’s yet-to-be-completed Sagrada Família Basilica. Maybe the world’s most unbelievable church—it has been under construction since 1882, and won’t be finished until 2026 at the earliest. You'll go on a guided tour inside the breathtaking basilica, learn about Gaudí’s big plans, and see firsthand that slow and steady wins the race. After, enjoy an included meal, probably in silence, as you try—and fail—to describe its beauty in words.
Please note: This excursion must be booked at least 30 days prior to tour departure.
Day 4: Free Day in Barcelona + Dali & Costa Brava Beaches
The day is yours to experience Barcelona as you please. Whether that means exploring a new neighborhood, lounging on a beach, or kicking back with some tapas and a pitcher of sangria, you really can’t go wrong. Feeling adventurous? Join the Dali & Costa Brava Beaches optional excursion.
Free Time Suggestions
Market Down: Visit La Boqueria, the famous market just off of Las Ramblas, with everything from fresh fruits to meats, flowers and sweets.
OverARCHing Theme The Arc de Triomf was built as the main entrance for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. While it may remind you of a different (perhaps more famous) arch, it can certainly, shall we say, stand on its own.
Dali & Costa Brava Beaches(extra cost)
Drive to the town of Figueres for a guided tour of the bizarre and beautiful Museo Teatro Dalí (Dalí Theatre Museum) and see the vision and wackiness of this famous artist in a very playful, hands on museum. Stroll around Dali's home town to see where he was born and what his daily life in the town was like. Grab a lunch and head to the village of Tossa De Mar on the Costa Brava. Here you'll have time to explore the beautiful village and soak up some sun on its beautiful beach.
Please note: This excursion must be booked at least 21 days prior to tour departure.
Day 5: Travel to Madrid
Travel to Madrid
Grab a café con leche, and hit the open road. You’ll take a private motorcoach from Barcelona to Madrid. Spain’s capital is famous for its world-class art museums, live music scene, and never-ending nightlife. It seems people never sleep here...except for two hours after lunch. Madrid is a city that definitely knows how to relax and have fun. Get ready—your life is about to get loco.
- Stroll down Madrid's liveliest street, Gran Via. Your Tour Director will identify some of the city's most impressive architecture, theaters, and nightlife spots.
- Walk through Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid's biggest park, and keep a lookout for the trees that look like broccoli (you'll know it when you see it).
Day 6: Tour Madrid + Optional Royal Palace & Rooftops Excursion
With a population of over 3 million people, Madrid is Spain’s biggest city, almost double that of Barcelona. One thing you’ll notice walking around, is that Madrileños love soccer. (Whatever you do, don’t mention Messi, Barcelona’s star player.) Today you'll see all the best Madrid has to offer with a local guide on a tour of the city. Afterwards, take the rest of the day to explore on your own.
- Meet your local guide and experience the city's highlights by bus and foot.
- Visit Madrid's Royal Palace for a guided tour of this elaborate, 9th-century building featuring over 2,000 rooms and plenty of stuff you can't touch.
- Stop at Puerta del Sol, the epicenter of the city, where stores and cafes are by the dozen, and people dressed up as Spider Man want you to take their picture.
- Head into the Plaza Mayor, the Renaissance hub that witnessed everything from bullfights to weddings to public executions.
Free Time Suggestions
Exit Through the Gift Shop: The Chueca and Malasaña neighborhoods are two of the hippest and happeningest places in Madrid. Picture vintage fashion shops, inexpensive tapas bars, and locals trying to figure out how you found out about their favorite spots. Keep an eye out for graffiti from the famous street artist, Banksy.
Get Cultured: Visit The Golden Triangle (no, this is not something from Indiana Jones). It’s an art triangle featuring The Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and The Reina Sofia museums. You can see world-famous artworks from artists like Pablo Picasso, Diego Velázquez, and Salvador Dalí.
¡GOOOOOOOOOL! Tour Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, home to Madrid’s soccer (fútbol) team, Real Madrid. Sit in the players’ seats, see trophies up close, and practice your goal celebration dance on the field below.
Royal Palace & Rooftops(extra cost)
The Royal Family of Spain will see you now. Keep an eye out for a duke or duchess as you stroll the Palacio Real at your own leisure. Once you’ve had your fill of grand, gilded, and gorgeous in the palace, indulge your appetite with included tapas and a drink at an authentic nearby spot. Save room for #views though—the final stop on this magical evening in Madrid is a rooftop bar. We got you covered on your entrance fee and your next drink, but it’s up to you to take the most awe-inducing panoramic pics of the city skyline yourself.
Day 7: Travel to Granada via Córdoba
On your way south, make a pit stop in Córdoba for a tour of the Mosque, and views of historic architecture and the second-largest Old Town in Europe. You are now in Andalucía, known for flamenco dancing, Islamic architecture, and tapas on tapas. Excited? Hungry? You should be. Let’s get to it!
- Enjoy a scenic bus ride through the heart of Spain, with a stop in Córdoba.
- Follow a local guide through the expansive Great Mosque of Córdoba.
- Arrive in Granada and orient yourself to the area around your hotel.
- Keep your eyes peeled for street art as you twist your way through the narrow pathways of the city.
- Do some barhopping to ingest copious amounts of tapas and cañas (that’s draft beer here in Spain).
Day 8: Tour Granada
Lucky you. A whole day in Granada, free to do what you want. But first, join a local guide for a VIP tour of the city. There’s heavy Moorish influence here, and you’ll see it all around you in the city’s winding streets. Get ready to be dazzled by the Alhambra palace and fortress, the true highlight of Granada.
- Get up, get out, and get lost walking through Albayzin, a maze of cobblestone streets. Just make sure you leave a trail of crumbs to find your way home.
- Take everything in as you wander the vast grounds of the Alhambra. It's part palace, part fortress, all parts awesome. Since the year 889, the area has undergone countless changes and restorations.
- Walk along the Darro river to Paseo de los Tristes, and grab a table at a nearby café.
- Look up and see the Alhambra looking right back down at you. Not in the creepy way, though.
Day 9: Travel to Seville
Continue your tour of southern Spain with a visit to Seville, the capital of Spain’s Andalucía region, and its biggest city. Seville is full of students that have definitely adopted the "study hard, play hard" lifestyle. And lucky for you, you get to skip the "study" portion.
- Travel by bus to Seville.
- Check in to your accommodation and explore the surrounding area on your own.
- Go green at Maria Luisa Park, a big and beautiful park with a fountain surrounded by lions.
Day 10: Tour Seville
Today is all about you, Seville, and a local guide. Your guide will show you the best of the best when it comes to Seville. Afterwards, get out and enjoy some free time in your new favorite city. Let nothing get in your way (except for the pigeons, maybe).
- Meet your local guide and experience the city’s highlights by bus and foot.
- Gaze up at the immense Seville Cathedral, one of the largest churches in the world, and, allegedly, home to Christopher Columbus's grave (Dominicans also claim they have his remains).
- Wander through the lavish Plaza de España and admire the Neo-Moorish architecture.
- Visit the Moorish Alcázar, which was built in the 14th century for a king named Pedro the Cruel. Hmm...wonder if people liked him?
- Wind your way through Santa Cruz, the former Jewish quarter and most picturesque neighborhood in Seville. Instagrammers, get your phone ready. This is your moment.
Day 11: Travel to Costa del Sol
Continue on to the aptly named ”Coast of the Sun”, a collection of Spanish towns on the Mediterranean. The Costa del Sol is all about seaside relaxation— the rich-and-famous and the “regular people” alike have been vacationing here for decades. When you arrive, join your Tour Director for a walk through the streets and along the beach.
- Head to the southern coast of Spain, where the sun always shines and the people always smile—probably because it’s always sunny.
- Follow your Tour Director around the area and learn more about the coastal way of life.
- Walk through town, poking your head into cafes for one last chance to practice your español.
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.
Day 12: Fly Home
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?
EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS
1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.
2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.
Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.
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