Spain and Portugal are two of the popular destinations that can be easily explored in one mega Europe trip. These two countries make up most of the Iberian peninsula, and they are so different from other European states. In this Spain and Portugal Itinerary 10 days to 2 weeks, we will discover the best of city landmarks, history, culture, cuisines, and sightseeing tours.
As a bonus, we will be including day trips from Spain and Portugal to nearby countries like Andorra, Gibraltar, and Morocco. Follow our footsteps and see how we made the most of our time in Europe.
Spain and Portugal Itinerary 10 days to 14 days – Preparing for your trip
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
To make the most of your trip to Spain and Portugal, you will have to prioritize. Geographically it makes sense to book a flight to Spain, and then head to Portugal. You will find tons of flights, connecting Barcelona and Madrid to the rest of the world.
To choose which Spanish cities you should visit is a big task. Spain has a very distinct culture in each of its regions. Catalonia in the north with Gaudi’s architecture is very different from Moorish castles laden Andalucía.
A popular Spain vacation idea is to take a road trip to the southern region. The capital city of Madrid is a world-class urban hub, with tons of history. So which cities you wish to explore is up to you!
Pro-tip: You can select based on cheaper/shorter flights from your home country or personal taste and interests!
We have written a detailed one week Spain itinerary with 4 samples. We recommend giving it a read if you are unsure about where to go in Spain!
For the purposes of this itinerary, we will explore one major city in Cataluña and one in Andalucía – this allows a traveler to get a taste of both regions. We will start with Barcelona (northern Spain), explore nearby areas and finish the itinerary in Seville (with a flight back to Barcelona after 10-14 days).
Snapshot: Spain and Portugal Itinerary 10 – 14 days with Andorra, Gibraltar, and Morocco
Spain and Portugal Itinerary with optional countries: Travel Guide
- Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona Spain. Half-day exploration
- Day 2: Full day city highlights of Barcelona
- Day 3: More of Barcelona sightseeing, in-depth exploration of favorite spots
- Day 4: Day trip to Montserrat, Girona, or Andorra
- Day 5: Fly to Lisbon Portugal, and explore city highlights
- Day 6: Explore Belem and other areas of Lisbon
- Day 7: Day trip to Sintra Portugal (or choose from a list of 16 other options), overnight bus to Seville Spain
- Day 8: Explore Seville city highlights
- Day 9: More of Seville – culture, offbeat places
- Day 10: Take a day trip to Granada (or any of the Andalucian cities – Ronda, Cadiz, Cordova, etc.)
- Optional Day 11: Extend stay to another Spanish city in the south (pick any from the list in the itinerary)
- Optional Day 12: Seville to Gibraltar day trip
- Optional Day 13: Seville to Tangier Morocco day trip (or 2 days). Fly to Barcelona for the flight back home on day 14. Tangier has an airport and seaport
- Optional Day 14: Travel from Seville to Barcelona
Alternate Route (Madrid as a starting point and more time in Portugal)
- To include Madrid in the itinerary for 14 days: On day 11, take a train to Madrid from Seville and explore the capital city for 2-3 days. On day 14 fly to Barcelona.
- To start the trip in Madrid, you can customize the itinerary as follows: Start day 1 in Madrid. Explore for 2-3 days (switch Barcelona for Madrid). Take an overnight train to Seville (explore Seville, take day trips to Granada, Gibraltar, and/or Tangier Morocco). Take an overnight bus from Seville to Lisbon Portugal. Explore Lisbon and Sintra as outlined here.
- By doing this route, you will miss Barcelona, Andorra day trip, and Montserrat. From Madrid, you can take a day trip to Toledo – a charming medieval city located an hour away from the capital city.
- Our guide to Airbnbs in Spain
Pre-packed Itinerary Vacations
Traveling with a small group guided tour is a good option if you do not wish to plan, research, and manage all the bookings. Here are 2 tours that we recommend.
- Spain & Portugal in 14 days by G Adventures: This is one of the best small-group tours. It is conducted by G Adventures – one of our favorite tour providers and they are Canadian! They focus on cultural and local experiences in Spain and Portugal. Check out their pre-packed tour here
- Spain & Portugal in 9 days (Madrid to Madrid): Another great group tour option, doable in 9 days. Click to check prices and dates here
Day 1 Spain Portugal Itinerary 10 days – Barcelona – Arrival and city highlights
We landed in Barcelona on day 1 of our Spain and Portugal Itinerary. Flights to Barcelona were cheaper than Madrid and we were super excited about the tons of day trip opportunities from here.
Arrival and getting to the hotel in Barcelona
El Prat Barcelona Airport is an international airport connecting Barcelona Spain to the world. Once you are at the airport, here are a few options to reach the city center or your hotel.
- Metro Train – Take a metro train to the city center for 4.20 euros. Barcelona public transportation is very efficient and connects the city very effortlessly. (The Airport Metro line is called L9 Sud). If you plan on using transit extensively it is worth purchasing a pass for 2-3 days. We saved quite a bit doing this on our first trip to Barcelona (also useful if your hotel is located further away from the city center). Buy your Barcelona metro pass here.
- Aeroport Bus – Take an airport bus (Aeroport bus from terminal 1) to the Plaza Espanya and the metro from there to your destination (or walk if it’s located nearby). It takes about 40 minutes. We utilized this service on our first day in Barcelona. Book your bus tickets here.
- Taxi – Private taxi to your hotel. You can reserve your private airport transfer here.
Where to stay in Barcelona
For a quick 3 day Barcelona trip, we recommend staying near the city center. Hotels in Barcelona get filled really fast, so plan and book rooms ahead of time.
One of the hotels we stayed in Barcelona was Hotel Garbi Millenni. It was close to the city center and also had quick access to the metro station. All of our day tours were a breeze from here, as we could just walk down or take the train. Check out hotel Garbi Millenni here.
Depending on your flight arrival to Barcelona, you will be able to explore a few of the city’s highlights on day one.
Here is what you should check out on day one (options for both half-day or full-day sightseeing)
- Las Ramblas – Head to Las Ramblas in the city center. It is a leafy boulevard lined with restaurants and shops, just a stone throw’s away from the famed Gothic Quarter. La Rambla is easily connected via the metro or just walk down from Hotel Garbi Millenni.
- Gothic Quarter – One of the few Roman remnants that the city of Barcelona has – is the Gothic Quarter. You can take a walking tour of the neighborhood, snap photos and learn about its history. Book this guided walking tour here.
- If you are in Barcelona for a full day (on day 1), you can also include a Gothic quarter plus Picasso Museum and El Born guided tour. This is a 3.50-hour tour – more details here.
- The gothic quarter also has tons of cafes and restaurants for meals. We recommend choosing the Gothic quarter over Las Ramblas for dining or lunching!
- La Boqueria – One of the oldest markets in Barcelona and located near Las Ramblas is La Boqueria. Here you will find tons of local delicacies to try out, in tapas-style. Explore the market late evening and eat your heart out.
- Port Vell – Finish day one, with an evening or sunset cruise from Port Vell. Port Vell is home to the Monument of Christopher Columbus and his sea voyages from 1493. Check out this evening cruise tour.
- If you are into scenic viewpoints like us, Barcelona has TONS. Head up to the top of the monument of Christopher Columbus to see the night lights of the city. Get tickets to the Christopher Columbus Monument.
READ: More Barcelona Tips and Tricks for your visit
Day 2 – Barcelona – Hop on and hop off sightseeing tour, with Gaudi’s creations
For day 2 and 3 in Barcelona, purchase a hop on and hop off bus tour so that you can explore more of the city in less time. We bought the bus tour (or part of the Barcelona Card) in addition to the BCN Metro Card, which gave us discounted train rides.
BCN Card – The BCN Metro Card is handy for commuting in the city. You will need tickets to travel to and from the airport, to get to your hotel every day, etc. Read more about the BCN Metro Card here
Choose one hop-on and hop-off sightseeing line to kick off city exploration. We began with the popular Sagrada Familia. So here is how we did it,
- We arrived at the Sagrada Family early morning. There is a train station right outside the famed church. Hop on and hop off tours can be redeemed here as well.
- Sagrada Familia – The iconic church – Sagrada Familia is a MUST visit for everyone, heading to Barcelona. The church is currently incomplete, with plans to finish the project by 2024 – on the death anniversary of Anthony Gaudi – the Catalan hero. Allot 2-3 hours at the Sagrada Familia. Take a guided tour, explore the interiors, and its beautiful stained glass windows, and also climb up their towers to look at the city from up there.
- Casa Milà or La Pedrera – From Sagrada Familia, explore Casa Mila – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a modernist building designed by Gaudi. Casa Mila was constructed as a residence for the Mila family – Pere Milà and Roser Segimon. Today you can access the rooftop for scenic views.
- Casa Batllo – Another modernist building by Gaudi. Built as a residence for the Batllo family, Casa Batllo is unique with gorgeous glass window panes and balconies – that almost look like a dragon’s mouth. Exploring the Casa Batllo will take you 1-2 hours. Here are the entry tickets.
- Arc de Triomf Barcelona – This one is no comparison to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but still worth a sight. It was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair.
- Park Guell – Park Güell is another of Gaudi’s creations. It was built as a housing oasis for the rich – far and away from the crowded city center. We booked our entry tickets for 06:00 pm so that we could see the sun go down on Gaudi’s tiled creations. Entering the parking area is completely free, but to access the monument buildings, there is an entry fee (with an entry time slot on it). We loved the views from there – of the city, the Gaudi Museum, and the park complex itself. Expect a line up here, pretty much at any time of day. So booking tickets online is recommended. Book it here.
- Magic fountain show – Magic Fountains are a free light show that happens every night in Barcelona’s Plaza Espanya area, near Montjuic. The fountain show has been in operation since the 1992 Olympics that Barcelona (we will explore more of that tomorrow). If you are using the hop on and hop off tour, get down near the Plaza de Espanya, have dinner and then proceed to the Magic fountains area by 09:15 pm. The area gets pretty crowded so watch out for your belongings. You can also book a night lights tour on a bus with a guide to see the Magic Fountain show.
Day 3 of Spain Portugal Itinerary 10 days – More of Barcelona
For day 3 of Barcelona, explore the other popular landmarks of the city like the Montjuïc Castle, Mont Tibidabo, MNAC – Museum of Natural Arts of Catalunya, and more. Use the hop on and hop off tours to streamline the trip.
Today’s itinerary highlights are centered around the 1992 Olympics that were hosted in Barcelona. If we backtrack a little bit here, Spain was under dictatorship for a long time. The Spanish Civil War of 1936 saw conflicts between the Republicans (leftist side comprising of the government with unions and workers) and the Nationalists (rightists comprising of the bourgeoisie, the landlords, and the upper classes).
Followed by decades of dictatorship rule. (There is a similarity here with Portugal’s political scene around this time)
Spain became a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form of government in 1975. Their current constitution was adopted in 1978. A lot of the royal palaces and residences are located in Madrid and not in Barcelona.
However, both cities saw a lot of destruction during the Spanish Civil War.
- Mont Montjuïc – Mont Montjuïc is a hill in the southwestern part of Barcelona and was home to the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. Montjuic word is derived from the Catalan meaning ‘Jewish Mountain’ and was it home to the city’s Jewish community. You can reach Montjuic via a cable car ride or get down at one of the hop on and hop off stops. Every first Sunday of the month you can visit the Montjuic castle for free. Here is the round trip cable car ride to Montjuic.
- Palau Nacional and MNAC – The Palau Nacional or the National Palace was the site of the 1929 International Exhibition. It is located on the hill of Montjuïc. The MNAC or the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is one of the finest art museums in Spain. Entry is free with the Barcelona Pass.
- From the MNAC’s balconies, you can absorb amazing city views. Here are more scenic viewpoints of Barcelona
- Mont Tibidabo – Head to Mont Tibidabo to admire the Sagrat Cor church/Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as well as the entire city of Barcelona. This is the highest point in the city, and you can also enjoy these city views from the Tibidabo Amusement Park – one of the oldest parks in Europe. Get entry tickets to Mont Tibidabo.
- Camp Nou – For football lovers, a trip to Camp Nou is a must. Join in a guided tour of Camp Nou Experience – the largest football stadium in Spain and Europe. It is also home to Barcelona FC.
- Spanish Villages – Explore Poble Espanyol or the Official Spanish Village. It is an open-air architectural museum in Barcelona, originally built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition.
- All the above attractions are located in and around Montjuic and Tibidabo, and it will easily occupy the majority of the day. After exploring these two areas, get down at Park Guell stop, if you are using the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing tour. From the Park Guell stop, walk to the Bunkers – MUHBA Turó de la Rovira
- Bunkers del Carmel/MUHBA Turó de la Rovira – Bunkers del Carmel was a Spanish Civil War bunkers and anti-aircraft gun installation site. The views from up here are FREE and so very stunning. Come here for sunset views after a day’s sightseeing in Barcelona.
Day 4 of Spain Portugal Itinerary 10 or 14 days – Take a day trip from Barcelona to another city or country!
Now, here is what gets exciting. One of the reasons, we chose particular cities in this Spain and Portugal Itinerary is the feasibility of exploring other countries, or other cities if you prefer that.
We don’t believe in counting countries, BUT….there are some places or countries in the world that you may or may not re-visit. Or it is too difficult to fly to. That’s why combining day trips to those countries is worth it – especially when you are flying miles away from home.
So, for your day 4 Spain Portugal Itinerary, you can explore a beach town like Costa Brava, nature/monastery in Montserrat, or a new country.
Another option is to fly to San Sebastian from Barcelona, and in this itinerary, we recommend allotting 2 days for the resort town.
Costa Brava – You can visit Costa Brava for a day, chill at the beach and explore Dali’s museums. There are so many day tours, starting from Barcelona to Costa Brava. Check out this Costa Brava and Girona day trip from Barcelona here.
Montserrat – Montserrat is a mountain range near Barcelona. This is an easy day trip and a perfect option, if you like hiking, stunning landscape, and religious site. We visited Montserrat for its views alone!
The beauty of Montserrat is that (other than the mountain shape) you can explore this in a half-day tour or full-day. If you are using public transportation it will take one full day to explore. There are day tours available for 4 hours, and you can also drive there if you are renting a vehicle.
If you wish to explore a nearby beach in Barcelona, head to La Barceloneta beach in the morning and then take a half-day tour to Montserrat in the afternoon.
Andorra – Andorra is a small country, also known as a microstate in Europe. Andorra de Vella, its capital is the highest capital in Europe. The country is ski heaven and a shopper’s paradise.
Andorra has no airport, so in order to visit this country, you have to fly down to the nearest city with an international airport. So make use of your trip to Barcelona and explore their capital!
You can also take a day tour to Andorra with a stop in France’s Ax de la Thermes. On this day trip, you will notice how the landscape of Catalonia is different from Barcelona.
If you are visiting Spain and Portugal for 14 days, then use one day to visit Andorra (make it day 5).
Day 5 of Spain and Portugal Itinerary 10 days – Arrive in Lisbon and explore
We flew to Lisbon from Barcelona on day 4. Local flights are cheaper at night. We started at 09:30 pm and we arrived in Lisbon Portugal in an hour and a half.
Lisbon is served by Humberto Delgado Airport (also called Lisbon Airport or Portela Airport.) Lisbon international airport is located about 7 kilometers northeast of the city center. Lisbon metro is located right outside the airport. Or if you prefer you can book an Aero-port bus that drops you right in front of the hotel.
Reaching the city center or hotel from Lisbon Airport
- Lisbon Aerobus – Lisbon Aero bus is a convenient way to reach your hotel room from the airport. They only stop at hotels – over 100 spots. This service is available between 8:00 AM and 9:10 PM. Reserve your Aerobus seat here
- Lisbon Metro line – Lisbon metro is efficient and affordable. Use a metro pass to get free unlimited rides for 24, 48, or 72 hours. This Lisbon Card is also handy for the airport to the hotel and the return trip, to get to tours and for sightseeing. Buy Lisbon Card here
- Private Transfer – Or use a one-time private transport from Lisboa airport to hotel.
We stayed at the easyHotel Lisbon which is located super close to the Marques de Pombal Square. Marquis de Pombal Square is like a transportation hub – a great place for metro, bus, and tour connectivity.
There are hotels located right in the square area. Our hotel – easyHotel Lisbon – was a 5-minute walk away from the square. easyHotel had standard hotel rooms, it was an affordable stay. You have to pay for wifi, breakfast, and storing your bags here.
Another option is to stay at the city center itself. Affordably priced and located at the heart of the city, Hotel da Baixa is a great option – access to restaurants, metro lines, and sightseeing attractions, all in one place.
After a night’s sleep, wake up to pastel de nata and coffee in Lisbon. Lisbon was the MOST DELIGHTFUL part of our Spain and Portugal itinerary. And I always look for excuses to write about this city. Because we LOVED it so much.
Breakfast near Pombal Square and then go about exploring
- Guided walking tour of Chiado and Baixa Areas – Head to the city center (or start at the city center) for a guided walking tour to learn about the history and culture of the city. The walking tour is for 3 hours and it will take you through some of the historical spots in Lisbon and nearby neighborhoods. We took this walking tour and highly recommend it. Check it out here – Lisbon Essentials History tour.
- Carmo Ruins – Admire the ruins of the Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Located in the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior, Carmo ruins were damaged in the earthquake of 1755. Today it is home to the Museu Arqueológico do Carmo aka Carmo Archaeological Museum.
- Santa Justa Lift – Located close to the Carmo ruins is the Santa Justa Lift. This lift was built to transfer people from the lower level Baixa to upper-level Largo do Carmo. You can access the lift for some stunning city views.
- Tram 28 – If you wish to explore more of the historic areas in Lisbon, a ride on the historic tram is a MUST.
- Alfama neighborhood and amazing viewpoints – Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood and is filled with stunning viewpoints. Located at a higher level than the center, Alfama showcases the best of Lisboa with views from Miradouro da Graça and river Tagus. Find amazing photo spots in Lisbon
- São Jorge Castle – An 11th-century castle – Castelo de Sao Jorge is a must-visit while exploring Alfama. The castle towers over the city of Lisbon. Learn about Lisbon’s past and enjoy mesmerizing views. Book tickets to the Sao Jorge Castle ahead of time.
- Lisbon Cathedral – Lisbon Cathedral or Sé de Lisboa is a Roman Catholic church, which towers over the city. The church was built in the 12th century and was partially damaged during the earthquake of 1755.
- Rua de Augusta Arch and the Praça do Comércio – The Praça do Comércio is a large plaza that was built on the ruins of the previous royal palace. The palace was completely destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. Post-earthquake, the enlightened Prime Minister of Portugal, Marquis of Pombal came up with new urban planning and building designs called the Pombaline – which were anti-seismic buildings. Watch the sun go down here (this square is a must-visit for Christmas celebrations).
- Pink Street and Fado show – In the evening, head to the city center – this time for dinner and a Fado show in Chiado. Fado is a music/dance form, that originated in Portugal with melancholy and romantic tones. Here is a fado show for the evening.
- Make your way via Pink Street, which was a red-light district once upon a time, and now home to Instagrammable spots and the popular Time Out Market.
Day 6 More of Lisbon – Explore Belem and sea of discovery landmarks
For day 6 of Spain Portugal itinerary, explore more of Lisbon by learning and exploring the monuments of sea discoveries and the nearby neighborhood of Belem. Belem is home to the Torre de Belem (or Belem tower) and the cruise port terminal of Lisboa.
We highly recommend taking the hop on and hop off city tour to reach Belem and enjoy the attractions and then use the same bus tour to reach other areas of the city further away from the city center. So here is what you can explore in and around Lisbon on day 6.
- 25 de April bridge – When you hop on the bus and enjoy the ride towards Belem, you will be greeted by a red bridge that looks like the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. Of the many similarities between these two cities, the 25 de April Bridge is one. The 25 de April Bridge was named after the success of the Carnation Revolution that took place in Lisbon Portugal to overthrow the dictator rule. Crossing the bridge will get you to the nearby district of Almada.
- Monument to the Sea Discoveries – Monument to the Sea Discoveries (or Padrão dos Descrobrimentos in Portuguese) is a wonderful testimony to the sea voyages and discoveries that Portuguese people were involved with. The monument is not assigned to one person, although it is led by Henry the Navigator’s statue, it credits pretty much everybody who was engaged or contributed to the golden age from sailors, to navigators, and more. This monument is located on the south side of the Targus River and it greets you before arriving at the Belem port.
- Torre de Belem – The Belém Tower is a beautiful 16th-century fortress, located on the south bank of the Targus river. The tower was used as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. Built with lioz limestone and the structure has a 30-meter, four-storey tower, that surfaces from a distance. There is an entry fee to enter the tower complex, but it is also possible to get a good glimpse of the structure from either side of the river bank.
- Lisbon port – In Belem, you can enjoy a nice breezy afternoon stroll (and lunch overlooking the 25 de April Bridge) and soak in the Portuguese sun. There are many activities in and around the port area – go on a bicycle tour or the popular hippo bus, sightseeing cruise on the Tagus River, souvenir shopping or lunching.
- Jerónimos Monastery – Jerónimos Monastery is a stunning building located just a few blocks away from the Tower of Belem. If you are on the hop on and hop on bus, you can reach Jeronimos Monastery in 5-7 minutes. This building was a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome. It was Christianised in the late 19th century and the interiors are super grand and have beautiful cravings. The line-ups to the Jerónimos Monastery are crazy long and not fun during peak seasons, so book tickets ahead of time.
- Maritime Museum – The Maritime Museum of Lisbon is also called the Navy museum and it is administered by the Portuguese navy. Located near the Jerónimos Monastery, Museu de Marinha is dedicated to the history of navigation in Portugal and the great adventures of the sea discoveries and the glorious era.
- Vasco da Gama Bridge – From the Belem area, hop on the bus to explore the newer side of Lisbon – the developments and expansion of the 20th century. Start with the Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest bridge in Lisbon and named after the famed explorer Vasco da Gama (who discovered a sea route to India). Ponte Vasco da Gama is also Europe’s longest bridge over water.
- The Lisbon Oceanarium – The Lisbon Oceanarium or the (Oceanário de Lisboa is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. Located in the Parque das Nações neighborhood, the complex was the site/exhibition grounds for the Expo ’98. You can spend the evening (or even half a day with children). Get the tickets here, valid for a day.
- Parque Eduardo VII – For the evening, you can either head back to the town center for drinks and dinner or skip the Oceanarium (if that’s not your thing) and go for a stroll at the Parque Eduardo VII. Parque Eduardo VII was located very close to our hotel and it is a lovely green space at the top of the Avenida da Liberdade and provides amazing sea and city views. The park is dedicated to Eduardo VII, and it is spread from the Avenida da Liberdade (in the north) to the Marquis of Pombal Square, in the city center.
Day 7 of Spain Portugal Itinerary 10 days – Day trip to Sintra
You can easily take a day trip from Lisbon to nearby cities to maximize your experience and time in Portugal. Popular destinations in Portugal include Porto, Coimbra, Aveiro, Fatima, and Obidos. For some cities (like Porto and Coimbra), you do need at least a weekend trip.
For the purposes of this Spain Portugal Itinerary, we will head to Sintra on a day trip. You can visit Sintra on a day tour (with options for multiple cities or nearby towns) or use the metro train system from Lisbon.
Here are some day tour options:
|Day Tours from Lisbon (5 to 9 hours)||Book Here|
|Sintra, Cascais & Cabo da Raco||Book Here|
|Sintra – Pena Palace, Regaleira, Monserrate||Book Here|
|Pena Palace + Regaleira (5 hr tour)||Book Here|
|Highlights of Sintra (5 hr)||Book Here|
To reach Sintra via train, start from the Rossio Station in Lisbon city center and take the train towards Belem. Sintra train station is 10 minutes away from the town center.
- Sintra Town Center – Take the time to wander through the many pretty lanes of Sintra, some whitewashed and some painted in yellow. This will be your go-to spot for a meal, taking 434 buses to the Sintra hills for Pena Palace or hop on and hop off sightseeing bus.
- The Palace of Sintra or Town Palace – Located in the town center is the Palace of Sintra – a well-preserved heritage house that was home to many different rulers and dynasties in the nearby Lisbon area. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, this palace’s staterooms are beautiful and a must-visit.
- Pena Palace – The famed bright yellow and red fairytale-like castle towering from the Sintra hills, is the beautiful Pena Palace. A modern palace (dating from the 19th century), many tourists travel to Sintra just to explore the Pena Palace. It is a popular attraction and remains crowded all year round, so book your tickets in advance. A visit to the palace interiors is a must – we enjoyed the different architectural styles and materials used at the Pena Palace. Prices for visiting the interiors versus the park entry and gardens are slightly different. Find ticketing options here.
- Moorish Castle – Towering higher than the Pena Palace is the Moorish Castle of Sintra. Exploring this castle means a lot of walking and absorbing views of Sintra town and hills. There is nothing of the “staterooms” left in the castle, just empty areas and easy to walk through.
- Quinta de Regaleira – A beautiful complex set in stonework with romantic palaces and chapels and stunning initiation wells – the Quinta de Regaleira was home to wealthy businessmen in the 20th century. A UNESCO World Heritage site today, and a popular photo spot, a visit to the Quinta will reveal why it is called the millionaire’s mansion – it’s like an entire city created within this complex!
- Park and Palace of the Monserrate – Often ignored by most tourists as the park and palace of Monserrate is located further away from the town center, it is worth a visit if you are staying in town for a day or two, or just love Indian style gardens. The staterooms and palace of the Monserrate are small but beautiful.
- Sintra- Cascais Natural Park – A part of the stunning coastline of Portugal is its natural parks. Sintra-Cascais can be explored as part of your day tour.
- Cabo da Raco – Located within the Sintra Cascais Natural Park is the westernmost tip of the European continent – Cabo da Raco. The cliffs and the gushing waters with the lighthouse in the backdrop have been helping explorers over the centuries, find their way!
Tip: To make the most of your day trip from Sintra, here are a few options
- Take a day tour: Day tour to Sintra will include return transportation and sightseeing at popular attractions like the Pena Palace, Cascais, Cabo da Raco, and the town center area. You won’t be able to explore all of Sintra like the Moorish castle or Pena Park, so you can utilize the free/lunchtime to explore the Quinta de Regaleira or the Palace of Sintra.
- Taking the train: Trains take 1 hour to reach Sintra station. Once you are in town, you will have to take a sightseeing bus to reach the Sintra hills for Pena Palace or Castle of the Moors. This is in addition to any entrance tickets listed above. There are 2 routes to keep in mind, and they operate on a loop, like a hop on and hop off bus tour, departing from the historic town center.
- Bus 434: Bus no. 434 takes you from the historic town center to the Sintra hills to explore the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace.
- Bus 435: Bus 435 is useful to explore some of the other sightseeing areas in Sintra, like Monserrate Palace, Seteais Palace, and the Regaleira Estate.
Please do not walk or hike to the hills, it is risky and there is no pedestrian lane. Parking space is limited. During peak seasons, expect to wait for a bus.
Day 8 Back to Spain – in Seville Andalucia – Spain Portugal Itinerary
For day 8, head back to Spain. This time to Seville – Seville is the gorgeous capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. Seville and Andalusia, in general, are characterized by Moorish architecture. The North African Moors, who were Islamic ruled over Andalusia from the 8th to 15th century and they left an indelible mark on the region’s architecture, food, and culture.
Arriving in Seville Spain
We took an overnight bus to Seville Spain from Lisbon Portugal. The bus departed from Lisbon’s Oriente bus station and arrived at Seville’s Plaza de Armas station (in the morning at 06:30 am). Book your bus tickets from Bus Bud here.
- You can also fly to Seville. Seville airport is located about 11 kilometers from the city center (6.8 miles).
- On another note, there is a high speed train option to Seville from Madrid. Fare starts at €23.15 one-way for a Standard Class ticket per person.
Where to stay in Seville?
It is a good idea to stay near the city center or closer to landmark attractions to make the most of your time in Seville.
We stayed at the Hotel Madrid Seville. It is a 3+ star hotel located near the central area. The hotel was clean and the host was super helpful in suggesting to us things to see in Seville, maps, etc. Free wifi was provided as well. Book your stay here
Another option is to stay at the beautiful Hotel Meliá Sevilla. This hotel is located near the historic city center, and it offers amazing views of the Plaza Espanya. It has also stunning interiors and an outdoor rooftop pool. Book your stay here
For your first day in Seville, start with a warm breakfast at a bar, yes you heard it – a bar. Most restaurants and cafes in Seville have a beer tap and an espresso machine side by side. Very casual and relaxed vibes in Andalucia will win you over!
- Torre del Oro – The Tower of Gold or the Torre del Oro was a military watchtower erected by the Almohad Caliphate by Seville’s Guadalquivir River (in the 13th century). Left abandoned for decades and later revived, today houses a naval maritime museum.
- Plaza de Toros la Maestranza – Plaza de Toros la Maestranza is a bull ring arena, located a few steps away from the Torre de Oro. It is a 12,000 capacity arena and it has hosted many competitions and shows in the past. This bull ring is the oldest in Spain and guided tours are available.
- Real Alcazar Palace – The Royal Alcazar of Seville is THE stunning royal palace located in Andalucia. Showcasing a mix of Moorish and Christian architectural styles, the Royal Alcazar Palace is a treat to the senses. Start the fountains and gardens and make your way into the interiors, graced with beautiful Islamic cravings on the doors and ceilings.
The palace was built for the Christian King Peter of Castile when he proceeded to rule the southern region. The original site of the palace belonged to an Abbadid Muslim fortress (which was destroyed during the conquest of Seville), dating to the 10th century.
The palace as you see it today was built in the 14th century. It is super important to get your tickets for the Alcazar ahead of time, otherwise, you will be waiting in line forever. We encountered line-ups during the shoulder season, so you can imagine how it will be during peak tourist months (and hot).
- Seville Cathedral and Giralda Tower – Another gem of Seville is its grand cathedral called the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See. It was built as a means to showcase the prosperity of the state and I can say, the cathedral is lavish and spread over a large area, with fields of orange trees nearby and of course the Giralda tower.
The Giralda Tower is a Moorish minaret. When the Seville Cathedral was built, they left the minaret as is, and later on, it added Christian elements like the church bell tower (and there are winding steps to reach the top of the tower for stunning views).
Christopher Columbus is buried at the Seville Cathedral. Book entrance tickets to the Seville Cathedral and Giralda tower
The Royal Alcazar Palace, along with the Seville Cathedral and the General Archives of the Indies (located in the same complex) together are recognized as UNESCO world heritage sites.
- Santa Cruz Quarter – Spend the second half of your day, wandering through the lanes of the Santa Cruz Quarter. A very touristy neighborhood, Barrio Santa Cruz is located near the Seville cathedral and it was home to the Jewish community during the Christian rule. Today some of the coolest bars, restaurants, and spas are located here. With its narrow cobblestone streets and colored houses, Santa Cruz is every photographer’s delight!
- Guadalquivir River cruise – If you fancy sightseeing river cruises like us, then hop on an hour’s cruise on the Guadalquivir River. This is perfect for a later afternoon or evening activity when the sun is setting down in this wonderful city, and you can admire both sides of the river neighborhood and many bridges. Here is a river cruise to add to your itinerary
- Tapas food tour – In the evening, go on a food tour to enjoy Andalucian tapas. By joining a tour guide, you will wander through the old town and learn about its history and also get a tip or two about proper tapas bars hopping in Seville. Book a tapas and wine tasting tour in Seville.
Day 9 of Spain Portugal Itinerary – More of Seville Spain
For your second day in Seville, explore the newer side of the city with its many world trade expositions. It will be useful to take a hop on and hop off bus for exploring this part of the city so that you see more in less time and make pit stops depending on your interests.
Start with the Plaza de Espanya.
- Plaza de Espanya – Plaza de Espanya was a plaza built for the 1929 Ibero-American exposition. The plaza is located in the Parque María Luisa or Maria Luisa Park, which was re-designed for the 1929 expo by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. The Plaza de España complex comprises of many beautiful structures and edifices in a mix of Moorish, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.
- Explore the many Expo Pavilions – From the Plaza de Espanya, hop on the bus again to explore more of the Expo pavilions. Some of these pavilions house permanent exhibitions or are archive centers.
Seville’s history is marked by royal dynasties – whether it’s the Moors of the Castile Kings. In the 20th century, trade expositions made way and they helped promote and develop the city, and today Seville is the largest (and the capital) city of Andalucía.
The 1929 Iberian Exposition and the 1989 Expo shaped the face of Seville, where new bridges and train networks were built across the city. The express train from Madrid to Seville was built during the 1989 exposition.
- Puente de Isabel II – The Puente de Isabel II is the bridge that connects the Triana neighborhood with the center of the city. It is therefore also known as the Triana Bridge and it crosses one of the arms of the River Guadalquivir that isolates the neighborhood.
- Macarena neighborhood – La Macarena is the oldest neighborhood of Seville. The area gets its character and name from the statue and image of Lady Macarena, dedicated to the Virgin of Hope of Macarena. La Macarena was an important site since the Almohad Caliphate times and a gate was built to safeguard the neighborhood quarters.
- Triana neighborhood – Triana is the bohemian neighborhood of Seville. Known as the birthplace of flamenco, you can expect to see tons of colorful houses and quarters here. It is located on the west bank of the Guadalquivir River and the Triana Bridge connects Seville to Triana. Spend time exploring the old site of Sao Jorge Castle, cafes, and leafy quarters.
- Watch a flamenco show – In the evening, watch a flamenco show in the Triana neighborhood. Triana was a meeting point for sailors, artisans, and flamenco dancers in the past.
Day 10 Take a day trip to other cities in Spain or head to Gibraltar or Morocco
For day 10, venture out of Seville to explore more of the cities in Andalucia or head to Gibraltar or Morocco.
Ronda – Ronda is a beautiful city located about a 2-hour drive away from Seville. Known for its stunning deep gorge and legends surrounding it, the city is a wonder of wonders full of medieval charm and natural views.
Ronda’s bridges will greet you as soon as you near the city, take a moment to admire the landscape from there. The bull ring arena in Ronda is a must-visit – Plaza del Toros. Bullfighting didn’t flourish in Catalonia, but it found a home in Andalucía.
Granada – Located in the foothills of Sierra Nevada with amazing views is the city of Granada. Granada is most well known for the grand palace of Alhambra.
On a day trip, you can explore this Moorish palace (which is bigger than the Real Alcazar Palace), gardens – Generalife, town center, many museums, and historical remnants in the downtown area.
Granada’s history traces back to 700 years so there are plenty of things to do in and around the city center to keep you busy for a day (or two).
Cordoba – Cordoba is another Andalucía city filled with Roman and Islamic history. Its most popular attraction and historical site is La Mezquita – a mosque built during the rule of the Moors and later converted to a place of Christianity worship.
The monument is absolutely breathtaking with mixed architectural designs and work, and it tells a story of how people, religions, and styles can co-exist.
Gibraltar – Unlike Andorra, Gibraltar has an airport and it is the ONLY runway in the world that you can walk across. However, only 2 flights are allowed to operate to and from Gibraltar. The History Channel has named Gibraltar airport as the fifth most dangerous in the world.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. So for travelers using Schengen Visa for Spain and Portugal, you will have to apply for a separate visa to arrive in Gibraltar.
Now, the Strait of Gibraltar and the hope of traveling inside the “rock” made us book a day tour to the country/state/territory. Parking is expensive and a pain – so public transportation or day tours are a great option.
Tangier, Morocco – Tangier is a port city in Northern Morocco. Associated with the world explorer Ibn Batuta, Tangier is a good mix of the urban city and traditional Moroccan nuances. It is possible to take a day trip to Morocco from Tarifa or Seville Spain.
Separated by a distance of 14 kilometers and a 45-minute ferry ride (one way), you can get your passport stamped and ready to explore Tangier’s attractions like the Hercules Caves, Cape Spartel, Tangier American Legation Museum, and of course the medina.
If you are unsure, about taking the ferry from Spain to Tangier Morocco, you can always opt for a day tour.
Tip: You can allot a day each to Gibraltar and Tangier to extend your itinerary to the 13th day Spain and Portugal trip. Use the 11th day for anyone of the Andalucian cities, and travel back to Barcelona on day 14th for your return flight.
Options for Spain and Portugal Itinerary 14 days
Now, those were our 10 days in Spain and Portugal Itinerary. We continued our trip to Tangier from there. We took a day tour, but stayed back in Morocco and went on to explore more of the country. For more details on our trip to Morocco – read our Morocco 7 day itinerary
It took us over 3.50 weeks to explore all of these beautiful cities, with a mix of buses, trains, local flights, and day tours. We didn’t rent a car in any of these cities – public transportation and shared/group tours worked just fine!
Spain and Portugal Itinerary 14 days (Option 2)
Here is an alternate Spain and Portugal 14-day itinerary with a focus on extended sightseeing in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.
Day 1 – 3: Madrid, Spain
Begin your journey in the vibrant capital of Spain, Madrid. Spend your days exploring the city’s rich history and culture, strolling through the Retiro Park, visiting the Prado Museum, and enjoying the city’s renowned tapas bars in the evening.
Day 4 – 5: Seville, Spain
Hop on a train for a scenic ride to Seville. Visit the Alcazar palace, admire the Seville Cathedral, and wander through the charming Santa Cruz district. Don’t miss the traditional Flamenco performance.
Day 6 – 8: Lisbon, Portugal
Travel to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Explore the city’s rich history and vibrant nightlife. Visit the Belém Tower, ride the iconic Tram 28, and try the famous pasteis de nata.
Add a cooking class to your itinerary and learn how to make traditional Portuguese dishes. End the night with a live Fado performance, one of Portugal’s most beloved musical traditions.
Day 9 – 10: Porto, Portugal
Next, head to the stunning city of Porto. Explore the old town, wander around the streets lined with colorful buildings (Ribeira district), and cross the famous Dom Luís I Bridge.
Spend some time in the Douro Valley, where you can visit a traditional wine estate and enjoy a Port wine tasting. Before heading back, don’t forget to buy port wine – it’s an essential souvenir from Portugal!
Day 11 – 14: Hiking in the Algarve, Portugal
Your journey comes to an end in the beautiful Algarve region. Relax on the beautiful beaches, indulge in the local Portuguese cuisine, and visit the historic town of Lagos.
If you have a rental car, you can drive across the country to the Algarve.
Without a rental car, public transportation is available to connect to Algarve from Lisbon.
The Algarve region is home to some of the best hiking routes in Portugal. Hit many of the off the beaten path trails to your Portugal itinerary for an epic adventure.
Tip: If you prefer you can set aside 6 days of your Spain and Portugal trip for a multi-provincial hike (Alentejo and Algarve) called the Rota Vicentina.
Part of this is the Historical Way gives a glimpse into the traditional, rural culture of the region, while the Fishermen’s Trail provides stunning coastal views (4-day trip).
Alternatively, you can hit the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, an 11.9 km or 7.4-mile out-and-back trail in Faro. Or explore the hills of Monchique. The trail to the Foia Peak, the highest point in the Algarve, offers a challenging climb rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. It is a 7.5 km or 4.7-mile loop trail and is perfect for spending half a day.
After a day of hiking, enjoy a hearty Portuguese meal made with locally sourced ingredients.
Not into hiking? Spend the 3 days exploring the many towns of the Algarve – Lagos, Faro, and the Silver Coast. Set aside time for a day tour of the Benagil Cave and enjoy a relaxing beach day!
Travel Tips for Spain Portugal Itinerary 10 days
Travel Documents for Visiting Spain and Portugal
Both Spain and Portugal belong to the Schengen zone of countries. If you belong to one of the non visa exempt countries, then you will have to apply for a Schengen visa ahead of time, before arriving. Learn all about the Schengen visa and how to successfully apply for one.
To visit Gibraltar and Morocco separate visa application is required.
Citizens of the US and Canada can travel visa-free for up to 90 days for personal or tourism reasons.
After 2023, passport holders of the United States and Canada will have to apply for an online travel authorization prior to arriving in any Schengen country, called the ETIAS. ETIAS takes minutes to be filled out online and a confirmation will be sent via email.
Travel Insurance – Don’t forget to insure your trip. We highly recommend insuring your camera and other gear while traveling. Get Travel Insurance quotes from Safety Wing here.
Currency and credit cards in Barcelona
Euro is the currency of Spain and Portugal. Credit cards are widely accepted and you will easily find bank machines in the city as well.
More Europe travel tips
If this is your first trip to Europe, you can start with these handy resources
- Europe 101 – Our introductory guide to planning a trip to Europe.
- Europe Itinerary Samples – Want to make the most of your visit to Europe? This is the ultimate 27 itinerary samples.
- Europe Packing Guide – This is the only packing guide to Europe you will ever need. It has references to seasons and regional variations.
- Visiting Europe in winter – Here are some of the best traveler picks.
- Warm places in Europe? – Here are the warmest places to visit in Europe from December through March.
We hope you found this itinerary useful. You can easily explore Spain and Portugal in 10 days, and add the nearby destinations for a well-rounded trip of 2 weeks or more!