11 of the best Spanish city breaks for your bucket list

Who doesn’t love a city break for a weekend away? The chance to relax, experience a different culture, try some new foods, and get away from everything for a few days. Spanish city breaks offer all this and more!

If you are looking for city break ideas in Europe, a weekend break in Spain is always a great choice. It’s a short flight from other European destinations and you can usually experience better weather than at home.

There are so many choices for a city break in Spain, with rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful landscapes. From the medieval city of Toledo to the seaside charm of Valencia, if you’re wondering where to go for city breaks in Europe, read on to find out the best locations for Spanish weekend breaks.

The list of destinations is endless but for this blog post we’ve picked Spanish cities that are close to airports and that can be explored in a couple of days, making them ideal destinations for weekend trips to Spain.

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Seville – the city of flamenco

Beautiful Seville, the birthplace of flamenco, is one of the best destinations for a long weekend break in Spain. Explore the iconic Alcázar, marvel at the Cathedral of Seville, and sample the city’s culinary delights in the historic Barrio Santa Cruz.

Spanish city breaks - Seville, Plaza de Espana

A Seville city break promises plenty to do whether you are spending 2 or 3 days in Seville or visiting for a longer holiday. While it is a great destination for short breaks to Spain all year round, you may find that the summer months are just too hot to explore Seville when the temperature regularly hits 40°c. The best time to visit Seville is spring or autumn when the weather is mild and perfect for walking around the city.

How to get from Seville airport to the centre of Seville

Seville airport to city centre is approximately 10km and there are a few ways to get there. There’s a regular bus service available at the airport, EA (Especial Aeropuerto) bus, that runs between the airport and the centre of Seville, stopping at key locations such as the Santa Justa train station and Plaza de Armas bus station.

If you want to get a taxi from Seville aiport to the city centre you can grab one right outside the arrivals hall or book one in advance to save the hassle.

Must-see attractions in Seville…

If you are planning a city break to Seville, there are lots of things to do during your trip. Here are a few of the best things to do in Seville…

Real Alcázar of Seville – A historic royal palace dating back to the 10th century, the Alcázar of Seville is one of the oldest palaces in use in Europe and was featured in Game of Thrones. Book your Real Alcázar entry ticket here.

Cathedral of Seville – This UNESCO World Site Heritage is the largest gothic cathedral in the world and the fourth largest church. Christopher Columbus is buried here along with more than 40,000 kilos of solid gold and a crocodile!

Spanish city breaks - Seville Cathedral

Plaza de España – A must see in Seville is the famous Plaza de España. This landmark square features two tall towers and 52 mosaic tile benches with frescos depicting all 52 Spanish provinces.

La Giralda – The bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville, you can climb La Giralda for some stunning views of Seville.

You can book a ticket for a guided tour of the Cathedral, Giralda and Alcazar of Seville here.

Free Seville City Tours

When spending just 1 or 2 days in a city, it’s a good idea to join a local expert on a tour around the location, and often you don’t even need to pay anything upfront – just pay what you think the tour is worth at the end. Here are a few of the great free tours of Seville to book onto for your Spanish city break…

Free tour of Seville – This 2 hour free walking tour of Seville takes you through the Plaza de San Francisco, Seville Cathedral, the beautiful Giralda bell tower, the Royal Alcazar, Puerta de Jerez, the Royal Tobacco Factory, and finishes at the Plaza de España. Book tickets here.

Free tour of the three cultures of Seville – On this free tour of Seville you’ll discover how different cultures have contributed to this amazing city. Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews and Christians have all had a hand in the history of Seville and are present in many of its monuments. You’ll learn about history, legends and love stories as well as getting to see some of the most iconic buildings. Book tickets here.

Free night tour of Seville – If you want to see the best of Seville at night, this free our will allow you to see the main illuminated monuments of the city and learn about numerous curiosities of the city. Book your tickets here.

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Toledo – the city of three cultures

For a weekend away in Spain that feels like a step back in time, the ancient city of Toledo should be at the top of your city breaks list. This UNESCO World Heritage site is set on a hill above Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain and is known for the medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments found in its walled old city.

Spanish city breaks - Toledo

You can wander through the winding streets of the Jewish Quarter, visit the imposing Alcázar, and admire the intricate craftsmanship of Toledo’s iconic swords and damascene art.

To sample some of the food in Toledo that the city is best known for, you must try the local marzipan! Created by the Convent of St Clement during a famine in the 16th century, marzipan in Toledo is a delicacy that you need try during your trip.

Where is the nearest airport to Toledo?

If you are looking for weekend trips in Spain accessible from Madrid, the nearest airport to Toledo is Madrid-Barajas Airport which is about an hour’s drive away.

The quickest way to get from the airport to Toledo is to get a taxi to Madrid’s Atocha station to take the high speed AVANT train into Toledo. You can search for train tickets from Madrid to Toledo here.

You can also get a bus from Madrid to Toledo which takes approximately 90 minutes and costs around €7 each way. Buy bus tickets to Toledo here.

If you are visiting Toledo with children, you might prefer the comfort and convenience of hiring a car, which can be collected from Madrid airport. Find a rental car in Toldeo here.

Must-see attractions in Toledo…

Whether you are spending 1 or 2 days in Toledo, or are visiting the city for a bit longer, some of the best things to do in Toledo include…

Toledo Cathedral – An excellent example of Spanish Gothic art, this Catholic temple was actually built on top of a Muslim mosque, before that it had been a church in the sixth century. You can see some great examples of the work of the Greek painter and sculptor El Greco here. Standard entry tickets are 10€ and if you want to visit the bell tower as well it costs €12.50.

Spanish city breaks - Toledo cathedral

Mirador de Valle – For the best views of Toledo, a visit to this viewpoint is a must if you are spending the weekend in Toledo. Located on the other side of the Tagus River, the Mirador del Valle is one of the most visited places in Toledo due to the wonderful panoramic views and also a great free thing to do in Toledo.

Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes – Located in the Jewish quarter of Toledo, this monastery was commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs in to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Toro. This Isabelline style Franciscan monastery features chains that once belonged to Christian prisoners liberated from Muslim Granada. Entry tickets cost €4.

San Martins Bridge – For one of many free things to do in Toledo, the San Martins bridge is worth a visit, This medieval bridge across the river Tagus features five arches, with the largest in the middle having a span of 40 meters. From this bridge you’ll have some fantastic views over the city of Toledo.

Toldeo Hop on Hop Off Bus – If you’re visiting Toldeo with kids, a fun way to see the city without wearing them out is to jump on the tourist bus. With the Toledo tourist bus ticket, you can hop on and off as you wish and explore the city of the three cultures at your own pace. The open-top double-decker bus tour has 1 route with 10 stops, and also includes entrance tickets and a guided tour of the Cathedral of Santa Maria. Buy your Toldeo tourist bus tickets here.

Save money on your Toledo city break

The Toledo Tourist Wristband is a great value way to see more attractions in the city. For €12 (free for children under 11) you get access to 7 must-see sites in Toledo – the Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles, the Jesuit Church, the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, the Church of Santo Tomé, the Church of El Salvador, and the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca. Buy your Toledo Tourist Wristband here.

Toledo City Tours

Discover more of the amazing city of Toledo by joining a tour. You’ll learn about the history of the city and see some of the best sights Toledo has to offer…

Toledo Guided Walking Tour and Cathedral guided visit – On this 3 hour walking tour of Toledo you’ll discover the most important streets and squares of Toledo, visit one of the city’s most important attractions, the Cathedral, and learn about the most important events that have occurred in the city. Book your tickets here.

Night Tour Mysteries and Legends of Toledo – On this night tour of Toledo you will get to discover some of the legends of Toledo, walk the narrow and mysterious streets of the city, and learn about the history of Toledo. Book your tickets here.

Toledo Free Walking Tour – For free tours in Toldeo, don’t miss the opportunity to join this tour and travel through time exploring the architectural and cultural heritage of Christian, Muslim and Jewish Spain. The tour takes 1 hour 30 mins and you can book your tickets here.

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Valencia – the city of art and culture

Valencia on the Costa Blanca is one of the best destinations for a short city break in Spain. During a weekend in Valencia you can experience both the beautiful historic old town as well as the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences.

Spanish city breaks - Valencia old town buildings

Valencia has to be one of the best European city breaks with kids as there’s so many interesting and fun things to do. If you’re visiting Valencia with kids, take a stroll through the historic Turia Gardens or visit the science museum or aquarium. For foodies, why not try some Valencian paella (the original paella!) or eat tapas at the beach.

Valencia is one of Spain’s most affordable cities to visit and it’s easy to walk around the city without the need for public transport.

How to get from Valencia airport to the city centre

It’s just 8km from the airport in Valencia to the city, and there are frequent bus services as well as two metro lines that connect the airport and the city.

You can also pre-book an airport taxi to take you directly from Valencia airport to your city centre hotel.

Must-see attractions in Valencia

Although Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, you can see pretty much everything in 2 or 3 days. Even if you only have a day in Valencia during your weekend break, you can still tick a lot off your to-do list. Whether you’re spending 1 or 2 days in Valencia, or a whole week, you won’t be short of ways to spend your time. Some of the best attractions to see on Valencia city break include…

City of Arts and Sciences Valencia – One of the most famous attractions in Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences Valencia, considered one of the 12 treasures of Spain. This futuristic cultural and architectural complex in the centre of Valencia includes the Hemisfèric, a 180 degree cinema, the science museum, the largest aquarium in Europe, and a concert hall. There is also a lake with rowing boats, pedaloes and more. Buy combo entry tickets here.

Spanish city breaks - Valencia city of arts and sciences

Turia Gardens – A visit to Turia Gardens is one of the best free things to do in Valencia, and a great way to spend some time as a family. This 12km long green space is the perfect place in the middle of the city for walking, cycling or just enjoying the recreation areas and parks.

Valencia Cathedral – Home of the Holy Chalice as well as the most important pieces of art from the first Spanish Renaissance, the Valencia Cathedral in the old town is a must-visit. Built on an ancient Roman temple and later a mosque, the cathedral is a Gothic-style building that is also fascinating to look at from the outside. Entry is €9 for standard tickets, or €6 for seniors and children.

Central market Valencia – To experience some of the amazing local delicacies in Valencia, a must stop is the central market. You can buy fresh produce from fruit and veg, to meats and cheeses, or just wander the rows and take in the sights and smells.

Valencia hop on hop off bus – You can get 24 or 48 hour hop on hop off bus ticket for the tourist bus in Valencia to see most of the main attractions without having to walk too far. You’ll be able to stop at the Plaza del Toros, City of Arts and Sciences, the Port of Valencia, BioParc Valencia and more. Buy tickets for the Valencia hop on hop off bus here.

Valencia city tours

A fun way to spend your weekend break to Valencia is to join a tour of the city. Valencia city tours include walking tours, bike tours and even TukTuk tours. Here are some of the best tours of Valencia to book onto…

Valencia Free Tour – This free tour of Valencia takes around 2.5 hours and you’ll get to discover the most famous monuments of the historic centre of Valencia. Starting in the Plaza de la Virgen you’ll learn the history, facts and interesting anecdotes behind these monuments. Book your free tour of Valencia tickets here.

Valencia TukTuk Tour – For a unique way to see Valencia, why not book onto a Tuk Tuk tour! You can either choose from the Historical Valencia Route or the Modern Valencia Route both of which take 1 hour 20 minutes, or you can book onto the Valencia Complete Tour which takes 2 hours 30 minutes. Book your TukTuk tour here.

Valencia City Highlight Guided Bike Tour – Bike tours in Valencia are a very popular way to explore the city. Combine sightseeing with a fun bike ride, on either a private or group tour, and pedal through the streets to see the Palau de la Música, the Cathedral of Valencia, and more. Book your guided bike tour of Valencia here.

Valencia Tapas and Drinks Evening Tour – To sample some of the best tapas in Valencia with a local guide you can join this evening tour with several tasting opportunities. You’ll visit four different tapas bars and learn about Spanish food, history, local culture and lifestyle. Book the Tapas and Drinks Evening Tour here.

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Granada – the Moorish jewel

A popular city break destination is Granada in Spain, located in foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the Andalusia region. Short breaks to Granada will include the discovery of beautiful Moorish architecture and opulent gardens, spellbinding views of the city from the historic Albaicín quarter, eating tapas in picturesque squares, and watching traditional flamenco shows.

Spanish city breaks - Granada Alhambra windows

The most famous of all the tourist attractions in Granada is the Alhambra, set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains which you’ll see covered in snow if you visit Granada in winter. Choose when to visit Granada wisely, this area experiences the seasons more than the drier coastal areas, so you can expect pleasant spring and autumn months, cold winters, and hot summers – though Granada doesn’t get summer temperatures quite as extreme as cities such as Seville or Cordoba.

Where is the nearest airport to Granada?

The nearest airport to Granada is Granada-Jaén Airport which is 15 km away from the city centre. Other airports near Granada include Malaga (97 km) and Almeria (115.9 km), but these are probably a bit to far of you are only spending a short break in Granada.

To get from Granada airport to city centre hiring an airport taxi is the most efficient method of getting into the city. It takes around 20 minutes for a cost of approximately €35. Buses into Granada are much cheaper at around €4 but take approximately 45 minutes to reach the centre of the city.

Parking in Granada can be difficult so we wouldn’t recommend hiring a car unless you want to explore other nearby towns during your stay. A private transfer into Granada city starts at €27.

Must-see attractions in Granada

Whether your Granada city break is just for the weekend, or you plan to spend more than 2 days in Grandada city centre, you won’t be short of things to do. Some of the must-see sights for a short Granada city break include…

The Alhambra of Granada – The top thing to do in Granada is pay a visit to the Alhambra – if you only have one day in Granada make sure this is top of your list. This Moorish palace and fortress complex is one of the best-preserved palaces of the historic Islamic world and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Make sure you book your Alhambra tickets early as they do sell out quickly.

Spanish city breaks - Granada view of Alhambra

Generalife gardens – Built in the 13th century the Generalife gardens were a place for the kings of Granada to escape from the official affairs of the palace. Located next to the Alhambra these beautiful gardens are free to explore and have some fantastic views across the city.

Albaicín district – The historic Albaicín district is a World Heritage Site with some fantastic viewpoints towards the Alhambra. The Mirador de San Nicolás is the best place to sit and take in the breathtaking views of the palace, especially of an evening.

Granada Cathedral – Building of the Granada cathedral began in 1523 and was finished 181 years later. Impressive from the inside and out, the cathedral includes a museum and many impressive paintings and sculptures. Tickets to enter the cathedral cost €5, with children under 12 free.

For more ideas of things to do in Granada read this post.

Granada City Tours

See as much as possible on your short break to Granada by joining a city tour…

Free walking tour of Granada – What better way to discover the amazing city of Granada than on a free walking tour with a local guide? On this free 2 hour tour you’ll be led around the hisotric centre by a local expert, starting at the Plaza de Bib-Rambla and continuing to Granada Cathedral, the old silk market, and Albaicín. Book your place on the free walking tour of Granada.

Granada Segway Tours – Don’t feel like walking? See the sights of Granada on a Segway instead! You can choose from three different routes. The 3 hour Historic Centre Tour, the 2 hour Sacromonte & Albaicín tour, or the 1 hour sightseeing tour. Book the Granada Segway tour here.

Granada like a local private tour – Experience Granada through the eyes of a passionate local with no set itinerary – you can choose to customise the tour as you wish. Meet the locals and discover many hidden secrets of Granada on this private walking tour. Book your private tour of Granada here.

Granada Sunset Walking Tour in Albaicín & Sacromonte – For the best panoramic views of Granada and the Alhambra you can join this sunset walking tour. You’ll visit the historic Albaicín distrcit including a stop at the San Nicolas viewpoint, before heading to the gypsy caves of Sacromonte. Book onto the Granada Sunset Walking Tour here.

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Bilbao – the city of the Guggenheim

When choosing destinations for city breaks in Spain, the north isn’t usually as popular as the Costas in the south. However, for lovers of art and architecture, Bilbao should be at the top of your Spain weekend trips list.

Bilbao is an industrial port city in northern Spain, surrounded by green mountains and renowned for its avant-garde architecture and world-class art scene. You can spend hours exploring the iconic Guggenheim Museum and wander through the streets of Casco Viejo. Foodies on a Bilbao city break are in for a treat as popular food in Bilbao includes delicious Basque pintxos, the region’s answer to tapas.

Spanish city breaks - Bilbao streets

The weather in Bilbao isn’t as warm as in the south of Spain and you can expect some rain, but for more reasonable temperatures to wander around in you should definitely consider Bilbao for a Spain weekend break. The best time to visit Bilbao is spring when the weather is milder and drier than the autumns and winter months.

How to get from Bilbao airport to the city centre

There are several airports near Bilbao but the nearest and most convenient is Bilbao airport, located 9km north of Bilbao. To get from Bilbao airport to city centre there are regular bus services throughout the day, taking approximately 25 minutes and stopping at several key locations in the city centre.

A taxi from Bilbao airport to the city takes around 15 minutes and costs approximately €25. You can also prebook a transfer from the airport to Bilbao city centre.

If you want to rent a car in Bilbao you can either hire one from the aiport or in the city centre, a good idea if you plan to explore the surrounding area.

Must-see attractions in Bilbao

You won’t struggle to find things to do on a short city break to Bilbao, here are some of the most important things to see…

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao – The Guggenheim is a modern and contemporary art museum designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, with an exhibition of 250 contemporary works of art. Admission is free to visitors under 18, or €12 for over 18s.

Spanish city breaks - Bilbao Guggenheim

Casco Viejo – The old medieval quarter of Bilbao, is the place to go for shopping and gastronomy. This lively riverside district has modern shops and traditional taverns lining the Seven Streets, plus La Ribera market with plenty of food stalls and pintxo bars.

Bilbao Cathedral – Santiago Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Bilbao and the city’s oldest building. It was built during the 14th–15th centuries but only declared cathedral in 1950. This Gothic style cathedral is free to enter but there is a charge if you want to climb up to the roof or visit the museum.

Plaza Nueva – The main square of the old town, Plaza Nueva is lined the arch-lined colonnades and is a key gathering spot during fiestas and concerts. The square features many pinxto bars and is the hub of the city’s social life.

Bilbao city tours

To discover as much of the city as possible in a 2 or 3 day break, take a look at these Bilbao Tours. From walking tours ito wine tours, there’s something for everyone…

Free walking tour of Bilbao – On this free 2.5 hour walking tour you’ll discover some of the stories and secrets of Bilbao’s historic centre. Starting at the the Arriaga Theatre you’ll visit the San Nicolás Church, Plaza Nueva, the Mallona stairs, and Seven Streets one of the most historic areas of the old town. Your tour will finish at the stunning Estación de la Concordia, one of the city’s most beautiful train stations. Book your tickets for the free walking tour of Bilbao here.

Bilbao Food Tour – If you want to sample the most typical gastronomy of the Basque Country you can join this food tour of Bilbao to visit some of the most important bars in the city. You’ll visit visit between 5 and 7 bars in the streets of Bilbao, tasting up to 8 pintxos and 5 drinks. Book onto the Bilbao Food Tour here.

Bilbao Sightseeing Boat Tour – Set sail on a 1 or 2 hour boat tour from the City Hall Bridge, cruising past Bilbao’s most important buildings and landmarks such as the Guggenheim Museum, while listening to an audio guide. Book your tickets for the Bilbao sightseeing boat tour here.

Bilbao City Highlights Guided Bus Tour – Explore Bilbao by bike on this guided tour, cycling along the scenic Ría past sights such as the Guggenheim Museum, Euskalduna Palace, and the City Town Hall. The tour takes 2 hours and you can book your tickets here.

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Barcelona – the city of Gaudi

One of the best city breaks in Europe for families, Barcelona is worth visiting, a Spanish destination that should be on all travel bucket lists. This Mediterranean city has amazing architecture, excellent beaches, delicious food, a vibrant culture, and of course a world famous football team.

Spanish city breaks - Barcelona Ramblas

Well known around the world for the as yet unfinished La Sagrada Familia, this artistic city has plenty of things to do including an abundance of museums, famous buildings and beautiful churches to visit, as well as sandy beaches and beautiful parks.

While it’s possible to see the best of Barcelona in two days, there are more than enough places to visit if you are staying for longer.

What is the nearest airport to Barcelona?

There is one airport in Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto, which is approximately 13km outside of the city centre. You can get from Barcelona airport to city Center by Metro using the Orange L9 Sud Line which runs every 7 minutes. A taxi from Barcelona airport to the city centre takes approximately 25 minutes and costs €30-35.

Many of the budget airlines fly into Girona airport which is approximately 1.5 hours from Barcelona city centre. A bus from Girona airport to Barcelona city centre takes around 2 hours and tickets are priced from €20. If you are on a family holiday to Barcelona you might prefer to hire a car from Girona Airport which can cost from as little as €50 for the weekend.

Must-see attractions in Barcelona

If you’re spending a long weekend in Barcelona there are so many great places to visit in Barcelona in 2 days – and plenty to fill 3 or 4 days in the city. Here are some of the best things to do in Barcelona…

La Sagrada Familia – No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to one of the most famous tourist attractions, La Sagrada Familia. This church is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world, designed by Antoni Gaudí and started in 1882 – it’s expected to be finished in 2026. Buy your Sagrada Familia Entry Tickets with Guided Tour here.

Spanish city breaks - Barcelona Sagrada Familia

Park Güell – One of the best free things to do in Barcelona and a great place to take children, Park Güell is one of the most famous and iconic landmarks by Antoni Gaudí. Things to see in Park Güell include the Dragon Stairway, the Hypostyle Room, and the Porter’s Lodge Pavilion.

Picasso MuseumBarcelona’s Picasso Museum houses an extensive collection of artworks by the twentieth-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, with a total of 4251 of his works on display. Entry is free on Thursday afternoons from 4.00pm and all day on the first Sunday of every month.

Camp Nou – Football fans should definitely pay a visit to the home of FC Barcelona. Even if you’re not a fan of football, this impressive stadium is really interesting to see. A trip to Camp Nou includes the changing rooms, the presidential box, the VIPs lounge, the press rooms, several television studios, and of course views over the pitch.

Barcelona Hop on Hop Off Bus – 2 or 3 days in Barcelona can involve a lot of walking, so if you want an easier way to get around you can book a ticket for the hop on hop off bus. Stopping at all the major tourist attractions you also get a discount booklet with vouchers for places such as La Sagrada Familia and Poble Espanyol.

Save money on public transport in Barcelona

Travelling around Barcelona on public transport is so easy, with the choice of metro, buses, trams, and suburban trains. Doing Barcelona in a weekend can involve a lot of public transport so a good way to save some money is to buy an Hola Barcelona Public Transport Travel Card, from €17.50 per person with 48, 72, 96, or 120-hour ticket options. It offers unlimited travel and will save you a lot of time – and sore feet!

Barcelona City Tours

On your Barcelona weekend trip, take advantage of one of these tours of the city to learn more about the history of Barcelona as well as see some of the most important tourist attractions…

Barcelona Free Walking Tour – On this 2 hour free walking tour of Barcelona you’ll join an expert local guide to tour the historic centre of Barcelona and discover all its must-see spots. The tour includes stops at La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, the Palau de la Generalitat and the mythical Cathedral of the Sea. Book your tickets on the Barcelona Free Walking Tour here.

Gaudí & Modernism Free Tour Barcelona – If you’re looking for the best free Gaudí tour in Barcelona, this tour is for you! Join a local guide to see Spain’s most important modernist symbols. Book your tickets on the Gaudí & Modernism Free Tour here.

Barcelona Guided City Sightseeing Tour by Bike – on this 2.5 hour bike tour of Barcelona you’ll discover the top 25 must-see attractions in Barcelona, feed the city’s famous green parrots, and learn about the landmarks. Book your place on the Barcelona Guided City Sightseeing Bike Tour here.

Barcelona Beer Bike Tour – Maybe your weekend trip to Barcelona is for a stag or hen party? If so, the Barcelona Beer Bike Tour promises a lot of fun. The tour lasts for 1 hour and you’ll get to party your way around Barcelona on board a unique beer bike. Book your Barcelona Beer Bike Tour tickets here.

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Madrid – the greenest city in Europe

Promising one of the best city breaks in Spain, Madrid is famous for the Prado Museum, exquisite food, its world-renowned football club, the Royal Palace, and historical squares amongst many other attractions.

The largest city in Spain and the capital city since the 17th century, Madrid is also one of the greenest cities in Spain so you can spend some time outdoors in one of the many beautiful parks on your Madrid city break.

Spanish city breaks - Madrid

Whether you’re looking for a cultural, historic or foodie experience on your Madrid city break, the city has so much in store for you and is definitely one of the best places to visit in Spain for a long weekend.

The best time to visit Madrid is in the autumn or spring months. Winter in Madrid can be quite cold and wet, while summer temperatures are among some of the hottest in Spain.

How to get from Madrid airport to Madrid city centre

Madrid–Barajas Airport, is the main international airport serving Madrid, located approximately 22km from the city centre. To get from Madrid airport to Madrid center by bus, the EMT Airport Express runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This bus service connects Madrid airport with the city center, stopping at various landmarks such as Atocha train station, Cibeles Square, and Gran Vía.

If you want to grab a taxi from Madrid airport to the city centre it takes around 25 minutes and costs €30.

You can also catch a train from the airport to the city centre which is the most affordable choice. From Madrid airport to Madrid train station take Line 8 (pink), the direct line that runs from the airport to Nuevos Ministerios station, located in the heart of the city center. The journey takes approximately 15-20 minutes and costs around €3.

You can book buses, trains and ride shares from Madrid airport to the city centre here.

Must-see attractions in Madrid

No weekend break in Madrid would be complete without a visit to some of the city’s best tourist attractions. Here are some suggestions of places to see in Madrid…

Prado Museum – The Prado Museum, officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado, is the main Spanish national art museum and famous for its collection of late 19th and early 20th century paintings including works by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. Entry is free from Monday to Saturday between 6 – 8pm and on Sundays between 5-7pm. You can buy tickets for visits outside these hours here.

El Retiro Park – The Buen Retiro Park, or simply El Retiro, is one of the largest parks in Madrid. The park belonged to the Spanish monarchy until 1868, when it became a public park. El Retiro covers over 125 hectares, features more than 15,000 trees, and was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll find all kinds of interesting monuments and gardens here, including various gardens, a large artificial lake where you can rent a rowing boat, and the Velázquez Palace and Glass Palace.

Spanish city breaks - Madrid el retiro park

The Royal Palace – The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish royal family and is the largest royal palace in Europe. You can visit the Royal Palace with or without a guide, Monday-Friday and on Sundays. Book a Madrid Palace Guided Tour here.

Plaza Mayor – The Plaza Mayor is a major public space in the heart of Madrid, once the centre of Old Madrid. Built during the 16th century this square features the city hall, shops and restaurants, with many street artists and performers to sit and watch as you have a drink.

Madrid City Tours

A great way to see as much as possible and learn more about the city on Madrid city breaks is to take a tour with a local guide. Here are some of the best tours of Madrid from walking tours to wine tours…

Free walking tour of Madrid – On this free tour you will walk around the old town of Madrid and discover its most symbolic places, monuments, and buildings. Accompanied by a local expert guide you’ll learn about this beautiful city’s history and legends. Book tickets on the free walking tour of Madrid here.

Madrid wine and tapas tour – Enjoy an evening of tapas in Madrid’s oldest bars while learning more about Spanish culture and history. Includes a visit to 4 tapas bars with food and drinks included. Book tickets on the Madrid wine and tapas tour here.

Madrid city highlights guided vintage bike tour – On this guided bicycle tour of Madrid you spend 3 hours riding a beautiful vintage bike through the city, seeing the iconic sights such as the Real Palace, Prado Museum, Alcalá’s Gate, and more. Book tickets for the Madrid city highlights bike tour here.

Madrid hop on hop off sightseeing bus tour – You can purchase a 1 or 2 day ticket for this this open-top double-decker bus for a sightseeing tour of Madrid. Choose from two routes and see everything from historical sites like the Royal Palace to modern skyscrapers. Book your sightseeing bus tour tickets here.

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Alicante – the city of light

One of the best destinations for family friendly European city breaks has to be Alicante, a port city on the Costa Blanca. Alicante is home to a lovely old town, Barrio de la Santa Cruz, with narrow streets, coloured houses and a great nightlife scene. The medieval Castillo de Santa Bárbara is set on a hilltop with fantastic panoramic views of the Mediterranean coast and port.

If you like the beach there are plenty to visit on a weekend in Alicante, from Postiguet beach in the city centre to lots more beautiful beaches a short walk or tram ride away.

Spanish city breaks - Alicante city

There is a lively Alicante nightlife scene as well as many restaurants serving traditional Spanish dishes as well as international cuisine. As Alicante is a seaside city you can expect some delicious seafood on offer as well as the local cuisine of paella. Check out reviews of the best Alicante restaurants on TripAdvisor.

For 2 or 3 day breaks in Spain, Alicante is a great choice as it has everything you would want from a weekend away.

Getting from Alicante airport to city centre

The distance from Alicante airport to city is 12km, which takes approximately 15 minutes by car. Unfortunately there are no trains or trams from Alicante airport into the city centre but you can get on the C-6 bus line which operates all day, all year round, departing every 30 minutes. The trip takes around 25 minutes and a one way ticket costs €3.85.

You can get a taxi from the airport into the city for around €20, however in peak season its a good idea to prebook transport as it gets very busy.

If you plan to spend more than 2 days in Alicante and want to explore the surrounding towns, it might be better to hire a car at Alicante airport for convenience.

Must-see attractions Alicante city centre…

There are lots of things to do in Alicante but some of the top things you won’t want to miss on an Alicante city break include…

Castillo de Santa BárbaraSanta Bárbara Castle can be seen from anywhere in the city centre. Set high on the hill overlooking the city, it promises some of the best views in Alicante. The current fortress dates from the end of the 9th century when the Moors ruled the Peninsula, and there are many exhibits to learn more about the history of castle and surrounding area. Entry to the castle is free though there is a fee of €2.70 euros to use the elevator – it is possible to walk up to the castle from the old town in which case you won’t need to pay at all.

Spanish city breaks - Alicante Santa barbara castle

Alicante central market – To experience the local delicacies of Alicante and the nearby areas, a visit to the city’s central market is a must. Here you can sample local foods as well as buy some souvenirs to take home. The market has nearly 300 stalls and is open Monday – Saturday from 7am – 2:30pm.

Archaeological Museum of Alicante – The Archaeological Museum of Alicante, known as MARQ, takes you on an interesting historic journey through rooms dedicated to Prehistory, Iberian Culture, Roman Culture and Middle Ages. The museum won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2004 and houses various exhibits and collections – most recently the Terracotta Army. Entry to MARQ is €3 or free for under 8s.

Basilica of St Mary of Alicante – The Basilica of Santa Maria is the oldest active church in Alicante. It was built in Valencian Gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries over the remains of a mosque. Opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 7:30 to 12:30 and from 17:30 to 20:30, entry costs €6 for adults, €5 for seniors, and €4 for 13-17 year olds, under 13s are free.

Alicante city tours

Alicante has a rich and interesting history and the best way to learn more about it is via a guided tour with a local expert. Here are some of the best city tours of Alicante for foodies, wine lovers, and history fans…

Free Walking Tour of Alicante – On this free 2.5 hour tour around Alicante you’ll have the opportunity to admire Alicante’s main monuments and learn about the city’s history and legends. You’ll start in the town hall square and visit the Explanada de España, Gabriel Miró square, Mushroom Street, the Teatro Principal, and more before finishing at the Basilica of Santa Maria. Book tickets on this free Alicante walking tour here.

Alicante Bike Tour – In this 2.5 hour bike tour around Alicante, you’ll pedal through the most iconic squares, promenades, and landmarks of the city, including the Santa Cruz neighborhood, Postiguet beach and the Central Market. Book tickets for the Alicante Bike Tour here.

Seven Secrets of Alicante Discovery Tour – Discover the secrets of Alicante on a guided tour where you will get to explore, eat, and drink with a local guide. Visit the Central Market, the castle, and a locals-only tapas restaurant for a traditional drink and snack. Book tickets for the Seven Secrets of Alicante Tour here.

Alicante Secret Flavours Food Tour – Foodies will love this tasting tour through Alicante’s Central Market. You’ll get to sample many products typical of the region, including fruits and vegetables directly from the orchard, meat from local farms, Mediterranean fish, as well as local cheese, and handmade sweets. You’ll also get to learn about the history of the market as well as the most experienced sellers. Book tickets for the Alicante Secret Flavours Food Tour here.

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Murcia – the city of squares and gardens

Murcia, a university city in southeastern Spain and the capital of a region also named Murcia, is a perfect destination for short breaks in Spain. Founded by the Moors in 825, Murcia has a rich and interesting history to discover.

Murcia city centre - Catedral de Murcia

Murcia old town is full of beautiful buildings from Gothic to Baroque styles, as well as museums, plazas, and plenty of bars and restaurants serving delicious Mediterranean food.

While not as well known as Spanish cities such as Barcelona or Madrid, Murcia is just as interesting to visit and not quite as busy – perfect for short weekend breaks in Spain.

How far is Murcia airport from the city centre?

There are 2 airports in Murcia, however for international travellers the Región de Murcia International Airport, also known as Murcia-Corvera, replaced Murcia–San Javier Airport in 2019.

Murcia Airport is 22km from Murcia city centre and there are several ways to get into the city. The fastest way is to take a taxi from Murcia Airport to the city centre which costs €30 and takes approximately 25 minutes. You can also prebook a private transfer from the airport here.

If you want to catch a bus into the city Murcia Corvera airport has 2 bus lines that connect the airport with the main urban areas, with the bus stop located outside the passenger terminal. You can find car pool options from Murcia Airport into the city centre for just €3.

You can also rent a car at Murcia airport which is a good idea if you have time to explore the surrounding countryside and towns.

Must-see attractions in Murcia

Whether you’re spending one day in Murcia or are visting for a longer trip, there are so many Murcia tourist attractions that you need to add to your list. Some of the best places to visit in Murcia include…

Catedral de Murcia – You should definitely start your Murcia sightseeing trip with a visit to the cathedral. This Roman Catholic church first opened in 1465 and it has a 95-metre tower that took more than two hundred years to build. The façade of the cathedral is Baroque while the interior is Gothic. Entry to Murcia Cathedral costs €5 with discounts for seniors and students. You can also book a guided tour with entry from €6.

Real Casino de Murcia – Once of the top Murcia tourist spots and somewhere that you shouldn’t miss is Murcia’s Casino. This private social club and culture center is located in a 19th century building with an elaborate, grand facade and an even more impressive interior. This hidden gem in the heart of Murcia city centre features a grand library, beautiful ballroom, ladies dressing rooms and more. You can visit from Monday to Sunday from 10.30am to 7.30pm for €5.

Spanish city breaks - murcia casino inside

Museo de Santa Clara – The Museo de Santa Clara is a museum within a convent showcasing Christian and Islamic art, artifacts and exhibits on Murcia history. The buildings are beautiful and feature one of the oldest Arabic pools in Spain. Opening hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 1pm and again from 4pm – 6:30pm, entry is free.

Plaza de las Flores – One of the most outstanding and unmissable urban spaces in Murcia old town, Las Flores square is located in the center of one of the main tapas and food areas of the city. This is an ideal location to sit with a drink and a tapa and watch the world go by.

For more ideas of things to do in Murcia take a look at this post.

Murcia City Tours

Free Tour of Murcia’s Three Cultures – On this free tour of the 3 cultures in Murcia, you’ll learn about the legacy of the different communities that previously coinhabited in the city. The tour takes 3 hours and starts at the Plaza del Cardenal Belluga. Book tickets on this free tour of Murcia here.

Murcia Tapas Tour – If you want to try the best of local traditional cuisine, join this tapas tour of Murcia. The tour starts at the town hall and you’ll spend 3 hours in the city centre admiring the architecture, learning about the city’s legends and stories, and stopping to enjoy three traditional Murcian tapas dishes. Book tickets for the Murcia Tapas Tour here.

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Malaga – the city of anchovies

Malaga is located on the Costa del Sol, in the Andalusia region and has a rich history as well as a beautiful landscape. Many people bypass Malaga on the way to more famous beach resorts in the area, but Malaga city centre is worth visiting on a Spain mini break for anyone who loves food, history and culture, as well as the beach.

Spanish city breaks - Malaga city

Most of the main tourist attractions in Malaga are within walking distance of each other, and the majority of the historic center is pedestrianised, making it great for strolling around.

City breaks to Malaga will include stunning architecture, interesting museums, a vibrant atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Not to mention great food, both traditional Spanish food and tapas as well as many other cuisines.

How to get from Malaga airport to the city centre

Malaga airport is the main international airport serving the Costa del Sol region. The distance from Malaga airport to city centre is approximately 8km.

There is a new express bus called the Linea A Express between the airport and Malaga centre, with 7 stops and taking about 20-25 minutes for a cost of €2.

The quickest way to get to to the city centre is by taxi, but this is also the most expensive option. A taxi from Malaga airport to the city centre costs around €20-25 with surcharges for large luggage items.

The cheapest way to get from Malaga airport into the city is via train. The underground train station is immediately opposite the exit of the arrivals area at Terminal 3, and trains into Malaga run every 20 minutes. The train journey from Malaga airport to the city centre takes 11 minutes and a one-way ticket costs €1.80.

You can also rent a car at Malaga airport here if you think you will be visiting outside the city during your Malaga city break.

Must-see attractions in Malaga

A weekend in Malaga is plenty of time to see the top tourist attractions, however if you’re spending more than 2 days in Malaga you won’t run out of things to do. Your to-do list on any Malaga city break should include…

Alcazaba – If you only spend a day in Malaga make sure you first pay a visit to the Alcazaba. The Alcazaba fortress was built during the period of Muslim-ruled Al-Andalus with the building of the current complex starting in the 11th century. It is one of the best-preserved alcazabas in Spain and definitely worth a visit during your holiday to Malaga. Entry starts at €3.50.

Spanish city breaks - Malaga alcazaba

Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga – The Cathedral of Málaga is a Roman Catholic church in Malaga old city centre built in the Renaissance architectural tradition. Overlooking the sea, you can climb fifty meters to the roof via more than two hundred steps to take in amazing views of the surrounding landscape. Entry starts from €10, there are also options for guided tours and audio guides.

Jardín Botánico – An oasis in the city centre, the Botanic Garden of Malaga is a beautiful place to spend some time. Created in 1855 the garden is home to more than 50,000 plants, with over 2,400 species from 5 continents. Entry is €5.20 for adults and €3.10 for seniors and under 16s. Jardín Botánico opening hours are 9:30am-8:30pm from 1st April to 30th September, and 9:30am-5:30pm from 1st October to 31st March.

Teatro Romano de MálagaEl Teatro Romano is the oldest monument in Málaga City, situated at the foot of the Alcazaba fortress. The theatre was built in the first century BC, under Emperor Augustus, and used until the third century AD. It was rediscovered in 1951 during the construction of the Casa de Cultura. Entrance to the theatre is free, accessed via the visitor centre. Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 6pm, and Sunday and holidays 10am – 4pm. You can also book a guided tour of the Alcazaba and Roman Theatre here.

Malaga City Tours

To learn more about the city on weekend breaks to Malaga you can explore on foot, by bike, or even by Segway! Discover more about Malaga old town as well as the Marina and beach with a local guide…

Free Walking Tour of Malaga – Explore Malaga’s historic centre with a local guide. Get to know its most important streets and monuments in a fun and entertaining way, and for free. This 2 hour tour starts from Plaza de la Marina taking you through Plaza de la Constitución, past Malaga Cathedral and the Picasso Museum, before finishing at the Alcazaba. Book your tickets for the Free Walking Tour of Malaga here.

Malaga Segway Tour – Explore Malaga on a Segway tour, whizzing through the historical centre and Mount Gibralfaro. The tour takes 1-3 hours depending on the route you choose and you’ll get to see some of the main places of interest in Malaga centre, as well as learn some interesting facts. Book your tickets for the Malaga Segway Tour here.

Malaga Bike Tour – Old Town, Marina & Beach – Tour the historic city of Malaga by bike and discover the area’s most beautiful locations including Picasso’s birthplace, the local market, a lovely ride by the beach, and much more. Book tickets for the Malaga Bike Tour here.

Malaga Hop-on Hop-off Bus – Explore Malaga in an open-top panoramic bus, jumping off at any of the stops which include the Carmen Thyssen Museum, the Alcazaba, Castillo de Gibralfaro, Teatro Romano, and more. A multilingual audio commentary in included as well as various experience card options. Book tickets for the Malaga Hop-on Hop-off Bus here.

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Palma de Mallorca – the city of palm trees

The last destination on our list of the best Spanish city breaks for your travel bucket list is a visit to the Balearic Island of Mallorca. If you fancy a Mallorca city break, a weekend in Palma is a great idea.

Spanish city breaks - Palma de Mallorca

Palma is the capital of the Balearic Islands and home to more than half of Mallorca’s population. The city is famous for the massive Santa María cathedral, the Moorish-style Arab fortress Almudaina which was converted to a royal residence, and of course some beautiful beaches.

This vibrant and stylish city is ideal for those looking for art, culture and gastronomy as well as boutique shops and an historic old town. A Palma de Mallorca city break is ideal for some winter sun as the weather is mild all year round.

How to get from Palma de Mallorca airport to city centre

Palma de Mallorca airport is the main airport for the island of Mallorca and is located 8km from Palma de Mallorca city centre.

The cheapest option to get to the centre of Palma de Mallorca from the airport is to take the EMT A1 bus which takes approximately 20-30 minutes and costs less than €2.

The fastest way to get from Palma de Mallorca airport to the city centre is by taxi which takes 10 minutes and costs around €21 – €25.

If you want to explore more of Mallorca you might want to hire a car at Palma de Mallorca airport.

Must-see attractions in Palma de Mallorca

Whether you like history and art or food and beaches, there is lots to see in Palma. Some of the best things to do in Palma de Mallorca include…

Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca – The first stop in your visit to Palma should be the city’s cathedral built during Jaime II’s reign. This Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral has a 44-metre-tall nave which is the second highest nave of all Gothic cathedrals in the world. Opening hours are from Monday – Friday, 10am-5pm, and Saturdays from 10am-2:15pm. Entry costs from €8 – you can buy a skip the line entry ticket here.

Casco Antiguo – Palma’s picturesque old town is made up of pedestrianised narrow cobbled streets full of great shops, restaurants, galleries and museums. This area is definitely worth a wander to take in the history of the city. It’s also where the majority of Palma’s must-see tourist attractions are located.

Spanish city breaks - Palma de Mallorca old town

Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art – One of the best museums in Mallorca, this contemporary building incorporated into the old city walls has stunning views over the Paseo Marítimo. Es Baluard houses a large collection of modern art, a must visit for art lovers with more than 700 works of art linked to artists from the Balearic Islands. The museum is open from Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-8pm, and from 10am-3pm on Sundays. Entry costs from €6.

Palma de Mallorca beaches – Mallorca is home to some stunning beaches, with some of the best located in Palma. From from small, hidden coves to long stretches of white sand, you’re sure to find your favourite beach here.

Palma de Mallorca Tours

To learn more about the history of Palma de Mallorca on your city break to Mallorca, check out some of these tours….

Mysteries and Legends Free Tour of Palma – This free tour takes you around the centre of Palma at sunset to discover the fascinating stories and legends of the city. Book tickets for the Mysteries and Legends Free Tour of Palma here.

Palma de Mallorca Free Walking Tour – On this free tour of Palma, you’ll discover the 4,000-year history of the Balearic Islands and what fascinated the Roman settlers. Walk through the historic centre of Palma de Mallorca discovering iconic shops and modernist buildings, the Mercat de l’Olivar market to learn all about Mallorcan cuisine, as well as a visit to the oldest church in Palma. Book tickets on the Palma de Mallorca Free Walking Tour here.

Palma de Mallorca Old Town and Cathedral Tour – Visit Palma Cathedral and the Old Town of Palma on a guided tour that includes exclusive skip-the-line entry while learning about the history from a local knowledgeable local guide. Book tickets for the Palma de Mallorca Old Town and Cathedral Tour here.

Mallorca Island Tour with Boat, Tram & Train – Explore more of Mallorca on a scenic tour by bus, Tren de Soller tram, and boat. You’ll get the best views of the magnificent coastal mountain range of Mallorca from land and water. Book tickets on the Mallorca Island Tour with Boat, Tram & Train here.

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Ready to book your Spanish city break?

If you’re ready to book your city break in Spain, these links may help…
– Find great value flights and accommodation at Expedia
– Search for transport options at Omio
– Check hotel reviews at TripAdvisor
– Book your tours and excursions at GetYourGuide
– Get your Travel Insurance at Civitatis

If you’re putting together your travel bucket list, you should definitely consider adding these Spanish city breaks. Spain’s diverse cities promise history, culture, architectural marvels, gastronomical delights and lots more.

To find out when is the best time to visit Spain, have a read of this blog post for some information on temperatures, peak seasons, and more.

Where will you go on your city break to Spain?

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips; it’s definitely going to help me plan my dream trip to Spain one day! Definitely want to visit all of them now. I love immersing in history and culture so there is lots of planning to do.

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