Hello Guys! If you follow the blog’s facebook page you’ve probably already seen something from our amazing drive tour in Spain. If not, I’m telling you more here today!
We spent two weeks in Spain, rented a car and explored half of the Country (yes two weeks are not enough to see all the Country!).
We chose to start and end in Valencia because there were really convenient flights straight from our city to Valencia and also because we’ve never visited this beautiful city. Madrid was a must as it is the Spanish capital (and our first time there as well). Then we headed South, to explore beautiful Andalucia and some of the best beaches of the Country. I already visited the North of Spain in the past, both Barcelona and the Basques, so my choice went to these destinations.
I’m doing a small recap in these two posts: you will find our two-weeks itinerary map of Spain plus the details of days/nights we spent, must-sees for every place and some ispiring photos I took. For some places you will also find some more detailed posts I’m linking here as well.
Hope this will be useful for anyone who is going to plan a drive tour of Spain: I loved our two weeks spent in Spain and highly recommend any of these destinations!
ESPANABARK | THE MAP
ESPANABARK | THE ITINERARY | PART ONE
– Jump here for my two weeks in Spain itinerary | part two –
1. VALENCIA (1 day – 2 nights) [ + last 1 day – 2 nights ]
We left Italy from Treviso airport in the afternoon, ready for our first stop.
Valencia was our first and last city and it’s weird to see how the perception of a place can be affected from what you saw before. When first arrived I thought Valencia was so Spanish, while once back I thought it was the most similar to Italy than other cities we visited. However, it’s beautiful.
Things you can’t miss once you are in Valencia:
- renting a bike (there are bike rental really EVERYWHERE in Valencia) and biking the Jardins Del Turia: it is a unique park that runs along the bed of a dried-up old river!
- visit the ultra-modern City of the Arts and Science, designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. However, I learnt that while tourists love this place, locals hate it. We also entered the Science Museum, and it was fun!
- looking for street-art around the Carmen Barrio. This mapThis map was my start to orient ourselves, but we found several more beautiful art. Just get lost in the Barrio and explore it!
- eat a Paella: you will find paella everywhere in Spain but here is where it was born and we confirm, in Valencia we had the best paella (remember: paella valenciana is with meat)
- exploring the hip barrio of Ruzafa, just in the South of city center. Here an interesting guide I found
- drinking an Agua de Valencia: fresh and sweet, it is also quite alcoholic..!
- a walk in the seaside and in the long city beaches of Las Arenas, La Malvarrosa, La Patacona
- Mercado Central: it’s the biggest covered market of Europe!
2. MADRID (3 days – 3 nights)
From Valencia to Madrid it’s almost three hour and a half by car. The motorway is free, as for the most part of the motorways we drove in Spain, and this is really a great thing if compared with Italy (here tolls are so expensives!).
We did expect Madrid to be much warmer in August (we even wore a light sweater in the evening!) but this was probably an usual weather and we just were particularly lucky. Loved our time in the Spanish capital!
Things you can’t miss once you are in Madrid:
- if you love contemporary architecture, visiting Caixa Forum, designed by studio Herzog&DeMeuron
- visiting Reina Sofia museum: here you will find the amazing Guernica by Picasso. There is also a new contemporary building designed by Jean Nouvel
- visiting Museo do Prado, they say. Warning: from 6pm to 8pm it is free but it’s just impossible to entry. Never saw such an endless queue!! So the confession: we didn’t see it. We opted for a siesta at the close El Retiro park instead ;P
- drinking a tinto de verano on a rooftop. One place I recommend is the rooftop of Hotel Palacio de los Duques, just close to Palacio Real
- eating one bocadillos de calamares. Try it for example at El Brillante, just in front of Atocha station: with its botanical garden inside this railway station is a must-see!
- Santiago Bernabeu stadium, if you love football (I did miss this point and enjoyed some good shopping instead, while my boyfriend went to visit it :D)
- a walk in the multicultural district of Lavapies
- a walk in the hip district of Malasana
- a walk in the literary quarter of Barrio de Las Letras
- a walk in the historical district La Latina, with a stop in Mercado de San Miguel and in Plaza Mayor (yes, we walked a lot here in Madrid. But weather was so nice!)
3. SEVILLE (3 days – 3 nights) with stop in CORDOBA
We spent really few time in Cordoba, few hours in a stop from Madrid to Sevilla (that is almost 4 hours by car). We were really clever and stopped to visit Cordoba during the hottest hours of the day (2 to 5pm. When EVERYBODY else in Andalucia stops). However we were able to visit the really 2 must-sees of Cordoba that are:
- visiting The Mezquita: this mosque is one of the world’s greatest works of Islamic architecture and the interior, with its forest of arches, is really amazing
- a walk in the Juderia, with its small alleys, white-washed walls and colourful hanged vases *_*
In Seville we stayed longer (three nights) so we had time to explore and enjoy this beautiful city. I would love to live in Sevilla, actually I felt in love with this city!
Things you can’t miss once you are in Seville:
- Plaza de España: it was build during the Expo in 1929 and since then it became a symbol for the city. To be visited at day and at evening (it is open till Midnight during summer). I preferred it during day, for its amazing colours!
- the central area, with the Alcazar, the Cathedral and the Giralda. We stayed close to these places, in the super-central Hotel Casa de Colon (recommended!). We also enjoyed a city center tour by Feel the City tours which was really useful and fun!
- a walk in the colourful Barrio de Santa Cruz
- a walk in the Barrio Triana, just opposite the river Guadalquivir . This originally was the gipsy area and they say flamenco was born here!
- enjoying a tapas tour: there are cozy and typical tapas bar really everywhere!
- a walk on the Metropol Parasol: also called Las Setas (the mushrooms) by Sevillan, who actually dislike it, but I had fun seeing the city from above
- one afternoon in the Arabic Baths, to try the hamman experience *_*
All images ©Elisabetta Rizzato |italianbark