3 Weeks In Spain Itinerary

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Popularly known as one of the most visited countries in Europe, Spain offers its annual 82 million tourists with all grace and satisfaction. Evidently, the number of tourist arrivals in Spain just keeps growing every year with people who are keen to visit beaches, go hiking, explore ancient towns, and try out local dishes. As they all say, we all have our reasons to travel and explore the amazing Spanish scenery and culture. 

So, what is your reason for visiting Spain? Is it to treat yourself to local Spanish cuisine? Or perhaps to experience its rich history and culture through its beautiful architecture? Or maybe you want to experience its natural beauty and the Mediterranean coastline? The good news is – Spain has all these.

Travelling to Spain for an extended time is recommended. There are so many things to see or do throughout your tour. This itinerary for 3 weeks in Spain should be enough to cover the best that Spain has to offer especially for first-time visitors. We have prepared this itinerary to plan your trip seamlessly and convenient. 

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO SPAIN

Sagrada Familia at night in Barcelona - 3 Weeks In Spain Itinerary

When you travel to Spain, it is important to learn basic Spanish phrases to make communication easier. Some can speak English but some may not know the language at all. It is also important to know that drinking directly from the tap is safe. And tipping isn’t a big deal so you are not required to leave a tip unless you are thrilled with the service. 

As with any major tourist destination, pickpocketing can be an issue. Make sure you keep an eye on your belongings at all times. If it’s your first time travelling alone, check out our article on how to stay safe if you are travelling solo.

Here are more tips so you can plan and write your 3-week itinerary better. These tips will help you visualise and start having clarity on what your vacation will look like.

When is the best time to go to

Choosing the best time to go to Spain can be a challenge since it is a great year-round destination. In general, you decide the best time to go according to what you want to see or do. Each season offers a unique experience to enjoy, so you need to plan accordingly. 

In general, spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are the best time to go. This will provide you with good weather to enjoy the natural beauty and scenery of the country. You can also expect fewer crowds (compared to winter and summer). And with fewer crowds, you can expect to find cheaper accommodations than when you book at other times of the year. 

  • Peak/summer season: June to August
  • Heavy rains between September to January
  • Winter season: December to February

Are 3 weeks enough for Spain

3 weeks in Spain is perfect. You can visit historical sites, the beach, and even go for a hike or two. The country is also well-connected with flights and buses or trains, making travelling between cities or islands much easier. 20 days is plenty and you won’t run out of things to do or feel like you have to cram everything and are always on the go.

Visa

US Citizens can travel to Spain for leisure or business purposes without a visa with a maximum stay of 90 days. The only requirement is that your passport must be valid for 6 months (during the time of travel). Also, it must have at least one blank page. 

In some cases, a return airline ticket and enough funds are required. Aside from US citizens, the following passport holders do NOT require a visa to travel to Spain: Members of the European Union, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Canada, most parts of Latin America, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and some parts of the Gulf countries and Central Asia.

For others not mentioned, the visa must be applied in advance. You could submit your application as early as 6 months in advance.

What to pack

Knowing what to pack for Spain will depend on what time of the year you want to go. The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate, meaning the winters are mild with some rain while the summers are hot and dry. When you visit during the summer, opt for casual and lightweight clothes to keep you cool. 

It can get quite cold during winter in Spain, skiing is even possible here in the parts of the Pyrenees region. It is important to pack lightweight layering items such as cardigans and sweaters. The winters are not harsh but it can get chilly at night. 

We have a series of packing lists. Check out our packing for a 3-week trip, we also have a summer trip packing list, and of course, a packing list for winter.

How to get around

Getting around Spain is quite easy. The best way to travel from one Spanish city or town to another is by train especially while you are on the mainland. The high-speed train is called AVE(Alta Velocidad) which is a convenient way to travel between cities.

You can also rent a car and drive on your own since Spain have a pretty easy policy when it comes to recognising international driver’s licenses. However, remember that most cars in Spain are programmed with a stick (aka manual gear). You can of course find automatic cars but they get booked up very fast.

Buses are also easy and cheaper but can be slower, while traditional taxis are everywhere. The use of ride-hailing apps is also common and domestic flights will come in handy when moving between islands.

Visa and COVID-19 protocol

Spain has the same visa policy in place as any other Schengen State member (EU). This means that visitors with passports from most parts of the Americas, Oceania, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and some parts of the Middle East can enter and travel around Europe for 90 days in every 180-day calendar.

Travellers with passports from EU-member or part of Schengen States have freedom of movement in Spain for an indefinite time. Other passport holders must arrange their travel visa for Schengen through the Spanish Embassy or Consulate near you.

Spain has been open to travellers since June 28, 2022, and has lifted all restrictions in place regarding COVID-19. This means that regardless of your vaccination status, you may enter Spain. It’s also no longer required to show a negative RT-PCR test to enter Spain, however, the airlines might require this, so double-check with them. Monitor any updates here.

Other travel tips

Booking your travel arrangements can be overwhelming. There are simply too many options out there and comparing them to one another is a daunting and time-consuming task. I was planning my Central Europe itinerary last night and it is just a few minutes to book the accommodation I want and the flights I need.

I was also able to make a decision quickly because I know that some of the travel sites I use that offers a flexible cancellation policy. Here’s a list of the websites and tools I use for any travel-related services. Perhaps, you might find them helpful and easy to use as well.

MUST-SEE PLACES IN SPAIN (pinned map)

Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google

3 WEEKS IN SPAIN ITINERARY

Spain is home to many beautiful cities and towns that are worth exploring for various reasons. Whether you want to enjoy culture, nature, or history, you will be spoiled for options. Use this guide so you have an idea of what to see or do for each destination in Spain. 

If you enjoy your trip to Spain, perhaps you want to spend 3 weeks in Italy next time or a trip to France. For people on a budget, here’s our list of how to travel to Europe in 3 weeks on a budget.

Barcelona for 4 days

Barcelona is probably the most popular city visited by tourists in Spain. It is known for its iconic architecture and beautiful Mediterranean location. It is rich in culture with a wide array of the iconic architect Gaudi’s works to explore. Barcelona is an ideal destination to start your 3 weeks in Spain trip especially if you want to kick it off by relaxing on the beach and soaking up in the Mediterranean Sea.

Getting to Spain is very easy, there are two main destinations you can plan to start your trip – Barcelona and Madrid. Barcelona is as popular as Madrid, there are non-stop flights from various cities in the US and Canada to Barcelona via American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, or Air Canada. The Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat International Airport in Barcelona is the main hub of flights and the second busiest airport in Spain.

Things to do in Barcelona

Accommodations in Barcelona

2 images - Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell - 3 Weeks In Spain Itinerary

Valencia for 3 days

Best known as the home of paella, Valencia is the home of Spanish luscious dishes. But aside from introducing the world to this culinary delight, there are more reasons to visit Valencia in Spain. Valencia is another Spanish coastal town, 348 km (216 miles) south of Barcelona.

Taking a stroll through its old town will enable you to marvel at the colonial architecture. But Valencia is also home to many futuristic architectural features, such as the world-famous Valencia City of Arts and Sciences. Spending 3 days in Valencia is plenty, although 2 days is also possible if you want to add that one day to another city.

To get to Valencia from Barcelona, you can either drive your rented car for 3 hours and 40-minutes or take the train, the journey is around 3 hours or by bus is about 4 hours. You can also book a direct 1-hour flight.

The best way to get around Valencia is by using public transportation. You can also rent a bicycle or buy yourself this useful hop-on hop-off bus ticket which stops at major attractions in Valencia.

Things to do in Valencia

Accommodations in Valencia

Madrid for 4 days

3 weeks in Spain without visiting its capital is incomplete especially if it’s your first time here. Madrid is the artistic centre of Spain. Proof of that is the concentration of art galleries located in various parts of the city that showcase the works of Picasso and Velazquez. It is also home to a wide range of vibrant neighbourhoods that offer the best tapas and pubs to check out at night. 

Madrid is located right in the centre of Spain, about 346 km (215 miles) northwest of Valencia. There are a few ways to get to Madrid from Valencia. You can book a direct 2-hour flight from Valencia Airport to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. You can also get to Madrid by train from Valencia with Avlo in 2 hours or drive which takes nearly 4 hours.

Once you get to Madrid, you can easily move around on foot, while you can also use public transport. If you prefer a more convenient way to travel around, a push bike might be more suitable for you or get a hop-on hop-off bus ticket with stops at the most popular attractions.

2 images -- roya lalcazar de seville and madrid cathedral - 3 Weeks In Spain Itinerary

Things to do in Madrid

Accommodations in Madrid

Seville for 3 days

Located within the province of Andalusia in Spain, Seville is best known for its flamenco culture. You can find plenty of flamenco bars in town. You can also visit many historical landmarks and museums to get a glimpse of the town’s past. The architectural landscape of Seville offers a mix of the old and the new, creating a beautiful contrast in the cityscape.

Seville is 532 km (330 miles) south of Madrid. You can book a direct train between Madrid and Seville called Renfre/AVE. The trip will take a little offer of 2.5 hours, you can also drive which is about a little over 5 hours. Taking a direct flight will be about an hour from Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) to Seville Airport (SVQ).

Things to do in Seville

  • Royal Alcazar of Seville
  • Catedral de Seville
  • Punta Umbria Beach
  • Cascadas del Hueznar
  • Real Alcazar
  • Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza de Espana
  • Barrio de Santa Cruz
  • Museo del Baile Flamenco
  • Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla
  • Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija
  • Metropol Parasol
  • Torro del Oro

Accommodations in Seville

Granada or Malaga for 3 days

The city of Granada is like a Disney fairy tale that came to life. It is filled with cobblestone streets, snow-capped mountains, and enchanting fortresses. It is also notable for the abundance of Islamic art and architecture. 

Granada has an amazing and unique identity that sets it apart from many other Spanish cities. For this reason, the destination makes it a worthy addition to your 3-week itinerary in Spain. If you love tapas, this city is known for its “free tapas” culture. If you sit in any restaurant, bar, or visit someone’s home, there is free tapas for everyone.

Malaga on the other hand is another seaside city in the south of Spain. There are spectacular beaches, historical monuments, and varied museums. Pablo Picasso was from Malaga, when you explore the city, you’ll definitely see how proud this city of him is through displaying his art.

Both Granada and Malaga are on the east of Seville. Malaga is 205 km (127 miles) southeast of Seville while Granada is 250 km (155 miles) east of Seville. It will only take 2.5 hours for a car to reach Granada from Seville and 2 hours to Malaga. There are direct trains to both cities from Seville while there are no direct flights to both cities.

2 images - Gran Canaria and Malaga Old Town - 3 Weeks In Spain Itinerary

Things to do in Malaga and Granada

Since Granada and Malaga are not too far, you can easily plan day trips from both cities. You can also explore Malaga’s must-see spots on a 2-hour segway guided tour.

Accommodations in Malaga

Accommodations in Granada

Tenerife or Gran Canaria or Ibiza for 3 days

The best way to finish off your 3 weeks in Spain vacation is by visiting its most fabulous and beautiful islands in the northern part of Africa. West of the Sahara desert is the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Apart from magnificent beaches, these two islands also offer the best hikes in Spain and vibrant nightlife.

As one of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers in Spain, Tenerife is located on Canary Island. It is well-known for its natural beauty. The most notable feature of Tenerife is its volcanic peaks that create lunar landscapes and otherworldly natural features. It is also home to some of the country’s most unique geological gems. 

Gran Canaria on the other hand is an amazing location for water sports, exploring nature, and it’s one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly across all of Europe. Spend your day either doing active sports or simply lying on the beach, enjoying a book, and drinking fresh coconuts.

Ibiza is not on the Canary Islands, it’s located east of Valencia. It’s well-known that Ibiza is an exciting destination when it comes to nightlife and all-night rave parties. It’s very suitable for young travellers and everyone who enjoys parties and delicious cocktails. If you just want a quick peek at Ibiza, you can also simply book a trip when you are in Valencia.

Getting to Gran Canaria or Tenerife

Tenerife has 2 major airports, Tenerife North (TFN) and Tenerife South (TFS). You should be able to get on a direct flight from Malaga both to the north and south, if not, you might have to connect in Madrid. The travel time is between 3-7 hours depending on the connection.

Gran Canaria only has one airport (LPA), to get here from Malaga, you can get on a direct flight which lasts for about 2.5 hours.

2 images - tenerife coastline and torre del oro - 3 Weeks In Spain Itinerary

Things to do in Gran Canaria

  • Pico de las Nieves
  • Reserva Natural Especial de las dunas de Maspalomas
  • Go scuba diving – book a tour
  • Playa Puerto Rico
  • Drive an ATV – enjoy a tour
  • Roque Nublo
  • Enjoy a submarine tour – read reviews
  • Palmitos Park
  • Sign up for a morning cruise – check the price

Accommodations in Gran Canaria

Things to do in Tenerife

Accommodations in Tenerife

Things to do in Ibiza

Accommodations in Ibiza

MUST-TRY SPANISH DISHES AND DRINKS

During your trip for 3 weeks in Spain, make sure you try the local dishes. There is so much food you can taste and see which ones are your favourite. The best way to do this is either by joining an affordable food tour or making sure to visit at least 2-3 restaurants in each city you explore.

Spain has a rich culinary history. Many of the tourists who come to Spain seek out one of its many culinary specialities to get a taste of its rich culture. The dishes reflect the natural produce of the region where they come from and its cultural tradition. Discover the best dishes that you need to try when in Spain. 

3 images - paella, churros, and spanish croquetas

Paella

As the traditional and most popular dish in Spain, Paella is a rice dish that is cooked with a variety of ingredients. It showcases local produce and fresh catch of the day. 

Arroz Negro (or paella made with squid ink) is one of the most sought-after kinds of Paella. But you can also find seafood paella or paella Valencia, among other varieties of this dish. 

Churros

Churros are fried, sugary sticks that are probably Spain’s most notable dessert. This crunchy pastry is often dipped in hot chocolate or fudge. If you are looking for a dessert to cap off your meal, it is recommended that you order one. 

Gazpacho

As a dish that is made with ripe tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, cucumbers, and peppers, Gazpacho stands as one of the best Spanish cuisines. All of these ingredients are blended to create a smoothie-like consistency. This dish is best served cold and is perfect for summer. It is also a great dish to try for vegans and vegetarians. 

Spanish Croquetas

The Spanish croquet is another must-try dish when you travel to Spain. This dish is Spain’s version of fried balls but instead of meat, this can also be made with vegetables. 

When looking for vegan options in Spain, make sure to ask for the meatless croqueta. They are served in various restaurants in Spain and meat. It is replaced with mushrooms, pine nuts, spinach, or blue cheese. 

SUMMARY OF 3-WEEKS IN ITINERARY

Spain is going to spoil your senses with the most delicious food, best sights, and remarkable attractions you won’t find elsewhere. Spain is rich in history, medieval architecture, appetizing dishes, fantastic beaches, and unlimited outdoor activities, you won’t run out of things to do in Spain.

If you are looking for a great beach destination for a 3-week vacation, make sure to consider Spain and the destinations recommended here.  I hope that you found this 3 weeks in Spain itinerary helpful.

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