Couple at the Royal Palace in Madrid

Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, and Seville: city break destinations


Have you been waiting for a break to get away for a few days, with your partner for example? Here are some ideas for big city breaks where you can enjoy culture, big shopping hubs, exquisite restaurants and gourmet food markets as well as idyllic accommodation. The perfect destination for short trips. Take advantage of direct flights from many international airports to these cities and really get to know Spain. Here are some of their top attractions.


Madrid is a city that you’ll want to experience intensely. A visit to a museum on the Art Walk is a must, with exhibitions of masters, such as Goya and Velázquez. And we strongly recommend a stroll around the liveliest areas. Take note: Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium, the trendy Chueca district, the Gran Vía with its theatres and shops, the historic Madrid de los Austrias (Madrid of the Habsburgs), parks like Madrid Río, and the Retiro Park for a romantic walk (declared a World Heritage Site, adjacent to the Paseo del Prado), the exclusive Salamanca district, or the La Latina neighbourhood, a popular place for tapas. There is also a lot of buzz around the gourmet food markets, such as the Mercado de San Miguel.A different Madrid experience? Here are two for you. A unique view from the many roof terrace restaurants and cool bars where you can sit and watch the sunset. For example, the roof terraces of the Círculo de Bellas Artes or Palacio Cibeles. Another is a tour of the alternative cultural spaces like the Matadero or La Casa Encendida. And end each day with another thing Madrid is famous for: its amazing, non-stop nightlife.

Prado Museum, Madrid


Barcelona is the place for a Mediterranean getaway. A few days by the sea, enjoying great food and a welcoming climate, combined with unique things to do and see. Here are a few: The architecture of Gaudi, with examples like Park Güell, the Sagrada Familia or Casa Batlló. Want more? Parks, markets, and areas to explore on foot, such as Montjüic, the Boquería market, the Ramblas, the hip Born district, the medieval Gothic quarter, the delightful seafront or the Art Nouveau masterpieces of Passeig de Gràcia. The city also offers nearly five kilometres of beaches.Barcelona offers other interesting options - visiting the Picasso Museum, enjoying the dazzling football of FC Barcelona, taking a boat trip around the bay, or discovering its alternative cultural spaces.And to round off the day, the city is full of pavement cafés and restaurants, and cool bars and clubs for nights out dancing or enjoying a cocktail with friends.

Casa Batlló, Barcelona


Bilbao is in northern Spain, in the heart of the Basque Country. It became famous around the world for the spectacular Guggenheim Museum. Inside you can see modern art, but what really grabs the attention are the amazing titanium panels and large-scale spider sculpture outside. You can see some very interesting exhibitions here and in other museums, such as the Fine Arts Museum.These modern designs combine surprisingly well with the city’s historic centre, where you can stroll from bar to bar sampling delicious tapas or pinchos accompanied by the local wine, Txakolí. And on the subject of food, head for La Ribera Market, where you can buy ingredients and get them cooked on the spot.In the evening, there is a great atmosphere in outdoor bars and terraces, such as the top floor of La Alhóndiga. And to see Bilbao from a different angle, take a trip on the river Nervión on board a tourist boat. We recommend taking a look at our tips for “Two days in Bilbao”.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao


Malaga is in Andalusia, on the southern coast known as the Costa del Sol. It’s a seaside town, full of light, and lovely to walk around. It is also remarkably rich in art and culture. It has outposts of the prestigious Centre Pompidou and the St Petersburg Russian Museum Collection, but above all, it is the birthplace of Picasso, where you can visit his Museum House and the Picasso Museum. The Carmen Thyssen Museum, the Cathedral, the Roman Theatre and Gibralfaro Castle are also great places to visit.Try some of the most-loved local experiences: sardine skewers or the tiny fried fish “pescaíto”, its sweet dessert wines, the fantastic beaches, or an evening out with tapas after a stroll around Calle Larios, Plaza de la Merced, and the old town. A couple of tips: if you are an early bird, imagine watching the sun rise on the beach with your partner! If you prefer late nights, visit the historic quarter to go dancing, or the Malagueta beach area, or Paseo de Sancha for something a bit more relaxed.

Pompidou Centre, Malaga


Seville is the capital of Andalusia, famous for its monuments and the culture of flamenco. Any visit should include the Alcázar, the Cathedral and the Giralda. The first two are World Heritage sites, and the last is one of the city’s emblems, towering over the River Guadalquivir. If you’d like to see everything in a more picturesque fashion, we recommend a tour in a horse-drawn carriage, or a boat trip on the river.You’ll want to take a photo in the Plaza de España or in the María Luisa Park, Try going out for tapas in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood or go to a flamenco show in a tablao to experience its real popular culture. And if you have a little more time, why not take in some culture at places like the Fine Arts Museum, or the avant-garde architecture of the Metropol Parasol.In the evening, try any of the many pavement cafés and restaurants, including roof terraces with views of the Cathedral or the river Guadalquivir.

La Giralda, Seville