A couple taking a selfie in Park Güell, Barcelona

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

Don’t say you haven’t got time! These are ideas for people with just a few days to get away. Take advantage of direct flights to these cities from many international airport and discover Spain. Here are some of their most tempting attractions.

  • 1 Madrid
  • 2 Barcelona
  • 3 Bilbao
  • 4 Malaga
  • 5 Seville



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 Renoir or Sorolla. And we strongly recommend a stroll around the liveliest areas. For example, Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium, the trendy Chueca district, Gran Vía with its theatres and shops, the historic Madrid de los Austrias, parks like Madrid Río and the Retiro, the exclusive Salamanca district, or the neighbourhood of La Latina, 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. For example, the roof terraces of the Círculo de Bellas Artes or Palacio Cibeles. Or perhaps a tour of alternative culture hotspots. And don’t forget two Madrid classics: the best football and the endless, fantastic nightlife.



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 Gaudí, 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 Museu Picasso, enjoying the dazzling football of FC Barcelona, taking a boat trip around the bay, or discovering its alternative culture 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.



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 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 pintxos 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”.



Malaga is in Andalusia, on the southern coast, 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 more tips: if you’re an early riser, how would you like to see the sun rise over the sea? If you’re a night owl, go dancing in the old quarter, or spend a relaxing evening around La Malagueta beach or Paseo de Sancha.



Seville is the capital of Andalusia, famous for its beautiful buildings 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 Plaza de España or in the María Luisa Park, or while you're having fun over tapas in the Santa Cruz district, or enjoying a flamenco show at a tablao. And if you have a little more time, why not visit a museum, such as the Museum of Malaga, or the Metropol Parasol, an example of avant-garde architecture. In the evening, try any of the many pavement cafés and restaurants, including roof terraces with views of the Cathedral or the river Guadalquivir.

Things to remember

  • The airports are located close to the cities. You can find out more in the information files on the airports of Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga and Seville.

    Once in Spain, it’s easy to make short trips from one city to another. One of the best ways to do this is via the many high-speed trains in Spain.

    Check the Calendar section to see all the festivals, exhibitions and fiestas taking place during your visit.

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