See all the highlights between Madrid and Barcelona on this express Spanish adventure

Want to get a taste of Spain’s enviable culture, cuisine, gorgeous cities and sunny beaches but are short on time? This week-long Spanish adventure has got you covered. After getting your fill of world-class art at Madrid’s renowned museums, head to the medieval town of Logrono, the capital of La Rioja wine region. Continue through Basque County to beautiful San Sebastian, a seaside town with great beaches, great surf and an even better food. Wrap up the journey in Barcelona, a wonderful mix of Gothic and Gaudi architecture, cultural riches and non-stop nightlife.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

Over 29? We’ve got over 900 other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more.


Start
Madrid, Spain
Finish
Barcelona, Spain
Destination
Spain
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
ZMYS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries

  • It's easy to be consumed by the architecture, culture and vibrant nightlife of Barcelona, but the food will also leave you salivating. Traditional Catalan dishes such as fideua (similar to seafood paella) and botifarra amb mongetes (haricot beans served with sausage) taste a little like heaven. The wine isn't bad either.

  • Gaudi's modern basilica, La Sagrada Familia, is like no other building in the world. Still under construction after 130 years, this Gothic masterpiece embodies Barcelona's artistic and progressive heart

  • Logrono is bursting with delicious local produce and wine, just waiting to be enjoyed on an optional pintxos crawl. Delicioso!

  • Take a long siesta on the golden beaches of San Sebastian, one of Spain's most scenic coastal destinations. As the sun goes down, join the crowds as they come out to play among the city's exciting nightlife.

Is this trip right for you?

  • One of the means of transportation on this trip is by train. Spanish trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning. Toilets are always available. Some of the trains have snack bars (or vending machines) and power points next to the seats but that cannot be guaranteed on every journey. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Please note that you will have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, and also up or down few flights of stairs as unfortunately some of the stations may not have lifts. In that case it is recommended to bring a backpack instead of rigid wheelie suitcase. Make sure the luggage doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.

  • Summer temperatures can be extreme in Spain (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please also note that not all accommodation on this trip has an Air Conditioning system, although fans are usually provided.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex.

  • For couples, hotels in Spain often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together and rooms in Spain can seem rather small by American or Australian standards. 

  • This trip is designed to give you a fair amount of free time so you can explore each destination at your own pace. We will, however, take you on regular orientation walks, so you'll be on your feet quite a lot. While this may be tiring for some, it’s the best way to get your head around a place and to set yourself up for further discoveries.

Itinerary

Welcome to Madrid, Spain’s metropolitan capital. Your tour begins with a welcome meeting at 7 pm where you’ll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. After this important meeting, why not get your first taste of Madrid’s vibrant nightlife and head out for some tapas and rioja with your new travel crew. Your tour leader can point you towards the barrios and hangouts favoured by Madrilenos. If you arrive early, make sure to get out and discover some of the city's rich cultural offerings. You could easily spend a week simply strolling Madrid’s world-class galleries and museums, so maybe tick one off the list today – the Museo Nacional del Prado, or simply the Prado, is a good place to start.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Today is a free day to discover Madrid at your own pace; which side of this diverse city you’d like to explore is up to you. Art lovers will soon find they’ve come to the right place – Madrid’s galleries are world-renowned. The Prado, the Riena Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza are the heavyweights – both in terms of the sheer size and quality of works that line their walls – and make up Madrid’s renowned ‘Golden Triangle of Art’. Browse works by Spain’s most acclaimed pre-20th-century artists (like Goya and Velazquez) at the Prado, modern Spanish art the Reina Sofia (Picasso and Dali) and eight centuries of European paintings at the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Foodies won’t want to miss a visit to Mercado de San Miguel, one of the oldest markets in the city and a great place to sample local specialties, like seafood paella. Ask your tour leader and food-oriented Urban Adventure day tours available. Sports fans will want to take a pilgrimage to the Santiago Bernabeau Stadium for a tour, and if you’re lucky, to witness a Real Madrid match. Or, you may simply choose to while away the day strolling Madrid’s beautiful streets, admiring its elegant boulevards, manicured parks and photogenic mix of architectural styles.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR4
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
  • Museo del Prado - EUR15
  • Royal Palace-Madrid - EUR11
  • Markets of Madrid - Urban Adventure - EUR47
  • Madrid Tapas Adventure - Urban Adventure - EUR82
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, take the 1.5-hour journey by public bus to the charming town of Logrono. Located on the banks of the Ebro River, Logrono is the capital of Spain’s renowned Rioja wine region and a favourite stop of pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. This buzzing town also boasts fantastic architecture and a growing culinary reputation; some of the best tapas bars in all of Spain are crammed into its small medieval centre. After checking in to your accommodation, the rest of the day is free to explore. Stroll the pretty, Insta-worthy streets to discover the town’s lovely gardens, fountains and tree-studded squares. In the evening, perhaps do as locals and head out on a pintxos crawl around the town.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Museo de la Rioja - Free
  • Logrono Cathedral - Free
  • San Bartolome church - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll hop a bus and travel two hours north to the seaside town of San Sebastian. More than just gorgeous beaches arching around the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian’s world-class food scene, packed festival calendar and grand architecture make it the jewel of Spain’s Basque country. The day is yours to spend how you please upon arrival. Maybe spend some time in the sun and sand at one of San Sebastian’s three urban beaches: La Concha, Zurriola and Ondarreta. If La Concha looks familiar, it’s because it’s frequently featured on travel blogs and often tops ‘Europe’s best beaches’ lists. Or perhaps hit the beach tomorrow and use today to explore the bustling streets of the Old Town, packed with pinxto bars, historic buildings and a range of shops. You’ll soon discover this is a city obsessed with food, and it’s no wonder, considering San Sebastian is home to some of the world’ best restaurants helmed by experimental chefs. In the evening, why not head out for a txikiteo of pinxtos, a Basque-style tapas crawl. Make sure to wash your meal down with the region’s signature drop, txakoli (slightly fizzy white wine).
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy another free day to delve further into all San Sebastian has to offer. Maybe take a cable car to Monte Igueldo for a fabulous view of La Concha. Find a patch of sand at Zurriola Beach and watch the surfers riding the waves of Biscay Bay. For a dose of Basque history, check out the San Telmo Museum. Alternatively, venture further afield and visit the medieval, fishing village of Getaria for a more low-key taste of coastal Basque charm. Bilbao, with is interesting architecture and Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum, is also an easy 1.5-hour bus ride away.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR16
  • St. James Way Adventure - EUR63
  • San Telmo Museum - EUR6
  • Basque by Bike- San Sebastian UA - EUR43
  • Catamaran Boat trip - EUR10
  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
  • Grab Your Pintxo UA - EUR73
  • Royals, Stars and Surfers - San Sebastian UA - EUR50
  • Aquarium - EUR13
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today take the train up the coast to Barcelona (approximately 4 hours). Barcelona's quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget. In the afternoon, there are plenty of options to keep you busy. Wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. Perhaps pay a visit to the Picasso Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and so this evening perhaps head out to taste the reputation for yourself. Take a tapas crawl through rustic Catalan dishes in the funky neighbourhood of El Born.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today’s a free day to discover all Barcelona has to offer. In the morning, maybe check out one of Barcelona’s other markets; Mercado de Santa Caterina is usually less crowded than La Boqueria and is a great place to pick up a cheap breakfast and mix with locals. Afterwards, you may want to check out more of Gaudi’s famous buildings. You could easily spend a half day just at Park Guell, exploring its fairytale-like patchwork of buildings, statues and sculptures, not to mention the incredible view of the city from the central placa. A visit to Gaudi's masterpiece, the modern basilica of La Sagrada Familia, is a must, even if it's just to see the outside. Maybe check out some of Barcelona’s museums such as the Picasso Museum, the Nation Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History. Another option is to take the funicular to the top of Montjuic for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. Barca fans will want to pay a visit to Camp Nou, and of course, there’s always Barcelona’s legendary beaches. Ask your tour leader for advice if you’re not sure how to make the most of your free day. Tonight, why not gather the group and enjoy a final tapas-style meal together to celebrate the end of a great trip.
Accommodation
  • Basic hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR48
  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR70
  • Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
  • Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Casa Batllo - EUR24
  • Museum of City History - EUR7
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your Spain adventure comes to an end this morning; there are no activities planned for today. As there is much to do and see in Barcelona, you may wish to spend a few more days in this exciting city. Our reservations team can help book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

4 breakfasts

Transport

Public bus, Train, Taxi

Accommodation

Basic hotel (5 nights) Hostel (2 nights)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is NOT available on this trip.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.