I recently returned from a 7 day trip visiting three cities in two countries. We took planes, trains and cars to see all of the things in Barcelona, Sevilla and Lisbon. Eating our way through every tapas menu and sipping on cheap-as-can-be cava (that’s their sparkling wine!). We flew into Barcelona on a Tuesday morning. Then made our way to Seville and Lisbon to fly home the following Tuesday. It was a packed travel trip for 7 days considering how far apart some of these places are.
A few of my favorite things we did was lunch at El Nacionel in Barcelona, touring the Real Alcazar castle in Seville and trying green wine and sardines in Lisbon. Each city was so different than the next. Hands down, Seville was my favorite. Barcelona was unimpressive and I had a feeling that was going to happen. The city has always had mixed reviews. It just feels like a major city. There’s just a handful of things to see. And Lisbon was a mixed bag. At first, we were not impressed with the immense amount of trash everywhere. But by day two we started visiting other neighborhoods that seemed to be better-taken care of. The tile and colors were stunning though!
I want to first kick things off with Spain. We visited Barcelona for just 2 nights and then headed To Seville by train. Then we stayed in Seville for 2.5 days before heading to Lisbon by car. More to come on Lisbon!
5 Day Itinerary For Spain & Portugal
Barcelona – 2 Days
Visit must-see cathedrals and architecture while enjoying all the tapas and cava
Seville – 2.5 Days
See a flemenco show, tour stunning castles and parks and the modern Metropol Parisol. Don’t forget more tapas and cava!
Barcelona Travel Guide
Day One & Day Two
We left Atlanta on a Monday evening and landed in Barcelona early Tuesday morning. This gave us the entire day which was great since we had a really short amount of time in Barcelona. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking to spend a ton of time here. I’ve heard really mixed reviews about Barcelona and I now know why. It just wasn’t insanely impressive and just felt like a big city and lacked a lot of charm. If you live in a major city, this place won’t blow you away sadly. We did, however, have really great meals and enjoyed some time at the beach.
Where To Stay
We stayed at an Airbnb while in Barcelona in the Sants-Montjuïc neighborhood. It wasn’t super close to anything and required a taxi to get to everything. We had minimal options when we booked and honestly, wish we just did a hotel. Sometimes the amenities are worth the splurge, but with 4 people, European hotels are a little more difficult.
Best Restaurants In Barcelona
Brunch & Cakes
About 1 block up from the beach (and just a few blocks down from Brunch & Cakes) was the perfect tapas spot. It was the only one on the strip here that didn’t have a menu with photos (my biggest pet peeve). We ordered all of the tapas and kicked off the trip with an Aperol Spritz.
173 Rooftop Terrace
Great for rooftop sunset cocktails and tapas.
This was hands down one of my favorite places. It’s like a mini Eataly with 6 or 7 restaurants to choose from, a few tapas bars and cocktail bars. Each with their own unique vibe and menu.
Another incredible meal, highly recommend! We were able to get in since we went fairly early in the evening, but I encourage making a reservation for this one.
Things To Do In Barcelona
Beach Day at W Hotel
We wanted to spend a few hours at the beach before our AirBNB was ready. It was great to have lounge chairs and towels and someone to take your order after a long overnight flight. We all took a little beach snooze before heading out for a late lunch.
Not realizing we needed tickets to this, we didn’t get to see much of this unique spot. We did get to walk around the park grounds but it just wasn’t the same. Tickets needed!
A stunning cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi. Tickets needed!
Be sure to find the “bridge of sighs” it’s right behind the cathedral
A long stretch of stores and shops
Mercado de La Boqueria
In Las Ramblas, this food market is massive and full of food vendors from fruits, veggies, meats, nuts and candies. But also you can pull up a seat at one of the restaurant vendors to grab lunch.
Barcelona Travel Tips
A famous architect who created Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Batlló and more. His buildings are super unique as he didn’t believe in corners, which means everything is a curve. Definitely check out his buildings around Barcelona
Reservations & Gratuity
Most nicer restaurants require a reservation and dinner is always on the later side!
Every attraction we visited needed tickets and purchased in advance. Highly recommend planning this out so you don’t arrive and realize you can’t do anything!
Uber is NOT in Barcelona. Use the MyTaxi app to call cabs or just hail one like you’re in NYC. the metro system is supposed to be great but we did not use it on this trip.
Seville Travel Guide
Day Three, Four & Five
Early travel day to Seville, Spain
Visiting Seville was a must-visit for me and my friend Ali. It came highly recommended by many people too. It’s also the birthplace of tapas– snacks eaten with cocktails. My favorite! To get to Sevilla we had two options. A 5.5-hour train ride or an hour flight that required you to get to the airport 2 hours early and hope there are no delays. I kind of demanded we did the train. I find that these small regional flights in Europe get delayed often. Plus, between airfare, taxis and checked bag fees, it was more cost-effective to do the train. And this way we could see the countryside!
We took the 8:30am train so we could arrive around lunch time at the Santa Justa train station. Just a few minutes from city center. This way, we had most of the day still. The trains in Europe are really great. They’re air-conditioned, have wi-fi, bathrooms and plugs for your phones. I love using trains over planes whenever possible. Grab sandwiches to go at the train station so you have something delicious to eat when hunger strikes!
Best Restaurants In Sevilla
Absolutely loved this place so much that we ate here twice. This was right next to the Metropol Parisol. Everything on the menu was incredible.
Eventually, we were getting a little tired of tapas. Filo was perfect as they had great salads and sandwiches to choose from.
Recommended by our Airbnb host, this was a great tapas spot right in the town square where the cathedral was. It’s hard to tell if some of those spots were tourist traps or not, but the food was great!
We grabbed coffees and a light bite here before heading to Plaza de Espana. Delicious avocado toast, pastries and more.
Things To Do In Seville
A must visit palace built for the Christian king Peter of Castil. Highly recommend going early in the day to avoid crowds and the heat. Plus, buy your tickets in advance so you can pretty much skip the line! You can spend as little or as much time here as it’s fairly large. We probably were there for over an hour. It’s also where a lot of famous Game Of Thrones scenes were filmed.
A traditional Andalusia art form of dance, music and singing. Definitely schedule a time to see one!
Seville Cathedral Tour
We didn’t do this tour but learned AFTER we left that this is where Christopher Columbus is buried. Would’ve loved to have visited this historical place.
Only 3€ and worth the view. It was a really neat installation and felt so futuristic in the middle of a historic town.
Plaza De Espana
A smaller version of the Real Alcazar and free to visit. It’s located within a park so enjoy a stroll, pack a lunch and enjoy.
Santa Cruz // Jewish Quarter
The Santa Cruz area which was formerly known as the Jewish Quarter. It’s adorable winding streets and colorful buildings with climbing vines and bougainvillea makes it a must-visit. There are lots of old churches here and stores, and cafes. It’s the place to go to walk around and do some shopping and browsing for a couple of hours.
Sevilla Travel Tips
We mostly walked as most of the things we did were near our Airbnb. Uber is available and very affordable.
Book Tickets In Advance
If there’s something you want to see, Flamenco, Real Alcazar and so on, book tickets in advance! I am unsure if any of the cathedrals have guided tours, but it’s something to look into if you’re big on those!
This country is a 6 hour time difference from EST.
Where To Stay In Seville
We did an AirBNB and stayed here. We loved it! It was within walking distance to pretty much everything we did.
Off To Lisbon!
Sevilla & Travel Day To Lisbon
Something we didn’t really realize until AFTER we booked our train to Sevilla was that there was no way to really get to Lisbon easily. No train, no flights. At least, nothing sensible, quick or affordable. I did stumble onto a company called My Day Trip that offers car services in this area. Clearly, it’s a popular route!
They not only offered a great car service with an English speaking driver, but you could even choose itineraries. Go wine tasting on the way into Portugal, or visit Roman ruins in Spain. If we had a longer trip, I think we would’ve 100% added something on to this travel day to make it more valuable than just sitting in the car for 4 hours.
This cost us about $115/person which would’ve been cheaper than a flight and much faster than any of our other options. Highly recommend this company! They also offer routes across Europe.