How To See Spain In 2 Weeks (By Train)
By now you have probably heard all the great reviews about Spain. The tales of beautiful beaches, a perfect climate, unbeatable tapas, the constant flow of sangria, and never-ending parties… And the good news? It is all true! The country is diverse, compact, and an ideal destination to explore by train with a comprehensive network. The trains are also some of the fastest and most efficient on the continent. If you want to see Spain in 2 weeks, then here is one action-packed suggestion.
Days 1 – 3: San Sebastian
San Sebastian is a beautiful bustling little city in Spain’s Basque Country, right on the Bay of Biscay. Although it borrows influences from throughout the country, there is something distinct and infectious about San Sebastian. The beaches and mountains get all the attention during the day, but when nightfall comes, it is all about the Old Town. You will be hopping between dozens of celebrated pintxo bars for the ultimate bite-size dishes.
Don’t miss: An evening walk along Playa de la Concha ending with pintxos in the Old Town.
How to get there by train: There are at least four trains daily between Madrid and San Sebastian which require a transfer at Zaragoza. San Sebastian is also easy to reach from France, with daily trains from Paris to the nearby country border.
Day 3 – 4: Pamplona
Pamplona‘s reputation may still be intertwined with July’s event the Running of the Bulls (Feast of San Fermín) but there is a lot more to this little city than the controversial sport. It is located on top of a hill in the Navarre province, so you will get incredible views of the mountains and valley below. The architecture is beautiful and the town is small, walkable, and loaded with history. There is also a vibrant bar and tapas scene throughout the year (yes!).
Don’t miss: A walk through the Old Town. You can go your own way or retrace the route taken during the Running of the Bulls.
How to get there by train: There are approximately three daily trains from San Sebastian, which take between 1hr 42min and 3hrs 40min depending on the time of day.
Day 4 – 8: Barcelona
Let’s be honest – the main reason you have come to Spain is to see what all the fuss is about Barcelona. The ocean-side city seldom disappoints, whether you are looking for fine examples of Gaudi’s architecture, lazy days spent on the beach, afternoons getting lost in the Gothic Quarter, or back-to-back all-night parties in some of the continent’s most legendary bars and clubs.
Don’t miss: The Sagrada Familia. It is one of the modern world’s most dramatic structures, and a visit to this Catholic church is a primary reason for most visits to Barcelona.
How to get there by train: There is a train between Pamplona and Barcelona, with a journey time of approximately 4 hours.
Day 8 – 9: Valencia
Valencia is an intriguing port city and it is only a short train ride away from Barcelona. Although many tourists on a tight schedule tend to overlook it, you will gain a lot from a short stop here. Architecturally it is a beautiful city to walk through. If you are a fan of the outdoors, there is a wide selection of beaches as well as the Albufera Park, which has a beautiful lake and several walking trails.
Don’t miss: A walk, jog, or cycle through Jardí del Túria ― it is one of the largest urban parks in Spain and home to lots of popular attractions and museums.
How to get there by train: There are several daily trains between Barcelona and Valencia, which take approximately 3 hours.
Day 9 – 12: Madrid
The Spanish capital is a fascinating mix of old and new. The elegant parks, boulevards, and squares give a throwback to a different era, while the shopping, nightlife, and burgeoning Malasaña area offer an altogether different twist. Madrid is also home to several of the country’s top museums, many of which house internationally celebrated works.
Don’t miss: Picasso’s Guernica, a mural-sized painting hanging in the Reina Sofía. It is an impressive and powerful work to view in real life.
How to get there by train: There are hourly trains between Valencia and Madrid which take 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Day 12 – 13: Granada
Granada sits in the foothills of the picturesque Sierra Nevada mountains. Although there is a lot to see and do in the city and its surrounds over a few days, most make the trip here to explore one of the best examples of Moorish architecture: the Alhambra.
Don’t miss: The Alhambra. It is the jewel in the crown of the city and it is also the main reason most make the journey. Be sure to book tickets online ahead of time so you can get access.
How to get there by train: There are regular daily trains from Madrid to Antequera-Santa Ana, where passengers must connect with one of several daily trains heading to Granada. The total journey time including transfers is approximately 5 hours.
Day 14: Sevilla
Spain’s Andalusia region is beautiful and often not explored enough by time-hurried travellers. Many choose to head to the coast and soak up the rays in Malaga, Marbella, or Cadiz. Some stay inland and explore the likes of Ronda or Jerez. But if you are on a tight schedule with just enough time to see Spain in 2 weeks, the region’s capital Sevilla is rich in history, culture, and classic architecture.
Don’t miss: A walk through Parque de Maria Luisa, ending in a trip to Plaza de España.
How to get there by train: There are trains between Granada and Seville which take between 2 and 3 hours.
If you want to fully engage with everything that the country has to offer, then seeing Spain in 2 weeks might not be enough. But you will definitely get a taste of why this is one of the most popular countries in Europe. The comprehensive rail network and lightning-fast trains also make this the perfect destination to include on your next big Europe trip ― so check out the One Country Pass for Spain and do it all by rail!