Plan The Vacay Of Your Dreams With These Incredible Spots In Spain

By Morgan Reardon
23rd Mar 2022

In partnership with:

Sponsored by

Euro summers are back on the agenda and to celebrate, we’ve teamed up with the legends at Qatar Airways to curate the ultimate travel itineraries for all the wanderlust-seekers out there.

When it comes to planning your next vacay, you can’t go past a trip to stunning Spain. Steeped in history and centuries-old architecture, jaw-dropping coastlines, plus it’s the home of sangria and tapas—what’s not to love? 

Dust off that passport, dig out your suitcase and start planning the ultimate holiday to these incredible Spanish cities. 

Barcelona

Just a hop, skip and a Qatar Airways flight away,  you'll find Spain’s cultural capital. This seaside city is drenched in mind-blowing architecture, Michelin star restaurants and achingly cool hoods. First things first, culture buffs will want to marvel at all of Antoni Gaudí's masterpieces, including Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Familia, and the crown jewel, Park Güell. Make sure you carve out some serious time to meander through the colourful walkways. It’s pure magic. While there’s a bunch of incredible neighbourhoods you need to explore, top of your list should be Barri Gòtic—one of the oldest parts of the city filled with Roman Empire and even Middle Ages architecture and narrow streets lined with cafes, bars and clubs. It’s also home to the Barcelona Cathedral and Placa Reial, a beautiful public plaza known for it’s party vibes. Running parallel to Barri Gòtic is the famous  Las Ramblas. Composed of five sections, this tree-lined pedestrian walkway is lively and bustling any time of the day. Connecting Plaça Catalunya to the waterfront, you’ll lose hours stopping at all the tapas bars, the Boqueria Market, boutiques and street acts. Finally, foodies will want to work their way through Barcelona’s 20-odd Michelin star restaurants. Our faves include Lasarte (the tasting menu is life-changing) Moments (for a classic Catalan food experience) and Dos Palillos, an Asian and Spanish tapas fusion restaurant. 

San Sebastian 

With golden sand beaches, sparkling azure waters and colourful buildings lining the seafront, San Sebastian looks like something straight out of our wildest wanderlust dreams. Located in the heart of Basque country, this southern city is often forgotten for the likes of art-filled Barcelona but honestly, a trip here is one for the bucket list. When it comes to eating out in Spain, no one does it better than San Sebastian. Here it’s all about pintxos, pintxos and more pintxos. FYI: it’s pronounced peen-chos. Wander the winding streets of the city and you’ll find them lined with pintxos bars. Grab a seat at the bar and marvel over the plates piled high with crusty bread topped with melt-in-your mouth meats and seafood bites caught that morning from the ocean you can hear lapping the shore behind you. While you literally can’t go wrong with any eatery here, some of our faves include Ganbara for the freshest of fresh produce, Bar Txepetxa (make a beeline for the anchovies), and ​​La Viña for the cheesecake alone. If you do want to splurge, San Sebastian is home to a bunch of epic Michelin-starred restaurants, including Arzak and Akelarre. After all that food, stretch your legs with a stroll up Monte Urgull, scattered with the remains of a castle, fort and cemetery (plus incredible views). And you have to spend a day blissing out on La Concha Beach. From there you’ll spy Santa Clara Island which is well worth the short boat ride. Once there you can hike up to the lighthouse and have a tipple at the island bar. 

Madrid 

Spain’s largest city is a bustling metropolis bursting with jaw-dropping art, tapas and magical parks. But where to start? Kick off your adventure here with a visit to Spain’s world-famous Prado Museum. This beauty is packed with incredible pieces from El Greco, Goya, Velázquez and Dürer. Next head to Reina Sofia and marvel at Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and have your mind blown at the Museum of Illusions.  And you can’t pass up a chance to visit Matadero Madrid. A former abattoir turned multidisciplinary arts space, you can catch films, plays, live music and markets here. While we’re talking markets, the El Rastro flea market will ensure you pick up a hidden gem or two. While the boutiques of Salamanca will give your credit card a workout. Despite being a bustling city, Madrid is full of lush green parks that are perfect for picnicking in. El Retiro, a sprawling 300 acre havan of lush greenery, previously housed Felipe IV's palace and gardens. Today there’s rose gardens to meander through, monuments, fountains and cafes to grab a tipple at. You can even rent a rowboat to Palacio de Cristal which often holds art exhibitions. Round out your trip with a cocktail Sala Equis (the city’s last X-rated cinema turned bar), eat your way around ​​Vallehermoso Market (​​100% authentic foods’ produced in an area no larger than 120 km²), check out the tapas scene (the croquettes at Santerra and the patatas bravas at Docamar are nonnegotiables) and finish with chocolate coated churros at San Ginés—who have been slinging the sweet treats since 1894. Bags already packed? You can nab a direct Qatar Airways flight with a stopover in Doha and let the good times roll.

Seville 

Awash with romance and culture, this laidback city is perfect for travellers wanting to vacay at a slower pace. Here your agenda will be strolling the cobblestone streets filled with ornate Moorish architecture, and sipping sangria in sun-drenched plazas. Go for a stroll through the gardens of Parque María Luisa, gaze at the Catedral de Sevilla (the largest Gothic building in Europe) and explore the neighbourhood of Barrio Santa Cruz, filled with 15th-century history and orange tree-covered plazas. When in Seville, it’s imperative you do as the locals do and indulge in relaxed long lunches. Top of your hit list should be Mariatifulca. Ask for a table on the terrace so you can look out at the Guadalquivir River whilst indulging in tuna sashimi and chargrilled octopus. For something a little more wallet-friendly, you can’t go past Los Coloniales, a chilled out tapas joint slinging tasty plates of stuffed eggplant, sirloin soaked in whisky and cod croquettes. Post meal your tipple options here are endless. We recommend stopping by El Rinconcillo, Seville’s oldest bar dating back to 1670. Here the drinks are cold, the tapas light and tasty and your bill comes chalked onto the countertop. Enjoy balmy nights on the rooftop at Pura Via Terraza (with views overlooking the cathedral) and be sure to order ​​Cruzcampo—the hometown beer brewed right in Seville. And a trip to Spain is not complete with seeing a flamenco show. While there are loads around Seville, for a truly authentic experience, head to Bar Lola de Los Reyes and thank us later. 

Already envisioning yourself soaking up the sun and devouring tapas? Book your Qatar Airways flight now to Madrid or Barcelona with a stopover in Doha, Qatar. 

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Qatar Airways and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

You May Also Like