Barcelona + Madrid

Spain is a beautifully diverse country, which offers something different each time you return. In particular, the big cities of Barcelona and Madrid offer cultural magic for every visitor.

España, te amamos! The people, the architecture, the food, the music…what’s not to like? There is a lot to cover, and we have explored the country north to south, for very different cultural and geographical experiences (there are 17 regions), but here we will concentrate on the two largest Cities: Barcelona and Madrid. So re-watch movies like Pedro Almodóvar’s “All About My Mother“, and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” to set the mood.



The capital city of Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. A golden, vibrant metropolis, this City really knows how to live. Many art and culinary lovers return here again and again for a reason too: the city if bursting with experiences, and talking a walking tour is strongly recommended (Spanish painters such as Picasso, Dalí and Miró now adorn the walls of the city’s world-class galleries.)

Stay: For long term, we turn to apartment rentals (Airbnb, VRBO, One Fine Stay, etc) but Travel + Leisure offer a wonderful round up of Madrid hotels

Eat: Too. Many. Options. And that’s a great thing! Check out Eater’s ‘38 essential Madrid Restaurants‘ list.

Do: City & Walking Tours, Day trips, the list is long. To start: Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro), Prado National Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza), Royal Palace of Madrid



Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church (Barcelona’s architectural treasures span 2000-plus years). It’s dreamy, cultured and romantic. The food is phenomenal, the party goes all 24 hours, and the beautiful Mediterranean and beaches make a fine backdrop to a jog, bike ride or long leisurely stroll along the seaside when you need to work it off.

Stay: Ditto on renting apartments, and here is the Travel + Leisure round up of Barcelona hotels that are constantly being added to.

Eat: Dine late, indulge in cocktails and rev up to stay up to hear incredible live music in the City that goes all night. Here is the “essential dining in Barcelona” list from Eater

Do: We love to stroll the streets and take in the sights, and architecture walking tours can be a perfect addition to that. Also visit the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic), Palau de la Musica Orfeo Catala

 Any new favorites? Please let us know!

Author: Carrie Mitchell

Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)