Spain is full of amazing, budget-friendly cities that will take your breath away. These 10 cities are the best for weekend getaways in Spain!
There are many amazing cities and villages in Spain and all of them are worth a visit. But if you are looking for affordable weekend getaways in Spain chances are, that Madrid and Barcelona are not the best options. While amazing, a trip there can get rather expensive. And if you only visit these two cities, you are missing a lot of what Spain has to offer.
If you are living in Europe weekend getaways in Spain are usually an easy and safe option. So hopefully you will find your next adventure on this list.
The Best Weekend Getaways in Spain
Toledo was known as the “Imperial City”, being the site of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Spain, and as the “City of the Three Cultures” – Christian, Islamic and Jewish – which is ingrained in its history. Today Toledo retains its old-world charm and relics of its past, stretching back to Roman times.
Toledo is about an hour’s travel from Madrid by car, train or bus. It is a popular weekend getaway in Spain and you can cover most of it on foot. English is not widely spoken, but people are friendly and you can get by with very little Spanish.
Things to do in Toledo
The city walk starts at the Puerta de Bisagra, the city gate of the original old city and its main entrance. It was built in the 10th century, in the time of the Moorish rule in Islamic Al-Andalus.
Meanwhile the imposing Toledo Cathedral is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain. The Chapels, statues, vaulted ceilings and wall carvings combine to convey a glimpse of its grandeur in medieval days.
Additionally you can see the Puente de Alcántara which is a Roman arch bridge spanning the Tagus River. The Romans built this bridge at the foot of the Castillo de San Servando. In the Middle Ages it was used by pilgrims to enter the city. It currently has two arches.
The Puente de San Martín is a medieval stone bridge across the other end of the river Tagus. It has five arches, the largest having a span of 40 metres, a wonder in its time.
Where to stay in Toledo
Several budget accommodations ranging from small hotels to hostels are conveniently located around Plaza del Toros Toledo.
What to eat in Toledo
For sustenance after your walk try a traditional Toledo dish – Stewed partridge, Carcamusa (stew of lean pork with vegetables), Cuchifritos (pork meat), topped off by a traditional dessert, such as Mazapán.
Contributed by Jan from Leisurely Drives
Packed with an abundance of orange trees, tapas bars, beautiful, bright buildings decorated with the prettiest azulejos (Spanish ceramic tiles) and culture on every corner, Seville is surely one of Spain’s most perfect sunny city breaks.
While I could easily spend a whole week strolling the streets and sipping cocktails in the sunshine, the top highlights of Seville can definitely be enjoyed over a weekend.
Things to do in Seville
If you’re looking to see one of the most cultural and historic sights of the city, the Real Alcazar of Seville is a MUST. The fortress-turned-royal palace has been around for an amazing 11 centuries! Catch a glimpse of some of the extraordinary history as you wander through the various rooms and pristine gardens. I recommend pre-booking (€11.50 pp) and arriving early as queues are a very regular occurrence!
Also well worth visiting is the Cathedral of Seville in Barrio Santa Cruz, the city’s beating heart – beautiful inside and out. Be sure to climb to the top of the Giralda for rooftop views.
In the evening, take a walk through the Parque de Maria Luisa to stop by the Plaza de Espana, an iconic landmark, decorated in yet more azulejos and centred around a waterfall and a small canal, which even has cute boats to hire!
Seville is full of affordable rentals all across the city. Find somewhere quite central and you’ll discover that most sights are easy to visit by foot. Plus, walking is the perfect way to witness all the intricate details of this stunning city!
Explored by Lucy at Earth Sun Wild Air
Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez de La Frontera is a great place to travel for budget conscious travelers as it’s off the main tourist grid in Spain, the area of Cadiz is in general prized for locals and not for tourists. But this is not the only benefit of traveling to Jerez de la Frontera. If you want to experience the real Andalusia, then you’ve come to the right place. The city is a true gem, Andalusia’s sherry capital and mainly frequented by local tourists.
There are more than 20 churches and convents in Jerez de la Frontera and most of them are free to enter. Among the most noteworthy are Monasterio de la Cartuja de Santa Maria, Iglesia de Santiago, and San Juan de los Caballeros.
Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
So you’ve crossed off all the well-known hotspots in Europe for a weekend getaway! Capital cities have been ticked off and other Instagrammable destinations have been papped. Now you’re looking for something different, but equally enjoyable. Enter Malaga!
Sitting pretty in the sunny south of Spain, and hosting its own international airport, Malaga is a frequently overlooked destination for a short getaway. Maybe it is the reputation of the Costa del Sol for all-inclusive, overpriced package holidays focused primarily around drinking and getting burnt which Malaga may get caught in. But in fact, Malaga is nothing like that!
Things to do in Malaga
Some of the top attractions within the city include: Gibralfaro castle, Alcazaba fortress, the Picasso Museum, Atarazanas Market, La Malagueta bullring and Malaga beach. But the city is also well located for other attractions such as the Caminito del Rey for the outdoorsy type and Marbella for nightlife lovers.
Having visited the city twice now, I really recommend it for an enjoyable and cost-effective alternative to some of the sometimes more overcrowded European destinations.
Submitted by Matt from Matts Next Steps
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly weekend Getaways in Spain, then stopping by Almeria seems the right pick! The warmest and brightest city, Almeria, is admired for its lovely buildings, including churches and ancient-dwellings, and beautiful sunshiny weather throughout the year.
Almeria a must-go-to place mainly because it’s a magnificent city with the lowest and affordable prices, as compared to other Spain towns.
Things to do in Almería
Alongside this, tourists can visit there to learn about its deep history, which involves top attractions reflecting architectures, like:
- Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata: It’s famous for its plenty of beaches, rock formations, and fantastic landscapes too. There is even a colossal lighthouse with a birds-eye view of the city.
- Cathedral de Almeria: It’s a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Almería, Andalusia. Here visitors can stroll around and feel the relaxing vibes in its cool interior.
- Oasys Mini Hollywood: It’s a Spanish Western-styled theme park that presents events, live shows, a zoological reserve, pool areas, restaurants, and educational activities.
- Refugios de la Guerra Civil Española de Almería: It’s a Military Museum symbolizing the Spanish Civil War and representing the cultural and historical custom of the city.
- Besides that, there are various things to do in Almeria including swimming, beach-bumming, and visiting nearby villages for fishing lagoons. Moreover, it’s a perfect place for adventure seekers as caves give the opportunity to do activities, like-hiking, crawling, and trekking as well.
Almeria likewise offers fancy foods/drinks at cheap rates and is even the best supplier of fresh grains and vegetables. It would be best if you try-out dishes, like- Seafood paella and Spanish tapas. Additionally, the city offers affordable luxury hotels/villas, a numerous tapas bars, and designer shops. However, the best time to visit there is from June to September.
Contributed by Paulina from VisitSouthernSpain
There is no better weekend getaway destination than Valencia, Spain. Not only does this Spanish gem welcome sun and warm weather year-round, but there are also a ton of exciting things to do in Valencia. Spain is a wonderful place to visit for any travelers on a budget because food, attractions, and accommodation come at much lower prices than other places in Western Europe. You can also very find cheap flights that impact your savings even more.
Valencia offers everything you could ever want in a weekend getaway. The city is full of rich history, stunning architecture, delicious local dishes, and even a beach! This means that your weekend trip will be full of fun and unique things to do that will keep you busy and enticed.
Also, as a Spanish city, Valencia is full of delicious, authentic dishes like Paella and Sangria that always make a visit amazing.
If you are looking for an amazing and budget-friendly weekend getaway in Spain, Valencia is the place for you!
Submitted by Samantha from Sam Sees World
We all know that Barcelona is a fantastic travel destination that offers the perfect mix of nature, culture, history, architecture, food, and adventure. What we also know is that experiencing all this comes at a price which can be a bit heavy on your pocket. But what if you had a cheaper, budget-friendly but equally beautiful option to explore instead of Barcelona?
Tarragona is an unexplored hidden gem that can be your perfect budget-friendly getaway in Spain. Located in the picturesque Catalonia region in the northeastern part of Spain, Tarragona is a Roman version of Barcelona that’ll mesmerize you with it’s ancient Roman charm and lively modern city vibe. It’s a 100 km away from Barcelona and can be easily reached by train in an hour.
You can easily cover the places over the weekend and still have time to explore the streets of the old town and enjoy the delightful food scene in the city. If you want to experiment with the local Spanish cuisine, then the tastiest bets are El Terrat restaurant, Tarakon, Alvocat Vegan and Vegetarian restaurant, and Filosofia restaurant.
Tarragona gives you that perfect European experience at a very economic price and that’s the reason why it’s one of the perfect budget-friendly weekend getaways in Spain.
Explored by Vaibhav Mehta from The Wandering Vegetable
The last time I was in Barcelona, I made a beeline for the charming, coastal town of Sitges. Sitges is the ultimate, budget-friendly weekend getaway from Barcelona with beautiful beaches and a lovely, walkable Old Town.
How to get to Sitges
Sitges is also a quick 45-55 minute bus ride from Barcelona. It’s my favorite way to get there since you get to see fabulous views along the way. A one-way bus ticket will set you back a mere €4.50.
Things to do in Sitges
Not only are there many free activities in Sitges, but there are tons of casual restaurants and cafes where you can eat really well on a budget.
One of my favorite free things to do in Sitges is beach-hopping. There are several to choose from, but Platja de Sant Sebastiá and Platja de Ribera are the best of the best.
I also love visiting the Cemetari San Sebastián. This cemetery is a gorgeous final resting place for the beloved townspeople. Walking around here is so peaceful and a nice contrast to the bustling beaches.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Sitges during the castelles (human castles) season from April to October, you may be able to catch a practice or competition. I got really fortunate when I was in Sitges, and I was able to see several castellers practicing their human-tower-stacking in the town plaza!
After you’ve worked up an appetite strolling the seafront promenade or exploring Sitges’ beautiful Old Town, I recommend heading to Restaurante Pecadito for an inexpensive, delicious seafood meal. The pimientos and calamari are so good.
And make sure you don’t leave Sitges without trying O Sorbet d’Amour. Their fig-mascarpone ice cream was a revelation!
So have I convinced you to put Sitges at the top of your Spain getaway list?! If you’re ready to book a budget-friendly weekend trip to Sitges (or another destination) but aren’t sure how to find the right AirBnB or vacation rental, check out the previous link.
Contributed by Alana, the founder of Course Charted
Top things to do in Bilbao, Spain on a budget
When heading to Bilbao, Spain for a budget-friendly weekend, here are the top three things to do.
Take a free walking tour
When I visit a new place, I typically take a walking tour on Day 1. I’m directionally challenged so a tour helps me get acclimated to the area. And local tour guides help immerse me into the culture, learn the history (Bilbao is 700+ years old) and share hidden gems.
I’ve found the best walking tours are free. Yes, free! And Bilbao has several. You pay your guide at the end of the tour what you think it was worth based on your experience.
Visit the Guggenheim Museum
Guggenheim Museum is the top must-do thing in Bilbao – even if you don’t go inside! Considered one of the most important pieces of architecture in modern history, I could spend hours simply mesmerized by its exterior. You’ll also find some really cool sculptures on the Guggenheim grounds such as a 40-foot puppy covered in flowers. Once inside the museum, you’ll be treated to 20 galleries on three levels of awe-inspiring architecture
General admission tickets are very reasonable. Children are free (17 and under) and reduced tickets available for students 18-26 and for seniors over 65.
Suggested by Karen from kmfiswriting
I first found Santander through a flight comparison site with the flights coming up as £40 return. Santander has a strong local culture, with few locals speaking English, which is a great opportunity to practice your Spanish. Most of the hotels are cheap and it’s around £3 to get from the airport to the center by bus. Making it the perfect budget-friendly weekend getaway.
There are so many wonderful things to do in Santander and I couldn’t possibly list them all here. A few of my favourite are:
Relax on El Sardinero beach. Golden sands, crystal clear water and very few crowds, with several wonderful restaurants. El Sardinero beach also has a surf school where you can take two hour lessons for around £50.
Take a tour of the city on foot, rent a bicycle or go on the hop on hop off bus.
I hope you get to enjoy Santander as much as we did, it is a truly mesmerising place!
Contributed by Mrs D from Icanshowyoutheworld5
City Trips and Weekend Getaways in Spain
Hopefully you just found a great destination for your next short trip. Which cities have you already explored? And which one will be your next weekend getaway in Spain?