SPAIN: 1 WEEK– Solo Traveling Female Adventure
Ok, ready?? Here we go!! I will list my favorite sights to search out plane tickets, hotels/hostels, and activities. I am not an affiliate to these sites, yet. I am a travel agent with Global Travel, and will suggest activities that I booked through my agent website and link it to you so you can book. I am also an affiliate with Booking, and I will also link you to website to book!
Favorite airline ticket engines:
- Google Flights (where I have found this flight and my trip to Prague for less than $500.) I use this one most often
- Sky Scanner
- Secret Flying
- Booking.com – I always use this site. I read the reviews, and have not had a bad experience yet. *If you need help, I’d be glad to book for you!
Click link below and book your hotel/home!
- Global Travel- I use my account to book activities. They have great customer service, book trips through local travel agencies, and are great value for the money. https://4078834.globaltravel.com/
- Metro: Find a map of the metro when you get your city map from the info desk at the airport. It will give you all the routes and lines. Also, of course you can download it and view before you go.
For this small town girl, the metro was my first doing it by myself.
Once you enter the metro, you will need to buy a red card to load your trips on while you are in town.
- You can load it one time per trip, or load 10 trips and just scan when you enter. Looking back, just go ahead and load 10 trips, you will use them going back and forth. It is a cost saver.
- See link above for more info: – you can buy easily at metro station and with help of metro staff you will be traveling through to metro in no time
- Click on this link to a You Tube Video that will give you an idea how to buy ticket, since most of it is not in English. https://youtu.be/R_R1xlqWU8s
This video will explain how to purchase the Tourist Red Card, that can be easily loaded if you chose to take 1 trip at a time. https://youtu.be/1dpr5ppFvaM
Spent Flying. I booked a trip, it was cheaper, but it required a lengthy 22 hour lay over in Istanbul. With, the inability to leave the airport, I spent the night at the hotel, and bounced back and forth at the airport lounges. I would do it again, to save myself 3-400$! I would suggest, if you don’t have it already, obtaining a card that allows Priority Lounge Access. I use Chase Sapphire Reserve, (I am not a sponsored affiliate, in the future possibly) but, I get awesome rewards and was able to stay in 3 lounges at Istanbul Airport for free.
Follow link for airport – http://www.ataturkairport.com/en-EN/Pages/Main.aspx
—>Navigate to top of search bar- Passengers & Visitors- Airport Guide- Lounges
This will give you helpful information about the lounges. They include free drinks (including wine, beer, soda, juice, and bottled water), food, showers, free wifi and lockers. Some have 4hr limits if you are staying over night like I did, so I just spent it going back and forth.
This airport is busy all the time, has multiple stores, and plenty of places to eat if you don’t have access to lounges. And, not to mention DUTY FREE SHOPPING on your return flight.
TAV airport Hotel–
Broken down into hour increments. I did the 6-9hrs. It is pricey at about $200 for 9hrs, but it was worth it for me after a long flight, to sleep and get a good shower, since I would be having some time in Madrid to walk around when I got there. You can book your night online, or wing it like I did. They have plenty of rooms, and with the hour breakdown, it is easy to find a room with quick turn around.
Stay on the INTERNATIONAL side! Which, will be easy for you, if you are coming in from another international airport. You will depart your plane and go to the INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE side of the airport, you will have to show boarding pass and passport.
Touchdown into Madrid!! Finally, after a long haul , landed in Madrid!! This SOLO Traveler, was about to start on her SOLO adventure!!!
For info on that airport, click here. http://madrid-airport.info/
After getting your bags, using the bano (bathroom in Spanish) , you need to find your way out of the airport! You have multiple options.
24/7 bus– the 24/7 bus cost 5Euros and runs 24/7 from airport and to the city. You can withdraw cash from ATM upon arrival in baggage claim. I recommend this option. You can also take the metro, or a taxi that would cost you 30E to get (8-10miles) not worth it. But, for some it may be helpful to avoid the stress. The bus, was easy to get on, had plenty of luggage storage, and you just get off at your destination. Save the guess work for the metro later. We will get to that!! 🙂
Tourist information desk– extremely helpful! Find this desk, and they will be glad to give you a tourist map, you can ask them how to get to your destination. He spoke English, he was able to look up the hostel I needed to get to and knew exactly where to go! They will draw it out on the map and point you to where to pick up the bus.
Ok, now get on the bus! Next stop hostel!!! You are an INDEPENDENT SOLO TRAVELING FEMALE, OR MALE OR MAYBE JUST A FAMILY TRAVELING TOGETHER!! Lets go!!!!
- I will mention the hostels I stayed at. But, of course, there are so many around town. And, if you are on a budget, like I was I would suggest this place. I liked the location! It was not exactly at the center of town, but at the end of the trip down to the last two nights, it actually worked out really well with the locations I planned, because it allowed me to stay in different parts of the city!!
Hostel #1: Room007 Chueca Hostel
- Hortaleza, 74, Madrid City Center, Madrid
- Location– https://www.booking.com/hotel/es/room007-chueca.html?aid=304142;label=gen173nr-1DCAEoggJCAlhYSDNYBHIFdXNfZmyIAQGYATHCAQp3aW5kb3dzIDEwyAEU2AED6AEB-AECkgIBeagCAw;sid=547c50b62edf89e28ab083e5d5c927b5
- Nearby –
Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Museo del Prado, Royal Palace
Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport– 7.9 miles
Atocha Train Station– 1.1 miles
It’s in a nice area, also known at the “gay” district.
Very clean, very helpful staff. I stayed in a 6bed female dorm. Towels included. beautiful little breakfast/dinner terrace where you could unwind after the night.
Walking distance to Grand Via- road full of nice shops
Very short walking distance to Chueca Metro! Location of metro was very helpful, just a right turn out of the hostel, right turn on the first road to your right, then you come up to a small plaza and metro, takes you anywhere in the city. Also, some great TAPA’s bars in the plaza too. Many convenience stores across the street as well incase you need water, etc or forgot a converter/adapter.
- Activity– I LOVE and always try to do a welcoming cultural show where I go. It’s a nice “welcome to our country!” So, I chose to do a Dinner and Drink Show and watched Flamenco. It was beautiful and I highly suggest it. Click here, and you will be taken to my site and you will be able to book the show. You can chose a simple drink and show, dinner and show, or a full 5 course meal! I chose drink and show, but ended up ordering TAPA’s for dinner.—> https://4078834.globaltravel.com/
- Flamenco Show at Corral de la Morería in Madrid – is the show I chose. The setting was intimate. The food was fantastic. I was able to walk there. Any questions??? ASK away!!
Day 4: Spend day in Madrid
- WAKEY, WAKEY!!! Get up, you have exploring to do!!! 🙂
– People in Spain, take awhile to get up and get started. Most shops don’t open until 10 or so. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get up and go! If, you are an early riser get up and get out, and I suggest going to Temple de Debod- **Free exhibit- an Egyptian temple that was gifted to Madrid, it is a beautiful place to see the sunrise and sunset. Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187514-d244303-Reviews-Templo_de_Debod-Madrid.html
- Breakfast- there are various spots around the city, depending on your plans and what you want to do, I would just suggest, grabbing it on the go wherever you are. Breakfast is typically some pastries.
- If you want to spend your first 2days in Madrid, I would suggest the Hop on/Hop off bus. I used it for my first day, but it’s a better deal for 2 days. I love the buses for 3 main reasons:
- You get a free history lesson while riding through the city.
- You are set up with transport throughout the city all day!
- And, you get a free map of the city, and a good layout of the city so you can plan your day and stop where you want to visit.
- Buy ahead, print voucher, stress less! Link to find tickets! https://www.partner.viator.com/en/16306/tours/Madrid/Madrid-City-Hop-on-Hop-off-Tour/d566-2140MADRIDHOPON
- Lunch – ate at the Marcado San Miguel– had a plate of Iberian ham, wine, and cheese!
- After lunch, I just used the bus and explored the town. After the walking tour, and dinner it was time to line up for Prado Museum.
You can have time for both Prado and Reina Sofia, if you’d like. I wanted to check out Reina Sofia, so I could knock off an hr if I wanted to visit it again. It was not my favorite museum. If you like modern art, or people drawing lines several ways in boxes, and call it ART, then that’s your place! Haha, I personally enjoyed Museo del Prado, and enjoyed seeing Rafael, Goya, Rembrandt, just to name a few.
- Spent the night at same hostel. Took a lovely night walk back to hotel. Visited Plaza Mayor again at night, they were setting up Christmas markets. I felt safe walking around town. Most places don’t start serving dinner until 8pm. Once you eat dinner you have time to walk. The town is busy with families, woman walking around with strollers, it really was the best part seeing the city so alive!! 🙂
FREE– check out Sandemans Free Walking tours– you meet at Plaza Mayor, the main Plaza in Madrid Spain
- this tour last 2.5 hrs, is free, but tip is encouraged and I was VERY happy giving it, our tour guide was awesome!! This free walking tour was perfect, it gave us a good history lesson, and showed us parts of Madrid you would not see on your own. This tour ends at the Royal Palace, where you can then explore the palace or head on your Hop on Hop Off Bus and figure out your game plan, like I did.
- http://www.neweuropetours.eu/madrid/en/home# – BOOK HERE
- Royal Palace Tour – the Royal Palace Tour is on your Bus stop, you can tour the palace if you would like, I think it takes 2-3 hours. I decided to enjoy the gardens and hop on the bus.
- Reina Sofia – *Free in the evening!! I had enough time to see the important things I wanted. Get there a half hour or 1hr early before to get in the long line.
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday, 7-9 pm; Sunday, 1:30 – 7 pm
- Museo del Prado- *Free in the evening!! If you are a museum buff and need more time, spend the money, I chose to save and 2 hrs was plenty!! Main ART musuem
Monday – Saturday 6 – 8 pm; Sunday 5 – 7 pm
- National Archaeology Museum
Free entry: Saturdays after 2 pm, Sunday mornings (even without free entry the ticket price is only 3 euros)
- Retiro Park– don’t miss this park, I walk the park later in the itinerary
- Plaza Mayor– couldn’t miss the Christmas Markets, but what I have read don’t eat here, you will get expensive crappy food
- Gran Via– the long main road of shops that you stay at your first nights in Madrid.
- Marcado San Miguel – I loved this market! I had dinner/lunch here twice. It’s right near Plaza Mayor. Buy some Iberian ham, wine, cheese, desserts, empanadas, etc. Plenty of food and drink options for cheap
- Mercado de Antón Martín– cheaper more traditional market
- Templo de Debod– Egyptian temple donated to Spain as a gift in helping to preserve this temple as an UNESCO world heritage site.
- Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande
- Thyssen-Bornemisza- Free entry: Monday, 12-4 pm, I did not get back in time to do this museum on Monday, but hope you do!
Day 5: Travel to Granada
- There are several ways you can get to Granada. I chose a bus. It is a 6 hour bus trip. I booked an early bus trip @6AM and arrived there at 12 noon.
- You can chose to take a flight, or a train which is faster, but will cost double the price.
GOEuro, is the best sight to book this trip. It will allow you to chose where you want to go, what time, and will give you the 3 routes and break it down according to price, shortest route, and cheapest route. EASY!!
- This was my trip:
Bus station: Madrid (Intercam Av.America)
Provider: Alsa (you need to know this so you can find your bus, it will be written on the bus). Once you arrive to bus station, look at the departure board for “Long Distance buses” and you will find the gate #. If nervous, just ask! The “info” desk speak English and are helpful!
Return to Madrid @18:15
Madrid (Intercam Av.America)
Buy your ticket ahead online. Print your tickets at home. File them in your travel folder. Done- Easy!
Find the bus station. I used a taxi. Metro doesn’t open this early in the AM. Too far to walk with luggage at 5AM!
***Managed to get to my bus on time. The “5 rights of traveling” : right station, right transportation, right time, right ticket, right reason! Haha. You will find out what crazy adventure we encountered on our trip to Prague, when a bus wasn’t a bus, and no one knew where to find it!
What to do in Granada?
Arrived into Granada, walked from bus station to my hostel. It was a very nice walk, and I was able get a feel of the city and take pictures along the way! I suggest it, but, of course if you have family or a lot of luggage take a bus or taxi. I was on a budget and would like to spend that money on food or experiences instead of transportation when the route is easily walkable.
Bus station Info station– go there! You will find it as soon as you enter bus station. There you will meet some really helpful English speaking staff. They will give you a map, tell you how to get to where you need to go, and suggest things to do with minimal time!
I HIGHLY suggest, if you only have the night and morning like I did. Buy tickets here! Book the walking tour and Alhambra tickets. It is hard to find Alhambra tickets, just save the time, the time waiting in lines (even during this time of season) and go ahead and book the tickets. You will get awesome sunset views from Alhambra and a fantastic history lesson and beautiful walk through the maze of cobble stoned streets. And have a great tour guide on top of that. They will also give you the map of Alhambra and show you the most important parts to see with limited time.
While waiting for tour, you can easily walk from the awesome location of the hostel that I stayed at, and take pictures on the way. I saw street performers and gypsies play while I waited. This was my time to purchase souvenirs and explore the beautiful city.
Hostel #2- Carlos V
- Plaza de los Campos, 4, Granada City Center, 18009 Granada, Spain
Excellent location , walking distance to Alhambra and tour guide site. Friendly staff, wifi.
- Brief history:
LOVED Granada! It was such a beautiful Medieval City in the south of Spain!!! used from wikipedia
- “Granada is a city in southern Spain’s Andalusia region, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation, especially the Alhambra. (Meaning red and fortress, because the man who built it was a rare Muslim with red hair and red beard).
- Alhambra was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered in the Renaissance style. In 1526 Charles I & V commissioned a new Renaissance palace better befitting the Holy Roman Emperor in the revolutionary Mannerist style influenced by Humanist philosophy in direct juxtaposition with the Nasrid Andalusian architecture, but which was ultimately never completed due to Morisco rebellions in Granada.
- Must visit the Granada Cathedral! I had time to visit after checking into the hostel. It was beautiful and well worth the visit! Tickets can be bought at the door.
Day 6: Granada back to Madrid
- SOOO, at this point you have toured this BEAUTIFUL city south of Spain! And, were in awe at the Alhambra! Now, we must say good-bye, ADIOS, see you later.
- ***Take your luggage to the tour office where you booked your Alhambra trip, so you can check out of the hotel, leave your luggage in their locked room, explore the site, and then leave from there back to bus station.
- I took a taxi back to the station. Wanted more time at Alhambra, so I just took a taxi. 🙂 Inexpensive! 10 Euros, I might have spent, worth it.
- Arrived back to Madrid at around 18:30. You have options to get to Safestay- which was my 3rd stay. Bus, taxi, or metro.
- Take Line 4 from bus station Avienda de America to Alfonzo Martinez. Walk to hostel.
- Hostel # 3- Safestay Madrid
Sagasta, 22, Madrid City Center, 28004 Madrid, Spain
- Clean, large hostel. Extra security. You have to rent a towel. With all hostels be sure to have Euros on you for key deposit. Usually 5-10 you will get it back. Everything is within walking distance. You will stay here for 2 nights.
Day 7: Day trip to Toledo and Segovia
- Book this day trip through Global Travel site if you’d like. It was a great deal, on sale, and had a great time. https://4078834.globaltravel.com/.
- Book the full day tour to both Toledo and Segovia. Book ahead of time. Print tickets out, place in travel folder, DONE- EASY! Right now its $79, it was the first trip that I had done, and worth it to me with short amount of time. If you prefer to stay in town for longer, stay the night, and enjoy!!
- You find your meeting point, Plaza Las Ventas. Take Metro 5 from Alfonzo Martinez to Ventas. Puts you right in front of your meeting point. The buses will be waiting behind you on the side of the road, by the light stop.
- Embark on a guided day tour to Toledo, World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and Segovia with it’s famous Alcazar and the Cathedral of Segovia.
- You get a lunch break in between the bus trip! You get time to explore on your own, and hour is not much, but it was worth it, in the cities.
- Toledo is known as the “city of the three cultures”, because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries, behind its walls Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues.
- Went on a walking tour through the city, learned a lot about the history.
Was able to see a fantastic Army Museum, wish I would have had more time. I suggest going. Lots of good history. Don’t waste time spending the hour eating. Find some treats, go see this museum!
- Ate lunch in Segovia, you guessed it more ham!
- Walked the beautiful medieval streets around town.
- Toured a beautiful “castle” “fortress” Alcazar of Segovia. This castle and the one in Germany were the 2 castles Walt Disney designed Cinderella’s castle from.
Return to Madrid. Walk back to Hostel (Safestay), maybe refresh and you have time, if you want to do anything else in the city! I took the time to go see the Christmas lights, and festivities around the town.
Day 8: Trip to Seville
- You will stay here for the night.
- It is a bus trip. Again, I used GoEuro to find my bus ticket. You can take the high speed train. It will be double the price.
- The bus route I found was Soci Bus. Left at 8AM, and arrived I believe around 2-3PM. Plenty of time to get to hostel and explore.
- With this ticket, it had an “open return” option that allowed you to book your return trip up to 2months in advance, if you decide to stay longer. It’s really helpful, but was confusing at first because I wasn’t sure how and where to add my return trip. The SociBus site is not helpful at all. Your best bet is to pick up your return trip ticket which will be at the bus station when you arrive to Seville. You will find the “SociBus” ticket window, show them your ticket and that you have an open return option an they will schedule you for whatever time you want to leave.
- Book your bus tickets ahead of time, print out your tickets, put it in your travel folder again. DONE -EASY!
Madrid South Bus Station- Mendez Alvaro
- Depart form Metro- Sol. Your stop will be Antocha-Renfe. You will then need to transfer to city center line, C5. This will take you to Mendez Alvaro Bus Station. Consult your metro map, and follow the lines where you need to go if you get lost! You should be a pro now, YOU GOT THIS!!! 🙂
- Once you get there, you should be able to look at the board to verify your depart gate. If you have questions, there should be people that will be glad to help. They were friendly and spoke English when I needed to make sure I was at the right place. Along the trip you get a quick stop for lunch, drinks, and bathroom time!
What to see???
- Once I arrived I took a wonderful walk from bus station to city center/hostel along the river. Searched Google Maps (is your friend) to make sure I knew how far the walk was, completely doable.
Once checked in, went to explore.
- Toured the Cathedral of Seville- 3rd largest church, and largest Gothic church.
- Also site of Christopher Columbus tomb
- Toured the Bullfight ring (Plaza de Toros) – oldest in Spain. It was here that the bullfight (corrida) moved from horseback to foot, and many of the theatrical traditions of matador evolved. Completed in 18th century.
- Bullfighters believe the fight between man and bull is a “dance of love and emotions”. As passionate as Flamenco.
- Climbed a 34 story tower to get a great view of Seville. This tower is located in the Cathedral, and is a must.
Spent the night at the best hostel that a 5star hotel wouldn’t provide. Right in the city center, few steps away!
Walked the Christmas Markets
Day 9: Return to Madrid
- Walked to the bus station. Arrived to the terminal, it’s a smaller terminal so you are able to find the outbound long distance buses.
- Returned into Madrid, had time to spend to check into my last hostel and explore the rest of Madrid.
- This was the perfect time to walk around town. You can take taxi’s and metro. I used the metro at the end to return where I wanted to go, but I actually really enjoyed walking. You can see the city better.
- I walked to the park, a MUST SEE !!
- Retiro Park- (“Park of the Pleasant Retreat” one the largest parks in Madrid, was owned by the Spanish Monarchy.
• The park features beautiful fountains, wildlife, a crystal palace (shown above), a lake ( you can rent boats on ) and a FREE museum where I was able to find a surprise pop up art museum featuring contemporary art!
- Once, I left the park, I grew an appetite. It was cold and windy that night, so I decided to eat at a place I could drink my wine and have a wonderful, warm and comforting meal as my last dinner here! I chose a placed called Oven Mozzarella Bar .
- It is here, that I was enjoying my peaceful meal. Drinking my glass of wine. There is a certain peace when you are sitting by yourself, in a foreign country (or in your own for that matter) and you can just enjoy the ambiance, the quiet peace in your mind. You can watch and listen to the conversations around you. Watch people walk by outside. I even spoke with a gentleman that was sitting next to, we had a great conversation! He was ending his last evening enjoying a great meal too! Great ending dinner!
- As I finished my LAST SUPPER, I headed back to my hostel. I chose one further into town so I could be closer to the places I wanted to see.
Hostal Mayor– in Calle Mayor- very good location. Click on title to follow page to hotel.
great location. down the street is the metro.
- And, for the little ones, walking distance to, Dare I say it, chicken nuggets, McDonalds!! 🙂
From here I checked in, walked around and saw the beautiful Christmas Decorations. People were out and about in the plazas, singing, shopping at the markets and enjoying each others company. One of the parts I loved about this country. Everyone loves to be out and about and spending time with on another!
Checked in for the night.
Day 10: Last day in Spain
- Day 10: Last Day in Spain
- I wasn’t leaving until early evening/mid afternoon so it allowed time for me to check out of the hostel. Leave my bags and take the metro to the Zoo!
- Madrid Zoo is such an awesome place. The Zoo also includes an aquarium that features a great Dolphin Show! For the price, you couldn’t get that in the states. It was 24E I believe at the door, and 17E online. Book your tickets online!
How to get there– Take the Metro right down the street from the Hostel, Metro Opera, and take it straight to Casa de Campo. Green line (5) when you look on the screen to buy your tickets.
A big zoo, I would give yourself 2 hours. I only had an hour and a half. Gave me time to see everything I wanted to see, and watch the Dolphin Show. The zoo was such an unexpected surprise in Spain! It takes about 15-20mins to walk from the metro to the Zoo. On the way, you walk through a nice park, great scenery! Once you are done, take the metro back! AGAIN, CAN I SAY EASY PEASY!!!!
Onward, back to the hostel, pick up luggage go to the airport!
How to get to the airport– yes, it is easy to find a taxi (hire a car service) but it so expensive when there are so many options to get you there that are cheaper. A taxi will run you upwards of 30E.
Metro- roughly 10-15
24/5 bus for 5E
I decided to take the Metro. It will take about hour or more from getting on the metro to actually walking all the way from the metro to the departure terminal! Keep that in mind!
Metro Sol – Line 1 (Light Blue)- you will ride 2 stops to Tribunal. Take Tribunal Line 10 (Dark Blue)
To Nuevos Ministerious Line 8 (Pink Line) about 5 stops . Take it to Madrid Airport Terminal T1, T2, T3.
And, that is all SHE WROTE FOLKS!!!
I really hope that this Spain: 1 Week Itinerary really helps you!!
Have questions?? Feel free to ask!