My Spain Adventure


    Took my very first trip abroad this November 2019 to Spain! We had planned this trip back in February, so I was so excited when the day had finally arrived for us to pack our bags and take our flight overseas for our Spain Adventure.

    My dad grew up in Madrid before moving to the United States. It’s somewhere I’ve been trying to book a trip to for some time now, so I can experience the culture and beautiful architecture.


    Finally, the day had arrived to book a new trip, and my boyfriend and I decided to check Groupon for trip ideas. I love using Groupon, you really do find incredible deals on there for events, things to do and gifts.

    We saw a Madrid and Barcelona trip and we knew that’s what we wanted to do! Rather than booking it directly on Groupon, we wanted the freedom of creating our own itinerary. Instead, we used Groupon as a guide to create our very own Spain Adventure based on the prices, dates and locations Groupon suggested. We decided to travel for about a week to both Madrid and Barcelona, we split our time between the two cities. Below is what we came up with, some prices included and all! I updated it a bit with situations that had occurred during our trip, but you’ll read more about that later on in my post.

    Spain, here we come! I was ready to go with my travel packing cubes and all. If you want to know What to Pack when Traveling Abroad, here’s a little post I wrote with my thoughts and ideas.


    Our flight was heading out at around 5pm on a Friday, so we arrived to the airport a few hours in advance. We wanted to make sure we had enough time to make it through TSA and all the airport check points. We decided to fly with TAP Portugal since it had great prices during this time frame. The flights weren’t direct flights to Spain, we had a short layover in Lisbon, Portugal both ways. Our flight was about $389 dollars per person, and then to upgrade our seats (we chose our preferred seats for the longer flights), it was an extra $57 per person.

    TAP Portugal also has a Stopover option, where you can extend your time in a city in Portugal and explore for a day or two before catching your flight to the next destination. This is a wonderful option if you want to visit Lisbon or other cities TAP flies to. We tried switching our return flight to include a stopover, but we weren’t able to make any itinerary changes once our trip was booked. We’ll try a stopover next time we fly TAP though!

    The flight from Miami to Lisbon was about 8 hours. A dinner and before landing snack was included in our flight. The meals were actually pretty great! I had chicken and potatoes, plus they gave us a Portuguese cheesecake dessert that was delightful!

    Once we arrived in Lisbon, we had to take a bus over to the rest of the airport. This makes it pretty difficult to have a short time period between flights. Not to mention, you have to go through passport control, and this is what took the longest amount of time in Lisbon’s airport. It was a rush for both passengers and staff members, since everyone was trying to make it to their next destination on time. Needless to say, most people that arrived there during this time period missed their connecting flight, including ourselves. Thankfully, we were able to change our flight and we were off within an hour or so. Next stop, Madrid! 


    We made it to Madrid that morning and took a cab over to our hotel, Leonardo Boutique Hotel Madrid. It was a cozy hotel located a few minutes drive from downtown Madrid. The hotel stay for two nights was roughly $200 US dollars, so we each spent $100. The city has great transportation; you can take the metro, public bus or they also have Uber available in Madrid.

    After checking in at around 2pm and freshening up, we were ready to grab a quick lunch in the area. We saw a local burger joint and decided to try their food. After lunch, we got ready for our fútbol game. We had tickets to go to a Real Madrid VS Real Betis fútbol game taking place that evening. The tickets were $126.65 per person, but it was a must for us! After a short Uber ride to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, we didn’t realize the game was at 9pm. We thought it was at 6pm, so we had a few hours to kill before we were allowed to enter the stadium.

    Extremely caffeinated that evening (since we had to stay awake all day after no sleep on the flight over to Spain; crying babies and snoring passengers), we made it back to the stadium to find our seats. The game began and the crowd went wild! The game ended in a tie, but it was such a unique experience being there with local fans. We walked back to our hotel (a good 40 minute walk) and we were ready for bed. Our delusional selves thought we had set an alarm, but we didn’t… so we woke up the next day at 1:30pm! So jet-lagged! We rushed out of bed and got ready to start the day.

    First stop on our itinerary was my dad’s old neighborhood. This was a place he had grown up in. What a great experience checking out his neighborhood and noting all the changes that had taken place throughout the years. After a quick local and delicious lunch, we jumped on a city bus tour. We had purchased a two day Hop on Hop off city bus tour ticket to explore Madrid; the tickets were around $30 per person for the two days. We were only able to use it for one day, but we made good use of it since we visited key locations. Some of these locations included Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, Plaza de Torros, Plaza de Cibeles Fountain and more. Another one of our stops was Primark, which is a large retailer where locals and tourists get some shopping done.

    We also stopped at Puerta del Sol that evening to enjoy dinner and check out the attractions. Many were dressed up in costumes and fun performances were taking place. We grabbed a yummy dessert from Mad Waffle before making our way over to our Flamenco Performance. We had bought tickets for a Flamenco show at Cardamomo, Madrid, where they served us a complementary wine or sangria before the performance began. It was about $40 dollars per person for these tickets. The performance was so incredible! Great way to end our time in Madrid.


    The next morning, we woke up bright and early! Then had a quick breakfast and headed off to the Madrid Atocha Train Station. We were ready to catch our Renfe service to Barcelona. This was my first time on a train like this. It’s so convenient to have this option, where you can easily make it from city to city in this manner. The train was a unique and comfortable experience. It was about a two and a half hour ride to Barcelona from Madrid.


    Once we arrived to Barcelona in the early afternoon, we took a taxi over to our hotel, Leonardo Boutique Hotel Barcelona Sagrada Família. This spot was only a 15 minute drive from La Sagrada Família, which is a top tourist destination in Barcelona. The hotel was around $131 per person for a three nights stay. Once we checked in and freshened up, we explored our hotel which had beautiful balcony views of the city!

    That evening, we walked over to La Sagrada Família to look at this massive structure and check out the lines. While we skipped out on the inside tour that day, we still got some great photos of the outside of this architectural marvel (we were able to explore the inside on another day). After an early dinner at a local Cátalan restaurant, where we had delicious tapas and sangria, we headed back to our hotel to catch some sleep before our grand three countries in one day excursion the next day.


    I highly recommend The Original Three Countries in One Day: France, Andorra, Spain from Barcelona excursion on TripAdvisor. We were able to explore three cities in three different counties (Spain, France and Andorra). Our driver Marcelo and tour guide Miguel were amazing! So friendly and hilarious. We were able to explore Andorra which is a small country in Europe that’s located within the Pyrenees Mountains. It’s capital, Andorra La Vella (which we were able to visit and experience their local mall) is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 3,356 feet. It was an experience of a lifetime; you can read all about it on my Three countries in One day post! The tickets on TripAdvisor were a bit under $150 US dollars per person.


    The day after our Andorra excursion, we had a full day in Barcelona to explore the city. We had a yummy breakfast at our hotel and then started the day at Park Güell, where you can see architectural marvels. You can explore this UNESCO heritage site and experience Gaudi’s imagination at this spot. I accidentally purchased tickets for this location for the wrong day (no refunds or exchanges are offered, so be sure to double check your dates!), but we ended up just buying new tickets to visit this landmark. The tickets are usually around $11-15 US dollars.

    We used Cabify to make it to our destination since we were saving our cash for cab rides and local restaurants. They no longer have Uber in Barcelona, but Cabify is a great option to get around. Of course, Barcelona has great transportation. There’s the metro, cabs and public bus, so it’s not too difficult to get around.

    After some time exploring Park Güell and purchasing a few souvenirs, we caught our Hop on Hop off city bus Barcelona to check out other destinations around the city. These were also about $30 dollars per person. I usually love these bus tours, but they weren’t the best options in Spain. These cities have great transportation already and even though their tours are informational, they weren’t as interactive as I’ve experience them before. It was still a good option for us since we saw most of the scenic spots and touristic landmarks in a short time frame using the tour bus. This included stops at Casa Mila, La Sagrada Familia and the city beaches.

    We hopped off the bus near the beach area in Barcelona. We walked by the sand and then had a four course meal at a local restaurant. It was so good! After continuing our tour of the city, we stopped by La Sagrada Família once again to purchase tickets (general entrance was around $25 per person) to make it inside the structure. The lines weren’t as bad this time around and we got in within a few minutes. It was around 4:30pm when we entered the building. From what I’ve read, the ideal time to go inside is during sunset so you see the light shining in from the gorgeous glass windows. The building was awe-inspiring! What a marvel and architectural feat. We had a self guided tour with an audio set which explains the history and design behind the location. 


    After a full day of exploring, we wanted to go to a local wine tasting. By the time we made it back to our hotel on foot, we were exhausted and ready for a hot shower. After opting for food delivery from a local pizza shop instead, we went straight to sleep since we had a 6:40am flight. The next morning, we arrived bright and early to the Barcelona airport. Unfortunately, we had to check in our carry on luggage. This was pretty disappointing to say the least (the flight wasn’t that full). It ended up working out fine at the end of the day (no lost luggage!).

    After another layover in Lisbon (three hours this time, so we were able to do some duty free shopping), we were off to Miami. They served lunch and a before landing snack. Like I said before, they serve pretty great food in my opinion! Can’t complain. We arrived in Miami at around 3pm where the time back in Portugal was around 8pm. Traveling can be exhausting!

    Spain was such a beautiful experience! The food, people and grand architecture. There’s just so much to see – we should’ve planned a way longer trip. Adíos España, you will be missed!

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