best weekend breaks in spain

Best Short Weekend Breaks in Spain (That Aren’t Barcelona, Madrid or Seville!)

Need a short break from the stresses of life and wondering where to go? How about planning a weekend break in Spain? Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation, a city break filled with history and culture, or an adventure in the great outdoors, Spain has something for everyone.

In this article, I’ve put together a list of 11 places for a short weekend break in Spain that will rejuvenate and excite you. What’s more, I’ve selected places in Spain other than Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville to highlight other amazing places that deserve more attention. So pack your weekend bag, book your tickets, and get ready to explore all that Spain has to offer!

Quick Answer: Best Short Weekend Breaks in Spain

Looking for the best short trips in Spain? Here are my recommendations for fun and relaxing cities and towns for the perfect weekend break in Spain! 

  1. Cordoba
  2. Guadix
  3. Nerja
  4. Javea
  5. Alicante
  6. Toledo
  7. Bilbao
  8. San Sebastian
  9. Menorca
  10. Gran Canaria
  11. Tenerife

Read on to learn more about each destination and what you can do and see on a weekend trip there. 

10+ Best Short Weekend Breaks in Spain

cordoba is one of the best weekend breaks in spain


If you’re in Spain and in need of a weekend break, consider the historic city of Cordoba for a short getaway that’s full of history and culture. 

This beautiful Andalucian city is known for its stunning architecture, winding streets, and beautiful gardens. Cordoba is home to the famous Mezquita, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once a mosque and is now a cathedral. This intriguing monument is one of a kind and will definitely make a weekend break here worth the effort!

Other must-see attractions include the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, the Roman Bridge, and the Jewish Quarter. Cordoba’s main attractions are concentrated in the historic center which makes it easy to walk around and take in all the city has to offer. 

The best time to visit Cordoba is in the spring, when the flowers are in bloom and the weather is mild.

How to get there: Cordoba has several highspeed train connections (from Madrid, Seville, Granada and Malaga) that make it a convenient weekend break if you’re already in Spain. You can also get to Cordoba by bus from other major Spanish cities. 

Make the most of your Cordoba trip with our Cordoba Travel Guide!

spanish weekend trip - guadix


This small town in Andalucia is a hidden gem and the perfect short break in Spain where you can get away from it all.

As a town, Guadix is pretty small and you can see its highlights in a day. Must-see attractions include the Cathedral of Guadix, the Alcazaba de Guadix, and the Barrio de Santiago. Don’t miss the unique cave houses in Barrio de Cuevas — yes, actual cave houses that are still in use today (although most are fancier on the inside than they were centuries ago!). 

What truly makes Guadix a stunning weekend break is its unique landscape. Hop in your car and explore the scenic walks, dramatic cliffs, and rocky hills. When I visited Guadix, I was bowled over by how different the scenery is here. It almost feels like you’re in another world!

So if you’re looking for somewhere laid-back with lots of nature, then I highly recommend Guadix for a short break in Spain. The best time to visit Guadix is in the fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.

How to get there: Guadix is accessible by bus and train from other Spanish cities but the easiest way to get there for a weekend break is by car. From Granada, Guadix is only a 45-minute drive. 

weekend break spain - nerja


In need of a short break in Spain by the sea? Nerja is a charming coastal town on the Costa del Sol, known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful scenery. 

This beach town is ideal for sun-seekers who want to be away from the huge crowds in other popular areas like Benidorm and Malaga. Don’t get me wrong, Nerja is still a lively and vibrant place (especially in summer) but it’s a lot more relaxing. 

The town itself is super cute, with shops, restaurants, and cafes for a fun afternoon of exploring and just hanging out with a cerveza. Must-see attractions include the Balcon de Europa, the Nerja Caves, and the Church of El Salvador. The beaches here are small and cozy but there are several to choose from so you can beach-hop until you find your fave. 

The best time to visit Nerja is in the spring, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.

How to get there: You can get to Nerja by bus but the best way to get there is by car. Nerja is only about an hour’s drive from Malaga and Granada.

weekend break in javea, spain


Another small beach town that’s great for a weekend break in Spain is Javea. This coastal town on the Costa Blanca is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning scenery – perfect for a relaxing short trip!

There are two main beaches right in town that are easily accessible so you can maximize your sun-time but a little bit of walking will lead you to some smaller coves and beaches that are more peaceful. It’s worth the effort to discover these hidden beaches – they’re gorgeous!

There’s also lots of nature in the surrounding areas. Montgo Natural Park is full of scenic walks and if you’re feeling up for it, hiking up to Montgo’s peak is the perfect way to spend a day in nature. 

If you’re here for the beaches, the best time to visit Javea is in the summer but Javea also works well as a Spanish weekend trip in low season when there are fewer people and it’s more serene. 

How to get there: There are buses to Javea from Valencia and Alicante. For more flexibility, get a rental car and drive yourself to Javea. 

spanish weekend trip in alicante


Looking for a weekend break in Spain by the beach? Head to the city of Alicante for a beach getaway that has loads to offer. And with its own international airport, you can jet in-and-out of Alicante and maximize your time in the sun. 

This vibrant coastal city on the Mediterranean Sea is home to numerous gorgeous beaches where you can soak in the sun and release the stresses of life. But what I love about Alicante is that it’s more than just a beach town. 

Alicante is brimming with history and culture which makes for a fun short break in Spain. Must-see attractions include the Santa Barbara Castle, the Explanada de España, and the Archaeological Museum of Alicante. 

If you want to hit the beaches, the best time to visit Alicante is in the summer, when the weather is warm and sunny. But if you’d like to avoid the crowds and enjoy more than the seaside, Alicante is still warm enough to enjoy in the winter!

​​How to get there: Alicante has its own airport and there are many low-cost flights to Alicante from other major European airports. From within Spain, you can also get to Alicante by train, bus or car. 

take a short break in toledo, spain


If you’re in central Spain, then consider taking a short break in Toledo. 

This picturesque city was once the Spanish capital and the Old Town is brimming with historic buildings and landmarks. The most popular attraction in Toledo is the Toledo Cathedral, a stunning Gothic cathedral that dates back to the 13th century. Other must-see attractions include the Alcazar of Toledo, the Puerta del Sol, and the Jewish Quarter. 

A great way to see these main attractions is to go on a guided walking tour where you’ll learn more about Toledo’s role as the country’s capital and its historic and cultural significance. 

Toledo is often visited as a day trip from Madrid but on a weekend break, you’ll have more time to see the sights at a leisurely pace. You’ll have an amazing time just wandering around the charming cobblestone streets and taking in the historic atmosphere. 

The best time to visit Toledo is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.

​​How to get there: You can get to Toledo by train, bus, or car. From Madrid, you can get to Toledo in under an hour via a highspeed train. 

short break spain - discover san sebastian

San Sebastian

For a beach break with a touch of culture, head north to the Basque city of San Sebastian. 

Known for its beautiful beaches, delicious food, and its charming Old Town, San Sebastian has enough to keep you occupied for a weekend. Beach lovers, you’ll want to head to La Concha which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. If you want some action, San Sebastian has great waves which attract surfers from all over the world. In the summer, when the surf schools are open, this is a great place to learn to surf.

Other must-see attractions include the Old Town, the Aquarium, and the San Telmo Museum. And while you’re here, don’t miss out on the city’s food scene. San Sebastian has several Michelin-starred restaurants but if that’s not to your taste, you can go bar-hopping and sample pinxtos (their version of tapas).

The best time to visit San Sebastian is in the summer when the weather is warm and the city is bustling with tourists.

​​How to get there: San Sebastian has an airport that has domestic flights and an international flight to/from London City. You can also get to San Sebastian by train, bus, and car. 

weekend break in bilbao, spain


If history and culture are your jam, then look no further than the city of Bilbao for a short weekend break in Spain. Located in the Basque country, Bilbao has its own international airport, making it an easy trip from both within Spain and from other European cities. 

The highlight of Bilbao is undoubtedly the Guggenheim Museum. The building itself, with its unique look designed by Frank Gehry, is a wonder to look at but more treasures reside within its walls. The Guggenheim is home to modern and contemporary art from renowned artists like Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons. So if you love art and museums, this is the ideal weekend trip for you! 

If you’re not “museum-ed” out, there’s also the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum to visit. Alternatively, get a taste of the city’s past and explore Casco Viejo. Be sure to stop by the Gothic-style Santiago Cathedral and the 19th-century Teatro Arriaga.

The fall is the best time to visit Bilbao, when the weather is pleasant and mild and it’s less crowded.

​​How to get there: You can fly into Bilbao International Airport which has domestic flights and international flights from other major European airports. By train, Bilbao has several long-distance train connections with other Spanish cities. You can also get to Bilbao by bus or by car. 

menorca for a short break in spain


For a peaceful island getaway, head to the Balearic island of Menorca. 

Menorca is less popular than Mallorca which means fewer tourists… which means a more relaxing Spanish weekend trip. If all you want to do is chill by the beach, head to one of the island’s many beach towns with plentiful vacation rentals and hotels and easy access to beaches. Check out places like Cala Galdana and S’Algar for a weekend by the water.  

But there’s more than just beautiful beaches here. Must-see historical attractions include the Ciutadella Old Town, the historic port city of Mahon, and prehistoric ruins such as the Naveta des Tudons. There are also numerous hiking and walking trails around the island, including those in the Parque Natural de la Albufera del Grau.  

The best time to visit Menorca is in the spring or fall as you can enjoy pleasant weather without too many other tourists. Aside from summer, you can still enjoy the beach in September and October – but without the crowds!

​​How to get there: There are low-cost flights to Menorca from Spanish cities and selected European cities. You can also take a ferry from Barcelona or Valencia and it takes 4 to 8 hours, depending on the ferry service. 

spain weekend trip - gran canaria

Gran Canaria

If you’re in need of a short break in Spain during the winter, then Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands should be your top choice. Why? This beautiful island is pretty much warm all year round so it’s a great place to escape the cold. 

A few days in Gran Canaria is an awesome way to unwind, relax, and spend some time in nature. There’s no shortage of stunning beaches or picturesque walks here and with the sunshine and pleasant weather in winter, the cold will soon be a distant memory. 

Must-see attractions in Gran Canaria include the Roque Nublo, the Maspalomas Dunes, and the Las Palmas Old Town. 

There’s never a bad time to visit Gran Canaria but I like it best as a winter destination.

​​How to get there: From mainland Spain or Europe, the best way to get to Gran Canaria is by flying. You can easily find budget flights to the island. 

go to tenerife for a short break in spain


Another awesome destination for a winter weekend break in Spain is Tenerife. Like Gran Canaria, Tenerife also sees mild weather in the winter so you can still have loads of fun outdoors here. 

This island is ideal for a nature-focused getaway. The south of the island is home to many great beaches so you can simply laze around and soak in the sun. For a more active weekend, you can explore the Teide National Park or the Anaga natural park. Don’t forget the island’s quaint little towns like La Orotava and La Laguna!

The best time to visit Tenerife is in the winter as the island gets lots of sun and warmth. 

​​How to get there: Tenerife has two airports (one in the south and the other in the north) and you can find low-cost flights to Tenerife from mainland Spain and other parts of Europe. The airports are quite far apart from each other so it’s best to fly into the airport that’s nearest to your accommodation to save travel time. 

short break in spain - travel tips

Tips for Planning a Short Weekend Break in Spain

Planning a short break in Spain can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you plan your perfect weekend getaway.

  • Choose your weekend break destination wisely. Spain has a lot of great destinations to choose from, so it’s important to choose the right one for your interests and budget. If you’re flying in from outside of Spain, it’s better to choose a place where you can get a direct flight to save travel time. 
  • Book your accommodation in advance especially if you’re traveling in peak season or during a long weekend when lots of other people are also traveling. Look for hotels or apartments in the city center or near the main attractions you want to visit.
  • Book your flight, train, or bus tickets in advance. To get the best deal, it’s best if you plan your weekend break in Spain in advance and purchase your travel tickets early. If you’re planning last minute, be prepared to spend a bit more!
  • Plan your itinerary. With only a weekend to explore, it’s important to plan your itinerary carefully. Research the must-see attractions in your chosen destination and plan your days around them. Don’t forget to leave some time for relaxation and exploring the local cuisine!
  • Get around efficiently to save time. Most Spanish cities have great public transportation but when you’re on a weekend break and you’re short on time, travel time can eat into your holiday time. Consider staying in a central location so that you can walk to the main sights or get a rental car for your stay so that you have the flexibility to move around quickly. 

Relax and be flexible! At the end of the day, a short break in Spain should be relaxing and fun so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do all the things or hit everything on your checklist. You can always come back!

I hope this post has helped you inspire you to visit Spain on a weekend trip. Happy travels!

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