Things To Do

Spain’s dream duo: A perfect combination of city and coast

Guest post by Dakota Murphy

For travellers seeking the best of both worlds on their next holiday, Spain has it all thanks to plenty of fascinating culture, tasty cuisine and beautiful beaches. 

If you’re after the perfect blend of a bustling city break and a relaxing coastal stay, Madrid and Barcelona are popular cities brimming with cultural attractions, stunning architecture and thriving night scenes. After a few days in Madrid or a long weekend in Barcelona, these cities are also within easy reach of beautiful beaches for a relaxing retreat. 

Following your visit to Madrid, Marbella is the perfect antidote to an intense city tour while Sitges has a beachside vibe waiting to be enjoyed. Therefore, from historic sightseeing to sun-drenched shores, this article explores the appeal of a dream duo that ticks off the very best city and coastal travel combo.

Madrid to Marbella

In the Heart of Spain

Madrid, the capital city, is a vibrant metropolis that pulses with energy and rich cultural heritage. From the grandiose Palacio Real, with its opulent interiors and sprawling gardens, to the world-renowned Prado Museum, which houses an unparalleled collection of masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco, this city offers a treasure trove of attractions for art aficionados and history buffs alike.

Stroll through the iconic Plaza Mayor, a bustling square lined with charming cafés and street performers, or explore the lively tapas bars in La Latina, where you can indulge in traditional small plates and sip on refreshing Spanish wines. For shopaholics, the chic Calle Serrano and surrounding streets have a delightful range of high-end boutiques, designer stores, and charming local shops.

Nightlife enthusiasts will find themselves spoiled for choice, with a plethora of trendy clubs, rooftop bars, and flamenco shows that capture the essence of Madrid’s vibrant culture. Experience the passion of flamenco at renowned venues like Corral de la Morería or dance the night away at the lively clubs in the Malasaña and Chueca neighbourhoods.

Meanwhile, although Madrid is landlocked, the city boasts several beautiful parks and fountains that provide a refreshing respite from the urban landscape. One of the most notable is the Parque del Buen Retiro, a vast green oasis in the heart of the city, featuring a large artificial lake where visitors can rent rowboats or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shores.

Marbella is a Mediterranean Gem

If you’re venturing to the south coast of Spain, to the beautiful Andalusia region, the enchanting coastal town of Marbella will take you six hours by car or under three hours on a fast train. A seaside jewel, Marbella is situated on the attractive Costa del Sol, and thanks to its lovely climate, pristine beaches, and great amenities, it has year-round appeal.

With its idyllic lifestyle, it beckons visitors back, tempting some to invest or relocate to one of Marbella’s exclusive propertiesTruly picturesque, Marbella’s charming Old Town is perfect for meandering around with cobbled streets and whitewashed homes. The area is also a haven for anyone looking for quiet serenity or active pursuits, from watersports, golfing, and paragliding to exploring the caves and grottoes that dot this pretty coastline.

Similarly, you might prefer to enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea’s crystal-clear waters or, for the adventurous, choose a walking route in the Sierra Blancas, only five minutes from Marbella. After a day of exploring, indulge in the local cuisine, savouring fresh seafood and traditional tapas while sipping on a refreshing sangria. The charming seaside restaurants and chiringuitos (beach bars) that line the promenade are the perfect spot to watch the sunset. 

Barcelona and Sitges

Barcelona Merges Art and Modernity

Barcelona is one of the most popular places to visit in Spain. This vibrant capital of Catalonia is a city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. From the whimsical architecture of Antoni Gaudí, such as the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia and the fantastical Park Güell, to the iconic La Rambla boulevard, a vibrant pedestrian street lined with street performers, artists, and bustling markets, this city is a feast for the senses.

Explore the winding alleys of the Gothic Quarter, where mediaeval buildings and charming plazas transport you back in time or immerse yourself in the vibrant street art scene of the trendy El Born and El Raval neighbourhoods. Art enthusiasts can lose themselves in the surreal masterpieces of Salvador Dalí at the Teatre-Museu Dalí or marvel at the works of Picasso and Miró at the renowned Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró, respectively.

Barcelona’s culinary scene is equally captivating, with an array of Michelin-starred restaurants and tempting food markets, such as La Boqueria which is arguably the best, where you can sample an incredible array of fresh produce, cured meats, and local delicacies. Indulge in the city’s nightlife at the trendy bars and clubs in El Born and El Raval, or catch a flamenco show at iconic venues like Palau de la Música Catalana to experience the passion of Spanish culture.

Sitges is a Charming Coastal Town

Just a short train ride from Barcelona lies the charming coastal town of Sitges, a picture-perfect destination that perfectly complements the city’s energy. This former fishing village boasts a stunning beachfront promenade lined with cafés, restaurants, and vibrant street art, offering the perfect spot to find a gorgeous villa overlooking the sea, soak up the Mediterranean sun and embrace the laid-back coastal vibe.

Sitges is also a hub for art and culture, with numerous galleries, museums, and annual festivals that make great celebrations to time your travels around, and experience the local culture. Stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town, and admire the whitewashed buildings adorned with colourful blooms. For an authentic and luxurious Catalan stay, simply relax near the area’s inviting beaches, such as Platja de la Ribera and Platja de les Animes.

For those seeking adventure, Sitges offers a range of water sports, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and sailing. Explore the nearby Garraf Natural Park, a stunning coastal preserve with hiking trails that wind through rugged cliffs and secluded coves, providing breathtaking vistas and opportunities for bird-watching and wildlife spotting.

 

Whether you choose to explore the grandeur of Madrid followed by the sun-drenched charm of Marbella or discover Las Ramblas in Barcelona before retreating to the coolest spot of Sitges, Spain offers the best of both worlds.

 

Indeed, you can expect a captivating blend of cultural richness and coastal relaxation on your Spanish travels. For a Gaudi connoisseur, a foodie who loves tapas, or an adventure seeker, a trip to Madrid, Marbella, Barcelona and Sitges — any combination of the fabulous four is ideal. Once you’ve found your dream holiday villa, contact the concierge team to add some extras to your Spanish stay.

 

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