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8 Places Everyone Should Visit in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
The Canary Islands are among the best destinations for a perfect holiday in Spain. Maspalomas, a tourist resort located south of Gran Canaria Island, is booming with tourist activities. And with long walks on the beach, historical monuments, and an amusement park all at your finger tips, it can be a great destination for the whole family.
If golden beaches, breathtaking natural scenery, comfortable accommodation, and rich history are your things, start planning a trip to Maspalomas, Gran Canaria –– and make sure to check out these 10 historic landmarks on your trip.
Playa del Inglés
On the south coast of Gran Canaria is Playa del Inglés , a beach resort. There’s a dispute around the origin of the resort’s name that dates back to the 20 th century. Some people say that an English bohemian moved to the area in the 20 th century and helped develop it. Others say that the man was French and not English. As of 2013, the area was still sparsely populated with a population of 7,515 people. However, these historical contradictions don’t dampen the experience at the resort. The fine weather, sandy beaches, and turquoise waters are astonishing. For family, couples, and single people. A fun day here should cost about $160 .
Yacimiento Punta Mujeres
Yacimiento Punta Mujeres (Punta Mujeres archeological site) is an aboriginal coastal settlement from between the 7 th and 9 th century. Domestic settlements of the aboriginals were found here, and it’s believed to be part of a larger settlement. The aboriginals are believed to have migrated from North Africa and developed their civilization until the 15 th -century Spanish conquest. The remains have helped archeologists piece together details about the lives of the aboriginals. Visit anytime as it is open 24 hours, free of charge.
Templo Ecumenico El Salvador
Templo Ecumenico El Salvador is a 1970s church located near the Playa del Ingles resort. The landmark is easily recognizable by its stained glass and inverted ship outline. The church is for Christians of all stripes and holds masses on Sundays at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. During its construction, the tourism industry in Maspalomas was booming, and designers were told to fill the temple with symbols that were as neutral as possible, so that folks of all faiths could feel welcome inside.
The church also hosts events such as concerts and special celebrations. There’s no entrance fee, but you can donate. Visit the temple to learn more of its history .
Parroquia de San Fernando
Parroquia de San Fernando is small community church. Although the church isn’t meant for tourists, it’s still an important historical landmark in Maspalomas. The church has simple yet striking architecture, with a well-lit altar to ensure that you follow the proceedings keenly. You can call them or email them to plan a visit, an event, or talk to someone to learn more about the parish, free of charge.
El Faro de Maspalomas
El Faro de Maspalomas (Maspalomas Lighthouse) is located 4 kilometers south of the town centre, and next to Maspalomas dunes. The active lighthouse was constructed in the 19 th century and took 28 years to complete . It’s 56 meters high, making it the tallest masonry lighthouse on the Islands.
The light can be seen for 19 nautical miles, thanks to the 60-meter focal height. In 2005, the government declared the lighthouse a Property of Cultural Interest. The inside of the lighthouse is not open to the public, but you can still visit the site at no cost.
Paseo Marítimo is a long seaside promenade that begins at San Agustin and ends at Maspalomas Dunes and El Faro de Maspalomas, the lighthouse mentioned above. The promenade itself contains three long staircases and breathtaking views of the beach. There’s a shopping center with beautiful kiosks serving refreshing drinks and food to refuel you along the way. And you’ll find plenty of benches and other rest spots for you to pause and soak in the fresh, calm breeze of the Atlantic.
Sioux City Park Gran Canaria
Sioux City Park Gran Canaria was designed to send you back to the old days of the Wild West. Well, sorta. The place was originally built in 1972 as a set for shooting Western movies. But today it is filled with fun activities where you can watch bank robberies, cattle demonstrations, and cowboy duels. There’s also an onsite zoo with animals, including Jersey Giant chickens and dwarf crocodiles. The experience costs about $25 per person.
Calling all amusement park lovers! This theme park is perfect for all ages . Keep the kids happy with arcade games or bowling alley. Teenagers can spend their time on the fairground rides. For adults, there’s a sports bar and a couple nightclubs. Go on the ferris wheel for a picture-perfect view of Maspalomas. The view is even better at night.
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Best places to visit in spain.
Spain's dynamic metropolises, breathtaking beaches and cultural offerings are second to none, making the country an undisputed stop on many travelers' European vacation itineraries. With so many varied destinations, each with its own celebrated sites and unique hidden gems, it may be hard deciding which cities are worth visiting. U.S. News factored in sights, culture, seasonality and expert opinion to come up with the best places to visit in Spain for all types of travelers – from city slickers to beach bums to outdoorsy types. Have an opinion? Vote below to influence next year's ranking.
Santiago de Compostela
Costa brava, san sebastian, canary islands.
In addition to being one of Europe's top travel destinations , Barcelona is without a doubt Spain's cultural capital. The Catalonian city's urban sprawl is dotted with Antoni Gaudí's whimsical architecture, including Basílica de la Sagrada Família and Park Güell, as well as museums carrying world-renowned artists, such as the Picasso Museum. You can also explore centuries-old neighborhoods like Barri Gòtic, which dates back to the Roman Empire. Don't forget to take advantage of the city's equally magnificent outdoor offerings, too, including La Barceloneta beach.
The final stop on an ancient pilgrimage route called Camino de Santiago (or Saint James' Way), this medieval city in northwestern Spain attracts hundreds of thousands of travelers every year. With centuries-old architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, Santiago de Compostela is an ideal destination for history buffs and culture hounds. First up on your to-do list should be a tour of the awe-inspiring Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, a massive Romanesque structure said to house the remains of Saint James the apostle. Then, take advantage of the city's number of beautiful parks, museums, restaurants and nightlife.
You won't want to skip this romantic Spanish city about 55 miles northwest of Madrid on your next trip to Spain. See for yourself what makes Segovia special while you stroll through the enchanting Plaza Mayor, home to a mix of restaurants and shops, or soar high above the city on a hot air balloon ride. Can't-miss sights include the two-tiered Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the world's best-preserved Roman aqueducts, and Alcázar De Segovia, a massive, fairy-tale fortress dating back to the 12th century.
Stretching from the idyllic resort town of Blanes all the way to the French border, this coastal region in northeastern Spain offers miles of shoreline along the Mediterranean Sea. After spending the day with your toes in the sand at one of Costa Brava's gorgeous cove beaches, indulge in a delicious dinner at one of the region's many seaside restaurants. But Costa Brava is not just for beach bums. Whether you're touring the unique Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres or exploring the Santa Clotilde Gardens in Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava is a can't-miss destination on any Spain itinerary.
The UNESCO-listed historic center of Cordoba is the stuff of Spanish dreams. Its winding, compact cobblestone streets are lined with whitewashed inns, shops, restaurants and homes that feature stunning Andalusian accents, including wrought-iron balconies, bright blue planters and painted archways. Visitors can also enjoy all of the city's famous historical sites, such as the Castle of the Christian Monarchs and the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, commonly referred to as the Great Mosque, which is one of the best-preserved structures in Spain.
Mallorca's smaller sister island is a solid option for travelers wanting to visit the Balearic Islands without the crowds of Ibiza and Mallorca. Menorca offers the same kind of jaw-dropping beaches (think: white sands overlooking clear turquoise waters) you'd expect to find on other Balearic Islands – travelers say Cala Mitjana, Cala Macarelleta, Cala Turqueta and Cala Pregonda are some of the island’s most popular shorelines. You'll also discover several architectural marvels throughout Menorca. Head to Ciutadella (the island's original capital) to see old-world structures like the Catedral de Menorca and the Convent of Sant Agusti, which houses the Diocesan Museum.
Travelers who want to experience small-town Spain without venturing far from a big city will love visiting Toledo. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, which sits 45 miles southwest of Madrid, is breathtaking thanks to its location on a hilltop overlooking the Tagus River and its historical architecture. For the best views, visit Mirador del Valle, a scenic overlook boasting breathtaking panoramic vistas. Then, get a sense of Toledo's rich history by checking out attractions like Catedral Primada and San Juan de los Reyes Monasterio. Don't forget to try some of the city's famous marzipan before you leave.
Of all the cities in Spain, Madrid is the one that knows how to show travelers the best time. The city's party-hard reputation is really all it's cracked up to be, but that's not all Spain's capital has going for it. Madrid is filled with varied, vibrant neighborhoods, plus stunning parks, enviable shopping and some of the best art institutions in Europe, including the world-renowned Prado Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. Not to mention, the city’s grandiose architecture – showcased by structures like the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor – makes the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway.
Mallorca is easily one of Spain's greatest assets. This dreamy island getaway features sun-kissed beaches, picturesque small towns and outdoor pursuits that draw tourists and lovebirds in droves. Revel in the see-through blue waters of Playa de Muro and Cala Llombards, then hop in a car and drive around the striking mountains that make up Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure you spend your downtime taking leisurely strolls along the darling streets of Alcúdia's old town and by the water to admire the awe-inspiring Palma Cathedral (La Seu).
This beautiful Andalusian city in southern Spain is awash with romantic allure. During the day, you'll find outdoor cafes along cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages meandering through pastel-colored plazas. And when night falls, flamenco dancing comes out in full force. Seville is the kind of place you should allow yourself to get lost in, but don’t forget to carve out time for must-see sites such as the Plaza de España, the Real Alcázar and the Catedral de Sevilla, the largest Gothic cathedral of its kind in the world.
Situated along Spain’s northern coast in Basque Country, San Sebastian is one of the most underrated destinations in Spain. Locals understand its majesty and every summer flock to this beach destination for its breathtaking shorelines, hiker-friendly mountains and unmatched foodie scene. For a quintessentially Basque experience, travelers suggest pintxo bar hopping in San Sebastian’s city center, Parte Vieja, or signing up for a pintxos (Basque tapas) food tour. Don’t leave without taste testing San Sebastian’s world-famous anchovies and txuleta, a specialty steak that is made from aged grass-fed beef.
Granada's Arabic influence makes this destination different from the rest of Spain. Thanks to its history as part of the Moorish Empire, Granada is home to tapas bars and flamenco venues that rub elbows with Moroccan tea cafes and Arab bathhouses. This confluence allows you to experience two cultures simultaneously. And you must make time to behold the breathtaking local treasures, including the Alhambra, the white-washed caves of the Sacromonte district and the snow-capped mountains of Sierra Nevada National Park.
A popular daytrip destination for travelers visiting Barcelona, Girona stands out for its medieval architecture and wealth of attractions. From the magnificent Girona Cathedral to the city's famous 12th century Arab baths, travelers are sure to find something to suit their interests in this Spanish city. Spend some time in La Devesa Park, one of the largest green spaces in Catalonia. Don't forget to pack your walking shoes – whether you're exploring the winding, cobblestone streets of Girona's Jewish Quarter or strolling the Passeig de la Muralla path atop Girona's ancient city walls, the best way to enjoy this historic city is on foot.
Rioja is Spain's wine country. Like France's Champagne, winemakers can't label a wine "Rioja" unless it is produced and distributed from the Spanish region of La Rioja. As such, you'll want to sample plenty of vino while you visit, which will be pretty easy to do since there are more than 500 wineries plus many restaurants that serve large selections of Rioja wine. If you're looking for other things to do, take advantage of Rioja's Michelin-starred restaurants and lively tapas bars when you're not hiking or skiing its surrounding mountains.
This northern city in Spain’s Basque Country sits in the middle of a beautiful valley, affording incredible views of the city and its rolling hills. Visit Casco Viejo (the city's old town) for authentic pintxos and to explore Parque Etxebarria, where you'll find some of Bilbao's best vistas. Or, ride the Funicular de Artxanda for even more spectacular panoramas. No visit would be complete without checking out the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and other local cultural institutions, such as the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao.
Plan a trip to this small Andalusian town if you enjoy visiting destinations with unique geography and stunning architecture. Ronda sits atop a striking gorge that separates the town. To cross the gorge, walk across the Puente Nuevo, a beautiful bridge built in the 18th century. Below, you'll get an eyeful of El Tajo canyon and the Guadalevín River. After admiring your surroundings from the Puente Nuevo, visit the Plaza de Toros de Ronda, the historic old town and the Baños Árabes, well-preserved 13th- and 14th-century Arab baths.
Spain’s third-largest city stands out for offering a little taste of both the old and the new. You'll get to experience classic architecture at the Gothic-style Valencia Cathedral and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, as well as modern sites like the City of Arts and Sciences and the Valencia Institute of Modern Art. After you've gotten your fill of city life, take a detour to breathe in some fresh air at the Albufera Natural Park or unwind at nearby beaches. What's more, with plenty of free attractions to choose from, Valencia is one of Europe's most affordable travel destinations .
If you live to party, Ibiza is a great place to dust off your dancing shoes. This Spanish island is known worldwide for its nightlife scene, so much so that people often say you must visit during the peak summer months. However, one look at Ibiza's natural offerings and you'll understand how this island stands on its own outside of its party-hardy reputation. Beaches here are so clear that you can see your feet touch the sand as they enter the ocean. Plus, the historical charm found in Dalt Vila, Ibiza's old town, will certainly stop you in your tracks.
This cluster of Spanish islands located off the northwestern coast of Africa is one of Spain's premier beach destinations. In addition to picturesque shorelines, the Canary Islands are also teeming with outdoor attractions that will make any adventurer swoon, including four national parks. In between hiking and relaxing on the beach, take some time to stroll the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, located on the largest of the Canary Islands, or Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the archipelago's most populated city, to get a taste of local life.
Situated in southwestern Spain, Cádiz is one of the country's most underrated travel destinations. As one of the oldest inhabited cities in Europe, travelers can expect a bevy of historic attractions, from the Torre Tavira watchtower to the grandiose Cádiz Cathedral. Plus, there are several beautiful outdoor spaces to explore, including Genovés Park and the laid-back beaches of La Victoria and La Caleta. When you want to wind down, Plaza de España and Plaza de San Juan de Dios are excellent places to people-watch.
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17 Best Places to Visit in Spain
Last updated on November 3, 2023 by Kay Pierce and Becky Griswold - 20 Comments
From the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean, and from there to the Atlantic, Spain is more diverse than stereotypes would have you believe. Paella and bullfighting may be Spanish, but neither defines this Iberian country . You’ll get to witness a wide range of culture in Spain – more than you’d expect.
Discover Catalan culture in Barcelona, complete with dreamlike buildings thanks to Antoni Gaud. Try out pintxos – the Basque take on tapas – in the northwest, and see the mark left by Moorish architecture in Andalusia in the south.
There’s a whole lot more besides. And that’s without even mentioning the beaches of the famous Costas. Or the incredible Roman ruins that dot the country – especially Segovia, with its aqueduct. Expect history, good food, and plenty of sun – all in healthy doses. Plan your trip to this awesome Mediterranean travel destination with our list of the best places to visit in Spain.
Map of Places to Visit in Spain
In this post, we'll cover:
Founded back in 25 AD by the Romans, Merida boasts some of the most impressive, extensive, and well-preserved ruins in the whole of Spain. Now the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura , the city lies in the western-central part of the Iberian Peninsula, with the Guadiana and Albarregas rivers running through it.
As it boasts almost two thousand years of history, ancient historical sights and archaeological ruins are found wherever you go. Of these, the magnificent old Roman Theatre is a must visit; it still holds flamenco shows and theater performances to this day.
Besides this, there are the wonderful remains of a Moorish fortress, as well as a remarkably well-preserved bridge, aqueduct, and hippodrome – all of which were built by the Romans. In addition, there are some lovely Baroque and Gothic churches scattered around town, as well as interesting and informative museums showcasing the city’s rich history.
The largest city in Spain’s Basque Country, Bilbao lies on an estuary just 16 kilometers south of the Bay of Biscay . As its climate is milder and wetter than much of the rest of the country, the city’s parks and riverbanks are fertile and green, as are the rolling hills surrounding it.
Bilbao was best known as an important seaport and industrial city in northern Spain until the construction of an architectural marvel in the 1990s known as the Guggenheim Museum . Since then, this capital city of Vizcaya has experienced a boom in tourism, promoting economic growth and revitalization of its many hidden gems , making it a popular destination.
Celebrated as one of the most important architectural works of its time, the Guggenheim Museum now shines as Bilbao’s city symbol. Devoted to modern and contemporary art, this giant complex of interconnecting buildings presents a massive work of abstract sculpture that suggests a maritime theme with its simulation of ship outlines and shimmering fish scales.
Other places to go in Bilbao include the 14th century Gothic Cathedral of Santiago and the Basilica de Begoña. Built in 1909 and recently refurbished, the Alhondiga is a multipurpose complex housing a library, restaurants and a rooftop swimming pool with a glass floor.
The capital and largest city of the province of the same name, Salamanca lies on the banks of the Tormes River on Spain’s Northern Plateau. Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful Renaissance cities in the whole of Europe, its historic center is full of architectural treasures and incredible monuments that date back centuries.
Life in the city revolves around the busy and bustling Plaza Mayor , which is lined by cafes, bars and restaurants. The expansive and elegant square looks particularly magical at night when its majestic buildings are lit up.
Nearby, you can find other stunning places to see such as the New and Old Cathedrals, both of which exhibit exquisite architecture. Like the rest of the city, they are built out of sandstone. It is these warm hues that lend Salamanca its nickname – La Dorada , or ‘Golden City’.
While history is all around, Salamanca has a vivacious and youthful feel thanks to its large student population. Remarkably, the University of Salamanca was founded in 1218 and is one of the oldest higher education institutions in Europe.
One of the most popular cities to visit in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain, Cuenca is located in a precarious position at the point where two deep river gorges meet. Its strategic setting saw it fought over, conquered and ruled by both the Muslims and Christians, with Napoleon himself leaving his mark in the early 1800s.
This makes it fascinating to explore; lots of centuries-old churches, a cathedral, and a castle can be found hidden away among the meandering streets of its medieval old town. While its beautiful buildings are painted in warm hues, vivid colors and daring designs coat the walls of its numerous modern art galleries and museums.
The charming city is particularly noted for its casas colgadas – or hanging houses – which are built over the side of the clifftop upon which Cuenca is perched. Besides being phenomenal feats of engineering, these astounding edifices make for some fantastic photos and are best viewed from the bridge of San Pablo.
The third largest of the Balearic Islands, Ibiza is located off the east coast of Spain, surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean . While it is famous for its pounding nightlife and summer club scene which attract world-renowned DJs to its shores, the island actually has many other different sides.
Quite rocky and rugged, Ibiza is lined by beautiful bays and beaches; this, coupled with its warm, sunny and dry climate, makes it a great beach holiday destination . The largest city on the island, Ibiza Town boasts a majestic walled old town perched atop of a hill overlooking the sea.
While you can certainly find relaxing rural retreats and sleepy, seaside villages on the island, many people visit Ibiza for its incredible party scene and exhilarating electronic dance sets. In summer, its heaving clubs stay open through the night until dawn, when the sun finally rises over the sea.
The capital and largest city of the province of the same name, Segovia is set in a scenic spot with the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains rising in the distance. Its sun-kissed streets straddle the Eresma River on Spain’s Inner Plateau with Valladolid and Madrid lying not far away.
Segovia is famed for its historical sights . Within its walled Old Town you can find the Aqueduct of Segovia , which was built around 100 AD by the Romans. While this engineering marvel acts as the city’s symbol, other astonishing sights, such as a grand and gorgeous Gothic cathedral and numerous churches, convents and monasteries, can be found nearby.
The other main attraction is the elegant Alcazar of Segovia , set atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the city. Said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, the medieval castle and palace features lots of fine architecture and was once one of the favorite royal residences of the Kings of Castille.
Located in one of the most spectacular settings imaginable, Ronda, in the south of Spain, straddles the steep El Tajo gorge , overlooking the valleys and hills that lie before it.
Spanning the breadth of the gorge is Puente Nuevo, the city’s main landmark built in 1793. The impressive bridge connects the more modern El Mercadillo part of town with El Ciudad , the old Moorish quarter, which is home to marvelous churches, elegant palaces and pretty gardens. The town is considered to be the cradle of modern Spanish bullfighting; its neoclassical ring is the oldest such building in the country.
Due to its rich cultural heritage and history as well as its dramatic clifftop setting, Ronda has long drawn writers and poets alike to its ancient streets.
While Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Rainer Maria Rilke all visited at one time or another, Ronda now attracts lots of tourists and is one of the most popular and picturesque towns to visit in Andalusia .
10. Santiago de Compostela
The capital city of the Galicia region in northwestern Spain, Santiago de Compostela is famous as the final destination of the traditional pilgrimage known as Camino de Santiago. Also called the Way of St. James, this pilgrimage dates back to Medieval times and is important to many because it is believed that Santiago de Compostela is where St. James , an Apostle of Jesus Christ, is buried. Today, the city attracts thousands of visitors every year for both its religious tradition and history.
The arriving point for most pilgrims is the main square, Praza do Obradoiro . Situated in the heart of the city, this bustling plaza is the scene of many important landmarks , particularly the Santiago Cathedral where the tomb of St. James is located. Other historic buildings here are GelmÌrez Palace, Rajoy Palace, Catholic Kings Hostal and San Jeronimo College.
The Pilgrimage Museum is a good place to learn all about the history and significance of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage while the Museum of the Galician People showcases the culture and history of the region.
Perched on a mountaintop in central Spain, Toledo served as the Spanish capital until the 16th century. Because it was inhabited by Jews, Christians and Muslims for many centuries, the city is sometimes called the “City of Three Cultures.” Today, Toledo is a popular destination for its wealth of historic art and architecture that dates back to the Roman Empire .
The best thing to do in Toledo is to get lost amid the medieval streets and admire the old architecture that includes stunning churches, synagogues and mosques as well as a remarkable old Roman fortress.
The site of many historic events, the Zordocover plaza is well worth a visit as well as the many nearby shops. Charming cafes offer a break to relax, people-watch and sample local specialties like Mazapan , a sweet treat made with almonds and pine nuts. In the evenings, local bars offer pre-dinner drinks and tapas.
Once the home of Spain’s great painter, El Greco , Toledo features a vibrant arts scene. The city is teeming in museums and art galleries while the Cathedral of Toledo has an impressive art collection of works by masters like Goya, Ralphael and Titian. A great number of El Greco’s pieces can be seen throughout many of the city’s churches and landmarks.
Cordoba is the capital of the province of the same name in the Andalusian region of southern Spain. While Cordoba is characterized by its small town charm, this mid-size city offers all the historic and cultural attractions of a bustling metropolis.
One of the oldest towns in Europe, the historic quarter of Cordoba is a maze of tiny medieval streets, plazas and whitewashed courtyards all situated around the star attraction, the Mezquita . Initially built as a mosque, the Mezquita is now a glorious cathedral retaining most of its original architecture. Its forest of columns topped with Islamic-style red and white striped arches serves as a reminder of the glory and importance Córdoba held in medieval times. Outside the Mezquita is a beautiful orange grove perfect for relaxing.
Other places of interest include the Fortress of the Christian Monarchs, the Street of Flowers, and the Old Jewish Quarter with its charming patios and souvenir shops. Once a Roman city, Cordoba also features many Roman structures including its old walls, gates, bridge, an amphitheater and mausoleum.
Throughout the city are various plazas offering a range of museums, theaters, restaurants, hotels and bars. Plaza de las Tendillas is the main square with a vibrant shopping scene while the Plaza del Port is associated with Cervantes’s Don Quixote.
Cordoba is buzzing in the month of May with three lively festivals that include the May Crosses Festival, the Patios Festival and the Codoba Fair. During these events, the city’s plazas and courtyards are all decorated while various contests, flamenco dancing, traditional food and drink all fill the streets.
7. San Sebastian
San Sebastian is the capital of the Gipuzko province, located in the Basque country of North Spain off the coast of the Bay of Biscay. This beautiful seaside city is well-loved for its excellent beaches and outstanding culinary tradition.
Although it is divided into several districts, San Sebastian is a small, cozy city crammed with restaurants, pintxo bars, designer shops and an enclosed mall. The Old Town features many historic buildings reconstructed in the 19th century after the city was nearly destroyed during the Napoleonic Wars.
San Sebastian boasts some of the best beaches in Europe with the most popular of these being Playa de la Concha , which offers sunbathing and water activities like swimming, kayaking and water skiing. Playa de la Zurriola attracts many surfers and provides surf board and body board rentals.
Overlooking the city are two lofty hills, Monte Urgell and Mount Igueldo, which offer hiking, funicular rides, amusement parks, remarkable statues and fantastic views.
San Sebastian is widely appreciated in Spain for its pintxos . Pintxos are appetizers, which are prepared in a wide variety of fresh vegetables, meats and seafood. Many of the bars in the city feature buffets displaying a range of these pintxos. The local tradition is to go from one bar to the next, sampling one or two pintxos with a drink of wine or beer.
A number of festivals and events take place in the city throughout the year. Drawing the most crowds are the San Sebastian Film Festival and the Jazz Festival.
One of the largest and most important cities in Spain , Valencia is located in the eastern part of the country in the region of Valencia. After several years of major construction and renovation, Valencia today is famous for its Fallas Festival and the City of Arts and Sciences architectural masterpiece.
Valencia is stuffed with restored historic buildings that include stunning churches, old monasteries such as San Miguel de los Reyes and the site of an ancient silk trade center known today as the Silk Exchange Market.
See also: Where to Stay in Valencia
After redirecting the Turia River, the city constructed its most impressive attraction , a massive cultural and entertainment complex known as the City of Arts and Science. Contained within this complex are several buildings such as a science museum, planetarium, aquarium, arts museum and an IMAX theater that are each artistic marvels in and of themselves. Also included in the old Turia riverbed are beautiful gardens, athletic parks and artificial lakes.
One of Valencia’s most popular neighborhoods is the Barri del Carme with its colorful mix of architecture, diverse ethnic groups, trendy shops and outdoor cafes.
Every March, Valencia hosts the Fallas Festival where each neighborhood displays papier-mâché figures of all sizes and colors for a whole week. At the end of the week, the “fallas” are ceremoniously burned, and the communities party into the night. However, March isn’t the only time to party in Valencia. Every night, the city vibrates with lively bars and nightclubs in every neighborhood.
Exceptional tourist attractions , lively festivals and buzzing nightlife all make Seville the top destination in Southern Spain. As the capital city of Andalusia, Seville is also the region’s financial and cultural capital.
Seville is home to many beautiful and important historic landmarks, chief of which is the grand Cathedral of Seville , where it is believed that Christopher Columbus is buried. Other significant buildings include the Real Alcazar , an extravagant Moorish palace with luxurious gardens and a room where Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World was planned.
See also: Where to Stay in Seville
The city is also home to the largest wooden structure in the world, the Metropol Parasol, a giant umbrella-shaped structure housing the main market.
As the region’s cultural capital, Seville offers numerous museums, art galleries and entertainment venues. When the sun goes down, the nightlife scene lights up in Seville’s neighborhoods with their bars, nightclubs and flamenco dance halls.
Every year, Seville hosts its April Fair, one of Spain’s most celebrated events, where the city’s streets turn into one giant party involving centuries-old customs, traditional costumes, flamenco dancing, bullfights and plenty of local food and drink.
Spain’s capital and largest city, Madrid, is widely known for its sizzling nightlife scene. Home to a number of universities, the city constitutes a diversity of ethnic groups, making it one of Europe’s most colorful cosmopolitan cities.
Madrid is a beautiful city mixed with old and new architecture. The capital is comprised of several neighborhoods offering their own unique character and attractions ranging from historic quarters to older crowd communities, university areas, multicultural districts and party scenes.
The heart of the city is Puerta del Sol , a large plaza serving as the scene of festivals, important gatherings and street performers as well as a hub for the public transportation network. Another important square is Plaza Mayor , known for its many souvenir shops, cafes and the lively San Miguel Market.
Located within the city center are most of Madrid’s most popular tourist attractions such as the Royal Palace , the residence of Spain’s monarch, and a plethora of glorious churches and historic landmarks. Madrid offers many things to see and do from beautiful parks and zoos to football matches, museums, art galleries and concerts.
The largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Mallorca is surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean, with jagged cliffs, secluded coves, and beautiful beaches lining its shores. Long a popular tourist destination , the island is blessed with a warm and welcoming climate and plenty of incredible scenery.
While its mountainous interior is home to ancient hilltop monasteries and sleepy villages, Mallorca ‘s spectacular coastline is dotted with seaside towns and resorts. Sunbathing, swimming and watersports are all popular pastimes, with delicious local cuisine and seafood on offer wherever you go.
The island’s main city and capital is Palma de Mallorca . There is a beautiful old town for visitors to explore, with winding narrow streets and centuries-old buildings beneath its exquisite Gothic cathedral. The pretty town of Soller is also worth visiting for its scenic, secluded setting, as is the charming mountain village of Valldemossa.
Located in northeastern Spain, Barcelona is one of the country’s top travel destinations because it offers everything tourists look for in a European city from historic architecture to lively shopping, vibrant culture and buzzing nightlife.
Ciutat Vella, the Old City, is Barcelona’s main attraction . Here, tourists will find the Gothic Quarter with its beautiful, old churches, Roman ruins and cobblestone streets lined with outdoor cafes and restaurants.
Surrounded by statues and fountains, La Placa Catalunya is a popular gathering spot and hub for local transportation services. Popular activities in Barcelona include strolling along La Rambla , a tree-lined pedestrian avenue, and sunbath on Barceloneta, one of the city’s most popular beaches.
Unique to Barcelona are the architectural marvels of Spain’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, which include the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Batllo . Both of these extraordinary structures feature combinations of fascinating designs, shapes and colors.
As a major cultural center, Barcelona boasts a variety of museums , art galleries, theaters and flamenco shows. The city also hosts a number of festivals including the Monegros Desert Festival, one of Spain’s largest electronic music events. With its long love affair with sports, Barcelona is home to the largest football stadium in the world, Nou Camp.
Just outside of the city is one of Barcelona’s most visited sites , Montserrat. Accessed by hiking, train or cable car, Montserrat is the site of secret caves, an underground lake and the Black Madonna.
Located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains of southern Spain, Granada is the capital of the Granada province. A mid-sized city, Granada offers a perfect blend of spectacular attractions , traditional cultures and an animated nightlife. But most of all it is the home of the Alhambra , a pinnacle of Moorish art that encapsulates Andalusian history and is one of the great architectural sights of Europe.
Attesting to the city’s eventful history are its most notable landmarks, the 16th century Granada Cathedral with its magnificent domed ceiling, and the famous Alhambra, a grand Moorish palace with luxurious gardens and Arab baths.
Granada’s juxtaposing neighborhoods, Sacromonte and Albaicin , are the essence of the city’s culture. Noted for its Christian abbey, Sacromonte is where tourists come to see how gypsies have traditionally lived in various cave dwellings and to watch live dances of flamenco and zambra.
Albaicin, the Arabic Quarter, is the site of a hundred year-old Spice Market. Here among a setting of Moorish architecture, cobblestone streets and vivid bougainvillea, a medley of vendors sell colorful tapestries, wall hangings and exotic teas and spices.
Just outside the city, the Nevada Ski station offers a wide range of activities for all seasons from snow skiing and sledding to mountain climbing, horse riding and cable car rides.
In the evenings, locals roam from one bar to the next, sampling tapas and drinks before immersing themselves in the city’s entertainment choices.
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November 25, 2018 at 10:48 am
Spain is a really a nice country …. The Madrid zoo was fabulous.. The La Rambla in Barcelona was a fun street with lots of shopping places and small restaurants…but the best city in Spain is undoubtedly Seville! Seville is a really beautiful city with big fountains, beautiful churches, nice hotels, little restaurants, small and pleasant streets and beautiful flamenco dancers! I really enjoyed travelling in the tram there…. Most beautiful city I have ever visited!
November 15, 2018 at 1:09 am
I was robbed In Granada. The police were very cooperative. Spain is stunning, in general, the people are so lovely. Now at a villa on the Mediterranean Sea, it is winter .for me it is the sky, surf, sun and sand.
November 13, 2017 at 7:04 pm
Hello, I’m an American. Single woman who will travel alone. I have always loved Spain! I won’t be partying or anything like that, rather I want to see the beautiful cathedrals and historical landmarks. Is it safe to travel by myself taking certain precautions. San Sebastian is definitely on my list and I would love to see some of the smaller cities talked about here on this site.
September 19, 2017 at 7:07 am
I love Spain: specially Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Avila and Seville!
June 25, 2017 at 9:30 am
We just got back from Malaga, Spain….visited the city of Ronda while there…Malaga was beautiful but I found the shopping, and the food/drink was expensive. The City of Ronda was beyond beautiful and enjoyed it immensely. I can’t wait to go back, not sure where I will go next, but it will not be a bustling city…I’m sure Spain has some beautiful small towns that did not make the list that would be lovely to visit.
September 14, 2016 at 3:29 am
I was in Costa Daurada this summer near to Barcelona and it was really gorgeous location. Perfect for families ! We were staying in Salou and enjoy the cultural activities but also many sports activities for my childs, really nice place for holidays
September 10, 2016 at 3:20 am
Hi thanks for the advice. I’m on my way to Malaga soon and would like to tour Spain using the rail service. Any advice on how to get the best deals?
June 14, 2016 at 1:23 am
I loved Spain as a whole in general.If I had to pick the best then order would be Toledo , Seville, Granada, Barcelona,Cordoba,Madrid, Segovia.Loved Toledo n Seville the most.Only visited these places.San Sebastion ,Valencia ,Ibiza ,seville ,mallorca etc.etc. still on the list for next visit.
January 10, 2016 at 2:28 pm
I live in Madrid and I wouldn’t really recommend it for tourists, it’s a nice city and all but I prefer Barcelona with the beach and beautiful buildings and everything, or seville / valencia if you are interested in a city semester.
December 28, 2015 at 5:13 am
I’ve been there last summer, I would also add the city of Ronda to this list, amazing small town with a fantastic scenery.
October 31, 2015 at 5:53 pm
I’ve seen the temperature from Seville you’ve got, and I can completely assure that these are completely fake!! I don’t understand the fahrenheit measures, but we usually have 50-52 degrees in July and august. Or more. So, think about coming Seville in these months. Seville is more beautiful on April or November.
November 2, 2015 at 1:11 am
@Maria, I’ve been to Seville in August, and yes it was extremely warm! However I don’t think it ever gets warmer than 45. Good point though about avoiding Seville in the summer if you prefer milder weather.
August 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm
if I’m to make my own list,Mallorca, Sevilla and Madrid would make the top 3…..about the robbery,that can almost happen every where. Sorry about that and be more watchful next time.
March 4, 2015 at 11:46 am
Nice list. Only seen half of them. I guess it’s top 10 big cities because there are so many smaller cities that are really beautiful, historical and unique. Examples from the South: Cadiz, Ronda, Antequera. I’m not so familiar with all other regions. All parts of the country have their spots. Of the cities om the list personally I enjoy Granada, Sevilla and San Sebastian more than Barcelona but I agree that Barcelona is a must-place to see in so many ways. Also one more vote for Burgos! It’s epic and picturesque and it’s not a small place either, should be on the list. Saludos desde Finlandia!
March 3, 2015 at 8:54 am
Hi, I’m from Spain, I don’t agree with the order of the list. Barcelona is very nice but I don’t think that it’s the best. And my city isn’t in the list, it’s really nice and it’s got a lot of monuments like its cathedral and a great culture. I would like you to add Burgos on the list
June 10, 2014 at 2:01 am
Hi Global Nomads, you are obviously seasoned travelers. I agree, steer clear of places where they rob tourists. I went to Miami once and got robbed…. you can keep the USA, I’m not going back to America after that. Happy traveling .
May 14, 2014 at 8:53 am
I disagree completely with the order of this list. There is NO WAY that Barcelona’s the best place to visit. Galicia, Granada, Sevilla, are much better choices. I agree with Pep. La Alhambra is much more worth seeing than going to Barcelona.
October 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm
Seville and Madrid city center are more beautiful than Barcelona but they don’t spend so much money in hype. The most beautiful building in Spain is “La Alhambra”, Granada. It’s gorgeous. Other nice places: Salamanca, Segovia, Cáceres, Menorca, Altea, and Ronda.
July 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm
Live Spain and ant wait to see at least 4 of the above places, Barcelona was so nice had to go back twice.
June 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm
We tried Alicante, but got robbed in the bus station and did not feel like touring the country any further.
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15 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Spain
These are 15 of the best places to visit in Spain, from charming villages to gorgeous beaches.
Lindsay Cohn is a writer, editor, and avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents — and counting. She contributes to Travel + Leisure, Hotels Above Par, InsideHook, Well+Good, The Zoe Report, and more.
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Spain is not a monolith. The country on the Iberian Peninsula comprises 17 autonomous regions, each with distinct culture — with local food, drinks, and music — landmarks, and scenery. From beautiful Balearic beaches and the Antoni Gaudí architecture that shapes Barcelona to the rolling vineyards of Rioja and the Royal Palace in Madrid , Spain brims with historic sights, idyllic landscapes, and delicious cuisine. Needless to say, it’s pretty easy to pack an itinerary. Don’t worry about overdoing it — siestas are a well-established afternoon ritual, something pretty necessary if you're going to stay up for a 10 p.m. dinner.
Here are 15 of the best places to visit in Spain.
Royal Palace of Madrid
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The Royal Palace of Madrid has the distinction of being the largest royal residence in Western Europe. Although the Spanish royal family doesn’t actually reside there anymore, the 3,418-room architectural marvel is still used for state ceremonies and welcomes visitors who come in droves to admire the priceless artwork, armor, and gilded décor.
Platja de Ses Illetes
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Set on the tiny Balearic island of Formentera, Platja de Ses Illetes consistently ranks as one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain . A narrow strip of paradise that’s blessed with pristine white sand and warm, shallow, turquoise waters, it’s the perfect spot for a dreamy day trip.
La Sagrada Familia
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Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, is home to numerous landmarks designed by celebrated Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, but none more famous than La Sagrada Família, which holds the distinction of the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. Its ogival windows, flying buttresses, twisted towers, and religious carvings make it one of the most beautiful places in Europe .
Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca
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The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, also referred to as La Seu, stands as an emblem of the city. Constructed at the behest of the Crown of Aragon on the site of a Moorish-era mosque, the impressive landmark shows off Catalan Gothic architecture mixed with Northern European influences and sea views.
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Foodies flock to San Sebastián, the pearl of the Cantabrian Sea. This legendary culinary destination in northern Spain is beloved for its Basque cuisine and abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants helmed by some of the most talented chefs in the world. In between pintxos bars and fine dining, be sure to hit the golden beaches and explore the atmospheric Old Quarter.
Sierra Nevada National Park
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Snow-capped peaks define Sierra Nevada National Park. Not only does this protected area in the Andalusian provinces of Almería and Granada boast the highest mountains in continental Spain, but it’s also home to many rivers, verdant meadows, pine groves, and wildlife such as mountain goats and golden eagles.
Royal Alcázar of Seville
The Royal Alcázar of Seville tells an interesting story reflective of Spain’s past. It was built for King Peter of Castile by Castilian Christians, but it actually sits on the site of an Abbadid Muslim alcázar, or palace. Over the years, many generations and cultures have left their mark on the palace through elaborate tilework, ornamental carvings, tapestries, and museum-quality art.
The beautiful hilltop village of Valldemossa on the northwest coast of Mallorca feels far away from the capital (though it’s only 20 minutes away). Narrow streets wind toward the Royal Carthusian Monastery (Real Cartuja), a former royal palace that was later gifted to monks. Visitors can learn more about the town’s cultural heritage at Costa Nord.
Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo
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A must-see on any visit to Toledo, Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo is a Roman Catholic church and masterclass in Spanish Gothic architecture. Highlights include stained-glass windows, soaring arched ceilings, flying buttresses, frescos, and a gallery filled with paintings by El Greco.
Cap de Formentor
The northern tip of Mallorca, Cap de Formentor seems almost unreal with its dramatic, windswept, natural beauty and lack of tourists. This off-the-beaten-path promontory has a remote allure with near-empty beaches, pine forests, winding roads, and the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Prado Museum in Madrid serves as the main repository for national art. It boasts a truly spectacular collection of works by Spanish masters — paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and sculptures — and showcases the talents of European artists throughout history as well.
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
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The most significant and snap-worthy modern tourist attraction in Valencia, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is a futuristic-looking cultural complex that was designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava and features a ship-shaped opera house, IMAX dome theater, interactive science museum, open-air art gallery, and the largest aquarium in Europe.
Plaza de España
While Seville certainly isn’t lacking in photogenic landmarks, the Aníbal González-designed Plaza de España inside the Parque de María Luisa should be at the top of your list. Erected ahead of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, the famous plaza is truly show-stopping with grand buildings, a large fountain, canals, and tile-ornamented bridges.
The westernmost of the three Rioja subregions, Rioja Alta is known for its vineyards that cling to the slopes of the Sierra Cantabria hills. If you want to soak in the colorful scenery, learn more about production methods, and sip world-class tempranillo, plan a tour and tasting at a few of the bodegas near the town of Haro.
Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo in Madrid covers 1,723 hectares (for anyone doing the math, that makes it five times the size of Central Park in New York City) of verdant fields, forests, multi-use walking and cycling paths, tennis courts, a lake for boating, and even an amusement park, zoo, and aquarium.
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Catedral de Sevilla
The Catedral de Sevilla is the world's fourth-largest church in Spain that allows people to experience a rich artistic heritage. It was built in the 16th century and became the world's largest Gothic church. Holds a diverse collection of art in many forms, from Islamic to neo-baroque, as well as Renaissance and baroque. A collection of art that deserves to be appreciated in its whole.
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Hammam Al Ándalus
The earliest Arab bath in Spain was reopened in 1998, five centuries after it had been closed, as the Hammam Al-Ándalus Granada. The design of the architecture was influenced by Roman and Greek bathhouses. It had a set arrangement of rooms, including a room for undressing, a cold room, a warm room, and a hot room.
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La Giralda, a monument of significant symbolic importance in Seville, is one of the tallest and most magnificent cathedral bell towers in the world. With a mixture of Islamic and Renaissance-style architecture, it holds rich history and was once a minaret of Spanish mosques.
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The Alhambra palace, also known as "The Red Palace", is a fortress complex situated in the city center of Granada, Spain. The word "Alhambra" stands for red which has been driven from the Tapia's reddish color used on the palace's outer walls.The monument's building is one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture and a well-preserved palace in the Islamic world. The palace's construction was completed chiefly between 1238 to 1558 during the rule of Ibn al-Aḥmar.Formerly a citadel, Alhambra palace hosts quite an interesting story that you get to explore on your trip to this historical place. The palace is located surrounded by natural beauty, offering a panoramic view to all visitors.It is constructed on a plateau that overlooks the Albayzin Granada's quarter. Alhambra was once the home of all Moorish Kings; it had now been transformed into a famous palace visited by thousands of history buffs all around the year.As you walk by the palace, get in awe of all the vibrant flowers and massive fountains all around. On your tour of Alhambra, observe its intricate architectural design and details, making it the most sought-after destination in Alhambra.You can Checkout: Alhambra Tickets Online
The San Nícolas Church was built on the site of a former mosque, of which only the cistern remains. Together with the church of San Cristóbal, it is the oldest of the Mudejar churches in Granada which was destroyed during the civil war and was restored very recently. San Nícolas Church is one of the most important religious buildings in Granada and is a fine example of Gothic architecture.One of the most notable features of San Nícolas Church is its large nave, which is illuminated by a series of stained glass windows. The nave is flanked by two rows of columns that support a high barrel vault ceiling. At the far end of the nave is the choir loft, which houses a large organ.The church also contains a number of tombs and monuments, including those of Fernando de Valor, Juan de Padilla, and Francisco Pacheco. Visitors can admire the stunning architecture, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, and learn about the history of this important religious site.If you are planning a trip to Granada, then Checkout: Granada Tour Packages
The Cathedral of the Incarnation popularly known as Catedral de Granada is a famous Roman Catholic Church in the heart of Granada city. Unlike many Cathedrals in Granada, the construction of this structure did not start until the 16th century. Whereas its foundation was laid somewhere between 1523 to 1708 as this church is one of the prime examples of Baroque architecture, Renaissance architecture, and Plateresque architecture.Some prime architects involved in its construction include Diego Siloe, Felipe Bigarny, Enrique de Egas and Juan Gil de Hontañón. The facade of Catedral de Granada was completely different from the general standards of the Baroque architecture style.Alonso Cano, a famous architect in Catedral de Granada, was more sympathetic towards the Classic style. He decided to follow the same architectural style as the rest of the Catedral. The place features a rectangular base of its five naves. All these are staggered in height, with the central one being the largest.There are two towers located at the foot of the Cathedral. The facade consists of three pillars with semicircular arches, the same as San Andrés de Mantua of Leon Battista Alberti. The facade also features a bell tower which offers an incredible view to all tourists.Click Here to Book: Catedral de Granada Tickets
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33 Best Places to Visit in Spain
Brimming with cultural charm, stunning architecture, world-class cities, and small, picturesque villages – Spain is undoubtedly a country that is often a must-visit for many travel lovers all over the world .
Taking the title as the second most visited country in the European Union with approximately 82.7 million travelers, right after France, Spain’s numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and close to perfect weather are just a few more reasons that draw in the crowds every year from adventurous backpackers to relaxed sun-searching retirees .
From the sun-drenched Costa Blanca on the country’s east coast full of white sand beaches and turquoise waters to the incredible hikes and stargazing opportunities in the country’s northern region of the Basque Country, and the combination of the Moors and Catholic influence dressing the Andalucian region with a unique mix of culture and Mudéjar style architecture , the list of the best places to visit in Spain isn’t short.
The following sites are just a few of the many awe-inspiring destinations to explore while planning a trip to Spain.
1 – Barcelona
Distinctly known for its Catalan language and culture and located in the northeastern corner of Spain, touching the Mediterranean, Barcelona is a city that was founded in the 1st century BC by the Romans.
Out of the many things to do in Barcelona , a sight not to miss is The Sagrada Familia, which is a structure that dates back to 1866 when the first stones were put in place where this cultural structure now stands. It is considered one of the best places to visit in Spain.
To get the most out of your visit, be sure to book a Sagrada Familia guided tour which will explain and expand more about the history of the awe-inspiring construction, answer your specific questions, and leave you feeling more inspired and appreciative of this structure that draws in around 4.5 million visitors per year.
Check out some of the best free walking tours in Barcelona in order to take in the immense beauty and history that lies in each corner of the city, such as the Gothic Quarter, Casa Milá, as well as the impressive Park Güell, and a stroll through Las Ramblas to feast on local delicacies
- Tours & Activities in Barcelona
See also: Best Barcelona tours , Best day trips from Barcelona , Barcelona attractions pass comparison guide
2 – Bilbao
Originally a settlement for ironworkers founded at the beginning of the 14th century, Bilbao is a nature lover’s wonderland with green mountains and rolling hills, and it is today the biggest city in the Basque Country, with a population of 345,821.
From extraordinary scenery to an incredible art scene, mixed with a modern twist, Bilbao today offers a little bit of everything for every type of traveler.
Take a stroll through the Casco Viejo (Old Town), and explore the Cathedral of Santiago of Bilbao, Plaza Nueva, and the Archaeological Museum, which gives visitors an insider look into the cultural and natural history of Bilbao.
Book a guided tour to explore the Casco Viejo to gain an appreciation for the stunning history, and inspiration for the specific architecture of some of the buildings of the city.
If exploring local foods is up your alley, then definitely stop by La Ribera market, located inside the Casco Viejo to get your pintxos fix, which are small snack-like foods much like tapas. Worried that the rain may catch you? No worries, as it is a completely covered market, and in fact, it is the largest covered market in Europe.
- Tours & Activities in Bilbao
3 – Madrid
Madrid, the capital of Spain, makes a name for itself when it comes to being one of the best places to visit in Spain.
A top tourist destination within the country, coming in second to Barcelona. Originally named Mayrit, and established as a citadel for military use by Muhammed I of Córdoba .
After the reconquest in 1083, it was “refounded” by King Alfonso I, and named Madrid. Today, there are plenty of activities and things to do in Madrid , from cultural to natural, along with cool and unusual day trips .
Madrid is a museum lover’s dream, with top museums to visit all within a walking distance, in the famed “Golden Triangle of Art” where visitors can find top museums such as The Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia National Galleries, and the Thyssen-Bornememisza Museum located all within a small distance of each other.
Soccer fans will be amazed to walk into Real Madrid’s playground, as they take an impressive Santiago Bernabeu Stadium tour , which you can book your tickets for in advance to avoid difficulties.
A day trip to Toledo from Madrid is another fabulous plan, with frequent buses and trains leaving Madrid throughout the day, making it incredibly easy to explore the City of Three Cultures for the day.
- Tours & Activities in Madrid
See also: Royal Palace of Madrid tickets price , Reina Sofia Museum tickets price , Prado Museum tickets price , Free walking tours in Madrid
4 – Salamanca
Founded in the 4th century BC by the Celts, and later on, to be taken over by the Romans, today Salamanca pays homage to its origins through its well-preserved buildings and facades such as the University of Salamanca -the oldest university in Spain.
A walk through the city’s beautiful Old Town will showcase its decorative sandstone facade, and its unique and embellished carvings onto the buildings, that literally make visitors stop in their tracks to look up.
Located northwest of Madrid, and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a stroll along The Plaza Mayor is needed. Decorated in a Baroque architectural design, The Plaza Mayor is the main square in Salamanca where you will find everything from restaurants, to cafe shops on the first floor and government buildings on the second floor.
Be sure to check out Clerecía Church, and take in a unique sight of the Cathedral from inside, as you stroll through its sandstone-colored corridors and Baroque architecture. Finding something to do in Salamanca is seemingly an easy task, with a plentiful amount of things to experience.
- Tours & Activities in Salamanca
5 – Picos de Europa
The astonishing and dramatic mountain range Picos de Europa, translated to “Peaks of Europe” is situated in the northern region of Spain in the autonomous regions of Cantabria, Asturias, and Leon.
Considered to be Spain’s only inhabited nature reserve, and one of the best places to visit in Spain by many, a visit to the Picos de Europa will offer you endless stunning natural sights like meadows, lakes, forests, valleys, and of course the stunning mountains, wildlife sightings including the brown bear and Iberian wolf, deer, vultures, and much more.
This nature lover’s playground offers 30 self-guided hikes, 17 stunning viewpoints, and 3 visitor centers to help guide your hike, and see which one suits your travel style best.
Visit the incredibly picturesque towns surrounding the Picos de Europa, and explore their charm as you venture to the village of Bulnes, where you can get to hiking on foot or taking a scenic funicular ride through the natural sights of Picos de Europa.
Also don’t miss out on visiting the Royal Site of Covadonga, a site that holds an image of the Virgin Mary, tucked away on the western side of Picos de Europa.
6 – Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are considered an archipelago, with these 4 major islands: Menorca, Mallorca, Formentera, and Ibiza, all offering an abundance of fun in the sun activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, boat cruises, visiting smaller islands, basking in the gourmet seafood delicacies, and so much more.
Depending on your travel style, mood, and interests, each island is sure to offer you just the type of experience you’re looking for.
Menorca, the first of the islands is known for its slower-paced lifestyle, amazing wildlife sightings, and beautiful natural scenery, and is ideal for families. Be sure to book a guided tour to explore S’Abufera des Grau Nature Reserve for a look into the different types of natural landscape from marshes to dunes, and check out all of the great things to do in Mallorca .
If fresh foods and wine with a side of fun and well-preserved history are on the top of your list, then there are plenty of things to do in Menorca and a visit to this island cannot be missed.
Formentera is the smallest island of the 4, but also one of the most visited. For some slow travel, Formentera will gift its visitors with some of the most stunning beaches such as Playa es Pujols with a crystal clear, aquamarine color, views of fishermen’s boats, and small gatherings and events happening on the beach.
Lastly, other than being known as the island of parties, there are also plenty of other things to do in Ibiza . One of those is visiting some of its amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sights such as Dalt Vila which is a fortification that dates back to the 16th century, to protect the Old Town of Ibiza.
- Tours & Activities in the Balearic Islands
7 – Alicante
Located in Spain’s Costa Blanca region, with an average annual temperature of 21 degrees Celsius/ 70 degrees Farenheight, Alicante is a hot spot for history lovers, sun chasers, and Mediterranean-style foods and treats.
Founded in 325 BC by the Phocaeans Greeks, and named previously Akra Leuke, meaning “white summit” – Alicante is known today as the city with many water sports activities, and one of the best places to visit in Spain for the affluent.
Visiting some of its beautiful and historical neighborhoods such as Barrio de Santa Cruz, and El Barrio, to get a glimpse into the Old Town of Alicante, are just a few of the things to do in Alicante .
Head to the Old Town and book a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Alicante, or stop by Mercat Central d’Alacant for the best selection of local ingredients and the best of Alicante’s food scene.
Visitors can also take the Alicante Tram, which passes by little villages with impressive Islamic architecture, telling the story of the city’s influences throughout time.
A stop to Alicante cannot be made without a stop at the beach, and Playa del Postiguet is the one if you’re looking for white-sand beaches and crystal blue water.
Enjoy a drink and take in the sights of one of Alicante’s best beaches.
- Tours & Activities in Alicante
8 – Santiago de Compostela
Globally recognized as the final destination of the famous hike of el Camino de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela offers its hikers and visitors alike some of the best activities and experiences for wine, nature, and history lovers.
Known by locals as a “big village” due to its population size of locals and visitors while visiting this Galician city, start out by exploring the Old Town to take in the beautiful Roman architecture of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
University buildings and museums such as Museo das Peregrinacións which is a museum dedicated to the pilgrimage that floods the city every year, City of Culture of Galiza, all adorn the Old Town with Galician culture and history.
Take a break from the Old Town and step into the beautiful parks around the city, such as San Domingos de Bonaval Park or Alameda Park, where you may even catch a celebration taking place.
Take in the local food scene by checking out the Mercado de Abastos where you get to explore and enjoy some of Santiago de Compostela’s famous food like octopus Galician style, empanadas, and the famous Tarte of Santiago.
- Tours & Activities in Santiago de Compostela
9 – Canary Islands
Another famous archipelago in Spain called the Canary Islands is considered the only black and white sand beach in Spain thanks to the active volcano Mt. Tiede. One of the best places to visit in Spain are the islands here: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa.
The Canary Islands are considered to be some of the most naturally diverse offering sights such as desert, snow-capped mountains, drastic valleys, and high mountain peaks.
Visit Tenerife if you’re looking for a little bit of everything in one place, an example for nature lovers is the magnificent landscapes to take in like Teide National Park, where you can get views of the Tiede volcano and the largest mountain peak in all of Spain. If you’re looking for more things to do in Tenerife , a visit to Jungle Park is a must to see over 500 animals in one place.
If you’re looking for some action and adrenaline, a visit to Fuerteventura should be on your list. Known for amazing surfing, windsurfing, and kiting, as well as its beautiful soft sand beaches such as Playa del Moro, this is the place where you can also catch some whale-watching.
If awe-inspiring landscapes are your thing, then definitely check out all of the fun things to do in Gran Canaria and El Hierro, both known for countless sights such as their mountainous aspects and sandy dunes.
While visiting Gran Canaria make sure to visit Roque Nublo, which is a big rock that you can hike, and in El Hierro, make sure to check out the stunning jagged cliffs and rock formations on the coast of the island.
A few fun things to do in Lanzarote can include taking a peek at the wine production in the La Geria wine region and checking out the Cactus Garden, which is a beautifully designed cactus garden planted on a volcanic sand/soil mix.
La Palma is also regarded as one of the best islands for beautiful natural scenery where visitors can book a tour to walk a 500-meter-long lava tunnel exploring La Palma’s volcanic foundations, as well as La Gomera island specifically for Garajonay National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Finally, don’t miss out on the many surfing opportunities when planning things to do in Fuerteventura , as its northern coast is famous for superb wind conditions that attract surfers from around the world.
- Tours & Activities in the Canary Islands
10 – Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol is a traveler’s favorite destination where crystal blue beach and soft, white sand meets golden hour like nowhere else.
Located in the southernmost region of Spain, and the city of Malaga as it’s capital, it is a 150 kilometer/93 miles beach lovers dream that covers 9 little seaside villages: Benahavís, Benalmádena, Casares, Estepona, Fuengirola, Manilva, Marbella, Mijas, Torremolinos.
Hot tip; Check out our selection of fun things to do in Marbella .
While visiting the Costa del Sol, make sure to check out the Colomares Monument in Benahavís, which is an interesting and extremely ornate castle dedicated to Christopher Colombus. Book tickets ahead of time to check out the BioParc in Fuengirola to observe a wide array of birds and wildlife in their natural habit.
While the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) is commonly known to be the place for optimal beaches, and water sports galore, it’s also known for endless options for golf courses. So much so, that Costa del Sol has been nicknamed Costa del Golf for being the destination in Europe with the most golf courses per square mile.
Rent a jet-ski, surfboard, or go dolphin watching, and pretty much any other type of water sport activity and soak up southern Spain’s best.
11 – Malaga
Not just another amazing seaside city, Malaga is a site that also offers Flamenco flair, the site where Pablo Picasso was born, the Islamic-inspired Alcazaba fortress, and more.
A must-visit site for sure is The Roman Theater. The Roman Theater was founded under an exceptional condition in 1951, and dates back to the first century BC, just a couple of steps away from the majestic Aqaba fortress, where you can take in the Roman and Islamic influences and uses of this fortress.
Of the plenty of other amazing things to do in Malaga , if off-the-beaten-path activities are your thing, then don’t miss out on the Glass Museum. A building that in and of itself is a piece of stunning architecture from the 1700s, where visitors can take a look at glassware from ancient civilizations in Malaga from the Romans, Phoenicians, Ancient Greeks, and Egyptians.
Cars and clothes go together at the Automobile and Fashion Museum which showcases cars and fashion from 1903 to the Roaring ’20s and up to the 1950s, emphasizing a unique view of Spanish history and societal norms.
- Tours & Activities in Málaga
12 – Warner Bros Park
Located in Spain’s capital of Madrid, escape into the world of your favorite superheroes and movie characters.
Whether you’re visiting with family or with friends, an adventure on some of the most famous rides like Superman, the Rio Bravo, Rapidos ACME, and more are awaiting brave and adrenaline-chasing visitors.
Not feeling the rides much? Then definitely head to a show put on by some well-known characters, or take a walk around the thematic cities like Hollywood Boulevard.
Come hungry when planning a visit to Warner Bros Park , where you can choose from a variety of food and snacks to satisfy all adventurers.
- Warner Bros Park tickets
13 – Segovia
Founded in 700 BCE, Segovia is known for a few things including the storybook castle that partly inspired Disney’s design for Cinderella’s castle, a Roman aqueduct built in 50 BC, and medieval-style architecture that adorns the streets of Segovia.
This is a city with so much packed in, and located northwest of the city of Madrid, a little under an hour away.
A visit to the Segovia Museum, located in the fortified wall of the city, will give visitors a rich understanding of the city’s history and influences. However, a walk through the Calle Real de Segovia will have visitors experiencing the city’s vibe, passing by buildings constructed in the 16th century, Romanesque-style churches, and the Jewish Quarter.
Visit the astounding Castillo de Coca, a 15th-century castle with beautiful Mudéjar brickwork, which is a special type of architecture design used in Muslim and Christian castles/palaces.
Walking along with the Calle Real de Segovia, visitors will stumble upon iconic structures such as La Casa de Los Picos (House of the Points) distinguished by its granite points that adorn the exterior, as well as the Aqueduct of Segovia and the Alcázar of Segovia.
If visitors wander to the Eresma River, they will be greeted with an amazing view of the Alcázar of Segovia with no obstructing buildings covering the sight of this impressive castle, making Segovia one of the best places to visit in Spain.
- Tours & Activities in Segovia
14 – Granada
With an impressive 700 years worth of Moorish influence mixed with Catholic influence after the reconquest, Granada offers visitors a step back in time with emblematic structures like the palace/castle of the Alhambra, open to visitors which recounts the deep culture and influence that the Moors planted.
Gaze behind the Alhambra to view the magnificent Sierra Nevada, a natural highlight to appreciate while in Granada.
While exploring the Alhambra, visitors can step into the cool and gorgeous Generalife Palace, where royalty would step out of the sun to cool off during the summers.
Take a stroll through some of Granada’s historic neighborhoods, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Albayzín, and Sacromonte.
Be captivated by the narrow streets and steps that snake around the white buildings, adorned with hand-painted stylish tiles.
While visiting Sacromonte, check out the stunning cave houses, where oftentimes, you can catch a Flamenco show inside, in true Granadian experience.
A few more things to do in Granada also include checking out one of Spain’s largest cathedrals, the Cathedral of Granada, dating back to the 16th century. A few steps away, The Royal Chapel which is the resting place of the Catholic Monarchs, two important figures in Spanish history who led the reconquest of Spain, which was finalized in Granada.
- Tours & Activities in Granada
See also: Alhambra tickets price
15 – Route of the Pueblos Blancos
The Route of the Pueblos Blancos (White Washed Towns) is oftentimes referred to by locals as one of Spain’s best-kept secrets, for its unique location, fascinating constructions, and drop-dead beauty.
The Route of the Pueblos Blancos is made up of many little and larger towns and villages, but mainly they are reduced to 5 Pueblos Blancos: Arcos de la Frontera, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, Ronda, and Setenil de las Bodegas.
The whitewashed houses that make up each of these towns and villages were painted in such color in order to keep the homes cool in the heat of Andalucia. These Pueblos Blancos are located between Malaga and Cadiz and are easy to tour within a weekend if planned.
Walk the stunning cobblestone streets of Arcos de la Frontera, and enjoy tapas in a cave-like bar called Méson el Patio for some local delicacies.
Hidden away in the Sierra de Grazamela National Park, visitors will fall in love with Grazamela, a small Pueblo Blanco which offers unique activities such as great hiking inside El Bosque (The Forest) known for its lush greenery and beautiful lakes, and unique gifts like wool ponchos due to its tradition of wool-making.
Zahara de la Sierra is well known for its jaw-dropping sights from its viewpoints overlooking other small villages, as well as its lively Plaza Mayor.
Ronda, the other of the bigger towns in the list of Pueblos Blancos, is undoubtedly drenched in natural beauty, from the steep ravines and canyons, the 3 bridges that connect that Old Town from the newer parts of town, and the Moorish influence in the architecture of the Door of Almocábar.
Lastly, Setenil de las Bodega is one of the most fascinating of the pueblos for its rock roofs, which create little tunnels in some of the pedestrian-friendly streets, and other natural phenomena due to the village being built from caves and rock ridges.
16 – Cáceres
Located in Spain’s western region of Extremadura, Cáceres has a little bit for everyone, from history lovers who want to explore hand paintings discovered in the Cave of Matravieso, to religious travelers with a desire to pay their respects and visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Mountain, or foodies who want to get a bite out of Cáceres at La Minerva restaurant.
Check out the Old Town, and walk through its streets that lead you to little corners of the city, with a lot of history and ambiance.
Book a visit to Cáceres Museum to get an in-depth idea of the history of this beautiful off-the-beaten-path city, visit the magnificent Palacio de Los Golfines, where the wealthy Golfines family resided, and you can see marvelous tapestries, murals, busts, luxurious lounges, and more.
Catch a bird’s eye view of the timeless Old Town by climbing the Bujaco Tower.
While visiting Cáceres, a stroll around Plaza Mayor must be done, where visitors can check out local shops, events, and restaurants serving local delicacies.
La Minerva is a perfect example of local foods such as Migas Extremeñas and Judías Cabrillas, as well as gastronomic innovations not to be missed by any food lovers traveling to Cáceres.
- Tours & Activities in Cáceres
17 – Valencia
Home to the world-known Paella and being the city of art and science, Valencia will offer visitors more than just a gastronomic feast, but a cultural one too.
Take a boat tour of the serene Mediterranean, a perfect city break on a sunny day, or perhaps a trip in the air is more your speed, in that case, consider booking a seat on the next hot air balloon lift-off to get a beautiful view of fruit orchards, mountains, and the Mediterranean.
Craving a bit of history? Valencia is an ideal city to get an idea of architectural influences from renaissance and baroque styles, all the way to modern constructions such as The City of the Art and Sciences, located right in the middle of Valencia city center.
Interested in learning about marine animals and habitats, check out Oceanografic of Valencia for an incredible explanation of local marine animals, and ways to help protect our seas. Check out Oceanografic Valencia ticket prices here beforehand.
Valencia is a pedestrian-friendly city, as well as bike-friendly, therefore depending on your travel style, book a walking tour or a bike tour to take you all around the city, explaining the depth of history that lives and remains visible to this day.
Booking a cooking class, learning about the fascinating history of Paella, and learning how to make your own alongside a professional chef, are just one of the many amazing things to do in Valencia .
- Tours & Activities in Valencia
See also: Oceanografic Valencia tickets price
18 – San Sebastián
Located in the northern region of the Basque Country, San Sebastián offers beautiful natural landscapes with dramatic sea and mountain sights. Check out Monte Igueldo, a mountain that visitors can climb up or take a funicular to the top, and soak up some serious views of the San Sebastian bay.
If the beach is what you came for, then a visit to Playa de la Concha is due for its beautiful blue color and picturesque views of the mountains and promenade nearby.
While in San Sebastián, don’t forget to check out the beautiful neighborhoods of Antiguo where you can catch amazing views of the Cantabrian Sea, as well as a glance over at the historic Miramar Palace.
If architecture is what you want to see, stop by the Cathedral of the Good Pastor, and the San Sebastián Town Hall. Visitors interested in Basque history and prehistoric information should book a visit to Museo de San Telmo, which is also considered to be the oldest museum in the Basque Country.
From surfing and kayaking to hiking in the nearby hills, there are plenty of outdoor things to do in San Sebastian for the adventure seekers.
While checking out the Basque Country, a pintxos tour is a must-do activity, where visitors can literally feast on delicious regional tapas-style foods – from smoked bacalao to brochetas de gambas (shrimp bruschetta).
- Tours & Activities in San Sebastián
19 – PortAventura
Located in Salou, Spain, just a little over an hour south of Barcelona, is the busiest themed park in the country called PortAventura .
In PortAventura, visitors can expect to find one water park, two themed parks, six hotels, and an RV park. It is a perfect day trip excursion for families and adventure seekers who want a taste of adrenaline hopping on thrilling mechanical rides.
The park is also made up of 6 themed lands – The Far West, Mediterranean, China, Mexico, Polynesia, and Sesamo Aventura.
Purchase tickets ahead of time, and if possible, skip-the-line tickets especially if the weather feels too intense.
- PortAventura tickets
20 – Caminito del Rey
Built between the years 1901-and 1905, Caminito del Rey (King’s Pathway) is a bridge walkway located in the province of Malaga and is recognized today for its steep height from the ground (one hundred meters high and only one meter wide) and interesting history.
Originally used as a pathway for workers to move between Saltos del Gaitanejo and El Chorro, it quickly changed status and name after King Alfonso XIII walked the path in 1921 in order to inaugurate the new Conde del Guadalhorce dam nearby.
In the past, the bridge has suffered a few damages from falling rocks and natural wear and tear, and ended up closing in the early 2000s.
However, approximately 10 years after its closing, increasing interest from adrenaline searchers and campaigns to raise money were launched in order to give the bridge the maintenance and safety measures to reopen it back up.
Today, visitors who dare to walk the safe yet tall bridge can do so, most easily by catching a train from Malaga or Seville, and because of its closeness to these cities, Malaga and Seville make great day trips to and from Caminito del Rey.
21 – Seville
A beautiful, walkable city to explore on foot, Seville offers an abundance of culture, food, and festivals, such as Holy Week in March, or the Feria de Abril (April Fair).
Book a walking tour to see some of the most emblematic sites such as the Seville Cathedral, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its architectural design, and the tile-covered Alcázar Palace, and stumble into its quaint and quiet neighborhoods like the Santa Cruz neighborhood.
Climb up and get birds-eye views of the city from Metropol Parasol, commonly known in Spanish as “Las Setas” and also check out the iconic La Giralda, which was originally built to be a minaret tower, but changed functions after the reconquest.
One of the best things to do in Seville is checking out Plaza España, where visitors can be enchanted by the immense structure built inside the Park of Maria Luisa.
Take a stroll, stay for the Flamenco street performers, or simply sit on one of the steps to absorb the sheer beauty of the Plaza España. Take a romantic boat tour along the canal inside the Plaza, or pay closer attention to the tile work adorning the Plaza.
Explore the different day trips from Seville to places like Córdoba, Jerez, or Aracena – all amazing food destinations in their own right.
Food is reason alone to visit Seville as well, and a stop at El Mercado de Triana is a must-visit destination for food lovers.
Try tapas and drinks at the oldest bar in Seville, El Rinconcillo, which dates back 300 years of being in service.
- Tours & Activities in Seville
See also: Real Alcazar of Seville tickets price , Best day trips from Seville
22 – Zaragoza
Bask in the history, food, and culture of this beautiful city located in Spain’s northeastern region of Aragon, where there is a little bit of everything available to enjoy, depending on the traveler.
If you’re a foodie traveler, definitely make a trip to the Zaragoza central market where visitors will be excited to give their tastebuds a culinary journey through Zaragoza-style foods like Borage with potatoes and Chicken chilindrón.
Looking for a sweet mix of nature and food? Check out Monasterio de Piedra, which offers stunning views of canyons and waterfalls, while also offering visitors a taste of their regional wine and chocolates.
A visit to Plaza Pilar is mandatory, as well as checking out the stunning Basilica of our Lady of Pillar – the patron saint of Zaragoza.
Just a few steps away is the Cathedral of Salvador de Zaragoza, which was originally built to be a mosque, but later was converted into a cathedral under the order of King Alfonso I of Aragon.
Ebro River separates Old Town from the modern part of town, and it is an idyllic place to rent a kayak to see the city from the river, or even relax with a quick snack while sitting along the edge of the river.
- Tours & Activities in Zaragoza
23 – Cuenca
Home to the famous Hanging Houses, which are homes that are perched upon rocky cliffs with balconies sticking out, overlooking steep ravines and the Huécar river, Cuenca shows off its unique side, with a touch of history and culture, dating back to its foundation in the 8th century.
Charming cobbled streets, Cuenca was a walled town, and a place of interest to start a settlement by the Muslim Arabs, who saw its location overlooking 2 important rivers: Jucar and Huecar Rivers, as a prime location to have a good vantage point in the nearby surrounding area.
While visiting this amazing city, be sure to book a walking tour to get a better idea of the Arab and Catholic influences.
Learn a bit more about the archaeology at the Cuenca Museum, which houses some of the findings that detail daily life in Cuenca from the Arab Muslim inhabitants, to the reconquest and new social orders.
For amazing views of the Hanging Houses, and the dramatic ravines and rivers, walk across the St. Pablo Bridge, which was originally made of stone, but has since collapsed.
This new version of the building is said to be made with the same metal used to construct the Eiffel Tower in Paris and has stood the test of time since 1902.
Lastly, check out Serrania de Cuenca National Park, an impressive natural trail with waterfalls, jagged rocks and cliffs, and beautiful villages surrounding the park. A visit to Cuenca is one of the best places to visit in Spain.
- Tours & Activities in Cuenca
24 – Cádiz
Originally known as an important port for trade in the 16th century, today Cádiz is a city with watchtowers such as the important Torre Tavira, along the coast, offering beautiful viewpoints of the city and sea. Come see all of the best things to do in Cádiz to discover why it is called by many “the city that smiles” and forget about life’s worries while you stay.
Dating back to 1100 BC, Cádiz is known today as one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, and an important city in the expedition to the New World, as Cádiz was the departing port for Christopher Columbus when he sailed off to what he thought was East Asia.
Today, you can view remnants of Cádiz’s important history, by visiting Plaza Catedral, which is a stunning town square that houses the Cathedral of Cádiz, adorned by tropical palm trees.
While visiting the Cathedral, visitors are able to climb up to the terraces and get elevated views of the Old Town, Cathedral Plaza, and even the sea.
Check out the stunning Costa de la Luz, one of the best places to visit in Spain surely because of its beautiful beach that stretches all the way to the Spain-Portugal border.
One of the best things to do in Cádiz, which is just a few steps away from the Plaza Catedral is Santa Catalina Fortress, which is open to visitors and is an ideal place to soak up during the golden hour as the sun begins to set.
- Tours & Activities in Cádiz
25 – Spanish Pyrenees
Acting as a natural boundary between the land of Spain and France, as well as the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Spanish Pyrenees is a 491 kilometer/ 305 miles long mountain range with countless hikes, trails, skiing, and natural sights to take in for all lovers of nature.
Impressive natural phenomena, the Spanish Pyrenees were formed as a result of the African and Indian continents literally pushing towards the Spanish territory, creating a natural ridge that kept forming and growing from the collision.
Today, the Pyrenees are divided into 3 sections: the western, central, and eastern regions. Uniquely situated on the cusp of the Pyrenees is the sovereign state of Andorra, making it an ideal place to check out for a quick day trip.
Visit the Pyrenees National Park, and see the unique natural landscape that the varying temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean create.
From distinguished vegetation and amazing wildlife to exploring nearby Medieval towns such as Lanuza and Puigcerda, feasting on classic Catalan dishes, or booking a memorable hot air balloon ride overlooking some of the most stunning natural sights in Europe.
26 – Mérida
Heavily influenced by the Romans who founded this city in 25 BC, and today having the most Roman structures in all of Spain, Mérida has the influence of the Moors, as well as the Romans, and was once used as a city for August Caesar’s soldiers to rest, which at the time was a population of around 90,000 men.
Previously known as Emerita Augustus, a walled-in city, today, visitors can find an abundance of Roman influenced buildings – from the citadel walls to Roman bridges, aqueducts, and theaters – the Romans left behind their mark, and because of its preservation throughout the years, it all led to Mérida receiving the UNESCO World Heritage title in 1993 and recognition as one of the best places to visit in Spain.
Today, visiting tourists can find a myriad of things to do and explore, and literally, step into what life must have been like for the inhabitants more than a few hundred years ago.
Catch a show at the Roman Theater, that is so well preserved, that it not only allows visitors to step in and take a seat themselves, but also catch one of the few shows presented at this theater.
Find an amazing collection of art from the Romans at the National Museum of Art, not too far from the Roman Theater. Feast your eyes on pieces of glassware, coins, paintings, ceramics, mosaics, and more.
- Tours & Activities in Mérida
27 – Ferrari Land
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience while visiting the first-ever Ferrari Land, exclusively inside PortAventura, just a little over an hour south of Barcelona.
Here, visitors will be able to get a first look into the history of this famous Italian car brand, and its creator, and even get a chance to ride a few rollercoasters based on the famous Italian car, including Red Force – which happens to be the fastest roller coaster in Spain zooming in at a whopping 112 miles per hour.
Recently opened in 2017, Ferrari Land counts on offering the latest in technology and entertainment. A fun activity for children, families, and car enthusiasts.
Due to its closeness to the other PortAdventure-themed parks and themed lands, Ferrari Land can be a stop on your full day of thrills at PortAventura.
- Ferrari Land tickets
28 – Pamplona
The city of Pamplona has undergone a few changes, from its dominant culture, city name, and use. However what has been consistent throughout the recent years has been its traditions that make this city one of the best places to visit in Spain, such as its famous running of the bulls and the Fiesta de San Fermín, which is an event observed in Pamplona to remember the first archbishop named Saint Fermín.
The name of Pamplona comes from its original founder, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, who happened to be Julius Caesar’s enemy.
A few of the other names it went by were Pompeiopolis or Pompaelo until after the reconquest from the Moors, it was decided to rename the city Pamplona.
Check out the place where everything seems to happen in Pamplona, Plaza del Castillo, as it is colloquially known by locals as their “living room” because of the tendency that people have to meet there with friends and family.
Nearby Plaza del Castillo, check out the alluring University Museum of Navarra, which is a dream for any and all art lovers visiting Pamplona.
Book a visit to explore the collections from Picasso to Kandinsky and the University, and take a moment to admire the building from the outside, as it was a building designed by Spanish architect, Rafael Moneo.
It is regarded by many locals as the Guggenheim of Pamplona, so a visit is required.
- Tours & Activities in Pamplona
29 – Córdoba
Steeped in Islamic roots intermixed with Roman influence, Córdoba has been an extremely important city located in the southern region of Spain called Andalucia.
Recognized for its olive production that sits just outside the city center, impeccable leather and silver work, its high summer temperatures, as well as being the birthplace of the Roman philosopher, Seneca, Córdoba is a historian and philosopher’s wonderland that welcomes its visitors with a warm welcome.
Since its foundation in 169 BC, Córdoba has been regarded throughout time as an important destination for the Islamic and Catholic religions.
A perfect example of this is the famous Mosque dating back to 784 AD, which was later on transformed into a Catholic church after the reconquest.
Additionally, Córdoba was the home to an expansive Jewish community that today, visitors can walk through and experience the great Jewish Quarter (La Judería).
Visit the Old Town, and wander its historic streets as you stumble upon the Castle of the Christian Monarchs (Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos) which sits next to the Guadalquivir River.
Take a peek inside the Chapel of San Bartolomé, exemplifying a beautiful exterior with Mudéjar art.
Book in advance tickets to enter the famous Mosque, as it’s one of the must-visit sites, and walk The Bridge Gate that King Phillip II walked once through, connecting Córdoba to the Roman Bridge.
- Tours & Activities in Córdoba
See also: Mezquita de Córdoba tickets , Fun & unusual things to do in Cordoba
30 – Ciés Islands
Named by the Romans as the “Island of the Gods” the Cíes Islands are overflowing with spectacular natural scenery, from the dramatic rocky cliffs covered in centuries-old moss, contrasting with the surrounding blue of the crisp water of the Atlantic Ocean.
Though humans can be traced to the islands since 3500 BC, it was not formally founded by settlers until the Bronze Age and later on in the 2nd century AD, when signs of Roman civilization were found on the island of San Martiño.
The Cíes Islands are made up of 3 main islands – Monte Agudo, O Faro, San Martiño. The islands are considered an archipelago just off the west coast of Spain, in the Galician region.
Be sure to book a tour or boat from the closest port city Vigo to explore the beautiful islands, as this is the only way to reach them.
As of now, there are no hotels or apartment rentals available, and the only way to stay the night in this natural heaven is to camp in one of the parks available.
Plan a weekend camping trip and book a camping spot to witness some of the most breathtaking star-gazing, as the Cíes Islands have been recognized with the “Starlight Certificate” and now form part of a global community of destinations known for their incredible star-gazing tourism.
31 – Girona
Sitting alongside River Onyar, Girona is a city located in the northeastern region of Catalonia.
With a pronounced Medieval architecture style and walls adorning the Old City (Ciutat Antiga), to its high watchtowers gifting visitors with incredible views of the city, Girona is not only a place for the adventurous traveler, but is also family-friendly with plenty of museums like the Art Museum of Girona, and the Museum of Film History and Culture.
A city deeply influenced by its settlers since its foundation in 79 BC by the Iberians, Girona has gone from being the home of the Romans, Jews, and the Moors.
Remnants of its past are visibly seen, which makes this destination one of the best places to visit in Spain, as visitors explore the ruins of the Força Vella fortress, and stumble onto the sight of the Cathedral of Girona, located right in the middle.
While visiting, walk the Passeig Arqueològic, a pathway that leads straight into the Old Town. Book tickets to access the famous Banys Árab, located in the heart of Old Town.
Explore and walk through La Rambla de la Llibertat, and sit at a coffee shop to admire the Roman and Neoclassical architecture of this famous walkway.
- Tours & Activities in Girona
See also: Fun & unusual things to do in Girona
32 – La Rioja
It would be a crime to miss the fine wine destination of La Rioja, which sits just below the Cantabrian mountains, and is just a little over an hour away from Pamplona, and other notable cities in northern Spain.
With an average temperature in the mid 10-30 degrees Celcius/ 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit, it is the ideal destination for wine production and one of the best places to visit in Spain for its outdoor activities like hot air ballooning overlooking the vineyards, or horseback riding.
Historically speaking because of the land and climate centered in La Rioja, this region became a fertile ground for crops like carrots, leeks, and potatoes, as well as oil.
Thus, a growth in population and economic power started to surge, especially with the main export, wine.
With over 500 wineries in La Rioja, from small, family-owned wineries, to mass production wineries, many of them located in the Ebro Valley, make sure to book a tour to visit a winery and learn about the extensive process and art of winemaking.
Check out Bodegas Gomez Cruzado located in the charming town of Haro for a taste of quality Spanish wine, or consider booking a tour at Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture for an extensive history of winemaking in La Rioja, tastings, and a renewed appreciation for this centuries-old beverage.
33 – Benidorm
A sunny, idyllic destination for sun, party, and fun, Benidorm welcomes visitors from all over for a slice of Mediterranean heaven, as a famed resort, a seaside town off the eastern coast of Spain.
Check out one of the best places to visit in Spain, located in the province of Alicante, and originally known as a sleepy seaside fishing town in the 1960s, Benidorm climbed to party fame after the hotel industry and important companies took notice of its fine location and close to perfect weather.
The attractive palm tree-lined avenues and promenades, white sandy beaches, and party scene have all converted Benidorm into a perfect sunny beach getaway for Spanish locals and visitors alike.
While Benidorm is mostly known for its lavish beach party scene, it’s also known for its easy-going lifestyle which visitors get with options like sunbathing on the beautiful Levante Beach or casually strolling around the beach in search of a snack or thirst-quenching drink at a chiringuito (beach style huts).
If you’re traveling with family, book your tickets to the Terra Natura Zoo, or visit the adrenaline-inducing aquatic theme park Terra Mítica.
Into nature? Take a hike around Cruz de Benidorm to get a beautiful view of the beach and skyscrapers, or visit Sierra Aitana.
Looking for more activities? Check out our complete list of fun things to do in Benidorm .
- Tours & Activities in Benidorm
We hope you enjoyed this list of the best places to visit in Spain, and that it inspired you to get started on planning your next trip around Spain.
Spain is covered with magical destinations for every traveler, from food lovers to nature seekers, history buffs, and everything in between.
It’s time to book your trip soon with some amazing Spanish destinations and tour ideas that you can check out here.
The top 8 places to visit in Spain
Jun 20, 2023 • 7 min read
From the art-packed capital of Madrid to the fascinating mix of cultures in Toledo, here are the best cities to visit in Spain © ADDICTIVE STOCK / Getty Images
With its sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches, World Heritage cities, incredible cuisine, and multi-faceted culture, few countries in the world can tick all the traveler boxes with such a diverse range of attractions as Spain . It is truly unique.
Given the country's long and storied past of Catholic monarchies, Muslim caliphates and New World conquistadores, one region can have a completely distinct character from the next. Here’s a rundown of the best places to visit in this standout Iberian destination.
Best city for visiting world-class art museums
The Spanish capital is a lively city blessed with year-round clear blue skies draped over its vibrant barrios (neighborhoods) , architectural landmarks and famed art museums. There’s even an ancient Egyptian temple, the Templo de Debod , right in Madrid’s city center.
Art aficionados could spend days exploring Madrid’s "Golden Triangle of Art" composed of three globally renowned museums , the Museo del Prado , Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza , which are home to some of the world’s most valuable art collections. They are situated along Madrid’s Paseo del Prado (Art Walk) , which has recently been granted Unesco World Heritage status.
Planning tip: Madrid has a vibrant street culture that loves its wine-soaked tapas crawls. Cava Baja in the historic La Latina neighborhood is lined with quaint little bars and taverns, making it one of the best streets in the city to join locals hopping from one bar to the next to sample a selection of Iberian hams, charcuterie and cheeses.
Best for modernist architecture
Straddling the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees mountains, the Catalonian capital is a visually stunning metropolis that stands out for its avant-garde architecture, city beaches and a Gothic Quarter that stretches back over 2000 years.
No visit to Barcelona is complete without spending time at the Sagrada Família , the obra maestra of the illustrious Catalan architect and proponent of Modernism, Antoní Gaudí. His influence on the city is everywhere, and it’s worth taking time to visit his other architectural jewels, the Casa Batlló , La Pedrera and Park Güell.
Another place where Gaudí has left his legacy is at the Plaça Reial , at the heart of the city’s two millennia-old Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) . The public square is lit up by decorative street lamps that were Gaudí’s first commissioned public work. This ancient neighborhood is also home to the majestic La Catedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, which was built over two centuries from the 13th to the 15th centuries. At the border of the quarter is Mercat de la Boqueria , one of the oldest markets in Europe.
Planning tip: Have a lunchtime visit to Mercat de la Boqueria – it's when the unassuming places to eat, run by charismatic owners, start to open up.
3. San Sebastián
Best city for gourmet experiences
This alluring Basque coastal city in northern Spain is stunning, characterized by its belle epoque architecture, white-sand beaches that stretch for kilometers, and blue waters of the Bay of Biscay. On a clear day, stroll along the boulevard of La Concha beach to get a feel for the locals' sea-loving culture.
San Sebastián, or Donostia in Basque, has evolved from being a traditional whaling town into a world-famous gastronomic capital. It has the greatest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants per square meter in Europe and is the second city in the world with the most Michelin stars (behind Tokyo).
Planning tip: You don’t need to have a Michelin-star budget to be able to enjoy San Sebastián’s food culture. Head over to the Parte Vieja (Old Quarter), particularly along 31 de Agosto street. The streets here are lined with restaurants and bars offering dizzying rows of assorted pintxos — literally translating as “spike”. The name describes how these appetizers are presented with skewers or toothpicks for easy picking.
4. Balearic islands
Best for beaches and sapphire-colored waters
Anyone who’s been to these outlying islands east of the Iberian Peninsula would recognize the “Balearic blues” — the distinct shades of blue that characterize these Mediterranean waters. This archipelago’s four largest islands – Ibiza , Mallorca , Menorca and Formentera – are blessed with countless beaches and calas (coves) embraced by white sand coastlines and rugged cliffs.
Among these islands, Ibiza is the most famous one, mainly for its reputation as a 24/7 party destination. Yet Ibiza’s clubbing culture is just a tiny slice of this spectacular island on the Unesco World Heritage List. It is fringed with sapphire-colored waters, filled with historic fortified towns, and has a plethora of hidden inlets and charming beachside restaurants and cafes. You can visit the ruins of the ancient Phoenician civilization at Sa Caleta and the Puig des Molins necropolis to get a glimpse of the ancient colonies that inhabited this island, long before the clubbers discovered it.
Best place for cultural sightseeing
The delights of Seville are in the details – this charming Andalusian capital may give you the sensation of déjà vu, perhaps because its year-round sunny days, resplendent gardens and intricately carved palaces have made it a favored filming location for big productions from Star Wars to Game of Thrones . Its allure lies in its idiosyncratic mix — horse-drawn carriages, flamenco tablaos (stages), colossal Gothic structures and Islamic stylistic details all blend together to create this multi-layered dreamscape of a city.
Seville’s rich cultural tapestry is the legacy of its long and varied history, once a Moorish capital, later the seat of the Castilian aristocracy, and then as the European gateway to the Americas after Columbus’ journey in 1492. The unique juxtaposition of cultures could not be more apparent when visiting the Seville Cathedral , the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the final resting place of Columbus, and then just a few meters away, the Real Alcázar showcasing the splendor of Mudéjar architecture with Islamic, Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance elements.
Planning tip: Want to experience a huge celebration? Time your visit for one of the city’s great annual festivals , notably the Semana Santa and Feria de Abril.
Best for layers of history
This 2000-year-old walled city occupies a significant place in Spain’s history. It was the former capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, a fortress of the Emirate of Cordoba, a Roman municipium, the seat of power of King Charles V, and the former capital of Spain until 1560 and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. With Jewish, Christian and Islamic influences Toledo has earned the nickname “The City of Three Cultures''. Walk along its narrow cobblestone streets to glimpse the vestiges of this unique cultural melange — ancient Roman structures, Moorish architectural styles, the Catedral de Toledo , the El Tránsito Synagogue and the Cristo de la Luz Mosque .
Planning tip: Head over to the Mirador del Valle for spectacular panoramic views and a picture-perfect photo of this historic city by the Tagus River.
Best city for Western Islamic architecture
Situated at the foot of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range is the postcard-perfect Andalusian city of Granada . It is home to the Alhambra palace complex and the ancient citadel of the Nasrid Dynasty, the last Muslim dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula which ruled until the 15th century. Meaning “the Red One”, the Alhambra is a stunning architectural masterpiece merging Moorish and Christian decorative elements – it’s impossible not to feel transported to a fantasy world with its intricately carved walls and archways, mirror-like pools and colorful mosaics.
Planning tip: Continue the visual feast at the Palacio de Generalife right by the Alhambra, a summer palace whose gardens and perfectly orchestrated fountains provided repose for the ancient Nasrid sultans.
8. Santiago de Compostela
Best city for spiritual tourism
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of Galicia and the final destination of the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) pilgrimage, a tradition that stretches back over 1000 years. On any day of the week, you’ll see pilgrims from all over the world paying their respects at the Basilica of Santiago de Compostela , the reputed burial place of St James the Apostle.
Even non-pilgrims can relish the mystical beauty of this northern Spanish city with a distinct Celtic heritage. Its beating heart is the Plaza del Obradoiro , where stands the luxurious Hostal dos Reis Católicos , believed to be the oldest hotel in the world that was once a hostel for pilgrims.
Planning tip: Santiago has a rich gastronomic tradition highlighted by its excellent seafood, so be hungry when you visit the city's second most popular attraction after the Cathedral, the Mercado de Abastos food market.
This article was first published August 2021 and updated June 2023
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The Best places to visit in Spain
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Madrid and Barcelona are no longer a secret for you, but what about Marbella , Bilbao, San Sebastian , Malaga , Seville ? Discover the best places to visit in Spain .
Find inspiration, travel more and spend less by booking your flights , accommodation and tours and activities in Spain at the best price.
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Secret Destinations in Spain , Best Beaches in Spain , Best Things to do in Spain as well as the Best Castles in Spain and the Best Ski Resorts in Spain . The very best destinations in Spain await you.
Tenerife is the Best Destination to Visit in Spain . Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary Islands . It is sunshine lovers’ favourite destination; it is perfect for young and old.
Nature lovers will choose the north of the island for its natural pools while fans of beautiful beaches will go south. The climate is perfect throughout the year in Tenerife (never below 18 degrees in winter and above 26 degrees in summer). It is simply perfect. It is also an ideal destination for diving and turtle watching.
You can also practice golf, go cycling, hiking or do paragliding. Leave your hotel and explore the local customs and crafts.
Book your flights to Tenerife as well as your accommodation and tours and activities in Tenerife such as a volcano day trip with wine tasting or a Luxury yacht cruise with whale and dolphin watching !
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spain and the Best Beaches in Spain .
How to get there: Book your flights to Tenerife.
Where to stay: " Jardin de la Paz " offers an outdoor swimming pool and a garden.
Marbella is on your podium of the Best Places to Visit in Spain and on the first step of the Most Exclusive Destinations in Europe . Marbella ’s warm microclimate and year-round sunshine make it an outdoor sports paradise.
The destination is a magnet for visiting golfers as it boasts the highest density of golf courses in Spain . Within the municipality, there are 14 golf courses, comprising eight golf clubs with 18 holes, one with 27 holes, two with an 18-hole course plus a nine-hole layout and three venues offering nine holes.
A gastronomic tour of this food-loving Andalusian city that can cater to any craving – and delivers views and vibes to boot.
With three Michelin-starred restaurants serving excellent cuisine, plus hundreds of smaller eateries dishing up everything from Mediterranean and Thai to paella and succulent local tapas, luscious food is a major part of Marbella’s allure. Moreover, with more than 300 guaranteed days of sunshine per year , al fresco dining by the beach or beneath the stars is practically guaranteed.
During your stay discover the Best Secret Destinations in Spain as well as the Best Christmas Markets in Spain .
How to get there: Book your flights to Malaga, your accommodation at the best price and your tours and activities in Marbella.
Where to stay: " Marriot Marbella ". Set within beautiful gardens on the sea front.
Ibiza is one of your Best Places in Spain . Farniente, sports and parties…
Ibiza is nightclubbers’s Holy Grail and best DJs’ Mecca; it is a paradise for lovers of beautiful beaches, cocktails, farniente and neverending parties.
Book one of our best rated activities in Ibiza such as a scuba diving course for beginners , a 1-hour jet ski tour to Margarita Island or a 2-hour parasailing adventure tour .
Ibiza is the perfect destination for sport and boat lovers and for window shoppers; It is also famous for its nightclubs such as Amensia, EDEN, Es Paradis, Moma Ibiza, Pacha, Privilege, Ushaia and its 2 casinos, Bigo de Ibiza and Casino de Ibiza.
Ibiza is a destination of contrasts with nightlife, important cultural heritage and preserved nature. Nighclubbers will book their accommodation in the south of the island and lovers of nature and beautiful beaches in the north .
How to get there: Book your flights to Ibiza.
Where to stay: " Hotel La Torre del Canonigo " Stay in the heart of Ibiza.
This summer visit one of the Best Destinations in Spain : Menorca .
The most beautiful island in Europe awaits you for a à la carte holiday.
You like nature? Menorca is made for you with miles of walks in trails, away from mass tourism, with its fauna and flora.
This island is much quieter than its big sister Mallorca ; its beaches and coves, its beauty and quality of life will seduce you. Rest, stroll, relax, Menorca is the perfect destination for a perfect holiday.
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spain and the Best Beaches in Spain .
How to get there: Book your flights to Menorca .
Where to stay: For those who want to stay closest to Mitjaneta beach we recommend the " Meliá Cala Galdana hotel " with direct views of the beach.
5. San Sebastian
With its gastronomy and beautiful beaches, San Sebastian is one of the Best Places in Spain .
The beauty of the Spanish Basque Country is breathtaking; its atmosphere and positive energy are special; enjoy its sweetness of life, gourmet restaurants and bistros and taste the famous "Pintxos" typical of this region of Spain. Pintxos are made of bread (mostly baguette) with all kinds of food on top (also in Asturias and Cantabria).
Take time to rest on the beach of La Concha after a light meal: the beach is ranked among the most beautiful beaches in Europe. This beach owes its name to its shell shape ("concha" in Spanish).
Do you really want to discover one of the riches of the Basque Country? Book a " Half Day Basque Cheese Tour from San Sebastian ", visit the Basque Country Farm Producer and taste some of their cheeses in a beautiful and natural environment.
How to get there: Book your flights to San Sebastian , your accommodation at the best price and your tours and activities in San Sebastian.
Where to stay: " Maria Cristina " 5 min walk from the beach.
Barcelona is not the capital of Spain but it is the capital of tourism, shopping, gastronomy, night life, youth and gothism. There are a thousand reasons to visit this unique city in the world that has already attracted millions of travellers.
You cannot miss a visit to the Sagrada Familia (go inside, it's really worth it!) and Park Güell. If you want to live experiences, book your tickets for a "Flamenco show" or a "Catamaran sail tour", relax, sunbathe and see Barcelona's beaches and emblematic buildings from the sea.
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spai n, Best Things to do In Spain , Best Castles in Spain and the Best Beaches in Spain .
There are thousands of experiences to live in this amazing city.
How to get there: Book your flights for Barcelona , your accommodation and your tours and activities in Barcelona.
Where to stay: " W Barcelona ". 1 minute walk from the beach.
Come and enjoy unforgettable culinary and cultural experiences in the capital of the Basque Country.
What is most striking about Bilbao is not its huge Guggenheim museum designed by the genius architect Frank Owen Gehry nor the gigantic bronze spider of the artist Louise Bourgeois in homage to her mother who was a weaver, but a rich mixture of all generations that meet in the squares of the old town in the evening and have a good time together.
The big plus of Bilbao is not its museums, its charming hotels, its restaurants, but its soul and that of its inhabitants.
Discover one of the most pleasant cities in Spain by booking your flights to Bilbao , your accommodation at the best price and your tours and activities in Bilbao such as a " Guided pintxos tour ", enjoy the nice typical Basque cuisine and discover the wonders of the city.
How to get there: Book your flights to Bilbao.
Where to stay: " Hotel Tayko Bilbao " This hotel has an excellent location score of 9.6.
8. Mijas Andalusia
This small village, located 30 minutes from Malaga , is one of Andalusia's best hidden gems . Mijas is not that small but a rather large municipality located on the heights of Torremolinos, in the south of Spain.
The most beautiful part of this hidden gem is the old Mijas "Mijas cidade velha". Mijas is recognizable by its white facades with thousands of geraniums hanging on the walls. It's a perfect place for instagramers.
Book your flights to Malaga (20min by car), your accommodation at the best price in Malaga or Mijas and your tours and activities in Andalusia such as a private tour of Mijas from Malaga .
How to get there: Book your flights to Malaga (20 min by car).
Where to stay: " TRH Mijas ", a charming Andalusian style hotel.
You will have a real crush on this beautiful city in southern Spain . Seville is lively, sparkling, historic, perfect for a city break in Spain .
In addition to its many historical monuments such as the Cathedral of Seville or the Giralda, Seville offers real experiences for travellers including a walk in the lush gardens of Real Alcazar, a Flamenco show or a romantic moment in a boat on the Plaza de Espana (elected among the best places for a marriage proposal ).
Book your flights to Seville , your accommodation and your tours and activities such as a "1 hour flamenco show".
How to get there: Book your flights to Seville .
Where to stay: The " Atico centrico con vistas " with its views of the old town from its terrace.
You love Madrid for its culture, shopping centres, football, good food, Flamenco shows, nightlife or a romantic getaway. The Reina Sofia Museum and the Prado Museum are among the best museums in Europe ; they house masterpieces such as Picasso's Guernica or Las Meninas by Velasquez.
Looking for a romantic inspiration? Treat yourself to a boat trip on the small lake of Palacio de Cristal in the Retiro Park, ranked among the most beautiful parks in Europe and among the best places for a marriage proposal in Europe .
If you are more passionate about football than art, visit the mythical " Bernabéu Stadium " and learn more about the history of the Real Madrid football team. If you want to get away from the capital, book a " Segovia and Toledo tour with Alcazar from Madrid ". Travel more and spend less.
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spain , Best Beaches in Spain and Best things to do in Spain .
Book your flights to Madrid and your accommodation at the best price.
How to get there: Book your flights to Madrid.
Where to stay: " Atocha Hotel " Private parking at the Hotel.
We have a crush on Malaga . No other city is like Malaga with its history, tradition, modernity, shopping, contemporary, modern and classic arts. Malaga and its beach, relaxation areas, gigantic hammams, small authentic restaurants, rooftops with breathtaking views of the marina, a ferris wheel, a cathedral , a castle and skyscrapers facing the sea.
Malaga is Miami in Europe with an extra sweetness of life and the feeling of being safe; families meet at night and admire the illuminations.
Come discover Malaga at any time of the year. If you want to think outside the box, come and visit the Malaga Christmas Market , its illuminations have been classified as one of the most beautiful Christmas lights in Europe !
During your stay discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spain , Best Beaches in Spain and Best things to do in Spain .
Book your flights to Malaga , your accommodation at the best price and your tours and activities in Malaga such as a half-day excursion to the Caminito del Rey .
How to get there: Book your flights to Malaga.
Where to stay: Book your room at the " Molina Lario " hotel and enjoy a rooftop pool and a cocktail bar.
12. Gran Canaria
There are hundreds of reasons to choose Gran Canaria one of the Best Places to Visit in Spain . One of them is probably its unique climate. Gran Canaria also offers a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, villas, apartments with excellent value for money.
Gran Canaria is therefore a perfect destination for sun and nature lovers (its landscapes are so beautiful!) You are not the type to rest for hours in the sun? No problem, Gran Canaria also offers superb sport activities especially to fans of water sports such as scuba diving or windsurfing.
Come watch dolphins and whales , enjoy an affordable hotel, relax on the many beaches of Gran Canaria, experience a unique adventure by discovering one of the most beautiful islands in Europe.
Book your flights to Gran Canaria , your accommodation at the best price and your tours and activities in Gran Canaria.
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spain as well as the Best Beaches in Spain.
How to get there: Book your flights to Gran Canaria.
Where to stay: " Seaside Palm Beach " located 100 metres from the beach.
Castile & Léon
One hour drive from Madrid (two hours by train), Segovia is one of the most beautiful destinations in Spain . Famous for its Aqueduct but also for its castle , (which inspired Walt Disney in Sleeping Beauty). Segovia is also known for its Cathedral overlooking the old town and its Jewish quarter. The city is a perfect destination for couples or simply lovers of history and medieval cities.
Book your flights to Madrid (2h by car), your accommodation at the best price and your tours and activities in Segovia such as a "From Madrid day trip to Segovia with walking tour" to explore the monuments of the historic city.
During your stay discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spain as well as the Best Beaches in Spain.
How to get there: Book your flights to Madrid (2h by train).
Where to stay: 'Hotel Infanta Isabel ' situated in Plaza Mayor.
Cadiz (do not pronounce Cadix like Luis Mariano did in the movie "The Beauty of Cadiz" (released in 1953). For some of you this song may come to mind when you see the word "Cadiz": "The beauty of Cadiz has velvet eyes, the beauty of Cadiz invites you to love...". This was a long time ago, but Cadiz is still one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and, did you know it, one of the oldest cities in Europe?
Located in the south of Spain, 1h30 drive from Seville or Gilbratar, Cadiz is a perfect stop during your road trip in Spain.
Book your flights to Jerez airport , (30 minutes’ drive from Cadiz), your accommodation at the best price in Cadiz and your tours and activities such as a "Tapas tasting private tour".
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Hidden Gems in Spain as well as the Best Beaches in Spain and Best Things to do in Spain .
How to get there: Book your flights to Jerez airport .
Where to stay: " Hotel Monte Puertatierra " set 100 m from the beach.
Rewarded by travellers around the world as one of Europe's best hidden gems, Ronda is also one of Spain's most beautiful secret destinations .
Ronda is one of the pearls of Spanish tourism, a destination visited each year by travellers looking for destinations off the beaten track. Only 1h20 from Malaga city centre, Ronda is a perfect destination for a day trip to the most beautiful places of Andalusia.
Book your flights to Malaga , your accommodation at the best price in Malaga or Ronda and your tours and activities in Andalusia such as a day-trip to Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas , another hidden gems of Spain.
How to get there: Book your flights to Malaga (1h by car).
Where to stay: " Catalonia Ronda " located in Ronda Town Centre, this hotel has an infinity pool and a rooftop terrace.
Discover Lanzarote, one of the Best Places to visit in Spain . Nature carved Lanzarote . The island is among the most volcanic islands in Europe with breathtaking landscapes. Lanzarote is bathed in sunshine throughout the year.
Its neverending summer is perfect for black or golden sand beaches fans.
Lanzarote hosts rare species of plants and birds. Take a walk, discover the island, rest on its beaches, unwind while surfing in the most beautiful waves in Europe, relax and book your accommodation at the best price.
How to get there: Book your flights to Lanzarote.
Where to stay: " Hipotels Natura Palace - Adults Only " located on the sea front.
The capital of the Balearic Islands has always been a strategic point in the Mediterranean. Thanks to its excellent sea and air communications, it is just a short journey away: an average of two hours from the European capitals by air. Palma de Mallorca has a long tourist tradition which is reflected in the wide range of facilities and services on offer. But what really makes this city unique is the blend of influences and traditions of the peoples that have settled here over centuries.
Illustrious civilizations such as those of the Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Muslims and Christians have shaped the development of the city. Over time, Palma de Mallorca has become a modern, cosmopolitan city rich in possibilities, which welcomes visitors with open arms all year round. Palma de Mallorca is an urban destination ideal for both short breaks and longer holidays.
Book your flights to Mallorca , your accommodation at the best price on the island and your best tours and activities in Mallorca such as a "Panoramic coastal tour by boat".
How to get there: Book your flights to Mallorca .
Where to stay: " Monnaber Nou Finca Hotel & Spa ". Guest have free access to the spa.
1h30 drive from Malaga airport, Cordoba is one of the Best Places to Visit in Spain . Cordoba is also the capital of the sun-drenched province of Andalusia where the heart of Spain beats. It's a destination to put on top of your travel bucket list as well as Seville and Malaga, the other two must-see destinations in Andalusia.
Cordoba is known worldwide for its "Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos" castle , but also for its old UNESCO-listed historic centre, its old white houses, its beautiful patios filled with plants, its small squares where you can rest in the shade of an orange tree.
Book your flights to Cordoba or Malaga (1h30 by car), your accommodation at the best price and your tours and activities in Cordoba such as a " Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba Guided Tour ".
How to get there: Book your flights to Cordoba or Malaga (1h30 by car).
Where to stay: " H10 Palacio Colomeria " offers an outdoor pool in the heart of Cordoba.
The capital of the province of Granada is one of your Best Places to Visit in Spain . It is known for the beauty and its incredible castle, the castle of the Alhambra which is classified among the most beautiful castles in Spain and Europe.
All the south of Spain was under the control of the Moors for centuries and they left an important heritage legacy that makes the pride of the province of both Andalusia and Granada. Even if you are not passionate about history, the Alhambra is breathtaking for the beauty of its lush gardens, beautiful fountains, patios... You can also visit the old "Great Bazaar" in the old city centre where merchants used to sell all their spices; today they sell local products, Moorish and Spanish souvenirs.
Book your flights to Granada airport and your accommodation and be sure to have a fantastic holiday in Granada.
During your stay visit the Best Hidden Gems in Spain and the Best Beaches in Spain .
How to get there: Book your flights to Granada.
Where to stay: " Anacapri ". Stay in the heart of Granada.
The smallest island in the Balearic Islands is also one of the most beautiful and wildest island in Spain as well as one of the Best Places to Visit in Spain .
Formentera offers miles of wild beaches and crystal blue waters. The secret of these beautiful landscapes? A very low occupation of the island by man, little urbanization and underwater bottoms inhabited by small animals that filter the water and make it so pure.
Need more inspiration? Discover the Best Secret Destinations in Spain , Best Beaches in Spain , Best Things to do in Spain as well as the Best Castles in Spain and the Best Ski Resorts in Spain .
How to get there: Book your flights to Ibiza and your accommodation in Formentera.
Where to stay: " Riu La Mola " set in Playa Migjorn.
Andalusia is certainly one of the most beautiful regions in Europe. Imagine a region that includes destinations such as Seville , Malaga , Ronda, Marbella , Granada, Mijas, Huelva... castles, extraordinary gardens like the Alcazar de Sevilla, the Alcazaba of Malaga, romantic places like the Plaza de Espanha in Seville or the flowery alleys of Mijas.
Come and relax on one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain , the beach of Nerja (only 1 hour from Malaga airport). Along the promenade, on the sand, on the large beach of " Barriana " or sheltered from the wind in one of the many coves, come and enjoy a sunny day in this seaside resort whose name means "Abundant springtime".
For a breathtaking view of the entire region, climb to the top of the mountain " El Cielo ", the highest mountain in the region.
Book your flights to Malaga as well as your accommodation at the best price guaranteed in Malaga or Nerja and your tours and activities in Andalusia such as a day trip to Frigiliana and Nerja from Malaga .
How to get there: Book your flights to Malaga and your transfer .
Where to stay: " Parador de Nerja hotel " with easy access to Burriana Beach
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19 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Spain
Written by Michael Law , Lana Law , and Lisa Alexander Updated Aug 31, 2023
Spain is a dream destination for travelers. The grandeur of a caliph's palace, the sun-drenched days spent on Mediterranean beaches, and the stamp of a flamenco dancer's heels. You can find the soul of Spain in tourist experiences like these, which represent the country's rich history, fascinating culture, and enchanting natural beauty.
From the bustling street life of La Rambla in Barcelona and Plaza Mayor in Madrid to the forest of columns and Moorish arches disappearing into the silent expanse of Cordoba's Great Mosque, Spain exudes a vibrant energy and a captivating blend of past and present. And if you get off the main tourist routes and venture into less tourist-oriented towns, you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Plan your sightseeing and find interesting things to do with our list of the top attractions in Spain.
1. The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada
2. barcelona's sagrada familia and gaudí sites, 3. the great mosque of córdoba (la mezquita), 4. seville cathedral and alcázar, 5. the prado and paseo del artes, madrid, 6. san lorenzo de el escorial, 7. guggenheim museum, bilbao, 8. santiago de compostela cathedral, 9. plaza mayor, madrid, 10. plaza de españa and parque de maría luisa, seville, 11. ciudad de las artes y las ciencias, valencia, 12. beaches of gran canaria, 13. la rambla, barcelona, 14. the costa del sol, 15. el teide, tenerife, 16. toledo's old city, 17. the white towns of andalucía.
No matter how much you have read or how many pictures you have seen of Granada's Alhambra palaces, this Moorish pleasure palace will still take your breath away. The Nasrid dynasty's royal palace is the artistic highlight of Spain's Islamic period, when Al-Andalus - as they called Andalucía - represented the epitome of culture and civilization in medieval Europe.
The Alhambra complex includes several buildings, towers, walls, gardens, and a mosque, but it's the indescribably intricate stone carvings, the delicate filigrees, the magnificent tile-lined ceilings, the graceful arches, and serene courtyards of the Nasrid palace that will haunt your dreams.
That said, the adjoining palace built for the Emperor Charles V, even in its unfinished state is the finest example of High Renaissance architecture in Spain. And Generalife's terraced gardens offer a peaceful respite from the grandeur, and splendid views back at the rest of the Alhambra.
Author's Note: The Alhambra is large, requires a great deal of walking, and takes time to see. Don't plan on a quick visit. Be sure to book tickets well in advance. This is Spain's most visited tourist attraction and tickets sell out weeks in advance during busy times.
Travelers should set aside at least a half day to visit the Alhambra palaces and several days to explore the tourist attractions of Granada . Besides the Alhambra, other highlights of Granada include the UNESCO-listed Albaicín , the medieval Moorish quarter; the 16th-century Capilla Real de Granada (Royal Chapel); and the Sacromonte quarter, where flamenco performances take place in gypsy caves.
Antoni Gaudí took the architectural style known as Art Nouveau a step further, even, some have argued, into absurdity. The fanciful and outrageous buildings he created in Barcelona have become landmarks, the most emblematic tourist attractions of this Catalan city.
Foremost is the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, officially the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or the Holy Family Church of the Atonement. One of Europe's most unconventional churches, it is also unfinished, so as you look down from its tower, you can see the work in progress below.
You may search in vain for absolute straight lines in Gaudí's Casa Milà , his last and most famous secular work; it resembles a piece of sculpture more than a functional building. Be sure to ascend to its roof – the chimneys are said to have inspired the image of Darth Vader from Star Wars .
The fantastic Casa Batlló, an iconic Gaudí building with mask-shaped balconies and an undulating façade, presents Magic Nights outdoor concerts on the building's rooftop terrace.
Parc Güell overlooks the city from a hillside, the views and gardens framed by fantastical creatures – salamanders, fish, an octopus – and designs in bright ceramic-chard mosaics. A fanciful towered house near the entrance is largely covered with colorful ceramic pieces.
Gaudí's monuments appeal even to children and to adults who don't care a thing about architecture, for one simple reason: they are just plain fun to look at.
Once the principal mosque of western Islam and still known as La Mezquita, Córdoba's Great Mosque is one of the largest in the world and the finest achievement of Moorish architecture in Spain.
In spite of later alterations that carved out its center to build a Catholic cathedral at its heart, the Great Mosque ranks with the Alhambra in Granada as one of the two most splendid examples of Islamic art and architecture in western Europe.
Building materials from Roman and Visigothic buildings were used in the construction, which began in 785, and by 1000, it had grown to its present dimensions, its prayer hall with no fewer than nineteen aisles. No matter where you stand or in which direction you look, its rows of columns and rounded Moorish arches line up in symmetrical patterns.
La Mezquita is found in the city center, close to many major attractions in Cordoba . Stroll down to the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge) and the Puerta del Puente , or find a place to eat along the riverfront.
Some of the other highlights include the flower-bedecked patios in the Judería (old Jewish quarter) near the Great Mosque; the Palacio de Viana , a 15th-century aristocratic palace; and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos , the former Caliphal Palace that Catholic king Fernando III took over in the 13th century. Narrow, winding streets; small squares; and low whitewashed houses fill the Judería, lending a Moorish atmosphere inherited from its past.
You can't miss the Seville Cathedral. This enormous structure is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and dominates the city center.
The Catedral de Sevilla , the La Giralda tower, and the Alcázar combine to form a UNESCO World Heritage Site . These three exceptional historic landmarks are the top tourist attractions of Seville .
While you can appreciate the cathedral from the outside, you need to step inside and walk beside the massive columns to really get a sense of the size. The Cathedral of Seville has more interior space than St. Peter's in Rome. The 37-meter main altar consists of carved statues completely covered in gold. The monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus is held aloft by a quartet of larger-than-life figures.
A masterpiece of Almohad architecture, La Giralda began life as a minaret and is all that's left of the city's Great Mosque, destroyed to build the cathedral.
The Alcázar opposite the cathedral was begun by the Moors in 712 and redesigned after the Christian Reconquest by Pedro I in ornate Mudéjar style (blending Gothic and Muslim architectural elements). The rooms and salons are breathtaking, with fanciful embellishments such as intricate tiled walls and patterned ceilings.
Shaded by fragrant orange and lemon trees, the dreamy Alcázar gardens were pictured in the Game of Thrones series. Fans of this show may recognize the fountains from the Kingdom of Dorne's Water Gardens.
Bordering the Alcázar on the east is the Barrio de Santa Cruz , the former Judería (Jewish quarter), a neighborhood of whitewashed homes, iron balconies, and flower-filled courtyards.
One of the top tourist attractions in Madrid , the Prado alone ranks with the world's top art museums for the riches of its collections. But add the Reina Sofía National Art Museum , the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, and the CaixaForum , all along Madrid's mile-long, tree-shaded boulevard, and you have what may be the world's highest concentration of priceless art treasures. It's no wonder this is known as El Paseo del Arte, Boulevard of the Arts.
The Prado has the world's largest collection of Spanish art, an impressive continuum from 12th-century medieval works through the avant-garde movement of the early 20th century, and is especially noted for its works from Spain's golden age by El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya.
But its riches are not all Spanish; other highlights are the medieval murals and retablos, paintings by Flemish and Dutch artists (be sure to see the fantasy world of Hieronymus Bosch and works by Rubens and Brueghel), and Italian art (Botticelli, Raphael, Correggio, Titian, and Tintoretto).
Highlights of the Museo Reina Sofía's impressive 20,000-piece collection are Picasso's Guernica and works by Miró, Dalí, Dubuffet, Braque, Serra, Calder, and Magritte.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometers northwest of Madrid, was the summer home of Spain's kings, and in 1563, work was begun here on a huge complex, which would include a monastery, church, royal palace, mausoleum, library, and museum, all conceived as a monument to Philip II and his reign.
The result is a staggering collection of attractions, built around 16 courtyards, its rooms and structures connected by 16 kilometers of corridors. At its core is the church, the highlight of which is Herrera's 30-meter-high retablo, made of jasper and red marble and approached by a flight of 17 steps.
Along with the vaulted and frescoed ceilings by Tibaldi in the rooms off the lower cloister, highlights of the monastery are the Panteón de los Reyes (the Baroque burial vault of the Spanish kings) and the library , a grand room also adorned with Tibaldi frescoes .
In the palace, be sure to see the Bourbon Suite, where the state apartments of Charles IV are decorated with rare furnishings and 338 tapestries. Beyond are the art-filled private apartments of Philip II. The Picture Gallery below has a large collection of fine paintings, including works by Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Velázquez, and El Greco.
Official site: https://el-escorial.com
You really have to see this building to believe it - no photograph has ever done justice to this symphony of shapes, so alive that they seem ready to take wing. American architect Frank Gehry used blocks of limestone and undulating sheets of titanium to turn the notion of modern architecture on its ear.
So thoroughly did he succeed that two new terms were born from it: "The Bilbao Effect" - the ability of a city to turn its fortunes around by constructing a single world-class building - and "architourism," a whole segment of the travel industry revolving around landmarks of contemporary architecture.
Inside the 24,000-square-meter galleries of the museum are temporary exhibitions and rotating displays of its own collections of modern art. Highlights include works by Anselm Kiefer, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.
Besides the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao has other interesting cultural attractions : the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (Museum of Fine Arts), the Casco Viejo (Old Town), and the gourmet dining scene. Bilbao is renowned for its Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurants, including Nerua in the Guggenheim Museum; Ola Martín Berasategui, which serves contemporary Spanish cuisine based on fresh market ingredients; and Atelier Etxanobe, which offers creative haute cuisine.
The magnificent cathedral of Santiago (St. James) in Santiago de Compostela was built to house and honor the relics of the saint, and it has been the ultimate destination of pilgrims since the Middle Ages. (Today, the historic town of Santiago de Compostela still draws modern-day pilgrims and also is a top travel destination in the Galicia region of Northern Spain ).
One of the outstanding monuments of Early Romanesque architecture, the cathedral was built between 1060 and 1211, and despite the Baroque transformation of the exterior in the 16th to 18th centuries, the interior is still in the purest Early Romanesque style.
You'll see both of these periods at play as you enter the west front, through one of Spain's most impressive church facades. Step inside to face the Pórtico de la Gloria , part of the old west front now concealed by the 18th-century facade. This triple doorway is one of the largest and most magnificent collections of Romanesque sculpture in the world.
The focal point of the interior is the elaborately decorated Capilla Mayor , built over the Apostle's tomb. In the center of the high altar of jasper, alabaster, and silver is a 13th-century wooden figure of the Apostle, richly adorned in precious metals and gems.
On either side, narrow staircases lead up behind the figure so that pilgrims can kiss the Apostle's cloak - culminating their pilgrimage. In a crypt under the altar, the Apostle's remains are in a silver casket.
The throbbing heartbeat of Spain's vibrant capital city, Plaza Mayor has played an important part in Madrid's everyday life since the 16th century, when Philip II entrusted the task of designing it to his favorite architect Juan de Herrera, builder of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
Today one of the top cultural attractions of Madrid, the Plaza Mayor has for centuries served as the stage for ceremonial events – the proclamation of a new king, the canonization of saints, the burning of heretics – and public entertainment such as chivalric tournaments and bullfights.
The cafés spilling out onto the plaza's pedestrian-only stone pavement, and the restaurants shaded under its arcades are Madrid's living room, popular meeting places for Madrileños and tourists alike.
As the center of Madrid's social life, the area around the Plaza Mayor is one of the best places to stay in Madrid.
Built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 to celebrate the various regions of Spain, the Plaza de España is an impressive semi-circular pavilion surrounded by colonnades. Beautiful panels of colorful decorative tiles representing each of Spain's provinces are set overlooking the long pool, which is crossed by bridges. It's a popular place to visit for a stroll or to row a rental boat around the pool and under the bridges.
The Plaza de España is the focal point of the vast Parque de María Luisa, a half mile of gardens, lawns, and shaded walks stretching alongside the river opposite central Seville. You can rent a pedal car or ride though in a horse-drawn carriage. Busy any day, on Sundays the park overflows with families.
The best way to see the giant trees, flower beds, pools, gazebos, and the man-made rock mountain with a waterfall is to stroll through the park, following the side paths into hedge-surrounded gardens. At the far end of the park, you'll find a small but rich archeology museum with Visigoth jeweled crosses and ancient gold work.
When Valencia diverted the course of the river that had repeatedly flooded the city, it was left with a broad, flat riverbed spanned by bridges. It was upon this clean palette that the brilliant Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava created a breathtaking ensemble of structures that have become a magnet for aficionados of contemporary architecture.
Not only the buildings, but the museums, arts venues, and aquarium (by Félix Candela and the only building not designed by Calatrava) form a series of tourist attractions in Valencia that rank among Spain's most popular.
Europe's largest oceanographic aquarium, L'Oceanogràfic, was built in the shape of a water lily with buildings dedicated to different aquatic environments from the tropics to the poles.
The largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is best known for the golden-sand beaches that line most of its southern coast. Playa de Las Canteras is in the capital city of Las Palmas, popular with families for its calm waters, protected by a natural breakwater of volcanic rock.
The largest beach, and the liveliest, is the Playa del Inglés at Maspalomas, which abounds with cafés, restaurants, shops, play parks, and other amusements. At one end is one of the archipelago's natural wonders, a vast protected area of gigantic sand dunes. These reach as high as 12 meters and are constantly shifting as they are shaped by the wind and the sea. To complete the desert illusion, you can ride through this desolate and other-worldly landscape on a camel.
The water is relatively warm on this coast, and so clear that it's popular with divers. There's an underwater park at Arinaga and diving schools at Playa del Inglés and several other places along the coast. Or you can see the fish and other sea life from a cruise on a glass-bottomed boat. The south coast is also popular for windsurfing and sailing.
Read More: Top Things to Do on Gran Canaria
Strolling along La Rambla on a summer evening, you might think that every single one of Barcelona's inhabitants was there with you. It's definitely the place to be after work on a summer evening or on a weekend. This tree-lined boulevard cuts a green line - not a very straight one - through the city center, stretching northwest from the Columbus Memorial near the port.
The section to the Plaça de Catalunya is lined with plane trees, its wide pedestrian zone flanked by a narrow road on each side. Along with its flower and bird markets, La Rambla has a number of book and newspaper stands, as well as restaurants and cafés with open-air tables. Pavement artists, street musicians, living statues, and impromptu performers all add to its lively atmosphere.
One of the highlights of La Rambla is the Mercat de la Boqueria (91 Rambla), a traditional covered marketplace that sells fresh produce, meat, fish, bread, cheese, and other specialty foods. Locals come here to shop for ingredients to prepare home-cooked meals. Tourists will appreciate the chance to sample regional delicacies served at the market's tapas bars.
Long a destination for sun-starved northern Europeans, the Costa del Sol is a seemingly unending stretch of beaches and cities along Spain's southwestern Mediterranean coastline. The summer weather here is exceptional, with long, hot days, and steamy fun-filled nights.
Must-see cities along this stretch include the glitzy and glamourous Marbella with its famous harbor chock full of luxury yachts, and Malaga , with its restored downtown and the stunning Alcazaba perched on the hilltop. If you prefer something a bit smaller, check out the small-town charms of Neerja.
Fun cities aside, it's the beaches that are the major draw here. The soft, golden sand lapped by azure waters makes it almost impossible not to go swimming. In fact, the Costa del Sol is home to many of Spain's best beaches , each with their own special vibe.
One of the highlights of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has many attractions . But El Teide is what makes the island truly special.
The highest peak in Spain, this ancient - but still simmering - volcano is also one of Europe's top natural wonders. The Pico del Teide and the Caldera de las Cañadas, a gigantic volcanic crater, together form the Parque Nacional del Teide , at the center of the island of Tenerife. In listing the park in 2007, UNESCO cited its natural beauty and "its importance in providing evidence of the geological processes that underpin the evolution of oceanic islands."
You can explore El Teide in several ways. You can drive or hike across the inside of the caldera - the crater floor - 12 miles in diameter and a barren moonscape of colored rock formations that's like driving into the center of the earth. You can climb El Teide's cone, but an easier way to get close to the top is by an eight-minute cable car ride . On a clear day, views cover the entire archipelago and can extend to North Africa - the nearest land mass to the Canary Islands.
Read More: Best Beaches on Tenerife
Toledo is a fantastic city to wander around and get lost in its narrow streets. The layout of the town, with its irregular pattern of streets and numerous blind alleys, reflects its Moorish past, and the architecture of the Christian period is represented by the numerous churches, convents, and hospices. This makes the Casco Histórico (Old Town) a kind of open-air museum, illustrating the history of Spain, and it has been listed by UNESCO as part of mankind's cultural heritage.
Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture mingle and blend into a city that El Greco captured in one of his most famous paintings. High on a granite hill and surrounded on three sides by the deep gorge of the Tagus River, the medieval city of Toledo presents a stunning profile; approaching it from below is an unforgettable sight.
With its richly decorated interior, the splendid Gothic Catedral de Toledo is one of Toledo's top tourist attractions , and the two synagogues in the atmospheric old Judería (Jewish quarter) are ornate in the Moorish style. While in the Judería, be sure to see the church of Santo Tomé for its El Greco masterpiece.
You can easily visit Toledo as a day trip from Madrid (just an hour away by train), but it's also a nice place to spend a night, so you can linger later into the day and soak up the atmosphere in the evening.
Poised like dabs of white frosting atop the steep crags of southern Andalucía, the White Towns (Pueblos Blancos) are not just beautiful, they speak of this region's long and fascinating history. West of Gibraltar, mountains rise straight from the sea, and among them hide these hilltop whitewashed towns.
Most spectacular is Arcos de la Frontera , whose plaza beside the Gothic church ends vertiginously in a 137-meter cliff, affording views across a valley of olive, orange, and almond orchards. Its maze of winding cobbled streets lead past cafes and craft shops selling ceramics and pottery to a Moorish castle.
A total of 19 of these villages of small white houses are in the area around the Grazalema Nature Reserve. Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra are two others worth seeing. A good base in the region is Jerez de la Frontera , home of flamenco and Andalucian thoroughbreds. Watch these horses' precision ballet at the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art, and for authentic flamenco, visit Centro Cultural Flamenco .
One of the most photographed towns is Setenil de las Bodegas , where many of the buildings are built into or beneath the rock walls.
- Read More: Top Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) of Andalusia
Ibiza is well known the world over as a place to come to have a good time in the sun. Blessed with exceptional beaches and lively towns, the island has been attracting a youthful set for decades. During the day Ibiza's beaches are packed with people enjoying the sun and surf, and at night certain areas are entertainment hotspots where DJs spin the latest tunes.
However, what many people don't know is that Ibiza is also a great place to soak up some history. Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets into the UNESCO-listed old quarter of Dalt Vila where you'll find a surprising number of well-preserved Gothic Catalan buildings. Up above it all is the fortress, offering stunning views.
If you up for a bit of adventure away from the crowds, head to the tranquil coves of Portinatx. Lay your towel out on the soft sand and enjoy the peace and quiet.
The ancient city of Ronda is one of the highlights of a visit to Spain's Andalucia region. Perched impossibly on a rocky outcrop complete with a historical bridge and well-preserved old town, this city just begs to be photographed.
Ronda is exceptionally easy to walk around, many of the major sights are a short stroll from one another including the Puente Nuevo bridge over the 100-meter-deep Tajo de Ronda gorge, the Plazas de Toros bullring, and La Cuidad, the old Moorish town center.
Spend a day wandering the sights and then settling into a prime patio seat on the Plaza del Socorro. Fans of Ernst Hemingway may recognize certain areas from his book For Whom the Bell Tolls.
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Arta is a small picturesque town located in the northeast of Mallorca, Spain. With its quaint old-world charm and beautiful scenery, Arta is a great place to explore for travelers looking for a relaxed and peaceful holiday destination.
20 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Girona, a city in northeastern Spain, is a tourist hotspot and a must-visit destination. Known for its ancient cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and a range of cultural attractions, the city is a delight for visitors. Located on the banks of the River Onyar, Girona boasts a number of attracti...
21 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Mijas is a beautiful town in Spain, located in the south of the country in the stunning region of Andalusia. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, including its picturesque white-washed buildings, breathtaking mountain views, and crystal-clear Mediterranean waters. For travelers, the main ...
22 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country of Spain, is a popular tourist destination for visitors seeking a memorable experience. With its stunning cityscape, vibrant culture, and unique architecture, visitors can expect a captivating journey. Located in the north of Spain, Bilbao is home to th...
23 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Salamanca in Spain is a beautiful city that offers something for everyone. From its stunning architecture to its lively atmosphere, this city is a must-visit destination for any traveler. Located in the northwest of Spain, Salamanca is home to some of the finest examples of Spanish architecture, inc...
24 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Pontevedra, located in the north-west of Spain, is a charming city surrounded by the ocean and lush green countryside. It is a great place for tourists to explore the natural beauty of the region, as well as its culture, cuisine, and history. The city is home to many historical sites, such as the Pr...
25 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Cartagena, Spain is a beautiful destination for tourists. Located in the southern coast of Spain, this vibrant city is a must-visit for anyone looking for some sun and fun. The city is known for its stunning beaches, cultural attractions and Roman ruins, making it the perfect place for a fun-filled ...
26 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Zamora is an amazing city located in the Castilla y Le‰Ûª_n region of western Spain. It is a great destination for travelers looking for a unique experience. The city is known for its stunning architecture, including the beautiful 12th century Romanesque cathedral and the imposing fortifications of ...
27 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Adeje, Spain is a town in the south of Tenerife, the largest island of the Canary Islands. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and exotic landscapes. The main attraction for visitors is the area's beautiful beaches, including El Duque, which has be...
28 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Sitges is a beautiful coastal town in Catalonia, Spain. It is a popular destination for tourists due to its picturesque beaches, vibrant nightlife, and unique culture. Sitges is known for its stunning beaches, which offer activities like swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Its vibrant nightlife ...
29. Conil de la Frontera
29 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Conil de la Frontera is an idyllic beach town in Cadiz, Spain. Located in the Costa de la Luz, it is a popular destination for travelers looking to experience both the sandy beaches and traditional Andalusian culture. The town has an array of attractions, from its bustling beachfront promenades to i...
30 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Salou, a coastal city in Catalonia, Spain, is a great destination for tourists who are looking for an exciting yet peaceful vacation. It is located on Spain's Costa Daurada (Golden Coast) and is only an hour away from the vibrant city of Barcelona. The city has an array of stunning beaches, lively n...
31 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Situated in the north of Spain, Santander is a beautiful city that offers travelers a mix of attractions and activities. From its stunning beaches, to its breathtaking views of the bay of Santander, and its numerous historical monuments, Santander is a city you won't want to miss.
32 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Ribadesella is a charming coastal town located in the beautiful region of Asturias in northern Spain. With its stunning beaches, historic monuments, and lush green countryside, Ribadesella is a must-visit destination for travelers.
33 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Corralejo, Spain is an idyllic holiday destination located in the northern part of Fuerteventura. It is a paradise for beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts. With its sun-soaked golden sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and year-round sunshine, Corralejo is the perfect escape from the hustle and ...
34. Lloret de Mar
34 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Lloret de Mar is a small coastal town located on the Costa Brava of Spain. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and renowned for its beautiful beaches and stunning views. The town is surrounded by lush hills and Mediterranean Sea and offers a relaxed atmosphere. This des...
35. Puerto de la Cruz
35 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Puerto de la Cruz is a stunning seaside resort located in the north of Tenerife, Spain. It is a perfect place for travelers who seek sun, sand, and relaxation. The picturesque landscape here makes it an ideal destination for those looking to enjoy nature and have some fun. The town is located close ...
36 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Nerja is a picturesque seaside town located in the province of Malaga, on the southeastern coast of Spain. It is the perfect destination for travelers looking for the perfect blend of beach and culture. With its stunning beaches, breathtaking coastline, and year-round sunshine, Nerja offers a perfec...
37 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Torrevieja is a beautiful coastal town located in the province of Alicante, in the south of Spain. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, offering a wide range of activities and attractions for travelers.
38. Puerto del Carmen
38 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Puerto del Carmen is a stunning beach resort located on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Spain. It offers travelers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a relaxed and luxurious holiday. With beautiful beaches, a host of attractions, and plenty of activities, Puerto del Carmen is the ideal ...
39 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Alcudia, Spain, is a stunning Mediterranean destination located in the north of Majorca Island. It is an ideal destination for travelers looking for a peaceful and relaxing holiday, with beautiful beaches, picturesque landscapes, and a wide array of attractions. The main reason why anyone should vis...
40 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Roses, Spain is a picturesque seaside resort town located on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, and is an ideal destination for travelers. With its beautiful beaches and stunning views, Roses is a great place for a relaxed holiday in the sun. The main attractions in Roses are the picturesque beaches, the...
41. Can Picafort
41 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Can Picafort is a stunning beach resort town located in the northeast corner of Mallorca, Spain. It is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters and excellent weather. The town offers a variety of activities and is known for being a great place to relax and unwind.
42 out of 64 Places to visit in Spain
Benalmadena, located on the Costa del Sol in the south of Spain, is a popular tourist destination that offers something for everyone. With its Mediterranean climate, golden beaches, and stunning mountain scenery, it is the perfect spot for a relaxing holiday.
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