Spain is, ineffably, a beautiful travel destination. From the boisterous Madrid and vibrant Barcelona to the colorful Seville and historic Granada. This charming Mediterranean nation that sits on the Hispanic Peninsula has a wealth of enticing places to visit.
Spain offers unique experiences for different travelers, from relaxing on the beach for laid-back travelers to exploring the beautiful countryside for the more adventurous travelers. Historians can also visit some of the famous monuments build by Spanish Architects.
This treasure-trove country is proud of its spectacular landscapes, sandy Mediterranean beaches, beautiful mountain ranges, and years of colorful history and culture. If you don’t have an idea of where to start while vacationing in Spain, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. We have complied a list of 13 best places to visit in Spain.
So here we go…
Madrid, Spain’s capital city, sits neatly in the middle of the country. It is famed for its diversity, vibrant cultural heritage, tasty Spanish food, and colorful nightlife.
As you explore Madrid, be sure to visit the Palacio Real, the home to the Spanish royal family. The dream-like architecture dates back to the 17 century. From here, you can visit the famous Museums El Prado Museum for some history lessons.
Other notable cultural sites worth checking out; include the Temple of Debod, Plaza Mayor, and Retiro Park. As you wind up for the night, stroll through some of the cafes and restaurants for some delicious tapas and a variety of Spanish cuisines.
Barcelona is revered for its sunny beaches, architecture, and luscious foods. Barcelona is likely the most prevalent destination in Spain. This laid-back city has a colorful and exciting mix of modern and ancient cultures, giving travelers a rip-roaring experience.
Taste the terrific morning coffee at al aire libre as you head over to the stunning Gothic buildings in Barri Gòtic. Later, visit the expansive modern architecture at Plaça de Catalunya as you also passby Manzana de la Discòrdia. See Antoni Gaudí’s work of genius at the Casa Batlló, accessible for only 23.50 euros. Visit Park Guell, the unfinished La Sagrada Familia temple, and his residential building Casa Mila.
Later, Immerse yourself in photography at the Santa Maria del Mar, a Gothic temple with stunning architectural designs during the morning hours. Then find your way to Mount Tibidabo for some more photos of the Mediterranean sea and a better view of the city.
Lastly, you can opt to try out the authentic Catalan salad at one of the Catalan restaurants, or better yet, spend your evenings drinking cocktails while watching the sunset.
San Sebastian is part of the Basque landscape and is among the most diverse towns in Southern Europe. It is better known for its culinary cuisines, San Sebastian; a picture-perfect city tucked away on the Bay of Biscay.
Visit Pintxos to experience a better version of tapas, with its delicious local dishes, like cod in garlic sauce and brochettes stacked with olives, anchovies, and pickled peppers in bite-size portions.
Its coastal scene and rugged surroundings offer spectacular scenery. Some of the best things to do in San Sebastian include:
- The architectural work of genius, the Ayuntamiento city hall, completed in 1887.
- The Museo de San Telmo – the biggest museum in Basque was inaugurated in 1902. It is an old museum and exhibits nearly 27,000 historical relics.
- The Monte Igueldo tower offers a stunning view over San Sebastian’s coastlines and mountains, as well as the Monte Igueldo archaic amusement park.
- The El Torreón tower with incredible views and a momentous exhibition – all charged for a small fee.
Enfolding the Portuguese border southwest of Spain, Extremadura is an arid region with scenic tourist attractions in Mérida, the region’s capital. Witness Jerte Valley known for its lovely cherry trees that blossom in spring. Visit the giant gargantuan Roman arena and go back over 2,000 years in the historic theater where roman games took place.
You cannot miss the ancient town of Cáceres, a UNESCO-protected medieval region you’d think you’re in the 17th Century just being there.
Clouded in a mystery that suggests that Seville was created thousands of years ago by a Greek god, this city is a mixture of myriad influences and offers a great walk down Spain’s often maze-like history.
There are plentiful of places to explore in Seville. You can learn about the ancient Roman ruins or catch a glimpse of the Moorish Conquest by touring the Real Alcazar, a magnificent Royal Palace built by Muslim kings.
If you feel you have not had enough of Spain’s history, take a walk down the river-front and visit the Torre del Oro, a beautiful watchtower constructed over Guadalquivir River to defend the city from invaders.
You can have a good time in the evenings learning the Spanish traditional dance, Flamenco.
Home to some of the best deliciously made paella, Valencia is a blend of wild beach fun and tasty cuisines. Valencia seamlessly blends historical Charm, tropical green landscapes, and modern Art.
Visit the huge, hi-tech cultural building and aquarium named Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, of Spanish architects Félix Candela and Santiago Calatrava. Check out the Valencia Central Market; the hustle of exploring the market for fresh fruits and vegetables will not disappoint.
Later on, you can join others at the beach-side restaurants for some fresh Paella. You’ll be spoilt for choice with cozy restaurants, fantastic seafood, and scores of museums to keep you busy in the afternoon while local folks take the afternoons off for a post-lunch siesta.
Santiago de Compostela
A prehistoric city in north-west Spain, Santiago de Compostela is famous for the eponymous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage that ends there. The age-old tradition began nearly a thousand years back as a religious rite, but today, most pilgrims are tourists and hikers who enjoy the nature walk.
Since Santiago was a religious haven, the gigantic Roman-Gothic cathedral is quite a sight to behold. While in the church, watch the gigantic Botafumeiro fuming censer swinging on any of the designated holy days.
The seaside city of Cádiz is a charismatic old town with untarnished beaches. The town was discovered by Phoenicians back in 1104 BC and is the oldest occupied village in Western Europe.
To maximize your stay in the small town, sunbathe on La Caleta beach as you indulge in pescaíto Frito (varied fried seafood) or visit the small Museo de Cádiz, a worthwhile museum with exhibitions of Phoenician tombs.
Wine lovers can spend a day at the Sherry Triangle bodegas, in Jerez, north of Cádiz.
Perched at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada Mountain, Granada city, is a Morish Jewel that needs at least three days to explore. One of Granada’s most visited sites is the iconic Alhambra Palace, which has some fantastic Islamic architecture. Be sure to check out the Moorish Throne Room; it’s just out of this world!
Besides Islamic architecture, you can also take a tour of the medieval Catholic monasteries, for example, the Monasterio de la cartuja, or marvel at the winding and quaint cobbled streets. If you are a more hands-on person, check out the skiing site at the slopes of Sierra Nevada Mountain.
Granada is famed for its delicious tapas, which usually comes as an accompaniment when you order a drink.
For those who enjoy sunbathing and sinking their toes in the sand, then Alicante’s stunning white beaches will not disappoint.
Begin your day by touring the Santa Barbara Castle near Benacantil Mountain. Here, you will spend your day learning and following the footprints of old Spain while you take in the Castle’s Majestic structure. Be sure to capture as many photos as you can.
As the nightlife unfolds, you can opt for a stroll through the city’s elegant marble patched walkways while sampling out the local food and culture.
This coastal city is renowned for its rich historical sites, beautiful beaches, fantastic shopping opportunities, and tasty cuisine. Unlike other cities in Spain, Malaga is an all-year-round tourist destination. During the summer, the city does not sleep and is unusually lively during the annual Malaga fair in August.
While touring Malaga, visit the old Citadels and other historical ruins scattered all over the city. Do not miss the chance to explore Alcazaba Castle, one of Spain’s most ancient historical sites as well as explore the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, the famous artist.
As the night approaches, join the locals and taste some traditional espetos, or better yet, relax by the beach and enjoy the Mediterranean vibe.
Off the West African coast is the archipelago, the Canary Islands, with a relatively tropical climate and pristine sandy beaches. Gran Canaria and Tenerife beaches are the most populated destinations for most tourists.
If you prefer to sunbathe and relax in solitude, visit Lanzarote, a romantic getaway beach with heavenly landscapes – or better still, check out Fuerteventura, the paradise white sandy beaches, for lovers on a honeymoon getaway.
Nerja is considered one of the oldest towns in Andalucia, located on the Costa del Sol, it is a lively little village with modest late-night bars and stunning sandy white beaches. Locally known as the “Jewel of the Costa,” this charming coastal town on Costa del Sol has an energetic vibe that attracts all kinds of tourists, from families to lovers, solo travelers, groupies, and watersports lovers.
Immerse yourself in the 10-mile-long coastline scattered with beautiful beaches and harbors. Later on, visit the historical sites like the gothic caves and spend your evenings’ club hopping or, if not a party animal, chill out with a cold drink on the deserted beaches or the deck of your favorite resort.
Other places to visit in Nerja include:
- The Sierra de Almijara mountains
- The El Salvador church was built in the 16th Century decorated with frescoes and ceramic tile plaques.
- The Nerja Museum on Plaza de España.
- Watersports lovers can try various water sporting activities such as parasailing, jet skiing, and kayaking at Burriana Beach.
- The Nerja Caves unique cave paintings and artistic rock formations.
- You cannot miss the spectacular view of Nerja city from the top of mount “El Cielo,” the highest peak in the province.
Our Final Word
No doubt that Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and while we have just mentioned a few tourist destinations. Spain has more than enough attractive places to visit. We picked a few attractions, but you can also share with us your travel experiences to Spain if you’ve already been there.
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