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28 Best Places to Visit in Spain & Things to Do

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As the late, great Anthony Bourdain put it best: “Spain is the sort of place that never really made any sense…but in the best possible way.” In this compelling journey, I attempt to make sense of everything with Spain’s best places to visit.

Located on the Iberian Peninsula, this European melting pot has been a cultural, political, culinary, and historical powerhouse for centuries. It’s also one of the finest places in the world to kick back, relax, and have a good time. That’s largely thanks to its miles of coastline, year-round sun, heady nightlife, and golden beaches.

For city breaks, Spain has a whole lot to offer. From the rich architecture of Barcelona to the lavish art collections of Madrid’s museums, from Seville’s flamenco vibes to the multicultural history of Granada, and from the birthplace of paella in Valencia to the basque cuisine of San Sebastián — if you can’t find something of interest on these shores, you might need to reevaluate your life.

TL;DR

Category Choice
Most significant landmark Sagrada Familia
Top park Picos de Europa National Park
Free activity Lazying on the beaches
Activity for kids Park Güell
Activity for adults Seville: Flamenco dance lesson
Food to try Paella in Valencia
Nightlife Ibiza
Place to stay Olivia Plaza Hotel, Barcelona

Best Places to Visit in Spain & Things to Do

1. Barcelona

Park Güell Barcelona mosaic bench and tower against skyline
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. With its Gothic architecture, world-renowned museums, and stunning beaches, Barcelona is the definition of a bucket-list city.

I don’t normally do hop-on/hop-off sightseeing bus tours, but to get my bearings in Barcelona, it was a wise choice. Segway tours are also available, but in one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, an e-bike tour is the perfect way to get around. And for Barcelona’s most famous street – Las Ramblas – you must walk!

There’s the iconic Sagrada Familia, the “unfinished cathedral,” a top-priority attraction, and the Gaudi-influenced Park Güell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a globally recognized hub of art and architecture. Architecture fans will also love exploring the Barri Gòtic (the Gothic Quarter), which dates back to the Roman Empire.

For accommodation, the Archie Condo Hotel boasts an excellent location with sea and mountain views. The highly-rated Olivia Plaza Hotel is in the city’s heart, or you can try something like this penthouse terrace for an even more private experience.

See Related: The Best Mancation Destinations Around the World

2. Madrid

Madrid Cityscape

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, Spain’s capital is a lively and energetic city that will keep you busy. With renowned museums and art galleries, its many parks and plazas, and a jumping nightlife and food scene, Madrid doesn’t let up.

As the largest city in Spain, Madrid is known for architectural landmarks such as the Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace (one of the best palaces in Europe), the Prado Museum, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, and Moorish-style mosques. Culture lovers are in for a treat, with over 50 key collections in this city that boast Spain’s finest museums and galleries.

Travelers interested in experiencing the nightlife scene of the Spanish capital can find anything they’re looking for within the city limits – from world-famous clubs to more traditional bars and taverns. Even shopping is a huge draw here.

UMusic Hotel Madrid is in the thick of the action, while the UVE Marcenado is a little outside downtown. For pushing the boat out, there’s always the impeccable Four Seasons Madrid.

See Related: The Best Museums in Europe to Visit

3. Valencia

Costa Brava Cityscape and Ocean vVew

The coastal port city of Valencia is one of the best places to visit in Spain if you’re a foodie. With a delicious menu heavily influenced by the sea, welcome to the birthplace of paella.

Trying the Spanish national dish is essential in these parts, and finding the best paella restaurant is an activity. Try Navarro, Alqueria del Pol, and El Racó de la Paella – to name but three. You can even learn to make the dish with a paella cooking class.

But it’s not just all about food. Valencia is a city where ancient meets modern, with landmarks such as the stunning La Lonja de la Seda (silk exchange) and the Serranos Towers giving way to the futuristic City of the Arts and Sciences. The latter is an absolute can’t-miss destination, a cutting-edge science museum, and one of the “12 Treasures of Spain.”

Old-town tours are highly recommended as the best way to explore the city while sampling local wine and tapas. And for anyone attempting to escape the cold, Valencia is one of Europe’s best warm winter destinations. Try the beautiful five-star MYR Palacio Vallier for an indulgent hotel experience.

See Related: The Best Presets for Food Photography

4. Granada

Alhambra Palace in Granada

Located in the autonomous community of Andalusia, at the confluence of the Darro and Genil rivers, Granada is a beautiful city tucked away at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Southern Spain.

The city’s most notable tourist attraction is the world-famous Alhambra – a stunningly preserved Moorish palace and fortress. It was here that Christopher Columbus was blessed to sail to the Americas, among many other significant historical events of note since construction began in 1238. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Spain.

See it in style with a three-hour private tour, or skip the line with a small group. In addition, the Generalife Gardens are considered some of the best in Europe, and the photogenic neighborhoods of Albayzín and Sacromonte are not to be missed in this magical city.

For nature lovers, Granada is also the gateway to the Sierra Nevada, the largest national park in Spain. Take a scenic safari from the city, or enjoy a five-hour hiking trek through the park’s stunning glacier valleys.

See Related: Vacation Destinations for Couples

5. Seville

Cathedral and Sunset

Seville is a city rich in history and culture, known for its beautiful architecture, Roman ruins, tapas, and flamenco dancing. It’s also renowned for hosting one of the largest and most elaborate processions for Semana Santa (Holy Week).

Plaza de Espana is the most famous square in the city and a stunning place to start your Seville tour. Located in the beautiful Maria Luisa Park, you might recognize it if you’re a Star Wars fan, but it offers a jaw-dropping panorama in its own right.

The city’s main attractions include the Moorish Royal Palace and the Santa Maria de la Sede, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. During your exploration, you can enjoy delicious eats at one of Seville’s many restaurants and tapas bars downtown, go on a guided food tour, and shop for handicraft souvenirs at Mercado El Postigo.

But surely one of the highlights of a visit to Seville has to be a flamenco show. In the birthplace of this passionate dance, see some of the best performers in town at Casa de la Memoria, or even try it yourself with an immersive flamenco lesson.

See Related: Girl Trip Destinations

6. Toledo

Toledo Cityscape and Skyline

Just over an hour south of Madrid, Toledo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an ancient city with a long and intriguing past. Located right in the middle of Spain, it’s known for its blacksmithing, exquisite architecture, and rich Spanish culture.

Toledo is where Arab, Jewish, and Christian influences meet, and considering the sheer number of historic places of interest here, a guided monument walking tour is highly recommended.

There’s the Gothic cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, which houses one of the largest bells in Europe. The Alcázar (palace) of Toldeo was once home to Moorish caliphs. The Judería (Jewish quarter) features the Old Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca, charmingly narrow streets with colorful buildings and shops selling spices, handbags, and clothing.

Toledo is one of the best places to visit in Spain to learn about Spanish culture and history. And because it’s centrally located, it’s an ideal base to explore other parts of the country. Day trips from Madrid are extremely popular, but you can try the gorgeous Entre Dos Aguas Hotel Boutique if you wish to stay local.

See Related: The Ultimate Backpacking Through Europe Itinerary

7. Pamplona

Pamplona Cityscape and Skyline

Pamplona is a lively city located in northern Spain, most (in)famous as the location of the notorious Running of the Bulls festival. Daredevils from all over the world flock here for this highlight of Spain’s cultural calendar and one of the most popular festivals in the world.

I’m too timid to try it myself, but since I do know someone who was nearly gored, perhaps it’s better just to watch. You can enjoy all the action from the comfort (and safety) of a balcony with a buffet breakfast during the festival, which runs from July 7 to 14 every year.

Aside from bothering bovines, Pamplona is also where you’ll find other attractions, including the Pamplona Cathedral, the Palace of Navarre, and the Museum of Navarre. And with the city not too far from the grape-growing province of Rioja, you can sample its famous wares with a day trip winery and tasting tour.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Pamplona is an important stop on the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, which is a bucket-list walk for any keen hiker, even if you’re not religious.

See Related: The Best Hikes in the World

8. Bilbao

l Museo Guggenheim Bilbao Building

An old industrial city in the Basque Country region of Spain, Bilbao is fast becoming one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s known for its lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere, which attracts a young, hip crowd.

A small group walking tour is the best way to see the city center as you explore the Old Town streets, cultural landmarks, and La Ribera market. Don’t miss the Museum of Fine Arts, the Plaza Nueva, and the Basilica de Begoña.

But Bilbao’s most famous attraction is almost certainly the Guggenheim Museum. Aside from its 20 galleries showcasing a stunning collection of artworks, the building it’s housed in is worth the visit alone. A skip-the-line guided tour ensures you don’t miss a thing.

Along with the town being a cultural hotspot, the region features many things to do. Go hiking through the nature preserves of Mount Artxanda, which offers panoramic views of the city below. Thrill seekers will love the paragliding from the beaches, and Basque coastal tours, including the dramatic San Juan de Gaztelugatxe islet, are also popular.

See Related: Friend Vacation Ideas

9. San Sebastian

Aerial view of turquoise bay of San Sebastian or Donostia with beach La Concha, Basque country, Spain
samael334 / Adobe Stock

San Sebastian is a beautiful coastal city in the Basque Country region of Spain. It’s known for its stunning beaches, fine architecture, delicious food, lively nightlife, and gorgeous surrounding countryside.

La Concha is considered one of the best beach vacation spots in the world and certainly one of the finest urban beaches in Europe. Aside from relaxing on the golden sands, a boat tour of the bay with a visit to nearby Santa Clara island is a great way to see it all from the water.

If you’re a foodie, San Sebastian has plenty of restaurants offering traditional Spanish cuisine as well as international fare from around the globe. And here’s a fun fact – famous for its Basque cuisine, there are no less than eight Michelin-starred restaurants here – the second most per capita in the world.

Remember to try pintxos – crispy finger foods served on small slices of bread called pintxos barra. But if a Michelin star is a bridge too far, try a guided pintxo tour to sample the local delicacies as you explore the old town of San Sebastian.

See Related: Best Cities in Europe

10. Málaga

Málaga Cityscape

You’ll either love or hate the capital of the Costa del Sol (especially if you visit during peak season), but Málaga has enough to prove it’s still worth your time.

Located in southern Spain, the city is well-known for typical Costa del Sol resorts, stunning beaches, and pounding nightlife. And while Málaga has its fair share of cultural hotspots, it’s best used as a gateway to explore all this lively region offers.

Don’t miss a visit to the famous Caminito del Rey, a dramatic hiking route along the sides of a narrow gorge. The Moorish palace of Alcazaba is a must-see in the city, and a sunset catamaran cruise is a great way to round off your day.

But if you plan to visit in peak season, now is a great time to learn some Spanish curse words. Alternatively, why not escape the madness and take a day trip to another country? Spend the day in Tangier on the north coast of Morocco with this tour that departs from Málaga.

11. Córdoba

Scenic Street in Córdoba

A significant Roman city, Córdoba’s entire Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best places to visit in Spain for lovers of history. Its fascinating ruins are remarkably well-preserved, and must-sees include the 18-foot Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir and Córdoba’s number-one tourist attraction – the historic Mosque-Cathedral.

Built in the 8th century, it was converted to a cathedral in 1236 and is a stunning mix of architectural styles. A guided tour that includes the Jewish Quarter is the best way to see it all.

There’s also the gorgeous Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Castle of the Christian Monarchs), the Calahorra Tower (with excellent views), the nearby palace-city Azahara Medina, and a charming tour of the flowery Cordovan courtyards in the Alcazar Viejo neighborhood. For longer stays, the Hospes Palacio del Bailio will give you a truly immersive accommodation experience.

See Related: Helpful Tips for Exploring Ancient Sites

12. Formentera

Formentera Ocean Views

The Spanish island of Formentera is a traveler’s paradise. With nearly 70 kilometers of coastline and bright sunshine for most of the year, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to see – especially if you want to get away from its rowdier neighbor, Ibiza.

Part of the Balearic Islands, Formentera is home to some of the world’s most unspoiled and ultra-white beaches, making it a perfect getaway for those looking to respite from everyday life’s chaos. Swimming and snorkeling in crystal-clear water is a great way to leave all your cares on the shore. Of all the beaches on offer, Ses Illetta is perhaps the best of the bunch, featuring a pristine oval of white sand surrounded by dunes and a shallow azure blue sea.

I highly recommend exploring Formentera’s beauty on a sailboat trip, where you can learn about sailing as you explore the island’s coasts. Alternatively, you can simply take the ferry from Ibiza, which only takes 30 minutes and is a popular day trip.

See Related: Places Similar to the Maldives

13. Segovia

Segovia Cityscape

Segovia is one of Spain’s most fascinating medieval cities in the autonomous community of Castile and León in central Spain. It’s about an hour’s drive from Madrid and is well-known for its large number of Romanesque and Moorish buildings and its annual fair celebration.

Aside from Segovia’s beautiful old city, its most famous attraction is its Roman aqueduct. Built in the 1st century AD, it is one of the world’s best-preserved examples of Roman engineering.

Other notable sites include El Castillo de la Mota, an impressive Moorish fortification, and the Segovia Cathedral. But towering over the town is the stunning Alcazar of Segovia, which might seem more familiar, as it is said to have inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.

This day trip from the Spanish capital city includes access to the must-visit monuments and historic buildings. Hot air balloon rides are also a great way to view the old stones of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

14. Gran Canaria

Beach in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is part of Spain’s Canary Islands and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Located closer to Africa than mainland Spain, it’s known for its subtropical climate, beaches, and natural protected spaces.

Gran Canaria has been called a “miniature continent” because of the diversity of its landscape. A great destination for nature lovers, UNESCO noted a third of the island as a biosphere reserve. You can experience rainforest tours, canyon tours, and dolphin-watching cruises.

The best beaches are near Maspalomas, but the hiking trails through the mountains are perfect if you’re feeling more energetic. Relaxing at all-inclusive resorts like Grupotel Monte Feliz or the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa is also popular all year round.

For a genuinely unique experience, you can take a submarine tour from the fishing village of Puerto de Morgan and explore life under the waves, including a visit to multiple shipwrecks in the area. But if you prefer to be even closer to the action, Gran Canaria is a great place to learn how to scuba dive.

See Related: Best Scuba Travel Insurance Options for Divers

15. Ávila

Panoramic view of the historic city of Avila from the Mirador of Cuatro Postes, Spain
giusparta / Adobe Stock

Ávila is a small city in Spain’s Castile and León region. With a population of only 45,000, Ávila is considered a small town by Spanish standards. Ávila is best known for its well-preserved churches, cobblestone streets, and old city center.

Originally founded by Arabs in the 8th century, it was later re-established as an ancient city under Roman rule in the 4th century BC. In 2015, Ávila became a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well-preserved medieval architecture.

Of all the historical attractions here, the city walls, which feature over 80 towers and nine gates, are undoubtedly impressive. Remarkably intact, large sections are walkable, and a private tour of the key sites is highly recommended.

If you’d rather take a load off and cover more ground, try a guided city tour in a tuk-tuk instead.

See Related: The Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts

16. Costa Brava

Typical Costa Brava beach at Gerona
roberto / Adobe Stock

Among Spain’s finest tourist destinations, the Costa Brava’s spectacular coastline runs along the Mediterranean Sea and is a veritable outdoor playground. Costa Brava means “wild coast” or “rough coast” in Spanish, referring to its rocky and dramatic shoreline, stretching for over 200 kilometers (about 124 miles) from Blanes up to the French border.

Wild by name and by nature, the Costa Brava is one of Spain’s premier outdoor destinations, particularly when it comes to watersports. Kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and scuba diving are all readily available. Hiking, climbing, and skydiving are also popular.

The fun doesn’t stop when the temperature drops. Costa Brava is a huge draw for travelers who enjoy winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, as multiple ski resorts are nearby.

17. Tarragona

Tarragona Roman Amphitheatre ruins,Spain
marcin jucha / Adobe Stock

As if Spain didn’t have enough ancient sites, Tarragona is another historic old town with Roman Empire roots. Located south of Barcelona on the Mediterranean Sea, it was chosen as the gateway to the peninsula and features the oldest Roman walls outside Italy.

A Roman heritage guided walking tour will take you around all the important Tarragona monuments, including the famous amphitheater and the Circ Romà – where you can learn about the exciting chariot races. And don’t miss the stunning 2000-year-old Ferress Aquaduct to the north of the city, which is a wonderful place to take a picnic.

Day trips from Barcelona are a great way to visit the region and get out of the hustle and bustle of the Catalonian capital, including relaxing on any nearby pristine beaches. Try the Playa El Miracle, only a few minutes from Tarragona’s city center.

If you have kids (or don’t), PortAventura Theme Park and Ferrari Land are a must-visit in the nearby beach town of Salou. And when you’re not freaking yourselves out riding over five kilometers of rollercoasters, you can spend some time on the local sands, known for their calm waters and Blue Flag awards. Just the thing to lower the heart rate!

See Related: Things to Do in Rome

18. Tenerife

Landscape with Candelaria town on Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Serenity-H / Adobe Stock

For decades, Tenerife has been a byword for “popular holiday tourist spot.” Although it’s somewhat remote (much closer to Africa than it is to Spain), it’s still a Spanish destination and one of the cheapest islands to visit if you’re on a budget.

Part of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is the largest landmass in the archipelago, as well as the most visited. An island dedicated to vacationing, it offers amazing vistas, beautiful buildings, fun resorts and theme parks, and watersports galore.

For nature lovers, whale-watching cruises are not to be missed, while the imposing active volcano of Mount Teide needs its section (see below). And given the lack of light pollution on the island, Tenerife also boasts some of the world’s finest stargazing.

The island is one of the best places to visit in Spain for beautiful beaches – and it certainly has some of the most colorful – including the dramatic black sands of Playa Jardin.

19. Mount Teide

Silhouette of volcano del Teide against a sunset sky. Pico del Teide mountain in El Teide National park at night in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
Betelgejze / Adobe Stock

Mount Teide is arguably the main attraction in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The tallest mountain in Spain is actually an active volcano that last erupted in 1909 and is a popular hiking destination today.

Several hiking trails lead to the summit, and visitors can also take a cable car to the top for stunning panoramic views. Guided tours take you through the UNESCO-listed Teide National Park, which includes stops in the picturesque villages of Garachico and Masca.

If you don’t feel like walking, try a fun quad safari tour of the volcano and its surroundings with a handy pickup in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In addition to its beautiful landscapes, Mount Teide is also home to a unique astronomical observatory, and stargazing with dinner visits Tenerife a charmingly romantic getaway.

See Related: Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World

20. Pueblos Blancos

Typical andalucian village with white houses and sreets with dwellings built into rock overhangs above Rio Trejo
gatsi / Adobe Stock

Rather than one specific destination, Spain’s pueblos blancos (white villages) are a series of beautiful towns scattered around Andalusia – and, indeed, the entire country. Often overlooked for more popular destinations such as Seville and Granada, these hidden gems are the perfect way to escape overcrowded tourist spots.

Visitors have discovered the charm of these villages with their narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, lovely old churches, and flower-filled squares. The most beautiful villages include Grazalema, Vejer de la Frontera, and Arco de la Frontera – which is known as the gateway to the Pueblos Blancos.

You can plan your own route around the towns, or you can do a guided day trip from Seville which takes the hassle out of organizing the logistics.

21. Ibiza

Aerial view of Cala Vadella, Ibiza islands, Spain
Serenity-H / Shutterstock

Known as the world’s party capital, Ibiza is one of the best places to visit if you’re looking for hedonistic European nightlife. Nightly gigs from world-renowned DJs at iconic clubs keep revelers dancing from dusk until dawn, and the eclectic international crowd knows how to get loose.

The best way to explore Ibiza is on foot or by scooter, as the island is only 21 square miles in size, and you can get around quickly. If you’re eager to cool off, there are beach-hopping cruises and snorkeling trips to enjoy.

The most hedonistic of the Balearic Islands, Ibiza is a rite of passage for party animals. Summertime (June-September) is the best time to visit, as many clubs in Ibiza Town close for winter.

Just don’t make my rookie mistake of going out too early – most clubs don’t open until 11 PM, and it’s no fun peaking before the party has begun. If that happens and you go with friends, you’ll never hear the end of it.

See Related: Best Places for Bachelorette Parties Around the World

22. Ronda

Bridge of Ronda, a famous white villages of Malaga, Spain
mrks_v / Adobe Stock

Perched on a dramatic gorge, the old town of Ronda is like something out of a movie, with stone buildings and narrow streets winding around the hillside. The historic city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, and when you’re visiting the Costa del Sol, a trip to Ronda can be a great way to get off the beaten track and away from the tourists.

There are plenty of local boutiques and shops to explore and see on a walking tour, as well as some great places to visit nearby—like El Tajo de la Infanta (which means “the princess’ canyon”), where you can see 885-foot cliffs that were formed over millions of years.

Ronda also has some excellent restaurants where you can eat traditional Spanish food like paella or tortillas de patatas (potato omelets). Try an organic olive oil tour with tasting as you wander through rolling hills and vineyards while learning how to sample the produce like a pro.

23. Mallorca

Cuevas del Drach on Majorca Island, Spain
Serenity-H / Adobe Stock

If someone were to compile a list of the best islands to visit in the world, Mallorca would surely be on it. The largest and most popular of the Balearic Islands, it boasts historic ruins, the best beaches, jumping nightlife, adventure sports, hidden coves, and delicious restaurants.

Palma de Mallorca is the island’s capital and largest city, a resort town offering a remarkable mix of culture and craziness. The impressive cathedral is the most significant historic building in Palma de Mallorca. Skip the line with a queue-jumping ticket, and you’re golden.

Don’t miss visiting the Caves of Hams, with its spectacular rock formations and dramatic sea cave landscape. The Blue Cave is particularly famous and unforgettable when the afternoon sun lights it up.

For a lesser-known treasure, Caló des Moro Beach is located on the island’s southeast corner and is the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys swimming and snorkeling. Mallorca is also one of the best places to visit in Spain for couples, so treat your other half to a vacation here, and they will be seriously impressed.

See Related: Best Romantic Destinations in the World

24. Cádiz

Beach in Cádiz, Spain

Cádiz is a city located in the south of Spain, on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and lively atmosphere, it is one of Europe’s oldest continually inhabited cities. As such, one of the main reasons Cádiz is considered a great place to visit in Spain is its rich cultural and historical heritage.

The city has been a crucial port and trading hub for centuries. It features historic landmarks and attractions, including the Cathedral of Cádiz, the Castillo de Santa Catalina, and the Torre Tavira. Hop-on, hop-off tours will ensure you see it all.

The city has several beaches, including La Caleta, Victoria Beach, and Santa Maria del Mar Beach. Visitors here will find clear, blue waters and fine sand, with many popular spots for swimming, sunbathing, catamaran cruises, and water sports.

See Related: Cheap Places to Visit in Europe  

25. Salamanca

Salamanca cathedral in Spain
StockPhotoAstur / Adobe Stock

Known as the Golden City, Salamanca dates back to Celtic times and is recognizable by its beautiful sandstone architecture. An ancient seat of knowledge, its most famous landmark is Salamanca University – the oldest Hispanic university in the world.

A walking tour is a great way to see this educational institution, where you can walk in the footsteps of students who have been expanding their minds here since 1218. Don’t miss the Monterrey Palace and the old and new Cathedrals of Salamanca – which sit beside each other and dominate the skyline.

In the city center, the equally impressive Plaza Mayor is one of the finest in the country and benefits from outdoor cafes and restaurants that come alive when the sun goes down.

And if the weather turns bad, Salamanca has plenty of museums and art galleries to keep you occupied, including the Domus Artium for contemporary art and the Museum of Automotive History.

26. Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera's Andalusian horse dance show
Jerez de la Frontera / GetYourGuide

If you like horses, dancing, and…dancing horses, then the quaint city of Jerez de la Frontera should be on your radar. Located a short distance from Cádiz, it’s one of the best places to visit in Spain to experience the famous Andalusian horse show, along with flamenco dancing, tapas, brandy, and sherry production.

The town itself also has notable attractions, including an 11th-century Moorish fortress and a Gothic cathedral. Jerez de la Frontera is also one of several locations that lay claim to being the birthplace of flamenco, and catching a show is essential during your visit.

But certainly, the main highlight here is witnessing the skill of rider and steed, with a stunning display of balletic horse dancing at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. It is a sincerely unforgettable cultural experience, even if you’re not into horses.

See Related: Ways to Find Cheap Flights to Europe

27. Girona

Bridge in Girona, Spain
powell83 / Adobe Stock

While most tourists flock to Barcelona, the Catalonian city of Girona is under 40 minutes away in northeastern Spain and is the quieter and cheaper of the two. Known for its labyrinthine streets, gorgeous, colorful architecture, and notable museums, Girona shouldn’t be overlooked – especially if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones. Scenes from the iconic show were filmed here, and guided walking tours to the locations are extremely popular.

And golf fans can also rejoice as the area is home to some of the best golf courses in Spain, including the legendary PGA Catalunya Stadium Course at Camiral Golf & Wellness.

A day trip from Barcelona is a great way to visit, but I highly recommend staying longer and using the city to explore the delights of the Costa Brava. Hotel Nord in the city center should have enough to tempt you to travel a little slower.

See Related: Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia

28. Picos de Europa National Park

Mountain landscape of Picos de Europa, Spain
JackF / Adobe Stock

Spain has 16 national parks, each with their fair share of natural beauty, points of interest, and reasons to visit. But if I had to pick one, I’d go for the Picos de Europa National Park in the Cantabrian Mountains.

This stunning landscape is a hiker’s dream and one of the best places to visit in Spain if you love to strap your walking boots and go for a natural ramble.

Points of interest include the Naranjo de Bulnes, a dramatic limestone peak that offers multiple notable climbing routes; the charming town of Potes, with its cobblestone streets and romantic riverwalk; and Lake Ercina, which offers some incredible views for those willing to make the trek.

The best way to get there is to take a tour from Santander, which includes visiting the park, the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, and exploring Potes, along with an optional ride on the famous Fuente Dé cable car.

FAQs

What is the best time of year to visit Spain?

With year-round sun, you can visit Spain anytime. However, March to May is considered the best time to visit, although this is peak season, and it does get crowded. Weather-wise, September to October is perfect, but June through August would be more up your alley if you prefer the heat.

What are the must-see attractions in Spain?

Spain’s must-visit attractions are numerous, and they include the Sagrada Familia, the Royal Palace, Alhambra, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the City of Arts and Sciences, the Guggenheim Museum, the beaches of Gran Canaria and the Balearic Islands, Park Güell, the Great Mosque of Córdoba, the Prado Museum, the Plaza Mayor in Madrid…the list is almost endless.

What are the lesser-known destinations in Spain worth visiting?

Some of the best places to visit in Spain include little-known hidden gems. There’s Santiago de Compostela, the stunning capital of the Galicia region and the last stop on The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

A tour of the pueblos blancos (white villages) is a great way to get out of busy tourist hot spots. Cerdanya in northern Spain is a relatively unknown region great for hiking in the Pyrenees, but I’m barely scratching the surface here.

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