best places to visit in Spain

Highlights in Spanien – Die 33 besten OrteBrimming 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

Barcelona, Spain

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

See also: Best Barcelona tours, Best day trips from Barcelona, Barcelona attractions pass comparison guide

2 – Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain

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.

3 – Madrid

Madrid, Spain

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.

See also: Royal Palace of Madrid tickets price, Reina Sofia Museum tickets price, Prado Museum tickets price, Free walking tours in Madrid

4 – Salamanca

Salamanca, Spain

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.

5 – Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa, Spain

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

Ibiza, Spain

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.

7 – Alicante

fun things to do in 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.

8 – Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

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.

9 – Canary Islands

Tenerife, Spain

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.

10 – Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol, Spain

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

Malaga, Spain

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.

12 – Warner Bros Park

Warner Bros Park, Spain

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.

13 – Segovia

Segovia, Spain

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.

14 – Granada

fun things to do in Granada, Spain

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.

See also: Alhambra tickets price

15 – Route of the Pueblos Blancos

Route of the Pueblos Blancos in Spain

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

Cáceres‎, Spain

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.

17 – Valencia

Valencia, Spain

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.

See also: Oceanografic Valencia tickets price

18 – San Sebastián

San Sebastián, Spain

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).

19 – PortAventura

PortAventura, Spain

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.

20 – Caminito del Rey

Caminito del Rey, Spain

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

Seville, Spain

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.

See also: Real Alcazar of Seville tickets price, Best day trips from Seville

22 – Zaragoza

Zaragoza, Spain

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.

23 – Cuenca

Cuenca, Spain

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.

24 – Cádiz

Cádiz, Spain

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.

25 – Spanish Pyrenees

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

Mérida, Spain

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.

27 – Ferrari Land

Ferrari Land, Spain

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.

28 – Pamplona

Pamplona in Spain

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.

29 – Córdoba

Córdoba, Spain

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.

See also: Mezquita de Córdoba tickets, Fun & unusual things to do in Cordoba

30 – Ciés Islands

Cíes Islands, Spain

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

things to do in Girona, Spain

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.

See also: Fun & unusual things to do in Girona

32 – La Rioja

La Rioja, Spain

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.

Read more: 15 Top Wine Regions in Spain for a Perfect Vineyard Vacation

33 – Benidorm

Benidorm, Spain

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.

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.

Happy traveling!

Maritza Chavez is a travel writer from the U.S., passionate about travel and culture. Her curiosity for traveling began after her first few trips to Mexico to visit family, and then studying abroad in Greece during college. After living in Spain as an English teacher, and more traveling, she decided to start her blog, Travel Notes and Things, to help fellow Latinas travel to their dream destinations while touching on other topics including reverse culture shock and transformative travel. Further expanding her horizons, Maritza frequently travels the globe to pen down exquisite articles for the TourScanner blog, bringing her unique perspective and insights to a wider audience.