Spain is a country that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. With a plethora of destinations to explore, Spain is a must-visit for anyone looking for a memorable vacation. From the bustling streets of Madrid to the picturesque beaches of the Costa Brava, Spain has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best places to visit in Spain.
Canary Islands (Places to visit in Spain)
The Canary Islands, another renowned archipelago in Spain, is home to the only black and white sand beach in the country, thanks to the active volcano Mt. Tiede.
Diverse Natural Beauty
Comprising Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa, the Canary Islands are among the top places to visit in Spain, offering diverse natural beauty ranging from deserts to snow-capped mountains, valleys, and high peaks. Tenerife is an excellent destination for nature lovers, offering magnificent landscapes such as Teide National Park, which boasts views of the Tiede volcano and Spain’s tallest mountain peak.
Visitors can also check out the Jungle Park, home to over 500 animals. Fuerteventura is perfect for adventure seekers, known for its exceptional surfing, windsurfing, and kiting opportunities, as well as its stunning soft sand beaches, including Playa del Moro. Whale watching is another popular activity here.
Gran Canaria and El Hierro are both renowned for their awe-inspiring landscapes, including mountainous regions and sandy dunes. While visiting Gran Canaria, visitors can hike the Roque Nublo, a large rock, and in El Hierro, explore the stunning jagged cliffs and rock formations on the island’s coast.
Lanzarote offers several fun activities, such as exploring the La Geria wine region’s wine production and visiting the beautifully designed Cactus Garden, planted on a mix of volcanic sand and soil.
La Palma is a top island for beautiful natural scenery, where visitors can book a tour to walk through a 500-meter-long lava tunnel and explore the island’s volcanic foundations.
Barcelona (Places to visit in Spain)
Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain, offers a unique travel experience distinct from Madrid. Situated on the northeast coast of the country along the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona has a resort-like ambiance with warm and sunny weather almost all year round. It exudes a modern and progressive vibe that sets it apart from other Spanish cities.
Tourists must visit the colossal Sagrada Familia modern cathedral, which has been perpetually under construction, and the Joan Miro museum, designed by the legendary artist himself before his death. Additionally, visitors can explore the city’s three miles of beaches and La Rambla, a vast, pedestrian-only street lined with trees, where locals come out for leisurely strolls.
At the end of La Rambla, one can find the Maremagnum shopping mall, situated on a man-made island almost entirely surrounded by water. Access to the mall is by a unique wooden drawbridge, known as Rambla de Mar, which opens every hour to allow sailboats and yachts to pass through. Visitors can head to La Terraza, the mall’s panoramic platform, to enjoy 360-degree views of the water and the city skyline. Adjacent to the mall is the city’s vast aquarium, which is well worth a visit.
Travelers should not miss the funicular, an inclined railway that takes visitors up to Tibidabo, a local mountain with a stunning church and amusement park at its peak. From there, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Located in the Basque region of Spain, on the northern coast, San Sebastian is a resort city that sits along the picturesque Bay of Biscay, which opens to the Atlantic Ocean. With its thriving surfing scene at Playa de Zurriola, San Sebastian is a popular destination for surf enthusiasts. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the unique Basque culture that is prevalent in the area.
Among the many things to do in San Sebastian, one can lounge on the sandy beach of La Concha or hike up Monte Orgull, a fortress-topped mountain that overlooks the city’s old town area along the harbor. The charming cobblestoned old town, known as Parte Vieja, is also worth exploring. It boasts an array of locally-owned shops and numerous places to sit and savor pintxos, which are the Basque version of tapas.
Valencia (Places to visit in Spain)
Valencia, a port city located on the southeastern coast of Spain, has a long-standing connection with the sea and Spain’s trade with the world, particularly Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The city’s location on the Mediterranean Sea provides access to some stunning beaches, as well as Albufera Park, a wetlands reserve by the beach with excellent hiking trails and beaches.
Valencia is home to a plethora of museums, with the Museum of Fine Arts (Museu de Belle Arts de Valencia) standing out as a must-visit attraction. The museum houses a superb collection of Spanish masterpieces by renowned artists such as El Greco and Goya. The city’s medieval center is dominated by a grand Gothic-style cathedral and remnants of the old city walls, including the Torres de Serranos, one of the last surviving gates to the walled city and a former prison for over three centuries.
The National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts, “González Martí,” is an excellent attraction for lovers of Spanish decorative arts, boasting an impressive collection of ceramics, traditional costumes, and furniture. Kids will enjoy the Natural Science Museum and its vast collection of dinosaur skeletons.
When it comes to dining, the Mercado Central is a must-visit spot. This enormous Art Nouveau-style market hall, built-in 1914, is filled with food vendors, cafes, and souvenir shops, making it a popular tourist attraction. However, it remains a local favorite and the perfect spot to enjoy local cuisine and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Valencia.
If you’re a couple seeking a top-notch vacation spot in Spain, Ibiza is definitely worth considering. This resort island is conveniently located just a short flight or a five- to six-hour ferry ride away, about 100 miles off the Spanish coast. As the largest of the Balearic Islands – a group of mainly resort islands in the Mediterranean Sea – Ibiza offers a plethora of attractions for all types of travelers, including families.
While Ibiza may be renowned for its electronic music, beach parties, and massive dance clubs, it boasts a variety of family-friendly resorts and exciting activities for children as well. With something for everyone, it’s an ideal destination for singles, couples, and families alike. The island’s resort areas are diverse, ranging from Portinatx in the north to San Antonio in the west and Santa Eulalia in the east. And don’t forget that the other three largest Balearic Islands – Mallorca, Menorca, and Formentera – are also popular places to visit in Spain.
Costa Brava (Places to visit in Spain)
If you’re looking for an excellent vacation destination in Spain, consider the breathtaking Costa Brava region in Catalonia. Located on the northern Mediterranean coast of the country, north of Barcelona, it stretches to the border with France and boasts numerous small beaches, rugged cliffs, and charming coves, bays, and inlets. Popular seaside resort towns on the Costa Brava include Blanes, Tossa de Mar, and Lloret de Mar. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the uninhabited Medes Islands and snorkel in its pristine waters, which are just a short boat ride away.
Another must-visit destination for sightseeing enthusiasts is the ruined Monasterio de Sant Pere de Rodes, situated atop a hill. Although it is a ruin, most of the structures of the buildings, including the massive church, are still intact. This monastery is located in the Cap de Creus natural park area, which is quite close to Figueres, the birthplace of the renowned artist Salvador Dali. Figueres is home to the impressive Dali Museum, which the artist himself helped design and plan.
Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, is the perfect destination for those seeking the ultimate resort experience, along with some of the best golf Spain has to offer. These islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco, and enjoy a high level of popularity as a resort destination, with frequent flights from Spain and other European cities.
One of the most remarkable golf courses in Tenerife is the Abama Golf Resort, where golfers can play on the side of a volcano. This unique experience feels like a stroll through a botanical garden, with over 300 species of subtropical plants, more than 20,000 palm trees, and 22 picturesque lakes. Apart from the challenging course, the most significant attraction here is the magnificent views. The entire course is elevated, offering panoramic postcard views of the Atlantic Ocean and the neighboring island of La Gomera. In addition to golf, the resort offers luxurious accommodations, multiple fine dining options, and a world-class spa for ultimate relaxation.
Salamanca (Places to visit in Spain)
Salamanca, founded by the Celts in the 4th century BC and later conquered by the Romans, still bears witness to its origins through its meticulously preserved buildings and facades. Notably, the University of Salamanca, Spain’s oldest university, stands as a testament to the city’s rich history. A leisurely stroll through the charming Old Town will reveal its ornate sandstone facades adorned with intricate carvings that leave visitors awestruck.
Situated in the northwest of Madrid and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a visit to Salamanca is incomplete without a visit to the Plaza Mayor.
This Baroque-style square is the heart of the city and boasts a range of shops, restaurants, and government buildings on its first and second floors.
Do not miss out on the Clerecía Church, which offers a unique view of the Cathedral from within its sandstone-colored corridors and Baroque architecture. With an abundance of attractions, finding things to do in Salamanca is a breeze.
Alicante (Places to visit in Spain)
Alicante, situated in Spain’s Costa Blanca region, boasts an average annual temperature of 21 degrees Celsius/70 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a sought-after destination for history enthusiasts, sun-seekers, and Mediterranean cuisine aficionados. Founded by the Phocaeans Greeks in 325 BC and formerly known as Akra Leuke, meaning “white summit,” Alicante has transformed into a city renowned for its water sports activities and a popular destination for the wealthy. To experience the charm of the Old Town of Alicante, one can explore its picturesque and historic neighborhoods such as Barrio de Santa Cruz and El Barrio.
For a glimpse into the city’s rich history, visitors can head to the Archaeological Museum of Alicante or sample the local delicacies at Mercat Central d’Alacant, which offers an excellent selection of fresh ingredients. The Alicante Tram is another must-try experience, taking passengers through small villages with awe-inspiring Islamic architecture, offering a glimpse into the city’s influences throughout its history. And, of course, no visit to Alicante is complete without a visit to the beach, and Playa del Postiguet is the place to be for pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.
Spain is a country that is full of amazing destinations, each with its own unique charm and character. Whether you’re looking for stunning architecture, beautiful beaches, or vibrant nightlife, Spain has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.