The sun, sea, rolling greens, historical sites, beautiful women… there’s everything in Spain. No wonder, more than 80 million people visit the country every year. You can easily spend more than a month in the country and yet, you may end up missing many of the most popular sights and attractions. This is why it is very difficult to come up with a list of the top 10 places to see in Spain.
You should certainly visit Spain at least once. It’s indeed an amazing country. Here are 10 places in Spain you should definitely visit.
Barcelona is the business capital of Spain. This is also the trendiest city in the country and Spain’s cultural capital. Whether it is shopping, culture, or nightlife, Barcelona is always buzzing. You will also find many remnants from Roman times here. There are monuments from Renaissance and Gothic days. The Barri Gòtic goes back to the Roman Empire. There are nine World Heritage buildings in the city. Don’t miss the Gaudi sites and the Sagrada Familia. Another must-see sight in the city is the Casa Mila. This modernist-style building is a Gaudi masterpiece.
The capital city of Spain! Madrid also loves to party. Madrid is a center of culture and arts as well. The city has 73 museums, including the renowned Prado Museum, Reina Sofia National Art Centre, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. You will also find a lot of history. People have been living in this part of Spain for more than two million years. There are many beautiful parks, vibrant neighborhoods, and shopping centers.
Granada is a beautiful city below the Sierra Nevada in the Andalusia region of Spain. Granada has an Arabic influence, which makes it different from the other parts of Spain. You will find many Arab bathhouses and Moroccan tea safes side by side with flamenco venues and tapas bars. So you have two cultures simultaneously.
The quaint streets of Granada are full of flowers. There are plenty of gardens. Many shops sell traditional crafts. Try one of the taverns. Try some local wine and the Trevélez ham.
Ibiza is the party capital of Spain. It is in one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea close to the city of Valencia. But Ibiza offers more than just nightlife. The island has some of the finest beaches in Europe with crystal-clear water. The marine life is rich. There are many quaint villages, hidden coves, and pine-clad hills. Ibiza’s old town is also UNESCO World Heritage-listed.
Try the traditional Balearic foods. Sofrit pages is a favorite. It is a Balearic chicken stew with sausage, lamb, artichokes, and potatoes. May to October is the best time to visit Ibiza.
Malaga is a beautiful coastal town. It is a port city in southern Spain. You will get all the sun, sand and sea you want here. You will find many historical monuments too like Alcazaba and the King’s palace. The coastline along the city has many pretty small towns, villages, hills, and beaches, so you will always have plenty to see.
Malaga also has a vibrant nightlife, mostly in the Zona el Palo entertainment district. You will find many hip bars and seafood restaurants. It’s a great place for hanging out.
There was a time when poets, painters, intellectuals, and writers spent their vacations in the Costa Brava of Spain. It is a coastal region in Catalonia that extends from Barcelona to the country’s border with France. You will find many pretty towns along the coast like Cadaqués, the medieval town of Peratallada, Girona, and Tossa de Mar. You can also visit the Medes Islands. You will surely be impressed with its biodiversity.
Costa Brava is also popular for snorkeling and diving. Today, you will find some of the swankiest resorts in Costa Brava. It is often referred to as the “blue paradise”.
Seville is among the biggest cities in Spain. Important historical landmarks, a buzzing nightlife, and lively festivals make Seville a must-visit. Visit Barrio de Santa Cruz or the old Jewish quarter. Head to the north of the city for the stunning Plaza de España. You can take the horse cab to reach there as well. It’s a great city to learn about Andalusian traditions like bullfighting, tapas, and flamenco song and dance.
There are many art galleries and museums, as the city is the cultural capital of Andalusia. Must-visit sights include the Plaza de España, Real Alcázar, and the Seville Cathedral. Christopher Columbus is believed to be buried in the cathedral.
Toledo is on a mountaintop close to Madrid. The city has been ruled for many centuries by Christians, Muslims, and Jews, which is why it is often called the “City of 3 Cultures”. You will find the influence of the cultures in the city’s art, architecture, old buildings, cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, and medieval streets. You will even find an influence of the Roman Empire in Toledo’s architecture.
Toledo was also the capital of Spain until the 16th century. Appreciate the fortifications and maze-like streets. The breathtaking location overlooks the Tagus River. You will get the best views from the Mirador del Valle. The top attractions in Toledo include the Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes and the Catedral Primada.
Gibraltar is at the very edge of Spain. The narrow Strait of Gibraltar divides the two continents – Europe and Africa. Morocco is on the other side of the sea. The 426-meter Rock of Gibraltar, a famous sight, dominates Gibraltar. Take the short cable car to reach the Top Station for a fantastic panoramic view. You can clearly see Africa from here.
There are many tunnels in the Rock and as many as 143 caves. There is a 14th century Moorish Castle and 18th century Great Siege Tunnels. These tunnels were expanded during WWII. You can try parasailing, scuba diving, pier fishing, and water-skiing. There is a casino complex in Gibraltar. Gibraltar also provides easy access to Andalusia and Spain’s Costa del Sol.
A beautiful resort town on the Bay of Biscay, close to the country’s border with France. Spain’s fashionable summer capital for many, San Sebastián is in the mountainous Basque Country. There are some fantastic beaches like Playa de la Concha, and the Playa de Ondaretta. Two hills, Mount Igueldo and Monte Urgell overlook the city. They offer many hiking trails, funicular rides, amusement parks, and stunning views.
San Sebastián is packed with restaurants, cafes, bars, and designer shops. Many of them are in the beautiful bayfront promenade. Its pintxo bars are famous all over Europe. You will find many historic buildings in the Old Town, many of which were almost destroyed during the Napoleonic Wars.
We have surely missed many places to see in Spain in this list like Mallorca, Valencia, Cordoba, Costa del Sol, Cuenca, Segovia, Alicante, and Salamanca, which many believe is one of the most beautiful Renaissance cities. They are all worth visiting. So plan your Spain vacation carefully. Which places in Spain do you want to see? Do let us know.