What to see in Spain: cities, islands and places to visit

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Do you want to visit Spain during your next vacation but still don't know what to see or where to go? Our guide to things to see in Spain will allow you to get an idea of ​​the country and plan your travel itinerary.

Spain conjures up images of flamenco dancers, bullfights, towering cathedrals, palaces with Arabian architecture, vibrant folk life and bright sunshine. Beyond these traditional associations, this modern country offers first-rate art museums, delicious creative cuisine, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant nightlife.



But the main charm of the country lies in its people and their unique lifestyle. Particularly tempting is the nature of the locals to enjoy everyday pleasures. The Spanish people enjoy life in its fullness with slow, relaxing rhythms and fun until late at night.

Spain is a mix of old and new, modern and traditional. It is a beautiful, interesting and dynamic country that deserves to be visited all over.

Below you will find the list of what to see in Spain, the unmissable destinations ...

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Best destinations to see in Spain 

Barcelona

Barcelona beach at sunset -

The mythical city of Barcelona, ​​capital of the Catalan region, is the most visited in Spain. Barcelona offers wonderful beaches, numerous museums, a beautiful old town, a lively nightlife and numerous bars where you can taste the famous tapas.

Not to be missed during your visit to Barcelona:

  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Park Güell
  • Casa Milà e Casa Batllo, 2 beautiful buildings designed by Gaudí
  • The Gothic Quarter
  • La Rambla, emblematic avenue of Barcelona
  • Montjuïc Hill, where the Barcelona Botanical Garden and the Olympic facilities of the 1992 Olympic Games are located
  • Camp Nou, the legendary stadium of FC Barcelona
  • The theme park Port Aventura

Learn more:
What to see in Barcelona
Where to sleep in Barcelona



Madrid

The Gran Via, the main street of Madrid -

Capital of Spain, Madrid it is a must for its lively atmosphere that will delight many. It is very pleasant to stroll in the alleys lined with restaurants in the evening, eat tapas in different bars and socialize with the young Spaniards who gather in the main squares.

Here are the places to discover in Madrid:

  • The Palace of Cybele
  • The Plaza Mayor di Madrid
  • Royal Palace of Madrid
  • The Prado Museum
  • Retiro Park

If you visit Madrid for a few days, don't miss a day trip to the beautiful monastero di El Escorial, 45 km from the city.

Seville

Seville - Photo by Pixy

Capital of Andalusia, Seville is probably one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Spain, famous for its historical and architectural heritage and its vibrant flamenco culture.

During your stay, we recommend that you visit theAlcazar and its gardens, to get lost in the alleys of the historic center to appreciate all the life and beauty of the Andalusian city. To complete the visit, do not hesitate to attend a flamenco show.

Must see in Seville:

  • Plaza of Spain
  • Seville Cathedral and Giralda
  • The Alcazar of Seville, a marvel of architecture, as well as its gardens
  • The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla
  • The Tower of Gold

Discover the best areas to sleep in Seville



Cordoba

What to see in Spain - Cordoba - Photo from Pixy

An important city during Roman Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Cordoba is best known for its magnificent Mosque, the mosque of Cordoba, now a cathedral, which bears witness to the rich history of the city and the region.

What to visit in Cordoba:

  • La Mezquita, also called the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
  • Old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The Calahorra tower, its famous Roman bridge and the Porta del Ponte
  • The Alcázar of the Christian kings of Cordoba
  • The Roman temple

Valencia

What to see in Spain - Valencia -

Located on the east coast of Spain, Valencia has several attractions. Known for its City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic complex with many activities, the city also has a particularly charming old town, where you can enjoy a delicious paella. Valencia seduces thanks to its architecture that mixes the old and the modern, and thanks to its relaxed atmosphere.

Not to be missed in Valencia:

  • Plaza de la Virgen
  • The City of Arts and Sciences, including the Oceanogràfic
  • The Barrio del Carmen
  • The gardens of Turia, a public park set up in the old bed of Río Turia
  • The Serranos Towers
  • Valencia Cathedral
  • Bioparc di Valencia

Find out where to sleep in Valencia, the best areas


Santiago de Compostela

Famous throughout the world, Santiago de Compostela is the last stop on the famous pilgrimage. Every year, thousands of people leave on foot, on horseback or by bicycle, to this mythical destination. Once there, you will find out an incredible cultural and historical richness, which made the city a World Heritage Site.


Do not miss:

  • The cathedral, very impressive
  • The medieval old town
  • The typical narrow streets that run through the city

Discover the tours to visit Santiago de Compostela

Zaragoza

What to see in Spain - Zaragoza -

Zaragoza is not a very touristy city. It is located off the main tourist trails but is very pleasant to discover. Built on the banks of the Ebro River, Zaragoza reveals all its charm at sunset, with its romantic bridge and its basilica worthy of a fairytale for children.

To visit absolutely:

  • The Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar
  • The fortified palace of Aljaferia
  • The ancient fortifications of the Roman era

The Roman remains of Mérida

What to see in Spain - the Roman remains of Mérida -

The Merida site is the largest Roman archaeological site in Spain. It takes its name from the city of the same name, and can be visited thanks to a pass sold for 12 euros.

You will have access to the huge amphitheater, the ruins of a 2000 year old theater and all the other buildings, to get an idea of ​​the way of life of the Spaniards under Roman rule. The site is well preserved. Also worth a visit National Museum of Roman Art in Merida!

Toledo

Considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Toledo is a charming city located south of Madrid. Toledo has a rich architectural heritage, influenced by many civilizations. The result is a special atmosphere, varied and original buildings and a particularly convivial population.

What to visit in Toledo:

  • The Alcázar of Toledo
  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Toledo
  • The Monastery of San Giovanni dei Re
  • The synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca

Discover the tours available to visit Toledo

The Segovia aqueduct

What to see in Spain - Segovia -

You may have already heard of the Segovia Aqueduct, built by the Romans in the 800st century AD. This building impresses with its 20 meters in length and the 000 granite blocks used to build it. The aqueduct is the largest Roman footprint in Spain, and it's very photogenic!

If you go to Segovia, do not miss its historic center and the splendid monuments that compose it, such as theAlcazar of Segovia or the magnificent cathedral.

Discover all the tours to visit Segovia

The Caminito del Rey

What to see in Spain - Caminito del Rey -

Perfect for thrill seekers, the Caminito del Rey is a dizzying path to discover the most beautiful gorges in Spain. Its peculiarity? The walkways are set directly on the side of the cliffs, which means you walk just above the void. The landscapes are breathtaking.

Formerly known as the most dangerous path in the world, the Caminito del Rey can now be safely discovered, thanks to the renovations carried out. It is easily accessible by car from Ronda, (50 minutes), Antequera (50 minutes) and Malaga (1 hour).

Discover the guided tours to visit Caminito del Rey

Ronda

Round,

The peculiarity of this city is that it is cut in half by a ravine with a depth of 130 meters. Located 100 km from Malaga, the city of Ronda is worth a visit, at least to photograph this unusual arrangement!

Crossing the Puente Nuevo, which separates the two halves of Ronda, you will have an incredible view of the surrounding valley. Take the time to get lost in the alleys of this charming city, you will not regret it!

Valladolid

Known for its great architectural diversity, Valladolid will delight lovers of beautiful monuments. Influenced by many civilizations, the city has created an image of its own. There are dozens of churches, palaces, squares, parks and monuments of all kinds that you will have the opportunity to visit.

Places of interest in Valladolid:

  • National Sculpture Museum
  • The royal palace of Valladolid
  • Valladolid Cathedral

To do around Vallodolid: the Peñafiel castle, on the heights of the city of the same name.

Montserrat

Montserrat -

Il Montserrat massif it is located in Catalonia, about sixty kilometers away. Its rare geological formations, which every year attract specialists to study them, already make it a place apart. But the place is particularly known to the public for theMonserrat Abbey, which offers a magnificent view over the surrounding valley.

Pomegranate

Alhambra in Granada - Photo from Istock

Granada is located inEastern Andalusia. It was the last city reconquered by the Spanish Catholics in 1492, after several hundred years of Arab-Muslim rule. Thanks to this influence, the city has an impressive and fascinating architecture, of which the Alhambra is the jewel. This fabulous palace and gardens are classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

What to see in Granada:

  • The Alhambra is obviously one of the places not to be missed, including: the Generalife Gardens, the Palace of Charles V and the Nasrid Palaces
  • The mirador of San Nicolas, which offers a breathtaking view of the city
  • The richly decorated basilica of San Juan de Dios
  • The historic center of Granada with its narrow streets and monuments

Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park

This park, located in the Pyrenees mountain range, not far from Zaragoza, straddles Spain and France one of the natural jewels of Spain.

Located at the foot of Monte Perduto, Ordesa National Park is filled with canyons, peaks, valleys and waterfalls. Lovers of nature and hiking will appreciate the walks in its kilometers of marked paths, in the midst of a breathtaking landscape.

Bardenas Reales

The desert of the Bardenas Reales, classified as a world biosphere reserve by Unesco, is one of the few deserts in Europe and certainly the most impressive. On almost 42.000 hectares, it is possible to admire a landscape of rocks with whimsical shapes modeled by erosion. This is where the scenes for the sixth season of Game of Thrones were filmed.

Avila

What to see in Spain - Avila - Photo jacqueline macou from Pixabay

Classified as World Heritage since 1985, the city of Avila is known for its impressive wall built in the Middle Ages to defend the city from attacks by the Moors. 2500m long and with no less than 88 towers, the Avila Wall surrounds the city and is incredibly well preserved.

Antequera

Not far from Malaga, the city of Antequera has many unknown treasures: several Baroque churches, a large and beautiful main square, small parks scattered around the city and other monuments to discover.

To see in Antequera:

  • The Alcazaba
  • La Collegiate church of Santa Maria la Mayor of Antequera
  • The El Carmen church with its superb interior
  • But what gives Antequera its particularity is the set of prehistoric dolmens discovered on the outskirts of the city. They are not common in Spain!

The coast of the Rías Baixas

The coast of the Rías Baixas, in the south-east of Galicia, is a paradise for many, a succession of valleys separated by the sea which form the coast of northwestern Spain. The region is not well known to tourists, but the landscape is exceptional! It is necessary to have a car to enjoy the Rias Baixas, otherwise access to the most beautiful corners may not be easy.

The El Torcal de Antequera nature reserve

Considered to be one of the most beautiful landscapes to see in Spain, the El Torcal reserve of Antequera is a real museum of natural sculptures. Created by millennia of erosion, the reserve is made up of impressive rock formations worthy of a miniature Grand Canyon.

The Spanish islands

Finally, the list of what to see in Spain cannot miss its wonderful islands, such as the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

Maiorca - is the largest of the Balearic Islands and is also one of those that attracts more tourists every year. This island paradise includes a variety of breathtaking landscapes: the turquoise sea, white sandy beaches, dense forests, mountains perfect for hiking ... Not least are Minorca, Ibiza e Formentera.

Port de Pollenca, Majorca – Stock Photo

Tenerife - is the largest and most populated of the Canary Islands. Conquered by the Spaniards more than 500 years ago, this island has several paradisiacal beaches, Mount Teide, the highest volcano in Spain, natural parks, a zoo ... Its mild climate all year round makes it one of the favorite destinations during the 'winter.

Tenerife (Canary) Los Cristianos beach - Photo from Adobe Stock

A factor that greatly helps the growth of tourism in Spain are cheap prices compared to other European destinations. Tourism is the country's main industry, and both international and national tourism record significant figures. So it is not surprising the wide range of accommodation available throughout Spain.

Discover the best accommodation in Spain

 

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