With the welcome news that the Spanish borders are open once again, and tourists are to be allowed back into Spain, you may be looking into new places to visit, and Spanish towns to explore. And you won’t be disappointed, there are so many amazing places to visit in Spain you’ll find it hard to choose!
When we moved to Spain 2 years ago we had a long list of places we wanted to visit, but due to the Covid restrictions over the last 14 months we’ve only ventured outside of the Valencian Community once (to Sierra Nevada).
There are so many great places to explore in Spain, and being the second largest country in the EU, with 5,000 miles of coastline, you won’t be short of amazing places to choose from. Whether you want beach or city, new or old, north or south, there’s something for everyone.
So, if you are planning to explore more of this fantastic country, take a look at our suggestions of 17 amazing places to visit in Spain…
First up on our list of amazing places to visit in Spain and to start off your Spanish ‘bucket list’, we’ve picked our nearest city of Alicante.
Alicante is a coastal town on the Costa Blanca in the South East of Spain. As well having 14 beaches and coves to choose from, there are so many things to do in Alicante including a visit to the Santa Barbara castle, a walk through the old town of Barrio de la Santa Cruz, plenty of places to shop, and some great bars to eat tapas on the seafront.
There are plenty of museums to visit including the Archaeological Museum of Alicante and the MACA Contemporary Art Museum, as well as those dedicated to the fiestas.
Alicante is also a great base if you want to explore some of the other great towns and villages along the Costa Blanca as the tram from the centre of the city will take you right up the coast.
Valencia is a port city on the Costa Blanca, on the South Eastern coast of Spain, and quickly became one of our favourite places in Spain so far.
There is something for everyone in Valencia, from the Ciutat Vella (Old town) full of history, narrow streets, tapas bars, and street markets, to the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of arts and sciences) with it’s futuristic buildings housing a planetarium, oceanarium, and 3D cinema.
The Turia Gardens cut through the middle of Valencia, with a fantastic park following the riverbed 9km down to the coast. Here you will find playparks, skateparks, fountains, paths for cycling and walking, and plenty of green space to relax.
Valencia also has some fantastic golden sandy beaches, alongside a long promenade full of restaurants, bars, and cafes.
The port city and naval base of Cartagena is located on the Costa Calida, 30 minutes away from Murcia, and there is lots to do here.
This Roman city was founded by the Carthaginians around 220 B.C and as such there is a lot of history here to learn about. The 2,000 year old Roman amphitheater which you can visit was only discovered in 1988, underneath the ruins of a cathedral destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.
The 100 year old town hall, Palacio Consistorial, in the centre of Plaza del Ayuntamiento hosts tours around the building, including a visit to the Mayor’s office. The building has been restored well, but if you take a closer look you can see bullet holes on the outside from the Civil War.
Being a port city there is also lots to do by the water including a boat trip to Fuerta de Navidad (Christmas Fort), the ARQUA Marine Archaeology Museum, and the popular Cala Cortina beach.
We first visited Granada around 15 years ago while on holiday in the South of Spain, and spent the day at the amazing Alhambra Palace. Granada is definitely on our list of places we want to go back to in order to explore more of the city and you can’t have a list of amazing places to visit in Spain without Granada!
Granada is a city in the South of Spain in the region of Andalucía, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
As well as the sprawling fortress of the Alhambra Palace (which is a must visit!), Granada is also famous for its Moorish history, cave houses in the Sacromonte neighbourhood, tapas, and flamenco shows.
If you have time, we’d also recommend a visit into the Sierra Nevada mountains. You can take the bus from the main bus station in Granada, and if you are visiting in the winter months you will get to see more snow than you’d ever expect to see in Spain!
A place with a very special space in our hearts is Barcelona, it was the destination for our first holiday together as a couple and a few years later was also the location of our marriage proposal!
Barcelona is the cosmopolitan capital of the Catalonia region, on the North Eastern coast of Spain. Famous for it’s art and architecture, there are so many amazing and unique things to see in Barcelona.
Gaudí’s buildings, including the Sagrada Família and Casa Mila along with Park Guell, are a must visit – you won’t see anything like them anywhere else in the world. Art lovers will have plenty to keep them entertained with the Picasso Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art amongst many of the museums and galleries on offer.
You can also enjoy a walk through the Gothic Quarter, a visit to the Camp Nou football stadium, lunch on Las Ramblas, and a walk along the beach and port.
As the capital of Spain and the second largest city in the EU (behind Berlin), as well as home to the Spanish Royal Family, Madrid should definitely be on any Spanish bucket list. However, it is also the most populated city in Spain, so be warned that it’s going to be busy!
On your trip to Madrid you can spend hours looking at art in the Prado Museum, visit the markets at Matadero Madrid, see Spain’s only Egyptian temple, take in free art shows at La Casa Encendida, or visit the Royal Palace.
If you want something a bit quieter to do in Madrid, you can visit El Retiro park, one of the largest parks in Madrid. The park was a retreat for the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park. There’s a large artitifical lake where you can hire rowing boats, the Crystal Palace made entirely of glass, and lots of beautiful gardens to explore.
Next up on our list of amazing places to visit in Spain is Seville, the capital and largest city of the region of Andalucía, in the South West of Spain, and the birthplace of flamenco.
When in Seville you can visit the incredible Royal Alacazar Palace, still used by the King and Queen of Spain, and admire the Princess Bath and the beautiful palace gardens.
Other must-visit attractions in Seville include the cathedral (the largest Gothic cathedral in the world), Real Maestranza bullring, Plaza de España, Maria Luisa Park botanical garden, the pretty streets of the former Gypsy quarter Triana, and the historic Jewish neighbourhood of Santa Cruz.
And don’t forget to make time to watch a flamenco show, after all Seville is where it all started!
The city of Cordoba is located in southern Spain, and can be reached in just 2 hours from Madrid if you take the fast train.
The most famous attraction in Cordoba is La Mezquita, the Old Mosque, where you will be impressed by the red and white columns and decorated doors. From there you can take a walk down the cobbled streets of the Jewish quarter, to see the lovely white washed houses and Jewish synagogue.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you won’t want to miss the city’s famous Roman Bridge and defensive fortress Calahorra Tower which you will no doubt recognise.
While you are in Cordoba you also have to search out the pretty patios and courtyards decorated with flowers, plants and fountains – the best one gets a prize from the townhall so the locals go all out.
If you’re looking for a location with dramatic scenery, you must add Ronda to your Spanish bucket list. Ronda is a mountaintop city in the province of Malaga, and is set dramatically above a deep gorge called El Tajo, separating the city’s new town from its old town.
The spectacular Puente Nuevo stone bridge offers some amazing views over the gorge and joins the old town to the new town. You can also take a walk down into the gorge along the Camino de Los Molinos, and if you visit in the spring you’ll be lucky enough to see the whole valley floor covered in flowers.
The Real Maestranza bullring is one of the oldest and most picturesque in Spain, and here you can visit the museum and also take a guided tour around the bullring.
Ronda is also home to Arabic Baths, the Mondragon Palace, the Plaza Duquesa de Parcent town square, and the Cuenca Gardens.
Tarragona is a port city in North Eastern Spain, just over an hour away and 100km inland from Barcelona. The city is a mix of an old Roman with a lively port, and home to 500 metres of stunning beaches.
On the way into Tarragona you can see the impressive Ferreres Aqueduct, built by the Romans to supply water to Tarragona. You can explore the aqueduct from the bottom and also cross the bridge.
In Tarragona itself, you’ll find the well preserved Roman Wall, the Tarragona Amphitheater, and plenty of museums to learn more about the archeological finds in the city.
Toledo is an ancient city in central Spain, set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha, an hour South of Madrid. Toldeo is known for the medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments in its walled old city, and is known as the City of the Three Cultures.
If you are interested in Spanish history, there is so much of interest in Toledo. The historical attractions include the gothic Catedral Primada de Toledo, Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes, Puente de San Martín Medieval bridge, and La Juderia Jewish quarter.
For some fantastic views of Toldeo you will want to head to the Mirador del Valle viewpoint where you’ll be able to see the river, the winding streets, and the cathedral.
Segovia is a World Heritage City, North West of Madrid, in the Castile and León region. It’s only a small city, but definitely one of the more interesting places to visit in Spain.
The city is famous for its historic buildings which include three main landmarks – the Roman aqueduct, the cathedral, and the castle, which apparently served as one of the templates for the Disney Cinderella Castle.
When visiting Segovia you must try the city’s signature dish of Cohcinillo (Roast Suckling Pork), and head to the Old Town which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and features cobblestone streets, ancient alleyways, and charming squares.
Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain range in the Catalonia region, approximately 50km from the centre of Barcelona. If you’re staying in Barcelona, you can take the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya) train from the Plaza España metro station. This stops at the bottom of the mountain and from there you can either take the cable cars up to the monastery, or take the train.
Montserrat is home to the Monastery of Santa María de Montserrat which is visited by thousands of people every day, who come to make their prayers to the Virgin of Montserrat.
As well as the monastery itself, you can visit the The Montserrat Museum with art from Salvador Dali and Picasso among others, plus a history of the monastery. There are also walks, rock climbing, and some spectacular views.
Bilbao is a port city in the Basque Country is the north of Spain, surrounded by mountains and with a super modern city centre.
Bilbao is famous for the curved Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, with the curvy, titanium-clad building receiving as much attention as the exhibits.
There are many other museums, galleries, and fantastic architecture to see in the city, as well as the old town Casco Viejo, La Ribera market, and the funicular cable railway to take to you the top of Mount Artxanda for amazing views of the city.
The Basque Country is also famous for its pintxos bites, small pieces of bread, topped with anything from meat and seafood, to vegetables and cheese, so make sure you check out some pintxos bars while you are in Bilbao.
Staying in the Basque Country, San Sebastian is an elegant coastal city, and a must for foodies with the cobblestoned Old Town, Parte Vieja, full of amazing pintxos bars.
Some of the amazing landmarks to see in San Sebastian include the Ayuntamiento (town hall) constructed in the 1800s and where you can still see bullet holes on the outside of the building from the Spanish civil war; La Catedral del Buen Pastor influenced by the medieval German and French churches and home to the biggest church organ in Europe; and Palacio de Miramar, a summer home for the Spanish Royal Family in the late 1800s.
If you want a beach day while in San Sebastian, Playa de la Concha is a beautiful, shell-shaped cove popular with families, while Zurriola Beach is where the surfers head.
Monte Urgull is home to a castle and history museum, where you will find an amazing view over the coastline, and another place for fantastic views is Monte Igueldo, where you can take a wooden carriage on the antique funicular railway to the top for a 360 degree view across the bay.
Galicia, in the northwest of Spain, looks more like Ireland than Spain with it’s wet, green landscapes and Atlantic coastline. The region has a rich Celtic heritage, and locals speak a unique language called Gallego.
The capital cty of Santiago de Compostela is home to one of the world’s oldest universities and is the final destination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Thousands of pilgrims walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage every year, with the longest route taking around 35 days!
This region is famous for it’s Spanish white wine and also for seafood. One of the best places to try the local fish is in the port city of Vigo where the exceptional quality of the town’s seafood is a result of the coastal upwelling phenomenon which makes the waters extremely rich in nutrients.
The Cíes archipelago is located just off the coast of Vigomade and made up of three islands Illa de Monteaguo, Illa do Faro and Illa de San Martiño. The Cíes Islands are also known as Spain’s ‘Carribbean Islands’ because of the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
The city of Almería is located in the region of Andalucía, in the southeast of Spain, and rounds up our list of amazing places to visit in Spain.
It’s the only desert region in Europe and the landscape resembles the American Wild West so much that it was actually used at the location for many classic western movies, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. You can even visit the Mini Hollywood theme park, originally built as the set for the film For a Few Dollars More.
In the city of Almería itself, you will find plenty of history to explore. One of the most famous attractions is the Moorish walled Alcabaza fortress which can be seen from any part of the city. You can also visit the fortified Castillo de San Cristobal, sat on the hilltop and ringed by the ancient ruins of protective walls built in the 11th century.
In the town you’ll find the Cathedral of Almería, the Museum of Almería, the Plaza del Toros bullring, and the Barrio de la Chanca in the old town.
Almería’s beaches are among the most popular in Spain with the most well-known beaches being Poniente with its sandy beach and Cabo de Gata with the more wild natural beaches leading into the Cabo de Gata Natural Park.
And that’s the end of our list of amazing places to visit in Spain, though there are of course plenty more towns and cities to explore.
How many of these places have you already visited? Which ones will you be adding to your Spanish bucket list?
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