Europe & Britain | Destination Guides

These are the 15 best places to visit in Spain

Beautiful landscapes, rich history, world-class cuisine, vibrant cities, and a golden coastline. Spain seems to have it all. From the architectural marvels of Barcelona and Mardrid, to the gastronomic paradise of San Sebastián, and the dreamy Andalusian streets of Seville, Córdoba and Costa del Sol, these are 15 of the best places to visit in Spain

Explore these destinations on: Best of Spain

1. Barcelona

Gaudi architecture Barcelona

The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is one of the best places to visit in Spain, filled with architectural marvels, buzzing nightlife, and beachside bliss. The city is famed for the whimsical creations of Antoni Gaudí, like La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. Stroll along Las Ramblas, a bustling street lined with shops and cafes, or explore the historic Gothic Quarter. Don’t miss out on experiencing the lively beach culture at Barceloneta. You can also soak up the lively culinary scene that includes everything from tapas bars to Micheline-starred restaurants. 

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2. Seville

Seville plaza Spain

Seville is the heart of Andalusian culture, flamenco dancing, and Moorish influenced architecture. It’s home to an array of architectural wonders, like the Real Alcázar, a stunning Mudéjar-style palace. There’s also the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world where you can climb the Giralda tower for breathtaking views. Wander the narrow streets and bustling tapas bars of Seville’s charming old town. Or soak up the atmosphere of the city’s lively festivals like the famous Feria de Abril and the solemn yet spectacular Semana Santa.

3. Madrid

Madrid streets Spain

With its elegant boulevards, manicured parks, and rich art galleries, Spain’s capital is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Spain. Visit the Golden Triangle of museums including the Prado Museum to see an impressive collection of European art with works by Goya, Velázquez, and other Spanish masters. Enjoy a walk through the lush Retiro Park and check out the magnificent Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor. The city also dishes up spectacular food markets like Mercado San Miguel and a vibrant nightlife. 

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4. Balearic Islands

Mallorca island Spain

If you’re looking for white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters, the Balearic Islands are one of the best places to visit in Spain. This archipelago has multiple islands each offering unique experiences, from the tranquil beaches of Formentera to the world famous party scene of Ibiza. The islands of Mallorca and Menorca round out the 4 largest islands, all serving up beautiful beaches, coves, rugged cliffs and those iconic Balearic blues. Besides the beaches, there’s also historic fortified towns, ancient ruins and UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore, along with charming beachside restaurants, and the pumping bars and clubs.

5. San Sebastián

San sebastian street Spain

Set on the Basque coast in northern Spain, San Sebastián is an extraordinary city. It’s a gastronomic haven, with more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than anywhere in the world. It’s home to spectacular white sand beaches and sapphire blue bays, like the Bay of Biscay and La Concha. Stroll along the waterfront promenade, explore the Belle Epoque architecture and winding streets of the old town, and duck into the delicious pintxos bars along the way. 

6. Granada

Granada Alhambra Spain

Lying at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalusia, Granada is a historic city of ancient fortresses and Moorish architecture. It’s home to the famous Alhambra, a sprawling hilltop fortress complex with royal palaces, tranquil gardens, mosaics and mirror-like pools from the Nasrid dynasty. The city’s Moorish architectural heritage is visible throughout, especially in the historic district of Albaicín, where you’ll find winding alleys, old bazaars and spectacular views of the Alhambra

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7. Costa Brava

Costa Brava coastline Spain

The Costa Brava is a dazzling coastal region in Catalonia in northeastern Spain. Stretching from the idyllic town of Blanes all the way to the French border, the region is one of the best places to visit in Spain for pristine beaches and seaside restaurants along the Mediterranean. Dip your toes into the sand in secluded coves, wander along cliff-top paths, explore quaint villages and indulge in seafood and traditional Catalan dishes. You can also visit the unique Salvador Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres and the Santa Clotilde Gardens in Lloret de Mar. Be sure to visit the city of Girona for its medieval architecture, walled Old Quarter, ancient Roman fortress, and 12th-century baths.

8. Toledo

panoramic view over Toledo Spain

Once the capital of Spain until 1560, Toledo is a 2000-year-old walled city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. With Christian, Muslim and Jewish quarters and influences, it’s known as the “City of Three Cultures”, and you can see a unique mix of Gothic cathedrals, synagogues and mosques, along with ancient Roman ruins and Moorish architectural styles. Set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha, and you can admire the views that inspired El Greco’s masterpieces, and visit the museums and galleries to see some of his works and other medieval art.

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9. Córdoba

bridge lit up at night Cordoba Spain

For a quintessential Andalusian experience, Córdoba is one of the best places to visit in Spain. The UNESCO-listed historic city center is a dream of cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings lined with wrought-iron balconies, bright blue pots and hot pink bougainvillaea. Visit in May to see the city’s private patios blooming in flowers during the Courtyards Festival. For more historic treasures, visit the Castle of the Christian Monarchs and the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, with some of the best-preserved architecture in Spain. You can also wander through the flower-lined streets of the Jewish Quarter and visit the ancient Roman bridge. 

10. Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela Spain

As the capital of Galicia and the final destination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, Santiago de Compostela is famed for its religious significance and stunning cathedral. The tradition of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage dates back over 1,000 years, and you’ll still see pilgrims from all over the world paying their respects at the Basilica of Santiago de Compostela, believed to be the resting place of St. James the Apostle. Even if you’re not a pilgrim, there is plenty to see in this city, from the old town filled with Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque buildings to the lively Plaza del Obradoiro. It’s here you’ll find the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, said to be the oldest hotel in the world. 

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11. Valencia

Valencia streets Spain

As the third-largest city in Spain, Valencia offers a bit of everything, from ancient architecture to futuristic structures and golden beaches. It’s home to the City of Arts and Sciences, a dazzling cultural and architectural complex. Wander through the lush parks and you’ll make your way to the old town’s stunning Gothic and Renaissance buildings. Keep moving and you’ll find the city’s long stretches of golden beaches. It’s also the birthplace of paella, so there’s plenty of fantastic spots to taste this classic dish. 

12. Costa del Sol

whitewashed buildings Costa del Sol Spain

The sun-kissed shores of Costa del Sol is one of the most beloved places in southern Spain. Famed for its year-round sunshine and beautiful beaches, the area is a haven of Andalusian villages, Mediterranean cuisine, and beach clubs. Head to the elegant town of Málaga, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, home to the Moorish Gibralfaro fortress, ancient Roman theater, and sparkling harbor. Explore the luxurious marina of Marbella or take a day trip to nearby whitewashed Andalusian villages like Mijas and Ronda. 

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13. Bilbao

Guggenheim museum Bilbao Spain

Set in the heart of Basque Country in northern Spain, Bilbao is an industrial port city turned art hub. It’s most famed for the Guggenheim Museum, with its remarkable titanium-clad structure and spectacular sculptures by world-renowned artists. Visit the Casco Viejo (old town) and the vibrant riverfront for delicious pintxos and seafood, and explore Parque Etxebarria for beautiful views over the valley and rolling hills. 

14. Zaragoza

ancient bridge Zaragoza Spain

Set on the banks of the Ebro River, Zaragoza is a lesser-known gem with a rich history and culture. You’ll find impressive treasures like the baroque Nuestra Señora del Pilar basilica, a renowned pilgrimage site. There’s also the Aljafería, an 11th-century Moorish palace with a beautiful blend of Islamic and Gothic architecture, and the Cathedral of the Savior, dating back to the 12th century. The city’s delicious tapas scene and traditional festivals like Fiestas del Pilar makes Zaragoza one of the best places to visit in Spain. 

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15. Peñíscola

beaches Peniscola Spain

This beautiful coastal town in eastern Spain is a delight to explore, with medieval history and beautiful beaches. The 13th-century Peñíscola Castle was once the residence of Pope Benedict XIII and has stunning views over the Mediterranean. The charming old town is lined with cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, while the Artillery Park is filled with lavendar and olive trees. Wander along the lively promenade or take a dip in the crystal sea. You can also visit Serra d’Irta Natural Park for lush woodlands and Torre Badúm watchtower.

What do you think are the best places to visit in Spain? Let us know in the comments below!

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