The most beautiful places to visit in Spain are incredibly diverse, from cities brimming with beautiful architecture and rich history to tiny pueblos blancos perched on hills or along coasts, and natural areas that showcase the country’s beautiful landscapes.
No matter what type of traveler you are, you will find places to visit in Spain that are perfect for you.
Barcelona, with its Gaudi buildings and lively squares and streets. Madrid, with its regal architecture and many marvelous museums. Seville, with its gorgeous Alcazar and magnificent Plaza of Spain.
These destinations, although iconic, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to places to visit in Spain.
Read on to discover must-visit Spain destinations, from top choices on the tourist trail to off-the-beaten-track gems!
Best Places to Visit in Spain
While Spain is one of our favorite destinations in Europe, and we have seen quite a bit of the country, we haven’t been everywhere…yet!
Based on our travels in Spain, we’ve even created the perfect Spain itinerary for your first visit to this amazing country.
For this round-up of must-visit places in Spain, we asked other travel bloggers to weigh in with their favorite choices for where to go in Spain, so we could build a comprehensive Spain bucket list.
Once you go through the list, you will have the delicious dilemma of figuring out which of them to put on your itinerary for your next Spain trip!
Excited? Let’s get started discovering the best places to visit in Spain!
Considering a Spain road trip? It’s a great way to tour this amazing country. Here are some exciting Spain road trips from which to choose!
Barcelona is one of the most stunning places to visit in Spain. Located in the northern part of Spain, in the Catalonia region, Barcelona offers the best in regional history, culture, city and beach vibes all within the metropolis.
Ruled by the Romans many centuries, today Barcelona is known for the Art Nouveau buildings of Gaudi, football, paella and, in recent times, Catalonian unrest.
The city is a must-visit to understand regionalism in Spain, and to admire the Sagrada Familia, the renowned unfinished work of Antoni Gaudi.
As part of your Barcelona trip, don’t forget to explore Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and Parc Guell, other popular Gaudi buildings in Barcelona.
La Ramblas, the popular promenade in the city, is not to be missed.
Find the remaining nuances of the Roman times in the Gothic Quarter. It is a good idea to embark on a walking tour here, and also cover Port Vell and the Cristobal Monument.
One of the best things to do in Barcelona is to take in the stunning city views. And many of these views are absolutely free, like the Carmel del Bunkers, an abandoned Spanish Civil War bunker site (where anti-aircraft guns were installed during the war). Sunset views from the Bunkers are one of the most mesmerizing sights in Barcelona.
There are many museums that are worth visiting in Barcelona, like the Maritime Museum in Port Vell, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Museum of the History of Barcelona, and the European Museum of Modern Art, to name a few.
And while there is a lot to do in the city, be sure to allow at least a couple of days for day trips from Barcelona, to explore the rest of Catalonia or beyond!
Contributed by Mayuri from To Some Place New
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is a passionate and exuberant city, often associated with flamenco, bullfighting, and tapas.
Three days in Seville will give you a chance to see many of the major sights here.
Seville’s beauty is evident in its mixed influences of architecture such as the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world (with the most surface area), and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It also holds the remains of the controversial explorer, Christopher Columbus.
Visit the whitewashed and labyrinthine Barrio de Santa Cruz, the Jewish quarter of decorated streets and flower-filled plazas.
Another must-visit sight is the beautiful Alcázar, a former Moorish fort that transformed into an elegant royal palace. The Alcázar is also a famed location of the Game of Thrones.
The Plaza de España, a decorative plaza and pavilions built in 1928 for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition has elaborate tile work, and is one of the most picturesque, romantic places in Spain.
Local Sevillanos will tell you the best time to visit Seville is during the Feria de Abril, a 6-day spring fair where locals dance sevillanas, drink rebujito cocktails, and eat fried fish.
Spring is general is a beautiful time to be in Seville and Andalusia, with the scent of citrus blossom in the air and pleasant weather. But Seville in winter is also enchanting, with seasonal activities and mild weather.
Perhaps one of the best things to do in Seville is experience the Andalusian gastronomy, which uses Mediterranean ingredients with an Arabic influence.
Espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas) or carrillada de cerdo (pork cheek) are standout dishes that sound simple but taste delicious.
And if you plan a longer stay in the city, there are many exciting day trips from Seville to add to your itinerary!
Contributed by Justine from Latitude 41
Madrid is one of the best places in Spain to visit. It is the capital of the country and it’s also the capital of things to do and see in Spain!
Whether it’s your first visit to Madrid or your tenth, you will enjoy your time in Spain’s vibrant capital.
History, art, culture: Madrid has so much to offer! One of the best things to do in the city is to visit some of the many museums.
The Prado Museum is arguably the best museum in Madrid. It’s the national art museum of Spain and you’ll find an amazing collection of European and Spanish artworks here.
Another of the best things to do in Madrid is visiting the Royal Palace. The building is impressive and on the inside there are many artworks and interesting artifacts.
Furthermore, you should definitely go for a relaxing stroll at Retiro Park, which is the best park of Madrid!
Also, don’t miss out on going to Mercado San Miguel, where you can try different types of Spanish food!
The best time to visit the city of Madrid depends on what you like most. In summer it’s great to be outdoors, but traveling to Madrid in winter is a very magical thing to do! There are beautiful Christmas lights everywhere and there are many great winter activities.
And if you plan a stay of a few days in the city, you’ll want to add a few day trips from Madrid to your itinerary: Toledo, Segovia, and Avila are excellent options.
Contributed by Dymphe from Dymabroad
Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, Granada is a captivating city with strong Arab roots but a modern bohemian twist.
In offering something a little different from the more popular Spanish cities, Granada is a must for your Europe bucket list. Marvel at the beautiful Islamic architecture and soak up the lively street atmosphere.
One of the biggest draws for visitors to Granada is the Alhambra Palace.
Framed by the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and overlooking the city, it’s a true architectural wonder.
With stunning landscaped gardens and opulent palaces it’s no wonder that Alhambra is Spain’s most visited monument.
Spend some time meandering through the energized streets of Granada. Soak up the spicy aromas and pause in one of the many bars and cafes.
Granada is one of the few remaining places where free tapas is served with every drink ordered.
Pay a visit to one of the many flamenco clubs for a rustic and intimate flamenco experience.
Granada is a good year-round destination, as it has very little rainfall. But for the best temperatures, spring and autumn are the best times to visit. The temperature is just right, with warm sunny days.
July and August tend to get a little too hot, while the winter months get a bit chilly at night.
Contributed by Jessie from Pocket Wanderings
Seville or Granada? It’s indeed a difficult choice, but if you are strapped for time, we have an article that will help you choose!
Ronda is one of the best places in Spain to visit for stunning views, romantic landscapes and old world charm.
As one of the most beautiful white villages in Spain, Ronda definitely deserves a place on any Andalusia itinerary!
Ronda is perched a thrilling 328 feet above the El Tajo gorge.
Three bridges connect the two halves of the city. The jaw-dropping Puente Nuevo bridge is the most famous.
You can also tour the 1616 Old Bridge (Puente Viejo) and the Arab bridge (Puente San Miguel).
Popular activities in Ronda include gazing over the valley from one of the many Coño balconies or hiking the Camino de Los Molinos trail to the bottom of the gorge.
Ronda is known as the home of modern bullfighting and its historic Plaza de Toros is one of the oldest bullrings in Spain.
Tour the ancient 13th century Arab baths or visit a wine producing bodega.
Take a 20-minute ride to the Acinipo ruins, an ancient Roman theater and archaeological site.
For the more adventurous, the Caminito del Rey cliff-side hike is a 50-minute drive from Ronda.
Contributed by Carol from Is This Even a Road
Malaga has a beautiful location on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Considered a gateway to the resort towns along the coast, Malaga is also a fabulous destination in its own right.
One of the best things to do in Malaga is to explore the Alcazaba, the ancient fortress complex with fabulous views overlooking the city and the harbor. Further up the hill is the Castillo de Gibralfaro, with even better panoramas.
Walking the lively waterfront of Malaga is a must in the evenings. Here you will find many eateries to try, from fine dining restaurant to shacks that dish up local delicacy of grilled fresh caught fish.
In the historic core, visit the Picasso Museum, not only for its art but also for the architecture of the building in which it is housed. Malaga’s Cathedral, famous for having just one tower (money ran out before the twin could be built!) is another must see.
While Malaga has many museums and markets to keep you engaged for several days, reserve some time in your itinerary for a few day trips from Malaga, to explore some nearby pueblos blancos!
Fall through spring are great times to visit Malaga for sightseeing or day trips, and summers are great if you plan to spend time relaxing on the many beaches.
Contributed by us
One destination you simply can’t miss on your trip to Spain is the beach city of Valencia. Here, you’ll find world-class art, museums and food, but without the hustle and bustle of the hugely popular Madrid and Barcelona.
Valencia is famous for its paella, and you absolutely have to try it during your time in the city. In fact, paella actually means “frying pan” in Valencian, the regional language of Valencia. Safe to say, the Valencians love their paella and take it very seriously!
There are plenty of things to fill a visit to Valencia, including stopping by the Central Market, a beautiful covered market (the largest in Europe!), wandering the old town, checking out the street art in El Carme and going to Valencia’s most-visited attraction – the City of Arts and Sciences.
Although you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to museums and things to do in Valencia, one of the best things about visiting Valencia is how many amazing day trips you can do from the city.
These include visiting the famous hanging bridges of Chulila, visiting natural hot springs or the Cuevas de San Jose.
The best time to visit Valencia is in the spring, between March and May, when it’s hot enough to visit the beach but not unbearably hot.
In summer the temperatures in Valencia soar and doing any sightseeing in the midday heat feels completely impossible!
Contributed by Ella from Many More Maps
If you plan to spend a few days in Barcelona, consider a day trip to Girona after you have finished exploring the famous landmarks of Barcelona.
With its beautiful architecture, Girona is a sought-after destination for film production. It was the location for many Game of Thrones scenes.
Girona is located in northern Catalonia, at the intersection of three rivers.
It has an exquisitely preserved Jewish Quarter, one of the best in Europe. The top attraction in Girona is its huge cathedral, located at the top of the hill.
The old fortifications protected the city for generations and today the remaining walls are a fun attraction. The wall is a great place from which to see the city and the cathedral during the day but is even more charming at night.
Plaça de la Independència is a great spot to relax. Pont de les Peixateries Velles, built by Gustav Eiffel, is a famous bridge over the Onyar River. The bold red bridge is a fabulous photo spot in Girona.
If you have a little more time, a great extension is a visit to the Dali Museum in Figueres, which houses many of Dali’s extraordinary works of art.
In addition to Dali’s personal collections, the museum has many collections by his favorite artists and friends.
There is a lot to see and do in Girona, so start early and allow for time to soak in the culture, history and beauty.
Contributed by Jyoti from Story at Every Corner
Cordoba is a must-visit destination in Andalusia, Spain’s gorgeous southern province.
While a Seville to Cordoba day trip is popular, there is enough to see and do in Cordoba that you could easily spend two or three days here.
At the top of your list of things to do in Cordoba should be an exploration of the Mezquita, Cordoba’s fantastic mosque-cathedral.
Its double horseshoe arches, striped in red and white, are magnificent. Visiting the Mezquita is one of the top things to do in all of Andalusia.
Walk the famous Roman Bridge, which acted as a Game of Thrones location.
Peek into the many pretty patios in the historic quarter, and wander the winding cobblestone alleys.
Take in a flamenco performance and enjoy tapas at the many good tapas bars in the old quarter.
Cordoba’s Alcazar is a must-visit as well: its gardens are some of the best you will see in Spain. If you are here after dark, plan to take in the beautiful music and lights show, if offered when you visit.
Just outside town, the ruins of Medina Azahara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, make for a fascinating visit. Bring water, and visit early or late in the day since it can get hot during the day.
Spring is the best time to visit Cordoba, when its patios are dressed up for the May festival. But fall and winter are also good from a weather perspective.
Contributed by us
The Balearic Island of Mallorca is naturally diverse and undoubtedly stunning – no matter what your holiday preferences are.
Those looking for a cultural city break will be enthralled by the island’s capital city, Palma.
Families will enjoy the ease of beach resorts brimming with activities.
Those looking to party Ibiza-style will enjoy the clubs of Magaluf, and those wanting a respite from the crowds, a romantic escape, or an action-packed getaway will love Mallorca too.
But where Mallorca really excels are its beaches.
From secluded coves to sprawling sandy coastlines, the beaches of Mallorca are among the most beautiful in the world.
Spend your days beach hopping to experience them all, or pick one or two favorites to return to time and time again.
If walking and cycling are more your beat, the mountainous west coast makes the perfect backdrop for outdoor escapades.
Or if exploring the underwater world sounds more your style, be sure to pack your snorkel to discover some of the 80 different dive sites around the island.
Visit Mallorca in the shoulder season of May-June or September-October to benefit from warm days with fewer visitors.
There are plenty of stunning places to stay in Mallorca too, whatever you budget or travel style.
Stay inland to experience the more authentic heart of the island, or cosy up in a beachside hideaway for a romantic retreat.
Contributed by Nadine from Le Long Weekend
San Sebastian, or Donostia (its Basque name), is a beautiful city close to the French border in the Bay of Biscay. It is famous for its beaches and good food as well as for its film and jazz international festivals.
The Old Town is a must on your itinerary.
Visit The Good Shepherd Neo-Gothic Cathedral, and Plaza de la Constitucion (which used to host bullfights).
Wander the cobblestoned streets to discover all the charm of “La Parte Vieja.”
The Old Town is also filled with wonderful little restaurants where you can experience that delicious Basque cuisine.
Then, you can walk up Mount Urgull nearby. It’s an easy 30-minute hike up to the top, and you will be rewarded with some spectacular views over the bay.
And speaking of the bay, you can take advantage of San Sebastian’s location and spend some time relaxing at the beach or just taking a walk along its promenade.
Playa de la Concha, named so because of its perfect shell-like shape, is the perfect place to enjoy the beach. You can also take a boat to Santa Clara island in the bay and discover the picturesque small island.
The best time to visit San Sebastian in Northern Spain is late spring and during the summer months when temperatures are great, and you can make the most of your trip.
Contributed by Anda from Travel for a While
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Salamanca oozes history and charm from seemingly every corner.
Most of the historical buildings are built from sandstone, which gives the city a golden glow, and it’s a real pleasure to wander the streets, admiring the architecture, and stopping for refreshments at any of the countless tapas bars.
You’ll find one of Spain’s oldest universities here, founded in the early 15th century and well worth a visit.
The cathedral is actually a two-for-one experience as you can go inside the original Romanesque/Gothic cathedral as well as the more elaborate, late Gothic and Baroque New Cathedral.
The heart of the old city is undoubtedly the grand, spacious Plaza Mayor, lined with bars, restaurants, ice cream parlors and interesting shops.
In complete contrast to the Baroque grandeur of this popular meeting spot, there’s the remarkable Roman bridge, built in the first century AD.
Casa de las Concha is another popular building, built by a Knight of the Order of Santiago de Compostela.
The 16th century house is decorated with around 300 scallop shells, which are a symbol of the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail.
Another treat is the Casa Lis Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, which has an astounding stained glass ceiling and wonderful examples of the decorative objects from both artistic periods.
The best time to go to Salamanca would be in spring or autumn in order to avoid the potentially debilitating heat of summer afternoons.
Contributed by Julie from Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal
Previously an industrial town, Bilbao was reborn as a centre of the arts after the opening of the Guggenheim Museum. It’s also a student town, and it hasn’t forgotten its roots.
Bilboa’s individuality is apparent as you walk down the street and its location makes it a great place to start your travels through northern Spain.
When you visit Bilbao, definitely take time to visit the museum. A tour (audio is fine) will give you greater insight into some of the exhibitions and the museum is incredibly accessible with some brilliant art works on display.
Be sure to find time to wander past street murals and visit some of the other galleries to get a well-rounded perspective on Bilbao’s art scene. You can also take the funicular to the top of Mount Artxanda for wonderful views of the city.
Walk around the old town, with its narrow, turning streets and stop by the Catedral de Santiago de Bilbao and the Plaza Nueva.
If you want to see more, the Archaeological Museum or the churches of San Nicolás and San Antón are options.
Then take some time to visit a few of Bilbao’s pinxtos bars and sample a few pinxtos (small pieces of bread topped with local ingredients) with your drinks.
Before you leave, visit the La Ribera market on the edge of the old town: covering over 107,000 square feet, it is the largest indoor covered market in Europe.
Contributed by Roxanne from Faraway Worlds
Segovia is situated northwest of Madrid and is a fascinating place to discover on foot, with its medieval walls, churches, royal palace and Gothic cathedral.
In the heart of the old town stands its most impressive monument, the Roman aqueduct.
The aqueduct is made from 20,400 blocks of granite and carries water 10 miles from the River Alcebeda to the town.
Admire the aqueduct at Plaza del Azoguejo, where it is at its highest point.
Standing high on a rocky crag is the stunning fairytale castle of Alcázar, which was one of two castles that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s palace.
Once a royal palace, there are state rooms to visit and the Tower of Saint John II to climb for panoramic views of the town and its majestic cathedral.
The old town is a maze of narrow alleyways, cobbled streets and pretty squares, perfect for wandering and exploring the Jewish Quarter and Plaza Medina del Campo where there are often live music and theatre shows.
It is fun to sit outside and enjoy lunch of the famous Jambon Américo or some tapas.
At the end of the day, head to the Canaleja Mirador viewpoint in Casa de Los Picos (near the aqueduct).
As locals will tell you, this is the perfect place to watch the sunset, which bathes the Castillan houses in a rosy glow, with the mountains of Guadarrama as a magnificent backdrop.
Contributed by Chrisoula from Historic European Castles
One of the best places to visit in Spain any time of the year is the town of Alicante on the Costa Blanca coastline.
This peaceful and charming town prides itself on its rich history, gorgeous sandy beaches, colorful streets, and 3,000 hours of sun per year.
The main sight in Alicante is the Castle of Santa Barbara nestled on the hill overlooking the city and the Mediterranean Sea.
The castle is thought of as one of Spain’s biggest medieval fortifications dating back to the 9th century when Muslims controlled the Iberian Peninsula.
The pathway to the castle goes through the lovely Santa Cruz neighborhood featuring white-washed houses decorated with colorful windows, doors, balconies, and flowers.
Afterward, you can visit the town’s noble churches and cathedrals, including the Co-Cathedral of St. Nicolas, a Roman Catholic cathedral, and the Valencian Gothic-style Basilica of St. Maria.
Culture and art lovers can also visit numerous museums and galleries scattered across the town.
One more reason to travel to Alicante is its geographical location enabling you to explore other beautiful coastal towns of Costa Brava. These include Benidorm, Altea, Javea, and Villajoyosa.
Also, make sure to add Torrevieja’s pink lake to your Alicante itinerary as a day trip: the bubblegum-pink salt lake is a must-see.
Contributed by Baia from Red Fedora Diary
If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Spain, and you’re a fan of smaller villages, then Mijas could be a perfect addition to your list.
Located under 14 miles from Malaga, this lovely Andalusian town can be reached in just 20 minutes from the airport: in fact, Mijas is one of the best day trips from Malaga you can do.
A trip up to Mijas Pueblo, a hillside village that is nestled into the mountains is a must.
Expect to see charming cobblestone alleys, steep windy streets, and whitewashed buildings as you explore the historic old quarter.
The village is dotted with museums, monuments, and historic buildings. There are local craft shops that offer unique works of art handmade by local artists which also make great souvenirs.
It is worth picking up a beginner’s Spanish book or getting some practice in if you are not a native Spanish speaker, but you can get by here with basic English as the village is accustomed to receiving tourism.
Try to visit Mijas between June and August for the best beach weather and note that August is the hottest month. Expats love Mijas, which offers a generous 7.5 miles of coastline that can be accessed via the Mijas Costa.
All in all, Mijas is a must-see destination in Spain for visitors to the Costa del Sol, Spain’s sunny southern coast.
Contributed by Daniel from Layer Culture
Alcala de Henares
If you have more than a couple of days in Madrid and you’re looking for a unique (and easy) day trip by train, don’t miss the beautiful city of Alcala de Henares.
Not only are its university and historic center UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but it’s also the birthplace of the famous author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes.
Following in the footsteps of Cervantes, you’ll find the gorgeous main square named after him (Plaza de Cervantes) housing a statue of him, the Cervantes House Museum where he was born and raised, and even an annual festival dedicated to him – Semana Cervantina.
The Semana Cervantina (Cervantes Week) takes place each year around the writer’s baptism date (October 9, 1547) and includes many events like theatrical performances, a big medieval market, and even a culinary event inspired by the cuisine described in the book Don Quixote.
Other incredible things to see in Alcala de Henares are the historic center (which used to be the Jewish quarter), the stunning Laredo Palace, the Museum of Ibero-American Art of the UAH, and the 13th-century university.
Alcala de Henares also has a Roman history, and you can visit its remains at the archeological site of the Roman City of Complutum and the House of Hippolytus.
Contributed by Or from My Path in the World
Montanejos Hot Springs
For an off-the-beaten-path experience in Spain, you have to check out the Montanejos Hot Springs, located about 56 miles north of Valencia.
This beautiful nature area is a perfect getaway and offers adventurous hikes and hot springs in a gorge of stunning limestone cliffs. The mountainous area is located in the province of Castellon, near the Serra d’Espadà.
The towering limestone rocks and crystal clear turquoise waters invite you to take a dip. The hot spring pools are big enough, and that’s a good thing, because during the summer period it can get busy here with locals and tourists enjoying their time in nature.
What makes this place a must-visit in Spain is the healing nature of the water in the springs. The waters are reported to have a rejuvenating and positive effect on your skin due to the presence of essential minerals.
Also, they reportedly deep-clean your skin to give it a smooth, glowing appearance.
To avoid the crowds, go early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The Montanejos Hot Springs are open all day and taking a dip in the spring pools is free of charge.
There are more activities to do around Montanejos. You can hike the mountains or go on a tour through the Montanejos Gorge, where you’ll explore the beautiful canyon, hidden caves and much more!
Contributed by llse from Digital Travel Couple
Cadaques is a town on the Costa Brava of the Mediterranean, about a 2-hour drive northeast of Barcelona. It is a beautiful seaside fishing village with lovely white buildings and cobblestone paths.
Located at the highest point is the Santa Maria de Cadaqués Church, the centerpiece of the town.
Built in the mid-16th century, the cathedral stands out amid the winding, narrow streets that surround it.
With a wonderful view over the town and the bay, it’s the perfect spot to linger after a delicious meal from one of the wonderful seafood restaurants found all over town.
A fifteen-minute walk along a promenade that hugs the shores overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is the even smaller village called Portlligat, where you can find Salvador Dalí’s home, now a museum.
Salvador Dali lived and worked in the house for over five decades, until the death of his wife in 1962.
Today, it is kept in its original glory and daily tours are offered (you should pre-book tickets before your arrival to guarantee entry).
If you have ever wondered what the home of the surrealist artist looks like, then look no further.
From a giant stuffed polar bear lamp decorated with necklaces and a holder for elaborately carved canes to a giant cracked egg sculpture in the multi-deck garden, this museum will keep your attention everywhere you look.
It is best to avoid Cadaques from June until August to avoid the extreme heat and tourist crowds. Visit any other time of year to enjoy the beautiful little town.
Contributed by Nicole from Go Far Grow Close
For year-round sunshine, pristine beach resorts and colonial towns that ooze with character, spend a week in Tenerife.
The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, just over 185 miles to the east of the African coastline, combines a rich and proud Spanish cultural heritage with a balmy African climate.
Tenerife is so much more than a sun-and-sangria flop for sun-starved northern Europeans.
There are first-rate hiking opportunities. These include scaling Mount Teide, the island’s most popular tourist attraction, to exploring the lesser-known Anaga forest to leisurely coastal walks.
Tenerife’s charming colonial towns, including La Laguna, La Orotava and Garachico, are day trips in their own right.
If you are craving a more cultural experience, visit Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s striking Auditorio de Tenerife or the Mueso de Artesania Iberoamericana (MAIT) in La Orotava.
Where you stay in Tenerife will depend on your planned itinerary. However, for a more authentic Canarian experience, eschew the beach resorts of the south for unspoilt Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island.
Whist hiring a car in Tenerife is relatively cheap, finding a parking space can be a challenge at the more popular tourist sites. As an alternative, consider taking advantage of the island’s extensive and cheap bus network.
Contributed by Bridget from The Flashpacker
Picos de Europa National Park
The Picos de Europa National Park is Spain’s first ever national park. It’s located in the north of the country, in Asturias.
It was originally created in ,around two beautiful alpine lakes, the Lagos de Covadonga. Now the park has expanded greatly: it is four times its original size and spans Asturias, Cantabria, and Castilla y Leon.
If you love the outdoors, Picos de Europa is definitely one of the best places to visit in Spain for you. The most iconic location is the Lagos de Covadonga, followed by Bulnes, a small mountain village that can be reached by cable car.
Don’t miss the Fuente Dé cable car that will take you high up the mountains with incredible views, and a great stroll down to the valley.
And of course, you must do the epic Ruta del Cares, a scenic hike along the ridge of the mountain with sweeping views all along its length.
To enjoy Picos de Europa to the fullest, the best time to visit is summer, when it’s hot outside, and perfect for going on the many hikes the park has to offer. June and September are the best months, to avoid the usual crowds of July and August.
Ready to hike? Make sure you download offline maps of the mountains (on Google Maps for example) before your trip: this will come in handy when you get to a spot without cell coverage!
Contributed by Kevin from Kevmrc
Cudillero is one of the nicest places to visit in the Principality of Asturias in Northern Spain.
Located at about a 40-minute drive from Asturias’ main city, Oviedo, this is a truly picturesque small town of no more than 6,000 inhabitants.
Once a fishing village, nowadays the main source of revenue in Cudillero is actually tourism, though the fishing industry is still very much alive. According to legend the village was founded by Vikings, but there honestly is no proof of that.
The main draw of the village is that it is on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, yet surrounded by mountains, and the colorful houses are built right against the mountains.
It’s the kind of place where locals live a slow-paced life: there are not many cars in the village, and in fact, most houses are impossible to reach by car.
The best thing to do is walk up to the viewpoint for beautiful photos. You need to take the stairs from the Plaza de la Marina to the Cimadevilla viewpoint.
If you continue walking up, you can see Humidallero Chapel, which was consecrated in the 13th century and is the oldest building in town.
Not far from Cudillero you will also find several excellent beaches perfect for swimming, surfing or simply basking in the sun. The best of these beaches are La Cueva, San Pedro and Oleiros.
Contributed by Claudia from My Adventures Across the World
A short drive from the Spanish capital is the quaint historic town of Cuenca.
Precariously balanced on the edge of the Júcar and Huécar river gorges, the UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts unique architecture and stunning natural surroundings.
While the gorgeous historic township warrants a thorough exploration, Cuenca’s main attraction lies in the surrounding natural areas.
You can meander for days through the limestone valleys along easy to moderate trails, a welcome breath of fresh air from Spain’s densely populated tourism hot-spots.
The valleys showcase surreal scenery, with bright rock faces strongly contrasting with the milky blue rivers winding through native vegetation. The hilltops provide stunning views of both the historic township and the gorge.
The old part of town is a unique sight in itself.
While some buildings blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings, others hang over the steep cliffs above the valley.
Romanesque and gothic churches populate the winding streets and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and Saint Julian is the oldest Gothic Cathedral in the country.
While the evenings can be a little on the cool side, a great time to visit is during the autumn months, when days are long and mild and crowds are not a factor. Those from cooler climates may find hiking in the summer months a little on the warm side.
Contrbuted by Elliot from TheTravelKind
Zahara de la Sierra
A picturesque Andalusian pueblo blanco, Zahara de la Sierra stands out with her whitewashed homes and burnt orange roofs against a backdrop of mountains, a turquoise-colored lake, and a bright blue sky.
If you’re looking to spend a few days in Andalusia’s natural landscape or just need to get out of the city on a day trip, Zahara de la Sierra cannot be more perfect for you.
Zahara is a 1.5-hour drive away from Seville, and 45 minutes from Ronda.
If there’s one thing you should do here, it’s to visit the Castle of Zahara de la Sierra. You’ll need to hike up (nothing strenuous!), but the view from up top is worth it!
Waiting for you is a clear, 360-degree panoramic view of the village, mountains, and lake.
Other things to do in this pueblo blanco include walking through the cobbled streets, visiting the Church of Santa Maria, grabbing a bite to eat at Restaurante Bar Josefi, and taking in the scenic view at Mirador Zahara de la Sierra.
The best time to visit Zahara de la Sierra is in spring or fall. Summers in the south of Spain are infamous for being too hot to enjoy the outdoors, so it’s best to avoid that period if you can.
Driving is the only way you can access Zahara de la Sierra. Since the village is located in a natural park, you’ll be dealing with narrow, windy roads as you approach it, so stay alert and be careful.
Contributed by Selam from SWTliving
Imagine this: endless views of mountain peaks and valleys, the serene sound of bird songs, and the fresh scent of pine trees. Nothing beats the idyllic atmosphere of mountain villages.
Queralbs, situated in the Pyrenees, is one of those special mountain villages. This picturesque village, where less than 200 people live, features a well-preserved Romanesque church dating back to the 10th century.
Queralbs clings to the side of a mountain at 4,055 feet. To the north is Ribes de Freser, with views of the nearby peaks of Puigmal, Infern, and Noufonts.
Only two hours north of Barcelona, this is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventurous travelers. It is the last stop that you can drive to in this mountain range, offering close proximity to skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
It’s from the Queralbs train station that a rack railway will take you up a further incline of over 3,280 feet through unspoiled mountain landscape to your final destination of Vall de Núria, with its beautiful natural scenery, where you can hike in the summer and ski in the winter.
Contributed by Renee from Dream Plan Experience
Allariz is a beautiful town, just 20 minutes from Ourense in northern Spain. The picturesque region of Galicia has the most beautiful countryside with an almost Alpine feel.
The sweet town of Allariz is nestled in the Galician countryside and is a very special place to visit. Here the Arnoia River gently flows through the town, perfect for summer bathing and wintertime walks along the banks.
This area is perfect to enjoy outdoor activities. Hiking, horse riding and mountain biking are all available. There are also many historic sites. The town has a medieval area packed full of historic buildings.
Notable sites are the remains of the castle and some of the bridges over the Arnoia, including the Vilanova (from the 15th century) and Frieira (from the 18th century). Ourense is known for its thermal pools and OCA Allariz, a sweet hotel in the town, has a fantastic selection you can pay to use by the day.
There are a number of festivals in the town through the year but the favorite has to be the pie festival in August. It’s the perfect time to indulge in empanadas.
If you’re planning for family holidays to Spain, then Allariz should absolutely be on your list. It offers something very different from the great tourist destinations and is a serene retreat.
Contributed by Nichola from Family Hotel Expert
One of the best destinations in all of Spain is the enchanting seaside city of Sitges.
The stunning city is located about 40 minutes south of Barcelona on the Costa Brava. It has great beaches and delicious seafood, and attracts visitors all through the year.
One of the best things to do in the city of Sitges is to relax on the beach.
With golden sand beaches and crystal clear Mediterranean waters, it’s easy to see why. The soft sand beaches like Platja de la Ribera host sunbathers even in the cooler months.
Since the city sees over 310 sunny days each year, visitors can lay out on the beach all year. Along the coast is the scenic promenade, Passeig Maritim, with ocean views and seaside restaurants.
A walk along the shoreline is also an incredible thing to do, especially if you head to the southern end of the city and reach the church of Iglesia de San Bartolomé y Santa Tecla. It’s picture-perfect and stands at the water’s edge during high tide.
Another reason to visit Sitges is the delicious food scene and nightlife.
After a day on the beach, head to one of the many tapas restaurants to nourish your culinary soul. A favorite is the airy and casual El Cabel. It’s nestled in the winding cobblestone streets of the city’s medieval section and has award-winning tapas.
After dinner, there are popular bars and nightlife attractions. Sitges has a thriving LGBTQ+ community and nightlife scene to keep visitors entertained all through the night.
Contributed by Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting
Zaragoza is a must-visit destination in Spain. The capital of Aragon is full of exciting culture, classic architecture, and lots of insider tips.
There are plenty of great things to do in Zaragoza, but a visit to Zaragoza is worthwhile not only to discover the city itself, but also the wonderful surroundings and nature of Aragon.
Probably the most famous attraction in Zaragoza is the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza or Pilar for short.
Located right in the city center, it is a must-see for any visitor. With its impressive size and extraordinary exterior facade, Pilar is one of the most important churches in Spain.
You can enjoy the most beautiful view of the imposing Pilar from the stone bridge, located at the back of the church. From here, you can get a great overall impression of the vast building.
But there are also many other attractions waiting for you in the city center.
Just a short walk from Pilar is another important place of worship in Zaragoza: La Seo Cathedral. Although Pilar usually overshadows the cathedral, a visit here is also absolutely recommended.
The perfect seasons to visit Zaragoza are spring and fall, when it is not too hot or too cold.
Contributed by Vicki from Vicki Viaja
Cadiz is a wonderful place to visit in Spain no matter the time of the year.
Located on the south coast of the country, Cadiz is blessed with over 300 sunny days a year and very little rain.
Cadiz is in fact an island, connected to the mainland through bridges.
The oldest city in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians around year 1000 BC, Cadiz has a young spirit that will surprise you.
Visiting Cadiz is a must if you find yourself in the South of Spain. The old town is charming, with narrow alleys dotted with restaurants and tapas bars where locals love to spend their afternoons and evenings.
One of the places you must definitely visit in Cadiz is the fish market, a buzzing place where in the morning you can buy the freshest fish in the land, and in the afternoon you can eat it cooked by one of the surrounding restaurants.
Visiting the fish market is an experience in itself.
If you love history, you will find many interesting places in Cadiz, starting with the Cathedral.
Known also as the “Cathedral of the Americas,” because it was built with money coming from the trade with the continent across the Atlantic, the cathedral is unique because its crypt is below the sea level.
It is also a unique cathedral because it faces the Atlantic Ocean right from its promenade.
Contributed by Joanna from Andalucia in My Pocket
Sierra Nevada National Park
Sierra Nevada National Park in southern Spain is one of the most wonderful natural areas in the country. Featuring some of the highest peaks on the Iberian Peninsula and the southernmost ski resort in Europe, it is a popular tourist destination.
Though you can conquer the highest peak, Mulhacen, (11,414 feet) in only a day, there are multi-day treks that take you across several peaks and start further down.
There are many refugios in the national park where you can stay the night, either by paying for a bed, sheets, and food/drink, or in old stone shelters where you can get a spot on the floor if you arrive early.
But then you need to bring everything you need for the night.
However, there are also short and fun day hikes for the whole family in the park.
Among them, you should definitely do Ruta de Los Cahorros Monachil’s river walk, crossing numerous suspension bridges, and passing waterfalls and swimming holes as you walk through the canyon. And you have to duck, crawl, or hold on to metal handles in the rock wall to get past sections.
Other than activities like hiking, cycling, and trail running, exploring the many charming white villages nestled around the national park is a fun thing to do. Worth mentioning are Capileira and Trevelez. But also the popular city of Granada is right next to the most popular trails.
Contributed by Linn from Andalucia Hiking
Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands, which are located in the Atlantic Ocean, only 62 miles off Africa and 840 miles away from Europe.
One of the topmost reasons to visit Gran Canaria is that the island enjoys 320 days of sunshine, making it an ideal choice of holiday destination all through the year.
Gran Canaria is also known as a miniature continent, for its varied landscape and climatic conditions across the island.
This pocket-sized island is packed with stunning coastlines, crystal clear beaches, sand dunes that look like a mini Sahara desert, deep ravines, volcanic landscapes, pine forests, and cave dwellings.
In Gran Canaria, do not miss Maspalomas Sand Dunes, a mini version of the Sahara desert.
Stretching over 1,000 acres, the sand dunes form a protected nature reserve.
As you walk along the sand dunes, or along Maspalomas beach, enjoy the views of Faro de Maspalomas, a 19th century lighthouse and one of the famous landmarks in Gran Canaria. ‘
Hire a car and drive around the island to be able to soak in the beauty of landscapes that Gran Canaria offers. Don’t miss the hike to Roque Nublo, and be sure to visit Puerto de Mogan, one of the prettiest whitewashed villages on the island.
Contributed by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
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