19 BEST Places to Visit in Spain

Some cities get more attention than others, but there are many great places to visit in Spain. The country has a lot to offer. You'll find everything from wonderful beaches to wild mountains, from large metropolitan cities to historic small villages, and everything in between. In other words, Spain has something to offer for any kind of traveler, and it's always interesting to look into the various destinations.

Spanish artists invented surrealism in the first place, thanks in no small part to many surreal landscapes, which looks like real alien planets. Among the best places to visit in Spain, we will begin with five major cities - the most obvious places to visit - and then move on to some smaller places that are less touristy destinations, off the beaten path places, but equally worthy of being visited.

Best Places to Visit in Spain

Secluded in some of the most non-touristic parts of the country, if you want to go off the beaten path and experience a dream-like experience, these are your spots:

1. Formentera


In Ibiza, you have bohemian vibe and only a 30-minute ferry ride from Ibiza is the tranquil island of Formentera, known as the Spanish Caribbean with Europe's finest beach Playa Illetes. Only 40 minutes by boat from Mallorca's south coast, visit the island and the National Park Cabrera - Balearic smallest island with only 20 inhabitants? Only 200 people will visit the protected natural area per day, so make sure you book a place in advance!

2. Alicante


Want to experience Spain in brilliant colors? Just 170 kilometres away from Valencia, you will find Alicante. A smaller city in all regards, but still a city that gets plenty of tourists all year around. In March, the country's fruit trees are in full bloom. An hour from Alicante in areas of Cieza, Planes and La Vall de Gallinera, flowering almond, peach and cherry in white and pink.

The reason for Alicante's popularitiy is the great weather and the beautiful coastline. The city is located on Costa Blanca, known as the white coast in English, and it's an awesome place to be. Alicante also offers great local food, and its history should not be discounted - the city was founded by the Greeks in 324 BC and it was a very important city during the Moorish rule of Spain.

To enjoy La Tomatina festival you have to get to Buñol in Valencia at least the day before. About 11 o'clock in the morning a firecracker announces the beginning of La Tomatina. At that moment, trucks loaded with tomatoes enter the scene and cross the streets of San Luis and Cid as well as Plaza Leyana and Plaza del Pueblo.

The neighbors that go on the trucks are in charge of throwing tomatoes to the crowd and when the dump trucks release their cargo the moment of madness arrives. La Tomatina has also reached mobile phones through a Pokemon Go game.

3. Tarragona


South of Barcelona is the Costa Dorada (Gold Coast), best known for the city of Tarragona, small fishing villages, sandy beaches and delicious seafood dishes. The seaside resort Cambrils attracts with tapas in every nook and family park Port Aventura. Costa Dorada is known for its long and fine sandy beaches. Here Suns olive trees between sea and mount Montserrat. Not far away is the wine region of Priorat.

4. Balearic Islands


The Balearic Islands offer beautiful landscapes with turquoise waters and idyllic beaches. Of course, another option is to follow your route to 'eat' through Menorca, an island that will also surprise you outside the summer season. Menorca is a more quiet and untouched version with fewer tourists - the site of the real nature lover.

Balearic tranquil haven, with over 200 turquoise bays, green landscapes and some of the island group's best diving experiences. Get around by bike or on horseback along the Cami de Cavalls, the road that winds around the island.

5. Zaragoza


For those looking for that extra dose of adrenaline, but without falling into mega-extreme sports or being pro surfers, the best suggestion is to do canyoning in Las Gloces (Huesca), cross the Caminito del Rey (Malaga) or jump in the longest zip line in Spain which is 1,300 meters in length and 150 meters in height in Cabezón de Pisuerga (Valladolid).

It's always good to take a route through the areas of Game of Thrones in Spain (the Bardenas Reales de Navarra, the plaza de bulls of Osuna in Seville, the Castle of Zafra in Guadalajara).

6. Donostia-San Sebastian


Most of you love Spain for the diversity and landscape it offers. Plus the churros and the paella, yum! However, most travelers go to the more popular locations in Spain like Mallorca, Barcelona, Seville, and maybe Tenerife to name a few. The Basque country (and the resort town of San Sebastian inside) is often unexplored!

For starters, it is absolutely gorgeous, and not very touristy if you like that. Plus it has a deep relationship with the different elements of nature! So if you want to visit a top notch place with the above + some great shopping and great museums, then San Sebastian is the place for you!

San Sebastián is also redefining the Basque image around the world with its extraordinary gastronomy. The city can proudly boast of being the home of two restaurants classified in the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world and, in addition, it has 16 Michelin stars distributed in 9 restaurants.

It is also one of the best places to taste some snacks in Spain with pintxos - miniature culinary creations, similar to Spanish tapas, but better. Just 20 minutes along the coast, the beautiful town of Hondarribia is fast becoming a must go for foodies in Spain.

There are beautiful beach destinations like Biarritz and some of the best surfing spots in the world. The Basque dances, euskal dantzak in euskera, are a set of dances that represent the culture of the Basque Country and always involve a social act of great interest both for tourists and among the inhabitants of this autonomous community. The Aurresku, called in Basque Ohorezko Aurreskua, is a typical Spanish dance of the Basque Country.

7. Bilbao


The Basque Country is a region of northern Spain and southern France still unexplored. But that is something that is changing, as it now begins to appear on tourist itineraries - and rightly so. As one of the oldest and culturally rich regions of Europe, it has much to offer visitors. The name Euskal Herria is used by the natives of the Basque Country to refer to their land.

From modern cities, picturesque villages and green landscapes to first class cuisine and the best wine region in Spain - the Basque Country has something for everyone. Bilbao is the perfect example. The Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry is the best-known example and is also the number one tourist attraction in the Basque Country.

Located in Mount Santiago, between the provinces of Burgos and Álava, the Salto del Nervión, with its more than 200 meters high, pours its waters into an impressive fall towards the bottom of the Delika Canyon.

Cantabria is the less touristic part of the Spanish green coast in the North. It boasts a lush, leafy landscape, full of natural preserves and roaring seas battling against its rugged coast. Its caves are incredible to explore. Its capital, Santander, is a charming, aristocratic city full of Belle Epoque flair, and its food is known for its monster-sized portions, its fresh seafood and its generous use of butter.

And after filling the stomach with all that delicious food, a trip to the best wine-growing area in Spain, La Rioja is the perfect idea. The region is full of picturesque villages, such as those found in the French Basque Country, as well as numerous fishing communities along the coast.

A small landlocked region, La Rioja is a region made for food lovers and wine connoisseurs. Its vineyards are a thing of beauty, filled with incredible avant garde architecture, its wine is inexpensive (there are wine public fountains), and its capital, Logroño, boasts an amazing range of tapas and historic buildings.

8. Asturias


One of the hidden secrets in Spain, Cudillero is a very small fishing village, but it might be the most beautiful place in the entire country. According to the legend, Cudillero was founded by the Vikings around a thousand years ago. Today it is mostly a tourist town where people to go to relax and get away from the busy, modern-day lifestyle.

The village provides a perfect view of the ocean. Swimming and fishing are great things to do in Cudillero, and you should also check out some of the restaurants. They serve typical Asturian seafood, such as octopus, sardines and oysters. Be sure to order a cider as well. The region is famous for its cider and surprisingly, the bottles are not even that expensive.

9. Santiago de Compostela


Maybe you have heard of the famous pilgrimage Camino de Santiago. Each year, thousands of people walk to Santiago de Compostela from various locations. The most common route is the one that starts in the French pyrenees, where you walk throughout Northern Spain with this city as the final destination.

Pilgrim or not, Santiago is a great city to visit in any case. The most famous attraction is the cathedral. According to the legend, Saint James the Great is buried here. But be sure to see all of the historic sights in the old part of the city. There is a very special mood and some interesting architecture from the Middle Ages.

If you’re interested in learning more about Santiago de Compostela before going, watch the movie “The Way” by Emilio Estévez, or read the book 'The Pilgrimage' by Paulo Coelho.

The border area between Galicia and Portugal has a lot of charm. The river Miño in its final stretch makes natural separation between the two countries.

In the province of Pontevedra there are two routes of very interesting water mills. One is the set of the natural park of Ría de Barosa and the other that of the mills of Picón and Folón. They are declared as cultural interest as an ethnographic legacy of this region of the Bajo Minho.

Viveiro is one of those towns in the north of Galicia that goes unnoticed by the great majority. Located in the heart of the Mariña de Lugo area, it is not the typical fishing village. Lugo is a province that you have to visit if you are thinking of traveling to Galicia. The views from Valença are unique and Tui is full of fantastic streets and art.

Casa Grande de Xanceda is in the town of the same name in the province of A Coruña. One of the caves enabled to receive visitors is the Cueva do Rei Cintolo. It is very close to the town of Mondoñedo. The Isla de San Simón is located in the interior of the Vigo estuary. It belongs to the parish of Cesantes, in the municipality of Redondela. As much as you think you know it, the Rías Baixas always have the capacity to surprise you.

September is the end of the high season for walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrims trail through northern Spain. It’s 800 kilometers, and you can insert a few legs by bus if you don’t have the time to walk it all. It’s perfectly doable for anyone, as a lot of oddly shaped people keep on proving.

10. Salamanca


Salamanca is one of the highlights in northwestern Spain. Somewhat close to the Portuguese border, it isn’t that easy to get to Salamanca - most likely, you’ll have to take a bus or a train.

However, it’s all worth it when you’re there. Salamanca is a historic city with beautiful architecture, and it is one of the most popular cities among foreign exchange students. September is the best month to visit, as there are many festivals. This is also when most people arrive at the city, so it’s the perfect opportunity to socialize. Salamanca is arguably, after Madrid and Barcelona, the city in Spain with the best nightlife.

11. Segovia


Instead of going to Toledo, you can also opt for Segovia. It's another historic city close to Madrid, and you can go there for a very small price. A ticket with the AvanzaBus from Madrid's Moncloa station usually costs around 5 euros, and a train ticket from Atocha will set you back 12 euros.

Segovia is an old Roman city that still has its famous aqueduct. It also has a majestic cathedral and a castle, Alcázar de Segovia. Most visitors consider the castle to be the absolute highlight. Go to the northwest of the city and you won’t miss it. Entry is just 5.50 euros, but even looking at it from the outside should be enough to give you a lasting impression.

The charming city of Segovia has both small corners as the Azoguejo (small souk) and the neighborhood of the Canonjías, which have to be discovered walking quietly, as the most popular and overcrowded monuments of the Aqueduct and the Alcázar. It is therefore a city that lives with two rhythms completely antagonistic.

There is the hurried and bustling hordes of weekend tourists traveling to Spain everywhere and the quiet of the weekdays as a small capital of the Castilian province that is.

While people usually deride Castilla y Leon as a flat, uninteresting, depopulated region, its sheer size and long history has blessed her with some of the most amazing places to visit in the country. Salamanca has some of the oldest European Universities and is full of life. Burgos has some of the most beautiful Gothic Cathedrals, Segovia is one of the best 1 day trips from Madrid.

Castilla’s natural parks are full of scenic, epic landscapes that wouldn’t look out of place in the US. Northern Castile is full of endless grain fields on both sides of the road, with horses and cows here and there and small rivers cutting through the yellow-wheat plains.

Northern Castile is the region with the most UN heritage sites in the world. Spain as a country is third after China and Italy, but Northern Castile concentrates more than any region in China and Italy. Lost in the wheat fields in small medieval towns is the history of the old kingdom of Castile, the best preserved Roman aqueduct in the world is in the city of Segovia.

The first treaty dividing the planet between two empires was signed in the small town of Tordesillas. Charles V's court and Philip II's birthplace is in Valladolid. One of the main three heroic poems of medieval Europe El Mío Cid takes place in Palencia and Burgos. The most relevant university of the Spanish Empire is in Salamanca. The symbol of Celtiberian resistance against the Romans is Numantia in Soria.

The main gold mines of Roman Spain is in Astorga in León. The hometown of queen Isabella is in Arévalo in Ávila. The birthplace of Roman Emperor Theososius as well as emperor Arcadius and Honorius is in Coca in Segovia.

12. Toledo


And southern Castile is the land of Don Quixote. The city of Toledo is also a place one should visit - it really looks amazing and historical and there is a bus tour around it which takes you to the panoramic view of the whole city - which by itself looks really medieval and trapped in history.

The land of Toledo is the historic capital of Hispania, the City of the Three Cultures, the birthplace of standard Spanish (Spanish is from northern Castile, but the standard form was the one from Toledo as the de facto capital). The city of Toledo concentrates the best of Spanish Renaissance and Golden Age architecture along with Seville (and to some extent Habsburg in Madrid).

The city of the Greco and all his artworks, is a medieval city intact to the modern age with Mosques, Synagogues and Cathedrals in the same square, with Hebrew inscriptions on the walls and the floor, with knive and sword makers in the streets, with Visigothic and Roman ruins all beneath the city.

The hanging houses of Cuenca, is with houses coming out of vertical mountain sides overlooking the plains, the Roman ruins of Segobriga, the dry fields with the white villages and windmills of Don Quixote.

You can visit Toledo from Madrid by different means of transport such as train or bus. The historic center of Toledo sits on a hill that, with the imposing mass of the Alcázar, descends to the banks of the Tagus River. There, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together for centuries, whose multiple legacy is still perceptible wherever you look, from its monuments to its gastronomic delights.

Called since then the City of the Three Cultures, these overlapping layers of history have turned the current capital of La Mancha into an enclave of impressive heritage.

Toledo is known as the city of three cultures. It used to be the capital of the Visigothic kingdom, a state that existed prior to the creation of modern-day Spain. Toledo is famous for its architecture, which has influence from three different cultures, since Christians, Muslims and Jews all lived there. Due to this, the whole city of Toledo has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In more recent years, Toledo has enjoyed political influence as the local capital of the Castilla-La Mancha region. It’s also a famous city when it comes to the production of weapons. There are many cultural sights to see, and going to Toledo feels like stepping back into the past. Walking through its cute streets, it is impossible not to smile.

Although it is quite small by modern standards, Toledo can be called an ancient Museum because there is a huge number of places that are worth seeing. Toledo is located relatively close to Madrid, and there are frequent bus and train connections. It takes just around an hour to travel between the two cities, so many tourists in Madrid decide to go for a one-day trip to Toledo.

The most underrated Spanish region is none but Extremadura with an incredible treasure trove of heritage (best roman ruins outside of Italy), amazing, surreal natural parks (Valle del Jerte and Los Barruecos) and it also boasts of the best cured ham in the entire country. So what the hell are you waiting for? It’s just a 3 hour drive from Madrid. Go visit Extremadura!

13. Cordoba


Cordoba is the city one should definitely visit. The main and the most famous attraction in the city is the Mezquita (a cathedral-mosque) which dates back to the period of Moorish Spain. It is by far the most visited spot in the city and in my opinion, it definitely deserves attention it receives because it can really show you a bit of history.

Aside from the Mezquita, you should visit the Calleja de las Flores (Flower Street) in the Jewish quarter, the bridge on the Guadalquivir river, Plaza del Potro, Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos which is a Moorish palace located near the Mezquita and the Roman temple of Córdoba.

We know, the options can be multiple, but if we want to get out of the classic circuits, a little known suggestion is to visit Antequera and its dolmen of Menga, a megalithic monument declared World Heritage and Cultural Interest by UNESCO, or Cordoba, the only city in the world with four UNESCO World Heritage properties.

Almeria is the Spanish capital of gastronomy, famous for its garden and a gastronomic offer of closeness and Moorish touches - hunting in the Alpujarra, rock fish on the coast and tapas menu to choose from in most of the bars in the city of Indalo.

It is worth noting that the city is not one of the most striking in Spain, but the easternmost province of Andalusia is home to unparalleled landscapes that present on this route along seven beaches with crystal clear waters. Do you need any more motivation?

Discover Sierra de Andújar and Cazorla in southern Spain – two of the world’s most exciting destinations for wildlife-spotters. Amidst the well-preserved Mediterranean forests and scrublands are a number of endangered species. Lynx, otters, wild boars and Europe’s great raptors are just some of the incredible animals you could see on your travels.

14. Granada


Granada is probably the most famous example because the Moorish fortress of Alhambra is located near the city. Alhambra itself is very exciting - it is big and it will take you good 4–5 hours to see every corner of it and even more if you decide to stay longer in the areas you visit. Overall, it is one of the places to visit if you ever find yourselves in the city.

Besides the Alhambra, some other places to visit in Granada is the historical center, the Generalife (summer palace of the Moorish kings), Royal Chapel of Granada, Monasterio de San Jerónimo, Arc of Elvira, Granada Cathedral, Paseo de los Tristes, Mosque of Granada and House of Shots.

In Granada, one of the eight that make up the region of Andalusia, you can admire the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife while visiting Spain. The Nasrid palaces built by the Nasrid dynasty is a true example of Muslim art. Practice skiing or snowboarding in any of the tracks of the Sierra Nevada, at 3478 meters high. Alhambra in Granada is another beautiful and unique palace and fortress complex of the world.

Would not you like to stay in a cave house? Many families of Granada live in this way in Guadix, Marquesado, Sacromonte. In the Sierra Nevada National Park is the beautiful town of Pampaneira. But beware of the mysterious Fuente de San Antonio in La Chumpaneira, in the center of the square. It is said that whoever drinks from its waters, loses his bachelorhood unless a rooster sings.

Aside from the natural wonders (the famous of which is the Sierra Nevada), there are numerous cities in the province that are worth visiting and are quite exciting.

15. Málaga


Malaga, on Spain's Sunshine Coast, is a mix of the traditional and the modern. See beautiful churches, eat fresh fish on the markets or visit the Picasso Museum. A special experience is during the Holy Week, when a grand procession takes place during Holy Week. Málaga is highly popular among most tourists. The reasons are obvious.

Depending on the time of the year you go to Andalusia, Malaga can be a great place to take a swim in the sea - while it is hot in May, the water is very cold, however, not all people mind that. In the summer, the water is warmer and thus better if you want to spend the time on the beach - Malaga has a very long, sandy beach. Aside from that, you can visit the Alcazaba, Museo Picasso, Málaga Cathedral, Roman Theatre and Gibralfaro.

Málaga is in Costa del Sol, arguably the part of Spain where the weather is best all year around. Secondly, flights to Málaga are usually cheap and easy to find. While Málaga appeals most to travelers that prefer to relax and stay by the beach, it can also be a decent city for cultural tourists.

For example, it has the nice Picasso Museum that contains some of Pablo Picasso’s greatest pieces of art. Carratraca is a small town in the province of Málaga surrounded by hills. Bedside the awesome views the best attraction is the restaurant Casa Pepa with it's yummy food. If you are lucky you can see the grandma of Antonio Banderas in the kitchen.

16. Marbella


Marbella is one of the most active tourist venues all year round for its active nightlife and active sea life as well. Favourite of holidaymakers, the impressive and luxurious boating tours are exceptional and a welcome change for your holiday in Spain. and the workaholics can enjoy a healthy game of golf in a golf course too! With more than 125 beaches on a coastline, it's a challenging holiday for you.

The place for all who want to soak up the sun, enjoy the spa and stroll in the old town alleys. But also for those who love golf. There are 36 clubs near Marbella, including well-known golf course Finca Cortesin. Rent a car and visit the flower city of Estepona and nearby villages.

17. Ronda


Ronda is a city some 100 km west of Malaga - and it mostly famous for the 3 bridges (Puente Nuevo, Puente Romano and Puente Viejo) which give you extremely wonderful views once you are on them. Aside from the bridges which are the main attractions, you can go around the city’s narrow streets and visit the Mondragón palace, Museo Lara, La Casa del Rey Moro, Alameda del Tajo and Casa del Gigante.

18. Cádiz


Believe it or not, there’s still one coastal region in Southern Spain that hasn’t been overrun by tourists (yet). Cadiz is mostly visited by Spanish tourists. Conil de la Frontera has it all, a privileged climate with more than 300 sunny days a year, a virgin coastline with paradisiacal beaches, an old town with a lot of history and an exquisite gastronomy. Without a doubt, a fantastic destination and a good base camp to explore the rest of the Province of Cadiz.

It has 14 km of coastline where we find 10 sandy areas between coves and beaches, which are undoubtedly the main attraction of the municipality. The variety of beaches is impressive. The beaches of the south are characterized by being large and infinite sands such as Palmar, Bateles or Castilnovo.

The north, protected by the Levant include the presence of imposing cliffs and virgin coves of great beauty that they seem taken from a postcard, like the Calas de Roche, from Quinto or from Poniente.

19. La Gomera


A tropical forest shrouded in mystery, Garajonay national park is home of an extremely surreal weather condition: Horizontal rain. Due to its particular mist water condensation, water gets suspended, floating in the air rather than falling down like regular rain, so you “bump” into raindrops as you move.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has served as useful inspiration. There are plenty of interesting Spanish cities to visit, and if you visit one of these, it will certainly give you some unforgettable moments.

And remember that one destination doesn't rule out another: From Madrid, you can easily visit Toledo or Segovia as well. Due to the close proximity between Alicante and Valencia, a lot of travelers also combine these two cities during the same trip.
Kalyan Panja

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