The 20 most beautiful places to visit in Spain
The most beautiful places in Spain that you must absolutely visit and discover!
Few travellers have not visited Spain at least once. And for good reason, the country is in second place in the ranking of world tourist destinations. However, it is often the same places that we visit: the capital Madrid, Catalan Barcelona, Costa Brava for the summer holidays or Andalusian Seville.
But Spain has more to offer. Rich in an exciting history, at the crossroads of the Arab-Muslim and Latin-European worlds, it allows you to cross history from one region to another and to cross… the world! Many of the country’s sites and monuments are now classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, both in the cities and in Spanish nature, there are many wonders to discover.
To help you in your Iberian adventures, we have prepared a list of the 20 most beautiful places to visit in Spain!
1. Granada and its Alhambra
Granada is located in eastern Andalusia. It was the last city reconquered by Spanish Catholics in 1492, after several hundred years of Arab-Muslim rule. Thanks to this influence, the city has an impressive and fascinating architecture, of which the Alhambra is the highlight. This fabulous palace and its gardens are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the major monuments of Islamic and Moorish architecture. The Alhambra is divided into four main parts, within a fortified enclosure: the Alcazaba (the fortress), the Nasrid palaces (the last Arab dynasty in the region), the Generalife and the gardens, and finally the palace of Charles V (added by the Castilian conquerors).
2. San Sebastian
Not far from the well-known Bilbao you will find San Sebastian, in the heart of the Basque Country. This city with its sophisticated architecture faces the azure blue of the ocean with magnificent white sandy beaches. It is also a gastronomic destination that cannot be ignored in terms of visits. Here, no tapas, but pintxos – the Basque version of the famous Spanish tapas.
3. Playa del Silencio
The most beautiful beach in Spain is located in Asturias, in the northwest of Spain, where many of the best beaches in Northern Spain are located. It is worth a visit both for its picturesque beauty and its clear waters, which reflect the sky. The tranquility of the area has given it its name: the Silence Beach, and to access the Playa del Silencio, you must go to the village of Castañares. Then you have the choice between going by car or on foot. The road is long, but it is worth it: the view of the beach is breathtaking. The coast of Cudillero is unique, with sumptuous cliffs and small islands, a remarkable and spectacular sight.
30 minutes by car from Seville, Carmona presents itself as the competitor of the Andalusian capital in terms of history and culture, despite its smaller size, it is rich in a fascinating preserved heritage, it was first founded by the Carthaginians before being conquered by the Romans who built a Roman necropolis in the 1st century, considered as a major Roman monument in Andalusia. The city also has many medieval gates, baroque palaces and Moorish fortresses that tourists never tire of visiting. In the evening, the city comes alive and you can enjoy delicious tapas in small picturesque shops.
5. Santiago de Compostela and its pilgrimage
Wondering what else to do in Spain? How to discover the country to visit it under a unique angle? The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela offers you this opportunity. It is to be done at least once in in a lifetime to really get a deeper and more intimate knowledge of the treasures Spain is full of. The path from the French Pyrenees to the magnificent city of Santiago de Compostela takes you through picturesque places, discovering local life and the Spanish way of life. If you are not a fan of long walks, visiting the city of Santiago de Compostela is already a huge step. Capital of Galicia and medieval city, the architecture of the city is simply magnificent. The Baroque cathedral, the arrival point for pilgrims, is a perfect example of this! We recommend that you participate in the feast of Santiago every 25 July: it is one of the best festivals in Spain.
6. Islas Cies
Off Galicia, you will find the archipelago of the Cies Islands. The archipelago has three main islands: San Martiño, Do Faro and Monteagudo. Each of them has incredible and fascinating landscapes. Exploring them can take days: forests, breathtaking cliffs, caves, small islets and golden beaches… The diversity of places and landscapes make the Cies Islands a unique place to visit in Spain.
Capital of Aragon, Zaragoza is a fabulous medieval and historical city located in the south of the Pyrenees, just next to Catalonia. The city’s architecture is surprising, mixing different periods and styles. The most emblematic monuments are the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, as well as its Stone Bridge, which spans the Ebro. There is nothing better than to enjoy delicious tapas in the small streets of the city, then to walk along the banks of the Ebro to admire the city’s lights and sparkling waters. Visiting Spain without stopping in Zaragoza would be a shame!
8. Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park
The Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park is one of the most magnificent reserves in Europe, which will offer you exceptional walks and hikes. The path through the Ordesa canyon with its gigantic ocher cliffs is one of the most incredible to follow. It follows the waters of the Rio Arazas, which form a succession of splendid waterfalls! With its canyons that are among the deepest in Europe, its depopulated Pyrenean valleys and its many waterfalls, the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park is one of Spain’s natural jewels, on the border with France and not far from Zaragoza.
What to do in Spain and also during your stay in Madrid? Visit the historic city of Segovia, of course! Located to the northwest of the capital, Segovia has a superb architectural heritage: medieval walls, Romanesque churches, a royal palace and a magnificent Gothic cathedral. One of the city’s most fascinating monuments is the perfectly preserved aqueduct. The Romans ruled Spain for more than 700 years, they have adorned the Iberian peninsula with architectural treasures that house this aqueduct. Good to know: Segovia is only two hours by train from Madrid.
10. The Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada, the “snow-covered mountains” in French, is an Andalusian mountain range. It is the second highest mountain range in Europe after the Alps, with the Mulhacén peak at an altitude of 3,478 meters. Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, Sierra Nevada National Park is one of the places to visit in Spain you won’t soon forget. You will discover a unique fauna and flora, unique to the Iberian Peninsula. At the foot of the mountains, you will also find Las Alpujurras, a region populated by thermal springs, small white houses, Serrano hams and winding goat paths. Do you like mountains and hiking, are you wondering what to do in Spain? Sierre Nevada is the answer. These mountains are unique and to be contemplated at least once in your life!
11. Las Palmas
We leave the continent for the Canary Islands, where the sublime island of Las Palmas is located. Off the northwest coast of Africa, the Canary Islands are a group of Spanish islands with fantastic volcanic landscapes. Las Palmas is probably the most beautiful of all, with its rocky and wooded landscapes, dotted with volcanoes such as Cumbre Vieja or Teneguía. The main city and capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Las Palmas, is a fabulous port city. The narrow cobbled streets, the houses with wooden balconies and the sea air are just some of the little things that make Santa Cruz so charming and will enchant you. Finally, La Palma is home to the Caldera de Taburiente National Park. Covered with pine forests, the latter is covered by sparkling waterfalls. A unique place to visit in Spain!
In the heart of Spain reigns Toledo, a city that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. The city has many historic sites. It was known as the “Imperial City” because it was the seat of the court of Charles V, Germanic Roman Emperor and King of Spain. The most popular monuments to visit are the Castillo de San Servando, a medieval castle overlooking the Tagus River and standing proudly over the city(pictured above), but also the Cathedral of Toledo, the Church of St Thomas or the Alcázar!
Barcelona is the second most visited city in Spain and has an undeniable charm. Whether it is its location on the Mediterranean Sea, its iconic architecture or its international atmosphere, everything is enchanting in Barcelona. The most important monuments are of course the Sagrada Familia, the Güell Park and really, all of the incredible monuments built by Gaudi. And to celebrate and have fun in Spain, there is no place better than the beautiful Catalan city of Barcelona!
If you are planning to visit Spain, Madrid is one of the most beautiful destinations – especially if you are looking for a change of scenery for a weekend. On the menu: the Prado Museum, the majestic Royal Palace of Madrid or the charming Retiro Park. The city is full of monuments and tourist attractions to discover with delight. Speaking of delicacies, you will find many small tapas restaurants in the city centre, as well as lively bars where you can have fun for an evening. The capital of Spain is not short of energy, features the world renowned Real Madrid sports teams and will have activities and sights for all kinds of travelers.
Known for its Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, Bilbao is one of the most amazing cities you will find in Spain. Located in the heart of the Basque Country, this port city is an essential cultural destination. In addition to the Guggenheim, the city is home to many museums such as the Archaeological and Historical Museum of the Basque Country or a Fine Arts Museum, whose permanent collection consists of local works.
Located on the east coast of Spain, Valencia has many attractions. Known for its City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic complex with many attractions, the city also has a particularly charming Old Town, where you can enjoy a delicious paella – a dish originally from Valencia!
17. Palma de Mallorca
It is the second Palma in this top 20 of the most beautiful places to visit in Spain. Palma, the main city on the island of Mallorca, has an impressive historical heritage. A highly strategic place in the Mediterranean Sea, the island was coveted by all powers. It is home to architectural treasures such as the Royal Palace of Almudaina, the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca and Roman arenas, among other wonders. The island of Mallorca, the largest island in the Balearic Islands, is a perfect destination to enjoy the sun and the sea. In addition to its beautiful beaches and coves for swimming, the island has incredible and breathtaking scenery.
A major city during Roman antiquity and the Middle Ages, Córdoba is best known for its magnificent Mezquita, the cathedral mosque, which bears witness to the rich history of the city and the region. It was the heart and capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba during the golden age of Muslim domination over Spain. Other famous monuments are also to be discovered, such as the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir, the palace of the Christian kings or simply the Old City of Córdoba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you are wondering what to do in Spain, then we have the answer: visit Seville, the capital of Andalusia, probably one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Spain. Seville is famous for its historical and architectural heritage, from its Cathedral and Giralda to its Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza or its vibrant flamenco culture. During your stay, we recommend that you visit the Alcazar and its gardens – a perfectly preserved example of Mudéjar architecture from the Muslim era, but also lose yourself in the alleys of the Old City to enjoy all the life and beauty of the Andalusian city. To complete your visit, do not hesitate to attend a flamenco show.
20. La Rioja
La Rioja is the wine region of Spain. It will delight all wine lovers. If you visit La Rioja, the programme will be simple and delicious: discovering the local cellars and vineyards, but above all, wine tasting and tapas. The capital of the region, Logroño, is the perfect base camp to discover the surrounding areas. Its picturesque city center is also home to many tapas bars.
Now you know what to do in Spain! We can only advise you to include these unmissable and unique places when you visit Spain.
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