Spain’s lovely coastlines, charming landscapes, rich historical legacy, well-preserved natural sights, Mediterranean climate and exciting nightlife have made it a popular tourist place. In this article, we list the top 10 places to visit in Spain for an unforgettable trip.
The land of siesta and sunshine, this country is a place for foodies, history buffs and beach and sports lovers. Spain is home to two renowned football clubs – Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona. Euro is the currency of Spain. Indians need a visa to travel to Spain. As Spain has lots to explore, we have compiled a list of the must-visit 10 tourist places in Spain.
How to reach Spain
By air: From India, the easiest way to reach Spain is by air. International airports of Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga are well connected with Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. A direct flight from Delhi to Madrid takes less than 10 hours.
By rail: You can go to Spain via Eurail from France and Italy.
By road: Spain shares land borders with Portugal, Andorra and France. You can drive over to Spain from any of these countries.
See also: Top France places to visit
Best time to visit Spain
May, June and September are the best months to visit Spain. During these months, it is comfortably warm and dry. The best travel time also depends on the activities you are planning to do. April and October are the most suitable to visit sandy beaches.
Places to visit in Spain #1: Barcelona
Barcelona is Spain’s most popular tourist place to visit, which has stunning architecture, amazing culture and beautiful coastlines. Bright and colourful, Barcelona provides picture-perfect city vistas. As the city is home to Barcelona FC, a tourist must visit Barcelona’s Camp Nou to experience the 99,000-seater stadium, museum and trophy rooms. One should also see Parc Ciutadella, a giant park full of fountains and statues with Roman influences. Another not-to-miss park is the Park Guell. An artistic paradise, Barcelona Park Guell has structures and designs made of natural resources. This outdoor wonder celebrates the colourful mosaic tile work of Antoni Gaudi. Museums in Barcelona are a must-visit, including the Maritime Museum in Port Vell, Museum Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Museum of the History of Barcelona and the European Museum of Modern Art. Much of Barcelona’s seafront has a carnival-like atmosphere with musicians, street performers and hawkers. Barceloneta Beach is the most vibrant and exciting stretch of sand and sea with a variety of entertainment options and seafood eateries. Bogatell Beach is perfect for those who just want to bask in the afternoon sun. Barcelona also has architectural works of Spain’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, including the Sagrada Familia cathedral and the Casa Batllo. Both the extraordinary structures feature fascinating designs, shapes and colours. Sagrada Familia is the most famous unfinished cathedral in the world.
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm (All 7 days)
Entry fees: € 33 (Main entrance + Towers), € 26 (Main entrance), Free entry for children under 11 years.
How to reach Barcelona
By air: Barcelona airport is located 16 kilometres south of the city. Barcelona is well-connected to most European destinations with major airlines operating from the Barcelona El Prat Airport.
By road: Barcelona is connected to other parts of Spain and Europe through several bus services.
By rail: It also has excellent connectivity with other parts of Spain and Europe, thanks to the amazing railway network. Euro Rail should be your first preference.
Places to visit in Spain #2: Seville
Seville is the capital of Spain’s southern Andalusia region and is known for sunny weather, flamenco dancing and historical places. Seville was one of the locations for The Game of Thrones. In Seville, a tourist must see the exquisite Alcazar Castle complex (built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty) and the Gothic Seville Cathedral where Christopher Columbus’ tomb lies. Alcázar Real de Sevilla is the Royal Palace of Seville. A UNESCO site depicting Hispano-Muslim architecture, this Moorish palace complex is the most famous attraction in Seville. The construction of the original fort began in the 10th. The current Alcazar’s construction commenced in the 14th century. Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is one of the world’s largest cathedrals. It was built over the remnants of a Moorish Mosque. The Giralda Tower was once part of this mosque. Inside the cathedral, one can see the treasure trove, the tomb of Columbus and the royal chapel. Seville also has the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza – the largest bullfighting arena in Spain.
How to reach Seville
By air: Seville’s main airport is San Pablo, located about 12 kilometres northeast of the city and has connections from across Europe.
By road: Seville is a well-connected roadway network with Spain and other parts of Europe.
By rail: The Santa Justa railway station in Seville has state-of-the-art high-speed trains, which are connected to other Spanish cities.
Places to visit in Spain #3: Madrid
Madrid is one of the most well-known places to visit in Spain. Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is famous as a European strolling city with ample green spaces like the Buen Retiro Park and pedestrian-only boulevards like the famous Gran Via. Soccer fans must visit Real Madrid’s playground and take in the impressive Santiago Bernabeu Stadium tour. Madrid is a must-visit city for any museum lover because of The Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia National Galleries and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. The Prado Museum is renowned as the largest art gallery in the world. It exhibits sculptures, drawings, coins and other works of art. It has more than 8,600 paintings of which they exhibit less than 2,000 works due to lack of space. Prado Museum has the world’s richest collection of Spanish paintings and masterpieces of other schools of European painting, especially Italian and Flemish art.
Timings: 10 am to 8 pm (Monday to Saturday), 10 am to 7 pm (Sunday)
Prado Museum is closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.
Entry fees: € 15.40 (adults), free entry for children and students between 18 to 25 years.
How to reach Madrid
By air: Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport is among the largest airports in Europe and is connected by several international carriers.
By road: Madrid is well-linked with Spain with a seamless road network.
By rail: There are train services in Madrid from various cities in Spain. Chamartín and Atocha are the two railway stations in the city.
See also: Top 10 places to visit in Italy
Places to visit in Spain #4: Ibiza
Ibiza is among the most popular tourist places in Spain, known for its nightclubs, electronic dance and the summer music club scene. Ibiza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with lots of culture, history and scenic beauty. It has pleasant weather (for more than eight months of the year). Enjoy the sunset from Cala Comte, Cala Basse or the famous Es Vedra island. Take a tour of Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s fortified old town, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. Ibiza is the second largest Balearic Island and its shores are covered with 57 beaches, each offering something unique. Historically, the island was claimed by numerous empires, including the Greeks and the Romans. However, today it is true-blue Spanish. Cala Longa is an extremely long bay on the east coast of Ibiza. Amidst the wooded mountains and colourful green scenery, it is a place that everyone must experience. With 2,600 years of history, it is one of the oldest cities in the world. With whitewashed walls, bougainvillaea and colourful signs, the Dalt Vila or the upper town of Ibiza is a charming place. This High Town of Ibiza was constructed to defend against pirates. It took 31 years to complete. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, High Town of Ibiza is now an outdoor archaeological museum, which attracts a large number of tourists.
How to reach Ibiza
By air: The Ibiza Airport is approximately 6 km from the main town area. The airport has daily flights from all the major cities in and around Europe.
By sea: Ibiza is an island and hence, it is not reachable via road or rail. The only other alternative is to travel via boat. This is possible only during the summer months. The two major ports are the port of Ibiza and San Antonio.
Places to visit in Spain #5: Canary Island
The Canary Islands is one of the most visited islands in Spain. It has a wide and varied diversity of natural spaces. Volcanoes, ancient forests, paradisiacal beaches, seas brimming with life and pure, clean skies make up a valuable ecosystem. Owing to the volcanic nature of Canary Islands, black and white sand beaches exist, making for stunning photos. The seas around the Canary Islands are home to up to one-third of the world’s dolphin and whale species. Each island has a unique charm and lovely beaches, national parks and historical sites. Some of the best places to visit include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa. The Canary Islands are naturally diverse with desert, snow-capped mountains, drastic valleys and high mountain peaks. La Palma Island is a haven for nature lovers and those fond of exploring the great outdoors. The Gran Telescopio Canarias is the world’s largest single-aperture telescope, providing one of the best star-gazing experiences in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also home to the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, a rugged area surrounded by tall peaks and a massive volcanic crater. Tenerife is the largest Canary Island and the most popular due to the stunning El Teide, Spain’s highest peak and a UNESCO-protected national park. From cycling and paragliding to scuba diving and sailing, the Canary Islands is a paradise for sports lovers. Visit Fuerteventura for surfing, windsurfing and kiting.
How to reach the Canary Island
By air: Gran Canaria Airport is the nearest airport to the Canary Islands.
By ferry: You can get around the Canary Islands by ferry or plane. The main transport hubs are Tenerife and Gran Canaria. From these two islands, you can travel by ferry to the other islands.
Places to visit in Spain #6: Valencia
Valencia is a beautiful place to visit in Spain. It is located in the eastern part of the country and is known for the City of Arts and Sciences (a cultural and architectural complex) and the Fallas Festival. Valencia is famous for paella (the national rice and seafood-based dish). Valencia has restored historic buildings, including churches, monasteries such as San Miguel de Los Reyes and the site of an ancient silk trade centre known as the Silk Exchange Market. Do visit the Lonja de la Seda de Valencia. Built between 1482 and 1533, this group of buildings was originally used for silk trading (hence, the name, the Silk Exchange). It is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. One can also to visit the Torres de Serranos, one of the only standing gates to the walled city and a prison for over 300 years. The Valencia Cathedral, built between 1381 and 1424, is an impressive building with a 51-meter-high tower, El Miquelet (or Little Michael). Another fascinating attraction is the Plaza de la Reina with the Cathedral and the Miguelito tower, which has 207 steps that offer beautiful views. Explore the idyllic Patio de Los Naranjo’s courtyard full of orange trees and the Modernist Central Market, Europe’s largest fresh produce market. A few metres away is the National Ceramic Museum with its impressive façade and the Quart and Serrano Towers. The National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts, González Martí, has an incredible collection of ceramics, traditional costumes and furniture. Kids must visit the Natural Science Museum and its large collection of dinosaur skeletons. Valencia has some nice beaches, as it is a coastal city. Visit Albufera Park, a beachside wetland reserve with hiking trails and beaches. Tourists come in August to enjoy Spain’s messiest festival held in Buñol, 40 km west of Valencia, La Tomatina, the tomato-throwing spectacle.
How to reach Valencia
By air: Valencia Airport is the nearest airport, which is 10 km from the main centre.
By road: Spain has a well-connected roadway network linking it to the rest of the country. Valencia lies between the N-340 highway to Barcelona and Alicante and the N-III to Madrid and Castile-La Mancha. There are efficient taxi and bus services to get in and around the city.
By rail: Estacion Del Norte is the primary railway station connected to the heart of Valencia.
Places to visit in Spain #7: Córdoba
Córdoba is an extremely important city in Spain, steeped in Islamic roots mixed with Roman influence. It is located in the southern region of Spain, Andalucia. Córdoba retains its charm with the historic and cultural attractions of a bustling metropolis. It is known as the Mecca of the West due to the La Mezquita, a UNESCO-listed structure. Another fantastic part of the city to explore is the Old Town. The Jewish-inspired area is home to some of the most attractive residences in the city. The historic quarter of Córdoba, is one of the oldest in Europe and is a maze of medieval streets, plazas and whitewashed courtyards situated near the La Mezquita mosque, built in 784 AD. Initially built as a mosque, it is now a cathedral retaining most of its original architecture. Its large columns, topped with Islamic-style red and white striped arches, are a reminder of Córdoba in medieval times. Roman Bridge is a must-see monument, apt for beautiful photographs of the old city, especially at sunset. The bridge over the Guadalquivir River, with a view of the mosque-cathedral is one of the most beautiful views in the city. It was the only bridge for nearly 20 centuries and the main access to Córdoba, after it was built in the 1st century BC. Do check out the Castle of the Christian Monarchs (Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos), which sits next to the Guadalquivir River. Walk inside the Chapel of San Bartolomé that exemplifies the Mudéjar art. Unique to Córdoba are the stunning patios. One of the best places to explore is the Museo Arqueologico de Cordoba. This museum has significant Spanish relics with nearly 33,500 objects. The items span through the Moorish, Catholic and Roman Dynasties.
See also: Which is the best place in the world for tourists to visit
Places to visit in Spain #8: Granada
Located in the south-eastern region of Spain, Granada is the capital of the Granada province and a part of Andalusia. A must-visit place in Spain, Granada has a rich history and culture. Rich in multicultural history and monuments, the city also has nightlife and adventure activities like skiing and trekking. Granada was the capital of the Moorish kingdom from the 13th to 15th centuries. Today, it boasts of a rich history with an impressive 700 years’ worth of Moorish and Catholic influences. One of the most famous tourist places in Granada, Alhambra is a fortress palace built during the Nasrid reign with Islamic architecture and provides stunning panoramic views of the city. With the Sierra Nevada mountains as the backdrop, the Alhambra stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today it is a museum of Islamic architecture. Do not miss Granada’s historic neighbourhoods, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Albayzín and Sacromonte. The narrow streets and steps, snaking around white buildings with hand-painted tiles, are simply captivating. Visit Spain’s largest cathedral, the Cathedral of Granada, dating back to the 16th century. Sacromonte, bordering the El Albaicín district, is a 15th-century gipsy quarter located on the hill with cave homes. The Sacromonte quarter of Granada has a long-standing tradition of flamenco performed by the Spanish gipsies.
How to reach Granada
By air: Granada airport is 12 km from the city. You can directly fly from Gatwick Airport, London or catch an international flight to Barcelona or Madrid and take a domestic flight to Granada. You can also take a flight to Málaga airport and catch a bus or hire a car.
By rail: Granada is served by several railway stations. Granada Central railway station is a 15-minute walk from the city centre.
Places to visit in Spain #9: Bilbao
Bilbao combines a stylish vintage district, industrial heritage and stunning modern architecture in one of the largest cities in northern Spain. Part of the Basque region, the city on the banks of the Nervión River offers a warm holiday destination that blends a Spanish lifestyle, an impressive art scene and a modern twist. Walk through the Casco Viejo (Old Town) and see the Cathedral of Santiago of Bilbao, Plaza Nueva and the Archaeological Museum, which give tourists a peek into the culture and history of Bilbao. Cantered around Las Siete Calles, the seven original streets of the Old Town date back to the 1400s. The museum is surrounded by rolling green hills, a breath-taking coastline, parks and plazas and the Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturrizar with its tree-lined paths and an ornamental pond with riverside promenades. The heights of Artxanda offer an impressive panoramic view of the city and are best reached by the funicular that lumbers its way to the top. Getxo’s beaches and dramatic cliffs make for a wonderful outing. Guggenheim Museum, one of its kind museum in Spain, displays contemporary architecture. Frank Gehry’s celebrated architectural masterpiece has placed this city firmly on the tourist map. Since1997, since the opening of the museum, this once shabby industrial town has become one of Spain’s well-known tourist destinations. Bilbao hosts the Semana Grande every year in August. The event has street dancing, pintxo (tapas) tasting, free music acts, bullfighting and fireworks celebrations.
How to reach Bilbao
By air: Bilbao International Airport is 12 km outside the city.
By road: The bus station in the heart of the city is connected to all major cities of Spain by private and public bus networks.
By rail: Bilbao-Abando Station is the closest to the city centre and is well-connected to the majority of Spanish cities and other European cities.
Places to visit in Spain #10: Málaga
Málaga is among the most-visited coastal cities in Spain’s Andalusia. It is one of the oldest Mediterranean seaports. The landmarks and ruins of a Roman theatre and a medieval Moorish castle built on the remains of a Phoenician lighthouse showcase its multifaceted heritage. The 13th-century Alcazaba is one of the two Moorish fortresses of Málaga and is known for being the best-preserved fortress in the whole Spanish territory. It dates back to the 8th century when the first Emir of Córdoba built it for defence against pirates. Málaga also offers Flamenco flair and is the place where Pablo Picasso was born. A must-visit site is The Roman Theatre, which was found under exceptional conditions in 1951 and dates back to the 1st century BC. Check out the Glass Museum that in itself is a piece of stunning architecture from the 1700s where tourists can look at glassware from ancient civilizations in Málaga, including the Romans, Phoenicians, Ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Málaga is one of the cities with the highest number of museums in Europe. There are more than 30 impressive collections that range from cars to wine, from doll houses and music to art. The Picasso Museum, located in the wonderful Palacio de Buenavista, is probably the most visited in town.
How to reach Málaga
By air: The Málaga Airport is the nearest airport. You can also reach Málaga from Granada airport.
By rail: The city has a railway station – Maria Zambrano. Frequent trains run between Málaga and other major cities of Spain.
What is famous to buy in Spain?
A tourist can buy Spanish olive oil, saffron, paprika and Spanish tablecloths. Flamenco guitars, Spanish fans, ceramics, terracotta tapas cookware, bota (wine skin) and football T-shirts also make for great souvenirs.
What is the must-have food in Spain?
Although Spain has many different rice dishes, paella is the most popular Spanish dish. You must not miss gazpacho, an authentic Spanish dish made of ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, bread and peppers. Also try Tortilla Espanola, the Spanish version of omelettes. Croquettes are another famous food in Spain made from fried breadcrumbs and leftovers mashed with potatoes. Indulge in the Spanish dessert – churros. Served piping hot at cafés, churro bars and street vendors, these are delectable fried dough fritters. The classic Spanish flan made with a creamy vanilla egg custard and topped with a sticky caramel sauce must not be missed in Spain.
What is the best way to commute to Spain?
There are over 40 airports spread across mainland Spain and the islands, many of which have regular international and domestic flights. Trains are one of the most popular modes of transportation in Spain. These are efficient, easily available and affordable. The high-speed train or AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) runs between major Spanish cities.