Does the idea of basking under the sun in a city square or along the Mediterranean make your heart flutter?
Have you ever wanted to watch a flamenco show or a bullfight?
Does your mouth water at the thought of tapas, glasses of Grenache, and sweet, warm churros?
Who could blame you? Visiting Spain is the experience of a lifetime. The country is rich in culture, history, friendly people, and so much more.
There’s no shortage of wonderful places in Spain, which can make it hard to choose where to go and what to see. To help, we’ve broken down the 7 best places to visit in Spain.
If you desire a big city getaway set right on the shores of the Mediterranean, look no further than Málaga. It’s the largest city on the Costa del Sol – and certainly one of the most beautiful in the region of Andalusia.
There’s the Picasso Museum, plenty of beaches, and lots of areas to go for bike rides. Rock climbing is another popular pastime in the area.
Málaga is also home to two ancient castles built in the Moorish style. Moorish architecture originated from the Muslim inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula.
Málaga is one of the best places in Spain for seafood. But if seafood isn’t your thing, be sure to try jamón ibérico, a dry-cured ham that’s a staple in the region.
Imagine real live bulls running freely in the city streets. If there’s one event Spain is world-renowned for, it’s San Fermin – otherwise known as the Running of the Bulls.
San Fermin is essentially one big street party where everyone wears red and white. There’s lots of live music, food, dancing, and lots of sangria. Of course, the main guests of the week-long party are the bulls themselves.
You can always attend the festivities and stay clear of the streets during the actual bull run. But if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, Pamplona is a great city to visit 365 days a year.
3. Balearic Islands
Travelers looking for Spanish paradise tend to head to Ibiza or the Canary Islands. While these are some of the most beautiful places to go in Spain, they can get overrun by tourists.
If you’re looking for a more tranquil and exotic escape, head to the Balearic Islands. Located right off the coast of Spain, the Balearic Islands have warm, crystal blue waters. You’ll do plenty of boating, snorkeling, and swimming there.
The Balearic Islands may not be as wild as Ibiza, but they still have a great nightlife nonetheless. So, should you feel like going out and dancing, you’ll have plenty of places to choose from.
4. Sierra Nevada
Do you prefer the mountains over the beaches and cities? If you do and are looking to travel to Spain, exploring the Sierra Nevada is a must.
After the Alps and the Caucasus, the Sierra Nevada is one of the most famous mountain ranges in Europe. There are all types of trails and peaks for both experienced and beginner hikers.
The Sierra Nevada isn’t far from the Mediterranean coast, either. If you plan to visit Málaga, hiking the Sierra Nevada makes for a couple great day trips.
What would be a vacation to Spain without visiting the heart of Catalonia?
There’s something for everybody in Barcelona. There’s no shortage of cathedrals, museums, and landmarks throughout the city. Some of the best places to visit in Barcelona include the Gothic Quarter and Boqueria Market.
Many consider Catalonia to be an independent state that should break free from Spain. Understand that the customs in Catalonia can be far different than Spain’s. You can click here to learn more tips to help you navigate both Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia.
For the true Catalan experience, start with Barcelona and spend a good chunk of time there.
If you plan to travel from Barcelona to Madrid (which we’ll discuss next), be sure to stop in Zaragoza along the way. It’s one of the more underrated places in Spain – and it’s a city you won’t want to miss.
The highlight of this majestic city is, of course, Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Pilar. This Baroque-style Roman Catholic cathedral rests right along the Ebro River. It’s picture-perfect in every sense on the outside – but no pictures allowed inside.
There are plenty of other cathedrals, parks, and landmarks to see throughout Zaragoza. The Parque Grande, for example, is another city highlight.
Last but not least, the capital of Madrid is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Spain. Compared to Barcelona, Madrid is certainly more cosmopolitan. Still, it’s hard to compare the two because both offer experiences all their own.
Madrid as a city tells the long and complicated history of Spain. You’ll find remnants of all major periods that influenced the country over time.
But not only that!
Madrid is rich with authentic Spanish food of all varieties. There are concerts and special events almost every night of the week. Not to mention, Madrid boasts one of the biggest nightlife scenes in the world.
Figuring out what to do and what to see in Madrid can be a challenge. But visiting Puerta del Sol, Palacio Real, and Plaza Mayor should absolutely be on your list.
See & Experience the Best Places in Spain
There’s an old Spanish saying that goes: “Barriga llena, corazón contento.” It translates to:
Full stomach, happy heart.
While in Spain, you’ll not only fill your tummy with delicious food true to the people and the country. You’ll feel enriched, fulfilled, and moved by all the unique and beautiful places in Spain.
So, what are you waiting for? The best time to visit Spain is in the spring, which is right around the corner!
But if you can’t wait that long and need to escape the snow, never fear. Learn about these 7 warm vacation spots and get ready for your winter escape.