From cosmopolitan cities to great party islands, Spain has an abundance of places to visit for every style of travel. Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience in a small fishing village in Costa Brava or a great night out in Madrid, there’s a destination that will fit your preference. To help you get a feel for what parts of the country would be the most appealing for your trip, here is a list of the best places to visit in Spain.
The Spanish capital tops the list for many visitors to Spain. Madrid is home to world-class art museums like the Prado, an amazing royal palace, beautiful squares like the Plaza Mayor, and great food markets like the Mercado de San Miguel. And that’s to say nothing of the city’s great parks, restaurants, and nightlife. Many of the best clubs in Madrid are open until the early hours of the morning!
Another city that tops many people’s lists of the best places to visit in Spain is Barcelona. The coastal city in northeastern Spain’s Catalunya region is one of the country’s most beautiful and culturally outstanding. From great food at the tapas bars to world-class art at the city’s museums, Barcelona has something for every visitor. There is a historic castle, a beautiful old town in the Barri Gotic quarter, and amazing architecture by Antoni Gaudi, who designed the famous Sagrada Familia church and other iconic buildings in the city.
Down south in Spain’s Andalucia region, Seville (or Sevilla, as the locals call it) is one of the must-see cities. Rich in culture and soaked in sun, the city’s Moorish architectural highlights and lively tapas bars make it a great place to visit. The cathedral and Alcazar palace are great cultural and historical landmarks, and the city’s narrow winding streets are great places to get lost while discovering the restaurant and nightlife highlights.
If there’s one reason to visit Granada, it’s for the Alhambra. The famous Moorish palace has been immortalized in books, poems, and other literature, and the sprawling complex is one of the most famous of its kind in Europe. Visitors can spend an entire day at the Alhambra, exploring the intricate details of the architecture and design, walking through the perfectly manicured gardens, and soaking up the sun and the views of Granada below.
Foodies, surfers, and nightlife lovers flock to San Sebastian in northern Spain’s Basque country for its great mix of restaurants, beaches, and bars. San Sebastian is home to everything from great Michelin starred restaurants to casual tapas bars in the winding streets of the old town, and the beaches are great for both sunbathing and surfing. At night, the city comes alive with outdoor bars and clubs where visitors and locals dance until dawn.
Not far from San Sebastian, Bilbao has made a name for itself in recent years for being the home of the Guggenheim Bilbao museum. Lovers of modern and contemporary art head to the city on Spain’s north coast for their cultural fix as well as the city’s emerging dining and arts scenes.
Famous for events like Tomatina and the annual Fallas Festival, Valencia has no shortage of things to keep visitors busy and entertained throughout the year. In March, the Fallas Festival is an annual celebration of fireworks and burning effigies, while in August thousands of people descend on Bunol, a town near Valencia, to take part in a tomato fight of epic proportions.
For those that like the nightlife scene, there are few better places to visit in Europe than Ibiza. With arguably the best summer clubs and DJs, Ibiza draws people from all over the world during its high season. No matter what kind of music you like, you can find a bar or club that has it in spades, and during the day you can relax by the beach and replenish your energy for the evening’s festivities.
Speaking of islands, the Canary Islands are some of the most popular places to go in Spain, if for no other reason than their year-round sun. The islands make a great winter escape for those in the more northerly parts of the UK and Europe, and destinations like Tenerife and Gran Canaria have an abundance of hotels and resorts for every kind of visitor.