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There is no doubt that one can find activities abundant activities in Spain's diverse and beautiful terrain. From lively Barcelona and boisterous Madrid to the historic Ronda and colorful Seville, there is plenty to see and do in this grand Mediterranean country. If you’re unsure where to go while on a trip to Spain, we’ve got you covered! Here are some of the 12 best places to visit in Spain:
Malaga is a large city on the Costa del Sol. Located in the southern region of Andalucía, the coastal city is famous for its great shopping opportunities, delicious cuisine, stunning beaches, and historical sights. A popular tourist destination, you can count on this destination for much-need beach time year-round. Besides the beaches too, there are plenty of things to do in Malaga.
- Explore the Alcazaba, an 11th-century Moorish castle and one of the best-preserved old sites in Spain.
- Visit the birthplace of renowned artist Pablo Picasso.
- Eat fresh and delicious espetos, grilled sardines skewered on a bamboo stick, a famous Malaga treat.
- A trip to the beaches in Malaga can be very busy, especially during peak tourist season.
- The city seems to be undergoing constant construction to accommodate new facilities for visitors.
Good to know: Malaga is a transportation hub and a great base for exploring southern Spain.
Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia. Located directly on the Mediterranean, this city has a rich and diverse history, an extraordinary arts scene, and stunning natural beauty. Definitely one of the best places to go in Spain.
- Marvel at the outstanding beauty of the (still under construction) Sagrada Familia Basilica.
- Relax and enjoy the sun on Barcelonetta beach.
- Enjoy the atmosphere on the lively, Las Ramblas, a pedestrian walkway home to restaurants, performers, shops, and more.
- Spain in August is the busiest month for tourists. It is also a time when many of the city’s shops and restaurants close for summer vacation.
- Barcelona is, unfortunately, notorious for pickpocketing. So, keep your valuables safe.
Good to know: Take a food tour of Barcelona to savor the diverse array of delicious Catalonian dishes on offer.
The home of good food and great fun, Valencia is a charming Mediterranean city. The third-largest city in Spain, Valencia is a city that seamlessly combines historical appeal, modern architecture, and lush green spaces. One thing is guaranteed, there will be no shortage of things to do in Valencia.
- See the futuristic City of Arts and Science.
- Explore the winding streets and alleys of the Barri del Carme.
- Dine on delicious paella, a Spanish delicacy that originated here.
- Taxi drivers are known to overcharge. Make sure they put their meter on when starting a journey.
- Very few people speak English. Learn some basic Spanish to help you get by.
Good to know: Visit Valencia in March to dance and celebrate in the street at the Fallas festival.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. Located off the west coast of Africa, Tenerife enjoys a warm tropical climate and hundreds of hours of sunshine each year. A popular destination for tourists, this island boasts energetic nightlife, exotic forests, incredible beaches, and varied terrain.
- Hike along one of the island’s many routes. With everything from one-hour wanders to strenuous treks, there’s something for hikers of all ages and levels.
- Go scuba diving in the clear, calm, and comfortable waters of Tenerife.
- Relax and enjoy the golden sand of Las Teresitas beach.
- Generally safe, be aware of pickpockets lurking in larger city squares.
- Watch out for “scratchcard touts” who try to scam tourists with worthless time-share apartment contracts.
Good to know: Visit in February to experience the largest and most spectacular carnival celebrations in the world, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife!
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Mallorca or Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands. It is famous for sunny beaches, lively parties, historic architecture, and lush mountain landscapes. Mallorca is where to visit in Spain if you’re looking for a great blend of culture and excitement, charm, and vibrancy.
- Stunning white sand beaches with clear turquoise waters.
- See the impressive seaside Cathedral de Mallorca.
- Drive through the mountains to the northern part of the island for impressive views, magnificent landscape, and quiet beaches.
- Be aware of pickpockets when traveling through the center of Palma.
- A popular tourist and party destination, the streets are often full of drunken revelers late at night.
Good to know: Take a guided tour of Palma and immerse yourself in the history and culture of the island’s capital.
The capital of Spain and its largest city, Madrid is famous for its rich cultural heritage, flavorful food, and some of the liveliest nightlife in Europe. It is the historical and geographical center of the country and a great place to dine on delicious Spanish food and drinks.
- Take a tour through the Palacio Real, the official residence of the Spanish royal family.
- There are plenty of day trips to take from Madrid.
- See impressive works of art by world-famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Goya at the Museo del Prado, Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Centre, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art.
- Many shops and businesses will close for hours in the afternoon for siesta.
- Nonviolent pickpocketing has been known to occur in busy Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.
Good to know: For great food and people watching, visit the Mercado San Miguel located just outside of Plaza Mayor.
The fourth-largest city in Spain, Seville is the capital and most popular destination in Andalucía. It’s one of the most architecturally stunning cities in Europe and Seville constantly buzzes with exciting festivals, colorful décor, and lively nightlife.
- Marvel at the spectacular Cathedral of Seville, one of the largest churches in the world.
- Explore the Real Alcazar, a beautiful royal palace built in the Mudejar style.
- Learn to dance a traditional and fiery flamenco.
- The climate is very hot and dry. Temperatures can often soar to the high 30° C in the summer months.
Good to know: For the best photos, visit the Plaza Mayor just before sunset when it is completely empty of tourists.
La Rioja is the most famous wine-producing region in Spain. Located north of Madrid, La Rioja is characterized by its vast vineyard-covered landscapes and its stunning blue skies. It is where to go in Spain to enjoy vivacious villages, quaint historic architecture, exquisite vistas, and a delicious glass of red wine (or more!)
- Visit a bodega and sample the local wines.
- See the impressive Cathedral La Redonda in the city of Logrono.
- Hike the lands around Ezcaray, a small town known for its stunning views.
- There is very little public transportation in the region. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the car as you explore.
- Accommodations are limited. For the best prices and selections, stick to larger cities like Logrono and Haron.
Good to know: Learn about the history of wine and winemaking in the region by joining an organized tour.
Learn more about visiting La Rioja, before you pack your bags!
If you’re looking for great music, good dancing, and festivities that last all night long, the party capital of Europe, Ibiza is where you need to be. And it has more to offer than just partying. Home to sun-kissed beaches and clear turquoise waters, Ibiza is a year-round destination for travelers looking for fun in the sun.
- Explore Ibiza and its old charming streets.
- Dance the night away to world-renowned DJs at one of the island’s many bars and nightclubs.
- Discover Atlantis, a hidden cove known only to locals.
- Millions of tourists visit Ibiza every summer leaving little room to lounge on the beach or dance in the club.
- Many clubs open as early as 9:00, so be prepared for lots of noise.
Good to know: Don’t miss the chance to see a stunning Ibiza sunset. You won’t believe the vibrant colors that light up the sky.
Ronda is a small town in southern Spain that sits perched on the side of a cliff. Split down in the center by the Río Guadalevín, the two sides of Ronda are connected by the spectacular Puente Nuevo that soars 100m above the ground. Known for its dramatic history and panoramic views, Ronda is a must-see for anyone visiting Andalucía.
- Cross the Puente Nuevo, an 18th-century stone bridge that connects the two sides of town.
- Wander the winding cobbled streets of the old town center.
- Visit the Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullring in Spain that dates back to 1785.
- Driving within the city can be a challenge due to the very narrow roads.
- Walking throughout Ronda can be a challenge for children and those with mobility issues due to its hilly terrain.
Good to know: Walk to the bottom of the gorge, one of the best places to take photos of the town and surrounding countryside.
Find out more on how you can travel to Ronda from Malaga.
Santiago de Compostela is a city with a strong heritage and character. One of the most important places in Catholicism, it is visited each year by thousands of people who complete the epic Camino de Santiago trail. Its charming streets and winding alleys are packed with restaurants and bars and are punctuated with colorful and lively squares. It’s hard not to be wowed when visiting this quaint Galician city.
- See the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela, an impressive structure that showcases a myriad of architectural styles.
- Savor the pulpo (cooked octopus) and sample local cheeses.
- Try the Albariño, a white wine produced in the region.
- The plaza in front of the Santiago de Compostela can be very busy as it’s where many people end their pilgrimage.
- Spain in June through August are the busiest and hottest months. Be prepared for lots of tourists and hikers milling around.
Good to know: One of the best ways to see Santiago de Compostela is by taking the little train tour that snakes through the different parts of the city.
Almeria is a lively port city located in the south of Spain. An up-and-coming destination, it is known for its charming town center, palm tree-lined plazas, tasty tapas, and illustrious past. Almeria is where to go in Spain if you’re looking for fantastic architecture, wonderful culture, and delicious Spanish treats.
- Explore the stunning Moorish fortress, the Alcazaba.
- Visit the pristine beaches of Las Salinas and La Almadrava de Monteleva.
- Eat fresh and delicious tapas including tortillas and other traditional Spanish dishes.
- Spain is a generally very safe city, it’s best to avoid exploring the gypsy neighborhood at night.
- Parking can be very limited within the city center. Save time and hassle by exploring on foot.
Good to know: The best views can be found by climbing the 16th-century Christian castle built on the highest point in the city.
Spain is more than just matadors and flamenco dancers. It is a country that excites the senses. Whether you’re looking for history, culture, cuisine, or fun, there’s something for everyone, just look at the right destinations.