Updated: September 21, 2023Published: September 15, 2023
Are you traveling soon to Spain but don’t know where to go? Don’t worry. We have got you covered!
I am guessing that if you are here, you are still in the research stage of your journey, trying to find the places you don’t want to miss on your next trip.
In this article, you will find a list of the 16 best places to visit in Spain, which combine most-see and hidden gems.
I hope this list comes handy to help you decide, and if you need itinerary ideas, I will leave them at the end of the article!
P.S: We have also included a video of the 15 Best Things to do in Madrid! Check it out!
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1. Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia is one of Spain’s most visited and admired landmarks next to the Prado Museum and the Alhambra.
The Sagrada Familia is known as Antonio Gaudi’s most crucial architectonic piece. He began working on it in 1882 and gave it all his energy and effort until the day he died.
This basilica is full of symbolism from the outside to the inside. For instance, if you go inside the Sagrada Familia, you will notice that Gaudi tried to replicate a forest in order to connect the mysticism of faith with nature.
If you visit, take a guided tour and let yourself be amazed by the meaning of all the details that make this place what it is.
The Prado Museum is one of the most visited museums in Europe (ranked number 9 in 2021) and houses one of the most significant art collections in the world.
The Prado was founded in 1819, and nowadays, it displays a valuable collection with more than 8000 paintings and more than 700 sculptures! Including Las Meninas by Velazquez and the dark paintings of Goya.
The Alhambra is another UNESCO World Heritage site, admired for the several Moorish palaces and beautiful gardens that take visitors back to the Middle Ages.
The Alhambra is a testimony of the Arab rule and architecture that once existed in southern Spain. This palace is, in reality, a complex made up of four palaces: the Mexuar, the Comares Palace, the Palace of the Lions, the Partal Palace, and the Generelife Gardens.
The City of the Arts and Science is one of Valencia’s most visited modern tourist destinations and part of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
The project was designed and executed by the architect Santiago Calatrava from 1996 to 1998. It is located in the city’s southeastern side in the dry-out area of the Turia River.
The City of the Arts and Sciences is an architectural complex with 8 buildings or constructions, each with a unique cultural purpose. These are: L’Hemisfèric, Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L’Umbracle, L’Oceanogràfic, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, Montolivet Bridge, Assut de l’Or Bridge, L’Àgora.
You don’t have to pay to get into this impressive complex, but you do have to buy tickets if you want to visit any of the attractions mentioned.
For example, when I visited Valencia with my parents a few years ago, we walked outside the buildings and only got tickets for the Oceanographic and impressive oceanarium that works to help animals recover.
The tickets for the Oceanographic are 36 €, but it is very worth it if you enjoy learning and discovering sea animals.
The Toledo Cathedral is also known as the Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo.
This awe-inspiring architectural marvel was built over nearly three centuries, beginning in 1226 and culminating in 1493. It is situated in the heart of Toledo, where an old mosque used to lay. The cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic and Mudejar styles.
The Toledo Cathedral is a grand religious complex that houses the Capilla Mayor, Capilla de Villena, and Capilla de Reyes Nuevos, showcasing intricate stonework and revered religious artworks.
From inside to the outside, Toledo’s cathedral is an impressive structure that will leave you awed.
The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, officially known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba, is an architectural wonder testimony of centuries of cultural and religious transformations. Nowadays, its official name is Our Lady of Assumption.
The Mosque-Cathedral is located in the heart of Cordoba, right next to the Alcázar of the Christian Kings.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 8th century when it was constructed as the central mosque during the Islamic rule of the region. Over the centuries, expansions and alterations were made, resulting in a captivating fusion of Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural styles.
The most notable feature of the Mosque-Cathedral is the fascinating over 850 columns, with double-tiered arches and intricately designed mihrab.
In 1236, following the Reconquista, the structure was consecrated as a Christian cathedral. This transformation involved the incorporation of chapels, altars, and other Christian elements into the existing Islamic architecture. The result is a harmonious blend of two distinct religious traditions, symbolizing tolerance and cultural exchange.
Tickets typically range from 11€ to 13€, the latter price the corresponding general admission.
The Sierra Nevada Natural Park is an extensive mountain range, the second largest in Europe after the Alpa. The Sierra Nevada Natural Park is located in Granada, just 30 minutes away from the city with public transport.
The Sierra Nevada Natural Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, safeguarding a unique range of flora and fauna. It is particularly famous for its endemic species, such as the Sierra Nevada Blue Gentian and the Violet Limodore, found nowhere else on Earth.
The park’s most prominent feature is Mulhacén, the Iberian Peninsula’s tallest peak. This majestic summit offers avid mountaineers and nature enthusiasts a thrilling ascent, culminating in panoramic vistas stretching across vast Andalusia stretches.
The Sierra Nevada Natural Park offers many outdoor activities, from hiking and skiing to birdwatching and stargazing.
Entry to the Sierra Nevada doesn’t have a price, but if you are not an experienced hiker or are not visiting with someone who knows the area, it would be best to go with a guided tour.
9. La Concha Beach - San Sebastián
La Concha Beach, located in San Sebastian, or Donosti in the Basque Country, is one of Europe’s most beautiful urban beaches.
La Concha is incredibly clean and safe compared to the Barceloneta in Barcelona or the Postiguet beach in Alicante. It has shallow and peaceful waters that allow anyone to enjoy some fresh time during the summer.
La Concha has two different mountains to each end: Monte Urgull to its right and Monte Igueldo to its left.
La Concha was a summer destination for the Spanish royal family, and nobles attributed curative power to its waters.
Of course, there is no fee to enter this beach; just get your ticket to San Sebastian and enjoy one of Europe’s most beautiful coastal cities!
10. Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, stands as an architectural masterpiece and a beacon of contemporary art.
Opened in 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a triumph of deconstructivist architecture. Compared to the Guggenheim in New York, the museum in Bilbao impresses with its stunning curved titanium facade.
The Guggenheim is a modern art institution that displays a permanent collection in Bilbao and receives rotative pieces from the mother museum in New York.
The Guggenheim Museum’s surroundings are as impressive as its interior. The picturesque Nervión River and the La Salve Bridge provide a stunning backdrop to the museum’s unique architecture. The museum’s outdoor installations, including Jeff Koons’ iconic “Puppy” and Louise Bourgeois’ “Maman,” further enhance the immersive art experience.
General admission for the museum is 10,00 €, and I recommend you to get them ahead of time.
The Balearic Islands are one of Spain’s most popular summer destinations worldwide. Mallorca and Ibiza’s islands are booked out during July and August because people all over the world dream of vacationing next to clear blue waters and golden sands.
Beaches in Mallorca are definitely a place everyone should visit in Spain; some of the best are:
12. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela - Santiago de Compostela
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is also known as the Primate Cathedral of Saint James.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the burial place of one of Jesus’s apostles, Saint James the Great, and is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Catholics.
Constructed over several centuries, the Cathedral’s origins date back to the 9th century and was supposed to be finished in the 13th century. However, it underwent subsequent expansions and renovations that reflect a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque styles.
The Cathedral’s interior is equally impressive, with the Portico de la Gloria being one of its most memorable features. It depicts scenes from the Last Judgment.
This Cathedral is one of the most impressive cultural sites in Galicia that receives between 50,000 and more than 200,000 people annually.
“Puente Nuevo,” or New Bridge, is a stunning bridge located in a gorge in the town of Ronda (Malaga). The bridge was constructed in the 18th century after a previous one collapsed.
“Puente Nuevo” is a stunning place to visit in Spain, as it was once one of the tallest in the world. You can add Ronda to your next journey as a day trip from Cordoba or Malaga.
14. Cadaqués - Catalonia
If you have dreamed about vacationing in a white coastal town with beautiful and peaceful beaches, Cadaqués is your place.
Cadaqués is located in the Costa Brava, very close to the French border. This coastal town became famous thanks to artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, who used the town as inspiration and their homes for long periods.
Like Ronda, you can visit Cadaqués on a journey through the Costa Brava or on a day trip from Barcelona. It is definitely one of the most beautiful places to see in Spain.
15. Hanging Houses - Cuenca
The Hanging Houses of Cuenca defy gravity and time as they have been standing firm in the gorge of Cuenca since the 15th century.
Historians are unsure about the origins or original owners of the Hanging Houses, but these structures have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites worth visiting during your next trip.
16. Vineyards along Sil River - Ribeira Sacra
The Vineyards in Ribeira Sacra are famous for the steep terrace slopes leading to a stunning Sil River view in Galicia.
Historically, wine cultivation in the Riberia Sacra came from the Romans and was later taken by monks. The terraced vineyards, known as “socalcos,” cascade down the steep riverbanks of the Sil River. How are the vineyards cultivated on a slope? Well, the ingenious wine crafters created stone-walled terraces that created better spaces for cultivation.
This place in Spain attracts wine and nature lovers as the Sil River flows through a deep gorge, offering breathtaking views of steep cliffs and dense forests. Visitors can explore the area through boat tours, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.
To get to vineyards like Bodega Ronsel do Sil, you can get a train from Madrid to Ourense and prepare to have a full experience wine and nature.
Inigo Navarro is a seasoned travel writer with a deep understanding of Spain's cities, culture, people and language. Born and raised in Spain, he has spent years exploring the country and is currently one of the most-read Travel Bloggers about Spain. Inigo is also an experienced digital marketer, a father to 4 beautiful children and a huge Real Madrid Fan. ¡Hala Madrid!