Spain is a country on most people’s bucket lists and for good reason. I first visited Spain in 2013, when I wandered the laneways of Barcelona, drank Rioja region wine in Logrono and sampled some of the world’s best food in San Sebastian. Ironically, I also got the worst food poisoning I’ve ever had in my life in San Sebastian – though I still hold it fondly in my memories. Because there’s so much to see in this amazing (and huge) country, I’ve assembled a bunch of fantastic bloggers to help pull together the ultimate guide on the best places to go in Spain.
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The Best Places To Go In Spain
This town in Northern Spain is famous for being the capital of the Rioja wine region, so it’s safe to say that it’s pretty hard to find a bad glass of wine here. My favourite part of discovering Logrono on an Intrepid Travel food tour was the fact that the streets in the city centre are filled with tapas bars that tend to specialise in just one dish each. The best part of every day in Logrono was bar hopping and sampling the food from each bar, which of course was washed down with a glass of local wine. I’d definitely recommend trying the Jamon Iberico which when aged is just about the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Coming a close second would be the cuttlefish I ate from another vendor – fresh and just the right balance of chewiness and tenderness. These are just some of the reasons why it’s my favourite of the best places to go in Spain.
Tarifa is a lesser known tourist destination in Spain for westerners which is why I love it. It’s actually a very popular place for Spanish tourists to go on their holidays which makes it feel just that bit more authentic when visiting the country. There are a number of beaches in the little town of Tarifa but you can also drive a little bit further afield to see some really beautiful spots.
There’s loads to do in Tarifa – the waves are great so you can surf, learn to surf or do some kitesurfing. There’s also a nice chilled party scene at night – but remember the Spanish go out later than a lot of other cultures so the bars only really get going around midnight. There are also loads of great restaurants in the area serving traditional Spanish food. If you’re a fan of seafood then you’ll really love Tarifa. Pricewise, I found everything reasonable while staying there but I recommend you look for accommodation well in advance if you’re planning to go in July or August as it’s really popular during this time.
Ann Marie from Eco Conscious Traveller
One of the most fascinating places we found to visit in Spain is Cordoba, being the home of the World Heritage Site listed Córdoba Cathedral Mosque it offers a fascinating insight into Spain’s history. Captured by the Moors in 711, for many centuries it was an amazing example of many different cultures and religions living together peacefully. The Cathedral Mosque is a stunning piece of architecture filled with examples of different eras of Córdoban religious history.
For me however the most interesting place to visit was the Three Cultures Museum. It is situated in the Torre de La Callehorra, covering the times when three main cultures ,Christians, Jews and Muslims lived peacefully together. Of course having such a divers history also impacts the food available some of the favourites of the area are Rabo de Toro, an oxtail dish, Flamenquín a delicious dish of cured ham wrapped around pork-loin then fried in breadcrumbs then a desert of Pastel Cordobés layers of pastry filled with fruit and covered with almonds cinnamon and sugar. Luckily Córdoba is also the perfect place to just wander around and work off these delights with plenty of Roman ruins, cobbled streets and shady parks to spend your time.
Michele from Legging It
Cádiz is a small, but wonderful Spanish city. It is cosy and easy to see in a day, but if you want you can enjoy it for longer. I have visited it a few times and still like it a lot. One of the nice things is the beach: Cádiz has a beautiful beach next to the Atlantic Ocean. The water is a bit cold sometimes, but very refreshing. Andalusia has a lovely climate, which means nice beach days! Besides the beach it offers a rich history. It is said to be the oldest city in western Europe, according to history and to legend. The legend talks about Hercules founding it, a name you might recognize. This has left a lot of archaeological and historical sights. My favourite is the beautiful seaside cathedral.
And did you know Cádiz is where tapas were invented? Or at least it is what they will you. The inhabitants of the windy coastal city got very annoyed: the wind kept blowing sand in their drinks. To prevent this from happening they would cover their glasses with pieces of bread. And those turned into the famous tapas!
If you believe the legends or not: Cádiz is worth a visit, especially during Carnaval in February.
Manouk from Groetjes uit Verweggistan (With Love From Far Away)
San Sebastián is probably one of the most important and the best places to go in Northern Spain and it’s known to be a very nice and posh city. Many wealthy Spaniards own vacation homes in San Sebastián and spend there weekends and holidays. San Sebastián is a very beautiful city, however, it’s not cheap. It’s probably the most expensive city in Spain, but don’t let the prices put you away, because San Sebastián is amazing.
If you want to stay on a budget, you can’t a room in an Airbnb outside the city and rent a car (or use a bus) to get to the city every day. We stayed in Donostia when visiting San Sebastián as well. San Sebastián is famous for its delicious food and has a lot of restaurants that were awarded Michelin stars. If you’re a foodie, it’s the best place to visit in Spain. You should definitely try one of the pintxos restaurants (tapas in other words) or even join a traditional pintxos crawl. Finally, you can visit San Sebastián for its amazing long sandy beaches!
Liza from Trips Get Blog
Check out her post on her Northern Spain Road Trip here.
Estepona is one of the southernmost towns on Costa del Sol, and in recent years popularity has risen, although it’s still a very genuine town with a local feel to it. Estepona has a very long beach, plenty of shops, charming cafes as well as bars and restaurants serving delicious local food. My favorite thing to do in Estepona is just to go for a stroll along the picturesque alleys that are lined with colorful pots on the house walls.
Estepona is the perfect place to go for a relaxing vacation filled with genuine food moments and romantic walks in an old charming city. From Estepona, you can also visit other cities such as Marbella and Malaga easily by bus. There’s also a connection to Gibraltar where you can go by bus on a day trip. Also, don’t forget to visit the marina where you will find plenty of restaurants serving fresh sea food.
Alex from Swedish Nomad
Cape Finisterre is located on the Atlantic ocean in Galicia, Northern Spain, it’s a must see place especially if you like ocean scenery. In the Roman Times people used to believe the cape was “the end of the known world”, direct translation of “finisterre” from the Latin is “end of the land”. The area around the cape is spectacular; dramatic cliffs, endless ocean, lush green forest and small cozy fisherman villages and towns popping up here and there. Finisterre is a great place for outdoor lovers, there are several hiking trail in the area including the famous Camino Finisterre a route that starts in Santiago de Compostela and finishes here 100km later.
For water and beach lovers there are plenty of sandy beaches around the cape where you can enjoy relaxing and swimming. Local restaurants offer a great variety of seafood and fish dishes, everything is very fresh just out of the sea. Make sure to try local speciality pulpo (octopus) a la Gallega it’s a great starter, goes well with a glass of white wine. There are many accommodation options in the town but the best place to stay here is Hotel O Semaforo located right at the cape, next to the lighthouse. All the rooms in the hotel offer stunning views over the sea. Not to miss is the sunset at the cape – it’s truly beautiful.
Campbell & Ayla from Stingy Nomads
Santiago de Compostela
If you’re looking for a great city to visit in Spain this year, then I highly recommend Santiago de Compostela. I visited in 2018 as it is the final stop of the Camino, an 800 km walk across the North of Spain. Before arriving, I’d heard very little about it and wasn’t sure what to expect. And in the end, I absolutely loved it! It is a city made up of grandiose buildings, many of which date back hundreds of years.
As the final stop on the famous pilgrimage, it has grown dramatically in size over the years and houses some of Spain’s nicest churches and cathedrals. The most impressive of all being the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Construction first started on the cathedral almost a thousand years ago and legend has it that it lies atop the burial place of St James the Great.
Other awesome things to see and do here include visiting Alameda Park, the Catedralicio Museum and San Francisco Convent. Of an evening time, you’ll find plenty of lively bars and restaurants. After your meal, take some time to walk back near the cathedral where you often hear singers performing under the arches outside the cathedral. Just another reason why this is one of the best places to go in Spain.
Bradley from Dream Big, Travel Far Blog
El Torcal de Antequera
El Torcal de Antequera is a nature reserve in the province of Malaga known for its extraordinary limestone rock formations. It is a beautiful day trip if you want to take the bus or car up to the top car park and walk from there, or you choose to walk from the bottom car park where the bus leaves from. There are a couple of tracks to choose between once you get to the café at the top parking lot. One is slightly longer than the other. Nevertheless, you will be able to make either one of the hikes on an hour or two.
Most likely you will meet some wild mountain goats roaming around. The nature reserve is perfect for a slow walk. Thus, you can bring some lunch and have it on one of the many flat rocks on the way. If you prefer a chair and table, the café by the top parking lot have some snack to choose from. Close to it there is also a look out with stunning views, making this one of the best places to go in Spain.
La Rambla is the busiest, most touristy place in Barcelona, but for a first-time visit to the city, you have to walk down this leafy boulevard just once, if only to visit the Boqueria food market for tasty hams, cheeses and various culinary delights. Explore the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter to find a stunning cathedral, hidden squares and tapas restaurants, and as night falls take your pick of funky bars to drink and dance the night away. Barcelona is an incredible place, but don’t just come for a weekend – spend as long as you can here to really get beneath the glossy veneer and learn to Barcelona for what she is – a crazy, beautiful, multi-cultural wonder!
One of my favourite places to visit in Spain was Montserrat. It is very easy to get to from Barcelona whether you have a car or not. From Barcelona it is an hour by train. Once there you can get the funicular train up the mountain to the Montserrat Monastery and Montserrat Mountain. At the top you should explore the monastery that was built in 1025, and is now the Saint Maria de Montserrat Abbey where you can view the famous statue of the Virgin of Montserrat. Even if you aren’t religious it’s worth visiting the abbey as the architecture is amazing.
The Montserrat mountain is definitely worth exploring, you can either hike or take the funicular Sant Joan up the mountain, from the top there are amazing views and options of other hikes. I personally decided to take the funicular up the mountain so that I could do some of the longer hikes, before hiking back down. My favourite hike was the hike to Sant Jeroni, about a 3 hour return trip with amazing views all the way. It’s not too difficult, though in the August heat you need to be prepared with lots of water.
Clare from Travels in Peru
If you are planning a trip to Spain, place Seville at the top of your list! The capital of Andalusia in Southern Spain, Seville offers a ton of exciting things to do, from art and architecture to flamenco and tapas. When drawing up your itinerary for Seville, make sure you include a visit to the Royal Alcazar, as well as a visit to the Seville Cathedral. The two sights are included in UNESCO’s World Heritage site designation for Seville. A tapas crawl in the Barrio Santa Cruz is a must. This historic neighborhood is also home to the most famous flamenco theaters. Experiencing a flamenco performance in Seville is truly a highlight of any visit. And once you’ve covered all there is to see and do in Seville (and there’s plenty to keep you occupied for several days!) you can explore more of Andalusia by way of day trips from the city. Whether you’re visiting for just a couple days or plan to spend a week, Seville will charm you!
Dhara from It’s Not About The Miles
Benicassim & Castellon
One of my favourite places to visit in Spain is the town of Benicassim in Castellon. During the majority of the year this town, which sits in between Valencia and Barcelona, is a Spanish haven with little to no tourists. However, for a week in July that completely changes when the Benicassim music festival (FIB – Festival Internacional de Benicàssim) comes to town. Tourists from around Europe embark on the little beach town for 4 nights of music, drinking, camping, sunshine and beaching.
Outside of festival times Benicassim and the city of Castellon still have plenty to see and do. If you enjoy being active, there are lots of nature trails for walking or cycling, mountains to climb and, of course, water sports along the beachfront. If you’re more of a city explorer then the city of Castellon is worth a day trip and if you want to head a bit further out, Valencia and Barcelona are both nearby via train.
If you’re a big Game of Thrones fan, it’s worth pointing out the the fictional Meereen was actually filmed in Peniscola another village in Castellon that you can easily visit during your stay.
Breanne from Brie-Anne
Malaga is definitely one of the best places to visit in Spain. Don’t let its reputation put you off – this bustling city has a lot going for it. Like the rest of southern Spain, Malaga was ruled by the Moors centuries and centuries ago and it’s left its mark on the city. The beautiful Moorish Alcazaba (palace) might not be quite as grand as Granada’s Alhambra, but it is pretty impressive – a series of gorgeous buildings and gardens overlooking the rest of the city. You should also venture to the Gibralfaro, another protective fortress towering over the city.
Malaga has a thriving arts scene and there are plenty of galleries for you to explore – The Museo Picasso, the Museo Thyssen and the Centre Pompidou should be at the top of your list. Food-wise, Malaga has a lot going for it. Venture into a tapas bar for traditional Malagueno food – it’s sublime. My favourite is the small but excellent Cortijo de Pepe, which is tucked on the edge of Malaga’s old town. You’ll probably have to wait for a table, but it’s absolutely worth it.
And when you’re finished? Spend some time on Malaga’s sun-drenched beaches.
Julianna from The Discoveries Of.
A trip to Southern Spain would not be complete without a visit to Granada. A small city set at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it is considered one of the most beautiful Andalusian cities in Spain with some of the finest examples of Moorish architecture.
The highlight of any visit to Granada is without doubt the Alhambra. An enormous and well restored Moorish fortress set on the hill above the town, it is such a joy to explore the palaces, gardens and towers within. Ensure you leave plenty of time to meander through the Generalife gardens as well as admire the colourful tiles, intricate wooden carvings and ponds within the city walls.
Our best tip for visiting the Alhambra is to purchase your tickets online prior to arrival. Tickets are limited and entry is for a specific timeslot. Make sure you book ahead of time so you are not disappointed.
When you leave the Alhambra, make your way into town through narrow cobbled streets to one of the many tapas bars in town for a tasty snack.
Rachel from Adventure and Sunshine
Ebro River, Catalonia
The River Ebro is located in southern Catalonia in Spain. The river’s Delta area, with its beautiful natural habitats and various species of wildlife, is particularly interesting to visit. There are several protected national parks, which makes the area a paradise for the outdoors lovers. One of the most enjoyable activities around the Ebro River is cycling. There are several cycling tracks, but also more quiet paths and areas. Bicycles and electric bikes are available for rent.
Kayaking in River Ebro is also another option. The river has several stretches to try it, so even people with no previous experience can choose an easy, non-technical route. Depending on the time of year, you might also be able to swim. The River Ebro is ideal for those who like fishing. There are several areas where you can catch giant fish, like carp, catfish or zander fish, and where you will be likely to meet other fishermen, both tourists and locals.
Finally, an increasingly popular activity is bird watching. Over 300 species of birds, like terns, reed warblers and spot gulls, live in the Delta wetlands. You are also likely to spot several types of migratory birds, such as flamingos. For a guide to outdoor activities in the Ebro River area, take a look at Dave’s Travel Guide – Ebro River Outdoor Activities in Catalonia.
By Dave from Dave’s Travel Pages
Tenerife is the biggest Canary Island. It is well-known for its beautiful beaches and colourful tourist resorts, but there is so much more that Tenerife can offer besides restaurants and beaches. In fact, this Canary Island is a paradise for mountain hikers, cyclists and all other outdoor enthusiasts. In Tenerife there are many non-beach things to do.
The biggest and most spectacular area is Teide National Park located in the central part of Tenerife. The landscape is out of this world – moonlike volcanic terrain has many peculiar land formations. In this park tourists can climb the highest peak in Spain – Teide volcano, which reaches 3718 metres. The mountain is accessible for all kinds of tourists – families with children can ascend in cable car, and hikers can climb on hiking trails.
Nature lovers should also visit Anaga mountains. Located in the north of the island, this region is distinctively different than other areas in Tenerife, because of its abundant greenery, winding paths, and old mysterious forests. Tourists interested in architecture should visit La Orotava – picturesque colonial town with lots of noteworthy monuments.
Joanna from Over Here
A former fisherman’s village, Cadaqués is a quaint city in the northeastern coast of the rugged Costa Brava. It’s also a well-preserved area that maintains its small-town charm without the large corporate chains overrunning its streets. Its narrow alleyways dotted with whitewashed buildings and brightly colored doors have attracted artists like Pablo Picasso and Henry Matisse. Salvador Dalí also frequented the town as his summer haven.
Unlike other beaches along the Costa Brava, the beaches in Cadaqués are small coves, and the sand isn’t fine but has large pebbles. While they’re not beaches for building sandcastles, you can enjoy the gorgeous Esglesia de Santa María in the background and the colorful boats docked on the sand. Dalí fans can visit the old home of the artist in the nearby Portlligat. It’s transformed into a museum, the Casa Museo Salvador Dalí, and it’s the place where he stayed until the death of his wife, Gala, in 1982. Unfortunately, the only way to get to Cadaqués is through a dizzying and winding road, but those who survive can enjoy this delightful town along the Mediterranean Sea.
Justine from Latitude 41: A Barcelona Travel Blog
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