Spain is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia. Spain has many amazing places to visit; no wonder it is a popular tourist destination that invites more than 80 million international tourists annually to check out its historical sites and party places.
Another reason Spain is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe is its hospitality. Spanish locals are one of the most friendly people, too.
Plus, the Mediterranean Sea of Spain’s coastline has many beaches, cities, and towns with rich cultures. Traveling to Spain means learning about its history and culture while exploring its towns.
If you’re planning a trip to Spain, you’ll want to prepare for the long list of places to visit. As one of the most visited countries in Europe with varied climates and rich history, there’s something for everyone.
Spain has so many attractions that are to be not missed. For this, we have researched the most popular and underrated destinations in Spain that you will surely love exploring.
Here is a list of the top 15 places you should look forward to when visiting Spain.
1. Places to Visit in Spain: Merida
The capital of the Extremadura region, Merida, is in Western Spain. Why visit this city? Well, Merida is an ancient city that boasts the world’s most impressive and well-preserved ruins.
This city was founded in the 1st century B.C. by the Romans. With more than 2,000 years of history, Merida offers every tourist its historical and archaeological sights.
Some places to check out are the remains of the ancient city, like the Teatro Romano and the old Roman Theatre that still hosts theatre performances.
2. Places to Visit in Spain: Barcelona
Barcelona- the second-largest city in Spain, is also one of the most favorite tourist destinations. The city has historical sites and a modern vibe with many eateries, shopping stops, and nightclubs to keep you entertained all night.
The first stop you would want to make is in the old city of Ciutat Vella. Here, you can see the Gothic Quarter with its cobblestone streets that take you to old churches and outdoor cafes for you to eat at.
Another best place to check out in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. While you are here, see the world-famous Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batllo.
If you want to visit more historical sites, go to the Picasso Museum or wander centuries-old neighborhoods at Barri Gotic.
Now, for some adventure, book a trip to Mount Tibidabo. You can hike or cycle to the mountain top. The city views from the mountaintop will undoubtedly amaze you. While here, visit the Tibidabo Amusement Park and go on some thrilling roller coaster rides.
You can stroll around La Rambla, dip at the Barceloneta beach, or even attend the city’s festivals like the Monegros Desert Festival.
If you are a football fan like the way I am, you probably know that Barcelona is home to one of the best football clubs in the world and has the largest football stadium in the world, Camp Nou. Watching a match or exploring the stadium is a must.
3. Places to Visit in Spain: Madrid
Madrid is the largest city in Spain and is known for its dazzling nightlife. But let me hold you right there. Madrid also has many attractions, including historical sites, university areas, and cultural centers.
Visit the city’s center to explore the best tourist attractions like the Royal Palace (the largest in Europe), Spain’s monarch residence, and many beautiful churches.
Go to Puerta del Sol, where you can attend festivals or check out street performers. It is where most of the public transportation of the city is linked.
Visit Plaza Mayor to shop for souvenirs to take home.
Madrid also houses many beautiful parks, zoos, museums, and art galleries. The city has Picasso’s Guernica and Velázquez’s Las Meninas on its golden triangle of art galleries.
If you love hanging out at tapas bars, go to La Latina.
If you want to visit art institutions, visit the Prado Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum.
4. Places to Visit in Spain: Bilbao
Most of you may instantly think about the Guggenheim when you hear about Bilbao.
Located 16 kilometers south of the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao has a wetter climate than the rest of Spain and, thus, has fertile and green rolling hills surrounding the city.
The first place to visit is the world-famous Guggenheim, designed by architect Frank Owen Gehry. This modern-contemporary art is Bilbao’s symbol. Guggenheim presents a massive artwork of abstract sculpture with a maritime theme.
Another great architectural piece is the giant bronze spider created by artist Louise Bourgeois. It represents the artist’s mother, who was a weaver.
Besides the rolling hills, Bilbao has incredible views. Check out the city’s best views at Parque Etxebarria. If you want a more serene experience, ride at the Funicular de Artxanda.
Bilbao is not just serene views and art and architecture; its best part is the food the locals put so much soul into.
Visit Bilbao’s old town- Casco Viejo, and eat at Basque tapas. You will get an unforgettable culinary experience here.
5. Places to Visit in Spain: Salamanca
Salamanca is one of the best Renaissance cities in Europe, located on the Northern Plateau along the banks of the Tormes River. It houses many architectural masterpieces and monuments that go way back in time.
The beautiful sandstone architectural site and the historical University of Salamanca are the best places to check out in Salamanca. This university is one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe.
You should also visit the Plaza Mayor, where you can chill at the restaurants by day and enjoy the elegant square’s beauty by night as the whole building lights up.
6. Places to Visit in Spain: Ibiza
Ibiza is the ultimate party destination situated off Spain’s east coast. It is the third-largest Balearic Island.
Ibiza attracts tourists, the best DJs, and party freaks to explore its beautiful natural scenery enhanced by the bays and beaches. The warm and sunny climate makes it better.
Ibiza has two sides: the south side, which includes nightclubs, and the north side, with some of the best relaxing spots with abundant nature and beautiful beaches.
If you want to party hard, visit Ibiza during the peak summer season. With many world-class DJs playing intoxicating electronic dance music and bartenders serving you some of the best cocktails you’ve ever had, you will surely have a blast.
Some of the best nightclubs in Ibiza are Amnesia, Moma Ibiza, Privileg, and Bigo de Ibiza. Plus, during summer, the clubs stay open till dawn so that you will see the sunrise over the sea.
Now, if you have other plans besides partying, you can go to Dalt Villa- Ibiza’s old town, also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Or, you can go to the beaches to swim in clear ocean water.
Ibiza is also an excellent place for boat lovers. You can window shop boats and know about them in the process.
7. Places to Visit in Spain: Segovia
Segovia is the capital of Segovia province, renowned for its historical sites. This city is just a one-hour drive from Madrid and is one of Spain’s best places to visit.
Go to the Old Town to check out the Aqueduct of Segovia, built around 100 AD by the Romans. Its architectural marvel has been a city’s symbol for ages.
If you want to delve into fantasy and feel like royalty in medieval times, visit Alcazar of Segovia. It is a castle situated atop a rocky mountain. It is said that the castle inspired the Walt Disney movie Sleeping Beauty).
Also, visit the Cathedrals that overlook the old town’s Jewish quarter. There are also many grand Gothic cathedrals and churches that you can visit.
8. Places to Visit in Spain: Ronda
Ronda is a hidden gem atop the El Tajo gorge, situated south of Spain. It overlooks an incredible sight of the valleys and hills.
Walk across the Puerto Nuevo- Ronda’s prominent landmark built in the 18th century. Traversing this bridge will show you amazing views of the El Tajo Canyon. This bridge also connects El Mercadillo with El Ciudad.
If you want to check out beautiful churches and palaces, visit El Ciudad. Also, check out the building where Spanish bullfighting is hosted.
Then visit the Plaza de Toros de Ronda and Banos Arabes.
9. Places to Visit in Spain: Santiago de Compostela
Located in northwestern Spain, Santiago de Compostela is the Galicia region’s capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You must know about this city as the final destination of the Camino de Santiago traditional pilgrimage trek, which is also listed as one of the best treks in the world.
Santiago de Compostela was believed to be where Jesus Christ’s Apostle, St. James, was buried.
The arrival point of the pilgrimage tour, Praza do Obradoiro, is in the heart of Santiago de Compostela. It is a bustling plaza with many important attractions like the Santiago Cathedral, GelmÌrez Palace, Catholic Kings Hostal, Rajoy Palace, and San Jeronimo College.
Visit the Pilgrimage Museum, where you can learn about the history of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage tour. Or, you can go to the Museum of the Galician People to see the history and culture of Santiago de Compostela.
Other best attractions of this city are Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, Casco Antiguo (Old Town), Parque Alameda, The Galician Contemporary Art Centre, and Casa do Cabildo.
Thus, this city is the best place for visiting historical museums and going on a pilgrimage tour.
10. Places to Visit in Spain: Toledo
Toledo used to be the capital of Spain till the 16th century. Toledo has a mix of cultures and is rich in historic art and architecture.
Toledo is also known as the “City of Three Cultures” because Jews, Christians, and Muslims have inhabited it.
Wander the medieval streets of Toledo and check out the architecture of beautiful cathedrals, mosques, and Roman fortresses.
The city has a vibrant art scene since a renowned painter named El Greco lived here. You can see lots of El Greco’s artworks in several churches and landmarks of the city.
Several museums and art galleries in Toledo are waiting to be explored. Visit the Cathedral of Toledo to check out the art collection of renowned masters like Goya, Titian, and Raphael.
Now, the city has a blend of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture.
Also, visit the Zordocover plaza, where many historical events took place.
While here, relax and try local specialties such as Mazapan- a sweet treat made with almonds and pine nuts.
You can hit the local bars to try drinks and tapas as the sun sets.
11. Places to Visit in Spain: San Sebastian
The capital of the Gipuzkoa province of Northern Spain, San Sebastian, is a beautiful city many tourists visit for its excellent beaches and gastronomy scene. You will find many restaurants, pintxo bars, and shopping malls here.
Besides, it also houses many historic buildings reconstructed in the 19th century. Before, San Sebastian was somewhat destroyed by the Napoleonic wars.
It is Spain’s underrated destination that has pristine shorelines and mountains that are great for hiking. Some of the best beaches in Europe are located in San Sebastian, such as the Playa de la Concha and Playa de la Zurriola.
These beaches are eligible for swimming and surfing. If you want to try watersports like kayaking and water skiing, go to Concha Beach.
If you want to surf, Zurriola Beach is the best.
As I said before, San Sebastian also has a fine gastronomy scene. You will find lots of restaurants that offer a Basque version of tapas.
Your trip will be more fun if you go pintxo bar-hopping in San Sebastian’s center or by signing up for a pintxos food tour. The positive energy of the people and the places and the delicious meals of the gourmet restaurants will make your travel the most beautiful experience.
If you want to hike, visit the city’s two hills, Monte Urgell and Mount Igueldo. You can also go to the top of the hill on a funicular ride. After you reach the top, you’ll see fantastic city views and remarkable statues.
Besides all these activities, you should also attend the San Sebastian Film Festival and Jazz Festival.
12. Places to Visit in Spain: Valencia
Valencia is located in eastern Spain in the region of Valencia. It is renowned for its historic buildings that took years to renovate.
The most popular attraction to visit when in Valencia is the City of Arts and Science. It is a mega cultural and entertainment complex that houses several buildings such as a planetarium, aquarium, science museum, art museum, and….. an IMAX theater. This futuristic spaceship-like complex also houses an opera house.
Valencia has many reconstructed buildings like churches and old monasteries. The San Miguel de Los Reyes and the Silk Exchange Market are some of the best.
Also, go to the old Turia riverbed, where you can stroll around beautiful gardens and manmade lakes and work out at athletic parks. They also have game areas and cafes.
You can also visit the Barri del Carme. It is a popular neighborhood that has a vibrant mix of diverse ethnic groups and architecture.
Also, visit the Valencia Cathedral and Plaza del Ayuntamiento to check out the classic architecture.
The other factor that Valencia is famous for is the Fallas festival. It is a festival where each neighborhood displays mâché figures of different sizes and colors for a week. On the last day, the Fallas are burned, and everyone party at night.
Besides these, Valencia is also a party city where you can enjoy good nightlife at lively bars and clubs.
If you want to unwind from the bustling city, detour to the Albufera Natural Park.
13. Places to Visit in Spain: Seville
Seville is one of the most fantastic places to travel in Spain. It has many beautiful historic landmarks, entertaining festivals, a vibrant art scene, and top-notch nightlife.
Located in Southern Spain, Seville is the capital of Andalusia. There are many attractions to visit in this place, the first being the Cathedral of Seville. It is believed that Christopher Columbus is buried in this cathedral.
Also, visit the Real Alcazar. Explore this magnificent Morrish palace and take a stroll in its luxurious gardens. Here, you can also see the room where Christopher Colombus’s voyage to the New World was planned.
Another attraction to check out in Seville is the Metropol Parasol. It is the world’s largest wooden structure shaped like a giant umbrella.
There are many other museums and art galleries that you can explore in Seville.
Plan your visit to Seville during April as the city hosts its annual April Fair. It is an exciting time as the city’s streets become party stops. People wear traditional costumes and do flamenco dance.
You can also watch bullfights and eat and drink with the locals.
14. Places to Visit in Spain: Mallorca
Mallorca is Spain’s largest Balearic Island, with serene beaches surrounded by Mediterranean waters. The island has a beautiful landscape with rugged cliffs and secluded coves.
Visit Mallorca’s capital, Palma De Mallorca. It is a beautiful city to explore as you see centuries-old buildings and Gothic cathedrals.
Visit Soller to check out some great views of the city.
Besides the beaches, there are quaint small towns that you can explore. Stroll the streets of Alcúdia’s old town and relax at many of the area’s beaches, such as the Playa de Muri or the Cala Llombards.
Plus, Mallorca has a fantastic set of watersports that are ready to be experienced on the coastlines.
15. Places to Visit in Spain: Granada
Granada is located at the Sierra Nevada mountains’ base and is the capital of the Granda province. It is home to tapas bars, many flamenco venues, and Arab bathhouses.
Granada is where you will experience a mix of two cultures simultaneously.
Granada is a mid-sized city that boasts the stunning Alhambra- a stunning Moorish fortress that encloses Andalusian history. It has some of the best-preserved Islamic art and architecture pieces and is denoted as one of the great architectural sites of Europe.
Exploring this fortress would be like being a part of a Disney fairytale movie.
Also visit Sacromonte. It is where you will see white caves on the hillside. It is where the gypsies once lived.
Sacromonte is also the place where flamenco dance flourished.
Go to the Sierra Nevada National Park to unwind in nature or visit the 16th-century Granada Cathedral to learn about history and architecture.
Go to Nevada Ski Station to try snow skiing, sledding, horse riding, mountain climbing, or just hop on a cable car to reach the top.
Also, visit the Arabic quarter named Albaicin. It is a vibrant hundred-year-old Spice Market with vendor shops selling exotic teas, spices, and colorful tapestries you can take home.
Is Spain Safe to Travel?
Spain is one of the safest nations to visit in the world. According to the 2020 Global Peace Index, Spain is the 38th safest and most peaceful country out of 163 countries globally.
In Europe, Spain is the 25th safest country out of 36.
Spanish locals welcome tourists, and there is little to no violent crime.
Petty crimes like pickpocketing are prevalent in metros and popular attraction sites. It is best if you keep your belongings close.
Also, do not walk alone at night, especially in Barcelona, as street crimes are growing.
You should also check the travel advisory for Spain as directed by your country. Click here to check the current status of Spain.
So here we have it top 15 places to visit when in Spain. As you see, Spain is truly vibrant and has many attractions in each place you visit.