For those interested in history and culture, Spain has much to offer, including impressive monuments and museums. In this article we tell you about 10 most beatiful places to visit in Spain.
Spain is a country full of history, culture and natural beauty. Cathedrals, royal palaces and vestiges of the Arab period constitute its great legacy.
Some of Spain’s most popular places to visit are Madrid, the country’s vibrant capital with its impressive art and architecture; Barcelona, with its modernist architecture and lively cultural scene; and Seville, with its impressive Cathedral and Real Alcazar. Also not to be missed are the historic cities of Granada and Cordoba, as well as the picturesque town of Toledo.
In addition to the cities mentioned above, there are many other impressive places to visit in Spain. Bilbao, in northern Spain, is known for its impressive architecture and vibrant cultural scene. Santiago de Compostela is an important religious and cultural destination for pilgrims from all over the world.
In addition, Gothic and Mudejar architecture is a distinctive feature of many Spanish cities, such as the Mosque of Cordoba.
In this article we will focus on must-see sites in Spain.
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Map of 10 most beatiful places to visit in Spain
1) The Alhambra in Granada
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress that was built during the Muslim period in the Iberian Peninsula and is considered one of the finest examples of Muslim-style architecture and decoration in the world.
It was a political and administrative center during the Muslim period in Spain. After the Christian conquest of Granada in 1492, the Alhambra was used as a royal residence and military barracks.
One of its great beauties lies in the beautiful courtyards, fountains, gardens, halls and rooms, which are adorned with detailed mosaics, arabesques and frescoes. The tour is a unique experience for those who visit it because from inside you can admire the panoramic views of Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Being one of the most visited monuments in Spain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the most beatiful places to visit in Spain.
✏️ To visit the Alhambra it is advisable to buy tickets in advance, as it is one of the most visited monuments in Spain. It is also important to plan your visit, as it is a big place with a lot to see, to see how many hours and what places to visit inside.
📷 Book here the guided tour of the Alhambra and the Nasrid palaces with an expert guide. You can also tour the best of Granada with this tour that includes a visit to the Alhambra plus the Albaicin and Sacromonte.
🔝 Check out this article on tips for visiting the Alhambra and things to do in Granada.
2) The walls of Avila, one of the most beatiful places to visit in Spain
The Walls of Avila are a set of medieval walls that surround the historic center of the city. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries to protect the city from enemy attacks, they are one of the best preserved medieval walls in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Formed by a series of towers and gates that allow access to the city, the advantage is that you can walk along the walls and enjoy panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. In addition, the walls also house several historical monuments, such as the Torre del Homenaje and the Puerta del Alcázar.
The Walls of Avila are a popular place for tourists and is one of the main attractions of the city. Visitors can learn about the history and importance of the walls through guided tours and interactive exhibits.
✏️ The walls are an open-air place and depending on the time of the year you visit, you should bring a coat, especially in winter because it usually snows. In addition to visiting the city walls, take the opportunity to explore the city of Avila and its historical attractions, such as the Cathedral of Avila and the Basilica of San Vicente.
📷 Book your guided tour of Avila here. If you are interested in seeing another of the city’s most impressive monuments, book the tour of Avila Cathedral and the city wall.
3) The Giralda and the Seville Cathedral
The Cathedral of Seville is one of the most emblematic monuments of Andalusia. It was built on the site of the former Great Mosque of the city and is one of the largest Gothic buildings in the world. The cathedral has impressive stained glass windows, arches and vaults.
On the outside, its imposing main façade and two towers stand out, while the interior is spectacular with large naves and an impressive central dome. The cathedral also houses some of the most valuable works of art in the city, such as the main altarpiece and the Chapel of San Antonio.
Next to the cathedral stands its tall tower called La Giralda. It is an impressive example of Mudejar architecture with its slender and elegant form. Former minaret of the mosque, it later became the tower of the cathedral after the Christian reconquest.
You can climb to the top of the tower by means of a steep staircase to enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Seville.
✏️ The Cathedral is one of the most visited monuments in Seville. It is advisable to visit early in the morning, especially in summer, when temperatures are sweltering during the day.
📷 Book here the guided tour of the cathedral of Seville. If you want a more complete tour, you can book the guided tour that includes the cathedral, the Giralda and the Alcazar. Don’t miss it!
🔝 Looking for more places to see and tips to visit in the city? Check out this article about things to do in Seville.
4) The Monastery of El Escorial
Located about 45 km northwest of Madrid, the monastery was built in the 16th century by King Philip II as a royal residence. The monastery is known for its Renaissance architectural style and for being one of the most impressive examples of Spanish architecture of the period.
The monastery has numerous galleries, courtyards, libraries and chapels, as well as an impressive church with a glass dome. A visit inside is a must to admire its impressive frescoes, sculptures and works of art.
In addition, the chapel of the Monastery of El Escorial is the burial place for the kings of Spain.
✏️ El Escorial can be reached by bus or train from Madrid. It is advisable to reserve a whole day to visit, since the visit to the monastery lasts at least three hours and then ideally stay to eat a typical dish in the surroundings.
📷 Book here the excursion from Madrid to visit the monastery of El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen. There is also an interesting free tour of mysteries and legends in El Escorial at night.
🔝 Looking for more places to see around Madrid? Check out this article about 23 places to visit near Madrid.
5) The Cathedral-Mezquita of Cordoba
Another of Spain’s must-see and unique places to visit. The Mosque of Cordoba is one of the best examples of Islamic architecture in Spain. It was built in the 8th century by the Arabs and converted into a church and later into a cathedral during the Christian reconquest.
What is most striking about the site is the unique blend of preserved Islamic and Christian architectural styles. During the tour you will come across the ancient Muslim arches with red textures and in the center of the site the imposing cathedral with unique details. Fascinating stuff!
In the anteroom to the mosque is the Orange Tree Courtyard, known for its decorated columns and arches and for its orange trees that give the place its name. With a clear Arab style, today it is a place to relax and listen to the sound of the water flowing from the fountains.
✏️ It is advisable to book in advance the entrance to the Mosque of Cordoba, as it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain. This way, you avoid the long queues that can form. In summer, if you travel to Granada take sunscreen, a hat and drink enough water, the heat is excessive.
📷 Book here the guided tour of the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. There are also other places in the city worth visiting, such as the patios of Cordoba with this guided tour.
🔝 Looking for more places to see and tips for traveling to the city? Check out this article on things to do in Cordoba in two days.
6) Gaudí’s works in Barcelona, especially the Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Spain. Its attractions are many, from the Barceloneta area, the Rambla and Plaza Cataluña, to attractive beaches in the surrounding area and the Camp Nou, Barcelona’s world-famous stadium.
But there is something very distinctive about the city, and that is the works of Antoni Gaudi, an architect now deceased but characterized by his designs with irregular shapes and focused on elements of nature.
The Sagrada Familia is its greatest exponent, a construction that began at the end of the 19th century and is almost finished. The religious precinct combines gothic and art nouveau elements to create a unique and striking design. The impressive stained glass windows, sculptural details and decorative ornaments are all a testament to Gaudí’s skill and creativity.
Add to this the Park Güell, full of colorful sculptures, mosaics and landscaping elements and the Casa Batlló, covered with mosaics and unique decorative elements, among others.
✏️ If you like panoramic views, do not miss the opportunity to climb the towers of the Sagrada Familia to see the city from above. A unique experience!
📷 Book here the entrance ticket to the Sagrada Familia which includes the climb to the towers and save long lines to get in. To admire and learn more about the artist, book the free tour of Gaudí and modernist Barcelona.
🔝 Looking for more places to see and tips to see in the city? Check out this article on things to do in Barcelona in three days.
7) The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao
On the banks of the Nervión River, a structure with a novel design stands out. Inside, its collection of modern and contemporary art is among the best in Spain. The museum is considered a unique example of postmodern architecture and an important symbol of Bilbao’s culture and heritage.
The site is one of the places in Spain to visit for art and architecture lovers. The building’s architecture is a work of art in itself, with flowing, curved forms that make it stand out in the city. The museum’s collection ranges from sculptures, paintings to installations and photographs.
Bilbao also has other places of attraction such as its historical center, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Vizcaya ferry bridge or the nearby Getxo beach.
✏️Una one of the best ways to explore the museum is with a guide, who can tell you more about the history and meaning behind the museum’s architecture and artwork.
📷 Book your guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum here.
Traveling in the Basque Country? Check out this article on things to do in Bilbao besides the Guggenheim.
8) The Plaza Mayor of Madrid
Madrid’s Plaza Mayor is one of the most emblematic and well-known squares in Spain. Located in the heart of Madrid, the square has been the center of the city’s social and political life since the 16th century. Surrounded by baroque and renaissance style buildings, it is the perfect place to stroll, have a coffee or simply enjoy the atmosphere of the city.
The square was the scene of many important and traditional events of the city, a place of meetings and demonstrations over the centuries and a significant place for the political and social life of the city.
It is currently one of the most beatiful places to visit in Spain. Its square shape, the constant coming and going of people, the terraces to sit and enjoy a coffee or a meal, make for a unique experience and an ideal atmosphere to enjoy.
✏️Si you feel like having a snack in the Plaza Mayor, one of the most traditional gastronomic locals is the Cervecería La Campana, a small place that is famous for its fried squid sandwiches.
📷 Book here the free tour through the center of Madrid with an expert guide. If you want to visit other places, you can book a joint visit to the Prado and Reina Sofia museums.
First time in the city? Check out this article on things to do in Madrid if you are visiting for the first time.
9) The Alcazar of Toledo
Toledo is a historically rich and culturally vibrant city, with a history dating back to prehistoric times. It is an ideal place to learn about the history and culture of Spain and discover the richness and diversity of its cultural heritage.
Its architecture is impressive and diverse, from its Gothic cathedrals to its fortified castles and medieval synagogues. The city is a true architectural treasure.
One of the most representative historical buildings of the city is the Alcázar of Toledo, a fortified castle built on top of a hill with panoramic views of the city. The Alcazar today houses the Army Museum, which explores the history of Spain over the centuries. Its silhouette can be seen from several points of the city and the viewpoints.
Another place to visit in Toledo is its cathedral, one of the most important in Spain, known for its Gothic architecture.
✏️Admission to the Army Museum is free every Sunday.
📷 Book here the guided tour through the Toledo of the three cultures, to learn about the history of the city. If you want to know other monuments of the city, hire the guided tour of the Cathedral of Toledo.
🔝 Check out this article about things to do in Toledo in one day.
10) The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
The present cathedral is an example of Spanish Gothic style. The facade of the cathedral is impressive, with twin towers and a central rose window that stand out from the Plaza do Obradoiro. From there you have the best views of the main façade of the religious precinct.
The interior of the cathedral houses the tomb of St. James the Apostle. There are also valuable works of art and exhibits to visit at the Cathedral Museum (located on the same site).
The religious precinct is the end point for pilgrims on the famous Camino de Santiago. Every year, thousands of pilgrims complete this journey on foot or by bicycle along the different routes as an act of faith and reflection. Upon entering the cathedral, the custom is to embrace the saint.
✏️Because to the great affluence of public to enter the Cathedral, it is convenient to visit it in the morning, preferably before 11:00, when there are fewer visitors. To visit the Cathedral museum, the Portico de la Gloria and the cupolas you have to pay an entrance fee. There are several guided tours, including tours of the Cathedral at night.
📷 Do you want to know the most emblematic monument of the city with a guide. Book here the guided tour of the cathedral of Santiago.
🔝 Check out this article about things to do in Santiago de Compostela and surroundings.
11) Bonus: visit some of the most beautiful villages in Spain.
Beyond the imposing monuments to see in Spain, the countryside also has its magic and beauty. Touring the most beautiful villages in Spain can be a great plan if you have more days or if you have already visited the other sites before.
Here is a list of several beautiful villages in Spain that are worth visiting:
- Albarracin in Teruel: with a great architectural heritage, highlights the buildings ranging from the Arab period to the Renaissance. The town is known for its Mudejar-style houses, its Moorish wall and its Gothic church of Santa Maria. The wall has an extension of 1.5 km and is an ideal place to admire the panoramic views of the city. Book the free tour of Albarracín or the sunset tour of the town.
- Alquezar in Huesca: the village is located in a spectacular natural setting, with breathtaking views of the Sierra de Guara and the Vero river canyon. Highlights include the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña, one of the oldest monasteries in Spain and with its location on a cliff, the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the old town.
- Bocairent in Valencia: with its medieval buildings in staggered form on the mountain range, the village is one of the most beautiful of the Valencian Community. Its historic center contains narrow pedestrian and colorful alleys, with legacies from the Arab period. On the outskirts of the town is the Moro caves, an enclosure of great archaeological value. If you are in Valencia, book a day trip to Bocairent.
- Cudillero in Asturias: is a picturesque fishing village located on the coast of Asturias, with a charming marina and colorful houses nestled at the foot of a cliff. It also has several spectacular beaches, such as Poo Beach and Playa de la Isla. From the Mirador de la Atalaya, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the sea and the coast, as well as the nearby villages and mountains.
- Chinchon in Madrid: located in the mountains of Madrid, it stands out for its narrow streets and colorful houses dating from the seventeenth century. Among its historic buildings are the church of San Pedro and the main square, one of the largest and most beautiful in Spain, with its arcaded houses. Book the free tour of Chinchon.
- Pampaneira in Granada: one of the oldest villages in the Alpujarra, known for its local craft stores and typical products such as tapestries and wool products. Among the sites to visit are the house museum of the Alpujarra, a traditional house converted into a museum that shows the life and traditions of the region and the Poqueira viewpoint with views of the Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarra villages.
- Ronda in Seville: famous for its New Bridge over the Guadalevín River, which divides the city into two parts and offers breathtaking views from both above and below. In addition, there are other sites of interest such as the Mondragon Palace, with an impressive marble staircase, the bullring and the Arab baths. Book here the free tour of Ronda, you can also do the night free tour or free tour of the mysteries and legends.
- Frías in Burgos: it is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Spain. Its castle located in the highest area offers beautiful views for many kilometers. Its narrow streets are perfect for escaping from urban life and enjoying the surroundings. The city is surrounded by mountains and natural parks, making it an ideal destination for hikersand nature lovers.
- Morella in Castellón: a walled town that stands out in its highest part with the ancient castle. From the top of the castle the views are postcard-like, where the bullring and the reddish roofs of the houses of the village stand out. There are other sites to see in Morella such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the medieval quarter full of cobbled streets and old houses with wrought iron balconies. Book your guided tour of Morella here.
- Cadaqués in Girona: coastal town located in a beautiful landscape of mountains and sea, with sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and white facades of the houses. It stands out for being a cultural and artistic center, especially for the legacy left by Salvador Dalí. Some of the places to visit are the Salvador Dalí House-Museum, the old lighthouse and the church of Sant Martí. Book here the Dalí tour in Cadaques..
Map of the most beautiful villages in Spain
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