The joyous vibe, delicious food, and the rich heritage of Spain make it one of the most desired destinations in Europe. With a total of 17 regions making up the country, España has much to offer travelers from incredible historical architecture to natural wonders. In this piece, you can find recommendations on which cities and places to include to your tour of Spain to make your journey one to remember.
Spain is much wealthier in things to see and do than one might think at first. We decided to focus on the more popular parts of the country, mostly in the central region of Spain as well as along the Mediterranean coast.
Touring the capital’s must-visits
The capital of Spain, Madrid, is among the most-visited destinations in the country. So if this city is on your plan, make sure to check out the old part of town called Madrid of Los Austrias, see the beautiful Royal Palace, and take a picture by the Bear and the Strawberry Tree statue on Puerta del Sol. A visit to the Prado Museum could also be a great add-on to your program, plus for a relaxing stroll, don’t miss out on the scenic Retiro Park.
For a taste of history and medieval Spain, take a day trip to the former Spanish capital, Toledo, located not far away from Madrid. Toledo’s winding cobblestone streets set in the fortified walls of the city hold many secrets and monuments. Toledo’s past has seen residents of many cultures and religions and the city had been often displayed on many paintings of world-class artists.
Catalonian coastal gems
Only a 2.5-hour ride on a Madrid to Barcelona train and you can arrive in the iconic capital of Catalonia. Barcelona boasts a picture-perfect maze-like old town with numerous cafes and restaurants and is also home to many unique creations of the famed architect Antoni Gaudi. When in Barcelona take a walk in the old town to see the Gothic Barcelona Cathedral. Don’t miss out on the La Rambla walking street with many street artists and the Boqueria Market for a tasty street food experience. What’s for Gaudi sights, the unfinished Sagrada Familia Basilica, Park Guell and buildings like Casa Batllo and Casa Mila shouldn’t be missed as well.
A little north of Barcelona is Girona, a great option for a 1-day trip from the city. Girona offers a wonderful opportunity to dive into medieval history as the city has an interesting Gothic Quarter and many remnants of Roman architecture. We also advise to continue north to the neighboring town called Figueres to visit the legendary Salvador Dali Theater-Museum, which was designed by the artist.
Those who are into hiking should definitely consider going to Montserrat, located north of Barcelona. This mountain range is one of the most picturesque hiking destinations in Spain and is noted for its incredible views and safe well-equipped trails.
A trip to Spain won’t be complete without a visit to the southern region which is thought to be the real-deal Spain with the most authentic culture and tapas cuisine in the country. Seville is a popular city to stay in Andalucia and its Real Alcazar is definitely worth putting down on your itinerary. The Giralda Tower is a great choice for wonderful city views, and the Cathedral of Seville is also worth checking out.
Andalucia is believed to be the motherland of the famous Spanish dance flamenco, so if you’d like to get an insight on what real flamenco is about, head out to Granada. Moreover, it’s UNESCO-listed Alhambra of Granada fortress is something you’ll see nowhere else in Europe. For more historical gems continue your trip to Cordoba, a town which was founded by the Romans. Cordoba’s Puente Romano, Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, as well as the Great Mosque and Cathedral are all valued sights.
For some sunshine head down to Andalucia’s Costa del Sol to the city of Malaga. This unique town is the hometown of the painter Pablo Ruiz Picasso, so when in Malaga, stop by the museum dedicated to many of his works. The destination is also perfect for interesting day trips, as such, a full-day hiking trip to Caminito del Rey, the recently restored King’s Path which once ranked among the top in “the world’s most dangerous paths” is one of the options. The nearby extraterrestrial-looking rock formations called Torcal de Antequera and the nature reserve with ancient tombs and caves are a great choice too. Finally, the charming town Ronda (featured in the recent animated film about Spain called “Ferdinand”) with its fascinating bridges is a top getaway as well.
Summing up, those who wish to go to Spain surely won’t regret it, as the options for tourists, starting from sightseeing, culture, and the overall positive vibe to great cuisine and rich history all make for an unforgettable journey. A final tip would be, provided the opportunity, to add on multiple destinations to your day-by-day plan instead of just one region to cover as many places that interest you in one trip as possible.