Best Places to Visit in Spain

Best Places to Visit in Spain

Spain's Must-See Spots Your Ultimate Travel Guide

WRITTEN BYBryan Jacinto
PUBLISHED ONDecember 12, 2023
Tibidabo Church at Sunset Overlooking Barcelona

Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

Wondering where to go in Spain? The country offers diverse cultures, lively festivals, historical sites, and stunning landscapes that charm every traveler.

From architectural marvels in Barcelona and world-renowned museums in Madrid to stunning palaces in Seville and much more, countless experiences await you in this fascinating country. This article will guide you through the best places to enrich your journey.


If you've been charmed by Spain's captivating landscapes, then Barcelona is a place you should consider visiting. Known for its rich culture and legendary architecture, this seaside city promises a memorable experience.

La Sagrada Familia

Gracing the skyline of Barcelona with its unique and majestic presence, La Sagrada Familia captures the limitless imagination of its designer, Antoni Gaudi. This basilica, still unfinished, stands out with its tapestry of detailed stone carvings and breathtakingly intricate views from its multiple towers.

Imagine visiting a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site, a cathedral where every detail tells a story. You'll be taken aback by the incredible architecture.

Don't forget to climb one of its towers. From there, you'll see the breathtaking view of Barcelona below you.

Even though it remains incomplete, La Sagrada Familia holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors, bearing testimony to Gaudi's vision and persistence. Each façade tells a different biblical story, rich with symbolism.

The interiors, with tree-like columns reaching skyward and a vibrant stained glass kaleidoscope, are no less fascinating, providing a sense of awe-inspiring spirituality. Take note: it's advisable to book your ticket in advance to avoid long queues and get ready to be enamored by this extraordinary symbol of Barcelona's identity.

Park Güell

You can't leave Barcelona without visiting Park Güell. This incredible outdoor space, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Antoni Gaudí, certainly merits a spot on your itinerary. With its brightly colored mosaic sculptures, stunning city views, and lush greenery, it’s easy to see why Park Güell is one of the city's most popular destinations.

While it's free to roam the park's extensive grounds, purchasing tickets in advance to access the Monumental Zone is recommended. Here, you can take in more of Gaudí’s brilliant designs. Also, earmark some time to explore the Gaudí House Museum, which lies within the park and houses a collection of his works.

Take your time to explore and soak up the tranquil atmosphere, as the natural beauty perfectly complements Gaudí's unique architectural flair. It's a perfect spot to unwind, take some exceptional photos, and lose yourself in the awe-inspiring panoramic views of the city.

Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta Beach with City Skyline and Cloudy Sky

Photo by chan lee on Unsplash

You simply can't visit Barcelona without spending a day at Barceloneta Beach. Its golden sands stretch invitingly along the warm Mediterranean coast, offering a picturesque spot for a leisurely sun-soaked day.

This beach isn't just about lounging around; it's a hive of activity, brimming with diverse beach activities, beachfront restaurants, and a bustling promenade. True to Barcelona's festive character, the promenade is rife with musicians, performers, and artists, their lively acts further enhancing the pulsating energy of this locale.

For the active ones, try your hand at windsurfing or kite surfing, while foodies can savor the fresh seafood paella, a quintessential Barceloneta dish, straight from the beachfront restaurants.

Dig deeper into this city and beyond with our all-encompassing guide to the best things to do in Spain.


Your journey through Spain, Madrid's capital, should feature on your itinerary. This bustling city has historical gems, vibrant squares, and iconic museums.

The Prado Museum

First on your agenda in Madrid should be visiting the world-renowned Prado Museum. Known as one of the most incredible art galleries in the world, you'll encounter a wealth of priceless pieces housed within its magnificent walls.

Its expansive collection is a paradise for art lovers, boasting works from Spanish masters like Velázquez and Goya and international artists such as Rubens. However, the museum's allure isn't limited to art connoisseurs; casual viewers, history buffs, and even kids will find plenty to marvel at.

Make sure to dedicate ample time to take in the many narratives that unfold across the museum's canvases—you're not simply viewing art; you're stepping into fascinating eras of history. It's an absolute must for anyone's itinerary when visiting Spain's intriguing capital city.

Retiro Park

Also known as El Retiro, this expansive green space perfectly escapes the bustling city life. It's spread across 125 hectares and home to over 15,000 trees, making it a haven for nature lovers.

Besides the lush scenery, Retiro Park is rich in attractions. The Palacio de Cristal, a striking glass palace, hosts temporary exhibitions and offers a dramatic backdrop for souvenir photos. Known as Madrid's "green lung," you can also navigate the park's quieter corners by boating on its serene lake or basking on its manicured lawns.

The park is not just limited to natural beauty. It's steeped in history, too. Originating from the 17th century, every corner of the park has a story to tell. Whether it's the impressive monuments, beautiful sculptures, or the Roselada rose garden - every aspect of Retiro is imbued with a sense of the past.

The Royal Palace

When you're in the heart of Madrid, your journey won't be complete without a visit to the Royal Palace. The Palacio Real stands apart as Europe's largest functioning palace, teeming with grandeur and historical significance.

Once home to the Spanish Royal Family, the 3,000 rooms, ornate decorations, and sprawling gardens tell tales of a rich and storied past.

You'll likely be captivated by the palace's Neoclassical architecture, its opulent Throne Room filled with a striking collection of Stradivarius violins, and the stunning banquet halls. Not to forget the impressive frescos by Tiepolo, a renowned Italian painter.

As you wander through the elaborate palace hallways, remember to make your way to the Royal Armory. This treasure trove, one of the world's finest, showcases an extensive display of weapons and armaments used by the Spanish Royals over centuries.

You'll want to know just when to go to ensure you make the most of your Spanish adventure. The weather, regional events, and tourism peaks all play a part in planning the ultimate trip. Check out our article summarising the best times to visit Spain for a comprehensive guide.


When visiting Spain, it would be a grave oversight not to detour to Seville, a city in southern Spain rich in history and culture.

Seville Cathedral

When you find yourself in Seville, visiting the Seville Cathedral, officially known as Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, is an absolute must. This architectural magnificence is not only the largest Gothic cathedral in the world but also the third-largest church imaginable. It stands tall as an epitome of the city's history, art, and religion.

The Cathedral’s construction lasted over a century, beginning in 1401 and concluding in 1506, showcasing a blend of Gothic and Moorish architectural styles. Inside this colossal structure, you'll be blown away by an array of artistic treasures. It has everything from the stunning altarpiece composed of thousands of carved figures coated in gold to Christopher Columbus's tomb.

The Giralda bell tower, formerly a minaret from the mosque that once stood there, rises above the cathedral, offering breathtaking city views. It has become an iconic symbol of Seville. Once you reach the top, the panoramic view of Seville will leave you speechless.

Real Alcázar

Giving testimony to Spain's diverse architectural influences, this phenomenal UNESCO World Heritage Site oozes rich history through every nook and corner.

Exploring the oldest royal palace in Europe that is still in use is like taking a journey through history. Its stunning Mudejar architecture and the seamless blend of Christian and Islamic design elements will captivate you.

From courtyards trapped in a veil of delicate latticework to lush and tranquil gardens, its many facets form a seamless blend of the old and the new. The intricate tilework and the silence that pervades the Palace of Don Pedro in the late afternoon are experiences to behold.

You'll also discover spellbinding stories about past monarchs who used this fascinating residence while simultaneously losing yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of its layout.

Plaza de España

Nestled in the heart of Seville, this Spanish square embodies Renaissance Revival style with a dash of Moorish influence – a testament to the city's diverse cultural lineage.

When you enter this semi-circular plaza, you'll be enthralled by the beautifully decorated bridges, each symbolizing a different historical area of Spain. The plaza is filled with meticulous tile work, known as azulejos, giving it a vibrant artistic appeal that's truly unforgettable.

Get ready for an unforgettable experience as you marvel at the stunning architecture of the plaza. You'll see detailed towers, a captivating fountain, and Spain's history illustrated in beautiful ceramic tiles. But it's not just a visual feast - you'll often hear traditional Spanish music performed by local musicians.

To truly immerse yourself in the Spanish charm, consider a self-drive tour to explore at your own pace. Spain's breathtaking landscapes, from its sunshine-drenched coastlines to its lush, mountainous interiors, are most easily reached by car.

Our driving guide for Spain provides all the vital information you’ll need, including tips on driving etiquette and road rules.


When you set foot in Granada, the historical aesthetic of this city will captivate you. Boasting remarkable attractions that reveal layers of cultural history, Granada offers these top three must-visit sites:

The Alhambra

The Alhambra in Granada offers a captivating trip into Spain's history. Set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, this impressive fortress showcases the deep Islamic influences in Spain through its exquisite Moorish architecture. It's an absolute must-visit destination for anyone wanting to experience the country's cultural richness.

The Alhambra, meaning 'The Red One' in Arabic, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that masterfully captures the essence of art and culture from the Nasrid dynasty. Traverse the lush Generalife Gardens, explore the grand halls of the Nasrid Palaces, and be enchanted by the intricate geometric patterns adorning the many structures.

Catedral de Granada

If eye-catching architecture tickles your fancy, you won't want to miss the Catedral de Granada during your Spanish adventure. Initially constructed in the early 16th century, this awe-inspiring cathedral is a brilliant example of Spanish Renaissance architecture.

Something magical about the interior is an ethereal light filtering through the stained glass windows, bouncing off the polished marble floors, illuminating towering columns and intricate relief sculptures.

Take a quiet moment of contemplation in the grand central nave, marvel at the sheer size and detail of the main altar, and let your eyes wander to the majestic dome. Of particular note is the Capilla Mayor - the chapel that houses the tombs of the Catholic Monarchs.

Influenced by myriad architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque, each corner of the Catedral de Granada tells a unique story. Make sure to add this magnificent cathedral to your list of must-visit sites.

El Albayzín

As you explore Granada, don't miss out on the captivating district of El Albayzín. This ancient Moorish quarter is a labyrinth of narrow winding streets, mesmerizing white houses with decisively Andalusian character, and enchanting hidden courtyards, complete with glittering fountains and scented with blooming flowers.

Strolling through El Albayzín feels like stepping back in time. With every turn, you'll discover something to enchant you - a glimpse of a courtyard framed by lush plants, the sound of a bubbling fountain, or a stunning vista of the city unveiled from a high vantage point. Don't skip visiting the Mirador de San Nicolás, from where you can enjoy the most phenomenal sunset views of the Alhambra.

El Albayzín is a treat for the eyes and offers an immersive cultural experience. You might be lucky enough to stumble upon a traditional Flamenco performance in one of the plazas. The area has several authentic tapas bars where you can relish local delicacies. Don't forget to explore the local artisan shops selling everything from traditional ceramics to intricate leather goods.


Valencia, often a hidden gem overlooked by tourists, has many attractions to offer. Here are three must-see places:

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

For a complete Valencia experience, don't miss out on the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias or the City of Arts and Sciences. This vast 90-square-kilometer complex, masterly crafted by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, is the crown jewel of contemporary Valencia.

Offering an assortment of various cultural and scientific attractions ranging from the visually striking Hemisfèric - an IMAX Cinema and planetarium shaped like a giant eye, to the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, a bastion of the performing arts and the hub of opera in Valencia. Here, you'll be struck by the beauty of art and technology intertwining.

Wandering around the grounds will offer you more than just architectural enjoyment, as the locale is home to beautifully manicured gardens, bracing pools, and even a sleek and modern bridge.

For science enthusiasts, the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum is a must-visit point. This interactive museum will give you a hands-on science experience. The Oceanografic, Europe’s biggest Aquarium, is another wonder in this city of arts and sciences, where you can be face-to-face with around 500 different species.

The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, with its gleaming white structures cutting a stark contrast against Valencia's perennial blue skies, is much more than a tourist spot. It's a destination where exploration, education, and entertainment converge, proving beyond doubt why it's one of Spain's most beloved attractions.

La Lonja de la Seda

Valencia's old town boasts an extraordinary sight, La Lonja de la Seda. This captivating Gothic edifice is a must-see on your Spain tour. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Lonja de la Seda was the hub of Valencia's silk trade in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, hence its English name, 'The Silk Exchange'.

The building's exterior is as captivating as imposing, decorated with unique gargoyle figures and ornamental details. However, your real surprise awaits inside. Here, you'll find the magnificent 'Hall of Columns,' a hollow, elegantly vaulted space supported by twisted columns reminiscent of towering palm trees.

This place's sheer artistic and historical value will leave you in awe. Whether or not you're an architecture enthusiast, the captivating essence of La Lonja de la Seda promises an enriching experience you will carry home as one of your unforgettable Spanish memories.

Valencia's Central Market

Are you a lover of lively activity? Valencia's Central Market needs to be on your Spain itinerary. As one of Europe's largest markets, it offers a maze of stalls overflowing with goods. Step inside its exquisite art nouveau building and be taken over by the scents of fresh produce, baked treats, and assorted seafood.

Feel the rhythm of the locals' daily life as you navigate through countless vendors, all eager to provide you with the finest Spanish delicacies. Whether seeking out the locally grown oranges Valencia is famous for or the Spanish staple, Iberico ham, you'll savor every bite in this food lover's paradise.

Importance of an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Spain

Along with your exploration of the vibrant cultures and stunning vistas Spain has to offer, it's equally important to note the practical aspects of your travel plans. Say, for instance, you're considering a road trip through the sun-drenched Spanish countryside and bustling cities - a memorable experience. Still, your home country's driving license alone may not be sufficient.

An IDP, in essence, is an internationally recognized translation of your native driving license. Its importance can't be understated in a foreign country like Spain. Here are a few reasons why it is essential:

  • Approval for an IDP comes instantly with minimal hassle. The process is streamlined, ensuring it's fast and easy.
  • Once you have your IDP, it's valid for a duration between 1 and 3 years, giving you the freedom to explore at your leisure.
  • An IDP allows you to drive legally overseas, keeping you compliant with international driving rules.
  • Your IDP can be translated into 12 languages, eliminating potential language barriers while driving in places where English may not be well understood.
  • The permit is recognized by over 150 countries worldwide. This means besides Spain, your IDP opens the door for possible road trips to neighboring countries, too.
  • Additional perks include worldwide express shipping, ensuring your permit arrives safely and quickly at your door.

So when planning your dreamy Spanish escape, remember to factor in an International Driving Permit. It's not just a piece of paper but a safeguard in ensuring your overseas driving is easier, legal, and stress-free.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, Spain offers many rich cultural experiences, stunning architectural marvels, and breathtaking natural beauty. Each destination on this list holds something unique, promising unforgettable memories. So, get ready to immerse yourself in the beautiful tapestry of Spain. But remember, driving around this picturesque country can make your journey even more fulfilling.

Transportation will be an ease, and you'll have the freedom to explore at your own pace. Applying for an IDP simplifies your travel by ensuring you're legally covered to drive in Spain. Why hold back on the adventure of a lifetime? Apply for your IDP today and set your agenda for a Spanish escapade!

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Valid for 1-3 years

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