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The 16 Best Places to Visit in Spain (Our Picks for 2024)

The 16 Best Places to Visit in Spain (Our Picks for 2024)

Spain has thousands of years of history, a rich culture, and even beautiful beaches. The hardest part about visiting Spain isn’t having a good time: it’s deciding where to go with so much to see.

After all, everyone has a different opinion of what their “best places to visit in Spain” lists should include. But don’t worry — we’ve done the hard work for you.

The 16 Best Places to Visit in Spain

Most people make a beeline for Spain’s most popular cities, Madrid and Barcelona, or the beaches in the south. There is plenty in between to check out, including Moor-inspired architecture, art, and natural wonders. Read on to see our recommendations for the best places to visit in Spain!

1. Barcelona

Morning light shines over a park in Barcelona, one of the best places in Spain to visit on a trip, with the colorful park bench snaking around the grounds

Lukasz Szwaj/Shutterstock

Barcelona is probably Spain’s most popular tourist destination, and it only takes a quick look at the Catalonian capital to see why. The historic city is full of beautiful buildings dating back centuries.

Start off in the Gothic Quarter for everything from Roman ruins to medieval buildings. For more modern architecture, don’t miss one of Gaudí’s works.

Antoni Gaudí was an architect famous for his colorful designs and organic shapes. The unfinished Sagrada Familia is probably his most famous work, but don’t miss Parc Güell.

That’s not to say all there is to do in Barcelona is look at pretty buildings. Check out the street food scene at Mercat de la Boqueria, take a funicular up the Tibidabo mountain, or even go to the beach. Of course, check out the famous nightlife as well.

Read Next: Where to Stay in Barcelona in 2024 and The Best Time to Visit Barcelona

2. Madrid

Sun setting over Cathedral Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena in Madrid for a piece on the best places to visit in Spain

Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

Spain’s stately capital has a lot to offer, especially for art lovers. It hosts the world-famous Prado Museum, with a breathtaking collection of Spanish masters, as well as several other museums, including the Reina Sofía Museum.

Check out the massive Royal Palace as well. Madrid has a reputation for being staid, but it likes to let loose as well. When in Madrid, do as the locals do and make sure to eat a lot of tapas, or small snacks.

La Latina is a neighborhood with one of the highest concentrations of tapas bars. Go on a tapas crawl to sample the best from each one.

Read Next: The Best & Worst Times to Visit Madrid in 2024 & Is Madrid Safe to Visit?

3. Balearic Islands

Secluded beach surrounded by rock formations on the Majorca Cala Llombards Santanyi beach in Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, one of our top picks for places to visit in Spain


The beautiful Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea are one of the best places to go in Spain for a beach vacation. The chain consists of four main islands: Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca, and Formentera.

All of them have beautiful beaches, but they have very different characters. Ibiza is probably the most touristic, with a world-famous nightclub scene.

Mallorca, with its pretty capital Palma de Mallorca, is great for beachgoers who want to learn some history as well, while Menorca and Formentera are just as pretty but far less crowded.

Read Next: Is Ibiza Safe to Visit? & What an Average Trip to Ibiza Costs

4. Granada

Towering fortress of Alhambra in Grenada, one of the best places to visit in Spain

Shchipkova Elena/Shutterstock

Granada is in Spain, but when you visit, you might not feel as if you are in Europe anymore. That’s because this beautiful southern Spanish city has a strong Moorish influence.

The Muslim Moors ruled Spain for several hundred years, and Granada was their last stronghold. Nowhere is this more visible than in the Alhambra, the spectacular Moorish palace with architecture and art.

Besides the Alhambra, check out the Albaicín, or Moorish old town that is more than 1,000 years old, the medieval university, and rich flamenco culture. If you want to take in some nature, the Sierra Nevada Mountain range is close by.

5. San Sebastián

Beach town of San Sebastian pictured with the brick boardwalk along the still water leading to the beach and the city wrapping around the front of the image

Botond Horvath/Shutterstock

Foodies all over the world dream of coming to San Sebastián, in Spain’s northern Basque region. From Michelin-star restaurants to street food kiosks, there is a good meal practically everywhere you look in town. Check out the pintxos, or Basque tapas, to get a taste of local specialties.

When you can tear yourself away from the table, go check out the surfers along Playa de Zurriola. San Sebastián is also a great town to use as a base for going into nature. Hike up Monte Urgull for a great view of the town.

Read Next: Where to Stay in San Sebastian & Is It Safe to Visit San Sebastian?

6. Seville

Pictured as one of the must-visit places in Spain, a photo of the Plaza de Espana in Seville with a canal running through the courtyard of a giant building complex


Seville is another gem of southern Spain. It is the bustling capital of Andalucía, but although it is a large and modern city, it never lost its historic charm. Check out hundreds of years of often tumultuous history by walking the streets.

The Moors left behind Real Alcázar, a gorgeous palace, while the Christians built the Cathedral of Seville, the supposed birthplace of Christopher Columbus. The historic landmarks are fascinating, but the real reason to visit Seville is its lively culture.

Try to take in a flamenco performance so you can see the traditional music and dance of local Roma people. In April, the famous April Fair takes place when all of Seville seems like it travels back in time.

Read Next: Best Areas in Seville to Stay in 2024

7. Valencia

View of the magnificent bay with brown sand from Pope Luna's Castle in Valencia, a must-visit coastal town in Spain


Valencia is one of Spain’s largest cities and historically was one of its most important ports. The gorgeous old town includes historical buildings such as the San Miguel de los Reyes monastery.

From there, jump several centuries forward in time and visit the ultra-modern City of Arts and Science, which combines museums, an IMAX theater, and other attractions.

When you tire of sightseeing, enjoy Valencia’s relaxed pace of life. Walk along the beaches or the Turia riverbed or linger over a giant plate of paella.

8. Córdoba

Brick and stone walkway with square lights on either side leading to the Great Mosque (Mezquita Cathedral) in Cordoba, Spain


Córdoba is another popular destination in Andalucía. The town has thousands of years of history packed into a relatively compact city center, so you can easily explore everything on foot.

The most famous attraction in Córdoba is the Mezquita, a massive medieval mosque that Christian rulers later turned into a church. Even non-believers of any religion will feel awed by the elegant columns.

Besides the Mosque-Cathedral, check out the Roman bridge, the Jewish quarter, and the Archeological Museum for an insight into the city’s multicultural history.

9. Toledo

Arch bridge in Toledo spanning the Tagus River looking like it's taken straight out of a fairy tale book for a roundup of the best places to visit in Spain


Toledo is sometimes called “The City of Three Cultures.” Although Spain is now a predominantly Christian country, before the Reconquista, Christians, Jews, and Muslims coexisted in its cities. Nowhere is this history more visible than in walled Toledo.

Visit the Catedral de Toledo, El Transito Synagogue, and Cristo de la Luz Mosque to see major sites for all three religions that called Toledo home. Visit the local churches to see masterpieces from the town’s most famous son, El Greco, and get lost in the UNESCO-protected medieval streets.

10. Tenerife and the Canary Islands

Gigantic black volcanic formations towering over the town of Tenerife for a piece on the best places to visit when you are in Spain

Balate Dorin/Shutterstock

Tenerife, the largest island in the Canary Islands, is a great place to relax on the beach and explore this volcanic island chain. Most people go to Tenerife to relax on the beach, and it’s true that you can easily unplug your brain for a week at one of its many resorts.

However, if you get off the beaten track, you’ll be rewarded with dramatic volcanic landscapes that look as if they belong on the moon, not in Europe. Hike up the many peaks, including Mount Teide, the country’s highest mountain.

Read Next: The Best & Worst Times to Visit the Canary Islands in 2024

11. Bilbao

Sunrise over the food market in Bilbao in Spain with the river running next to some historic old buildings

Jon Chica/Shutterstock

Bilbao in Spain’s Basque region feels different from the rest of Spain. Many people here identify as Basque instead of Spanish, and the language and culture are different.

The region is more temperate and greener than the rest of Spain. The city’s history is different — more industrial and grittier. Today, Bilbao is a global center for modern art, thanks to the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.

The city turned the area around the museum into an entire Arts District full of open-air pieces. For a taste of local life, go people-watching in Plaza Berria.

12. Costa Brava

Boats floating on the ocean far below the historic towers and walled city of Costa Brava, one of the best places to visit in Spain


If all you want from your Spanish vacation is some fun in the sun, then you can’t go wrong with Costa Brava. Just as pretty as the famous Costa del Sol but slightly less touristy, the Costa Brava is a stretch of coastline in the north, close to the French border.

Base yourself in one of the gorgeous small towns such as Tossa de Mar or Lloret de Mar.

Go swimming, snorkeling, or diving in the beautiful waters, or laze on the beach. If you love modern art, switch your swimming trunks for a day and go visit Salvador Dalí’s birthplace in Figueres.

13. Almería

Western set in Almeria Spain, listed as one of the best places to visit in Spain

Almeria, Spain; 14 03 2020: Village of American West movies in the Tabernas desert/Jose M. Peral Photography/Shutterstock

When most people think of deserts, they think of Africa or Asia — not Spain, the heart of Europe. Almería is the only place in Europe where you can find a desert.

You can explore this unique landscape, which was the site of many famous Western films such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

While in Almería, check out the town of the same name, which has some gorgeous architecture. Go from the desert to the coast for some time on the beach and explore quaint local villages.

14. Ronda

Breathtaking view of the town of Ronda in Spain, built on a giant rock, with a tall bridge connecting the two parts

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Most visitors to Spain spend most of their time in the cities, which is a shame because the country has so many beautiful small towns. Ronda is one of the most famous, boasting big-name visitors such as Ernest Hemingway himself.

As soon as you drive up to Ronda and see the town, perched on either side of the El Tajo Gorge, you’ll see why it is so popular. Wander the streets taking in the famous whitewashed houses.

Cross the Puente Nuevo, which spans the gorge (don’t look down if you’re afraid of heights). Ronda’s more bloody history is that it is one of the most important bullfighting towns in Spain, and even if you hate the sport, the famous ring is worth a visit.

15. Segovia

Ancient Roman aqueduct pictured running alongside the left side of the photo in the village of Segovia, one of the best places to visit in Spain

Vas Telino Studio/Shutterstock

Beautiful Segovia is famous for its historical sites. Wander through the Old Town, and you’ll see a Roman aqueduct spanning the street, its masonry untouched even after thousands of years.

Hike up the hill to the Alcázar de Segovia, a beautiful castle that looks straight out of a fairy tale. Segovia is near the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, so enjoy the view and go on a day trip if you wish.

16. Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral pictured towering over the reader with blue skies in the background and steps in the foreground

Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock

Santiago de Compostela is one of the world’s most famous Catholic pilgrimage sites, dating back to the Middle Ages, at the end of a cross-country walk bearing the same name. Even if you’re not religious, taking in the town’s holy atmosphere will inspire you.

When you visit, check out the Praza do Obradoiro and the town’s cathedral, where St. James or Santiago is supposedly buried. The Pilgrimage Museum will explain the historical context of the site. For more secular delights, check out the famous local seafood.

Things to Consider

Whether you’re an experienced traveler or going on your first trip abroad, here are some things to consider before visiting Spain. First, Summer is the high season, but it gets very hot and extremely crowded.

Try to go during the shoulder seasons, when the weather is still warm enough for the beach, but the crowds are less intense. Second, the Spanish are famous for their late nights. Most people only sit down for dinner at 9 PM, so don’t expect to find dinner at a restaurant before that.

If you’re hungry earlier than that or traveling with children, do as the locals do and eat a big lunch as your main meal, then fill up on tapas.

Finally, Spain has several autonomous regions, including the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Galicia. People here speak Spanish and their regional language, and the relationship with Spain is sometimes a sore topic. Be careful in political discussions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Idyllic region of Andalucia towering over the Playa de la Calahonda from the Balcon de Europa, one of the best places to visit in Spain


Here are some other things you might want to know before visiting Spain:

What Is the most beautiful part of Spain?

That depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for the best beaches, the Balearic Islands are the most beautiful part of Spain. If you are looking for charming small towns and cities, then the southern region of Andalucía is the most beautiful.

What is one of the top 15 destinations in Spain?

Barcelona is the most popular destination in Spain. It is worth a visit but be sure to see some other parts of the country to get to know its charms.

Which part of Spain is best for holidays?

If you are planning a beach holiday, then the best parts of Spain are the Balearic Islands, such as Mallorca or Ibiza, or the Costa Brava. Many tourists also visit the Costa del Sol, although some say it is overdeveloped with resorts, or the Canary Islands.

Where in Spain is worth visiting?

Almost everywhere! In Spain, you’ll find historical sites at practically every step. Major cities like Barcelona and Madrid should be at the top of your list.

What is the prettiest town in Spain?

Many people consider Ronda to be the prettiest small town in Spain. Other contenders include Llastres, Frigiliana, and Besalú.

So, What Are the Best Places to Visit in Spain?

Spain’s rich historical legacy is visible in its cities, from artsy Barcelona in the north to ancient Granada in the south. Even if all you want to do is lie on the beach, Spain has plenty to offer. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!