Spain is an exotic, historic country bursting with vibrant culture, fantastic nightlife, and plenty of sunshine. The only bad thing about planning a trip to Spain is trying to decide which of the many incredible cities to explore. Whether you’re eager to relax on a pristine beach or tour world-renowned architectural sites, make sure to consider each of these amazing destinations in Spain.
While the Spanish mainland has plenty to offer visitors, there is no denying that the islands off the coast can be just as appealing. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and it combines the best of Spanish culture with all the exotic landscapes of a tropical destination. In Tenerife, you can hike mountain trails, relax on white sand beaches, tour quaint traditional fishing villages like Las Galletas or explore a scenic destination known as Hell’s Ravine. Tenerife is an adrenaline junkie’s dream, offering opportunities to try wind-surfing, ATV driving and scuba diving. To top it all off, Tenerife is a popular nightlife spot, with many of the clubs open 24 hours a day.
Known as the Second City of Spain, Barcelona is a fantastic experience for those in search of Spanish culture. The heart of the city is the Old Town, or Ciutat Vella, which is where you will find the medieval Guell Palace, the Roman square called Plaça Sant Jaume and the iconic La Rambla, a pedestrian street lined with trees that serves as the hub of Barcelona. If you’re in the mood for some tourism attractions, swing by the impressive L’Aquarium, explore the Museum of Natural History or head to Barceloneta for a walk along the beach. Don’t leave Barcelona without admiring some of the famed architecture by Gaudi, including the Parc Güell or the Sagrada Família.
One of the most diverse destinations in Spain is Cordoba, a city where ancient mosques are found between medieval churches and thrilling festivals take place throughout the year. The most iconic and important landmark in Cordoba is the Mezquita, a structure built in the 8th century as a Muslin mosque but renovated in the 13th century to be a Christian church after the reconquista. The Old City of Cordoba also offers a lot of history worth exploring, like the buildings in the Jewish Quarter that date back to the Middle Ages or the ancient Roman bridge that spans the Guadalquivir River. Thanks to the longstanding Moorish influence in Cordoba, you’ll find lots of charming tea shops dotting the city that provide a wonderful place to relax and refresh yourself between sightseeing stops.
Of the four Balearic Islands that belong to Spain, Mallorca is both the largest and the most popular among travelers. While there are endless attractions and historical landmarks on the island, there is little doubt that the biggest draw for visitors is the beach. Mallorca boasts countless beaches, just some of which include the bustling Magaluf Beach, the quiet and scenic Es Carbo Beach and the stunning Son Serra De Marina Beach. There are also opportunities for hiking through the mountains of Serra de Tramuntana, golfing at one of the many courses on the island or sipping on sangria and dancing until dawn at one of the many clubs in Magaluf and Palma de Mallorca.
In Costa Blanca is the seaside resort of Benidorm. Loved by many northern Europeans, Benidorm is the ultimate place to relax, unwind and let you hair down for a few days. Highlights of the destination have to include two gorgeous beaches: Levante is the place to see and be seen, and Poniente is the more family-friendly spot. Other ways to pass the time include a trip to the water park called Aqualandia, chartering a yacht for the day from the harbor or walking at one of the surrounding villages.
As the largest city in Costa Del Sol, Malaga is a major destination in Spain for those who want to soak up the sun. La Malagueta is the city’s busiest and most popular beach, offering the chance to swim, tan or just mingle with a blend of locals and tourist. Malaga is also a cultural hub, thanks in large part to being the former home of artist Pablo Picasso. While in Malaga, you can visit the 11th century Moorish castle called Alcazaba, tour the remains of the Roman Theater, or Teatro Romano, admire paintings at the Picasso Museum or go hiking through the El Chorro Gorge. For a meal overlooking the water, dine at one of the many chiringuitos, or beach restaurants, that serve up fresh seafood like deep-fried squid or grilled sardines, called espetos.
Years ago, Marbella was little more than a small fishing village. Today, it is easily one of the country’s most cosmopolitan destinations. Located in Costa Del Sol, Marbella attracts visitors thanks to a warm climate, lots of sunshine and beautiful beaches. In addition to gorgeous white sand and brilliant blue water, Marbella is home to several 16th century buildings in the Old Town as well as many opulent buildings like the Palace of King Fahd.
As the capital of Spain, there is no question that Madrid is an amazing destination worth exploring. Start in the hub and heart of the city, Puerta Del Sol, a plaza that is always heaving and also boasts the iconic Statue of King Charles III. Don’t miss the stunning Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, which can be toured daily. Madrid’s museums are some of the best in the world, and a few of the most popular include the Museo del Prado, the Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center and the National Archaeology Museum. Madrid also offers incredible public parks like El Retiro Park and the Parque del Capricho.
With breathtaking architecture and a rich history, Seville is an important destination in Spain. The most popular and iconic attraction in the city is the Cathedral of Seville, which was built in the 15th century and is one of the three largest churches in the entire world. Nearby, you can see the Real Alcázar, a Moorish castle dating from the 14th century, as well as the Plaza de España, which was recently used in a Star Wars film. While in Seville, don’t miss the chance to try flamenco dancing, or at least watch the locals in action at a vibrant bar in the evenings. If you’re interested in bullfighting, regular events are held at the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza.
Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and packed with incredible history, Granada is one of the most appealing destinations in Spain. The highlight of the city has to be the Alhambra, a combination fortress, palace and iconic landmark that is easily one of the top attractions in the entire country. While the Alhambra may be the main attraction, don’t miss other worthy spots like the Moorish Albayzín neighborhood, the Cathedral of Granada and the Madraza Palace. At the sun sets, head to a bar and enjoy tasty tapas with your local wine.
On your next getaway to Spain, head to as many of these amazing destinations as your schedule will allow.