Planning to visit Spain soon? This is an excellent idea! Spain is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and it’s understandable. Each region in Spain has its own identity, culture and offers beautiful places to see. Roman ruins, Islamic architecture, medieval castles, palaces, museums, etc. Let’s not forget the food, art, music and the friendly locals. What to do in Spain? Read this guide listing the best cities to visit in Spain, then I’ll share Spain travel tips!
Table of Contents
Things to do in Spain
Barcelona is probably the cultural capital of Spain. Its climate and location along the sea makes it an ideal vacation spot. You cannot go to Barcelona and not visit the Sagrada Familia, one of the top Spain tourist attractions! You also have to explore park Güell, have a walk at la Rambla along the sea and visit Barri Gothic, the Gothic quarter dating back to the Roman Empire!
There are also numerous museums to visit, tapas to taste, shopping to do and bars to try! It’s impossible to get bored in Barcelona! Here are the things to do in Barcelona. Here’s an expat guide to living in Barcelona. Here’s where to stay in Barcelona. Click here to find the best activities.
Seville is a wonderful city in Andalusia, south of Spain! You can see there horse-drawn carriages, get lost in the cobblestone streets or admire plaza de Espana and the Real Alcazar. In the evening, the streets get lively and you can watch the locals dancing flamenco, especially in the Tirana district!
You’ll find in Seville numerous Roman ruins but also Gothic churches and you’ll feel the influence of Islamic culture. There are also numerous museums, art galleries and of course bars, clubs, etc. It’s one of the best places to go in Spain. Here’s how to spend one day in Seville with kids. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Also located in Andalusia, Granada offers a perfect mix between Spanish and Arabic culture, because the city was part of the Moorish empire. That means you’ll see tapas bars and flamenco venues, but also Moroccan tea cafes and Arab bathhouses. Don’t miss the Alhambra, one of the most famous places in Spain. It’s a wonderful palace and fortress complex.
Take some time to have a walk in the beautiful Albaicin district. You can also go to Sierra Nevada, about 25 miles away from Granada, to go skiing! Or Jaen, a hidden gem in Andalucia! Granada is one of the most picturesque walled cities in Spain. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Cordoba will allow you to time travel and discover the city when it was a part of the Roman Empire! Indeed many ruins and Roman sites have been very well preserved! Cordoba also has a long history with Islam. You have to see la Mezquita, a mosque dating back to the 8th century, converted into a cathedral in the 13th century.
Take some time to visit the old town and its bridges, ruins, mausoleums and its Roman amphitheater. You also have to roam around the Old Jewish quarter. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
You cannot miss Madrid, one of the most beautiful places in Spain! A city with lively neighborhoods, beautiful parks like the Retiro Park and excellent museums such as the Prado Museum or the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum. Take some time to have a walk on Gran Via, an iconic pedestrian-only boulevard. You also have to see the Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the San Miguel market and of course the royal palace. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Valencia offers an interesting mix of old and new. You can admire its Gothic cathedral or the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, as well as the city of arts and sciences and the institute of modern art. To enjoy great food, head to the Mercado Central, a market with many stalls serving great food. FYI the paella comes from Valencia so you need to have one! Here are the best things to do in Valencia. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
If you like to party, you have to go to Ibiza! This Spanish island is famous all over the world for its vibrant nightlife! But there’s more than that in Ibiza! Nature lovers and those who like beautiful beaches can stay in the north of the island, a lot quieter than the south. Take some time to visit the old town. And enjoy activities such as scuba diving, parasailing or jet ski. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Located in the Basque country, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, but also one of the most underrated. You can relax along the beach at la Concha and admire the shoreline, go hiking at Monte Urgell or Mount Igueldo, or savor the local gastronomy.
It’s a popular spot among surfers, who have a great time at Playa de Zurriola. Take some time to have a walk in the old town and taste the pintxos, the local tapas. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Toledo is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed city for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage. It’s sometimes called the City of Three Cultures. Indeed Christians, Jews and Muslims lived there for several centuries. Admire the Toledo Cathedral, take some time to visit museums and art galleries and taste marzipan, a local specialty. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Ronda is a charming town in the south of Spain. It’s one of the top places to visit in Spain. You’ll find there Puente Nuevo, a bridge dating back to 1793. It connects El Ciudad the old town with the more modern El Mercadillo. When crossing the bridge, admire the steep El Tajo gorge, it’s wonderful. You also have to see Plaza de Toros de Ronda, an arena dating back to 1785! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
The most famous attraction in Bilbao is the Guggenheim museum, one of the most popular Spain tourist spots. But there’s more than that in Bilbao. Since it’s in the Basque country, the culture, language, food and music are different in Bilbao. Have a walk in Casco Viejo (the old town), relax at Parque Etxebarria, visit the Bilbao cathedral and taste the pintxos (local tapas). Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Segovia is in central Spain, and you’ll find there numerous Roman ruins. At Plaza Mayor, you’ll find restaurants, cafes and a wonderful Gothic cathedral. Don’t miss the Alcazar, a fortress and castle but also the Roman aqueduct. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Santiago de Compostela
This city is mostly known for being the final destination of the pilgrimage known as Camino de Santiago. It is believed this is where St. James, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, is buried. Admire Praza do Obradoiro, the Santiago de Compostela cathedral (where the tomb is), Gelmirez Palace, Rajoy Palace and the Pilgrimage museum. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Mallorca is a dreamy island featuring beautiful beaches and picturesque small towns. A real melting pot due to Romans, Muslims, Christians, Byzantines, Vandals and Phoenicians who lived there. Palma is the main city but there are other beautiful towns to visit such as Soller or Valldemossa. Here are the best things to do in Palma de Mallorca! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Located on the Costa del Sol, you can clearly feel the influence of North Africa in Malaga, of of the top cities to visit in Spain. This is the birthplace of Picasso, and a museum is dedicated to him where you can admire his work. Take some time to admire two Moorish fortresses, the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro. Finally, you have to try the delicious seafood! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Another city along the sea, in the south of Spain! Marbella is one of the top cities in Spain to visit. The beaches are wonderful and there are numerous golf courses. Have a walk in the old town and admire its buildings, the cobblestone streets and the iron balconies. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
These were the best places to visit in Spain! Here are some Spain travel tips now!
Spain travel budget
- Accommodation in Spain is as expensive as our Western standards. One night in a hostel dorm costs between 15 and 30 euros ($15.50-31). One night in a mid-range hotel costs between 60 and 140 euros ($62-145). Finally, to stay in a luxury hotel, prices start at 150 euros ($155) per night. Click here to find your accommodation.
- Food is also as expensive as our Western standards. For tapas, you can get them for 3-10 euros ($3-10.50). A fast food costs between 8 and 10 euros ($8.50-10.50), same for a pizza or Chinese food. For a meal in a mid-range restaurant with a drink, you’ll pay around 20-30 euros ($21-31). For a meal in a finer restaurant, prices start at 40 euros ($42).
- Regarding transportation, there’s the subway in bog cities. A single ticket costs 1-2 euros ($1-2). A day pass costs between 8 and 15 euros ($8.50-15.50). To get around in the country, it’s easier to take the bus. A ride costs between 5 and 30 euros ($5-31). There are also regular trains and high-speed trains. A ride in a regular train costs between 15 and 50 euros ($15.50-52). A ride in a high-speed train is more expensive, and costs between 50 and 140 euros ($52-145).
- Regarding activities, most museums cost 5 to 20 euros ($5-21). Diving costs around 50 euros ($52), same for a food tour.
Basically, if you’re traveling on a budget, you can get by with $55 per day. Otherwise you’ll spend about $130+ per day.
How to get around in Spain
In big cities there’s public transportation (bus, subway) or taxi. To get around in the country, you can either take the bus, the train or domestic flights.
Best time to visit Spain
You can go to Spain more or less all year round. Summer is the high season and places like Barcelona or Ibiza experience a massive influx of tourism. Prices are higher that time of the year. It’s better to go to Spain from April to October. But even in winter, it’s not that cold (temperatures rarely go below 5°C/41°F), except in the north of the country.
Visa policy of Spain
If you’re an European citizen or coming from a Western country, you don’t need a visa to get to Spain. You can find all the details here.
Safety in Spain
Spain is not a dangerous country. However there are numerous pickpockets in big cities, especially in Barcelona. Keep an eye on your belongings and never leave your valuables unattended at the restaurant or the bar! Keep your valuable secure, don’t flash anything valuable and make sure bags can’t be snatched. Bag snatching is not rare. Before traveling, don’t forget to get travel insurance. It will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. Click here to get one.
Packing list for Spain
I’m not gonna list all the things to pack for Spain. I don’t know how long you’re gonna stay there, where you’re going in Spain, what you’re going to do and when you’ll visit. Take all the necessary clothes, toiletries, and also:
- hand sanitizer
- combination locks
- a money belt
- a security cable lock
- a travel plug adapter
- a stainless steel water bottle
- a lifestraw (a water bottle with a purifier)
- a menstrual cup (for the ladies)
What to eat in Spain
There are so many dishes to try in Spain! You cannot go there and not have a paella: rice, vegetables and either chicken, pork, etc. You can also try a tortilla, it’s a Spanish omelet with potatoes, eggs, onions, salt and pepper. There are of course tapas, a bunch of little dishes to share (garlic prawns, spicy potatoes, grilled calamari, blood sausage, etc.). And let’s not forget the delicious jamon iberico (Iberian ham). Are you into coffee? Here’s a complete coffee in Spain guide.
That’s it! You can now visit Spain and enjoy your time there thanks to this Spain travel guide!
- Traveling soon? Check out my travel resources page!
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- Always use a VPN when traveling. I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why use a VPN when traveling.