The Best Places to Visit in Spain

Insider’s guide to the best places to visit in Spain: top places to stay, most interesting things to see & do, and what to eat & drink while you’re there.

Golden beaches that stretch on for miles, historic cities just begging to be explored and incredible fiestas more amazing than you ever imagined all make Spain one of the best places in the world to visit. Because the country is surprisingly huge, brimming with everything from bustling cosmopolitan cities to charming peaceful villages, Spain has boundless things to offer every kind of traveler. A tour of the best places to visit in Spain really gives you an insight into the country, its heritage, its culture and its people.

The Best Places to Visit in Spain: Barcelona


Where to stay

Barcelona is full of historic Gothic buildings which have been beautifully restored and transformed into wonderful boutique hotels. Many of them are also ideally located in the middle of the city’s most bustling hotspots and close of some of the best attractions in Spain.

EuroPark Hotel A modern three-star boutique hotel with panoramic views of the fantastic cityscape

Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona A design hotel set inside a 19th century gothic building in the heart of Raval

Hotel Barcelona Catedral A recently-refurbished hotel in the Gothic Quarter with a rooftop bar and pool

Hotel DO An elegant boutique hotel that provides a peaceful haven in the center of the city

If you love the idea of staying on the famous Las Ramblas street, take a look at these 5 amazing rentals in Las Ramblas.

Cultural highlights

The Catalonian capital is a real playground for culture vultures. Overflowing with art galleries, museums and theatres, these cultural attractions make Barcelona one of the best cities to visit in Spain for anyone interested in the arts.

Museu Picasso Barcelona’s most visited museum that showcases the artist’s early years

Fundació Joan Miró An approachable, modern museum that houses a huge art collection, including all Miro’s graphic work

El Gran Teatre Del Liceu The city’s world-famous opera house that hosts prestigious symphonies, opera festivals and ballets

Sagrada Familia A giant basilica designed by Gaudi that’s been under construction since 1882

Outdoor activities and attractions

Despite being an urban city, Barcelona is packed with outdoor attractions and green spaces where you can enjoy nature. Well-manicured parks with gushing fountains and coastlines that stretch as far as the eye can see make this city one of the most beautiful places in Spain.

Parc de la Ciutadella A peaceful oasis in the center of the city home to Barcelona Zoo

Barceloneta Beach A 15-minute walk from the city center, this beach features golden sand, calm waters, several artistic structures and loads of seafood restaurants

Park Güell Created by Gaudi, this park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and highlights many beautiful mosaic sculptures

Outdoor Gym at Barceloneta Beach All the equipment you need for street workouts, calisthenics, freeletics, parkour, bodyweight training and bootcamp workouts

Top excursions

Worried you’ll get lost in the sprawling city? Then sign up for a guided excursion. Not only will you be led by an experienced local guide who’s got all the insider info, but you’ll make some great friends along the way while discovering one of the top Spain destinations.

Barcelona Food and Wine Tasting Tour A three-hour tour that lets you explore vibrant neighborhoods, soak up the dynamic atmosphere and tuck into tasty tapas

Full-Day Barcelona City Tour Explore the Gothic quarter, Gaudi’s incredible creations and the majestic Monjuic Park on this full-day tour

Skip the Line: Park Guell and Sagrada Familia Discover everything there is to know about Gaudi’s most famous works in Barcelona without waiting in line

Small Group Hiking Tour See the historic Santa Maria abbey and Black Madonna statue while exploring the mountains of Montserrat

What to eat and drink

Barcelona is one of the best places to visit in Spain for foodies. From bite-size tapas imbued with local flavors to fabulous seafood dishes made from fish caught that very day, here are four things you need to savor in the city.

Seafood Paella The classic Spanish rice dish loaded with shrimps, mussels and clams

Chocolate con Churros A small cup of super-thick hot chocolate perfect for dipping sugar-crusted churros into

Botifarra A chunky grilled pork sausage with a slightly spicy, salty flavor, usually served with beans

Cava Sparkling wine produced in the Catalan region that’s like French champagne, only better


Not only does Barcelona host some of the best Spanish music festivals, but it’s also some to some of the best nightclubs in the country. Here are the best nightspots where the party starts late and goes on even later.

Las Ramblas A great place to kick off the evening with tapas bars, wine bars and cocktail lounges overflowing with a mix of visitors and locals

Gothic Quarter Offering a more international feel, the Gothic Quarter has a bubbling cauldron of local Catalan bars and as well as Irish and British pubs

El Born A more sophisticated place for a night out, El Born is full of glamorous cocktail bars on the main strip and quirky hidden gems in the backstreets you won’t want to miss

Raval One of the edgiest places in Barcelona for a night out, with a great bohemian vibe, cool bars with an alternative feel and plenty of places where you can pick up late-night eats

The Best Places to Visit in Spain: Madrid

Where to stay

No matter what type of accommodation you prefer, you’ll find it in Madrid. From budget hostels and affordable apartment blocks to luxury hotels and swanky lofts, Madrid’s huge selection of accommodation options makes it one of the best cities to visit in Spain.

Hotel Orfila A grandiose hotel bosting unique architecture and decor in each room, with antique furnishings from the 19th century throughout

Artiem Madrid An urban green hotel with spacious rooms offering chill out corners, stretching zones and rain showers to leave you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed

Gran Melia Palacio de Los Duques A five-star hotel in the center of Madrid with Elizabethan-inspired architecture and timeless luxury

Only YOU Boutique Hotel Madrid A boutique hotel set inside a 19th century mansion with everything you need to make your stay in Madrid totally unique

Cultural highlights

When it comes to cultural attractions in Spain, Madrid is one of the first places that comes to mind. Home to the three world-famous art galleries that make up the Golden Triangle, this city has so much to offer inside its artistic hotspots that you could spend your lifetime admiring displays and only see a fraction of what’s there.

Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Home to some of Picasso’s most famous work, this art gallery showcases a grand collection of the city’s premier contemporary art

Teatro Real A notable opera house that was inaugurated in 1850 and plays host to Europe’s biggest names in singing, musical direction and dance

Museo del Prado Housed in a magnificent neo-classical building, this stunning art gallery is Madrid’s most popular attraction

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza This relatively modern art museum features the private collection of the late Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, considered to be one of the most important in the world

Outdoor activities and attractions

Madrid’s lush gardens, expansive parks and peaceful green spaces are some of the top landmarks in Spain. They provide the ideal secret getaway when the buzzing city madness gets a bit too much and leaves you searching for a spot of peace and quiet.

Parque del Buen Retiro Madrid’s best-known park, here you can enjoy a well-deserved siesta on a shady grassy spot or hire a boat and row across the lake

Cercedilla Walking Trails The mountainside village boasts several hiking trails of varying difficulty and length that take in gorgeous scenes of waterfalls, mountain goats and countryside panoramas

Outdoor Gym in Parque de Las Avenidas Featuring incline boards, parallel bars, high steppers, dip bars and roman rings, as well as a jogging trail, tennis courts and a soccer field nearby

Royal Botanical Gardens A huge garden spread out across three terraces, two greenhouses and a herbarium, this park showcases over 30,000 plants and flowers, 1,500 trees and one million herbs

Top excursions while visiting Spain

One of the best ways to experience the most popular attractions in Spain is on an excursion. These guided tours show you everything the incredible city has to offer, plus a few off-the-beaten-track things you might not know about.

Spanish Cooking Class Learn to cook deliciously authentic Spanish cuisine under the guidance of professional chefs during this four-hour cooking class

City Sightseeing and Skip the Line Prado Museum Combine two of Madrid’s most popular excursions on this half-day trip which also includes a free drink at the local Hard Rock Café

Private Custom Tour: Madrid in a Day See Madrid your way on this full- or half-day walking tour that lets you customize the itinerary to satisfy all your cultural cravings

Madrid by Night Segway Tour A whole new way to see the city, this one-hour tour passes by illuminated landmarks, lively nighttime hotspots and alluring attractions

Image credit: Flickr | Indra Galbo | CC 2.0

What to eat and drink

The country’s taste bud-tingling cuisine is one of our top reasons to visit Spain, so it’s no surprise that the capital offers some real gastronomic delights. The four examples below are what Madrid does best and are a total must-try on your next visit.

Cocido Madrileño A traditional soul-warming stew made of a medley of flavor-packed broth, vegetables, chorizo and chickpeas

Bocadillo de Calamares This super-simple sandwich is nothing more than a fresh, crusty baguette filled with breaded and fried squid rings, usually smothered in aioli

Callos a la Madrileña A peasant-like dish of beef tripe, chorizo and blood sausage – it tastes a lot nicer than it sounds and really warms you up on a winter’s day!

Tinto de Verano Similar to sangria, this alcoholic drink is a mix of red wine and lemon-flavored soda that the locals sip all-year-round


Madrid’s nightlife is a 24/7 party. No matter whether it’s Saturday or Tuesday, you can leave the house on an evening and still find yourself out at 8am in the morning, dipping a crispy churro into a cup of chocolate while the rest of the world heads out to work.

Gran Via Madrid’s signature nightlife hotspot for decades, Gran Via is the place you can feel like a local while sipping a beer and people watching

Barrio de Las Letras The best place for music, along this literary avenue you’ll find live bands playing everything from jazz and flamenco to pop and rock

La Latina For an authentic Spanish night out, choose La Latina with its narrow streets bursting with outdoor terrace bars flaunting a Latina vibe

Castellana Popular amongst the after work drinks crowd, Castellana is full of trendy, modern nightclubs, cocktail bars and wine lounges

Best Places to Visit in Spain: Costa Brava

Where to stay

Full of big family-friendly resorts with everything under one roof, the Costa Brava is one of the best places to visit in Spain for anyone with kids. But with the signature renovated historic hotels that Spain is known for, adults wanting a secluded and tranquil escape aren’t left out either.

Aiguaclara Hotel A renovated colonial mansion that dates back to 1866, this charming hotel is close to the best beaches and golf courses

Hotel Delamar Designed for adults who want to release their youthful side, this adults-only hotel is for daytime relaxing and nighttime partying

Salles Hotel & Spa Mas Tapiolas For peace and tranquility, this rural hotel is surrounded by nature and boasts a relaxing spa, gourmet Catalan restaurant and gorgeous suites

Hotel Playa Sol A coastal retreat offering postcard-worthy sea views in a warm and friendly Spanish village

Cultural highlights

Even though it’s mainly known for its purpose-built vacation resorts with tourist-oriented attractions in Spain, there are still a few gems for culture vultures. Whether you prefer modern contemporary art galleries or ancient historic monuments, you can find it all in the Costa Brava.

Dalí Theatre-Museum This art museum evokes the work and life of the famous artist and includes some of his greatest masterpieces

Ruins of Empúries Fascinating Roman and Greek ruins that date back to the 6th century BC

Parish Church of Sant Romà A blend of Catalan, Gothic and Renaissance styles, this colorful church is one of Lloret de Mar’s cultural gems

Museu Memorial de l’Exili A peaceful space designed for history, study, remembrance and critical reflection on the vast number of exiles that resulted from the Spanish Civil War

Image credit: Flickr | Albert Torelló | CC 2.0

Outdoor activities and attractions

When it comes to the most beautiful places in Spain, the Costa Brava is definitely somewhere high up on the list. So plan to head outdoors and take in the charming natural sights the next time you’re there.

Platja de Treumal A small and secluded beach that features soft golden sands lined by thick green trees on one side and calm aquamarine waters on the other

Cap de Creus National Park A real natural wonder overflowing with wild rugged coastlines, towering rocky cliffs, shimmering blue water and thick canopies that provide much-needed shade

Jardines de Santa Clotilde Elegant gardens that date back almost 100 years, showcasing wonderful green spaces, artistic sculptures, winding paths and tranquil squares

Aiguablava – Begur – Pals Walk One of the Costa Brava’s best-known walking trails, this path takes you along one of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe

Top excursions

The Costa Brava boasts some of the finest historical landmarks in Spain and the best way to discover all the fascinating stories and details behind them is to sign up for an excursion. Don’t worry if you’re not really into history – there are plenty modern excursions, too.

Costa Brava and Medieval Villages Tour Take a trip back in time to Medieval Spain on this tour which includes visits to historical structures, a coastal walk and local cuisine

Hot Air Balloon Flight and Breakfast Soar above the ancient volcanoes of Catalonia and soak up panoramic views before indulging in a traditional Catalonian breakfast

Dalí and Costa Brava Tour This tour invites you to retrace Dali’s footsteps throughout the Costa Brava and visit one of his most famous art museums

Game of Thrones Walking Tour of Girona Visit six filming sites from the HBO hit series and learn all the insider gossip about the show from a local guide

Image credit: Flickr | Jennifer Woodard Maderazo | CC 2.0

What to eat and drink

Thanks to its coastal location, a lot of the traditional cuisine in the Costa Brava focuses on local fish and seafood, usually caught that very morning for the ultimate freshness. But seafood-averse foodies don’t have to worry – there are plenty of meat-based and veggie dishes on offer throughout the region.

Pan Amb Tomaquet Slices of toasted bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt

Caracoles Snails boiled in broth with a medley of local herbs, spices and orange peel, usually served as a tapa with a cold beer

Peix Fregit Freshly-caught tiny fish dusted in flour and deep-fried whole until light golden brown and crispy

Arròs Negre A creamy, hearty casserole made of rice cooked with stock, squid ink, garlic, onion, cuttlefish and shrimps or clams


Because it covers such a huge space, the Costa Brava has the perfect night scene to suit everyone. Whether you want to dance until the early hours, chill and chat with a cocktail, or watch a live band play, you’ll find the Costa Brava is one of the best places to visit in Spain for all that and more.

Lloret de Mar One of the region’s most popular vacation resorts, Lloret de Mar is filled with bouncing nightclubs heaving with party people

Tossa de Mar Slightly more laid back than Lloret de Mar, this resort has great cocktail lounges on the promenade and lots of karaoke and music bars around the Villa Nova area

Girona The place where local students hang out, Girona has its fair share of clubs with live DJs, as well as sophisticated jazz bars

Begur The best choice for a relaxed night out, this area is known for its chilled out bars with outside terraces that boast fantastic views

Touring the best places to visit in Spain is a great way to get a feel for the country. But, these places are just the tip of the iceberg! There are countless other cities, towns and villages in mainland Spain full of amazing things to see and do, not to mention the Balearic and Canary Islands.

Which is your favorite place to visit in Spain? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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