The gem of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain – known in Spanish as España – is a sunny country in the southwest of Europe. The diversity found here in Spain is astounding. With its history being inspired by Mediterranean customs and influenced by revolution and colonization, most of the major tourist sites in Spain have some sort of a story to tell. From Roman aqueducts to the medieval castle of Alcázar, here are the top 19 places to include in your Spain Itinerary.
Table of Contents
- 1 Basilica of the Sagrada Familia
- 2 The Alhambra
- 3 Gran Canaria
- 4 Cathedral De Santiago De Compostella
- 5 Ibiza
- 6 Parc Guell
- 7 Es Trenc Beach
- 8 L’Oceanogràfic Valencia
- 9 Casa Batllo
- 10 Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial
- 11 Picasso Museum Málaga
- 12 Costa Brava
- 13 Casa Mila – La Pedrera
- 14 Royal Palace of Madrid
- 15 Royal Alcazar of Seville
- 16 Volcan El Teide
- 17 Prado National Museum
- 18 Royal Chapel of Granada
- 19 Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Basilica of the Sagrada Familia
A famous tourist hotspot located in Barcelona, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, is a massive unfinished cathedral designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. The construction was inaugurated in 1882, but due to various reasons, the duration lagged. It is the only tourist location that has been under construction for over a century. Inspired by Gothic and Modernism, the Sagrada Familia’s interior is a combination of creative colours and spaces utilized well. As it’s not fully completed, some find the experience to be mediocre, but this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must to include in your Spain itinerary if you are visiting Barcelona.
This magnificent medieval palace in Granada in Andalusia is the perfect example of Spain’s diverse architecture co-existing and complementing one another. Initially, it was a moderately-built fortress constructed in the 9th century, but in the 13th century, the Nasrid dynasty – from Arabic origins – reconstructed the structure into a spectacular palace. Alhambra in Arabic translates to Red, derived from the red shade of the Tapia. In the 16th century, some of the interiors were re-done to what lies in the Alhambra today. It is famous for exhibiting early Islamic architecture along with renaissance-Catholic influence. If you are taking a tour around Andalusia, make sure to visit this masterpiece.
Located off northwestern Africa, Gran Canaria is one of the Canary Islands belonging to Spain. Famously known for stargazing, desert-sand beaches, mountainous hikes and sea sports, if you are looking for an adventurous and laid back holiday, Gran Canaria is a MUST- include in your Spain Itinerary. Cruise ships take a route overlooking the clear blue waters which lead to the scenic coasts of Playa del Inglés and Puerto Rico. Travellers looking for gastronomical experiences are sure to be satisfied on this sunny island. The tapas found here are known to be delicious.
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Cathedral De Santiago De Compostella
Known to be the burial site of the apostle of Jesus, Saint James the Great, the Cathedral De Santiago De Compostella has significance in its historical narration. In the 10th century, the initial basilica was destroyed by Muslim invaders. However, it was rebuilt within the following century. Standing at a height of 75 meters, the Compostella’s architecture solemnly expresses Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture. Travellers are awe-struck by its beauty and intricate attention-to-details. Hence why you should include this in your Spain Itinerary.
One of the Islands in the Balearic archipelago, Ibiza is a famous location in Europe for sundown summer parties and exclusive nightclubs. Although it is ideally a spot for the partying folk, those who are looking for a holiday retreat can immerse themselves in a paradise here in Ibiza. The island is known for its yoga and wellness retreats and good food. Even though expenses are reasonable, some might consider Ibiza slightly overrated due to its annual seven million summer visitors. However, if you are on an island-hopping road trip, add Ibiza to your itinerary. The city can get a little overcrowded, but the experience is never less.
A public park with garden complexes, Parc Guell of Catalonia is an architecturally designed forest park and one of the most breathtaking locations that should be in any tourists Spain itinerary. The park was designed by iconic architect Antoni Gaudi in the 1900s. The bright and captivating wall paintings and Mosaic-covered buildings of Parc Guell are sure to be in a few of your Instagram captures. Like any other public park, most parts of this 17-hectare park are free to enter. Visitors can also find peaceful spots to laze and enjoy good company. The Roman-inspired Market Hall is another famous tourist attraction in Parc Guell which you should visit on your trip.
Es Trenc Beach
A 10-kilometre long coastal line that stretches across the southern coast of Mallorca, Es Trenc Beach is a famous tourist hotspot neighbouring some of the most spectacular blue waters found in Europe. Travellers usually fall in love with the exotic Caribbean vibes here in Es Trenc. The waters are shallow and calm, making it perfect for a dip even if you are not a skilful swimmer. Shrubs, pines and dunes protect the coastal area, and it is somewhat secluded from the mainstream hustle-bustle. Travellers can amuse themselves with some water sports, enjoy some delicious tapas or even watch birds.
A modern Oceanarium located in Valencia, L’Oceanogràfic is the largest marine mammal habitat in Europe. It is not just another aquarium, but a wide-open space segregated into large aquariums where magnificent sea creatures roam freely. It has the longest underwater tunnel in Europe and houses the last Beluga whale family. A few of the best experiences here in L’Oceanogràfic are the 4D cinema experience, the submarine restaurant and the jellyfish exhibition. It is a spacious place to hang out and learn about the ocean. If you are visiting Valencia, remember to add this to your Spain Itinerary.
Another masterpiece creation of famous architect Antoni Gaudí, Casa Batllo’s history dates back to the late 1800s when the urban city of Barcelona was considered the Hamptons of the day. The initial building structure was owned and designed by a different architect, but it was crushed to the ground to build what stands today. The colourfully restored Casa Batllo is an icon of Gaudí’s modernism and undoubtedly one of his most impressive creations. Counting over 1 million visitors every year, it surely belongs in your bucket list.
Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial
The monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial sits on the Guadarrama mountain range in the northwest of the Capital city Madrid. The royal residence of King Philip II ruled during the early renaissance period. Comprising an area of 33,327 square meters, the Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial has been named a World Heritage Site in 1984. Travellers can visit the Biblioteca, Los Panteons, Claustro Principal Y Patio De Evangetistas, Basilica, Salas Capitulares, Sacristia and few other places within the monastery. If you’re fond of European history and Spain’s golden age, this monastery will not fail to impress you.
Picasso Museum Málaga
The museum in Barcelona is a hot topic when it comes to Picasso, but it might be a bit overrated. The Museo Picasso in Andalusia on the other hand, is home to some of the most captivating paintings of Pablo Picasso. Málaga being the birth city of this famous artist, over 285 painting were donated to this museum by the Picasso family. The museum is not simply another modern building. It’s the Palace of the Counts of Buenavista that was later owned and transformed into a permanent exhibit in 2003. If you’re visiting Málaga, make sure you add the Picasso Museum to your Spain Itinerary.
Located in Northeastern of Spain, about 60 kilometres away from Barcelona, Costa Brava is a Catalonian region that reaches out to the French border. A famous holiday retreat, this district comes alive during summer when tourists fly from across the world for festivals and music performances. Costa Brava has some charming natural parks where you can relax in ease. Its white-sand beaches, mesmerizing turquoise waters and lined hills makes it the perfect postcard picture for any travel diary. A little like Ibiza – offering sunny-sensational vibes, Costa Brava can be considered a wellness retreat that every traveller should visit.
Casa Mila – La Pedrera
Referred to in English as the Stone Quarry, La Pedrera is an unusual modernist building in Catalonia which is a residential structure and the last private residence designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. Casa Mila opened to the public in 1912 and consist of two buildings built around two courtyards. Currently, the only person living in La Pedrera is Ana Viladomiu – a writer. This famous structure is visited by over a million tourists a year, and there’s a reason why. It is one of the most famous creations of Gaudí, and the interior masterpiece is sure to leave you amazed.
Royal Palace of Madrid
The official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, the Royal Palace of Madrid comprises an area of 135,000 square meters with over 3,400 rooms. It is known to be one of the largest palaces in the whole of Europe. The first Royal to take up residence here was King Charles III back in the 1700s. Influenced by Classical and Baroque architecture, the Royal Palace of Madrid attracts many tourists from across the world. Visiting the Palace is surely worth it. The extraordinary interior and deco make it all more intriguing if you’re looking for a truly Spanish experience.
Royal Alcazar of Seville
Known in history as ‘al-Qasr al-Muriq’, Alcazar is an illustrious palace located in the sunny city of Seville. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage site that demonstrates Hispano-Muslim architecture unlike any other destination, the Alcazar’s stunning interior is eye-catching. Built in the 10th century, the current standing structure has gone through multiple changes over the centuries since the Spali of Gothic Times. Even today its building and the courtyards are being conserved by the Royals of Spain. If you’re a history admirer, the Alcazar will not fail to excite you.
Volcan El Teide
Commonly known as Mount Teide, the Volcan El Teide is an active volcano located in Tenerife, Canary Islands. It’s considered the highest point in Spain and one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Standing tall at 12,000 feet, Teide is every hiker’s ultimate destination. Those who want to opt-out of the tiresome journey or wants to witness the great mountain from above can choose the cable car ride. It would take around ten minutes. A hike would take up to 5 hours or more, but the scenic view is incomparable.
Prado National Museum
The sophisticated art museum located in Madrid, Museo Nacional Del Prado was founded in 1890. It’s an icon of Spanish art and its modernism. From Saints and Royal Portraits to Mythological Deities and Naked paintings, the Prada museum boasts a collection of over 8,600 paintings and over 700 sculptures. A few of the arts you shouldn’t miss here are the Garden of Earthly Delights, The Birth of the Milky Way and Artemisia. A little tip, if you’re planning a road trip around Madrid, make sure to visit the Prado Museum on weekdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. when access is free.
Royal Chapel of Granada
When it comes to breathtaking chapels and cathedrals, Spain tops the list above all other European countries. The Royal Chapel of Granada is one of them. Built-in the 1500s, when Spain was just emerging at the height of its empire, this chapel is famous in history as the burial place of Spain’s greatest monarchs Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand. The architecture of the Royal Chapel is astounding. Visitors would find themselves travelling back in time when they are within the chapel premises.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum is a contemporary exhibit with branches in New York, Abu Dhabi, Venice and Bilbao. With a commitment to innovation, all Guggenheim museums showcase modern art and designs. The Museum in Bilbao, northern Spain was designed by Frank Gehry in 1997. The advanced architecture used in building this spectacular masterpiece is fascinating. Comprising an area of 32,500 square meters, Gehry’s use of technology in designing made a difference in the outcome. If you have a road trip planned in your Spain Itinerary, make sure to add Guggenheim of Bilbao.
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