Spain is the second most visited country in the world. Spain received more than 70,000,000 visitors in 2022.
I traveled to Spain extensively. Besides visiting the most famous Spanish destinations like Madrid and Barcelona, I thoroughly explored Castile and Leon, the Basque Country, Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia, Catalonia, Andalusia, etc. I hiked over 1,000 miles of Camino de Santiago in Spain.
When Spaniards find out how many places I have visited in Spain, they usually say that I saw more of their homeland than they did.
If you haven’t visited Spain yet, let me help you plan your trip to Spain. You will love it!
Here is my short Spain travel guide.
Since everyone likes to know about ‘Top 10 Things to do’, ‘Top 10 Things to see’ ‘Top national dishes to eat’, and ‘Top places to visit’, let me introduce my short intro travel guide to Spain.
I know that posts like that sound like a cliche, but at the bottom end, they are helpful. They give the guidelines to experience the best of a country. Travel guides like this one give a quick insight into the culture and best travel experiences that a country offers to its visitors.
In my Spain travel guide, you can read about the best things to do in Spain, the best cities to visit in Spain, the best things to see in Spain, the best national dishes of Spain, the best Spanish drinks to try in Spain and the best time of year to travel to Spain.
By reading my Spain Travel Guide, You will get familiar with the highlights of Spain and find out the best of Spain.
Hope you find my Spain travel guide useful!
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A Quick Spain Travel Guide
1. What to see in Spain
Spain Travel Guide: The 10 Best sites to see in Spain
1. SAGRADA FAMILIA IN BARCELONA. Sagrada Familia is the most visited site in Spain. About 4,500,000 visitors visit Sagrada Familia each year. It is a masterpiece cathedral by Antonio Gaudi. It is one of the most unique cathedrals in the world for its exceptional architectural and artistic value. Sagrada Familia, along with other Antonio Gaudi sites in Barcelona (Parque Güell, Colonia Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, and Palacio Güell) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check out the most popular tour of Sagrada Familia: Fast Track Sagrada Familia Guided Tour
2. ALHAMBRA IN GRANADA. The Alhambra Palace in Granada is a medieval Moorish Palace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain. It is the second most visited site in Spain. More than 2,000,000 visitors visit the Alhambra every year. The Alhambra Palace Complex is the top site to see in Spain. Read my Tips for Visiting the Alhambra in Spain.
3. SEVILLE CATHEDRAL, LA GIRALDA TOWER, AND REAL ALCAZAR IN SEVILLE. The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain. The sculptures, paintings, and woodcarving are the finest examples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Plateresque, and Mudéjar styles. About 2,000,000 visitors visit the Cathedral-Alcazar complex a year. Check out the most popular tour: Alcazar and Cathedral of Seville Tour with Skip the Line Tickets
4. MEZQUITA CATHEDRAL IN CORDOBA. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain. It is one of the greatest sacral buildings in the world. About 1,500,000 visitors visit La Mesquita in Cordoba each year. La Mezquita is my favorite site in Spain for its uniqness and elagance. Check out the most popular tour: Córdoba: Mosque, Cathedral, Alcázar and Synagogue with skip-the-line tickets
5. PRADO MUSEUM IN MADRID. It is one of the best art museums in the world and the top site to see in Madrid. It has the most comprehensive collection of Spanish paintings and a fabulous collection of European masterpiece paintings. The Prado Museum in Madrid received over 2.4 million visitors in 2022. Check out the most popular tour of Prado Museum in Madrid: Prado Museum Small Group Tour with Skip the Line Ticket
6. RONDA BULLRING. The Bullring in Ronda, Andalusia is believed to be the oldest bullring in Spain. The Plaza de Toros de Ronda was completed in 1784 (while the Plaza de Toros de Sevilla was completed in 1785). Check out the best tour of Ronda Spain: Ronda Historical Walking Tour with Bullring Entrance
7. THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM IN BILBAO. The architectural masterpiece of American architect Frank Gehry. It is among the best art museums in Spain. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao received more than 1,200,000 visitors in 2022. Check out the best tour of Bilbao and Guggenheim Museum: Bilbao and Guggenheim Museum Private tour
8. BEACHES OF SPAIN. Spain has an abundance of Blue Flag beaches. La Concha Beach in San Sebastian has often been voted the best urban beach in Europe. La Concha (the Shell Beach) belongs to the 12 Treasures of Spain. In addition, some of the finest beaches in Europe are the beaches of Costa del Sol (the Coast of the Sun) in Andalusia, Costa de la Luz (the Coast of Light) in Andalusia, Costa Blanca (the White Coast) in Valencia, Costa Brava (the Wild Coast) in Catalonia, Costa Dorada (the Golden Coast) in Catalonia, beaches of Canary Island, Mallorca, and Ibiza.
9. WHITE VILLAGES IN ANDALUSIA. Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia are some of the most picturesque places in Spain. They are a must-see in a lifetime. Ruta de los pueblos blancos connects white villages in the provinces of Malaga and Cadiz in Andalusia in southern Spain. Check out the best tour of white villages in Spain: White Villages and Ronda Guided Day Tour from Seville
10. THE CATHEDRAL OF ST JAMES IN SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA. St James, the Apostle is the patron saint of Spain. His remains rest in a tomb in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The Cathedral is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world and a World Heritage site. Most popular tour of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela: Guided Tour Cathedral tickets included with Optional Portico.
2. Where to go in Spain
Spain Travel Guide: The 10 Best places to visit in Spain
1. MADRID – Madrid is the capital of Spain and the largest city in Spain. Madrid is famous for its stunning architecture (palaces, boulevards, etc), beautiful parks (Retiro, Capricho Park, Royal Botanical, Sabatini Gardens, Parque Oeste..), some of the best museums in Europe ((Prado, Reina Sofia Museum, Thyssen Museum, Museum of Romanticism, Wax Museum …), first-class restaurants, rooftop bars, vibrant nightlife, and world-class shopping.
2. BARCELONA – Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the second-largest city in Spain. Barcelona is famous for the architectural masterpieces of Antonio Gaudi, its sandy beaches, and its great food scene (covering a wide range of local Catalan Spanish cuisines, and international cuisines). Barcelona’s cathedral of Sagrada Familia belongs to the 12 Treasures of Spain.
3. SEVILLE – Seville is the capital of Andalusia. Seville is famous for the ROYAL ALCAZAR, SEVILLE CATHEDRAL with Christopher Columbus’s tomb, and PLAZA ESPANA. Read my complete guide to Seville Spain: The Best Things to do in Seville Spain.
4. GRANADA – The city of Granada is famous for ALHAMBRA CASTLE and free tapas. Granada is one of the loveliest cities in Spain. Ernest Hemingway once said ‘If you were to visit just one city in Spain, it should be Granada’.
5. CORDOBA – Cordoba is the city with the highest number of World Heritage Sites in the world. Cordoba has four World Heritage sites. Among them, the most famous is the MEZQUITA CATHEDRAL. Read my complete guide to Cordoba, Spain: The Best Things to do in Cordoba Spain.
6. SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – The Old City of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia Spain is a World Heritage Site. The architecture of the old city covers Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassicist buildings. Santiago’s Cathedral of St James holds the tomb of St. James the Apostle, a famous Christian pilgrimage place in the world. The Cathedral is the final stop of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain.
7. TOLEDO. The Old City of Toledo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain. It is a city of exceptional architectural heritage with more than 100 historic buildings (churches, mosques, synagogues, and palaces).
8. SAN SEBASTIAN. San Sebastian in the Basque Country in northern Spain is my favorite city in Spain. It is a glamorous city with luxurious beachside mansions from the Belle Époque era and La Concha beach, the most beautiful beach in Spain. The 19th-century Spanish and French aristocracy loved spending their summers in San Sebastian.
9. SALAMANCA. The Old City of Salamanca is a World Heritage Site in Spain. If you love history, art, and culture, you will love Salamanca too! Read my complete guide to Salamanca: The Best Things to Do in Salamanca Spain.
10. AVILA. The Old City of Avila is a UNESCO World Heritage City. Avila is ‘the finest medieval remnant in Spain’. In my opinion, it is the most authentic Spanish city. If you would like to see oen of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe, visit Avila. Read more in my guide to Avila, Spain: The Best Things to Do in Avila.
Read my guide to the Best Cities in Spain to Visit!
3. What to do in Spain
Spain Travel Guide: The 10+ Best things to do in Spain
1. VISIT ALHAMBRA IN GRANADA. Alhambra Palace in Spain is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world.
Victor Hugo said’ The Alhambra is a marble poem, a dream made of architecture‘. Federico García Lorca stated ‘The Alhambra, a temple of beauty and art, where time stands still and silence speaks‘. Ernest Hemingway declared ‘The Alhambra is a gift of history that endures in time as a symbol of greatness‘. Visit Alhambra and find out why they loved it so much.
Check out the most popular Alhambra tour: Alhambra & Generalife Skip the line Small Group including Nasrid Palaces
2. TOUR GAUDI’S ARCHITECTURAL MASTERPIECES IN BARCELONA. The best Gaudi tour in Barcelona: Complete Gaudí Tour: Casa Batlló, Park Guell & Sagrada Família
3. WATCH A FLAMENCO SHOW. Flamenco music and flamenco dance are one of the most famous Spanish traditions. Flamenco is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The best Flamenco shows in Spain:
Flamenco Show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes Barcelona in La Rambla in Barcelona
Flamenco Show & Special Menu at Torres Bermejas in Madrid
Flamenco Show at Tablao El Arenal with Drink and Optional Dinner or Tapas in Seville
4. WALK CAMINO DE SANTIAGO. Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James) is one of the most famous pilgrimage routes in the World. I hiked Camino del Norte, Camino Via de la Plata, Camino Sanabres, and Camino Finisterre. Read more about Camino de Santiago in Spain, and find out about the most popular Camino de Santiago routes, how long Camino de Santiago is, and the Camino de Santiago packing list.
5. CELEBRATE NEW YEAR AT PUERTA DEL SOL SQUARE IN MADRID. Puerta del Sol is a public square in Madrid and the place where all six major roads in Spain start.
6. HAVE LUNCH AT SOBRIO DE BOTIN IN MADRID. Sobrino de Botín is the oldest restaurant continuously operating in the world. It was opened in 1725 in Madrid.
7. WATCH PAMPLONA BULL RUN. The San Fermin in Pamplona grants an adrenaline rush. It happens from July 6 -14 every year.
8. WITNESS SEMANA SANTA IN SPAIN. Holy Week in Spain is one of the most famous religious and secular festivals in Spain. Holy Week processions in Toledo, Seville, Cordoba, and Malaga are among the most famous in Spain. Read more in my guide to Where to Go for Semana Santa in Spain.
9. JOIN THE LA TOMATINA IN BUNOL. The tomato fight festival in Buñol near Valencia in Spain is the most fun festival in Spain. It happens on the last Wednesday in August in Buñol, near Valencia.
10. ATTEND FERIA DE ABRIL IN SEVILLE. April Festival in Seville is one of the most popular fiestas in Spain and a must-see in a lifetime.
11. GO TO FERIA DE CABALLO IN JEREZ. Horse Fair in Jerez de la Frontera is a top festive event in Spain. The Fair covers an area of 52,000 square meters and has about 200 casetas, and more than 1,300,000 lights. Unlike the Seville April festival, the Jerez May Horse Fair is free to enter. Just to remind you, Jerez de la Fronter is the birthplace of flamenco and home of sherry wine.
12. VISIT CORDOBA PATIOS FESTIVAL. The courtyards of Cordoba in Andalusia are the most beautiful courtyards in Spain. UNESCO listed them as an Intangible World Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Festival of the Courtyards of Cordoba happens in May every year. More than 50 private courtyards of Cordoba are open to the public and free to enter for 12 days during the festival.
13. WALK THE CAMINO DEL REY. The King’s Little Path is one of the most unique pathways in the world. It is called ‘the most dangerous walkway in the world’. The path goes above a river in a narrow gorge and is 2.9 km long. Caminito del Rey is near Malaga in southern Spain and it is one of the best day trips from Malaga, Spain. The best tour of Caminito del Rey from Malaga: Caminito del Rey with Pickup from Málaga City
14. LEARN SPANISH IN SALAMANCA. Salamanca University is the oldest university in Spain. It is the best place in Spain to learn the Spanish language and about Spanish culture.
For more info about the best things to do in Spain, read my comprehensive guide to the Best Things to do in Spain.
4. What to Eat in Spain
Spain Travel Guide to Traditional Spanish food
PAELLA. Spanish paella is arguably the national dish of Spain and one of the most famous Spanish dishes.
JAMON IBERICO. World-class Spanish ham.
GAZPACHO. Gazpacho is the famous Spanish cold tomato soup.
TAPAS. Spanish tapas are finger foods or small dishes, eaten as appetizers or snacks. Tapas are a synonym of Spanish food culture.
Read my comprehensive guide to the Most Popular Spanish Food, The Best Spanish tapas in Spain, Traditional Spanish Breakfast in Spain, and Must-Try Spanish Desserts in Spain.
READ MORE about Spanish food in my Spain travel guide:
BEST Food Tours in Madrid
Traditional Foods of Barcelona
BEST Food Tours in Barcelona
BEST Foodies’ Destinations in Spain
Must-Have Seafood in Spain
Eating Snail Tapas in Spain
Must-Try Basque Cakes
BEST Basque Foods
5. What to Drink in Spain
Spain Travel Guide to Traditional Spanish Drinks:
SANGRIA. Sangria is a traditional Spanish alcoholic drink, made of wine and fruits, that can make you easily forget any troubles you might have.
TINTO DE VERANO. It is a popular Spanish drink, similar to Sangria. Literally meaning Red Wine of Summer. The name says it all.
Read my Guide to The Most Popular Spanish Drinks!
6. When to go to Spain
Spain Travel Guide: Best time to visit Spain
Spain is a year-round destination with mild winters and hot summers.
The best time to travel to Spain is from March to November. But keep in mind that summers in southern Spain can be extremely hot. If you traveling to Spain in summer, choose northern Spain over southern Spain. Head to the Basque Country, Asturias, and Galicia in the summer. In spring and autumn head to southern Spain.
The high season in Spain goes from June to September. Visit cities like Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, and northern Spain from June to September.
Read more in my Spain travel Guide
BEST Things to Do in Malaga Spain
Where to Stay in Malaga Spain: BEST Areas & Hotels
10-Day Andalucia Road Trip
Best day trips from Barcelona
10 Best Places to Visit in Southern Spain
A Week in Spain: Itinerary for One Week in Spain