14 Best Places to Visit in Spain, Especially if It's Your First Time

14 Best Places to Visit in Spain, Especially if It’s Your First Time

A complete list of attractions that will leave you in awe, from Barcelona to Granada.

Going to Spain is probably one of the most wish-list dreams among travellers worldwide. We’re talking stunning architecture, fascinating beaches, picturesque natural landscapes, and world-famous cuisines! And finally getting a chance to travel to the country for the first time might be one of the best things that ever happened to us. To quote Taylor Swift, “It’s been a long time coming.” So, allow us to introduce you to the 14 best places to visit in Spain for your debut trip to Reino de España. 

Read on to learn more about these top Spain destinations that you definitely should add to your itinerary!

Also read: 15 Best Airbnbs in Spain, From Barcelona to Ibiza

Stunning places to visit in Spain to cross off your bucket list

1. Sagrada Familia – Barcelona

places to visit in spain sagrada familia

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The Sagrada Familia is one of the not-to-be-missed Spain destinations you should add to your bucket list. Antoni Gaudi designed the giant basilica, which has been under construction since 1882! Unfortunately, Gaudi died at 40 and never saw it through. 

This unfinished cathedral in Barcelona is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its construction is estimated to complete by 2026. So, feast your eyes on Sagrada Familia’s extravagant Gothic architecture paired with a dazzling interior with rainbow-esque stained glass windows, marvellous golden mosaic domes, and sophisticated ornaments.

Also read: Madrid or Barcelona: Which City in Spain Should You See First?

2. Parte Vieja (Old Town) – San Sebastian

At the heart of San Sebastian is Parte Vieja, aka the city’s Old Town, which boasts numerous pintxo (pronounced as “pin-cho”) bars for you to discover. If you didn’t know yet, pintxo refers to small or light snacks typically eaten in bars. Fellow foodies and night owls love pintxo-bar hopping around the neighbourhood all night long, thanks to the well-liked flavours of the pintxos here. 

FYI, the Old Town comprises a maze of quaint cobblestone streets and is located at the foot of Monte Urgull. It won’t take long to explore the entire Old Town on foot. And while you’re there, do take the chance to visit Plaza de la Constitucion, San Telmo Museoa, and the Gothic church of San Vicente. We assure you Parte Vieja is definitely one of the best places to go in Spain!

3. Alhambra – Granada

places to visit in spain alhambra

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The Alhambra in Granada is one of the most famous places in Spain every traveller should visit. This stunning fortress complex is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the best-preserved palaces of the Islamic period. It’s a great place for sightseeing and admiring the beauty of Islamic art engraved throughout the building. 

The bold expression of Moorish and Andalusian cultures via the palace’s architectural design enhances the already stunning visual even further. Aside from this, expect breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the backdrop, thanks to the Alhambra being built on a hilltop overlooking Granada. Hands down one of the worthy places to visit in Spain!

4.  Museo Nacional del Prado – Madrid

places to visit in spain museo nacional del prado

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Aside from being one of the best cities to visit in Spain, Madrid also houses one of the most famous art museums in the country: Museo Nacional del Prado. Here, you can find the finest collection of European arts from the 12th to 20th century of which Las Meninas by Velazquez, The Third of May 1808 by Goyas, and El Greco’s Adoration of the Shepherds are part of. 

The museum also boasts over 8,200 paintings, 7,600 drawings, and 1,000 sculptures to date. After a long day of touring this astonishing archive, you may refuel at the museum’s cafe or buy some souvenirs from their gift shop!

5. Salvador Dali House Museum – Girona

salvador dali places to visit in spain

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If the visit to del Prado has yet to satisfy the artist in you, get on a unique art-filled tour across the Salvador Dali House Museum. You’ll find this in Platja d’Aro, one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. For those who don’t know, Salvador Dali is a famous Spanish Surrealist artist who is well-known for his precision and eccentricity when it comes to his artworks. Inside this space are some of Dali’s unconventional artworks and some unfinished pieces of his.

As you wander around this unusual archive, one thing is obvious — Dali’s fondness towards eggs! Eggs may symbolise breakfast to most people, but to Dali, these symbolise love, hope, and the world’s perfection. Hence, the numerous insertions of eggs in his paintings and around his house. So, if you’re looking for one of the bizarre Spain destinations in Girona, this spotless house-slash-museum is a must-visit!

Also read: 8D7N Itinerary Around Spain: Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid

6. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba – Cordoba

mosque cathedral alhambra places to visit in spain

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The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (or The Great Mosque) is one of the best places to visit in Spain. Its storied past captures both major religions and cultures that made up Andalusia — Islam and Christianity. Aside from that, its architectural brilliance is just as astounding. The most iconic highlights would be the gorgeous jasper columns topped with red-and-white-striped horseshoe arches. 

Apart from that, the sacred building comprises a hypostyle prayer hall, a minaret and a covered walkway circling a fountain-courtyard. If you’re planning on a trip to this mosque-turned-cathedral, it’s important to note that hats, caps, and bags bigger than a small day pack are not allowed. Oh, and make sure to wear clothes that will cover your knees and shoulders as well.

7. Monte Urgull – San Sebastian

At the end of La Concha Bay is Monte Urgull, one of the city’s most vital landmarks, serving as a picturesque backdrop to San Sebastian’s Old Town.So, what makes it one of the best places to go in Spain? One of the reasons is due to the scenic landscapes the mount offers: a panoramic view of La Concha Bay and Central San Sebastian, as well as different angles of Paseo Nuevo and the Cantabrian Sea

It’ll take around half an hour to hike the mountain, and on its peak is El Polvorin bar with an open-air terrace. Tourists enjoy drinking wines, craft beers, and kombucha while admiring San Sebastian skies as live music plays in the background. When going to Monte Urgull, it’s best to spare some time for a short visit to Castillo de la Mota, Sagrado Corazon, and The English Cemetery along the way.

8. Park Guell – Barcelona

places to visit in spain park guell

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Your list of must-visit Spain destinations is incomplete without taking Park Guell into the list. Another wonderful creation of Antoni Gaudi, this magical green space stretches over 19 hectares and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The straight-out-of-a-fairytale park comprises tree-trunk-inspired columns, animal statues, and geometric shapes decorated with colourful ceramic mosaics. FYI, one of the two houses near the entrance was Gaudi’s house. He bought it with his savings and moved in with his family in 1906. And if you want to enhance your experience at the park, pack some food and beverages for the best picnic time in Barcelona!

9.  Mercat Central de Valencia  – Valencia

places to visit in spain central market valencia

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Mercat Central de Valencia is Europe’s largest fresh produce market that appeals both in architecture and flavour. Located in Valencia, this central market boasts a variety of fresh produce from the city’s best orchards: oranges, tomatoes, meats, and nuts, to name a few. You can also find meat, cheese, spices, and seafood being sold here. 

The live eels are pretty popular among the locals, so you might want to see for yourself how the hawkers handle the slimy, soft-finned fish. Not here to buy anything? We recommend you visit the Central Bar, where you can enjoy tasty tapas and assorted sandwiches made by a renowned chef in the area. 

Also read: From Tokyo to Istanbul, These Are the Public Markets Around the World That Deserve Your Attention

10. Real Alcazar – Seville

places to visit in spain real alcazar

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Among the most stunning Spain destinations that you should visit is the Real Alcazar. Located in Seville — one of the most beautiful cities in Spain —  the building is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. That said, it’s certainly rich in history and cultural value. The building was initially built as a fort in 913 A.D. and had undergone multiple renovations over the next 11 centuries. 

If you take a good look at its architecture, you will find various designs, combining Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic elements. The most obvious one is the use of Mudejar art (a fusion of Islamic and Christian cultures). Did we mention the Real Alcazar was also featured in the TV series, Game of Thrones? Yup, it was used to depict the Water Gardens of Dorne in the fifth and sixth seasons. 

11. Parque del Buen Retiro – Madrid

el retiro fountain

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Parque del Buen Retiro or El Retiro Park is one of the largest parks in Madrid. This UNESCO World Heritage Site covers an area which spans 125 hectares and has more than 15,000 trees planted along its walkways. Because of these, it also serves as the green oasis or the green lung of the city. 

Within the area are some of the most fascinating sights you shouldn’t miss!  These include Jardin de Vivaces (an Andalusian-style garden), Rosaleda (a rose garden), and Parterre Frances, which features a 400-year-old bald cypress tree! The park is also home to various outstanding monuments, including one of Alfonso XII. 

While you’re here, don’t forget to seek the stunning Crystal Palace or Palacio de Cristal. Glass and iron made made up almost the entirety of the building. Psst, you can find this splendid architecture at the centre of the park. And there are many more attractions to see that you could spend an entire day here. So, adding El Retiro to your list of the best places to visit in Spain is a must!

12. Mirador de San Nicolas – Granada

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Unwind and relax as you take in the picturesque view of Granada from the Mirador San Nicolas. This viewing point is the most popular one in the city and is nestled in the historic Albaicin neighbourhood. Being one of the top Spain destinations among tourists, the Mirador San Nicolas offers a panoramic landscape featuring the majestic Alhambra and Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s best to time your visit right to get the most awesome shots of the sunset against the sprawling land of Granada!  

13. Fuente de Cibeles – Madrid

Fuente de Cibeles

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Fuente de Cibeles is among the gorgeous places to visit in Spain that’ll give you the best photo ops. This 18th-century neoclassical fountain stands in the middle of the Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid. It features a sculpture of Cybele — the Roman goddess of fertility — atop a chariot pulled by two lions. 

FYI, the fountain was built to provide water for official water carriers and cavalry who wished to quench the thirst of their horses. These days, this famous landmark is where the fans of Real Madrid would flock to celebrate the many victories of their beloved team.

14. Playa de la Malagueta – Malaga

playa de la malagueta malaga

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What’s a trip to Spain without going to one of its beautiful beaches? So, head to Playa de la Malagueta in Malaga for the best sun-soaked holiday in the city! Sweeping the coastline for over 1.2 kilometres, this stunning azure beach is dotted with palm trees, high-rises, and luxurious apartments. The beach is a hotspot for families on vacation due to its ample leisure and entertainment offerings for visitors of all ages. 

You can swim, surf, sunbathe, or relax under a parasol all day long. It even has a designated children’s area so worry not about how to keep your little ones occupied with fun-filled activities. While you’re there, be sure to sample their famous sardine skewers (pescaito) from any of the small bars around the beach. Definitely one of the best places to go in Spain with your loved ones!

Also read: 50 Essential Spanish Phrases for Your Next Vacation

And that concludes our list of worthy places to visit in Spain. What do you think about these top attractions? Whatever it is, you’ll surely love the country and its endless offerings that will keep you coming back for more! 

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About Author

Izzati Haron
Izzati Haron

Izzati is an author to two poem anthologies, a slam poet wannabe, and a full-time nanny to her kitties. She loves dreaming about traveling the world just like most protagonists in the movies, but more often than not, her bank account only permits her to travel to her backyard.