Spain Attractions

Spain is more than a travel destination - it's a way of life. The country's many attractions and the journeys between them are infused with the warm welcome of the diverse people and the laid-back lifestyle that the Spaniards have perfected. Spanish holidays should be slow, with room for spontaneity and unexpected diversions.

The wealth of things to see and do is such that the top attractions in Spain are whole cities, towns and islands, and a single holiday can barely scratch the surface of what this country has to offer. It is often best to plan an itinerary around a single city or region.

Favourite destinations in Spain include: Toledo, for Roman architecture and ancient history; Santiago de Compostela for religious history and art; Cordoba, for medieval charm and the Mezquita cathedral; Barcelona, for Gaudi and almost anything else a tourist could want; Ibiza, for beach parties and clubbing; Bilbao, for industrial creativity and the Guggenheim Museum; Majorca, for stunning landscapes and medieval villages; Madrid, the capital, for a cosmopolitan Spanish experience; Tenerife, for spectacular beaches and diverse landscapes; Seville, for history and fun after dark; Granada, for mountains, tradition and architecture; and San Sebastian, for beautiful beaches and good food.


Granada city view

Granada and the Alhambra

Granada, a high altitude city of romance and folklore, boasts one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain, the Alhambra palace-fortress. Built primarily by the Nasrid rulers in the 14th century (although essentially built between the 9th and 16th centuries) the Alhambra is...  see full details



West facade of The Prado, Madrid

The Prado

One of Madrid's most famous attractions is the 19th-century Prado Museum, one of the world's greatest art galleries, with more than 7,000 paintings that include masterpieces by Fra Angelico, Botticelli, El Bosco, Titian, Rembrandt and Velazquez. The museum began as a Royal collection, which...  see full details



Guernica by Picasso

Reina Sofia National Art Centre Museum

The third of Madrid's famed art galleries, the Reina Sofia is dedicated to 20th century Spanish art, having been designed to give Spain a museum to equal France's Pompidou Centre and London's Tate Gallery. The museum was opened by Queen Sofia in 1986,...  see full details



Toledo

Toledo

The magnificent hilltop city of Toledo, about 43 miles (70km) southwest of Madrid, was immortalised by Spain's renowned artistic genius El Greco in a cityscape that currently hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The city has changed little since El...  see full details



Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

The huge granite rectangular edifice, topped with four spiral towers, is a foreboding sight in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 30 miles (50km) northwest of Madrid. El Escorial was a marriage of the power of the Roman Catholic Church...  see full details



Aqueduct in Segovia

Segovia

The ancient town of Segovia, lying on a slope of the Guadarrama Mountains with the confluence of the Eresma and Clamores Rivers below, is a delightful taste of the glorious past of the area known as Castile in central Spain. Segovia is 54...  see full details



La Ramblas

La Rambla

Arguably the most famous street in Europe, the wide tree-lined boulevard known as La Rambla (or Las Ramblas), is a long continuous pedestrian avenue that technically changes names five times as it cuts through Barcelona's Old Town, the Barri Gotic, from the Placa Catalunya...  see full details



La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

One of Catalonia's most intriguing landmarks, the bizarre Church of the Holy Family, designed by modernist architect Antoni Gaudi, was started in 1882, but remains unfinished and an object of controversy. Gaudi worked on what was considered his masterpiece until his death in 1926,...  see full details



Tarragona

Tarragona

The Costa Dorada's main city, Tarragona, has almost doubled in size during the last few decades, with its residential districts continually expanding around the beautiful medieval core. Tarragona, originally built on a rocky bluff, can trace its roots back to 218 BC, when it...  see full details



Montserrat Monastery

Montserrat

One of the most visited sites in Catalonia is the monastery at Montserrat, 35 miles (56km) northwest of Barcelona. The monastery is surrounded by strange rocky crags and caves, and was founded in 1025 to celebrate local visions of the Virgin Mary. It...  see full details



Girona

Girona

The city of Girona, on the route from the Pyrenees to Barcelona, is one of the most important historical sites in Spain, founded by the Romans and later a Moorish stronghold. Sitting astride the confluence of the Onyar and Ter rivers, this quaint...  see full details



Alcazar in Seville

Alcazar of Seville

Alcazar is Seville's top attraction and one of the most famous attractions in Spain. The palace complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an undisputed architectural masterpiece by any standards. The site of Seville's Moorish Alcazar palace has been occupied by the city's...  see full details



Saint Teresa of Avila

Santa Cruz

Visitors usually need to visit a tourist office to obtain a detailed map of the winding alleys, gateways and courtyards of this enchanting and fascinating section of Seville, a former Jewish ghetto, where every street corner has a romantic legend attached to it. The...  see full details



San Sebastian

San Sebastian

The Basque region's most popular beach, La Concha, is to be found in the genteel resort city of San Sebastian, 62 miles (100km) east of Bilbao. The town became fashionable as a summer getaway during the reign of Queen Isabel when she took...  see full details



Pamplona Running of the Bulls

Pamplona

Hordes of tourists flock to this town in Navarre, northern Spain, in early July each year for the Running of the Bulls, officially called La Fiesta del Fermin. The festival, in honour of the city's patron saint, was made famous by Ernest Hemingway's novel...  see full details



Teide National Park

Teide National Park

The Parque Nacional de las Canadas del Teide was declared a protected area in 1954, and has become recognised as offering one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, including an enormous volcanic crater with a circumference of 30 miles (48km), out of...  see full details



Arta

Arta

The ancient hilltop town of Arta, close to the east coast of Mallorca, has been occupied for about 3,000 years, and today welcomes visitors to the remains of its Bronze Age settlement at Ses Paisses, just outside the town in a grove of...  see full details



La Pedrera Exterior

La Pedrera (Casa Mila)

Another fantastic construction by the creative genius Antonio Gaudi, Casa Mila, commonly known as La Pedrera, was the last civil work that Gaudi undertook before dedicating all his time to the assembly of La Sagrada Família. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site...  see full details



Barri G̣tic

Barri Gotic

Known as the Gothic Quarter, the Barri Gòtic is Barcelona's oldest district. A former fortified Roman settlement, the maze of atmospheric narrow streets house spectacular Gothic buildings and cathedrals, marking the city's heyday during the 14th and 15th centuries. There are many significant sights...  see full details



FC Barcelona Museum

FC Barcelona Museum and Stadium

FC Barcelona, one of Europe's most beloved football teams, has an informative museum with displays of photographs, documents, memorabilia and trophies, covering over a century of club history, that will satiate the fascination of even the most dedicated fan. Visitors also get the opportunity...  see full details



Garrotxa Nature Reserve

Garrotxa Nature Reserve

Visiting dormant volcanoes is not one of the typical things to do in Spain; however, for those who take the time the experience offers stunning scenery and a one-of-a-kind experience. Sandwiched between the Pyrenees and Costa Brava, the region of Garrotxa is home to...  see full details



The Bardenas Reales National Park

Parque Natural de Bardenas Reales

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Parque Natural de Barenas Reales offers visitors the chance to walk through a moon landscape. The area is a semi-desert and the malleable clay, chalk and sandstone of the landscape has been eroded into surprising and unusual shapes by...  see full details



Gibraltar

Gibraltar

This large lump of limestone stuck to the end of the Iberian Peninsula is as famous for its bizarre geology as it is for its overly-friendly furry friends. Though many countries have claimed the beacon over the years, it's officially owned by the...  see full details



Sherry Bodegas

Andalusia's chalky soil is ideal for the cultivation of the palomino grape, from which the world-famous sherry (jerez) of the region is made. The main sites of sherry production in Andalusia are Jerez de la Frontera and Montilla, and these charming towns are home...  see full details



Cuenca

Just two hours southeast of Madrid lies Cuenca, one of the most charming small towns you'll find anywhere on the Iberian peninsula. Located on a steep spur, above the confluence of two deep river gorges, Cuenca's magnificent geography is matched only by the architectural...  see full details