The sights of Spain. What is worth seeing?
A list of must-see sights in Spain. Compilation of interesting places and sights with photos and descriptions by cities and regions. Useful information: prices, how to get to Spain, Spain sightseeing map.
Spain is a country rich in history and culture. It ranks third in the number of cultural heritage sites of UNESCO – only China and Italy have more. Many of them can be seen on their own, as well as part of excursion groups.
There are also many beautiful and interesting places, where tourists like to go on their own. Let’s start with the capital.
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Sightseeing in Spain on the map
A beautiful metropolitan city that combines old buildings with new neighborhoods and business centers. Its main place is the Puerta del Sol – “Gate of the Sun”. Tourists recommend visiting the Golden Triangle of Art in Spain’s capital. Tourists often recommend visiting the Golden Triangle of Art in Spain’s capital city: the Prado National Museum (€14), the Art Center of Queen Sofia (€8), and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (€10). Also visit the Royal Palace with its silk and porcelain rooms.
Getting to almost any point of interest in Madrid is quick and cheap by metro. Buses with comfortable cabins and air conditioning are also popular. Fare in the above urban transport costs 1 euro.
Toledo is located in the center of the country and has a collection of Christian, Arab, and Jewish architecture. It was founded by the Iberians and Celts, then conquered by the Romans and Arabs. Then came the Inquisition. From each culture and faith left its buildings. In this city, tourists are advised to visit the must-see attractions in Spain:
- The medieval and rebuilt after 1936, the Alcazar fortress;
- the cathedral;
- Socodover Square;
- El Greco House Museum, Museum of the Inquisition, and Santa Cruz.
Toledo can be reached from Madrid by train in half an hour, the ticket costs about 20 euros. Buses run every 30 minutes from Plaza Eliptica to the old city for 10 euros.
(Photo: pixabay.com / alfcermed)
It is an autonomy in northeastern Spain with its own dialect (not like any European language and necessarily studied in local schools), ethnicity and three provinces. The largest cities are Bilbao and San Sebastian.
In Baskonia come hikers and mountaineers – there are many national parks and very beautiful cliffs near the coast of San Sebastian . In Salinas de Anyana there are still working salt mines, where the mineral is extracted by ancient Roman technology. A unique bridge transporter architect Palacio (a pupil of the Eiffel himself) since 1983 connects Portugueseete and Las Arenas. And on the river Guernica you can take a gondola ride – the boats leave at intervals of 8 minutes. Segura will surprise you with ancient mansions, and the village of Vera de Bidasoa with historic stone structures from the 16th to 19th century.
(Photo: Jose Castanedo / flickr.com / License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Is a major industrial and port city in Basconia. Here medieval architecture is surprisingly combined with ultra-modern buildings. If you are interested in unusual sights in Spain, Bilbao has a lot to see:
- The Guggenheim Museum of titanium plates, glass and waterfalls. It is surrounded by unusual sculptures (a metal spider and a flower terrier), admission costs 6-10 euros (children pass free);
- Alondiga Bilbao cultural and entertainment center ;
- Isozaki Towers .
In the Old City there is a beautiful Gothic-style Cathedral of Santiago, also the churches of Sant Antoni and San Nicolas open their doors to tourists. The city has a unique glass bridge Subisuri (Campo Volantine) over the river Nevión. The creation of the architect Santiago is made in a futuristic style and allows you to quickly get from the hotels to the famous Guggenheim Museum. The Archaeological Museum is open with artifacts from the Roman, medieval and modern periods (1.5-3 euros).
From the airport in Bilbao you can take a bus to the Central Bus Station for 1.45 euros or a cab for 25 euros. In the city itself there are shuttle buses for 1,25 euros, metro (1,6-1,9 euros), high-speed streetcars (1,5 euros) and a funicular (0,95 euros).
During its history the city has burned down several times, while the ancient monuments of architecture have survived. The ethnographic museum of San Telmo and the port aquarium, made in the form of a palace, represent the history of Basque culture. It will also be interesting to visit the Baroque church of Santa Maria del Coro and the neo-Gothic church of St. Vincent. From the Plaza de la Constitución, where bullfights are now held, one can see the ancient library, the palaces of Ayete and Miramar . The town has a beautifully landscaped promenade, La Concha, with balustrades and lanterns.
(Photo: peteropaliu / flickr.com / licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Occupies the north of Spain and is famous for winemaking. It is divided into 3 zones, the largest of which is considered Rioja Alta. There are a lot of vineyards and light and aged wines are produced here. A wine festival is regularly held in Jaro with tastings of the heady beverage.
In this area visit the narrow paved streets of Logroño, temples, cathedrals, historical and art museum. The Puente Piedra stone bridge, which connects the center with the old neighborhoods, is an architectural highlight. Separately, there are excursions to the Cantabrian mountains with caves where beautiful crystals grow, there are underground rivers and waterfalls. And San Vicente de la Barquera is among the top most beautiful Spanish towns. People come here to see the mountain scenery, the royal castle and to try a variety of seafood dishes – they are prepared in all the city restaurants and cafes along the waterfront.
You can get from Santander Airport by bus for 2.5 euros. A cab from the terminal will cost 15 euros.
(Photo: Jimmy G / flickr.com / CC BY-NC 2.0 license)
Santiago de Compostela
Not sure what to see from the sights in Spain? Tourists in reviews advise to go to the capital of Galicia and the city where St. James completed his pilgrimage – Santiago de Compostela. Believers from all over the world come here for paraphernalia, to lay their hands on the relics and visit the famous cathedral of the same name. In the city there is a large number of buildings, which belong to UNESCO: Palacio Rajoy, a Benedictine monastery San Martino Pinario, a beautiful cathedral, the XII century church of Santa Maria Real do Sar, the first royal hotel in the world Ostal de los Reyes Catholicos.
There is a tourist train through the city, which has an audio guide. The ticket costs 5-8 euros and the tour takes 45 minutes. There are cheap buses for 0.55-1-€. You can rent a bike for 40 euros, or pay a cab driver almost as much, to take him comfortably to the right place.
The airport is situated 11 km from the town; you can get there by bus for €3, or by cab for €20. Intercity flights from Madrid cost up to 55 Euros (8 hours journey time), from Barcelona up to 90 Euros (17 hours journey time). You can also go by train from Madrid for 41-62 euros.
(Photo: Trevor.Huxham / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)
Navarra is a northern province of Spain. There are many castles and beautiful monasteries, historical buildings with high stone walls, towers and suspension bridges – there is something to see in this province of Spain for lovers of architecture. Popular places include:
- Palacio de Olita , built in the Gothic style;
- Javier Castle, which looks like a fortress;
- an old winery with a tasting room.
Interesting facts about cities in Spain
It is the capital of the northern region of Navarra (in the VIII century the kingdom of the same name). In this city in the second week of July from 6 to 14 the famous running of the bulls – San Fermin Festival is held. And the animals are released directly into the streets, along which you can rent a house and watch the extreme show from a safe distance. Also during this period in the streets of the city are organized bright festivities, in which adults and children take part.
The Gothic cathedral from the beginning of the 16th century stands out with its 50 m towers and the biggest bell in Spain. It is also worth visiting the royal palace with a beautiful throne room and the old archive building, where the national historical documents are kept.
The best way to get to Pamplona from Madrid or Barcelona airports is by shuttle bus up to 40 euros. The AVE fast train takes about 3-4 hours and costs 23 euros.
(Photo: VaqueroFrancis / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)
An island resort that attracts fans of diving, rock climbing and fun beach activities. The island with a highly developed infrastructure has beautiful beaches with white fine sand and clear water. However, those who are tired of rest and entertainment can find a lot of interesting things to do: the old town of Valldemossa, the sights of the capital of Palma de Mallorca (the palace of Almudaina, Belver Castle, the cathedral).
You can get there by plane from Madrid or Barcelona to Palma, the central city on the island. There is Son San Juan Airport, from which there are cabs (20 euros) and shuttles (3 euros). It takes 4 or 8 hours to reach by sea from Barcelona by passenger catamaran or ferry, respectively. Tickets cost from 40 euros.
Palma de Mallorca (Photo: unsplash.com / @furbee)
This is the island where all tourists under the age of 20-22 try to go in Spain. The trendiest and coolest youth hangouts take place here. Also on the island there are churches and cathedrals, museums and beautiful natural parks. And most importantly, the beaches. Here Cap Blanc aquarium is built in a real cave, the cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows, as well as a museum of contemporary art MACE.
You can get to the island from Barcelona or Madrid by plane or ferry. Buses run from the airport to the city for 3.5 euros.
What must see a tourist in Spain? The hustle and bustle of Barcelona with its beautiful Gaudi creations. It deserves its own article, so read about what to see in Barcelona in a few days.
A word of advice: beware of pickpockets in Barcelona, especially on the Ramblas.
(Photo: pixabay.com / Patrice_Audet)
Hot Andalusia was once ruled by the Moors, so there’s a lot of Oriental architecture here. The famous Alhambra in Granada is a red fortress on a hill with shady gardens and patios. Tickets there are 5-14 euros depending on the type. You can buy in advance on the official website or at the ticket office on the day of the visit.
This region of Spain is better to see on your own – many cities and attractions are easily accessible by trains and buses. Visit Seville with its Alcatraz fortress, colorful Cordoba, Malaga and Cadiz.
The temperature in the Canary Islands is always optimal – neither hot nor cold. This is why pensioners and families with children love to rest here. Tenerife is perfect for hiking and exploring national parks, lazy beach vacations, wine tastings and discovering the national cuisine.
What to see in Spain
Sunny and cheerful Spain welcomes tourists all year round. In the homeland of the most fun and carefree drink, sangria, you will find a bustling Barcelona, rich Madrid, amazing Canary Islands, and, of course, the hot bullfight with a sultry flamenco dance.
Spain is a land of diversity, where the sandy beaches alternate with a rich historical heritage and the ski resorts are interspersed with the works of genius Gaudi. Here you will find the rousing rhythms of Ibiza and the most crazy holiday at PortAventura.
Spain is a country with a rich gastronomic heritage. All tourists who come to the country must try the local cuisine. On a hot and sultry day there is nothing better than a cool gazpacho soup, a creation of Spanish mule drivers. In Valencia, the famous paella is a must. And in Spain’s capital, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of tasting Madrid’s stew. Cava, sherry and “blood of the devil” (sangria) will be the best addition to the national cuisine of Spain.
The most famous places in the country
Spain’s attractions are concentrated mainly in two cities: Barcelona and Madrid. However, Barcelona is a more popular tourist destination than the country’s capital. And there is an explanation. In Barcelona lived and worked the genius Antonio Gaudi, his architectural masterpieces are here. Places associated with his life and work have become a magnet for tourists from all over the world.
Antoni Gaudi’s famous project is also known as the Sagrada Familia cathedral. It is the most beautiful church in Spain and Europe. Although the great architect would not see the completion of his brainchild, the cathedral became his manifesto to posterity. According to the plan of the genius, the temple must have three facades: the Nativity facade, with which he began construction, the Passion facade and the Ascension facade. White columns, like fairy-tale trees hold the entire vault of the cathedral. On the ceiling scattered starry elements hang. And the light passing through multicolored stained-glass windows casts colored reflections on the interior decoration of the temple. To visit Barcelona and not see the creation of the immortal Gaudi is a crime. The cost of a visit starts at 15 euros. This money, as well as donations, is used to complete the construction.
Royal Palace in Madrid
Royal Palace in Madrid
On the site of the fortress of the emirs of Cordoba and Toledo stands the royal residence of the Spanish monarchs. The palace has burned several times, so during the restoration it was built entirely of stone and refused to be finished with wood. If the Spanish flag hovers over the palace in Madrid, it means that Philip VI, King of Spain, is in residence. There is a museum in the royal palace and it costs 10 euros to visit.
Park Guell in Barcelona
Park Guell in Barcelona
This is one of the earliest works by famous architect Antonio Gaudi. The trademark of the park are the two gingerbread houses, built for administrative purposes but looking like fairy-tale dwellings. The grand staircase, framed by fountains, goes straight up to the Hall of a Hundred Columns. Thanks to good acoustics, musical groups like to perform in this place. From the top of the stairs you have a beautiful view of Barcelona and the sea coast.
The Alcázar in Segovia
The Alcázar in Segovia
At the confluence of the two rivers Clamores and Eresma on a high rock stands one of the most beautiful castles in Spain. Archaeological excavations indicate that a fortified settlement appeared here as early as the Roman period. Originally the fortress was of wood, then rebuilt into a stone one. The interior of the fortress is in Spanish-Moorish style. Today thousands of tourists visit the site to visit the Royal Hall, see the chapel where the kings of Spain were married and climb the tower of Juan II.
Las Ventas arena in Madrid
Las Ventas arena in Madrid
This is the largest arena in Spain created for bullfighting. Its capacity exceeds twenty thousand people. The arena was built in the likeness of the ancient Roman Colosseum. The building is made of red brick with arches shaped like a horse shoe in the Moorish style. There is also a bullfighting museum with unusual exhibits. For example, here you can see the blood-soaked costume of the famous matador Manolete.
Interesting places to visit in Spain
There are so many interesting places in Spain that a lifetime is not enough to see them all. But it is still worth trying. Spain has preserved for posterity a rich cultural heritage. It is represented by palaces and castles, museums and national parks.
Mesquita (Cordoba Cathedral Mosque).
The Mesquita (The Mosque of Córdoba).
The history of the largest mosque of the Middle Ages ended during the Spanish Reconquista. The mosque was converted to a Christian cathedral. In general, this place has always been worshipped as holy since the days of ancient Rome. The Visigoths were the first to sanctify the temple here. Arab rulers spared no expense to decorate the mosque. The gigantic arches, columns faced with precious materials: jasper, onyx, marble – all this was a magnificent architectural masterpiece. Ceilings, walls, prayer niches and decorative elements were painted in gold.
The Prado Museum in Madrid
Museo del Prado, Madrid
This is one of the most visited museums in the world. The museum has a rich collection of Flemish art, sculptures and works by artists of the Golden Age. Tourists come here to see works by Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, and Bosch. One of the most important works kept in the Prado Museum is Rubens’ painting “The Three Graces”. The museum building itself is also a landmark in Spain. It was built in the style of late classicism with a reference to the ancient heritage. The cost to visit the museum is 15 euros.
The Alcázar in Toledo
The Alcázar in Toledo
A fortress was built at the bend of the Tajo River in the city of Toledo. From the south there were precipitous slopes that descended to the river, and from the north the Spaniards built strong fortifications. The result was one of the most beautiful castles in Spain. The Alcazar was once home to the rulers of Castile. With the loss of independence, a prison was set up in the place. Today, the fortress walls offer a beautiful panorama of the whole of Toledo.
Cathedral of St. James
Cathedral of St. James
One of the most important shrines of the Christian world is in Santiago de Compostela. A medieval cathedral rises in the historic part of the city and houses the relics of the Apostle James, a disciple of Christ. The relics are housed in a silver shrine. An important attraction of the cathedral is the unique censer. This is the biggest censer in the world. It requires no less than forty kilograms of coal and is set in motion by eight clergymen.
Teide National Park (Tererife Island)
Teide National Park (Tererife)
The national park’s main gem is the volcano Teide. Fiery giant attracts millions of tourists who vacation in the Canary Islands. Anyone can conquer the giant on foot or using transport. There is a good road to the top, and the rest of the way can be overcome by cable car. The most breathtaking views await those who dare to spend the night at the top of the volcano. Here the brightest stars shine and the Milky Way is clearly visible.
City of Avila
The ancient medieval city of Avila spreads at the foot of the Cordilleras. Its main attraction are the well-preserved fortress walls. The territory of the old city was surrounded by walls more than three meters thick. The towers along the perimeter of the walls were 20 meters high. There were nine gates leading to the city. This is a well-preserved example of medieval fortifications in Spain. Avila Cathedral, which outwardly resembles a palace-fortress rather than a temple, keeps works of the great Spanish painter El Greco.
Beautiful places in the south of Spain
The south of Spain is traditionally associated with beach holidays, but this is not quite true. Of course, most of the southern cities of the country have access to the Mediterranean Sea. But there are also many historical sites that are worth seeing. And most importantly in southern Spain is the birthplace of the passionate dance – Flamenco.
The Fortress of Alcazaba in Málaga
The Fortress of the Alcazaba in Málaga
A fortress was built by Arab rulers in the heart of the city. Some of the stones used to build the walls were taken from Roman fortifications. A Roman open-air theater survives to this day. The citadel was protected by a triple ring of castle walls and powerful towers. Inside the citadel was a magnificent palace in the Arab style. Today there is an archaeological museum in the place.
The city of Ronda
This is a city above the abyss. One of the most beautiful cities in Spain is situated above the El Tajo Gorge. This settlement has been known since the time of the ancient Romans. The white houses of the locals are perched on a high cliff, and the deep ravine below stretches down into the valley. The scenery from almost any point in the town is mesmerizing. The main attraction in Ronda is the oldest bullfighting arena in Spain. The great matador Romero performed here, to his credit thousands of defeated bulls.
This is the highest lighthouse on the territory of Spain. Interestingly, it is used to navigate not only by sea vessels, but also by air. This was made possible by the design of the lighthouse, the light from which is visible not only in the horizontal plane, but also vertically. In clear weather the lighthouse can be seen fifty kilometers around. Visit Chipion Lighthouse can be part of the tour.
A Moorish-style palace and park complex was built in southern Spain in the former capital of the Emirate of Granada. This place was the last stronghold of the Islamic State on the territory of modern Spain. Its ramparts, palaces, mosques, houses and gardens are extant. All the buildings are blended into the surrounding landscape in order to be in harmony with nature. The palace complex is filled with light and the murmuring of water. There are both large ponds and small secluded fountains. In the gardens grow pomegranate and orange trees, huge cypresses are planted in rows. The fortress walls offer a magnificent view of the mountains and forests.
Sacromonte Abbey in Granada
Sacromonte Abbey in Granada
Just three kilometers from the city of Granada is an interesting site, the Abbey of Sacromonte. It was begun to be built at the end of the sixteenth century on the Holy Mountain. Under and beside the abbey are preserved ancient cave dwellings. Apparently they were the last refuge for the Arabs who fled the Spanish Reconquista, and before them the Jews hid in this place. Today it is a major Benedictine monastery, the patron saint of which is believed to be St. Cecilius.
Other popular places to see
There are many beautiful and popular places in Spain. Most of them are within good transport accessibility, which makes them easy to visit. History buffs will find medieval castles, ancient Roman architecture, amazing cathedrals converted from mosques in the country. These places are rich in a mix of cultures and eras.
It is one of the most popular theme parks in Europe and the most popular in Spain. PortAventura is located near the town of Salou and is divided into themed areas. There is a Wild West zone, the Caribbean, Siberia and the latest innovation Ferrari Land. The park will please both adults and children. For the youngest visitors, there are their own rides that they will love. Here you can watch a show: go on a hunt with the fearless Indiana Jones, or watch a cool western with horses. Park rides cater to all tastes, including a free-fall tower, and walk through a river canyon, and a roller coaster with dead loops. The infrastructure of the park allows you not only to eat in the theme restaurants, but also to live in the hotels. For example, you can stay in a hotel that is stylized as the Wild West. The cost of a full day ticket is 55 euros per adult.
Alcázar in Córdoba
Alcázar in Córdoba
This is the second most important landmark in Cordoba after the Mesquita. It was the residence of the emirs of Cordoba. The fortress is practically a regular square with strong towers and gates. In addition to the palace itself behind the walls was a magnificent garden. The best time to visit the garden is in the spring, when everything is in bloom and evening, when the night lights turn on. After the Spanish Reconquista, the city was occupied by the supporters of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. In this place they hosted Cr. Columbus, the great traveler and navigator. The former royal residence was once given to the Inquisition. Mass executions by order of the clergy took place at one of the towers of the citadel.
Mount Montserrat in Barcelona
Mount Montserrat in Barcelona
Mount Montserrat attracts ecotourists and pilgrims from all over Europe. The bald, fancifully shaped cliffs, standing apart from the main mountain range, have always attracted attention. The area around the mountain in Spain is recognized as a protected area and is home to unique species of plants and animals. Hiking trails laid out for tourists pass through the most beautiful places. On the mountain Montserrat built an ancient monastery, which houses one of the most important shrines of Christianity – Black Madonna or Black Virgin of Montserrat. She helps women find the joy of motherhood.
This is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Spain and Europe. The temple was built on the site of a mosque after the end of the Spanish Reconquista. According to local belief, the cross in the cathedral is made of gold, brought by Columbus from America. In this place was, and tomb of the great navigator before his remains were moved to the territory of the modern Dominican Republic. The library of the cathedral keeps documents from the personal archive of Cr.
Dalt Vila (Ibiza)
The resort town of Ibiza is presented to many tourists as a place to party and dance until morning. However, Ibiza boasts not only beautiful beaches and fiery parties, but also ancient buildings. In the old town, the fortress – Dalt Vila became the center of attraction for tourists. Behind the fortress walls, narrow streets, cobblestone streets, Ibiza Castle and the Cathedral await visitors. Ibiza Castle, built during the time when these places were under Arab rule. It can be seen from almost anywhere on the island, in turn, from the fortress walls of the citadel offers the most spectacular view of Ibiza. It is especially beautiful at night, when the city begins to light up.