Thinking of visiting Spain in the future? Chances are you’re inclined to explore Barcelona’s beaches and Madrid’s pulsating nightlife. However, if you really want to experience the country’s 17 culturally distinct regions, you might as well visit less popular destinations in Spain.

Not quite sure where to go? Here are some of the best places to visit in Spain, from “second cities” to off-beaten towns.

ETIAS Travels: 10 Best Places to Visit in Spain

Top 10 Destinations to Visit in Spain

1. Granada

From stunning ancient fortresses to snow-capped peaks and even winding cobbled streets, the historical city of Granada has so much to offer.

When visiting this city situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, don’t forget to stop by the Alhambra! This 1000-year old Moorish palace features some of the best-preserved Islamic art and architecture in the world. 

2. Valencia

Are you up for some authentic Spanish dish paella? Then head on over to the “home of paella,” Valencia! You can easily dine in at any beachside restaurant in Valencia to enjoy this Spanish dish. 

But there’s a lot more to this Mediterranean city than its food! For starters, you should explore the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, a cultural center boasting one of Spain’s greatest architecture. 

Tip: Want to get a bird’s eye view of Valencia? You can climb the stairs to the top of Torre del Micalet, a 14th-century Gothic bell tower. 

3. Córdoba

During the Moorish rule of Spain, Córdoba is one of the most vital cities in the Middle Ages.

As such, you can expect a number of historical sites to discover in Córdoba, with the Grand Mosque being the most spectacular from the rest. Dating back to the 10th century, this was a symbol of Islamic grandeur in the city which features stunning architecture.

Did You Know? Córdoba is the first city in the world to be awarded four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, surpassing world-famous cities like Rome and Paris.

4. Seville

Seville, the capital of southern Spain’s Andalucia, is known for its thriving flamenco culture.

From exciting festivals to intimate little bars, you’ll surely appreciate this passionate, dramatic and melancholic city. Don’t forget to visit the Real Alcázar to see the stunning Mudéjar architecture and the Metropol Parasol for much-needed shade in the summer! 

5. Ronda

After visiting Andalucia’s Seville, you can take a side-trip to Ronda. Don’t underestimate this small town as it boasts of dramatic history and panoramic views, making it a must-see for anyone visiting southern Spain!

You should definitely visit the Puente Nuevo (a stone bridge separating new and old Ronda) and Plaza de Toros de Ronda (the oldest bullring in the whole country).

6. Bilbao

Bilbao used to be a dull, post-industrial city but is now transformed into a thriving metropolis. 

Drop by the Guggenheim Museum which features contemporary artworks made by the likes of Andy Warhol, Eduardo Chillida, Richard Serra, and Mark Rothko. You should also visit Bilbao’s Old Town, Casco Viejo, for historic architecture and winding alleys.

7. Ibiza

If your definition of Europe travel is “party,” then Ibiza won’t disappoint you! Head on to the party capital of Europe and enjoy great music, good dancing, and different kinds of festivities.

And the best part? You’ll be enjoying all these gatherings in Ibiza’s sunkissed beaches and clear turquoise waters!

Did You Know? Ibiza enjoys 10 hours of sunshine for 300 days every year, making it the year-round destination for tourists looking for fun under the sun!

8. Tenerife

Prefer to chill but still enjoy the beach? You can visit Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. Feel free to enjoy the azure beaches, lunar landscapes, and volcanic peaks. 

For those feeling a little adventurous, you can hike Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain peak.

9. Barcelona

Wondering why Barcelona tops off the list of visitors’ travel itineraries in Spain? This second-most populous municipality of Spain has it all—stunning Mediterranean beaches, mind-bending architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine.

Check out attractions like the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Barceloneta Beach, and Mount Tibidaboand.

10. Madrid

Of course, no trip to Spain is complete without visiting its capital city—Madrid.

Visit the Royal Palace, Europe’s biggest palace in terms of area, and be awe-struck by the architecture and grandiosity of the place. You should also stop by Madrid’s Golden Triangle to see some of the world’s famous artworks like Picasso’s Guernica and Velázquez’s Las Meninas.

4 Must-Know Tips When Travelling to Spain for the First Time

Just like any other country in Europe, traveling to Spain can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. Keep these tips in mind to avoid any mishaps that can cost you precious time and money.

1. Never Underestimate the Weather

Like most tourists, you probably think that Spain is hot and humid year-round. However, the weather in Spain can vary a lot, depending on which regions you’ll be visiting.

Northern regions experience the typical four seasons while the north-west gets extremely windy and wet. Islands fair better, though, with the Gran Canaria Islands enjoying pleasant weather all year round.

2. Try the Local Food

You probably can’t wait to taste paella once you’ve landed on Spain but it’s best to try other Spanish dishes, too!

Must-try local delicacies include tapas, tortilla, jamon, churros, pulpo a la gallega (Galician octopus), papas arrugadas (potatoes with an unusual flavor), and so much more. The list is endless!

3. Don’t Eat Too Early

Unlike Canadian standards, the Spanish tend to follow a different clock when it comes to mealtimes.

Lunch is usually served between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. while dinner is typically enjoyed at 8 p.m. onwards. Keep these times in mind and don’t eat too early—eat just like the locals do!

4. Be Aware of Siesta

Aside from the distinct mealtimes, locals also practice siesta which means most establishments will close down from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Bear this in mind especially if you’re planning to venture out of major cities. You might as well embrace the siesta time and nap like the locals!

 

Situated on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a diverse and beautiful country. Every visitor would surely enjoy Madrid’s world-class museums and vibrant nightlife as well as Barcelona’s beautiful Mediterranean beaches and stunning architecture. However, aside from these two iconic destinations in Spain, you should also explore other less-popular destinations.

Planning to visit Spain soon? If you’re booking your flight in 2021, make sure you already have your ETIAS Visa Waiver ready!

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is meant to keep track of all visitors entering ETIAS countries. This would ensure smooth and safe transit for both tourists and locals alike. Visit our website to learn more about ETIAS.

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