7 best things to do in SPAIN
Traditional and rich in culture and history, yet very modern and vibrant, Spain has a lot to offer to its visitors. Friendly people and great cuisine will greet you with the warmest welcome everywhere in the country – from the smallest villages to the largest and busiest cities. Curious about the best things to do in Spain?
Great beaches and a warm climate make Spain a perfect holiday destination for families and honeymooners. It’s a great place to travel to prolong your summer or to escape from dreary spring weather.
But what to do in Spain?
To help you prepare for your trip, we have created this list of some of the best things to do in Spain.
7 best things to do in Spain
1. Walk the Camino de Santiago or a part of it
The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James, is an important Christian pilgrimage in Europe. It consists of a network of pilgrims’ ways, including a couple of routes in Spain.
The final destination for all the routes is Santiago de Compostela, the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. The pilgrimage ends in the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
The majority of Way of Saint James routes take at least a month to complete, but it’s possible to do only a part of the way.
There’s also an extension of the trail The Camino Finisterre ending up at the Atlantic. It takes additional 3-4 days.
The French Way (Camino Francés) and the Routes of Northern Spain are listed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Not only the Camino is an important pilgrimage, but it is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts.
Pilgrims and hikers stay Albergues (accommodation with bunk beds as well as private rooms) on the way and cook their own food in the Albergues. Countless family-run restaurants and cafes serve hearty meals.
Walking the Camino de Santiago is definitely among the best things to do in Spain, as Spanish routes have very diverse landscapes (from mountains to the ocean), pass through picture-perfect little towns and tranquil villages.
2. A trip through Costa Brava
Costa Brava is a coastal region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful coastal regions in Spain, and going on a trip through Costa Brava is one of the best things to do in Spain.
“Costa Brava” translates as “rough coast”, and basically it is what’s the regions is known for – its wild, rugged and dramatic coast which is a typical landscape of Costa Brava. Hence, the name.
Costa Brava is also known for its very good summer climate, its beautiful nature, and excellent beaches.
Definitely don’t miss Girona. It is one of those less touristy cities in Spain which really gives you a good view of the lifestyle in Costa Brava.
3. Explore Gaudí’s works in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the most visited European cities. More than 20 million visitors and tourists pass through Barcelona each year.
Barcelona’s gothic streets, amazing architecture and fantastic vibe are the reasons why so many tourists flock to this city.
Antoni Gaudi’s works are the most impressive and unique architecture in Barcelona.
The symbol of Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia. It’s a large unfinished Roman Catholic basilica designed by Gaudí. The basilica is the most elaborate and extravagant work in the city. It’s impressive not only on the outside but also on the inside as well.
Buildings in Park Guell and Casa Batllo are other fine examples of Gaudi’s work.
Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí in and near Barcelona make up a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. Explore the Canary islands
The Canary islands are several beautiful Spanish islands off the coast of northwestern Africa.
There are 7 main islands (from largest to smallest in the area): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro. The Canary island archipelago also includes smaller islands and islets.
All of the islands are known for their white sand beaches, sunny climate all year round and rugged terrain. Take into account that there are also black sand beaches in the Canary Islands.
The most popular and diverse is Tenerife. It has it all – mountains, beaches, parties, and even a volcano!
Fuerteventura, the second largest of the Canary Islands, is quieter, but stunning nevertheless. The island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is known for its stunning beaches and windy weather. In fact, Fuerteventura is also known as Windy Island. This is the reason the island is popular among surfers.
If you are visiting Fuerteventura, spend some time also in Lanzarote. The island is really close to Fuerteventura, but its landscape is more volcanic. Visit Timanfaya National Park which is entirely made up of volcanic soil and is home to an active volcano (Timanfaya). Just like Fuerteventura, Lanzarote is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
5. Wine tasting in La Rioja
Wine vacation in Spain? Yes, why not!
The history of wine in Spain is very old. It is believed that people have been growing grapes in the country since the 2nd century BC. And now Spain is one of the world’s biggest wine producers.
Rioja is the most famous wine-growing region in Spain. Its hills are covered with vast vineyards of the wine that has brought worldwide fame to this region. Because of its climate, Rioja makes the finest wines.
On June 29 Haro Wine Festival takes place in Rioja. It’s a unique festival – people carry jugs and bottles full of wine, and after a mass people toss wine on each other until everyone is completely soaked.
6. Visit Seville
Seville is a city with an old history (more than 2000 years old) and a distinct personality due to the influence of various civilizations.
What makes Seville special? The city is rich with Moorish heritage. Moorish influences are present in contemporary Seville – the decorations of houses and Islamic art in some buildings.
For example, the La Giralda tower used to be a minaret for a former mosque. Alcázar of Seville, a marvelous UNESCO-listed palace complex, is a fine example of Islamic architecture.
Seville is also known for its flamenco scene. Flamenco is a Spanish musical style that originated in Andalusia, and one of its hotbeds was Seville’s working-class district of Triana. The Triana district has a statue of a Flamenco dancer which is a monument to the flamenco art.
7. Explore the stunning ancient fortress in Granada
Just like Seville, Granada is rich with Moorish heritage.
Granada is known for its Arab citadel and palace – Alhambra. It’s an enclosed complex of palaces, residential annexes, courtyards, and gardens.
Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background truly is a spectacular sight.
Albaicín, Grenada’s Arab Quarter, with its narrow streets and medieval Moorish architecture is another famed landmark in Granada. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984, along with the Alhambra.
Spain travel tips
- Train by far is the best mode of transport for tourists, but unfortunately, it is expensive. Consider using a bus and ride-sharing apps (like BlaBla car) to save money. Buses are comfortable, and many tourists use them.
- But the best way to see Spain is by renting a car. That way you’ll be able to visit not only the major tourist spots but also smaller towns and villages.
- Spain is a large country. We suggest you to fly to save time. Or, explore one region at a time.
- Travel during the shoulder season. Accommodation is cheaper then, and there are fewer crowds.
- It gets very hot in Southern Spain during the summer. It will be unbearably hot for sightseeing. The best time to visit Spain is typically in the spring or during the fall.
- Be prepared to eat your dinner late. Restaurants even might not be open when you might expect them to be, or you might be the only one eating your dinner.
- Learn a little Spanish. Your knowledge will come in handy in smaller towns and outside the main tourist streets. Download an offline dictionary and learn some basic phrases.
- Madrid and Barcelona are among the worst cities for pickpocketing. Be wary of thieves in tourist spots and keep your belongings close.