Spain is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, full of historic cities, beautiful islands, and pristine natural areas. This is your Spain Bucket List!
Spain is the land of sun, sea, culture, and history, with an unprecedented number of beautiful places you absolutely must visit. The country has a long history of influences from different cultures and civilizations, which translates into a wide range of interesting architecture, impressive monuments, and vast landscapes.
From picturesque villages to bustling cities and from beautiful beaches to breathtaking mountain ranges, Spain has something for everyone. These are the 25 most beautiful places in Spain, ranked by cities, islands, and natural areas.
The most beautiful Spanish cities
Spain is bursting with beautiful historic cities that are perfect for a fun weekend break. These are some of the most beautiful cities in Spain.
Barcelona is perhaps the most famous city in Spain. This bustling city on the Mediterranean is known for its beautiful architecture (courtesy of Gaudí), lively street life, and cosmopolitan atmosphere. What you should not miss when you’re visiting Barcelona are the famous Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and the Gothic Quarter, where you can stroll through the narrow streets and enjoy medieval architecture.
- Hotel tip: Hotel 1898 (4⭐) – Beautiful hotel in the center of the city on the Ramblas. From the rooftop terrace (with pool!) you have a fantastic view of the city.
- Fun to do: Visit the world-famous Sagrada Familia.
- Travel guide: Lonely Planet Experience Barcelona
Read more: 9 fun things to do in Barcelona
Of course, Madrid, the capital of Spain, cannot be missing from this bucket list Spain. It is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. Madrid’s gigantic Royal Palace and the world-famous Museo del Prado are two places you should definitely visit here. Relax in Parque del Buen Retiro, a gigantic city park full of beautiful walkways, statues, and ponds.
- Hotel tip: Room Mate Alba (4⭐) – Room Mate is one of the nicest (and most sustainable) hotel chains in Spain, each hotel has its own style. Room Mate Alba in Madrid is one of the finest and is right in the center.
- Fun to do: Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid.
- Travel Guide: Eyewitness Madrid
Toledo is a beautiful historic city just south of Madrid and perfect to visit as a day trip from the capital. It is a city with a rich history and beautiful medieval architecture. Because of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic influences, the city has a special melting pot of styles. Visit Toledo’s Cathedral, the Alcazar, and the Old Town, where you can stroll through the narrow streets and enjoy the beautiful buildings.
- Hotel tip: Entre Dos Aguas Hotel Boutique – Unique hotel in the former home of Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia.
- Fun to do: Visit three special monuments during this guided walking tour.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Northwest of Madrid lies the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. In the city is a gigantic structure called Escorial. This is a complex of royal buildings built in the 16th century by King Philip II. It is one of the most important architectural and cultural attractions in Spain.
Just north of the city is the impressive Valle de los Caídos, this is a monument commemorating the victims of the Spanish Civil War.
- Hotel tip: San Lorenzo Suites – Beautifully decorated rooms and suites in the center of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
- Must see: Visit the gigantic Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
Girona (also called Gerona) is a beautiful medieval city in Catalonia, located between Barcelona and the French border. The city has a rich history and culture, with many historic buildings and museums, as well as a vibrant nightlife and gastronomic scene.
Visit Girona’s cathedral, Arab bathhouse, and the Jewish quarter for a glimpse into the past of this beautiful city. Several places in Girona have been used as filming locations for the television series Game of Thrones.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Nord 1901 (4⭐) – Atmospherically decorated hotel in Old Town.
- Fun to do: Game of Thrones tour in a small group.
Read more: 10 fun things to do in Girona
Bilbao is the capital of the Basque Country, in northern Spain. It is a nice combination of new and old. There you have the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, but you can also get delightfully lost in the old streets of Casco Viejo. And on every street corner, you can feast on the delicious pinchos. Bilbao is a really nice city for a short city break.
- Hotel tip: Vincci Consulado de Bilbao – This 4* hotel is in a great location: right next to the Guggenheim Museum.
- Fun to do: Visit the Guggenheim Museum with a guided tour.
- Travel guide: Insight Guides Pocket Bilbao (Travel Guide with Free eBook)
Read more: What to do in Bilbao Spain? 18 tips!
San Sebastian, like Bilbao, is located in the Basque Country and is a beautiful city on the northern coast of Spain. It is one of the coziest cities in Spain with a beautiful beach and a picturesque old town. Take the Monte Igueldo cable car for stunning views of the city and beach and spend an afternoon wandering the cozy old town full of narrow streets. There are numerous bars where they sell the most delicious pinchos. Let’s eat!
- Hotel Tip: Zenit Convento San Martin – 4* hotel in a former convent near La Concha. Booking extra breakfast is really recommended, as it is very extensive and very tasty.
- Fun to thing to do: guided food tour with Pintxo tasting.
- Travel guide: Lonely Planet Pocket Bilbao & San Sebastian
Read more: 19 fun things to do in San Sebastian
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is a city in Galicia in northwestern Spain and is best known as the terminus of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. It is therefore highly recommended to visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This is where pilgrims end their walk and where the body of St. James is kept. In addition, you can enjoy getting lost in the narrow medieval streets surrounding the cathedral.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Atalaia B&B – Cozy guesthouse with nicely decorated rooms in the center of town.
- Fun to do: Tour of downtown and the cathedral.
Salamanca is a historic city in western Spain, with one of the oldest universities in Europe. In addition, it has a beautiful Plaza Mayor, a large square surrounded by magnificent Renaissance buildings. Visit the University of Salamanca, Salamanca Cathedral and the Casa de las Conchas, an incredibly beautiful building with a facade decorated with shells.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Rector (5⭐) – This charming hotel in downtown Salamanca has been named the best European city hotel by the renowned Condé Nast magazine. This is not surprising, because it is really incredibly beautiful!
- Fun to do: guided sightseeing tour by bicycle.
Pamplona is the capital of the Navarre region in northern Spain and is known for its annual bull run during the San Fermin festival. But Pamplona is more than just bull running. The city has a rich history and beautiful architecture, such as the medieval Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Fortress of Pamplona. Explore the charming old town with its narrow streets and squares and enjoy the local cuisine, including the famous pinchos and Navarre wines.
- Hotel tip: Pamplona Catedral Hotel – Beautifully renovated 4* boutique hotel in a former monastery next to the cathedral.
- Fun to do: Go on a Rioja wine tour. Visit a winery and enjoy a traditional lunch and wine tasting.
Read more: 18 Best things to do in Pamplona Spain
Did I mention that I love Spanish cuisine? Especially paella is a favorite, I can’t get enough of it. Paella is originally from Valencia and here they have the most delicious paella in all of Spain! Besides, Valencia is also just a very nice city full of sights.
Valencia is known for its futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, a complex of ultramodern buildings with an aquarium, science museum and planetarium. Also visit the Mercado Central, a beautiful covered market, and the old town, where you can enjoy the medieval architecture and atmosphere. In short, there is plenty to see and do in Valencia!
- Hotel tip: Palacio Santa Clara, Autograph Collection (4⭐) – Beautiful hotel in the heart of Valencia. There is an outdoor pool on the rooftop terrace.
- Savings tip: With the Valencia Tourist Card, you can travel for free on public transport and visit many museums and monuments for free. In addition, you get a lot of discounts.
- Travel guide: Lonely Planet Pocket Valencia
For me, Seville is the most beautiful city in Spain. This city is located in the south, in the beautiful region of Andalusia. Seville is a city full of life and passion, with beautiful squares, churches, and palaces. Visit Seville’s cathedral, the Alcazar Palace, and the Santa Cruz district, where you can enjoy strolling through its narrow streets. In addition, this is also a cool place to visit a flamenco show. Olé!
Read more: 16 great things to do in Seville
- Hotel tip: Hotel Amadeus Seville – luxury 4* hotel with rooftop terrace and pool in Seville’s nicest district.
- Must see: Real Alcázar de Sevilla, this royal palace is fairy-tale-like.
- Travel guide: DK Eyewitness Seville and Andalucia
Seville is not the only beautiful city in Andalusia, Granada is also a city you absolutely must visit. The city is best known for the Alhambra, a magnificent Moorish palace and fortress that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also be sure to spend a few hours wandering through the Albaicin district, an old neighborhood with narrow streets and whitewashed houses. And did you know that in Granada you always get free tapas with your drink?
- Hotel tip: Áurea Washington Irving by Eurostars Hotel Company (5⭐) – Beautiful and luxurious hotel right across from the Alhambra. It is only a 3-minute walk to the main entrance. Book a room including breakfast, the buffet is very extensive and you can have some delicious dishes prepared on request. I myself slept at this hotel during my visit to Granada and it really is worth every penny.
- Must see: The Alhambra. You cannot leave Granada without seeing this extraordinary structure.
Read more: What to do in Granada? 16 tips!
It doesn’t stop with the beautiful cities in Andalusia, as Cordoba is also absolutely worth visiting. This city is known for its magnificent Mezquita, a mosque-cathedral from the eighth century. Other attractions include the old Jewish quarter and the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir River.
- Hotel tip: H10 Palacio Colomera (4⭐) – This beautiful hotel is right in the center and has a small outdoor pool in a hidden garden.
- Must see: visit the world-famous Mezquita.
Malaga, because of its international airport, is the starting point of a vacation in Andalusia for many people. This city is also surprising to visit and has a nice mix of historic and modern buildings. In addition, the city has some beautiful beaches.
Visit the Alcazaba, an 11th-century Moorish fortress, for the best views and wander through the impressive Malaga Cathedral. Another great place to visit is Picasso Museum. This museum is dedicated to the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso who was born in Malaga.
- Hotel Tip: Room Mate Valeria (4⭐) – This is one of two Room Mate hotels in Málaga. This hotel is located in the Soho district virtually on the harbor. From the rooftop terrace (with pool) you have a fantastic view of Muelle Uno. I stayed in this hotel myself and absolutely loved the colorful decor.
- Fun to do: From Malaga, go to the Caminito del Rey, one of the scariest hiking trails in the world.
Read more: 23 Best things to do in Malaga
The last beautiful city on this Spain bucket list is the picturesque town of Ronda. This city is also located in Andalusia in a rather photogenic spot: it is perched on a rocky hill and the city is spread out on two sides of a deep gorge. Visit the Puente Nuevo, a spectacular bridge over the El Tajo Gorge, the old Moorish castle, and the old town, where you can enjoy the beautiful architecture and narrow streets.
- Hotel tip: Catalonia Ronda (4⭐) – Beautiful hotel in the center of town with a large pool.
- Fun to thing to do: Sightseeing Walking Tour
The most beautiful Spanish Islands
Spain has several island groups, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. These are some of the most beautiful Spanish islands.
Ibiza is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and is best known for its parties and vibrant nightlife. But did you know that Ibiza also has beautiful beaches and unspoiled nature? It is really a must to look around the Ses Salines Natural Park and the cliffs of Ses Salines. Also visit Ibiza’s old town, Dalt Vila, with its medieval walls and narrow streets.
- Hotel tip: Can Jaume by Ocean Drive – A perfect place to unwind. This gorgeous hotel is located just outside Ibiza town among orange groves.
- Fun to do: Explore the island with a Jeep safari.
- Travel guide: Pocket Rough Guide Ibiza and Formentera
Formentera is a small island near Ibiza, known for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. Visit Ses Illetes beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, it’s like being in the Maldives! In addition, it is really recommended to visit the La Mola lighthouse, where you can enjoy the view of the sea and the surroundings.
- Hotel tip: La Hacienda – Aparthotel in a green setting with nicely furnished suites.
- Fun to do: 3-hour sailing trip to the islet of Es Palmador.
I have visited almost all of the Canary Islands and La Gomera is my favorite! One of the smaller islands, it is known for its dramatic landscapes, with impressive cliffs, lush forests, and quaint villages. Visit the Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its lush laurel forests, and the coastal town of Valle Gran Rey, with its beautiful beaches and colorful houses.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Gran Rey – lovely 3* hotel with pool in Valle Gran Rey.
- Fun to do: Full-day jeep safari in Gomera from Puerto de La Cruz.
- Travel Guide: Pocket Rough Guide Tenerife and La Gomera
Read more: 13 awesome things to do in La Gomera
Another beautiful Canarian island is La Palma. It has beautiful scenery, with breathtaking ocean views and quaint villages. Visit the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, a spectacular crater with waterfalls and canyons, and the historic center of Santa Cruz de la Palma, with its colorful houses and old churches.
- Hotel tip: El Hotelito 27 – Beautifully decorated and cozy hotel in the center of Santa Cruz de la Palma.
- Fun to do: La Palma is a real hiking island. With this guided volcano trek, you will discover some wonderful places.
The most beautiful natural areas in Spain
Spain also has some beautiful mountain ranges and natural parks. These are the best places to visit and fun things to do in San Francisco.
Picos de Europa National Park
Picos de Europa is one of the most beautiful national parks in Spain, located in the north of the country between the regions of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León. The park offers an impressive landscape of high mountains, deep gorges, and clear rivers, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including brown bears and vultures. It is one of the most beautiful places in Spain for a hiking vacation.
- Hiking Guide: Walking in the Picos de Europa: 42 walks and treks in Spain’s first National Park
Located near Barcelona, this mountain range is a popular destination for pilgrims because of the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, which houses a black Madonna. The area offers a spectacular landscape of steep cliffs and rock formations, as well as a cable car to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views.
Cabo de Gata-Níjar
Cabo de Gata-Níjar is one of the largest natural parks in Spain and is located on the coast of Andalusia. The park offers a unique landscape of volcanic formations and vast beaches, as well as an abundance of flora and fauna. Visit the Cabo de Gata lighthouse for stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding coastline.
Teide national park
Teide is one of Spain’s most visited natural parks and is located on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The park is named after the volcano Teide, which at 3718 meters is the highest mountain in Spain. Visit the volcano and surrounding lava fields, as well as the Tenerife Botanical Garden, which showcases the flora and fauna of the Canary Islands.
Doñana national park
This is a large natural reserve in Andalusia, located at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. The park includes forests, marshes, and dunes and offers a unique ecosystem with an abundance of birds and other animals. Visit the park’s observation points for a chance to spot the famous Iberian lynx, as well as flamingos and other rare bird species.
We have come to the end of this long list of beautiful places in Spain. And no, this list is not complete, there are many many more amazing places to visit in Spain. But at least this way you have a good idea of how diverse Spain is, which makes it a fantastic travel destination. I travel to Spain multiple times a year and discover new places every single time. This article will be updated regularly, so check again in a few months for more amazing places to visit in Spain.
Book a trip to Spain
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🚆 Travel to Spain by train
Spain is very well accessible by train from other European countries. Check Rail Europe for train times and tickets.
🚍 Public Transportation in Spain
Within Spain, it’s very easy to travel by public transport. Check out the Omio website for all the options.
✈️ Plane tickets
Many Spanish cities have international airports. Check WayAway to find the best deals and get cashback on plane tickets.
🚘 Rental Car
Fancy a road trip in Spain? Check Rental Cars and Discover Cars to find the best deals on rental cars in Spain.
Read more about Spain
Would you like to learn more about the most beautiful places to see in Spain? Check out these amazing travel guides:
SPAIN The Best Places to See by Rail: An alternative to the escorted tour
You can also read more about Spain on this website. You might like to read these articles as well:
- 20 Fun things to do in Costa Brava
- Hiking the Camino del Norte | The Ultimate Guide
- 18 beautiful places to visit in Basque Country Spain
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