Most people think of a visit to Spain mainly as a beach holiday. And truely so, Spain has some of the most stunning beaches you can visit, but there are so many more unique things to do in Spain. With majestic mountains, historical buildings, delicious Spanish food, ancient castles, an amazingly diverse cultural mix and exotic islands, Spain offers plenty of activities for the intrepid traveller and families as well as adrenaline junkies.
So, what to do in Spain? This list is made in collaboration with other travellers who shared their favourite Spanish activities or must-do in Spain. It is by far not all you can do in Spain and most of the more popular Spanish tourist attractions are not listed here. So here is a short a list with some very unique and fun things to do in Spain.
Visit the Royal Palace in Madrid
When planning a trip to Madrid, the Royal Palace must be on your itinerary. It was the home of many of Spain’s kings, and though the current royal family does not live there, it is still the official royal residence. The building standing today dates back to the 18th century and contains about 3000 rooms. Not only is it Europe’s largest royal palace but also one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in the continent. While you can see the exterior facades of the palace for free, I highly recommend getting inside.
Only a small number of rooms are open to the public (including the throne room), but it is enough to marvel at the architectural details and the extravagant decor. That includes furniture, ceramics, silver items, and paintings by iconic artists like Goya and Velazquez. Note that the daily visits to the palace are limited and that it is probably Madrid’s most visited attraction. So be sure to buy your ticket in advance on the palace’s official website or book a guided tour.
Recommended by Or from My Path In The World
Paragliding in La Herradura
Get a bird’s-eye view of the Spanish village of La Herradura, when you take the leap to go tandem paragliding. Meet the professionals and have a quick lesson before gearing up atop the local hills. Then it is time to take a little run and let the wind will catch you, and up to the skies you go! Feel the exhilaration and the freedom of flight and soak up the sun and amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the white village of La Herradura.
You will fly back and forth over the prestigious Punta de la Mona and eventually come in for a nice landing on the beach. La Herradura is located in the Costa Tropical, where the mountains meet the sea on the coast of the Granada province. You are just one hour east of Málaga and one hour south of Granada city. There is no shortage of wonderful places to eat, authentic places to stay, and amazing things to do. Read more on Almuñécar Info.
Recommended by Heidi and Alan from Wagoners Abroad
Go cycling in Girona
Girona is a fantastic old city, about an hour north of Barcelona on Spain’s Costa Brava coastline. In recent years it has become a bit of a mecca for road cyclists that want to combine staying in a beautiful city with some world-class cycling. Part of the attraction is that Girona is the base for a lot of pro cyclists – there’s a feeling that if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for the likes of you and me!
The thing that makes Girona different to most cycling hubs, is that it’s absolutely stunning old town is a tourist attraction in its own right. The medieval old town is a tangled web of cobbled lanes from which towering stone buildings rise upwards. Within the old town there are lots of fantastic bars and restaurants, perfect for relaxing in after a day’s cycling. Due to the number of cyclists that make Girona their full-time home, there are lots of cycling facilities too. For example, it’s easy to hire a bike and find a guide who’ll show you the best roads to ride. If things go wrong and you need a bike mechanic, there are plenty of places that will help with that too.
The other reason Girona is a must-visit destination is that it’s surrounded by beautiful Catalan countryside. There are rolling hills, roads that wind along the coastline and even the mountains aren’t too far away. It’s the perfect place for a road cycling trip and I really recommend you check it out!
Recommended by Clare from Epic Road Rides
Whale and Dolphin watching in Tenerife
Recommended by Jenny from Tales From The Lens
Visit Cathedral beach in Galicia
Praia das Catedrais, or Cathedral Beach, is an amazing natural wonder located in Galicia. This massive beach is a maze of rock formations, arches, and caves that can’t be missed on a visit to Northern Spain. Because of the beach’s popularity, reservations online are required during summer and holidays but are currently free. You can book out 45 days or less in advance. Visits should be made two hours before or after low tide in order to be able to safely walk through the caves without getting trapped or worse. Daily tide schedules can be found on the official booking website. If you can time the low tide during the golden hour, you’ll get the best photographs and experience. Free and plentiful parking is available near the beach and you can follow a boardwalk and stairs directly to the beach.
Be sure to explore both sides of the beach as the formations and caves are each unique. The main attraction is the cave at the far east end of the beach. From inside the cave, you can look out through multiple arches that seem to frame each other. Bring a tripod and set up within the cave but be prepared to be patient waiting for crowds to get out of the way. This truly is a one of a kind place.
Recommended by Jessica from My Feet Will Lead Me
Pintxos bar crawl in San Sebastian
Although there are many beautiful monuments and famous landmarks in Spain to put on your to-see list, some of the most memorable experiences in Spain revolves around the country’s food culture.
The Basque region is especially famous for its food and eating is an intrinsic part of the region’s culture. In the stunning seaside city of San Sebastian, a bar crawl of pintxos bars in the Old Town is a gourmet experience you’ll always remember.
Pintxos is the Basque region’s version of tapas, and there’s no better place to taste pintxos than San Sebastian, where gastronomy is outstanding (San Sebastian has many Michelin-starred restaurants as well). San Sebastian’s creative chefs have transformed the traditional pintxos are trailblazers when it comes to new pintxos recipes.
San Sebastian’s combination of beaches, history and food makes it a top spot to visit and the ‘tapeo’, which is a tour of tapas bars in the Old Town, should be right at the top of your to-do list.
Recommended by Christina from Travel 2 Next
Visit the Girona Flower Festival
The Girona Flower Festival, known as Temps de Flors, is an annual event in the medieval city of Girona, Spain. Every year in May the city opens its doors and decorates its streets and buildings with beautiful and imaginative flower displays, sometimes including water features. The year the event takes place from May 9th – 20th. The event started over 50 years ago as a small competition and flower show. It has since grown into one of the biggest events in Spain.
Most of the displays are found in the old town part of the historic city. The city streets, bridges, courtyards, and some private homes are open to the public to see the ingenious creativity by the locals. The displays range from small, yet time-consuming, impressive presentations to spectacular and grand presentations. The magnificent annual event attracts thousands of locals and tourists. If you want to enjoy the area for a few days, you need to book a hotel in advance. Alternately, it makes a great day trip from Barcelona.
Recommended by Sally Pederson from Loving Life In Spain
Learn to Kite Surf in Tarifa
I had always wanted to kitesurf, learning in Tarifa was a blast. Known as the European capital of wind, what better place could I go for lessons and expert tuition? Tarifa has all the ingredients for learning and practising this exhilarating sport; clean wind, beautiful long beaches and lots of other kite-surfers happy to support and inspire. I spent a fantastic month in Tarifa in my motorhome learning all the basics of kite surfing. Two weeks of lessons and a fair amount of time spent on and (mostly!) in the water of the Atlantic Ocean will see you gaining the confidence to go it alone.
Expect lots of highs and lows; this is not an easy sport to master but when it all comes together and you get up on the board, the feeling is amazing. The likelihood is that you’ll fall off pretty soon after this but in time, you’ll stay up and ride the waves like an expert. After all that effort, the old town of Tarifa is the perfect place for a beer and tapas to congratulate yourself on your new-found skill! Phil is one half of The Gap Decaders, who live and travel in their motorhome in Europe; why not find out more about the van life in Tarifa.
Recommended by Phil from The Gap Decaders
Visit the white villages of Andalucia
The Pueblos Blancos, which literally refers to the white villages, is a countryside gem of Andalucia, Spain. The villages comprise a series of white village (and one blue) settlements with whitewashed walls and red roof tiles stretching across the Andalusian landscape. Key stops throughout the trip include the villages of Grazalema, Zahara De La Sierra, Setenil De Las Bodegas, Ronda, and Juzcar. Juzcar used to be one of the traditional white villages, but the entire village was painted blue for the Smurf film. The entire route spans from Seville in the west to Granada in the east, passing tinier almost-rural villages along the way.
Half-way through the trip is Ronda, which features the Plaza de Toro, or Bull Ring, the oldest in all of Spain. Ronda dates back to 800BC and is one of the better-known frontier towns along the route. The cobblestone streets make it possible to meander from village to village as a sort of hike, otherwise it is best to travel by car for a day trip. The churches and rich Andalusian history are thanks to the Romans, Moors and Arabs, as well as other groups of settlers that arrived later. The scenery is pure countryside with flora and fauna along the route, a paragon for nature lovers. Be on the lookout for deer and Iberian goat along the roadside of the villages, and admire the olive bushes and hordes of orange trees intercepting villages boundaries. The Pueblos Blancos is quiet and intimate, with quaint restaurants in every corner, and peace disturbed only by the sounding of church bells.
Recommended by Chrysoula from Travelpassionate
Hiking the Picos de Europa
- Ruta del Cares
- Poncebos to Bulnes
- Covadonga Lakes
- Fuente Dé
Recommended by Kevin from Kevmrc
Visit the Chamber pot museum in Ciudad Rodrigo
The last thing I expected to find in the historical city of Ciudad Rodrigo was a museum dedicated to chamber pots but that’s what we found next to the cathedral. Curiosity got the better of us so we entered the unique Museo del Orinal to discover a world of multicoloured receptacles. The museum, founded by Jose Mª del Arco Ortíz, contains over 1,300 pieces from all around the world, spanning seven centuries, although many are from the 19th century.
Given their actual purpose, it’s surprising how decorative these bed pans are. The urinals and potties range from the familiar painted ceramic pots that went under the bed before the days of indoor toilets to a commode that really was rather throne-like and other ingenious designs. A 19th century Victorian piece had a dual-purpose tapestry step that could keep your feet off the cold floor when doing your business or serve as a step to climb into the rather high beds that were fashionable at the time. If you have half an hour to spare in Ciudad Rodrigo, this unusual collection is worth the few euros entrance fee for its novelty factor alone.
Recommended by Julie from Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal
Visit the colourful town of Villajoyosa
Villajoyosa or La Vila Joiosa is a small town in Spain’s coastal area of Costa Blanca. The city prides itself with colorful houses lined along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, making it a trendy destination for many travelers. Touring this cute little town is possible as a day trip from Alicante, another coastal city of Costa Blanca area. You can get to Villajoyosa either by renting a car, a bus or by a tram from Alicante.
The tram drive takes around an hour, but you are treated with gorgeous views of the sea and small villages of the area along the shore. As for the sightseeing, the city doesn’t offer much – the main landmarks to are the Gothic Church of the Assumption and streets lined with those beautiful, multi-colored houses. If you are there for a day trip, make sure to bring your beach essentials and unwind under the palm trees at the white sandy beach.
Recommended by Baia from Red Fedora Diary
Visit Casa Batllo in Barcelona
La Casa Batllo is probably famed architect Antoni Gaudi’s most complete works. The otherworldly structure was first built in 1877 and transferred into the genius’s hands after it was purchased by the Batllo family, wealthy textile industrialists, in 1903. Gaudi had complete creative freedom of the design and construction and so decided to renovate the existing building even though the Batllo’s wanted a complete demolition. What you find today is one of the most eye-catching facades in all of Barcelona. As it is inspired by the Mediterranean and the legend of Saint George, who is best known for slaying a dragon, the roof has all sorts of green, blue and pink mosaic tiles that look like an ocean or dragon’s scales and are unmistakably Gaudi in design.
Beyond the gorgeous craftsmanship and visionary design, the building also has a great augmented reality interactive app that shows the original furniture, and is super fun for kids and adults. The UNESCO site is a great place to visit both in summer and winter where the facade is beautifully lit during special occasions like Sant Jordi or Christmas. It is also one of the few places in Barcelona that’s open 365 days a year, so it’s a great place to visit in Barcelona on a Sunday when everything else is closed. It’s around 25 or 35 EUR depending on if you pre-book, which you definitely should as around 3,000 people visit a day. It’s in Passeig de Gràcia in the central part of Eixample, Barcelona, and a stone’s throw from another Gaudi landmark Casa Mila.
Recommended by Mar Pages from Once In A Lifetime Journey
Go museum-hopping in Malaga
Plenty of new museums have opened in the last years. If you might think that museums are boring, you couldn’t be more wrong as all the museums in Malaga are interactive and try to captivate every visitor. Indeed, Malaga boasts more than 30 museums. The most famous and popular ones are without any doubt the Pablo Picasso Museum, the Centre Pompidou and the Automobile Museum. However, my favorite is the private Thyssen museum. It holds some of the prettiest Spanish paintings and is set in the narrow streets of the historic city center.
If you are wondering where to stay in Malaga in order to be close to most museums, I recommend the artsy neighborhood of Soho.
Recommended by Paulina from Paulina On The Road
Hiking to secluded beaches in Cabo de Gata Natural Park
Spain is home to stunning nature and pristine beaches, but a few can be compared to Cala San Pedro Beach in Cabo de Gata Natural Park (Andalusia region). There are many beaches in Cabo de Gata Park worth a visit, but only a few people venture themselves on a 2 hours hike to reach paradise. Yes, you can only get to Cala San Pedro by foot (be ready to walk, hill up and down) or by boat. What makes this beach so incredible is not only the natural beauty, the different tones of blue from its crystal clear water, or the rash dry landscape of the mountains surrounding it. It’s the whole experience of getting there, enjoy it and go back with memories that will last forever that makes this beach such a unique and incredible place.
To get there is not that hard. Find your way to Playa de las Negras, from there, ask directions to Cala San Pedro. You can get by car, motorbike or bike until a certain point then it’s a trail. Don’t forget comfy shoes and a lot of water. You will need them for hiking and at the beach. When we visited it, a few people were camping on the beach but no restaurant or bar to purchase food or drinks. Be prepared.
The hiking will take around 2 hours, ton the last minutes of the trail you’ll have amazing views. Stop to catch your breath and admire them. Go for the day, but don’t forget to make your way back before sunset or get back to Playa de las Negras by boat.
Recommended by Natalie from Love And Road
Mountain biking in Ainsa
One of my favourite things to do in Spain is mountain biking. Ainsa in Spain is known for its beauty. Ainsa its self is a medieval village on top of a hill surrounded by sweeping hills and a turquoise blue lake. You will get lost in the stunning building and culture in Ainsa. Unknown to most people the mountains surrounding the village are home to some of the best mountain bike trails in all of Spain. There are routes for everyone from novices to more extreme riders. With routes starting at 5km to epic 50km. These have a bit of everything from natural routes to epic fast decent. You will not be disappointed.
If you don’t fancy riding uphill there are uplift services available for a small fee. These are bookable in the village. There are so many routes you will be spoilt for choice. Looking for the perfect Instagram photo of your mountain bike adventures? Then look no further than the Partara Express trail, you ride over an epic mountain ridge looking over the stunning turquoise waters of El Grado Lake, then rode on to a ruined church. The ride finishing up in Ainsa village. After your mountain biking adventure, you will be greeted with some of the best Spanish tapas restaurants. So grab some tapas and a glass of wine to finish off the perfect day and start planning your next Ainsa adventure.
Recommended by Laura from Miss LJ Beauty
Visiting the village of Besalu in Garrotxa
One of the nicest things to do in Spain is visiting Besalu in Garrotxa, in the region of Costa Brava (Catalonia). You can easily get there from Girona, the main city of Costa Brava main city. Though many go there just on a day trip, it’s actually better to spend at least night in Besalu to fully take in its lovely atmosphere and explore it at a leisurely pace.
Besalu is a charming place. The nicest thing to do there is walking along the many narrow alleys, exploring the beautiful courtyard and visiting the historical buildings and churches.
The main landmark, the place for which Besalu is most famous for, is the bridge. Called Pont Vell (Old Bridge), this was built in the 12th century in Romanesque style to join the two sides of the River Fluvia. You can walk along it to get inside the city, but you should not miss the chance to take as many photos as possible. Go to the banks of the river on both sides of the bridge for the best photo opportunities and the nicest views.
Make sure to also visit the Monastery of St. Pere and the surrounding square. It’s a spacious, beautiful square with a few small restaurants and cafés where you can eat and have a drink.
Recommended by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Go on a day trip to Espalmador Island – Formentera
Located just off the coast of Formentera (so close, a few brave souls wade across the shallow channel to reach it) lies the private island of Espalmador. It makes an excellent day trip from the most southern of Spain’s Balearic Islands and it’s an experience unlike any other. To reach the uninhabited island, you take a ferry from the main port in Formentera, which will deliver you to the pristine beaches in just over half an hour. If you time your visit right (I’d recommend visiting in the shoulder season), the island won’t be crowded and you’ll have your pick of spots to shake out your towel.
There’s not a lot to do on the island, but that’s what makes it so unique. Simply kick back and enjoy this little piece of paradise for what it is – one of the few remaining places in Europe where you can enjoy the sun, sand and sea without distraction. If sunbathing and swimming doesn’t do it for you, you can also take a walk and admire the largely untouched vegetation and the wildlife it attracts. Espalmador is also home to a large muddy lagoon which people once bathed in. It’s now off-limits in order to protect the local fauna and rumour has it that it wasn’t particularly good for your skin anyway!
Recommended by Nadine from Le Long Weekend
Visit Gaztelugatxe near Bilbao
Gaztelugatxe is a magical place and there’s nothing like it in Spain. A rocky islet connected with the mainland by a dramatic man-made bridge, it has long been a place of pilgrimage for local fishermen. Gaztelugatxe means ‘Castle Rock’ in Basque, and on the summit you will find a small church built in honour of St John the Baptist that originates from the 10th century. Although there’s nothing left of the original church, you can still feel the weight of history here.
The steep climb up to the top will have you catching your breath, but make sure you don’t forget to ring the bell and make a wish! More recently, Gaztelugatxe has become known as the location of Dragonstone in Game of Thrones, so if you are a fan of the series you will not want to miss it. And you will be able to recognise it straight away. Even though it is one hour’s drive away, if you only have one day in Bilbao, make sure you don’t skip it. You won’t regret it.
Recommended by Teresa from Brogan Abroad
Barcelona Food Tour
If you want an authentic take on the Barcelona food scene, then you must go on a food tour with Nuria, a Barcelona local. Unlike other food tours, which are created by expats who have only been living there for a few years, Nuria has truly special knowledge of the food scene in Barcelona as she’s lived there for over 30 years.
When you walk into a restaurant with Nuria, the owners greet her as if she’s family, and that warm, welcoming vibe lends itself to the entire dining experience as well. As she orders local Catalonian dishes for you, she shares the history of the food and stories of the owners and cooks running the restaurants. While you eat, you can ask her literally anything from how food is grown and prepped to her personal life living in Barcelona. She’s an open person and beyond knowledgeable about Barcelona’s food, which makes this food tour truly a unique one to take.
Recommended by Sarah Kim from From Lust Till Dawn
Visit the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao
Bilbao, a city located in Northern Spain, is full of grand buildings, handsome plazas, and bars serving delicious morsels from the sea.
For over 20 years, visitors have flocked to the city to admire its most famous structure, the Guggenheim Museum. This masterpiece, designed by Frank Gehry, pays homage to the long maritime history of the city. Seen from a distance, the museum looks like a ship navigating the Nervion River. It is worth to pay the entrance fee to tour the building with an audio guide. After listening to the detailed and engaging narrative, you will understand why Gehry made certain choices and why the result attracted world-wide attention.
In addition, you will get to understand the history behind the works of art surrounding the building. Puppy, a 40 feet tall dog covered with flowers, is a favorite among visitors. However, works such as Maman and Tall Tree and The Eye deserve attention. And, to make things more interesting, there are sculptures that produce fog and fire effects. After visiting the museum, you can have something to drink at the English Park (with views of the museum), walk the riverfront (take a good look at the La Salve and Zubizuri bridges) or grab something to eat at the Abandoibarra neighborhood (there are plenty of regional and international restaurants to choose from).
Recommended by Ruth from Tanama Tales
Hiking in El Torcal de Antequera in Malaga
Hiking in El Torcal de Antequera should be on everyone’s travel plans, when visiting South of Spain. Located less than 50 kilometers from Malaga. El Tocal de Antequera National Parks has some unique rock formations which were created by water and wind, millions of years ago. Back then, this area of Spain used to be the ocean floor. As the water retreated, the karst formations were sculptured by the wind and the rain into the shapes we see today. Even if it’s so close to the coast, El Tocal de Antequera has its own microclimate, which means that it’s often foggy and cold, even if just a few kilometers away the sun is shining. The easiest way to reach El Tocal is by car, as there is no public transport going up the mountain. A taxi from Antequera is also an option, but it will cost much more than hiring a car.
There are two public hiking routes in El Tocal de Antequera: the green one – an easy 40 minutes’ walk suitable for everyone, and the orange one – a 2 hours long hike going deep into the National Park. There is also a red route which is accessible through a paid guided tour run by the visitor’s centre. This is a difficult 4 hours long path where you will see fossils and learn about the signs the prehistoric man left behind in El Tocal de Antequera.
Recommended by Joanna from The World in my Pocket
Hiking in Tenerife
Tenerife is a hiking paradise that satisfies in every possible way. Closer to West Africa than mainland Europe, the largest Canary Island enjoys mild temperatures throughout the year. When the rest of Europe is in full hibernation-mode, Tenerife is enjoying blue skies and 22°C (71.6°F) weather. Not bad, right? So, if you wanted to go on a hiking holiday in the dead of winter, this is the best place to go – unless you prefer “winter hiking” with numb feet in the snow.
The best places to hike in Tenerife are the Anaga Mountains, the Teno Mountains, and Teide National Park. For rugged coastal scenery, dragon trees, and dense laurel forest, head to Anaga. For volcanic terrain and barren landscapes, head to Teide National Park. The park takes its name from the volcano Mount Teide, which is the highest mountain in Spain (3,718 m). To put that into perspective, the highest mountain in Austria in 3,798 m. And finally, for epic sunset and isolated hamlets, head to the Teno Mountains. Here’s a round-up of our favorite hiking trails in Tenerife.
Recommended by Sabrina Brett from Moon & Honey Travel
Visit Montserrat, a day trip from Barcelona
Montserrat, a gorgeous mountain top Monastery, is just a short train ride from Barcelona but takes you to another world. You can choose to journey up the beautiful, historic mountain via cable car or train.
I recommend the cable car for the view but be prepared to wait in line. When you get on the train from Barcelona sit the last cart so you can be the first in the line for the cable car! Plan to spend the whole day at the top of the mountain touring the Monastery, check out the audio Vistula exhibit, hit the farmers market, and taking on one of the many hiking trails. Be sure not to miss the daily concert by the boys choir at 13:00!
With over a thousand years of history it is a can’t miss to anyone visiting Catalunya. The Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary dates back to 888 and it first became a cultural center over 200 years ago.
I recommend buying tickets in advance online for the whole package including the train from Barcelona, the cable car, the funiculars on the mountain, and the audio visual exhibit. Just be sure to pick the tickets up at the tourist desk in Plaça España as they aren’t available at the train station!
Recommended by Jazzie from The Israel Bites
Hike El Saltillo or the other Caminito del Rey
El Saltillo is also called “The other Caminito del Rey” which is the most famous hike in Spain and formerly one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. The similarities are definitely there. Only El Saltillo has a smaller suspension bridge along the cliffside, it’s free, you don’t need a helmet, and there are hardly any tourists there. Can you think of any cooler place to hang out? The hike starts in the small white village of Canillas de Aceituno in the province of Malaga. The same place you begin the trail to La Maroma, which is Malaga’s highest mountain.
The hike takes 4 hours both ways and is pretty much flat as it goes along the water pipe on the steep hillside with mesmerizing views of silver olive groves. Once you arrive at the suspension bridge on the cliffside you are nearly at the end of the trail which ends by a small, refreshing waterfall. The perfect place for a lunch break before returning the same way.
Recommended by Linn from Brainy Backpackers
Hike the Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is a famous pilgrimage route across Spain to Santiago de Compostela. There are several routes that start in different parts of Spain, Portugal, France and some other European countries. Some routes are more popular than others. The Camino Frances is the busiest one it’s a 770km route that starts in a small French town St.Jean Pied de Port on the border with Spain. Another popular Camino is the Camino Portuguese from Porto, it’s much shorter, 260km many people that don’t have enough time prefer to walk this route.
There are 9 well-established Camino routes across Spain. Some routes go along the coast and offer breathtaking scenery like the Camino del Norte, some go over the mountains like the Original Way, some through rural areas and fields like the Via de la Plata, some go past historic cities and towns like the French Way. Walking the Camino de Santiago is a unique experience that is suitable for anybody regardless of their age, fitness level, nationality or believes. People walk the Camino for different reasons; for some, it’s a pilgrimage, for others it’s a cultural and social experience.
All routes of the Camino network are well-marked with yellow shells and arrows from the beginning to the end, it’s very easy to follow it no GPS or maps needed. Along the route, there are special hotels for pilgrims called albergues where people can stay for a night. It’s a very budget accommodation option a typical public albergue costs 5-6 Euro, a private one costs 10-12 Euro.
Recommended by Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads
Sitges beach for LBGT travelers
Spain is full of things to do, but one of the best for LGBT travelers is a Sitges gay beach holiday. Located about 40 minutes southwest of Barcelona, Sitges is a picturesque seaside town with a large LGBT community. It’s a popular destination for its vibrant gay nightlife which has everything from outdoor cocktail bars to entertaining drag shows.
Sitges has some of the best beaches in Catalonia and several gay beaches. There are many beach bars and coastal restaurants with seaside views along the lovely promenade, Passeig Maritim. It’s a fantastic place for a stroll with a view or to sit and enjoy a bite to eat and a col drink.
In Sitges, you’ll also find attractions like the gorgeous Church of Saint Bartholomew. It’s located right on the beachfront and is as pretty as a postcard. For visitors into art, there are seven museums hosting art and sculpture of Catalonian artists.
For foodies, Sitges is paradise. The seafood is super fresh, the tapas and pintxos are delicious and there’s no shortage of great restaurants and tapas bars. For food, nightlife, art and a beautiful getaway in a progressive seaside city – Sitges is an amazing part of a trip to Spain.
Recommended by Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting
Go wine tasting at a volcanic vineyard in Lanzarote
One thing I love about traveling around Spain is that almost everywhere you go there are vineyards and the wine is excellent value. In this respect, Lanzarote is no different, but the vineyards you will find there truly are. The majority of the vineyards in Lanzarote are in an area known as La Geria and can be found along the LZ-30, a road that cuts right through the heart of the island on the edge of the lava fields. This provides a unique backdrop as the green vines shoot up from the magmatic soil, each protected from the harsh trade winds with its own small wall known as a zoco. If they grew wine on the moon, this is what it would look like.
Your visit to Lanzarote may also be the only chance you get to taste their fantastic wine as outside of the island, it is quite hard to find. This is mainly due to the cost of making it and the limitations on how much they can produce. As vineyard space is limited, what they can make is generally drunk island. Not that any of the islanders mind too much. You can visit the vineyards yourself either by hiring a car or taking an organised tour. The largest vineyards on the island are La Geria and El Grifo, the latter also home to a great little museum where you can learn about the struggles of growing wine through layers of lava.
Recommended by Matt from The Travel Blogs
Discover the street art in Madrid
One of the best things to do in Spain is visiting Madrid. It is a vibrant city, full of life and with so many activities and things to see, you’ll want to stay a few days to explore the city. One of them is a walking tour to discover the best street art, definitely, one of the fun things to do in Madrid that will surprise you. If you like street art, do not hesitate to visit the Malasaña neighborhood, one of the most hipsters and unique neighborhoods in Madrid. Just walking around there you can watch several graffiti on the facades, but one of the most famous and instagrammable is the blue one full of eyes that is located on the facade of the Tom Pai store, on the La Palma 18 street. It is quite an outdoor museum! Other must-see murals of Madrid are:
- The Monkey by famous artist Okuda San Miguel with Bordalo, a geometric graffiti made with recycled materials, located in the corner of Embajadores with Travesía. Okuda San Miguel’s style is very recognizable and begins to be imitated all over the world.
- The walls of the CSA Tabacalera located at the Embajadores 53 street, with more than 50 graffiti, including the popular by Chylo and Findac.
- The mural of the Paco de Lucía metro station, the largest suburban graffiti in Madrid by Okuda and Rosh333.
Recommended by Sara from Madrid Traveling
Madrid Food tour
Going on a food tour in Madrid is the best way to experience the dynamics of the city. Madrid has several paid and free food tours. Most of them will bring you to at least one or two of the 45+ markets. Why markets? Well, because, Madrid’s markets offer all kinds of products, from poultry, fish, vegetables, meats, delicatessen, and ready-to-go prepared dishes. In addition, they have many tapas bars or restaurants where to go for lunch or dinner.
Here are two markets that will be most likely be included in your food tour. Next to the Plaza Mayor, is the busy Mercado de San Miguel, a place that should be included in any Madrid itinerary. The imposing iron and glass structure of the early twentieth century is one of the most popular markets in Madrid.
In addition to selling products, the gastronomic proposals of the San Miguel Market are very interesting. The market has become a place of gastronomic experimentation, where you will discover wines, cheeses, sausages, sweets, international food and a thousand offers for the palate.
Located in the neighborhood of Malasaña, the San Idelfonso Market is not a traditional market. Inspired by the Street Food Markets of cities like London or New York, it offers a concept of leisure around gastronomy. Although it used to sell products as a traditional market, it currently has 20 high-quality food stalls. Here you can enjoy a meal, have something to take or participate in a gastronomic activity, such as tastings, street art shows, and workshops.
Recommended by Laura of Travelers Universe
Take a road trip through Northern Spain
One of the best things to do in Spain is taking a road trip around the Northern Coast of the country. Northern Spain is often overlooked in favour of other regions, e.g. Andalusia or Catalonia. However, there are so many unique and stunning places in Northern Spain, that it’s definitely worth paying a visit. You can start a road trip in Santiago de Compostela – a beautiful city, where the famous Camino de Santiago finishes. Head to a small charming village called Santillana del Mar and don’t forget to visit Santander – a very quiet city with great promenade and amazing food.
If you’re into art, make sure to stop in Bilbao and visit the Guggenheim museum. Finally, you can finish the trip in the most touristy city in the Basque Country – San Sebastian. San Sebastian has beautiful beaches and the best food we tried in Spain and it’s a great place to spend a couple of days for sure! Overall, a road trip across Northern Spain is a great way to meet a different, lesser-visited and very authentic side of Spain.
Recommended by Lisa from Tripsget
Enjoy a performance at the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona
One of the most memorable experiences I have had in visiting Barcelona was to go to a performance at the stunning architectural music concert hall at the Palau de la Musica Catalana. This over the top music concert hall is visually magnificent from inside and out and is a tribute to the popular architectural style of the region called Catalan Modernisme or Art Nouveau in Barcelona. Created by architect Lluis Domenich, a very important designer from the period. The Palau de la Musica is also a Unesco World Heritage site with ornate interiors, architectural details and a must visit site especially if there are any performances available when you visit.
Make sure you come early to explore all the interiors and even have a nice meal in the beautiful restaurant on the main floor. The grand auditorium, just wows you at every inch including the really impressive chandelier that hangs and adorns the ceiling.
If you are visiting Barcelona and looking for fun things to do, check out my post on the 15 best viewpoints in Barcelona here for inspiration and images of places to visit around the city.
Recommended by Noel from Travel Photo Discovery
Alhambra in Granada
Visiting the Alhambra in Granada is one of the most unique experiences you can have. Not only in Spain, but in my opinion, anywhere in the world. This palace, castle, amazing marvel, dates from the XIII century and it is conserved to perfection. The Alhambra of Granada is one of the most significant samples of Islamic architecture. High ceilings, baths and thousands of mentions to the Koran decorate this magnificent fortress.
If that were not enough, the gardens that surround it, attachments included after the reconquest by the Spanish people, add up to create a magical location that takes you back in history. This amazing location is the most visited attraction in Spain. But do not let that intimidate you, it is well worth a visit. If you decide to go, make sure you book your tickets a few weeks ahead. And, if you want to have an even more special visit, you can do what I did and visit, in addition, the Gardens at sunset. You will not regret it!
Recommended by Jenn from The Solivagant Soul
Go on a vegetarian food tour in Barcelona
Barcelona is a destination for foodies, even for vegan foodies. With its colorful food markets, best tapas, scrumptious pintxos, and famous paella, Barcelona’s food scene is second to none. The locals are super foodies and food snobs that love their food fresh and authentic. No wonder there are many hidden gems where only locals hang out. In order to sample the best of Barcelona’s food and learn about the food culture we took a food tour. It was the best decision because we tasted some of the most delicious vegan and vegetarian foods.
On the food tour of Barcelona, we tried the most authentic local foods starting at a local food market. Then we walked around the city looking at different places, chatting about their story and sampling many different foods in the El Born neighborhood and Gothic quarters. The food tour was so much more than just eating. We learned about the heart of the city and its people.
Recommended by Jyoti and Nirmal from Story At Every Corner
Relax in a traditional Hammam in Granada
The Alhambra that dominates the skyline of Granada, is witness to the years of history Granada has seen. Granada experienced Roman, Visigothic and Umayyad influences and traces of the same can be seen and felt throughout the city. Granada was the most important city in Al-Andalus or Andalusia as we know it as due to its hilly terrain as this made it easy to defend it from attacks. The Hammam-Al-Andalus may seem out of place for a few but it is an example of the culture of the Ottoman Empire and can be enjoyed in Granada by travelers in style! Stepping into this spa one is reminded of Andalusia in Arabian times when the Moors rules Granada. Dimly lit candlelight pathways lead the visitor through arch-framed chambers where the main highlight is located – the baths.
The whole expanse is tranquil and you can hop between the baths in the spa which are at different temperatures going from lukewarm to hot. There’s also a steam room and you can also opt for a massage. For an authentic experience opt for a purifying massage that involves scrubbing the body with Kessa gloves first before proceeding to the massage with red grape oil. The exfoliation with the Kessa gloves may seem harsh at first but you get used to it instantly and once you’re done with the whole experience, your skin feels as soft as a baby’s cheek! You don’t need to carry anything unless you’d like a change of clothes, the Hammam provides almost everything you’ll need.
Recommended by Lavina from Continent Hop
Eat a paella in Valencia on your way to the Albufera
Have you ever eaten paella? You probably know that this rice and chicken-based dish is typical in Spain, and sold at any Spanish restaurant around the world. But did you know it was invented in the Mediterranean city of Valencia? It is here that you’ll have to travel to find the birthplace of perhaps Spain’s most popular dish, but here’s a little secret. Just 25 km south of Valencia is the Albufera: the largest lake in Spain, one of the most important wetlands in the Peninsula, and also the place where this typical Spanish dish was precisely invented, as rice is grown here. It’s a great place to visit, as it’s only a 45 minute drive away. The views are fantastic (sunsets are to die for), and you can hop on a boat trip to really explore the area, finishing it off with a freshly cooked paella.
Recommended by Federico from Mai Travel Site
Enjoy the Palafrugell carnival
Palafrugell is located on the Costa Brava, a glorious stretch of coastline north of Barcelona. Each May, the town hosts its Pentecostal carnival with huge floats, live bands and processions of people filling the streets. The event takes place along the central streets of the town and it feels as if half the population is taking part. Sweets are thrown to waiting children below and there’s a wonderful party atmosphere as confetti floats down onto the crowds.
The Palafrugell carnival is unusual in that it takes place in late spring rather than winter so visitors to the town are able to enjoy a proper beach holiday as well as witnessing this fun local spectacle. Palafrugell is a great base for exploring the Costa Brava with kids. As well as the many sandy beaches close by, Palafrugell itself feels like a proper Spanish town. There are authentic shops to explore, a good market and a lovely central square lined with cafes.
Recommended by Annabel from Smudged Postcard
And last but not least, we’ve got a bonus activity we’d love to share with you.
Visit the quaint village of Cuenca
Looking for unique places in Spain with amazing landscapes, great history and attention to the cultural spots, you can’t miss visiting Cuenca. Located in the middle of Spain, Cuenca is just an hour away driving from the Capital, Madrid. The ancient city funded by the Muslim that conquered the area, was built up than by the Christians taking back the land. Cuenca is a city built on the rocks in a strategic place, surrounding the valley. Some of the unique things to do in Cuenca is visiting the Gothic Cathedral with the golden pipe organs, St. Paul Bridge, the hanging houses, Plaza Mayor and the ancient walls.
Cuenca was for us an extraordinary visit, out of our travel plans. But as all the extraordinary things, it was a beautiful surprise. What makes Cuenca so special and worth a visit, is the awesome landscapes, the green meadow and the mountain far away. The whole city seems stopped in the past, with some narrow cute streets that make it unique. We can absolutely say that Cuenca is an off the beaten path destination in Spain. You will fall in love with this cute city, the inhabitants and the views.
The Cathedral Our Lady of Grace and Saint Julian is a popular spot in Cuenca. It is the first Spanish example of the Gothic style in Spain. If the external of this Church is gorgeous, is inside that is more interesting. Starting from the apse-aisle to the organ pipes. The Church facade was rebuilt in 1902 after the collapse of the bell tower. Go and visit the rooftop of the Church for an amazing view over Cuenca. From the top of the city walls, you can catch the whole landscape of Cuenca.
Recommended by Alessia and Toti from Italian Trip Abroad
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