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Spain travel guide

Are you dreaming of your next adventure to Spain? Whether you're captivated by the vibrant cities, stunning beaches, historic landmarks, or delicious cuisine, Spain has something for everyone. In this comprehensive travel guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to make your trip to Spain unforgettable.

In this article:

Archway in Madrid, SpainUnsplash

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Spain largely depends on your interests and preferred weather. Generally, the months of April to June and September to October offer pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower prices. However, if you're looking to soak up the sun on the golden Mediterranean beaches, mid-June to August is the perfect time to enjoy the vibrant coastal ambiance. Keep in mind that popular destinations like Barcelona and Madrid can be crowded during the summer months, so planning ahead is essential for a smooth trip.

Top Attractions

Spain is home to countless attractions, from architectural marvels to natural wonders. Here are our top picks for the must-visit attractions in Spain.

Aerial view of BarcelonaUnsplash

Barcelona

Begin your Spanish adventure in the enchanting city of Barcelona. Explore the architectural marvels of Antoni Gaudí, such as the iconic Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. Stroll along Las Ramblas, indulge in delicious tapas, and immerse yourself in the vibrant street culture.

The best things to do in Barcelona:

  • Visit the Gothic Quarter: Wander through the ancient streets of the Gothic Quarter. This historic neighborhood showcases Barcelona's rich heritage and features charming narrow alleys, beautiful plazas, and Gothic-style architecture. Don't miss the Barcelona Cathedral, which is a stunning example of Catalan Gothic architecture.
  • Explore Park Güell: Designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, Park Güell is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers breathtaking views of Barcelona. Explore the park's unique architectural elements, such as colorful tiled mosaics, organic shapes, and whimsical structures. Make sure to visit the famous dragon fountain, a beloved icon of the park.
  • Discover the Sagrada Familia: The iconic Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona's most famous landmarks. This extraordinary basilica is another masterpiece by Gaudí and showcases his distinctive architectural style. Marvel at the intricate details of the façade and step inside to admire the stunning stained glass windows and soaring columns.
  • Stroll along La Rambla: Take a leisurely walk along La Rambla, the famous pedestrian boulevard in the heart of Barcelona. Lined with shops, cafes, and street performers, this bustling street is a great place to soak up the lively atmosphere of the city. Visit La Boqueria Market, located along La Rambla, to experience the vibrant food scene and sample delicious Spanish delicacies.
  • Relax at Barceloneta Beach: Unwind and enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine at Barceloneta Beach. Located just a short distance from the city center, this popular urban beach offers golden sands, azure waters, and a vibrant beachfront atmosphere. Relax on the beach, take a dip in the sea, or indulge in some seafood at one of the beachfront restaurants.

Related: The 30 Best Things To Do in Barcelona

Gran Via, Madrid, SpainUnsplash

Madrid

As the lively capital of Spain, Madrid is a must-visit destination. Discover the world-class museums, including the Prado Museum and Reina Sofia Museum. Admire the grandeur of the Royal Palace, catch a flamenco show, and savor the local culinary delights.

The best things to do in Madrid:

  • Visit the Golden Triangle of Art: Madrid's Golden Triangle of Art consists of three renowned museums: The Museo del Prado, Reina Sofía, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. These museums house some of the world's most valuable art collections and offer a must-see experience for art enthusiasts.
  • Explore El Retiro Park: El Retiro Park, also known as Parque del Buen Retiro, is a beautiful park located in the heart of Madrid. It offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city, with lush gardens, a serene lake, and iconic landmarks such as the Crystal Palace. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks, rent a boat on the lake, or simply relax and soak in the natural beauty.
  • Discover the Royal Palace of Madrid: The Royal Palace, or Palacio Real, is a magnificent architectural masterpiece and the official residence of the Spanish royal family. Visitors can explore the opulent interiors, admire the regal artwork and furnishings, and even witness the changing of the guard ceremony. The Royal Palace offers a glimpse into Spain's rich history and royal traditions.
  • Take a stroll along Gran Vía: Gran Vía is Madrid's famous main street, known for its vibrant atmosphere, stunning architecture, and numerous shops, restaurants, and theaters. It is a bustling hub of activity, day and night, and offers endless options for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Walking along Gran Vía allows visitors to soak in the energy and charm of Madrid's city center.
  • Experience the local cuisine: Madrid is renowned for its culinary scene, and trying the local cuisine is a must-do when visiting the city. From traditional tapas to delicious paella and churros with hot chocolate, Madrid offers a wide variety of mouthwatering dishes. Exploring the city's vibrant food markets, such as Mercado de San Miguel, and sampling the local specialties is a delightful way to immerse yourself in Madrid's gastronomic culture.

Plaza de Espana, SevillaUnsplash

Sevilla

Known for its rich history and captivating architecture, Sevilla will leave you awe-inspired. Marvel at the breathtaking Alcázar Palace, visit the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and wander through the charming streets of the Santa Cruz neighborhood.

The best things to do in Sevilla:

  • Marvel at the Real Alcazar: The Real Alcazar is a stunning royal palace that combines elements of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. Its intricate tilework, lush gardens, and tranquil courtyards make it a truly captivating place to explore. Don't miss the stunning Palacio de Don Pedro or the enchanting Gardens of Alcazar, which are inspired by Islamic design and feature beautiful fountains and peaceful nooks.
  • Visit Seville Cathedral: This majestic cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Inside, you'll find the tomb of Christopher Columbus, a breathtaking altarpiece, and a picturesque bell tower called La Giralda. Climb to the top of La Giralda for panoramic views of the city. The cathedral's grandeur and historical significance make it a must-visit attraction in Sevilla.
  • Explore the Barrio Santa Cruz: Barrio Santa Cruz is a picturesque neighborhood that was once the Jewish quarter of Sevilla. Its narrow, labyrinthine streets, charming squares, and colorful flower-filled balconies create a romantic atmosphere. Wander through this enchanting district, discover hidden plazas, and stumble upon charming cafes and tapas bars. It's the perfect place to get lost and immerse yourself in the local ambiance.
  • Experience the vibrant Plaza de España: The Plaza de España is a magnificent square that was built for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929. The square features a crescent-shaped building with beautiful tile work, representing the provinces of Spain. You can rent a rowboat and leisurely paddle along the canal while enjoying the stunning architecture or simply relax in the surrounding park. The Plaza de España offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
  • Enjoy a traditional Flamenco show: Sevilla is widely regarded as the birthplace of Flamenco, and experiencing a Flamenco show is a must-do while in the city. These passionate performances combine music, dance, and singing, and they beautifully showcase the soul and spirit of Andalusian culture. You can find Flamenco shows in various venues throughout the city, from intimate bars to grand theaters. Get ready to be captivated by the intensity and artistry of this unique Spanish art form.

Alhambra de GranadaUnsplash

Granada

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is famous for the magnificent Alhambra palace complex. Explore the Moorish architecture, stroll through the beautiful Generalife Gardens, and get lost in the narrow streets of the Albaicín neighborhood.

The best things to do in Granada:

  • Explore the Alhambra: The Alhambra is the crown jewel of Granada and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This stunning palace complex was built during the Moorish era and features intricate Islamic architecture, beautifully landscaped gardens, and breathtaking views of the city below. Make sure to book your tickets in advance, as it's a popular attraction that can get crowded.
  • Wander through the Albaicin: This historic neighborhood is a maze of narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and charming squares. The Albaicin is the Arab quarter of Granada and offers a glimpse into the city's Moorish past. Get lost in its labyrinthine streets, soak in the Andalusian atmosphere, and enjoy stunning views of the Alhambra from the famous Mirador de San Nicolas.
  • Visit the Generalife Gardens: Adjacent to the Alhambra, the Generalife Gardens are a tranquil oasis of lush greenery, colorful flowers, and beautiful fountains. Take a leisurely stroll through these meticulously landscaped gardens, breathe in the fresh air, and admire the stunning vistas. It's the perfect place to relax and escape the bustling city.
  • Discover the Sacromonte: Known for its cave dwellings, the Sacromonte neighborhood offers a unique and bohemian atmosphere. Explore the narrow streets lined with Flamenco bars, artists' workshops, and traditional caves where you can enjoy a Flamenco performance. Immerse yourself in the vibrant Flamenco culture and experience the essence of Granada's rich heritage.
  • Shop and dine in the Alcaiceria: The Alcaiceria is an old silk market that has been transformed into a bustling shopping area. Here, you'll find a vibrant maze of narrow streets filled with shops selling handmade crafts, ceramics, spices, and souvenirs. Take a break from shopping to indulge in delicious Andalusian cuisine or enjoy a refreshing drink in one of the charming cafés.

Plaza in ValenciaUnsplash

Valencia

With its futuristic architecture, sandy beaches, and the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity. Visit the Oceanographic, sample the world-famous paella, and enjoy the vibrant cultural scene.

The best things to do in Valencia:

  • Visit the City of Arts and Sciences: This futuristic complex, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, is a must-see attraction in Valencia. It houses several museums and attractions, including the Science Museum, the IMAX Cinema, the Oceanographic Aquarium, and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. The architecture of the buildings is stunning, and the surrounding gardens provide a peaceful oasis for visitors.
  • Stroll through the Old Town: The Old Town of Valencia is home to colorful architecture, bustling plazas, and charming cobblestone streets. It's the perfect place to wander and explore, with many small shops, restaurants, and attractions such as the famous Central Market. Be sure to visit the beautiful Valencia Cathedral and climb up to the Gothic tower, El Micalet, for stunning views of the city.
  • Relax on Malvarrosa Beach: Located just minutes away from the city center, Malvarrosa Beach is a long stretch of sandy beach with crystal-clear waters. It's the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean Sea. There are also many bars and restaurants in the area where you can try delicious traditional dishes, such as paella.
  • Explore the Turia Gardens: The Turia Gardens is a vast park that spans for almost seven kilometers throughout the city. It used to be a river that was diverted after a massive flood, and now it's a beautiful green space where you can walk, cycle, jog, and relax. There are many interesting landmarks, fountains, and sculptures along the way, such as Gulliver Park, the Royal Gardens of Turia, and the Hemisfèric.
  • Visit the Central Market: The Central Market of Valencia is a lively and colorful marketplace that is considered one of the best in Europe. It's housed in a beautiful Modernist building, and it's the perfect place to buy fresh produce, seafood, meats, and spices, as well as try traditional Valencian products such as horchata and cured meats. The market is open every day except Sunday, and it's especially lively in the mornings.

Aerial shot of Ronda, SpainFreepik

Hidden Gems

While Spain has many well-known attractions, there are also many hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Here are our top picks for the hidden gems in Spain.

Ronda

Take a scenic drive to Ronda and prepare to be amazed by its stunning location atop a gorge. Explore the historic bullring, visit the Arab Baths, and soak in the breathtaking views from the Puente Nuevo bridge.

Córdoba

Step back in time in the Moorish city of Córdoba. The Mezquita, a mesmerizing mosque-cathedral, is a true architectural masterpiece. Wander through the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter and relax in the beautiful flower-filled patios.

San Sebastian

For food lovers, a visit to San Sebastian is a culinary delight. Indulge in pintxos, the Basque version of tapas, and soak up the beach vibes at La Concha Bay.

Alicante

Alicante is a beautiful coastal city located in the Valencian Community, and it's definitely worth a visit. With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and rich history, Alicante has something to offer every traveler.

Bilbao

Home to the renowned Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is a vibrant city worth exploring. Immerse yourself in contemporary art, savor the delicious Basque cuisine, and wander through the charming old town.

Woman dancing Flamenco in SpainUnsplash

Bucket List Experiences

Spain is full of unique and unforgettable experiences that should be on every traveler's bucket list. Here are our top picks.

  • Attend La Tomatina: Experience the world's largest food fight during La Tomatina festival in Buñol. Get ready to throw ripe tomatoes at thousands of participants in this unique, messy, and incredibly fun event.
  • Walk the Camino de Santiago: Embark on the famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago, and challenge yourself both physically and spiritually. Choose one of the many scenic routes and experience the camaraderie of fellow travelers.
  • Dance flamenco in Andalusia: Immerse yourself in the passionate rhythms of flamenco in Andalusia. Attend an authentic flamenco show and witness the raw emotion and artistry of this traditional dance form.
  • Experience the Running of the Bulls: Join the thrilling festivities of San Fermin in Pamplona and take part in the adrenaline-pumping Running of the Bulls. Experience the excitement of running alongside these majestic creatures through the cobbled streets of the city.
  • Discover Moorish Heritage: Journey through the historic region of Andalusia and delve into the rich Moorish heritage. Visit the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Córdoba, and the Alcazar of Seville to unravel the fascinating history of Muslim Spain.
  • Explore the Costa del Sol: Bask in the sun along the famous Costa del Sol coastline. Relax on the beautiful beaches, indulge in fresh seafood, and visit charming seaside towns like Marbella and Nerja.
  • Discover the Canary Islands: Embark on a cruise or island-hopping adventure and explore the stunning Canary Islands. From hiking volcanoes in Lanzarote to relaxing on the golden beaches of Fuerteventura, each island offers a unique and captivating experience.

Red and yellow staircase in Calp, SpainUnsplash

Travel Tips

Here are some essential travel tips to help make your Spain trip smoother.

  • Entry and exit requirements: Ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months validity remaining. Check if you require a visa before traveling to Spain, depending on your nationality.
  • Language: Spanish is the official language in Spain. Learning a few basic phrases will enhance your travel experience and interaction with locals.
  • Currency: The currency in Spain is the Euro (€). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are commonly accepted. It's advisable to have some cash on hand for smaller establishments or street markets.
  • Getting around: Spain has an excellent transportation system. Trains, buses, and flights connect major cities and tourist destinations. Consider using Airalo's eSIM services to stay connected and easily navigate your way around with reliable and affordable data plans.
  • Plugs and adapters: Spain operates on 220-240 volts, with type C and type F outlets. Bring a universal adapter to ensure compatibility with your electronic devices.

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Spain eSIM: Stay Connected With Airalo

Stay connected during your trip to Spain with an eSIM from Airalo. An eSIM is a tiny SIM that's embedded in your device and works 100% digitally. You can download an eSIM plan for your destination and instantly connect to a mobile network. There's no need to find a SIM card vendor, manage multiple SIMs, or worry about roaming fees. 

Here are just some of the benefits of using an Airalo eSIM:

  • Connect to a mobile network within minutes.
  • Choose from flexible local, regional, and global data plans.
  • Say goodbye to expensive roaming charges.
  • Store multiple eSIM data plans on your device.
  • Need more data? Top up in the Airalo app.

You're all set to plan a trip to Spain! Head to the Airalo store to browse eSIMs for Spain and 200+ countries and regions worldwide.


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