- Location: Southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.
- Capital: Madrid.
- Currency: Euro.
- Language: Spanish, Catalan, Galician, and Basque.
- Best time to Visit: May to September.
- Time Zone: UTC+1.
- Calling Code: +34
- Major Airports: Madrid-Barajas International Airport (MAD).
Though Italy and France have more fame as romantic destinations, there are plenty of lovely spots further west on the European continent. In fact, when you look over all the places to visit in Spain, you might find the cultural crossover – a blend of Western design and Moorish architecture – tough to resist. You might say that, because of the North African influence, Spanish is far more eclectic than other nations that rose from the ashes of the Roman Empire. From one end of the country to the other, you will have the opportunity to experience tremendous variation in food, art, and even personality. One thing is for certain: no matter where you go, you will find yourself wrapped in the warmest embrace the Iberian Peninsula can muster.
Wondering where the best spots are? Take a look at these XX as you plan your itinerary:
The Spanish capital has all you would expect of a cosmopolitan European city. Stroll along the stunning streets of Old Madrid – you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the Renaissance as you stroll among the gorgeous Romanesque buildings. Technically, Spain is still a monarchy, which means it rivals the United Kingdom in terms of castle style. Tour the royal family’s home, Palacio Real, for a look inside this beautiful regal residence. After that, you might find it difficult to top off your trip, but wandering the Greek-style halls of the Museo del Prado will do just fine. The collection of paintings and statues is regarded as one of the finest in the world, featuring exhibits from many of Europe’s masters.
Part of the fiercely independent Catalonian province, this sprawling metropolis owes much to the influence of nearby France. First and foremost, what you’ll notice about the city is the amazing collection of unique architecture. The modernist architect Antoni Gaudi made quite the impression on the city, spinning out fanciful designs for everything from churches to desk chairs. His largest work, La Sagrada Familia, is an ongoing project to build a massive basilica in his signature style – completion isn’t slated until 2026, more than 140 years after he took over! Known for its inviting beaches and vibrant nightlife, you’ll want to stay up late to see all this place has to offer.
Long known as one of the most classical destinations in the country, architecture historians will find much to love in this beautiful city in the southwestern corner of Spain. Though breathtaking modern designs abound, the cathedral and bell tower are consistently among the most-visited attractions. In general, Seville is one of the few places to have made a concerted effort to preserve all of the historic traditions it has existed under – Roman, Catholic, and Islamic. And, if you have the time, walking along any of the many historic squares guided only by your whims is a fantastic way to experience all the city has to offer.
Once the capital of a Moor caliphate, this unofficial capital of southern Spain is highly-regarded for the remnants of North African culture that have lasted since the Catholics reclaimed the area eight centuries ago. The Mezquita, a mosque dating to the medieval period, is favorite for many (even Christians, who built a cathedral within it after the Reconquista) but it is hardly the only attraction. The Calahorra Tower, a massive fortress standing like a powerful white sentinel on a hill above the city, reminds visitors of the area’s violent past while acting as a museum to the various cultures that have occupied it.
Thirty miles from the southern coast of Spain, you will find some of the best tapas in the whole country. One of the last cities to remain under Moorish control, it is also one of the most desirable locations for cuisine. The trademark afternoon snack – small plates of various bite-size treats – will keep you full enough to walk through La Alhambra, a huge complex built by Muslim Emirs in the mid-14th century that became the center of the Holy Roman Empire in 1527. Expanded to include beautiful gardens and stately halls, its sunbaked walls glow pink in the afternoon. Spend the better part of the day taking it in, but be sure to get some time in the Albaicin district and Old City, picturesque spots in and of themselves.
An unabashed resort town, you will find this unofficial hub of the Costa Blanca region hard to resist. The cathedral is an amazing piece of human construction and La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) is a fascinating market that dates back to the 15th century, but the soft white sands and glittering azure waters are a siren song drawing everyone to the Mediterranean. El Puig, a wonderful place to catch some rays, has the added feature of a grand monastery available for touring a few miles outside the city proper – just don’t get too far away: the seafood closer to the port is some of the freshest you will find in Spain.
One of the oldest college towns in Europe, this city in west-central Spain is one of the most preserved on the whole continent. The old town, in particular, enjoys painstaking attention to historical detail. The stone walls and ancient streets are an effective time warp, allowing you to get the feel for the awe a new student might have had. The Plaza Mayor, probably the most popular location, is surrounded by great restaurants and excellent local shops. Visitors often stop thereafter an afternoon tour of the New and Old Cathedrals, an adjoining set of churches offering travelers a fascinating contrast in design style side-by-side.
Weather in Spain
Spain has quite a diverse climate. The coastal areas of the country have an Oceanic climate, which is completely different from the central inland regions that experience the Continental Mediterranean climate. On the other hand, the Andalusian plain along the southern and eastern coasts see Mediterranean climate, whereas the Canary Islands experience a Subtropical climate.
Transportation in Spain
Air: Madrid-Barajas International Airport (MAD) is the largest and busiest airport in Spain. Flights are coming down from a range of destinations throughout Europe and Latin America. You can also reach other airports like Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Murcia, Barcelona, Jerez de la Frontera, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao, Alicante, Santiago de Compostella, and Vigo, etc.
Train: You can also reach Spain by train. You can also travel around the country by train. The trains are quite modern and the most punctual in the whole Europe.
Bus: Traveling to the bus is quite budget-friendly. Buses ply to different destinations within the country.