Names in Teal indicate regions of the
Catalonia, the northeastern-most of Spain's seventeen autonomous
communities, has a different feel than the rest of the country and the
province of Barcelona is unique in Catalonia. Perhaps it is the
uplifting contribution of Gaudi's architecture or the sensibilities of the
Catalonian people; whatever it is, Barcelona is one of the best places to
visit in Spain.
- Start your visit with a walk down La Rambla, then, see the Gaudi's
famous, in construction basilica Sagrada
Familia. Take in as much of the city
and as many of Gaudi's creations as possible.
- Also visit the Barcelona Cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy
Cross and Saint Eulalia) and the surrounding Gothic Quarter (Barri
Gothic), where you will be surrounded by medieval buildings and
centuries of history.
- Don't miss the Picasso Museum or the Palau de la Musica Catalyunya.
In addition there are a number of outstanding museums and monuments in
Bacelona that deserve your attention.
- For details and photos of these and other attractions in Barcelona,
see our guide to the
Best Places to Visit in Barcelona.
Madrid is a remarkable capital city with numerous interesting
attractions and an important history. The "must sees" of the city
include "Old Madrid", the Museo del Prado, the Palacio Real (Royal
Palace), its gardens, Retiro Park and the city's many fine and famous plazas.
A fine day trip from the city to El Escorial, the impressive palace of King
- Madrid is known for its "Golden Triangle" an area of art museums that
includes the world famous Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museum
Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Each museum is spectacular and
having all three in one small area is Spain's gift to the world of art
- Make no mistake, the museums, architecture, dining, and
entertainment in Madrid are spectacular.
- Our guide to the
Best Places to Visit in Madrid provides all the details for your
exploration of these and other attractions in Spain's capital city.
Andalusia is a scenic and attractive area of Spain and much of Andalusia
(Andalucia in Spanish) is synonymous with "Moorish Spain". In
addition, the culture of this area has been influenced by ancient Greece,
the Roman Empire and the numerous invaders that conquered Iberia in the
ancient past. The mix of cultures and nationalities produced an interesting
history, which makes a visit to charming Andalusia an intriguing
exploration. We recommend the following towns to those planning to visit
One of the grand cities of Spain, Seville attracts many tourists due to
its splendid architecture and interesting attractions.
Seville's Cathedral is popular due to its
architecture, the tomb of Christopher Columbus and the attractiveness of
its noted bell tower (the Giralda).
Cross the square and visit the Alcazar, a stunning, well preserved,
medieval, Islamic palace. Follow-up with a visit to the grand Plaza de
See our guide to
Seville for details and photos of the best places to visit.
For more information see the official website,
Cordoba was the capital of the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate that controlled
Andalusia and a large portion of what is now Spain between the 8th and 11th
centuries. Cordoba is considered by many travelers to be one of the most
beautiful destinations in southern Spain.
The historic center of Cordoba is a UNESCO World Heritage site that
is best known for its Moorish extravaganza, the Mezquita (Mosque, which
is a visual treasure. During the Reconquest of Spain by the Catholics in
the 13th century (Reconquista), a baroque cathedral known as Santa Maria
Mayor was built within the Mezquita.
- Be sure to see the ThereArePlaces PhotoGuide to the
for photos and additional details.
In addition, be sure to see the Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos and
the Tower Fortress Calahora.
For more information on visiting Cordoba, visit the
official turismo website.
Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol is an intriguing section of the Spanish coast that attracts
those who want a seaside vacation. The coast here is beautiful and temperatures
are usually moderate, although summers can be warm.
Many travelers have unfairly observed that Costa del Sol is close to
becoming a continuous string of
high rise apartments that blight the landscape. While the observation
may be true in very limited locations, the majority of vacationers who visit
come to the Costa del Sol to sunbathe or escape the winter seasons in the rest of Europe
and rarely need to be concerned about the whether there will be apartments to
- Concrete aside, there is a lot to like about the area, as the
scenery is great and some of towns are quite striking. Malaga. for
example, is a fun town to explore
and its striking Alcazaba, a palace from Moorish times, is quite
- See the
official website of the Costa Del Sol for more
information on visiting and accommodations.
- Toledo, a noted UNESCO World Heritage Site and once the capital of
Spain, is dramatically situated on a hill above the River Tagus, which is
traveling to the Atlantic Ocean via Lisbon.
- Visit the Cathedral (Catedral de Toledo), which has an interesting
and long running history, the Alcazar, the Mezquita del Cristo (mosque),
and the Casa-Museo de El Greco (containing twenty of the Artist's
- Toledo was occupied by the Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians.
Its architecture and essence reflect the mixing of Islam, Judaism and
- Visit the
official tourism website of Toledo, Spain for more information on
Castilla y Léon
- Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Salamanca is
a historic university town known for its outstanding and well-preserved
- Most visitors spend considerable time in the Plaza Mayor, the
social center of the city, known for its fine shops and good food.
- Many travelers visit both the New (Catedral Nueva) and Old (Catedral
Vieja) Cathedrals, which are joined and offer interesting contrasts in
- Salamanca University is one of the oldest centers for learning in
Europe and the oldest university in Spain.
- See the
official tourism website for Salamanca for more details on
visiting this attractive city,
- Avila is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its famous medieval
walls (considered among the best preserved in Europe) and an interesting
old town. Avila offers good food, great shopping and fine walking.
- The Catedral de Avila and its museum (known for its religious art)
should be on your itinerary.
- In addition, Avila was the birthplace of St. Theresa of Avila and
several relics can be viewed at the Convento de San Jose.
official tourism website of Avila for more details on
- Yet another of Spain's cities awarded UNESCO World Heritage status,
Segovia's well-preserved, tiered Roman Aqueduct is a world famous
- The Alcazar of Segovia is a stunning, almost picture perfect
fortress that dates from the 13th century, although its design was
tinkered with until the 16th century.
- Be sure to see the La Dama de las Catedrales (the Lady of
Cathedrals), which is known for its gothic design and interesting
Segovia Tourismo, an official website, for more information on
- Valencia is the gateway to the Costa Blanca, another of Spain's noted
coastal resort areas. Valencia has some excellent beaches and its Cathedral
is worth a visit.
- The city's most popular attraction, however, is the La Lonja de la Seda,
the Silk Exchange, that dates from 15th century. The Silk Exchange, is
a series of impressive Gothic-style buildings that once marked the
center of commerce in Valencia. Valencia was Spain's major
Mediterranean port during the 15th and 16th centuries
- For more information on visiting, see the official website of
- Bilbao makes our list of best places to visit in Spain based, mainly, on
the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry. Bilbao's Old Town is
interesting and should be toured if the Guggenheim's pull is enough to lure
you to the city. For information about the Guggenheim, click this
Still others prefer to visit the island of Menorca, especially for Maó
(Mahon), known as the setting for the initial novel in the Hornblower Saga,
as well as the invention of Mayonnaise.
The island has numerous mysterious, historic mounds and dolmens, and is
a delightful, peaceful place to spend some time. The landscape is hilly and
forested. Small villages dot the island, as do developments for
See the official tourism website of the
for more information on visiting.
by ferry from Barcelona or other locations, Mallorca (Majorca) is an exotic
destination. Palma, the main city, has two fine cathedrals, interesting
shopping, and is a great place to wander. For a great view of Palma, visit
the hilltop castle (Castell del Bellver), which now serves as a
Many "party animals" prefer the island of Ibiza, an island known for its
active club scene, great weather and beautiful beaches.
The official tourism website for Spain is
Spain.Info where you can find additional details for visiting the
towns covered above, as well as information for other cities and attractions in
For country facts on Spain, as well as information of value to travelers (visas,
traffic safety and road conditions, medical facilities and health information),
see the U.S. State Department's page on
If you need information about another travel destination, try our
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.