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20 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Spain

With its sunny climate, incredible history, and vibrant culture, Spain captivates as a dream travel destination for many. Here, Jeremy Head, author of Frommer’s Guide to Seville, Granada, and the Best of Andalusia, shares his favorite spots across the country…

1. Pueblos Blancos, Andalucia

pueblo blanco villages - beautiful places to visit in Spain

Pueblos Blancos - the white villages of Andalucia

I love this place! White-washed villages dot the rugged hillsides in central Andalucia, and they seem almost to defy gravity in places.

Formerly farming villages, many fell into disrepair as the younger generation headed to the cities searching for work.

Now, locals and overseas visitors alike have rediscovered their charm. The narrow streets, whitewashed houses, pretty old churches, and flower-strewn squares have been restored; to me, they look picture-perfect! I think they’re seriously Insta-worthy, but I would suggest taking the time to soak up the charming vibe as well.

My favourite villages include Grazalema, Vejer de la Frontera, and Arcos de la Frontera, so ensure you include these on your itinerary.

  • Location: Cádiz and Málaga in Southern Spain.
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: spring to avoid the crowds and see the wildflowers.

 My favourite highlights…

  • Exploring the pretty narrow cobbled streets fully soaking up the charm of these wonderful villages.
  • Discovering the Gothic Church (Iglesia de la Santa María de la Coronada), which has a very impressive Plateresque retablo.
  • Photographing the Arcos de la Frontera known as the stunning gateway to the Pueblos Blancos.

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2. Granada, Andalusia

Granada - one of the best places to visit in Spain

Beautiful Granada views in Spain

Nestled at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is one of my favourite cities in the country. It is a city in southern Spain’s Andalusia region. It has truly stunning examples of Moorish medieval architecture! 

The finest example is the stunningly ornate Moorish Palace, the Alhambra, which is world-famous! It’s a sprawling complex of palaces surrounded by ornate gardens, perched atop a hill with the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains behind. The location is also spectacular!

I love the interior, which is seriously beautiful, and I also love its zen-like vibe. It has romantic, intricate Moorish-style decorations around peaceful courtyards, contrasting with the powerfully simplistic lines of later, vast Baroque additions.

  • Location: Andalusia Region, South of Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May and autumn months as temperatures are cooler

My favourite highlights…

  • Exploring the Alhambra, the beautiful Moorish palace – the ornate decor took my breath away!
  • Spending a few hours wandering the historic streets of Albayzin, the gorgeous old Moorish quarter of Granada. Don’t miss the Cerámica Al Yarrar for unique pottery handicrafts. 
  • Going to the wonderful Sacromonte. Known as the gypsy quarter, I watched an incredible flamenco performance in one of the caves here.
  • Sipping on botanical cocktails and watching the sunset over the city at BHeaven’s rooftop bar.

3. Seville, Andalusia

Reasons you should visit Seville, Spain

Seville Palace

I’m a huge fan of Seville, the majestic capital of the Andalusia region. It’s stuffed with beautiful sights, fantastic flamenco dancing, excellent bars, shops, and restaurants, and it is wonderfully atmospheric! 

I highly recommend visiting the spectacular Plaza de Espana. Designed by local architect Anibal Gonzalez for the great 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition, which was held in the city and virtually bankrupted it, it’s a feast of ornate, colourful towers and colonnades decorated with tiles and motifs.

At its centre, there’s a huge fountain and canal on which I would suggest hiring a pedalo and exploring! It’s such a striking place that it often features in movies – most notably Star Wars Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones! 

  • Location: Andalusia region, southern Spain.
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May and Autumn when temperatures are cooler.

My favorite highlights…

  • Visiting the incredible Real Alcazar de Sevilla a unique mix of Spanish Christian and Moorish architecture.
  • Exploring the stunning Plaza de Espana a semi-circular brick building in Renaissance/neo-Moorish style which has been the location for many famous films and TV series.
  • Wandering the narrow historic streets of the charming Barrio Santa Cruz, which used to be the Jewish quarter.
  • Dining on tasty Tapas at El Pasaje Santa María la Blanca located in the pretty Centro Historico de Sevilla. I highly recommend the Salmorejo and Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas). 

4. Marbella, Costa del Sol Marbella - best places to visit Spain

Marbella Beach

I love that this famous, fun and sometimes unashamedly bold but in a glitzier way than some of the other famous Spanish tourist resorts!

Visitors flock here for the fine weather, the pretty historic old town, its gorgeous beaches, its many nightclubs and bars, The Golden Mile lined with buzzing, upscale establishments, and to watch the gleaming yachts gently bobbing in the harbour.

I would highly recommend heading to Puerto Banús, the flashiest marina in the region and wandering the old town’s pretty narrow lanes lined with flower boxes.

This is a place of quite extreme contrasts, and in my opinion, it makes the place even more fascinating. Don’t forget to bring the bling, and you’ll fit right in! 

  • Location: Andalusia, Southern Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: June to September

My highlights…

  • People, and yacht-watching along the Golden Mile.
  • Exploring the Old Town which is actually very pretty!
  • Going for rooftop cocktails and watching the sunset by Air by Breathe. I recommend the Fowl Melon cocktail! 

5. Ronda, Malaga Province

Ronda Bridge

Views of Ronda Town

At the heart of the Serrania de Ronda sits Ronda, a beautiful location surrounded by lively river valleys and home to a population of around 35,000.

The city is the third most visited in Andalucia, and its proximity to Malaga makes it easy to reach. It is a quiet and very photogenic gem!

Ronda’s most famous landmarks are the stunning Puente Nuevo bridge (which took 42 years to build!) and the deep gorge it spans.

The bridge connects the old Moorish town and the newer El Mercadillo parts of the city, and Instagrammers love this jaw-dropping spot! 

  • Location: Malaga Province, Southern Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: July and August

My highlights…

  • Photographing the New Bridge (The Puente Nuevo), which offers extraordinary views of the El Tajo gorge.
  • Exploring the wonderful Mondragon Palace which is home to a museum and some truly beautiful gardens.
  • People watching in Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, Ronda’s most picturesque square.
  • Visiting the Cuenca Gardens which are known for their series of terraces, the views were beautiful. 
  • Spending an afternoon wine tasting at Descalzos Viejos Winery. I recommend the DV Chardonnay!

6. Malaga, Malaga Province

Malaga City Spain

With its many concrete high rises that seem to swamp the place, the Costa del Sol isn’t always considered traditionally beautiful. Still, in my opinion, its capital, Malaga, is the exception! 

Take a break here, and you’ll be treated to a wonderful place with fine weather, a youthful vibe, excellent (and numerous) museums, art galleries, historic monuments, and beautiful boutique hotels waiting to welcome you. 

I recommend seeking the Michelin-starred restaurants and sampling Malaga’s excellent culinary scene. I would also suggest exploring the Pompidou Centre, the charming Paseo del Parque, the 11th-century Alcazaba fort, and the Roman amphitheatre, following in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso (this was his birthplace), and then seeking out some of the amazing sandy beaches! 

  • Location: Malaga Province, Southern Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: Spring and Summer

My personal highlights…

  • Dining at the fabulous and very trendy Doña Inés restaurant, which offers creative Mediterranean dishes. I highly recommend the Dressed Axarquía pepper salad.
  • Discovering the pretty Jardin Botanico Historico La Concepcion Gardens. 
  • Drinking cocktails with views at Rooftop AC Hotel Malaga Palacio. I recommend the melon based cocktails, they were delicious! 

7. The Balearic Islands

Palma Harbour

Palma Old Town

The four largest Balearic Islands in the East of Spain, Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca, draw tourists worldwide.

Ibiza is perhaps the most popular tourist location of these four islands, particularly for young adults looking for a new kind of nightlife to discover.

Although these islands are typically overrun with summer tourists, in my opinion, there are still many unspoilt places to visit, and they hold a fair bit of history, dating as far back as the story of shipwrecked Greek Boeotians! 

  • Location: off the coast of eastern Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: Summer

My highlights…

  • Visiting the cosmopolitan capital Majorca, Palma, and exploring the boutique shops and hotels, great restaurants, cafes, and swish marinas.
  • Exploring the pretty village Deia in Majorca has long been a haven for the early 20th-century literary and art set.
  • Visiting Cala Salada in Ibiza, a small cove with a lovely beach, crystal clear waters, and a refreshing lack of tourists!
  • Visiting the often underrated island of Menorca, which is more low-key than its neighbours and home to endless beaches, from beautiful miles-long sandy crescents to small turquoise-watered bays.

8. San Sebastian, Basque CountrySan Sebastian - stunning city to visit in Spain

San Sebastian in Spain - travel blog

I love this sophisticated city with golden sands and pure blue oceans! Its elegant allure always draws me in, and it is home to a stunning dining scene, amazing architecture, and luscious beaches that frame the city.

This location is undeniably one of the world’s premier food destinations. I recommend trying pintxos, the Basque version of tapas, and heading to its stunning beach!

There are also many fantastic boutiques, restaurants, and bars here, so you’ll be kept busy whether you stay for a day or a week! 

  • Location: Basque Country, northeast Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May to September

My highlights…

  • Spending a lazy afternoon on La Concha Beach, a crescent-shaped beach in this city that spans over 1.3 km and features stunning golden sand and clear blue water.
  • Exploring the Old Town, and losing myself amongst the elegant narrow streets. I recommend stopping by at Sirimiri Gastroleku and Astelena for local dishes with fresh ingredients. 
  • Relaxing on Zurriola Beach, which is a smaller and less crowded alternative to La Concha Beach.

9. Costa Brava, Catalonia

Costa Brava

Costa Brava Beach

You can spend your holiday exploring 200km of absolutely stunning coastline in Costa Brava!

It has a rugged coastline, and I would highly recommend exploring the pretty cosmopolitan resorts, emerald green coves, brilliant beaches, and numerous protected reserves and parks, such as Cap de Creus Natural Park and Albera Range Natural Park.

My other favourite areas include the protected wetland and marine reserves, the important archaeological site Ruins de Empuries and the three charming medieval villages of Pals, Peratallada, and Ullastret.

  • Location: East coast of Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: summer

My must-do highlights…

  • Spending an afternoon on Fenals Beach, a stunning spot with crystal clear waters and water sports.
  • Visiting the Old Town of Tossa de Mar which was declared a national artistic monument in 1931. Make sure you stop by Restaurant Can Pini for open air dining.
  • Visiting the summer house of the famous artist Salvador Dali which was built in the 1930s.

10. Formentera, Balearic islands

Formentera Beach

Formentera Boat

Spain has over 5,000 miles of coastline and bright sunny days for much of the year, so it’s unsurprising that it’s a beach Mecca.

From jam-packed tourist beaches to deserted stretches of virgin sand, there’s a beach for just about everyone! 

In my opinion, some of the most unspoilt and ultra-white are found on the shores of the Balearic island of Formentera. The island is located in the Mediterranean Sea and is only a couple of hours by boat from the mainland.

I especially love the Ses Illetes, a long curve of white sand backed by soft dunes with shallow ultramarine seawater lapping its fringes.

  • Location: Off East Coast Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: Summer

My favorite highlights…

  • Visiting the stunning Playa de Ses Illetes, which is always mentioned among the most beautiful beaches in the world and it is really stunning in real life too! 
  • Sunbathing on Cala Saona, which is another lovely but smaller beach in Formentera.
  • Chartering a private yacht which was a very swish way to explore this extraordinary place!

11. Barcelona, CataloniaA beautiful view in Barcelona city

Beautiful Casa Batlló in Barcelona Spain

I fall in love with the proud capital of the Catalonia region every time I visit! It has heaps to offer its many besotted visitors, including great nightlife, shopping, and beaches.

But it’s incredible buildings created by legendary architect Gaudi that are arguably the show’s biggest stars. I would recommend visiting (the still unfinished) La Sagrada Familia, which has its spindly towers, oddly shaped buttresses, and unique roof.

I think his residential buildings, like the Casa Mila, are also wonderful, as are his more playful statues and benches in the popular Park Guell. The views here are also outstanding! 

  • Location: Catalonia region, East Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: Spring and summer

My favourite highlights…

  • Visiting Park Güell, a beautifully surreal and artistic public park with wonderful city views.
  • Getting lost in the Gothic Quarter, which has narrow medieval streets filled with trendy bars, clubs, and charming Catalan restaurants. I recommend Restaurant Can Culleretes and L’Antic Bocoi del Gòtic. 
  • Dining on a Caribbean Storm cocktails and marinated heura kebab with amazing sunset views at the Azimuth Rooftop Bar.
  • Hanging out at their main city beach, a local activity hub.

12. Valencia, Valencia Region

Valencia View

Valenica Spain

This is a wonderful port city on the southeastern coast. It is livable, with balmy temperatures and thriving cultural, eating, and nightlife scenes! It’s also known for its awe-inspiring City of Arts and Sciences.

This country has its share of outstanding historical architecture, but I admire how it has firmly looked towards the future for many of its building projects in recent years.

I love the impressive City of Arts and Sciences, designed by the forward-thinking Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Built in stark white, its odd angles and unusual shapes look particularly spectacular when floodlit at night.

  • Location: East Coast of Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May to August

My favourite highlights…

  • People watching in Plaza de la Reina, the city’s best square
  • Bargain hunting and trying local food at Valencia’s Central Market, I recommend seeking out the La Boutique Del Cafe and the incredible Tortillas La Moderna. 
  • Soaking up rays on my favourite beach, La Malvarrosa.
  • Eating at the award-winning Karak restaurant and dining on creative, locally inspired dishes.

13. Mount Teide, Tenerife

Mount Teide

A couple hours south by plane from the Spanish mainland, the Canary Islands are far closer to African shores than European ones. I personally love this place because its natural landscapes are so different! 

Much of the land is volcanic, and I’m always in awe of its steep slopes and dark grey sands on the beaches. My favourite attraction in the centre of Tenerife, the most popular of the Canary Islands, is the mighty Mount Teide, a vast snow-capped volcano! 

It’s a great hiking territory, and the scenery is almost moon-like at this altitude. I suggest taking a cable car to the summit and gazing at the surreal views.

  • Location: Tenerife, the Canary Islands.
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: March to September.

My highlights…

  • Going on a fun Quad Biking Tour. 
  • Star gazing at night!

14. Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa Town

This country’s natural scenery—from the sandy coastline to the vast plains—is constantly surprising. Still, the lofty peaks of the Picos de Europa mountain ranges are, in my opinion, the most spectacular! 

I can’t get enough of the craggy mountain peaks, verdant valleys, and raging rivers. This area of northern Spain is perfect hiking and adventure territory, and I would suggest whitewater rafting and snowshoeing if you’re more of an active type!

There are heaps of wildlife here, including the endangered Cantabrian Brown Bear and wolves.

  • Location: Cabrales, Asturias, Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: June to September

My highlights…

  • Hiking the Cares Trail, which took me through spectacular scenery.
  • Going for a ride on the Fuente Dé cable car and seeing the incredible views.
  • Canoeing down the Sella River. 

15. Zaragoza, Aragon region


Zaragoza modern Architecture

I think Zaragoza, the capital of the northeastern Aragon region, is the perfect city for any history lover or architecture buff. I love that the city is full of museums, religious sites, and stunning street art that covers flat pathways everywhere! 

I would suggest visiting the most iconic building, the Basilica del Pilar, which holds paintings created by Francisco José de Goya, a famous painter from the Aragon region.

Not only can you see this beautiful building from the outside and inside, but I recommend travelling up to the top of the bell towers to see everything from 60 metres up. The views are breathtaking! 

  • Location: Aragon region, northeastern Spain.
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May to October

My highlights…

16. Playa del Silencio, Asturias

Playa del Silencio

There are many very beautiful beaches in the country. Still, I personally think the picturesque beauty of Playa del Silencio in Asturias (a region in northwest Spain) is well worth a visit!

I love the way the clear waters reflect the sky at all times of day, and the smooth curve of the cliffside makes for some perfect photos. The beach is stoney but it’s the surrounding scenery that really makes it special.

In English, “Playa del Silencio” translates as “Beach of Silence,” which I think is an apt name for this peaceful place. You can reach Playa del Silencio from the village of Castañares.

It’s a long walk if you walk rather than go by car, but I think it’s worth it! Cudillero’s coastline is unique, with high cliffs and stunning islets that are seriously spectacular.

  • Location: Northern Spain coast 
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: Summer

My highlights…

  • Just sitting on and relaxing on the secluded beach and taking in the zen-like vibe.
  • Photographing the beach from the cliff-top path, it’s very photogenic!

17. Tarragona, Catalonia

Tarragona Spain

Tarragona Square

Tarragona is approximately an hour from Barcelona by car or train and only a few minutes from Reus Airport. This architectural city was once the capital of the Roman Empire in Spain, and I highly recommend a visit.

I love that it’s a relaxed place with history and culture, crowned by Mediterranean blue skies and beautiful beaches.

The amphitheatre of Tarragona is right by the sea, and there’s something very unique and special about the location. As you walk around the amphitheatre, parts of Tarraco, one of Catalonia’s Nine Wonders of UNESCO Sites and Heritage, will be directly behind you! 

  • Location: Catalonia region, northeastern Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May to September

My favorite highlights…

  • Taking a photo from the gorgeous Mediterranean Balcony (my photo above).
  • Hanging out at the popular Playa de Arrabassada.
  • Checking out all the Roman ruins.
  • Going shopping at the many wonderful boutiques.

18. The Pyrénées, the border of France and Spain

Pyrenees Spain

The Pyrénées mountain range sits in the southwest of Europe and forms one of the most natural borders between Spain and France. I’m a huge fan of this naturally stunning area! 

The mountains here reach a height of over 11,000ft. The range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe and extends from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the main crest of the mountains forms the divide between Spain and France.

I highly recommend visiting the several national parks and nature reserves here, including the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, in Ordesa Valley. The light at dusk and dawn here is just incredible! 

  • Location: Iberian Peninsula between France and Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: Summer

My highlights…

  • Hiking the Cirque de Gavarnie trail.
  • Taking a cable car ride over the Pont d’Espagne.
  • Relaxing in Bagnères-de-Bigorre’s thermal baths. 
  • Star gazing at the observatory on Pic du Midi mountain.

19. Santiago de Compostela, Galicia region

Santiago de Compostela

Spain’s many vast Gothic cathedrals testify to the country’s long-held Christian traditions. The most spellbinding is Santiago de Compostela, located above Portugal.

It is the magnificent capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region, famous for being the final stop of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

I recommend wandering around its historic alleys and architecture; the cathedral is a must-see attraction! It’s a vast building smothered in Baroque swirls, statues and stalagmites.

The most remarkable vista is the Western facade, which forms the main entrance and is accessed by a magnificent quadruple flight of stairs.

The cathedral is also the final destination of the thousands of pilgrims who walk the Way of St James trail each year. 

  • Location: Galicia region, northwest Spain
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: May to September

My highlights…

  • Visiting the world-famous Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
  • Exploring the San Martin Pinario Monastery, the 10th-century baroque Benedictine monastery. 
  • Taking photos around the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

20. Cíes Islands

Cíes Islands - lovely places in Spain

For a gorgeous unspoilt shoreline, I would recommend the vastly underrated Cíes Islands, a beautiful archipelago off the coast of Pontevedra in Galicia.

These islands consist of three isles: San Martiño (Saint Martin), Do Faro (Lighthouse), and Monteagudo (Sharp Mount).

The landscapes of each island are utterly incredible and, in my opinion, well worth the few days of exploration required to see everything on each one. There’s a lot to see, from caves to vast forests to rugged cliffs.

I suggest renting a private apartment while you are on the islands to get a full feel for them and spend as much time relaxing on their shores as possible. Enjoy! 

  • Location: off the coast of Pontevedra in Galicia, west coast
  • Location Map
  • Best time to visit: Summer

My personal highlights… 

  • Lazing around on the stunning white sands. 
  • Bird spotting from gulls to gannets.

I would urge visitors to be compassionate and not fund or become involved in the very cruel practices of bullfights, running of the bulls, donkey rides or any festivals involving animals. Please embrace the new progressive Spain instead! 

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