Places in Spain to Visit this Summer 🇪🇸

Encompassing most of the Iberian Peninsula in Western Europe is the country of Spain. This country, known for its vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and breathtaking scenery, is among the most popular travel destinations in the world. It should come as no surprise, as its rich history and world-renowned cuisine has enticed travelers for decades. Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday, a city break, or a cultural experience, there’s something for everyone in Spain.

The Sagrada FamĂ­lia in Barcelona is one of the top places in Spain to visit | David's Been Here

From the bustling streets of Madrid to the sun-soaked beaches of Barcelona, Spain has no shortage of incredible destinations to explore. So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to discover some of the best places to visit in Spain. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top destinations that should be on your radar for your next Spanish getaway.

What are the top places in Spain to visit?

Spain is a country that means a lot to me. I lived there for nearly two years from 2012 to 2014, and I spent months of my life seeking out new adventures within its borders. That was a game-changing time in my life, and made me want to own a residence in the country someday.

The Costa Brava region is one of the top places in Spain to visit | David's Been Here

As someone passionate about history and gastronomy, there’s no better place to visit than Spain. Whether you want to explore the Catalan cuisine of Barcelona, the plazas of Madrid, the old city of Granada, the architecture of Burgos, or the history of Lugo, every day in the country is an adventure. These are the top places in Spain to visit!

Madrid: A Spanish giant

Madrid, the capital and largest city in Spain, is a bustling city that never ceases to amaze. With its glorious plazas, architecture, and superb metro system, it’s one of the top places in Spain. I lived there for roughly 100 days and fell in love with it!

Madrid is one of my favorite places in Spain and one of my top cities in the world | David's Been Here
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La Gran Vía is Madrid’s most famous street and among the most well-known in Europe. Considered the “Spanish Broadway,” it is lined with numerous theaters and cinemas. Another famous street, Paseo de la Castellana is one of the longest, widest avenues in Madrid. It’s considered a must-visit pedestrian street for tourists for its wide array of shops, restaurants, and bars.

The streets of Madrid | David's Been Here
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Food from every region of Spain is also represented in the city. The Cochinillo lechal at Casa Botín, which is the world’s oldest restaurant, according to Guinness. Casa Mingo is the best spot in town to try Asturian specialties like chorizo and morcilla. The Basque-style seafood and cured meats at Goizeko Kabi’ar is also phenomenal! Also, don’t miss the famous churros with melted chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés!

Madrid is a history and architecture lover's dream | David's Been Here
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Visitors can also take in the city’s rich subterranean Roman history from mini-museums located within some of the metro stops. Mercado de San Miguel offers a true slice of Spanish life and is a great place to shop and people watch. It’s one of my favorite cities in Europe because the list of things to do is endless!

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Barcelona: The Catalan capital

Barcelona is a modern metropolis located along the Mediterranean Sea and is the capital of Catalunya, known for its rich culture and class. With world-class art, gastronomy, fashion, sports, and education, there is something for everyone to enjoy. I did my best to explore every nook and cranny of the city when I lived there from March of 2013 to June of 2014!

Barcelona is the ultimate place to visit in Spain | David's Been Here
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The famous Catalan Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí had a significant impact on Barcelona’s cultural heritage with his magnificent works inspired by nature. Visitors can explore his unique style of architecture at attractions like Park Güell, Casa Batlló, Sagrada Familia Basilica, and Casa Milà. Other great attractions include the Picasso Museum, La Boqueria Market, and Montserrat Monastery. The Barcelona FC Museum is also a must-visit place for soccer fans.

The ornate interior of Sagrada FamĂ­lia Basilica in Barcelona | David's Been Here

To try some of Barcelona’s best food, I recommend Ajoblanco, a trendy eatery that offers Catalan dishes with a twist. Casa Delfín is known for its traditional Catalan tapas and signature dish, arroz caldoso con bogavante. Don’t miss the seafood in Barcelona as well!

Casa DelfĂ­n is one of the best places in Spain to have traditional Catalan dishes | David's Been Here

Meanwhile, Casa Paloma is the ultimate splurge for meat lovers, offering carefully grilled Angus, Frisian, and Wagyu beef. The entire city is a food lover’s dream, and I should know! It’s also a very walkable city, so it’s easy to explore on foot!

Valencia: the land of paella

Valencia, Spain is a smaller Spanish city that offers a wide variety of activities and attractions. Like Barcelona, Catalan is the local language. One of the most popular attractions is the City of Arts and Sciences. This ultra-modern complex features a variety of cultural venues and family attractions, including an opera house, an IMAX cinema, an interactive science museum, and an aquarium.

Valencia is a small but impressive city in Spain | David's Been Here
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The OceanogrĂ fic, which is located within the City of Arts and Sciences, houses 45,000 animals organized into ten zones. Visitors can observe everything from dolphins and sharks to penguins and sea turtles.

The architecture in Valencia makes it one of my favorite places in Spain | David's Been Here
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Travelers interested in history and architecture should stroll the lanes of Casco Histórico, or the Old Town. La Lonja de la Seda is a UNESCO site and a prime example of Gothic architecture. I also recommend Valencia Cathedral, a Gothic cathedral that dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Be sure to admire intricate carvings and stained glass windows before climbing El Miguelete, the cathedral’s octagonal bell tower.

Paella is one of the signature dishes in Valencia, Spain | David's Been Here
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Food-wise, Valencia is arguably the best place in Spain to enjoy its national dish, paella. There are many different varieties available, but I prefer the seafood paellas. They’re crispy and succulent, and full of flavor! With so much to see and do in Valencia, it’s no wonder that it’s quickly becoming one of the top places in Spain to visit!

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Oviedo: the capital of Asturias

The capital and biggest city in Asturias, Oviedo was the first Spanish city I ever visited back in 2000. It’s where my love of travel started and is a great example of northern Spanish culture. Oviedo’s Old Town is a beautiful maze of streets and squares filled with historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. A must-visit attraction in the Old Town is the Plaza del Fontan, a picturesque square surrounded by traditional Asturian buildings. The square is home to a bustling market where visitors can buy fresh local produce, including fruits, vegetables, cheese, and seafood.

Oviedo is one of the most charming places in Spain and the first Spanish city I ever visited | David's Been Here
Photo by LucĂ­a GarĂł on Unsplash

Another top attraction to visit in Oviedo is the Santa Maria del Naranco, a pre-Romanesque church dating back to the 9th century. The church stands on Monte Naranco, a hill overlooking the city, offering breathtaking views of Oviedo and its surroundings. Visitors can take a guided tour of the church to learn about its history, architecture, and religious significance. Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias features paintings, sculptures, and ceramics from Asturias. Overall, Oviedo’s blend of history, art, and culture makes it one of my favorite places in Spain.

Granada: City of the Moors

Granada, Spain is a picturesque Moorish city in Andalusia with a rich history and culture. It was once a colony of the Greek kingdom and then became part of the ancient Roman Empire. Granada is best known for its extraordinary Moorish fortress and palace- the Alhambra, which is an outstanding example of Moorish design. The Alhambra and its gardens were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 and have remained an iconic and popular tourist site in Spain.

The Alhambra is a gorgeous Moorish palace and fortress that makes Granada one of the best places in Spain for travelers | David's Been Here
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Besides Alhambra, Granada is also famous for its old city, Albayzin, which boasts typical Arab narrow cobblestone streets. Foodies should try the tapas at Plaza Nueva, as they are some of the best in the country. I also recommend visiting the Royal Chapel and hiking in Sierra Nevada National Park. One of the best places in Spain for both romantic and family getaways, Granada is also close to skiing options and Mediterranean beaches! Be sure to try some local beer when you go!

MĂ©rida: The history capital of Spain

History lovers should not miss the city of Mérida, famous for its Roman ruins. In fact, this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts more ancient Roman monuments than any other Spanish city! Mérida’s history is heavily influenced by Christian, Moorish and Portuguese control, which is reflected in its various types of architecture.

The Roman Theatre in MĂ©rida, Spain | David's Been Here
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For dining options, Rex Numitor is the best boutique restaurant in the city. There, visitors can try typical Extremaduran dishes and a wide selection of wines. El Yantar, located in front of the Roman theater, offers different kinds of cheeses and Iberian hams, which are carefully prepared with attention to details like the amount of salt and cooking temperatures. Pizzeria Galileo is a casual pizza shop located in front of the Alcazaba that offers over 30 types of freshly baked pizzas and calzones.

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A beautiful home showcases the architecture in Merida | David's Been Here
Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

I also suggest visiting Briz, a tavern-style restaurant that has earned a reputation as one of the best Extremaduran restaurants in the region. Its menu offers exotic delicacies like bull testes and cow intestines in addition to other, less extreme dishes. It’s perfect for adventurous and picky eaters alike and is one of the main resons why Mérida is one of my top places in Spain.

Burgos: A gem in northern Spain

Burgos, located in northern Spain, is a city steeped in rich history and ancient remains. It’s famous for being the final resting place of El Cid. The national hero, El Cid conquered Valencia from Islamic forces. That alone makes it one of my top places in Spain to visit. Site-wise, I recommend visiting Puente de San Pablo, the Arch of Santa Maria, and Burgos Cathedral, which is a striking sight and impossible to miss in Santa Maria Plaza. The town of Vivar del Cid, dedicated to the national hero, is also worth a visit!

Burgos Cathedral makes Burgos one of the most striking places in Spain | David's Been Here
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The city is home to some popular local foods such as Queso de Burgos, Jamon Serrano, and Morcilla de Burgos. I love any type of blood sausage, but Morcilla de Burgos is on another level! It’s greasy and spicy, with the rich, earthy flavor you only get from iron-rich foods. If you’ve never had morcilla before, this is the place to try it!

Lugo: One of the best places in Spain for history lovers

Lugo, the capital city of the province of Lugo in Spain, is a vibrant hub of history, academia, and gastronomy. The city boasts the only completely intact Roman walls in the world, which were built over 2,000 years ago to protect the city of Lucus Augusti. They’re considered the finest example of late Roman fortifications in Western Europe by UNESCO. The old city within the walls is a blend of ancient and modern architecture, with narrow streets leading to charming squares.

A farm near Lugo, Spain | David's Been Here
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The city is renowned for its exquisite cuisine, with fresh ingredients from local farms and the Miño River. Foodies will love Lugo, while adventurous eaters can try lamprea, a blood-sucking fish that is a local delicacy. The old city also offers beautiful sights and unrivaled people-watching opportunities. The Roman walls make Lugo one of the top places in Spain for history enthusiasts!

Bilbao: A city of history and beauty

Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country in northern Spain. Of all the places in Spain in this article, it’s the one I’ve spent the least amount of time in, but it still left an impression on me. One of the city’s most popular attractions is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. It’s known for its striking architecture and impressive collection of contemporary art. Visitors should also explore the Old Town, Casco Viejo, which features narrow streets and historic architecture. Ribera Market is a fantastic place to people watch, eat, and drink.

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The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the architectural wonders of Bilbao, Spain | David's Been Here
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If you like live performances, check out the beautiful Arriaga Theater, which hosts a variety of performances throughout the year. To see the city from above, take a funicular to the top of Mount Artxanda for stunning views of the city and surrounding area. Bilbao is also famous for its Fosteritos, futuristic glass-and-steel awnings marking the entrances to local metro stops!

Ibiza: the party capital of Spain

Of course, I couldn’t write about the best places in Spain without mentioning Ibiza! This popular Mediterranean destination known for its beautiful beaches, ancient forts, quaint villages, and its world-famous nightlife and party scene. If you want to be there during party season, book a trip between May and October when temperatures are warm. During the low season, between November and April, temperatures, airfare, and hotel rates drop significantly, though.

Ibiza is one of the most beautiful places in Spain | David's Been Here
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The Playa d’en Bossa and San Antonio resorts are prime party hotspots, but you can find more family-friendly options at Talamanca and Santa Eulalia. Outside of its nightlife, visit the fortified old town of Dalt Vila and the imposing Torre des Savinar defense tower. Ibiza Cathedral and the small, charming towns nearby are also fine options!

A gorgeous lane in Ibiza | David's Been Here
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Nature lovers will enjoy Es Vedra nature reserve and Cala Comte beach. Punta d’es Moscarter offers a challenging cliff-top trek with absolutely stunning views. So, while Ibiza is known for its nightlife, it’s so much more than that!

BONUS: Mallorca

One of the most popular places in Spain to visit, Mallorca is a Mediterranean paradise. One of my favorite things to do is to explore the island’s rich history. Bellver Castle, the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, and the Royal Palace of La Almudaina are fantastic spots to dive into the island’s past.

Mallorca is one of the most popular travel destinations in Spain | David's Been Here
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Nature lovers can hike through the stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountain range or explore underground caves. Sunbathers and water enthusiasts will love picturesque beaches like CalĂł des Moro and Sa Calobra. They also offer other water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding.

A peaceful alleyway between buildings in Mallorca | David's Been Here
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Additionally, visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by trying its unique cuisine. Mallorca’s cuisine reflects its rich history blend of cultures. You’ll find Mediterranean and Spanish influences, along with a touch of Arab and African flavors. Anyone visiting Mallorca should try the sobrasada, ensaimada, pa amb oli, and tumbet. They’re all divine!

Visit the top places in Spain today

Spain is a land of wonder, where ancient history melds with modern culture. Dramatic architecture and its unique Mediterranean cuisine are highlights. And, of course, the generosity and friendliness of the Spanish people are top-notch.

Book a trip to Spain to visit the top places in Spain | David's Been Here

Because of my personal history with Spain, I am biased, but I truly believe it’s one of the most amazing destinations on the planet. It has everything you could possibly want, yet it offers so much more. Book a trip to experience the top places in Spain for yourself!

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