The sights of Spain are famous not only for hot bullfighting, inflammatory dances and luxurious beaches. The ancient age of this country has allowed it to form a rich original culture, which found its expression in the amazing architecture. What to see in Spain if you come here for the first time? Let’s get acquainted with the main sights of the country that cannot be passed by.
Before diving into the descriptions and photos of the main wonders, we advise you to decide how your vacation will be organized. When exploring the local beauties in the company of only friends and relatives, you will spend less money, but you will not learn about the history and traditions of the Spaniards. In turn, guides in Spain will allow you to join the culture and think of the route so that you can see the maximum number of monuments.
The museum is located on the Boulevard des Arts, a popular tourist route. Its valuable collection includes more than 8,500 paintings and about 700 sculptures. Built at the end of the 18th century, the building only became a museum during the reign of King Charles III’s grandson, Ferdinand VII. It was he who decided to found the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture. The first gallery opened in 1819 and exhibited 311 paintings.
In 1936 the museum was closed because of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The collection was moved to Switzerland. After the political situation was stabilized, the exhibition was returned to its original location.
Connoisseurs of art from different eras will find something to see in Spain, in particular, in the Prado Museum. It welcomes visitors with canvases of the great Spanish masters, including paintings by Goya and Velazquez. The Italian art school is represented here by works by Tintoretto, Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Veronese, Fra Angelico, Mantegna. And within the Flemish painting, the museum exhibits paintings by Vander Weyden, Peter Bruegel the elder, Hieronymus Bosch, Jacob Jordaens, and Peter Paul Rubens.
In the exposition you can see the masterpieces of masters from Great Britain, Holland, France and Germany.
Official website: https://www.museodelprado.es/en
The site of this Spanish landmark is listed as a UNESCO site. The Sagrada Familia, or Sagrada Familia, as it is also called, generates different feelings in tourists. The first associations evoke the memory of an ancient church building, but the strangeness of the construction suggests that it was created by an alien intelligence.
The creator of the original design of the temple is Antoni Gaudi. Do not know what to see in Spain to remember forever? Visit the Sagrada Familia. In Gaudi’s design, the temple was destined to be the Bible embodied in the architecture. Its magnificent facades were intended to symbolize the main phases of the life of Christ: the Birth, the Torments of Christ, the Resurrection.
Amazing acoustics in the temple is due to the ideal bell system, and the columns, approaching the vaults, form a fantastic likeness of intertwining tree branches.
Construction of the temple continues only through individual donations. Its fabulous splendor makes it Europe’s most popular monument.
Official website: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/
In this Spanish landmark, historians see a primitive counterpart to the Sistine Chapel. The walls of this unique 270-meter-long cave are decorated with petroglyphs. Seven corridors and a 6-meter-high hall cover these ancient paintings that tell the story of primitive life.
The cave was discovered by the young daughter of an archaeologist, a lover of ancient artifacts. Her attention was attracted by the huge bulls, painted on the ceiling with bright colors, and drawings covering the low cave vaults.
The most famous part of the rock painting is the plafond with a total drawing area of about 100 square meters. The drawings in the limestone cave depict different animals, faithfully conveying their habits and temperament. The smallest details in the form of eyes, hooves, protruding tongues strikes with concreteness and verisimilitude. The texture of animal hair, created by using different shades of paint, makes the images even more authentic.
Official website: http://en.museodealtamira.mcu.es/
The great architect Antonio Gaudi had his hand in creating yet another world-famous landmark in Spain. Parque Guell is not just a collection of greenery. On this site the gardens and residential areas are in harmony, an analogue of the “garden city” concept, which was fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century.
The construction of Huesby Güell was initiated by the architect, who chose the outskirts of Barcelona for the purpose. Gaudi, a talented architect who did not recognize monotony and straightforwardness, was invited. Gaudi diversified the architecture of the park, decorating it with a fantastic combination of colors and curves of lines, giving this object a sense of external harmony and naturalness.
What to visit in Spain for a sophisticated tourist? Park Guell! At the entrance to the park, tourists are greeted by a pair of gingerbread houses decorated with bright ceramics. All the pavilions of the park look like big cake decorations, but look very realistic. Painted animals are frozen in the stairwells.
Every object in the park breathes life. The columns propping up the walkway gallery could easily be mistaken for trees, so gracefully and subtly curved. Balancing on the edge of the fictional and the real, the park strikes a chord with tourists.
Official website: https://www.parkguell.cat/en/
Some sights in Spain have a touch of futurism. Such objects include the Colomares Castle, located in a small resort town. It is called a legend carved in stone and vividly recounting the discovery of America. Built in 1994 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the event, it impresses tourists with its mix of styles, creating a resemblance to lace weaving.
Along with a part of a replica of Columbus’ ship protruding from the wall, three other ships that accompanied the navigator’s expedition - the Nina, the Santa Maria and the Pinta - are set in stone.
On the territory of the castle you can find the smallest chapel in the world with an area of less than 2 square meters. Concrete, brick, stone, glass and wood were used in the creation of the castle objects. The architecture of the towers, palace and fountains symbolizes the events that played an important role in the history of Spain.
What to see in Spain to explore the architectural styles of different eras? Of course the Alcazar of the Christian Kings, which is a worthy part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Thanks to its magnificent gardens, its impregnable citadel, its ancient Mudejar architecture and its rich history, it is the second royal residence in the world, after that of Seville.
Time has not spared many of Spain’s landmarks. However, despite numerous restorations the Alcazar appears today in its former glory. The main tower and the Lion’s Tower are still intact and are still standing on the main facade. The Tower of the Inquisition (the highest one here) was added in the 15th century and the Pigeon Tower was reconstructed in the 20th century.
According to the principles of Arabic architecture, the palace has the shape of an almost regular square. Symbolizing the victory of the Christian religion over the Muslim, the palace has signs of European Gothic. The Tower of Respect, for example, with its carved floral ornaments and soaring vaults, contains elements of French architecture.
In the palace you can see collections of ancient objects: carpets, tapestries, antique furniture, paintings. Exhibitions, ceremonies and presentations are held here.
Gardens of Alcazar are the work of art, spread on the area of about 55 thousand sq. m. The territory is decorated with flowerbeds, fountains, artificial ponds, statues of Spanish monarchs.
There is something to visit in Spain and connoisseurs of authentic Spanish wines. Rioja region in northern Spain is famous for its vineyards. The wines produced here are notable for their full-bodied and bright flavor. Due to the unique composition of soil and microclimate each area has its own type of wines.
What attracts tourists here? A sea of vineyards with wineries, excellent gastronomy, the hospitality of the locals and the opportunity to taste great drinks. The number and level of wineries varies. There are both traditional and the most modern, owned by large firms and small family-owned, compact and huge.
If you want to get acquainted with the technology of wine production, guides be sure to offer a tour of La Rioja. In addition to visiting the wineries, you can visit a number of restaurants, wine spas, spend the night in a cozy hotel. When visiting the wine capital of La Rioja, the fortress of Laguardia, it is worth seeing the museum of wine culture with an exhibition of wine related items.
This gem of the Middle Ages sits high above sea level, at 956 meters. If you don’t know what to see in Spain, try to get to the old Spanish city on a cliff surrounded by deep gorges.
The territory of the city is divided into two districts. The new town is separated from the historic center of the river Huekar. The old spirit of the Middle Ages is especially felt in the old part. On the central square is the Gothic cathedral. Once there, it is worth visiting the art museum of Tesoro-Catedralicio with its collection of paintings by El Greco.
In the Old Town there is the watchtower of Manana, the remains of a ruined fortress wall once erected by the Moors. The ancient convent offers tourists to visit the Science Museum located there. The Museum of History tells about the interesting fate of the city.
The symbol of Cuenca are the “hanging houses”, “glued” to the Gothic cathedral from the south side. It is also worth visiting the House of the Mermaid, the Royal Houses, and St. Julian’s Park.
Spain has famous landmarks in its most remote corners. One of the first national parks, the Reserve of Ordesa y Monte Perdido, is still considered the most beautiful in the country.
The park of Ordesa was created in 1918, and in 1977 it was merged with the park of Monte Perdido. Of all the parks that make up the natural complex of the Pyrenees, this park is considered the most striking.
The main attraction of the park is the canyon of Ordesa. It impresses with huge rocks overhanging both sides of the mountain path. At the bottom of the canyon flows a river of the same name. Its waters are replenished by streams flowing down the slopes. The lower part of the park is represented by a dense forest, in which you can meet many representatives of the forest fauna.
There are many waterfalls that cascade one after another. Among them, the most powerful is perhaps the Cola de Caballo waterfall, from which the Ordesa River begins. Cows graze in the park’s vast meadows and there are thick poplar and beech forests in the foothills.
It is difficult to describe the beauty of the park in words. This splendor of nature reigning here should be seen at least once!
Europe is rich in beach resorts, among which the Spanish resort of Ibiza is especially popular. Tourists rush to this sunny island in the Mediterranean Sea, which is part of the Balearic archipelago, waiting for the sea and round-the-clock fun.
The main part of holidaymakers - young people. For them the island has a network of nightclubs with regular show programs. The main city of Ibiza with the same name is known for its excellent infrastructure, a pleasant welcoming atmosphere and is designed for the most demanding tourists.
The old part of town is surrounded by an ancient fortress wall. Strolling through the winding streets, you can visit souvenir stores, unpretentious cafes or good restaurants. Young people tend to the old fishing district, which is the center of nightlife. There are two promenades with a mass of entertainment venues at the disposal of vacationers.
The island impresses with its nature, which makes even the hot months comfortable, thanks to the sea breeze.
Official site: http://www.ibiza.travel
In terms of popularity excursions in Spain to Barcelona are leading, but that doesn’t mean that you should limit yourself to this city (although it’s definitely worth going there for a day or two!), because there are quite a few other stunning places. Now you’ll know where you can go during your holiday in Spanish resorts.
For those interested in the religious attractions of Spain, Santiago de Compostelo is worth a visit. After Jerusalem and Rome, it is considered the third center of Christianity.
As you enter the city tourists are greeted by a huge figure of a pilgrim made of bronze. It seems that he is looking at the building of the cathedral, surrounded by multi-storey monasteries. The building was built in the Baroque-Neoclassical style and has four different facades of amazing beauty. Built in the shape of a cross 75X57, it has an ornate altar with a wooden figure of St. James on a pedestal. Pilgrims are allowed, upon climbing the pedestal, to kiss this figure on the shoulder or touch it with their hand.
In the city center, you can watch strolling mime artists and listen to the music of student orchestras. Art lovers should visit the Museo Pobo Gallego with an excellent ethnographic exhibit.
This religious city does not stop developing, offering tourists a perfect communication infrastructure.
Thanks to its historical importance and unique atmosphere, the city of Segovia has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The tiny province of Segovia neighbors Madrid. Its ancient streets are filled with the echoes of a mixed era - Visigothic, Arabic, Spanish and Roman.
Once here, tourists immediately go to the most famous place - the Roman aqueduct. It was built from 20400 granite blocks without using cement. It consists of 166 arches and has a length of 18 km.
You can also visit the Gothic Cathedral of Segovia and the Alcazar fortress which has had the chance to be the residence of the King of Castile, a military fortification, a state prison and an artillery school. The city has many cathedrals and fortresses, which you can see while strolling through the city.
What to visit in Spain for beach lovers? The picturesque resort of the Costa Brava is famous for its sandy beaches, shielded from the sea winds by powerful cliffs with slopes densely overgrown with olive and pine groves.
Nature has created a true paradise here. The coastline is generously indented with small coves and the economic unattractiveness of the area has left untouched pristine landscapes, preventing the establishment of ports and marinas. The resort has many cozy little towns that are smoothly laid out one after the other.
Each small town has something to offer: in Lloret de Mar you can visit theatrical shows in a medieval castle, in Tossa de Mar you can visit a museum with works of Marc Chagall, and Cadaques can boast an art center “Perrault-Mura” with works of Salvador Dali, in Pubol you must see the castle of Dali. In Blanes you can visit an ancient church, the San Juan Castle and the Botanical Gardens, while in Palafrugell you can visit the Corkwood Museum. Each of the towns of the resort has its own history and traditions.
The significance of this attraction in Spain lies in the uniqueness of its cultures and eras. The ancient capital of the country has preserved its original appearance even today.
Among its famous masterpieces of world significance is the Cathedral. Its construction, which lasted for three centuries, had the hand of many nationalities. Three-meter tower in the center of the cathedral is made of gold and silver. The walls of the cathedral decorate the originals of Goya, Rubens, Raphael, Titian and other internationally renowned artists.
Above the city towers the Arab fortress of Alcazar, the walls of which now house the Museum of the Armed Forces.
The huge Gothic-style San Martín bridge is a remarkable site. It is protected on both sides by powerful towers and consists of five arched spans.
The building of the Tavera Hospital, in Renaissance style, also attracts tourists. Inside the hospital there is a museum with works by El Greco, Zurbaran, Tintoretto and Ribera.
An hour’s drive from Madrid brings you to the monastery and ancient palace of the Escorial, which immediately stuns you with its imposing appearance. Escorial is a major museum and architectural treasure.
It has 9 towers, 13 chapels, 15 galleries, 16 patios and 300 cells on an area of 208x162 meters. There are 86 stairs, 1200 doors and 2673 windows. One of the two museums here contains exhibits relating to its construction. The second museum is a world-class art gallery and keeps works by Titian, Bosch, Veronese, and El Greco.
The walls of the palace are decorated with carpets woven from sketches by Rubens and Goya. On the territory of the courtyards there are more than 200 statues. In the treasury you can see a collection of silver and gold items with precious stones. The most outstanding exhibit is the unique Gospel with solid gold pages.
The library of the palace is second only to the Vatican library. Books are stored with their spines inside to keep them longer. Remarkable is the painting of the ceiling, symbolizing the seven sciences, and of the end walls, devoted to theology and philosophy.
To cover the sights of Spain in a week, travelers should plan their itinerary in advance based on this overview. Here’s the Cathedral of Our Lady of Burgos, an enchanting architectural creation with a lacy Gothic facade. Construction of this masterpiece began back in the 13th century on the site where a Romanesque cathedral once stood, and it wasn’t until the mid-16th century that it was finally completed. The interior of the cathedral is grandiose, with abundant stone carvings, gilded decorations, stone sculptures, and other treasures. In the courtyard in front of the cathedral there are two beautiful medieval fountains and a sculpture - a monument to the pilgrim, dedicated to all wandering through the holy places.
If we take the best architectural landmarks in Spain as an example, Barcelona, Seville and Cordoba are at the top of the list of Spanish cities with a rich historical heritage. In Seville the square, built just over a century ago especially for the Ibero-American Exhibition, is noteworthy. It was decorated like antiquity in beautiful Mudejar style with plenty of elements of openwork blue and white paintings. Today the square has become a popular stroll place for Seville residents and visitors. The square is in the shape of an oval framed by the waters of a canal, which can also be used for boat rides. From the oval islet of the square there are 4 bridges across the canal leading to the surrounding buildings - these very buildings served as exhibition pavilions during the exhibition.
Official website: https://www.visitasevilla
When it is necessary to cite evidence of the nation’s former greatness and to mention the historical sites of Spain, Madrid is the first city that deserves attention. It is here that one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Europe is located. The Royal Palace was built in the 18th century and since then, until recently, it was the residence of the Spanish royal family, and later it was used only for official ceremonies, receptions and other celebrations. The rich Baroque interiors of the palace halls are impressive, housing some of the rarest and most valuable works of art. Nowadays, the palace is open to visitors, and you can see many interesting things in it, such as visiting the royal library, the Armory, the royal kitchens, walking up the grand staircase or taking a peek into the palace’s magnificent halls.
Official website: https://www.patrimonionacional
Spanish beaches have already become a national symbol of the country, and along with such popular Spanish resorts as Malaga on the Costa del Sol or Cadiz in the Costa de la Luz, the city of San Sebastian in the Basque Country is one of the fashionable resorts. The city’s main beach, La Concha, is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in Europe. It stretches along the coast of the bay of the same name for about 1.5 kilometers. The shape of the beach resembles a giant seashell, and from any point it offers beautiful views of the beautiful places on its opposite side. The very fine white sand and the very gentle entrance to the sea create ideal conditions for relaxing under the warm Spanish sun. In addition to swimming, there are a variety of sports, including beach soccer, surfing and windsurfing.
Granada is the heart of southern Spain, a beautiful city at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, over 700 meters above the sea. One of the most important architectural creations of the city is the Alhambra palace complex, an ancient construction of the rulers of the Emirate of Granada, a priceless monument of Moorish architecture. Surrounded by mountains and amidst landscaped gardens, this complex began to be built in the middle of the 13th century. Its main entrance is the Gate of Justice in the form of a mighty vaulted arch. The entrance is followed by the Wine Gate, the view of the Piazza de los Algibes and the entrance to the palace. One of the courtyards of the castle, the Myrtle courtyard, still retains its solemn appearance to this day. Within the walls of the Alhambara grow magnificent gardens, and around the walls stretches a picturesque park called the Forest of the Alhambra.
Official website: http://www.alhambra-patronato
Wondering what to see in Spain in a week, be sure to include the city of Cordoba in your itinerary. After all, the incredible Cathedral of Cordoba, which at the time of the Caliphate of Cordoba was the largest mosque in the Islamic world, is really worth seeing. It covers a huge area - 175 meters in length and 128 in width, and you can see it in its entirety only from a distance. Once you get to the narrow streets surrounding the mosque, you can only be amazed by the size and monumentality of the construction. It is noteworthy that in the heart of the mosque, replete with elements of fine Arabic ligature, is the Christian Cathedral. Thus, in the course of its history, going from the mosque of the Caliphate of Cordoba to the cathedral of Christian Cordoba, this landmark, like an aged wine, has only acquired its unique “taste”.
Official website: https://mezquita-catedral
When choosing what to see in Spain in the spring, it’s ideal to opt for Seville. It’s a city for all seasons, but spring is a time of significant religious and national celebrations. This is a time to witness both the mournful processions of Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the solemn events of the April Fair, which celebrates all that the nation holds dear. Exploring the sights of Spain on a map, you can also see that Seville is home to an important historical site, the luxurious palaces of the Alcazar of Seville. Several cultures and eras have left their mark on the architecture of this complex, but despite this, it surprises with its integrity and filigree Mudejar-style ornaments. Most of the buildings were erected in the 14th century, and some of them are the best surviving examples of Mudéjar architecture, while others have a contrasting Gothic style.
Official website: https://www.alcazarsevilla
Spain can be done on a different route, for example, covering the attractions of both Italy and Spain in one trip by flying to the Italian coast from Madrid, Alicante, or Barcelona. Or arrange a vacation in the Canary Islands, taking a ferry there from the mainland. Moreover, on the remote volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean is a beautiful warm climate and beautiful nature - for example, there are four very different content of national parks, included in the list of World Heritage. Tenerife, the largest of the islands of the archipelago, has the best seaside resorts with wide sandy beaches, and you can also climb the highest peak of Spain - Mount Teide over 3700 meters.
As we continue our review of the Canary Islands, it doesn’t hurt to mention one fascinating place on the island of Tenerife. It is the largest amusement park, Loro Parque, which should be given the status of the best attraction in Spain for children. This place of a serene family vacation combined a zoo, dolphinarium, penguinarium, botanical garden, Aquarium, children’s entertainment areas, various shows and a lot more interesting things. The park has restaurants, cafes and even hotels, so many people come here for several days at a time - the park is truly enormous, and to visit everything, one day is not enough. It occupies more than 13 hectares, and once in the 70s everything started with 1.3 hectares and a small collection of 150 species of parrots. Now the collection of these colorful birds has grown to 4,000 species and is the largest in the world.
Official website: https://www.loroparque
The natural attractions of Spain, the presentation of which is bound to end with something interesting and unusual, can surprise with an edge of sand dunes, like in a real desert. These are the dunes of Maspalomas on one of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria. These natural creations look almost alive - their outlines are constantly changing under the influence of the wind. The dunes are part of the Maspalomas Nature Reserve, a thousand hectares of which comprise two ecosystems, the sand dunes and the lagoon. The area is protected by a mountain range and enjoys dry, warm weather all year round. Therefore, you can perfectly relax on the local beaches, the more so that the areas here are equipped for comfortable rest - there are bungalows, hotels, stores and restaurants. Spain’s neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula is Portugal - a country of seafarers and pioneers. Be sure to visit this country if you are already in Spain. Read about sights of Portugal and get inspired for your next trip to Europe!