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20 best things to do in Spain on your next trip

young woman in front of arco de triunfo, barcelona, spain

It’s the time of year where we stare out the window and daydream about the sun-drenched adventures we’re going to have this year. And what better destination to give us the wanderlust than Spain?

From dancing and eating paella, to enjoying a glass of wine (or two) and plates of tapas till late into the night, or just discovering its amazing architecture, Spain has a never-ending pool of attractions for even the most seasoned traveler. If it’s your first time visiting this gorgeous country, here are our top picks for the best things to do in Spain:

1. See a flamenco show

For a truly authentic, rich cultural experience, seeing a flamenco show is one of the best things you can do in Spain. This traditional style of Spanish folk music dates back to 500 years ago and has a seductive quality to it through its dancing, guitar playing, and hand clapping. You can catch a flamenco show daily in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Granada, and many more.

flamenco show, spain

Image source:JP Files

2. Admire Barcelona’s beautiful architecture

No trip to Spain would be complete without a day in Barcelona! You’ll have the chance to discover Gaudi’s unique architectural style and find out what makes this city so charming.

You can admire Antoni Gaudi’s famous Catalan Modernist designs all around the city but his most famous work of art is La Sagrada Familia, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Though he died before he could finish it, the church remains an important testament to Gaudi’s vision; it’s rich in religious symbolism and discordant geometric forms.

Other famous Gaudi works you can check out in Barca include: 

young female traveler admiring the view in barcelona

Image source:Ken Cheung

3. Take a walk along the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, where the remains of the Apostle Saint James the Great are said to be buried.

Many routes take pilgrims to this sacred place. Still, the most famous one is the Camino Frances which is 800km long and takes about 5 weeks to complete by foot.

In 2019, visitors from 190 countries came to Santiago de Compostela – some for religious reasons, others for the extraordinary challenge it entails.

4. Visit the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Located in Northern Spain, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. While the museum houses an exhibition of 250 works of art, what’s most impressive is the building’s architectural style of Deconstructivism. It’s hailed as a 20th century masterpiece.

5. Eat paella

Regardless of whether you’re a foodie or not, this famous Valencian rice dish will bring new flavours to your Spanish vacation. It’s so popular, in fact, that many foreign tourists incorrectly consider it Spain’s national dish (it belongs to Valencia).

While there are many different types of paella, the traditional one is made of round grain rice, green beans, rabbit, chicken, and butter beans.


Image source:Annie Spratt

6. Experience La Tomatina

One of the most exciting tourist attractions in Spain, La Tomatina is a food fight festival held each year in the Valencian town of Bunol, where participants throw tomatoes at each other – all for entertainment purposes, can you believe. 

Dating back as far as 1944, this event attracts people from all over the world who come together to enjoy a bit of fruity fun in a (very!) unique and memorable way. 

la tomatina, spain

Image source:Wikimedia

7. Visit Seville

Seville is one of the most beautiful cities in southern Spain and the capital of Andalusia. It’s widely known for its appealing flamenco shows, delicious cuisine, and Mudejar, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. Some of its most important points of attraction include: 

seville, spain

Image source:Contiki

8. Go hiking in the Sierra Nevada National Park

If you’re an outdoor lover, one of the best things to do in Spain is go hiking in the Sierra Nevada National Park. Spanning an area of more than 850 square kilometers, it includes the second highest mountain range in Europe. The breathtaking landscape includes pine forests, river valleys and spectacular views over the countryside and Granada.

sierra nevada, spain

Image source:Ashim D’Silva

9. Eat at the world’s oldest restaurant

Sobrino de Botín can be found in the centre of Madrid and has been welcoming guests since 1725. That makes it officially the oldest restaurant in the world. It famously served Mozart and Clint Eastwood, and it’s been mentioned in an Ernest Hemingway novel so we reckon it’s got to be one of the best things to do in Spain as a tourist…

Other interesting facts: The name Sobrino comes from the Spanish word for nephew. It’s also said that the flame in the oven has been burning continuously since the restaurant first opened.

restaurant botin

Image source:Wikimedia

10. Visit Museo del Prado

The Prado Museum (or Museo Nacional del Prado) is Spain’s national art museum and can be found in central Madrid. Its collections reflect the history of Spain and they’ve played a crucial role in the evolution of art history, by rediscovering emblematic figures such as Velazquez or El Greco.

Some of the masterpieces that can be seen there are Goya’s 14 Black Paintings, Caravaggio’s David with Head of Goliath, and Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.

museo del prado, spain

Image source:Wikimedia

11. Visit Canary Islands

This Spanish archipelago off the coast of Northwestern Africa boasts haunting volcanoes, sandy coves, and stunning beach resorts

There are plenty of activities to fill your days, such as dolphin watching, visiting the Timanfaya National Park, sailing or hiking.

canary islands, spain

Image source:Unsplash

12. Discover El Caminito del Rey

This unique pathway is located near Ardales in the province of Malaga, Spain, and was once the world’s most dangerous footpath, having been closed for over a decade. Now travelers can safely and easily complete the 3 km hike and enjoy the gorgeous landscape that comes with it.

el caminito del rey, spain

Image source:Dani Guitarra

13. Go on a weekend break to Madrid

Madrid is one of those cities you have to experience at least once because of its gorgeous weather, delicious tapas, great shopping and vibrant nightlife. If you’re looking for more cultural and local activities, some of the main things you can do in Madrid are: 

Who doesn’t love a delicious glass of wine? La Rioja is known for producing Spain’s finest red wines, and for blending tradition and innovation in its design and gastronomy.

The best time to visit is during the Rioja Wine Harvest Festival, which usually takes place in the 3rd week of September in Logrono. It’s a week-long celebration of fun involving parades, dancing and fireworks.

15. Visit the Alhambra

Originally designed as a military zone, the Alhambra became the royal residence and court of Granada in the mid 13th century.

The name comes from Arabic and signifies ‘red castle’ or ‘vermilion’, due to the color of the tower walls, which in the light of sun catches a golden tone.

alhambra, granada

Image source:Dimitry B

16. Conquer the Picos de Europa

The country’s most underrated tourist attraction, this mountain range sits in northern Spain and extends about 20km. If you’re a photography enthusiast or just the outdoorsy type, the Picos de Europa National Park will enchant you with its dramatic scenery and some of the best hiking routes in Spain.

picos de europa, spain

Image source:Hayden Walker

17. Visit the World Heritage City of Salamanca

If you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely want to add the following UNESCO World Heritage site to your bucket list. The Old City of Salamanca is one of the oldest university towns in Europe, located north-west of Madrid, and first conquered by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century. Salamanca’s historic centre still has a significant number of Baroque, Gothic, Romanesque, Moorish and Renaissance monuments, which bring an important number of tourists here each year.

old city of salamanca

Image source:Wikimedia

18. Discover the Archaeological Ensemble of Merida

Immerse yourself in history for the day. Here, you’ll find the remains of many public buildings which were trademarks in one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. The well-preserved remains include an amphitheater, a large bridge over the Guadiana, a vast circus, and an intricate water supply system.



Image source:Wikimedia

19. Celebrate LGBTIQA+ pride

Spain is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, as demonstrated by the wide range of different LGBTIQA+ festivals and activities here. These events are full of colour, are usually held outdoors, include interesting cultural options, and most important of all, everyone is there to have a good time.

Madrid Pride (MADO) is celebrated in the Chueca district during LGBTIQA+ Pride Week. The festival is held alongside the largest demonstration in Europe, which takes place on the first Saturday of July. It’s a unique opportunity to celebrate Pride in Madrid. Be sure to check out Contiki’s Spain Pride Trip, which parties at 2 Pride parades in Barcelona & Madrid.

Pride Parade

Image source:Mercedes Mehling

20. Soak up the sun in Ibiza

With over 5,000 miles of coastline, Spain has some of the most beautiful and diverse beaches in the world, so there are loads of great options when it comes to catching some rays. For this list, we’ve chosen Ibiza, and the reasons are obvious: 


Image source:Michael Tomlinson

That concludes our list of favorite things to do in Spain, which of course is just a small pool of options for such a rich and diverse country. In reality, there are hundreds of attractions captivating tourists here each year. What are your top picks? Drop us a comment below and let us know what your favorite landmarks or activities are when visiting Spain.

In partnership with Turespaña

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