Top Spain Experiences

Viewing Antonio Gaudi’s fanciful and enormously ambitious church of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, still a work in progress almost 90 years after the architect’s death.

Swimming in the warm waters of the Mediterranean sea off one of Spain’s alluring islands of Mallorca, Ibiza or Formentera.

Staring, amazed, at the detailed tile work in Granada’s 14th-century Moorish palace, the Alhambra.

Staying in a parador, one of the government inns converted from former castles, monasteries, and other atmospheric buildings.

Making the rounds of the tapas bars in Madrid, downing a complimentary olive there, a slice of roasted potato there, and perhaps splurging on a grilled prawn or two.

Throwing tomatoes at strangers in Valencia’s famous La Tomatina, a 40,000-person tomato fight held each August.

Admiring the Old Masters in Madrid’s Prado Museum and Picasso’s masterwork Guernica in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

Taking in a flamenco show at a club in Seville where you know the dancing is authentic.

Joining the pre-dinner crowds along Las Ramblas in Barcelona as they enjoy their evening paseo, while passing chic sidewalk cafes and lively street entertainers.

Marveling at the formal gardens and fountains in Seville’s Royal Alcazar Palace.

Spending an art-filled day in Toledo, home of the painter El Greco and a medieval masterpiece of a city.

Walking at least part of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, an ages-old, now newly popular pilgrimage route.

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Top Spain Attractions

Barcelona

Granada

Seville

Madrid

Toledo

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Must See Spain Attractions

1. The Alhambra

One of the must see sites in Spain is a jaw dropping fortress in Granada, one of the few remaining islamic monuments in Spain. As a part of the UNESCO world heritage site, a visit to the Alhambra is a quintessential cultural experience to learn deeper about Spain’s Moorish history through the intricate islamic architecture, marble fountains, colorful Arabic tiles and more.

This stunning and historic site has more than 6,000 visitors everyday, so if you plan on taking a trip to see it, we would advise buying a ticket online as soon as possible. The Alhambra is enormous, so we also recommend spending at least a full day exploring it to truly get the full, immersive experience.

2. La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is a landmark that absolutely cannot be missed when you visit Barcelona. Beautiful, tall and mosaic-like, the catholic church is one of the most extravagant and artistic buildings ever created, made by the famous Antoni Gaudi who worked on this piece for 40 years until his death. Also a part of the UNESCO world heritage site, visiting this beautiful church is similarly a very cultural experience as you can expect to see many catholic stone structures, carvings and statues.

Due to its religious and artistic nature, it would be worthwhile to book a tour to the Sagrada Familia to understand all the meanings and tiny details of the structure. Considering its popularity, we advise not only to book tickets online at least a week in advance to avoid the long queue, but also to visit during sunset to see a spectacular kaleidoscope of golden light through the stained windows.

3. Mezquita

The Great Mosque is the gem of Cordoba and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. This is another muslim heritage site but is currently a working Roman Catholic church with long hours dedicated to tourism.

It stands as one of the top attractions in Andalucia with notable beauty such as the incredible ribbed domes and the polychromy of red and white bricks arched on the ceilings that make you feel like you might have traveled back in time. Be sure to note that tickets are only available onsight and admission is free in the early mornings!

4. The Canary Islands

This is one of those destinations with surreal views of nature that would be a shame to miss. The dramatic volcanic landscape mixed with the spread of pristine beaches is something hard to beat.

The Canary Islands are sunny all year round with activities that range from water sports to hiking to discovering natural pools and finding a treasure of sea life that would make your trip to Spain the most memorable yet. An honorable mention is the island of La Palma, a UNESCO biosphere reserve for its wealth of rainforests and volcanic scenery.

5. Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands caters to every type of explorer out there, which is why it remains for years as one of the top places to visit in Spain. Comprised of four main islands, from largest to smallest, is Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Each island boasts completely unique styles from each other, from the party scene of ibiza to the relaxed and hippy atmosphere of Formentera, from the historic and cosmopolitan vibe of Mallorca to the serene and simplicity of Menorca.

Make sure you know what kind of vacation you want before choosing the island you stay in! It is also important to note that locals do not speak spanish but rather Catalan and other smaller dialects.

6. The Spanish Pyrenees

The Pyrenees, whisked away in the countryside, is a adventurer’s dream and quickly becoming the most popular hotspot for travelers that love to be immersed in complete and utter stoicness of nature’s beauty. Whether it is paddling through the deep turquoise Congost de Mont-Rebei Gorge, exploring the ancient villages in the Pyrenees foothills or fishing in over 50 different mountain lakes and 14 different rivers, a visit to the Pyrenees, only a 4 hour drive from Barcelona, is one of those gems that many visitors miss in the midst of exploring city life.

7. Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

There are many reasons thousands of tourist fly across the world to see the Cathedral of Galicia. The stunning gothic, roman Catholic Church is an architecture site worth the travel, and is the last destination of the Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage that is both exciting, resonating and emotional to watch.

The experience of the cathedral could take a few hours as it is one of the most intricate buildings in the country and does demand your full attention. Also be sure to explore the old town of Santiago de Compostela, a compact town rich with history and culture.  Unlike many spots in Spain, this one is not sunny year round and the best time to visit is July to catch the Feast of Santiago with a spectacular firework show.

8. La Concha Beach

Although Spain is home to a lot of gorgeous beaches, La Concha is one of Spain’s most beautiful. It is one of the top tourist spots in San Sebastian and the most scenic as it is enveloped carefully amongst mountains that protect the beach from strong winds and high waves. Come here to surf, paddle, sail or walk across the white sand promenade for one of the best travel experiences if you’re looking to relax, eat delicious seafood and sunbathe.

It is important to note that this city has a huge foodie scene, and to miss out on trying the pintxos bars (their region’s tapas) or michelin star restaurants would be missing out on a huge part of the travel experience in San Sebastian. 

9. Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor isn’t known as the most famous square of Madrid for nothing. Explore the market, stores, cobbled streets and cafes around the Plaza. From the Plaza you can also do a bunch of things that showcase Madrid’s beauty, such as walking a minute towards el Mercado de San Miguel for a spread of traditional tapas and drinks, explore el Calle Cava Baja, one of the coolest and bustling streets of Spain or Madrid Palace and its many manicured gardens.

10. The White Towns of Andalusia

Los Pueblos Blancos, translated as the white towns, are one of the Spanish gems found off the beaten path. After taking in all the touristy cities and monuments that Spain offers, the white towns give a refreshing contrast of relaxation, antiquiness and simplicity. The quaint, hilltop houses are unique in their white washed color and represent a Moorish remnants of north african influences in Spain.

Here there are beaches, villages, cave dwellings, prehistoric caves and much more to explore, making this perhaps the best place to visit in the Andalusia region. You can drive from Seville to the white towns, or you can be part of the many tour groups that Andalusia offers.

1,679
Spain Tour Reviews - Summary
92% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 1,064 Great 465 Average 109 Disappointing 30 Terrible 11
Value
4.5 Guide
4.5 Activities
4.5 Lodging
4.5 Transportation
4.5 Meals
4.5

A

Recommends

Emotionally it is a significant experience, a tie back to 1000 years of history and the establishment of Christianity in Spain September 2016

4.0

Walk the Camino de Santiago

Emotionally it is a significant experience, a tie back to 1000 years of history and the establishment of Christianity in Spain

Operator G Adventures

A

Recommends

Discover Andalucia August 2016

4.0

Authentic Andalucia

This was our third exodus trip and up to our expectations. You get a great feel for Andalucia with the just the right mix of sightseeing a bit of walking and a good hotel to relax in. As usual the organisation was excellent
Our favourite day was our free day spent in Ronda. Our group leader arranged a taxi to the railway station. Ronda is 35 mins and the next stop down the line and in my opinion really worth visiting, the gorge is spectacular band the old town is compact and close to the station. Eating lunch in a restaurant overlooking the old bridge was spectacular.

Alexsi was excellent and really help make the holiday

Its a good idea to take an additional bag suitable for packing overnight stuff for Seville and Granada.Our room

Our room was clean and comfortable but I thought the days of a small shower tray surrounded by a clammy cold shower curtain was over and the storage space was a bit mean for two people especially when there was a locked wardrobe in the room (we were told this was for hotel supplies)
Also on arrival the meal provided was very basic. The catering in the rest of the week was much better

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Operator Exodus Travels

AH

Recommends

Very much enjoyed this escorted vacation with my wife. July 2016

4.0

The Best of Spain

*Nice hotels, *good meals, *great bus, *very well organized, *excellent, knowledgable, interesting tour guide (Roberto Barrantes),and *the price was a bargain. While I'm sure others in our group were happy to get some time on their own, we would've preferred additional escorted touring, or more escorted excursion options. We'd recommend this company for the Best of Spain trip and heard from our travel companions that this was their second or third trip with SmarTours. Read more

Operator SmarTours

R

Recommends

I like small group adventure travel and September 2015

4.0

Marrakech to Barcelona

I like small group adventure travel and meeting like minded people

Operator Intrepid Travel

S

Does Not Recommend

Good itinerary, not so good tour director July 2018

3.0

Lisbon & Northern Spain

Although I enjoyed the itinerary, we often had issues with our tour director. He was nice sometimes, but other times “snapped” at guests and argued with them. He repeatedly left us with a local guide and twice people were left behind and had to find their way back to the hotel on their own. He spoke to me very disrespectfully twice, and when he left us with a local guide she left 3 of us behind (two of us were helping an elderly woman on our tour and she couldn’t walk very well). He blamed it on us. Can you imagine what would have happened had we not helped her? Also, we started to make an email list at the end of the trip and when he saw us doing that he said not to worry, that he would send everyone an email list after the trip. One wee, no list, two weeks, nothing. He didn’t give us his email address so I texted him. He said he would send it. A week later I got an email from him saying that it was a new company policy that, even with our written permission, he was not allowed to share them. I have pictures of other people that they asked me to take, and no way to contact them. Globus reps said they had no such policy. Sooo frustrating! Read more

Operator Globus

M

Does Not Recommend

Northern Spain August 2017

3.0

Northern Spain Summer 18

As mentioned before, the trip to the Altamira Caves was misrepresented and disappointing. All the others were very enjoyable.

Operator Trafalgar

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