There’s something about Spain that makes it a popular destination. The sheer diversity across the country, glamorous coastline, medieval landmarks, and divine Mediterranean food, Spain definitely is too beautiful to resist. There simply are a lot of places to visit in Spain that opens up a new dimension when it comes to culture.
Spain is a beautiful country in the Iberian Peninsula, with 17 autonomous regions with a diverse culture and rich history. This country houses the works of famous artists like Picasso, Goya, and Velázquez.
Along with the bustling cities, scenic countryside, and vibrant culture, the beauty of Spain lies in its remarkable history that never fails to amuse travelers. The country has a number of cultural heritage sites protected by UNESCO, and more cultural feasts that bring together people from different parts of the globe.
More than the jam-packed tourist spots, there are more underrated and unique places to visit in Spain. Some of the country’s hidden gems can be found outside of the capital city.
Transportation: Getting To and Around Spain
Madrid is the gateway to Spain, but there are a number of airlines that offer direct flights to other major cities like Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Seville, and others.
For tourists coming from Asia or the Americas, landing to the Madrid Barajas Airport is recommended to access the metropolis. Barajas Airport is approximately 15 miles from the city center, which makes it a gateway to the country. Other major airports are Barcelona Airport and Palma de Mallorca Airport.
Because Spain is huge, getting around is possible with the help of public transportation systems such as long-distance trains, ferries, intercity buses, taxi, private car, or via air. There are high-speed trains that help travelers cross major cities within a few hours.
For a budget-friendly option, tourists can ride the bus and reach more than 200 cities and towns. Spain’s bus network is vast, efficient, and safe, therefore, travelers can visit famous places in Spain by riding overnight or day trips.
The usual suspects in visiting Spain include Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, or probably Valencia. However, the country is brimming with beautiful and lesser-known destinations travelers shouldn’t pass on. For tourists planning to visit Spain, make sure to include these underrated destinations to the itinerary.
Top 10 BEST Places to Visit in Spain
1. La Alhambra Palace, Granada
There’s something magical about La Alhambra Palace that makes it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the southern part of Spain, in the province of Granada, the 900-year-old fortress complex once housed the Muslim kings.
La Alhambra is a citadel known for its reddish walls and intricate architecture. Because of its rich history and beautiful remains, the palace was considered a tourist spot in Granada. There are guided tours for travelers who want to explore the breathtaking sights and interiors of the La Alhambra Palace.
Fun fact: This site was one of the film locations for a Korean television show Memories of the Alhambra (2018).
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Ganada
2. The Roman Bridge, Cordoba
Never leave Cordoba without visiting The Roman Bridge. It is the longest existing Roman bridge in the world, around 790 meters in length and the entryway to the old city. The bridge sits over the Guadiana River and built by skilled workmen in 140 BC.
Besides its age, The Roman Bridge is one of the places of interest in Spain because it is among the longest-standing pointed arch bridges in the world. Made of stone, the bridge survived a number of centuries, considered as the greatest wonders of the Spaniard’s history. The Roman Bridge provides a fantastic backdrop for photos, so don’t miss it.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Cordoba
3. Rodas Beach, Vigo
Free up a day or two in the itinerary to visit Vigo, a city on the northwest coast, famous for the Rodas Beach. The National Geographic named this beach as one of the best in the world because of the crescent soft, pale sand and the deep green ocean waters.
The stunning beach is definitely one of the most underrated places to visit in Spain. Still, it is seriously among the most pristine beaches ever existed. The Rodas Beach is part of the Cies Islands, which are protected by the government of Galicia. Besides the amazing nature sightseeing, travelers can also try Galician food to cap off the trip to northern Spain.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Vigo
4. Museo del Pueblo Gallego, Santiago de Compostela
Take a tour to the 13th century Spain at Museo del Pueblo Gallego to witness remnants of Galician history. The museum houses a number of galleries showcasing the architecture, music, trades, costumes, and art of the Galician people.
Built-in 1976, the museum aims to preserve the culture and history of the ancient city of Santiago de Compostela, which is a world heritage center. The city became famous as a pilgrimage site and a symbol of the Spanish Christians’ struggle under Islam.
Exploring the museum would take up to two hours of guided tours. Make sure to snap a photo of the spiral staircase that leads to the roof deck.
5. Casco Historico, Toledo
One of the best places to go in Spain is Toledo, which can be reached by a 30-minute train ride from the capital city, Madrid. Due to a number of historical monuments found here, UNESCO recognized Toledo as a World Heritage Site.
One of the protected areas in this city is Casco Historico, a vibrant neighborhood comprising narrow lanes, alleyways, and Jewish streets. Visiting this place is like walking into the Middle Ages, when Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in harmony.
Take the time to admire the architectural details, beautiful stone, and brickwork of houses in this neighborhood. There is also a so-called Jewish neighborhood that was once the home of Jewish ghettos. Be sure to visit artisan shops tucked in little alleyways to find rare treats and souvenirs.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Toledo
6. El Alcázar de Segovia, Segovia
The city famous for its Gothic architecture is Segovia, home to mystical monasteries and fairy-tale-like castles. One underrated landmark that can be found here is the Disney-inspired medieval castle called Alcázar de Segovia.
Segovia is an hour away from Madrid, which makes it a popular day-trip destination. Because it is small, tourists can explore the city in a day, roaming in churches and chapels. While here, make sure to try cochinillo or the suckling pig, a famous dish in Segovia.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Segovia
7. La Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, Zaragoza
Zaragoza is not a touristy city but is undoubtedly one of the best places to see in Spain. It lies in the Ebro river, drawing a nice view during sunset. It is the fifth-largest city in the country, boasting off old, magnificent buildings and narrow alleyways.
The La Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is a renowned attraction in this city, which is a pilgrim spot for Christians. Climbing the tower to kiss the Pilar is part of the pilgrimage activities and usually done by many visitors from all over the world.
While you’re in Zaragoza, check out the main square packed of street performers and monumental sculptures.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Zaragoza
8. Montjuïc Hill, Barcelona
Montjuïc Hill is the phenomenal landmark in Barcelona, just over 600 feet high. Located in the city’s old town, the hill overlooks Barcelona harbor and surrounds the Catalan capital. Tourists in search of recreational activities can visit the hill and see top attractions like the picturesque Montjuïc Gardens, museum, and Mies van der Rohe Pavilion.
On top of the hill, travelers can witness the breathtaking views of the city, surrounded by tall sculptures. In addition to sightseeing, visitors can also visit quirky craft shops, bars, and cafes.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Barcelona
9. Barrio de Las Letras, Madrid
Step into the literary neighborhood of Barrio de Las Letras, the home to the greatest Spanish writers. The streets are paved with recognizable quotes from writers like José Echegaray and Miguel Cervantes. The neighborhood is oozing with captivating Madrid history and culture.
Barrio de Las Letras is a 10-minute walk from Sol, which is now famous for trendy spots and Madrid’s finest restaurants. Younger people love the area because of the quaint antique shops, bookstores, galleries, plazas, and free guided tours to famous writers’ houses.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Madrid
10. Cullera, Valencia
Ditch the insane touristy beach of Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol and head to Cullera to see the 11 beautiful beaches. Cullera is a city within the Valencian community, home to city beaches like La Malvarrosa, Las Arenas, Playa Los Olivos, and others.
Aside from the beaches, Cullera is also known for the historic fortress with a panoramic view of the city. The Castle of Cullera is a historic monument built over the Moorish castle ruins.
Today, the castle has a status of Heritage Site of Cultural Interest, which serves as the museum of history and archaeology of the Cullera. It is definitely one of the places to visit in Spain with a picturesque view of the Mediterranean sea.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Valencia