22 Holiday Destinations Spain Has Waiting For You

22 Holiday Destinations Spain Has Waiting For You

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There’s no better country for a European holiday than Spain. With its diversity of regional landscapes and cultures, you could spend months traveling around each part of Spain and wake up each day to find something new. When it comes to holiday destinations, Spain serves them up big-time. Whatever you look for from a destination, you can find it somewhere in Spain. The art, the history, the wine, the foods, the music, the beaches, the hiking and culture – there are so many things to do in Spain. You’ll have no problem filling a Spain travel itinerary because you’ll never have to worry about what to do in Spain. 

We love Spain so much that we wanted to highlight the best Spain holiday destination. Mike, Jillian and I came up with our top 10 best cities in Spain, but it didn’t seem like enough. So we called on a few travel influencer friends to give us their take on where to go in Spain. Here is a compilation of the best cities for a vacation in Spain, why we all love them and some photo evidence. 

Some links may be affiliate links. This means we may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking certain links at no extra cost to you. 

by Derek

alicante holiday destinations spain

If you love crystal clear water, golden sand on beautiful beaches with a Moorish Castle and an old town full of nightlife – you will love Alicante. I booked a few days there last spring when Mike was traveling for work and I was longing for a short beach holiday and it’s incredible. Alicante is the second-largest city in Valencia and has so much to offer.

For a history nerd like me, it was amazing to explore the medieval Castle of Santa Bárbara. It was a defensive settlement for many cultures from the Greeks to the Phonecians to the Arab Moors who built the current castle. The city and region have changed hands many times over the centuries but the fortified castle atop Mount Benacantil remains to overlook the city. It’s also a perfect place to catch the sunset and it’s a great hike to the top of the hill and castle entrance. For those who prefer a less arduous climb, there are vehicle transportation options, but the best among them is a segway tour! I hiked to the top, but the next day I booked the segway tour and it was awesome.

Riding around on a segway, I got to see the whole of the city in a matter of a couple of hours. My guide was friendly and knew so much about the city. He had a lot of recommendations and showed us different neighborhoods that I otherwise would have missed out on. The prettiest was Barrio de la Santa Cruz, a hillside section of the town with small, colorful homes that are decorated with flags and flower boxes.

Alicante has great food as well, from tapas bars to fresh seafood and a Michelin restaurant – it’s a foodie paradise.

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Barcelona

by Derek

barcelona holiday destinations spain

Almost everyone has heard of Barcelona, and it’s a great city to visit in Spain for first-time travelers. Barcelona earned a place in history during the 1992 Olympic Games, and it’s been a haven for tourists since. 

Barcelona is part of the Catalan region of Spain, so the culture and language are different than other parts of Spain. There is a strong Catalan pride and it’s on display throughout Barcelona. 

You can’t visit Barcelona without enjoying the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. He was a Catalan architect with a unique, one-of-a-kind style. It’s so impressive that it’s still influencing and shaping the city of Barcelona today, almost 100 years after his death. Ceramics, stained-glass and wrought iron are all key elements of Gaudí architecture. There are many tours dedicated to the works of Gaudí including tours of Sagrada Familia. It’s a massive and unfinished Catholic Basilica that’s still being finished in his signature style. 

Other highlights of Barcelona include walking around the Gothic section of the city and Las Ramblas, the famous tree-lined pedestrian street. There are beaches in Barcelona, but the cosmopolitan city is the real draw for travelers. 

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Bilbao

by Elisa from World in Paris

Bilboa holiday destinations spain

Bilbao is the perfect city for a great weekend getaway in Northern Spain. Bilbao is located in the Basque Country (Euskadi) and it is usually combined with a visit to San Sebastián but Bilbao is a great destination for itself!

Once an industrial port city located by the Nervión River, Bilbao was always foggy, polluted and without any charm. Bilbao was radically transformed and placed on the tourist path thanks to the construction of the futurist Guggenheim Museum designed by the architect Frank Gehry. Since its inauguration, tourists flock to artsy Bilbao to visit the museum, well escorted by a giant puppy, the restored historic center and get a taste of the city’s gastronomy, with many local bars proposing
yummy pintxos and creative tapas.

The Casco Viejo (Old Town) is one of the main attractions in Bilbao, with winding and narrow streets built in Medieval times. There’s also the Gothic cathedral, parts of the ancient walls and many hidden corners with a special charm so our best tip to enjoy this part of the city is to get lost and walk its streets with no particular direction.

The Ensanche is a more recent district of Bilbao, with interesting XIX -XXI century architecture, as well as a good collection of contemporary sculptures.

It’s not always easy but if you have the opportunity try to learn about Bilbao’s local culture and traditions. If you know people in Bilbao don’t hesitate to ask them, they are very proud of their roots and traditions!

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Córdoba

by Chrysoula from Travel Passionate

cordoba holiday destinations spain

The city of Córdoba in Andalusia in Spain is a charming destination filled with history and interesting attractions that makes it great for a cultural city break.

The main reason to visit the Spanish town of Córdoba is to visit the mesmerizing UNESCO World Heritage Site Mosque-Cathedral, Mezquita. This magical, multi-arched building is an icon of the town and is the perfect place to begin to understand the rich and varied history of this region of Spain. The Mezquita was built in Córdoba, the capital of Islamic Spain in 784 AD, with colorful Moorish columns and an intricate Mihrab as well as Christian detailing from later years, such as the Capilla de la Concepción.

While this breath-taking site is a real highlight of any trip to Córdoba is it certainly not the be-all and end-all of this city. Elsewhere in Córdoba, visitors can enjoy the Patio de los Naranjos, the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, the Roman Bridge, the Jewish Quarter, and the Calahorra Tower. When you’re not soaking up the wealth of cultural attractions, you can uncover Córdoba’s fantastic restaurant scene, chill out in the spectacular city bars or simply unwind in the parks and plazas dotted throughout the city.

Córdoba is known for throwing a fiesta or two, with the Patios de Córdoba and Feria de Córdoba both held in May. The Patios de Córdoba festival sees locals open up their inner courtyards and gardens for visitors to admire, and the Feria features fairground rides, flamenco dancing, and folk music galore!

Another reason to visit Córdoba is that it has a pretty glorious climate year-round with temperatures rarely dropping below 15C (Dec-Feb) and highs well into their 30s during the summer months. While Córdoba is not a Spanish beach destination, it is still well worth a visit!

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Corralejo

by Greta from Greta’s Travels

corralejo holiday destinations spain

Corralejo in Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, is one of my absolute favorite places in Spain. Corralejo is a small town in the north of the island, with a lovely harbor, cute white houses, beautiful surfing beaches and sand dunes all around it. 

Despite being small the town has lots of bars, shops, and restaurants, leaving with no shortage of dining options. Corralejo is also blessed with strong wind and waves, perfect for anyone looking to practice their surfing, windsurfing or sailing skills! If you’re not a surfer you can still enjoy the marine world in Corralejo, with a snorkeling trip to the nearby island of Lobos. 

For those who don’t love water sports, you can explore the Corralejo National Park, either by bicycle or quad bike. As you drive around the sand dunes you’ll feel like an explorer in the desert, and for a moment forget that you’re actually on an island!

My favorite thing about Corralejo is the laid back atmosphere of the town. Everything works on island time, so settle into this slower pace of life and enjoy your chill vacation in sunny Fuerteventura!

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Costa del Sol

by Derek

costa del sol holiday destinations spain

Costa del Sol Occidental translates to “Western Coast of the Sun” and that’s where you feel like you are in this awesomely popular Spanish beach destination. When it comes to holiday destinations, Spain has some of the world’s best beaches and this strip of Andalusia proves it. 

We visited Costa del Sol as a long weekend break and stayed at one of the many resorts that dot the coast. The area is bordered by the cordillera Penibética mountain range to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The result is a sunny and clear microclimate that is perfect for enjoying the sandy beaches. It’s one of the top destinations for tourists from all over Europe.

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The easiest way to enjoy one of the resorts here is to fly into Malaga and rent a car to enjoy the drive up the coast.   

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We stayed at the all-inclusive Iberostar Costa del Sol. You can click on the image below or 

<<< CHECK OUT THE RESORT HERE

Girona

by Kristen and Jeff from Our Passion for Travel

Girona Spain

Located an hour north by high speed rail from Barcelona, Girona is right in the heart of the passionately independent Catalonian region. So independent in fact, that a null and void referendum was held in 2017. This battle for independence continues, and is one of many reasons that makes Catalonia and the very pro-independence Girona interesting to visit.

Regardless of where any Catalonian or Spaniard sits on the independence spectrum, they’ll typically agree on one thing – the culinary scene in Girona is about as good as you’ll find anywhere. El Cellar de can Roca run by the Roca brothers consistently ranks in the world’s top 10 restaurants. Securing a booking here can be akin to winning the lottery. It books out well in advance and offers a creative food experience with inspired Catalonian cuisine.

For those who can’t afford or secure a booking, Girona is also home to Spain’s ‘most romantic’ restaurant, Café Le Bistrot. Located at the bottom of a stairwell which adjoins a tremendous gothic arch, it’s a beautiful location to sample some hearty Catalonian fare.

If you see pictures of Girona and recognize some of the sights, it is with good reason. Girona has played home to one of the all-time greatest TV shows, Game of Thrones. The old town of Girona is completely walkable, but has somehow managed to double as Braavos, King’s Landing and the Citadel in the HBO series. The series has given a second wind to Girona after the food scene, with fans flocking to the city to re-enact some of their favorite scenes. 

For travelers with a little more time, consider spending a night or 2. Whilst a popular day trip destination, the evening ambience of this city during a stroll along the River Onyar makes a stay here very worthwhile. Putting Girona on any itinerary in Spain is a fantastic idea.
 

Granada

by Jillian

grenada holiday destinations spain

If you’re traveling through Southern Spain, the beautiful city of Granada in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is a must-see! This city is popular for its beautiful medieval architecture which dates back to Moorish occupation. 

The main draw for tourists is the Alhambra, a breathtaking palace with Islamic décor and lavish gardens which are unparalleled by any other European palace. The Islamic architecture and Arabic traditions that remain in Granada, give it a charm unlike any other city in Spain. Granada has it all, beautiful churches, old-school tapas bars (where the more you drink, the more you eat!), intimate flamenco clubs, hiking in the Sierra Nevada, and Traditional Hammams and Spas to relax on your holiday. 

Make sure when you are planning your trip to Granada that you book your tickets for the Alhambra at least 30 days in advance! I say that my life peaked in Granda. I spent my first evening out at a Tapa’s bar, followed with a hike in the Sierra Nevada the next morning, relaxed my sour muscles at the spa that afternoon, and finished my day watching the sunset over the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolás plaza.

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Guadalupe

by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

guadalupe holiday destinations spain

Guadalupe is a small town in the remote Extremadura region of Spain. While it’s popular among Spaniards, particularly those who are practicing Catholics, it’s virtually unknown among foreign visitors. If you want to get away from the crowds in overtouristed places like Barcelona and experience a slice of real Spanish life, Guadalupe is a great place to do it.

The main attraction here is the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which served as the royal sanctuary of Spanish kings and queens and was the most important monastery in the country for hundreds of years. Not only can you visit the monastery, you can also dine and even sleep inside it! I highly recommend booking a room in the hospedería, an old Gothic cloister of the monastery that has been converted into guest quarters.

Given the opulent surroundings, the rooms here are an absolute steal at just 55 euros for a single and 75 euros for a double. Granted, the hospedería is only a two-star hotel, so don’t expect too much in the way of luxury or service. But for the privilege of sleeping inside such an important historical monument, it’s a bargain price. There’s also an attached restaurant, where you can dine al fresco in one of the monastery’s courtyards. The restaurant serves up delicious traditional Spanish dishes, and the staff are happy to accommodate special requests, including vegetarian and vegan meals.

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Madrid

by Derek

madrid holiday destinations spain

Madrid, the bustling capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan European capital with a lot to offer anyone who visits. When you think of holiday destinations, Spain is full of beaches and mountains, but the cities are also great to explore. 

A city break in Madrid can feature the best collections of art in Spain. Be sure to visit the Prado when you’re in Madrid. It’s a stunning collections of artwork by Spanish masters like Goya and Valázquez. 

Madrid boasts expansive boulevards and manicured parks like Buen Retiro. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or to rent a boat and have a leisurely row. The city is easy to explore because the public transit is top-notch, there are plenty of cabs and pedestrian streets abound.

My two favorite spots to visit and enjoy the surroundings are The Plaza Mayor (pictured) and Puerta del Sol. They’re both busy meeting places for tourists, locals, demonstrations and all kinds of gatherings. It’s hard to tell which is the heart of Madrid – Plaza Mayor or Puerta del Sol – but a city like Madrid deserves two.

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Malaga

by Ali from Travel Made Simple

malaga holiday destinations spain

Malaga is the largest city in the Costa del Sol area in Andalusia on the Mediterranean coast. It was originally built by the Phoneticians and has been home to Romans, Moors, and lately the Catholics. This has left a lot of layers to the city both for sightseeing and for exploring the food.

The city has a lot of the things that make Spain great in general, all in one place. A castle tops the hill and is connected to a Moorish palace below. In front of the palace sits a Roman amphitheater. A little north of the center is the Botanic Gardens, and near the port is a great beach area. Winding medieval streets make up the old town and offer plenty of wandering. The Atarazanas Market was originally a Moorish harbor building but is now a large fresh market worth exploring.

Food is an important part of Malaga‘s identity and has since the beginning. The surrounding hills grow especially sweet grapes which can be made into raisins or, more interestingly, a variety of sweet wine called Pedro Ximenes, which tastes just like raisins. Malaga also has lots of locally made vermouth, which comes in sweet and dry varieties and is usually served with a slice of orange.

Even if you only have a day or two in Malaga, be sure to visit the castle and the palace. You can visit both together on a combo ticket if you go on the same day. The combo ticket can be purchased at the ticket window of either sight, but hang on to it to show at the window at whichever place you visit second.

Overall, Malaga is a fantastic city for exploring history and food while still being able to relax in a plaza or at the beach.

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Montserrat

by Jyoti and Nirmal from Story at Every Corner 

Montserrat holiday destinations spain

Montserrat is a must-do day trip from Barcelona. It’s has stunning views all around and a monastery perched up on top of majestic mountains. You need to go to the top to really experience the marvelous views as far as the eyes can see. 

Montserrat is only an hour drive or train ride from Barcelona. To get to Montserrat take the R5 line from Plaça Espanya to Aeri de Montserrat. From there take a cable car up the mountain. The train ticket costs €5.25 and the cable car costs €7.50 one way. It’s best to buy the combination ticket. One can also hike up the mountain in about 1.5 hours from near the train station but I was told much of the hike is not very scenic because you climb right next to the cliffs. It’s better to hike after the cable car ride, on top of the mountain. 

Once in Montserrat, there are several viewpoints to visit, photograph, and marvel the sights all around. The church and the entire compound are lovely. It’s impressive how they built such a large complex at the top of the mountain. 

Villagers come up the mountain to sell their home made cheese, nuts, nougat, figs, cheese cake, and many local delicacies. Be sure to buy these absolutely delicious treats to eat there or bring to make your own delicious pintxos. There is a café and it’s huge but we didn’t find anything appetizing. 

The weather on the top of the mountain can be very different from Barcelona. A pro tip is to check the weather using the webcam located at the top of the mountain. Also, carry warm clothes because the temperature can be a lot lower at the top. 

If you’re in Barcelona, make it a top priority to visit Montserrat

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Palma

by Megan from Peter Pan Traveler

palma holiday destinations spain
Palma Mallorca, Spains less traveled to island. It is often missed and it’s hard to understand why. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this island after a weekend trip to Ibiza. 

Needing somewhere to go and not wanting to go back to the mainland of Spain I hopped on a ferry that connects the two islands. Someone had told me that Palma was one of the best destinations in Spain, so I had to see it for myself. 

I fell in love with the island immediately. It has all the charm and character of Spain that Ibiza is lacking. Including my favorites the tapas and red wine, but it also has amazing island beaches to escape to as well.  

It is easy to spend your days by the beach, afternoons enjoying a siesta and your nights wandering around the cobblestone streets enjoying Spanish wine and tapas. You get the best of both worlds of the Spain all in one place.

If you are looking for a European holiday and want to enjoy city charm and museums, but you also don’t want to give up your beach time than Palma Mallorca is the right place for you. It has everything you would want for a Spanish vacation.

I highly recommend taking the wooden train to the other side of the island while you are there. It is a charming old train with breathtaking views, that will not disappoint.

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Picos de Europa National Park

by Kevin from Kevmrc.com

picos de europa holiday destinations spain

Have you heard of Picos de Europa? The very first National Park in Spain, founded in 1918? Well, let me tell you why it’s one of my favorite holiday destinations Spain has to offer.

The National Park, located in the north of Spain, 3h west from Bilbao, is made of rivers, mountains, hiking trails, alpine lakes, and filled with wild animals – an outdoor lover’s paradise!

Picos de Europa is literally the gem of Asturias; a well-known destination for locals, but not yet overrun by international tourists. It’s the perfect destination to escape the hustle & bustle of the city and breathe in the outdoors.

Here are a few of the spots you can visit in Picos de Europa:

  • Covadonga Lakes: 2 alpine lakes in the heart of the park, and my favorite spot in the park
  • Ruta del Cares: an epic day hike on the edge of the mountain, with stunning views all along & wild animals to keep you company
  • Bulnes: a small mountain village, once only reachable by hiking (now a funicular can take you there), the perfect place to disconnect
  • Basilica de Santa Maria la Real de Covadonga – a magnificent basilica, right next to the Covadonga lakes.

If you plan to visit Picos de Europa, and especially if you’ll go hiking, make sure to download an offline map of the area: there are several areas in the park without cell coverage, and you’ll be glad to have a map on your phone to guide you on your hikes & adventures.

<<< SEARCH PICOS DE EUROPA TOURS HERE

San Sebastián

by Mikey  

holiday destinations spain san sebastian

Many people talk about how much they love Spain. Maybe they talk about eating tapas in Madrid, or experiencing Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, or being captivated by flamenco in Sevilla, but if they have been to San Sebastián I know that they truly understand Spain.  

San Sebastián is a unique wonder, worth visiting just to walk on the famous Playa de la Concha. The crescent-shaped beach gives San Sebastián its famous postcard view, anchored by dominating hills at both ends and protected from the Atlantic Ocean by the beautiful Isla de Santa Clara. From the beach you can walk through the town and marvel at the art nouveau architecture, transforming you to turn of the 20th century grandeur.

But the main reason to visit San Sebastián is what happens inside all the little cafes and restaurants through the town – incredible Basque cuisine. Part of Spain’s charm is feeling the distinct cultures around the country, but perhaps no culture is more unique than the Basque. Here you will dine on pinxtos (not tapas), and you will drink txakoli (not cava). Our favorite pinxtos are those with seafood, often caught earlier today. And for those who prefer fine dining, Michelin-starred restaurants can serve you the finest Basque cooking in the world.

San Sebastián sits on the northern coast of Spain in the heart of the Basque Country. It is not the easiest destination to get to, being about 5 hours from Madrid, 4 hours from Barcelona and 90 minutes from Bilbao, but it is worth the voyage.

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Seville

by Jillian  

Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain and has seen numerous civilizations pass through who have been instrumental to the cities growth and made it one of a kind. The city’s well-preserved historical centre combined with its modern architecture gives Seville its distinct personality and makes it a favorite spot when traveling through Spain. 

Similarly, to Granada, Seville is well known for its Moorish architecture, unique nightlife, tapas bars, and flamenco shows. Some of the most popular attractions to this city are, The St. Mary of the See Cathedral, which is among the largest of all medieval and Gothic cathedrals, The Alcazar, which may be better known by Game of Thrones fans as Dorne, the Torre del Almohad, an example of Almohad architecture built as a watchtower and defensive barrier on the river, and The Metropol Parasol, the world’s largest wooden structure housing the central market and underground archaeological complex in addition to the terrace roof providing a marvelous view of the entire city. 

Seville is truly remarkable because it has been touched by so many different cultures which are evident in the different architectural designs throughout the city! Make sure to take in all of the different cultures and experiences that this city has to offer with its vast history.

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Sitges

by Derek 

Iglesia de San Bartolomé y Santa Tecla

Sitges is one of the most amazing seaside towns. It’s located on the Mediterranean coasts, just 45 minutes south of Barcelona. We visited this past summer for a Sitges gay beach holiday and it quickly became one of our favorite destinations in Spain.

As far as holiday destinations, Spain has a number of popular LGBT travel spots and Sitges is among the best. There’s all kinds of nightlife from outdoor cocktail bars to drag entertainment and even the seedy late night variety if that’s more your speed. 

The gorgeous beaches are another great draw with golden sands and plenty of sun. The coastal promenade, Passeig de la Maritim is a great place for a walk. An even better stroll is along the beach with a stop at the gorgeous Saint Bartholomew Church (pictured). 

Sitges is also known for fresh seafood, delicious pinxtos and sweet sangria. We had plenty of all 3 when we were in Sitges and we can’t wait to go back for another trip soon.

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Tarifa and Gibraltar

by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker 

Tarifa holiday destinations spain
gibraltar holiday destinations spain

If you look for the southernmost point of mainland Spain on a map, you’ll find the town of Tarifa. Due to its southerly location, the temperatures are pleasant year-round. This beachy place in Andalucía is a great destination for all kinds of people and activities. The cultural highlight is the yearly Feria de Tarifa in September when more than 80 traditionally-dressed people on horses enter the historic city gate. Other things Tarifa is famous for are its kitesurfing scene, delicious food and sweets like alfajores, whale-watching opportunities (March till October), historic castles and ruins, and splendid views of Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar

Speaking of Gibraltar, this British Overseas Territory is only 28 miles away from Tarifa. If you’ve had enough of Spanish and want to hear English, you can visit this territory as a day trip. The peninsula has the famous Rock of Gibraltar (with monkeys!), views of both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, a VAT-free shopping scene, and a road that cuts across the airport runway. Gibraltar is a very quirky place to visit that’s not quite British, but also definitely not Spanish. As this is a border crossing from a Schengen country to a non-Schengen one, you’ll need to bring your passport.

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Staying in Tarifa is definitely a more relaxed and affordable choice compared to Gibraltar. I personally really enjoyed the crowd that flocked to the town to enjoy the perfect mix of good weather, food, people, and inspiration. It’s no wonder that Paolo Coelho chose Tarifa to form part of the backdrop in The Alchemist.

Tarifa doesn’t have an airport. The nearest airports are Gibraltar (GIB), Málaga (AGP), Tangier (TNG), and Jerez (XRY). Spanish airports usually have affordable car rental prices – for European standards. There is a ferry connection with Tangier in Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar four times a day.

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Tenerife

by Derek

tenerife holiday destinations spain

Tenerife is the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, a volcanic island chain off the coast of West Africa. Mount Teide dominates the views from almost anywhere in Tenerife. It’s a looming dormant volcano that makes for great hiking on the island. It’s a great destinations to rent a car and explore on your own. We loved the landscape and getting to explore different parts of the nature on Tenerife.

The best nature, of course, were the numerous beaches on Tenerife. The soft sand beaches range from yellow to black and are mostly lined with sun chairs and beach bars. There are a ton of resorts in Tenerife and it’s quite touristic, so don’t expect a lot of Spanish culture – it’s full of Brits!

Another highlight in Tenerife is the giant world-class water park, Siam Park. Visitors also love to do boat tours – there are a lot of sunset cruises and dolphin and whale watching tours.

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Toledo

by Mikey

holiday destinations spain toledo

If you are spending more than a few days in Madrid, we highly recommend that you take a day trip to Toledo. Toledo is a truly unique city, known as the “City of Three Cultures” for all the influences from Christian, Muslim and Jewish inhabitants over its history. Toledo is worth the trip just to wander around the ancient narrow streets, getting lost among the medieval buildings and enjoying the views over the Tagus river.

The highlight is the Cathedral of Toledo is a medieval wonder, filled with intricate craftsmanship and beauty. The audio guide is very good, and helps to explain and identify some of the unique and memorable features of the cathedral. One thing in particular that impressed me was all the influences of Islamic architecture in a grand Catholic cathedral – in fact this is because the Cathedral was built just after the Moors were expelled from Toledo, so many of the skilled craftsmen were Moorish or trained by the Moors.

Beyond the Cathedral, we recommend climbing the tower at Iglesia de los Jesuitas, where you can get a great view of the city. From here you can admire the dominating Alcázar, the imposing palace that was built in the 16th century (but today hosts an army museum and municipal library). Also, be sure to enjoy some of Toledo’s famous marzipan as you walk around.

Toledo is easiest to reach from Madrid by train, with departures roughly hourly during the day, and is a 30 minutes ride from Madrid Atocha station (tickets are about 11 EUR each way). Note that the ancient cities lies on top of a hill, so it is about a 25 minute walk from the train station to the center of Toledo. The walk is beautiful, crossing the Tagus river and providing nice views, but might be strenuous (or time consuming) for you. Taxis, private tour buses, and public busses are available (Plaza de Zocodover is the downtown stop).

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Valencia

by Emily from Wanderlush

valencia holiday destinations spain

There’s a whole lot to love about Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city – not least of all the food scene. The capital of Spain’s autonomous Valencian Community, it lies on the country’s east coast roughly 220 miles south of Barcelona.

Valencia is considered the birthplace of paella, one of Spain’s most time-honored culinary traditions. You can find huge pans of the fragrant rice and seafood dish being cooked up at just about every restaurant. Eat your way to the best paella in town (there are lots of different varieties to sample), or better still, join a paella masterclass to learn how its made. The recipe for Spanish horchata, a refreshing beverage made from tiger nuts, was also developed in Valencia. It’s a wonderful experience to sit outside with the locals at one of the city’s quaint horchaterias. I recommend Santa Catalina on the public plaza of the same name.

The massive 33-hectare Cabecera Park curves its way through the city center, wrapping around the old town and leading all the way to Valencia’s Balearic coast. Inside the park, you’ll find kid’s playgrounds, shaded walking paths and bikeways – and this being Spain, a few tapas bars, of course.

Valencia is part of the Orange Blossom Coast, so fresh produce is abundant. Shop for Valencia oranges at the Mercat Central before visiting some of the nearby historic sites including the Torres de Quart, part of the city’s 15th-century fortifications. The futuristic City of Arts and Sciences features a huge aquarium, an IMAX theatre, and an astronomical garden amongst other things. It’s perfect for kids or curious adults.

My biggest tip for Valencia is to choose an accommodation that offers bike hire. Cycling is by far the best way to get around this flat, green city.

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Spain holiday trip planning resources

By now you should have some wanderlust brewing for Spain. For holiday destinations, Spain comes through in a major way. Deciding where to go can be the toughest part of planning your trip, but here are some tools to get you through the rest step by step.

  1. Step one is to of course get a rough idea where you want to go – hopefully our list helped inspire you.
  2. Step two is to decide how you want to travel. You can book a tour (and leave the planning to someone else) or plan each part on your own (more work, but can save money and add some fun to the process). For tours, we highly recommend searching through tours by G Adventures by clicking here.
  3. Step three is to book airfare. Depending on the time of year you travel, you can find some pretty cheap deals flying into Spanish vacation destinations. We always start our search through SkyScanner and find that they have the best deals 9 out of 10 times. It’s especially true if you’re flexible with dates. Click here to search flights with SkyScanner.
  4. Step four will require you to decide if you’ll be renting a car or not. Spain has relatively low prices for car hires (rental) and you can save up to 30% with Auto Europe Car Rental by clicking HERE.
  5. Step five, decide where you’re going to stay. We use hotels.com for longer trips because of their rewards program. It gives you your 10th night free, so even if you aren’t traveling for 10 days, there’s a good chance that you’ll get a free night on your next trip. You can also look for an Airbnb (and save up to 35€ for your first stay with this link) or Misterbnb, for LGBT-friendly hosts (save 10€ on your first Misterbnb stay with this link).
  6. And Finally, NEVER travel without protecting yourself. Make sure you get travel insurance before you head to Spain. We recommend World Nomads and use them for every trip we take – click HERE for a quote.

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Derek Hartman

Derek Hartman is an American expat from Philadelphia, currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark. His blog, Robe Trotting focuses on travel, expatriation and lifestyle topics.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I have been to Spain and I am so amazed at your blog. I did a road-trip so I have been to many places that you have mentioned here. But I have not been to Tarifa, and hence Gibraltar, Corralejo and Montserrat. I wish I had few more days to see those places too. Thanks for bringing back my memories.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, a road trip had to be amazing and definitely the best way to explore Spain. A long Spain road trip is something on my travel bucket list to pursue in the next couple of years.

  2. I’ve never been to Spain, and typically when I think about visiting my mind always goes to the more popular tourist cities. It’s hard to believe all of these towns and cities are in the same country as they look so unique. Girona reminds me of Florence in Italy. Bookmarking this list for future!

    1. You have to plan a trip, there’s just so much to see in Spain and it’s so unique in each region.

  3. Barcelona and Guadalupe are top of my list for Spain. How many days do you think is sufficient to cover all these places? A month? Also loved your shot of Valencia.

    1. It would be tough to see them all in one trip, a month moving quickly could probably cover them all but I think I would stretch it out to maybe 90 days (if I had the luxury of time and funding, of course).

  4. Hi there,

    We love your list of ideas on where to go in Spain. You have some really good ideas about where to do go, you did a great job. If you are ever in Barcelona I would love to show you some amazing places to eat in the city. I run a food tour company called Eye on Food Tours drop me a line some time.

    all the best,

    -A

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