Spain is perhaps one of the most gorgeous countries in Europe. Rich in history, speckled with Cathedrals and grand churches and dusted with works from famous Spanish artists including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Antoni Gaudí, and more. There are countless Spain tourist attractions throughout the mainland and the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
When determining where to go in Spain, you need to think about what you want to do, the time of the year, and the weather you like. Part of Northern Spain borders the Pyrenees Mountains. It can get frigid and will have snow in the winter. Southern Spain is hot and dry.
Below is a map of Spain with Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.
Some Facts About Spain
If you plan to live in Spain or visit the country, here are some facts about Spain that could come in handy while you are there.
- Spain has 47 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 41 of these cultural. It is #3 in the world, after Italy and China.
- The Kingdom of Spain is the second-largest country in Western Europe and the fourth largest in the European Union. It is also a popular tourist destination.
- The capital of Spain is Madrid. It is one of the most culturally rich and gorgeous cities in the country.
- It is the 5th most populous country in the European Union, with a population of just under 47 million people.
- The country has a rich history that reflects in its cities. It is a place you would not want to miss.
- The Spain flag consists of red and yellow horizontal stripes with the Spanish coat of arms in the middle. The country has a vast history that still echoes in its governmental structures, art, literature, and cities!
- The currency of the country is the Euro. So, check up on the exchange rates before your visit to Spain.
The majority of the almost 47 million people mainly consists of Spanish speakers. Tourist areas will have some English-speaking people. However, there will not be English speaking people in small towns and villages in Spain. If you plan to go, then it will be handy to learn a few Spanish words, as well. Anything that can get you by like small greetings, and perhaps how to ask for directions can help you settle well with the Espana population.
A Few Words In Spanish
You should know a few Spanish words before all your Spain vacations or move to Spain. Some standard and easy Spanish for travelers includes basic greetings.
- ¡Hola (pronounced O-la) means– Hello
- Cómo estás? (KOH-moh eh-STAHS) means – How are you?
- Bien, gracias – (bee-EN GRA-thee-as) means – I’m fine, thank you.
- Por favor (por fa-vor) which means – please
- Gracias (GRA-thee-as) which means– thank you
A great way to learn Spanish before your trip to Spain is with some YouTube videos or try watching some Spanish news or Spanish TV shows.
Top Tourist Destinations in Spain
By now, you’re probably wondering what the best places to visit in Spain are? It is rich in culture, art, and has incomparable beauty that puts Spain on the world map! Spain’s tourism has been on a steady increase since the 1992 Olympics. Here is a small guide to some of Spain’s travel destinations and what you can do there!
Let’s breakdown some of the most beautiful localities and create a small Spain guidebook for you, so you can easily visit the gorgeous tourist spots, enjoy their beauty, and know where to go in Spain.
Out of all the cities to visit in Spain, Barcelona is topping the list. It is known for exquisite shopping that you might not find anywhere else in the world. The city is full of vibrant life, a hustle-bustle, and the kind of buzz that you would enjoy from a cosmopolitan city.
Barcelona is also known as the cosmopolitan capital of Spain. However, as some people believe, it is not the actual capital city. It is rich in art and architecture. Travelers find the most beautiful sights there are to see. Some of them include:
La Sagrada Familia – an unfinished Catholic minor basilica in Barcelona. It is one of the most beautiful human-made sites in the world and is also a part of the 47 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain.
Park Güell – there is no other place like Park Güell, also known as Gaudí Park, located on Carmel Hill. It has a mix of greenery and architectural structures that are a sight for sore eyes.
Las Ramblas – the most popular and hectic street in Barcelona. From the Columbus Monument next to the sea stretching 1.2km up past Plaça de Catalunya, it is always packed with tourists and pickpockets.
Montjuïc – is a hill in Barcelona that is famous for several things. It was the central location of the 1992 Summer Olympics and home of the large Musical Magic Fountain. You can visit the Olympic Ring, stroll through a museum, and ride the cable car.
The street offers you’re a cultural hub for shopping, exploring, meeting the locals, and gorgeous sites that you don’t want to miss on your trip to Spain. The city, in general, will leave you astounded and exploring the place for days, weeks, or possibly years! It is currently one of the busiest Spain tourist attractions!
Moreover, if you are a person who enjoys the nightlife, then Barcelona might be the perfect fit for you! There are countless bars, lounges, and nightclubs that you can enjoy throughout the city. All these things, plus many others, is what make the city one of the most visited places in Spain. Read our City Guide To Barcelona here.
Another popular place in Spain is its capital! Madrid is also one of the most elegant and gorgeously built cities in the region. With a population of over three million people, this landlocked city is not for everyone. However, the capital of Spain reflects both historical and contemporary beauty in its city life. It is also where you will find traces of European art dating back to the 16th century.
A few of our must-see places to visit Madrid include:
Plaza Mayor– a historical landmark in the heart of the city. The grand arcaded square is a meeting point for locals and tourists. Tours are available, and you should book them in advance.
Royal Palace – the official residence of the Spanish Royal family. The largest functioning European Royal Palace is used now only for state ceremonies. It is recommended to book entry and tour tickets in advance.
Buen Retiro Park – commonly called El Retiro Park, is one of the largest green areas in the city. Prior to the 19th century, it was owned and maintained by the Spanish monarchy. It is now a public park with elegant gardens, a lovely human-made lake, and several delightful monuments you can appreciate.
Granada is in Spain’s Andalusia region, and it is a place where natural beauty meets human-made beauty! A combination of the two together makes it one of the best places to visit in Spain.
You can see gorgeous examples of medieval architecture, serene patios, and palaces dating back to the 16th century! This place is a sneak-peek back in time to see magnificent traditional architecture and whitewashed caves.
There are many picturesque sites you can visit! Places like the Royal Chapel of Granada, which is a gorgeously built burial site of the Spanish Monarchs. Moreover, if you visit Spain, then you cannot miss out on Generalife, an ancient palace with scenic gardens and views.
It does not end here; Granada is also home to the Alhambra– one of the most beautiful human-made sites the world has known. It is one of the most popular Spain holiday destinations! The roman built structure dates back to AD 889!
You can capture these beautiful palaces and take tours to explore their deep-rooted history and culture.
Top Expat Destinations
The top tourist destinations are also great expat destinations. In addition to those here are some other fantastic expat destinations. They are also great to visit for a vacation.
If you are considering moving to Spain, you should read about Healthcare in Spain.
Spain’s third-largest city but significantly smaller than Madrid and BCN. The port city is known for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including an oceanarium, a planetarium, and an interactive museum. Valencia is about three hours south of Barcelona and has several beaches. The wetlands reserve contains a lake with several walking trails. The population is about 800,00 people. Read our City Guide To Valencia here.
The city of Cádiz is an ancient port city located in the Andalucia region of southwestern Spain. If it wasn’t for two bridges and one narrow strip of beach it would be an island. Founded in 1.100 BC by the Phoenicians, it is the oldest inhabited city in Spain. It is home to the Spanish Navy in a region that boomed in the 16th-century due to exploration and trade. The iconic Torre Tavira tower along with over 100 watchtowers, was strategically built and used for spotting ships. The domed 18th-century Cádiz Cathedral, on the city’s waterfront, features baroque and neoclassical elements. Read our City Guide To Cádiz here.
The capital of the Andalusia region is famous for the Gothic Seville Cathedral. It is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus’ tomb. The minaret, Giralda, has been turned into a bell tower. The history here dates back to the Moorish Almohad dynasty with the Alcázar Castle. Complex. Additionally, the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring dates to the 18th century.
The resort city is in the Andalusia region called Costa del Sol. The city is nestled between 27 km of Mediterranean beaches and the Sierra Blanca Mountains. The area is known for its golf courses, villas, and hotels. Next to Marbella is the ‘Golden Mile’. It is full of luxury estates and nightclubs, all leading to Puerto Banús marina. The luxury yachts in the marina are surrounded by bars and luxury boutique shops.
Situated in Northern Spain is the industrial port city of Bilbao. The small skyscraper-filled city, with a population of about 346,000 people, is surrounded by green mountains. The famous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened in 1997 and ignited the city’s revival. The curvy building attracts more attention than the contemporary and modern works inside.
Other Attractions of Spain
If you are wondering what to see in Spain other than what we have already listed? You need to know the list of things to do in Spain is endless. If you aren’t one for historical sites and don’t want to visit any of the 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain, (you can read about some of them here) there are many other options for you to explore.
Read about 9 of the best beaches in Spain here.
Spain is currently home to 15 national parks. The outdoor enthusiasts can do a lot within them. Enjoying the scenic and natural beauty is a great way to escape the cities and enjoy a digital detox. If you go in the summertime, then you can enjoy the lush green hilltops and bodies of water while the winters have their snow-covered charm.
Apart from that, if you are one to shop, then Spain offers exquisite forms of fashion, cosmetics, cultural trinkets and all kinds of gorgeous material you will not find in other parts of the world. It has a buzzing nightlife where you can enjoy the vibrant colors of the city and the lights.
When to visit Spain?
Most travelers visiting this beautiful country ask when to visit Spain? Is there a right time of year where you can enjoy its beauty the most?
There is no recommended time of year to visit Spain. There are many cities to visit in Spain that have a picturesque ambiance all year round.
However, if you plan to go to the winters, you can have availed of activities like going to ski resorts and National parks. These are buzzing Spain vacation spots, especially during holidays and winters.
However, the summer and spring seasons bring you beaches, gardens, waterfalls, cloudy weather, and a movie-like experience of its wondrous cities.
For more information about travel in Spain, contact the Spanish Tourism Board.
Some FAQ’s About Spain
What is the time in Spain?
The time zone of Spain is UTC+2, except for the Canary Islands. They are one hour behind the mainland and are UTC+1
What is the population of Spain?
As of 2018, the population of Spain is just over 46.7 million people.
What countries border Spain?
Portugal and France are the only two countries that border Spain. Portugal is to the West, and France is North.
What is Spain known for?
Spain is known for several things. It, Valencia specifically, is known to be the founding city of the delicious Paella dish. Flamenco dance and music, bullfights, and numerous festivals can be found throughout the country year-round. It also is known for its fantastic beaches (8,000 km), and lots of sunshine (over 300 days a year on the east coast).
When was Spain founded?
Records show Spain was founded on January 20th, 1479.
Where is Spain in Europe?
Spain is the southwest area of Europe. It is located south of France and east of Portugal.