Spain – where cities are full of energy, life is affordable, and sunshine is in abundance. No wonder it’s a firm favourite among British travellers. But the country is diverse and there’s a lot to get stuck in to, so where should you pick? Our list of the best places to visit in Spain is here to lend a helping hand (but you’ll still have a tough decision to make!)
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One of the best places to visit in Spain for a unique Spanish experience.
Galicia is a stand-out region of Spain, due to the fact it has a unique culture and its own language. It’s also a well-known hub for travellers who walk the trails of Camino de Santiago – the endpoint being Galicia’s enchanting city of Santiago. Burrow deeper to find a wild and rugged coastline, scattered with coastal inlets, beautiful beaches, and fishing ports. And in terms of Galicia’s unique culture, if you travel further inland, you’ll come across medieval monasteries, fort-villages and carved stone crosses in a nod to their Celtic history.
However, one of the main draws is undoubtedly Galician cuisine. Shellfish and empanadas are regular fixtures of any menu, as is polbo á feira, a traditional market-style octopus dish served with bread. Vegetarians are also catered for through fried padron peppers and queixo de tetilla – a creamy, dome-shaped cheese best enjoyed with local wine.
Sound like your kind of place? Check out our collection of villas in Galicia.
Top places to visit in Galicia: Santiago, Pontevedra, La Coruña (Tower of Hercules), Lugo and the As Catedrais Beach and Rias Baixas (southwestern coast of Galicia).
Further reading: Galicia surf guide: The top 5 spots
One of the best places to visit in Spain for outdoor adventures and culture.
With a spectacular coastline and an awe-inspiring hinterland, Mallorca tops the charts for every type of traveller. Sugar-white beaches, secluded coves and waterfront restaurants overlooking the Mediterranean make it an ideal spot for those looking for a beach holiday. Whereas the hilltop monasteries and charming villages inland, plus the limestone wonderland of Tramuntana Mountains (aka a hiker’s utopia) solidifies Mallorca as a destination for those who are looking for more than just the beguiling Spanish coastline.
Summer is the perfect time to visit if you want to experience authentic local tradition, as villages host festes (festivals) which will give you a sneak peek into Spanish life.
One of the best places to visit in Spain for powder-soft beaches.
Ibiza is so much more than just the party island of the Balearics. Sure, you’ve got the glamour-clad shores of boho San Antonio, hosting world-class DJ’s and beach parties til dawn on the west coast, but look harder and you’ll also find sleepy villages, tranquil swimming bays, and areas with a rich history and heritage. Formentera, accessed via a 30-minute ferry trip, is home to the astonishing (and protected) Trucador Peninsula, with its dreamy beaches and laid-back vibe.
One of the best places to visit in Spain for protected natural beauty.
Drumming to a slower beat than its counterparts, Menorca is the place to take time out, unwind and truly live the island life. A 216km-long coastline dotted with golden bays, azure ocean and captivating sunsets paired with the low-key cities of Maó and Ciutadella makes Menorca delightfully alluring without showing off. Not just a beach haven for chilled-out travellers, Menorca was also declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco back in ’93, to protect areas such as the Parc Natural S’Albufera des Grau wetlands and its mysterious megalithic monuments from the Bronze Age. So you know you’re in for a treat.
Top places to visit in Menorca: Ciutedella, Maó, Punta Prima, Binibeca and Cala Morell Necropolis.
Top tip: Try the Queso Mahonés (Mahon cheese) – our OT local, Andrea, says it’s the best in the world!
Further reading: Menorca travel guide.
One of the best places to visit in Spain for winter sunshine.
The entire coastline of Spain is divided into 10 different coasts, aka the Costas of Spain. And each with their own personality. Wherever you choose, you’ll be within close proximity to a golden beach, but how do you choose? We picked our top three:
Costa del Sol holidays range from the high-end Marbella and charming Nerja to the more cultural Estepona. Costa Blanca holidays offer places like the tourist-heavy Benidorm to the more picturesque and authentic villages inland. And last on our list is Costa Brava, which offers a much more authentic feel, with its easy-going villages, artistic traditions, rugged coastline and often unspoilt beaches. The best thing about the Costas in the Andalucia region? They benefit from a great climate year-round, so they’re the ideal place to escape for a bit of winter sunshine!
Further reading: A guide to the Spanish Costas.
One of the best places to visit in Spain for volcanic landscapes.
Another set of islands that are great for a winter holiday, the Canary Islands are warm year-round, with Tenerife and Lanzarote still hitting the low 20s in December. There are seven main islands, but we’re just going to pick our top three – because who has time for seven?
Tenerife offers a fusion of all-inclusive resorts and European parties set amongst natural volcanic beauty (its landscape is dominated by the ‘active but dormant’ Mt. Teide) and culture-soaked towns and villages – try to make it to their pre-Lent Carnaval for some lively celebrations. Lanzarote takes volcanic wonder to the next level – declared a Unesco Geopark in 2015, you’ll find black-rock beaches, volcanic cones, lava fields and natural pools. On the other hand, you’ll also find white-sand beaches, excellent surfing and diving and tourist-catered resorts. Last but not least, golf-loving Gran Canaria is just as diverse as its neighbours, with diverse mountainous and leafy landscapes, a historic capital, pre-historic cave dwellings, superb hiking trails and a sun-bleached coastline.