Things to Do in Spain: The Ultimate Bucket List

Spain's Top Attractions

From historic hotspots to incomparable cities and beaches, Spain’s top sights warrant more than one siesta break. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the ultimate Spanish bucket list of what to see and do. Of course, this might warrant a second (or third) trip to tick everything off.

Admire the architecture

  1. The Alhambra in Granada: a sprawling, Moorish palace and fortress complex that sits atop a forested hill, before the epic Sierra Nevada mountain range.
  2. Barcelona’s Best of Gaudi: Antoni Gaudi’s whimsical creations are scattered across the city— Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Park Güell, and his masterpiece, la Sagrada Familia.
  3. Cordoba’s Mezquita: a mesmerizing mosque-turned-cathedral featuring sunlit, striped arches, intricate detailing and a verdant courtyard.
  4. Madrid’s Royal Palace: the official casa of the Spanish Royal Family—elegant on the outside, decked with famous paintings and frescoes on the inside.
  5. All the alcázars: these beautiful, ancient castles are everywhere, but the most famous, fairy tale-like alcázars are in Segovia and Seville.
  6. Contemporary wonders: be wowed by the futuristic shapes of the incredible City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, or the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
  7. Holy…Spain!: stunning spiritual spots, like the Seville Cathedral, the Toledo Cathedral, Avila’s Basilica de San Vicente and the Convent of Santa Teresa.

Get cultural

  1. Mad for museums: classic works at Madrid’s Prado Museum or Barcelona’s Catalan National Art Museum, contemporary oeuvres at the Matadero Madrid or the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.
  2. Malaga man: the Museo Picasso Málaga in the artist’s birthplace or Barcelona’s Picasso Museum for thousands of his works.
  3. Dalí day-trips: visit Figueres for the Dalí Theatre-Museum, Portlligat for the artist’s house, and Púbol for the castle he built for his wife—all about a 1h30 drive from Barcelona.
  4. No bull: you don’t have to support bullfighting to admire the arenas, from Ronda’s 18th-century bullring to the gorgeous Real Maestranza de Seville.
  5. Flamenco fever: witness fiery flamenco dancing in Seville’s tablaos (flamenco bars).
  6. Festival frenzy: join the party—from classic celebrations like Las Fallas de San José in Valencia and Semana Santa in Seville, to modern blow-outs like Barcelona’s Primavera Sound and Sónar music festivals.
  7. GOOOOOOAAAL: get into the game at Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s legendary home stadium and Europe’s highest-capacity stadium.

Eat (+drink!) your heart out

  1. Pile on paella: sample this vibrant, rice-based dish where it was born, in Valencia.
  2. Tapas time-out: taste these small snacks all over Spain—a typical menu should include Spanish omelette, patatas bravas, croquetas, and so much more.
  3. In the market: eat your way through Barcelona’s Mercado de la Boqueria, Madrid’s Mercado San Miguel, or Malaga’s Mercado Central de Atarazanas.
  4. Ham it up: spot these legs of deliciously cured ham, choose from Jamón Serrano (from white pigs) or Jamón Iberico (from black pigs), and enjoy it thinly sliced.
  5. Say cheese: go beyond manchego and try Quesu Cabrales blue cheese, the cheekily shaped Queso Tetilla, and Idiazábal hard cheese.
  6. Wine o’clock:  enjoy sublime Rioja red wine in the region that harvests it, or travel to the vineyards of Ribera del Duero.
  7. Nightcaps: sip a Vermouth after dinner, celebrate with sparkling Cava, or cool down with tinto de verano (red wine served with lemon soda).

Answer nature’s call

  1. Montserrat: distinct rock formations define this mountain range, topped by an iconic monastery and surrounded by a stunning nature park.
  2. El Tajo Gorge: an epic mountain gorge splits the historic town of Ronda in the Malaga province—follow a path to the foot of the bridge for amazing views.
  3. High Teide: Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain and an active volcano, dominates Teide National Park on Tenerife, a dramatic landscape of volcanic cones.
  4. Beach, please: coast on the southern shores of Costa del Sol, move it to the island of Mallorca and its gorgeous coastline, or pick the Canary Islands for Caribbean-like beaches.
  5. A day in Doñana: from Seville, explore the nearby sand dunes and wetlands of Doñana National Park.
  6. Natural pool party: take a day-trip from Madrid to hike in La Pedriza’s unique rocky landscape cut by a river that offers up tons of wild swimming spots.
  7. Sierra Nevada: Spain’s largest national park, Sierra Nevada National Park, only hosts a section of this spectacular mountain range, boasting snow-capped peaks and picturesque villages.

Start checking things off the list in Spain!