Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, it is one of our favorites too. We have put together this comprehensive guide Spain bucket list and all the amazing things that you must not MISS when traveling around Spain.
With its incredible weather and beautiful beaches, Spain attracts millions of tourists every year. Whether it’s an essential stop or just something fun to add to your Spain itinerary, we’ve got suggestions for every day of your trip – from foodie experiences like Barcelona and Seville tapas tours through museums like Madrid art galleries – there are over 50 places on our list!
This travel planning checklist has everything from beaches (of course!) to castles, museums, and beautiful Spanish architecture. The only problem now is deciding which places YOU can’t miss!
Ultimate Spain Bucket List: 47 Epic Things To Do In Spain
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Visit a UNESCO Heritage Site in Spain
In addition to visiting old cities and castles, there are also many UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout Spain that you can visit!
Spain is home to 49 UNESCO sites.
From the works of Gaudi to the Andalucian architectural gems like the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Real Alcazar Palace to the Historic Centre of Cordoba, there are so many options for you to choose from! It is truly a paradise for history and culture lovers.
Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona
Gaudí’s Park Güell is a public park built by Antoni Gaudí. It features prominently on this list of Spain bucket list items, which you have to visit if you are traveling around Barcelona.
Antoni Gaudi was born in 1852 and trained as a bricklayer early in his life. He is known for his revolutionary approach to architecture which combined incredible creativity with practicality.
Gaudi was commissioned in 1900 by the industrialist Eusebi Güell to design public housing. However, these houses remained unoccupied after Güell ran into financial problems and had to sell his property in Barcelona.
Construction of Park Guell started in 1900 right on the outskirts of Barcelona. It was supposed to be a garden suburb but due to financial problems, it remained largely unfinished.
Only 12 houses were built with the intention that they could be rented out for profit by Güell. The remaining land was converted into a public park in 1928 and opened to the public.
Gaudi’s Park Guell is one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona and features three gorgeous structures: a park, an apartment complex, and a music building.
The park is decorated with mosaics and has some fantastic views of Barcelona! It also has a Gaudi museum on-site.
La Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudi’s most iconic work and is considered one of the most significant works of Catalan art in the history of architecture. It is located in Barcelona.
Construction of Sagrada Familia began in 1882 when Gaudi was just 31 years old. The project was estimated to take a century or more to complete, and it is expected to be done by 2026 on the death anniversary of Gaudi.
Gaudi died in a tram accident while working on Sagrada Familia in 1926. Even though construction is ongoing, you can still visit!
We booked a guided tour of the interiors and it was amazing. The interior of the Sagrada Familia is the most striking part. In fact, it’s been said that you can see Gaudi’s face in the cathedral’s masterpiece. Don’t miss the beautiful stained glass windows in Sagrada Família when you are there.
Visit Barcelona in the fall
Barcelona is a wonderful city to visit any time of the year, but in fall you will enjoy much lower temperatures and fewer people! This is great if you want to experience what it might be like when you visit in the summer which can feel like peak season.
During this time, many festivals take place such as the National Day of Catalunya. This is a day-long festival in the northern region of Spain/Catalonia and one of its official national symbols. It is celebrated annually on 11 September, with pomp and show.
Learn more about Barcelona in September
Check out La Rambla in Barcelona
La Rambla in Barcelona is one of the most popular streets in the city and probably one of the best things to do when you visit Spain. It’s also a great place for foodies; there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars along La Rambla to get your fix!
The street itself is about 1 km long and it’s a great place to visit as you will see a lot of people from different backgrounds, ages, and preferences. Some of the most popular stops along La Rambla are probably Placa Catalunya, which is the main square in Barcelona, as well as Liceu Opera House.
La Rambla is super touristy and super crowded, we feel that when in the city you must still check this boulevard once during your Barcelona itinerary.
Barcelona Tapas Tours
Barcelona’s food scene is one of its biggest draws with over 1,600 restaurants to choose from! If you want to experience some of the best Spanish cuisines, you need to take a Barcelona tapas tour.
Located in Catalonia, food is part of everyday life for locals, and eating tapas has become a cherished tradition! There are plenty of fantastic restaurants where you can spend hours enjoying the different types of tapas on offer.
Visit Casa Mila in Barcelona
If you’re looking for some modern architecture then Casa Mila is the place to go!
Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (the quarry) was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Construction began in 1906 and it finally opened on September 16th, 1912.
Casa Milá is known for its undulating stone facade and wall crawls up to the roof making it a unique building.
In 2007, Casa Milà was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. This means that it is recognized as being important both culturally and historically!
Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Gaudi’s artistic vision or not, Casa Milà is an incredible architectural site to see.
Camp Nou for football lovers in Barcelona
Camp Nou is a football stadium in Barcelona, Spain that has been the home of Futbol Club Barcelona since 1957. The size of this stadium is impressive with about 99,354 seats, plus an additional 2,005 in the standing areas.
Although Camp Nou is not the biggest stadium in the world, it is the biggest in Spain and Europe. It has hosted many competitions including the Champions League, Cup Winners’ Cup, and the Olympics.
Admire the peak and Abbey of Montserrat
Montserrat is a stunning mountain range outside of Barcelona. You can reach there by car or take the train to Montserrat station. This spot is perfect if you want to hike up the trails!
The peak features the Abbey of Montserrat which dates back to 1025. It has been an active Benedictine monastery since 1150 and hosts a large amount of religious artwork. The mountain is regarded as the ‘sacred mountain’ to the locals.
The monastery was founded by a Spanish monk named Seraphel who is buried there. The monks that live there are famous for their beautiful choir music, and they produce some of the most renowned pieces of Gregorian Chant!
This site is also notable for enshrining the image of the Virgin of Montserrat. There is the statue of the Madonna and Child venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery (Black Madonna).
Montserrat also features an incredible museum with many artifacts from the pre-historic era.
Visit the largest functioning Royal Palace in the world – Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence and principal workplace of the Spanish royal family. It was built during the 17th century and has over 2000 rooms! It covers an area of more than 135,000 square meters.
Located in the capital city of Spain, the Royal Palace of Madrid is the largest operating palace in the world.
If you are looking to enjoy some fairytale-like spots during your trip to Spain, then this is a must-visit for you! Guided tours (with an expert or self-guided ones) are available to explore this grand complex.
Visit the Picasso Museum in Madrid
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (known as the Picasso Museum) is dedicated to the life and works of Pablo Ruiz Picasso. It has more than 35,000 pieces of art from this Spanish artist. The museum also has works from another Spanish artist Salvador Dalí.
The Picasso Museum is located in Madrid, is one of the many museums dedicated to this artist.
Visit the many Game of Thrones sites in Spain
If you love Game of Thrones and want to visit some of the places where it was filmed, then consider taking a trip to Spain! It will be an experience like no other.
Spain has been featured in many seasons of this popular TV series, and there are many locations that pop up again and again in the key scenes.
Seville is particularly well known for the Dorne Palace and gardens (season 5 onwards). The iconic Real Alcázar was its setting.
King’s Landing, another important location that features many scenes was filmed in various Spanish cities. They are Girona (Arab Baths and Cathedral), Cordoba, Cáceres and Almería.
If you want to visit the Water Garden of Dorne, you can visit the Roman bridge of Córdoba.
The castle of Zafra is another spot to visit (season 6). Season 6 was also filmed in the semi-desert of Bardenas Reales Natural Park in Navarra.
Check off the Plaza de España in Seville
Seville is one of the most popular destinations in Spain and it has so much to offer. From stunning architecture such as Seville’s Alcázar to incredible food, this place is a traveler’s dream!
The Plaza de España is one of the must visit attractions. The complex was designed by Aníbal González for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It was built on the former expo site, located on the east side of the city.
This beautiful building is dedicated to all things Spanish, including its regions, and features many tile mosaics, which display different aspects of Spanish culture!
The Plaza de España is also surrounded by small shops and cafes, including a garden where you can enjoy your time and admire the local architecture.
Visit Real Alcazar Palace in Seville
Real Alcázar palace is an attraction in Seville that you won’t want to miss as it is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Historically this royal palace was known as al-Qasr al-Muriq, and the Almohade caliphs made the Alcazar their main residence. A lot of the original structures were replaced with the exception of the walls.
The current palace complex that you see today was built by Christian king Peter of Castile, on the site of an Abbadid Muslim alcazar, aka residential fortress. Do add this iconic building to your Spain bucket list when you visit Seville.
Royal Alcazar Palace is also located very close to the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede (or Seville Cathedral), and both are UNESCO Heritage Sites in Spain.
Visit the largest Gothic church – Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in all of Europe! And it is the third largest in the world.
The cathedral was built on the site of the great 12th-century Almohad mosque and is also home to the Giralda Tower.
Seville’s cathedral was built to demonstrate the city’s power and wealth. When you take a tour inside you will be spellbound with all the gorgeous works of art inside.
Located at the cathedral are the remains of Christopher Columbus. Following Cuba’s 1898 independence from Spain, Columbus’ remains were brought back to the country.
Visit Seville during its feria celebrations
During the spring (April – May) season you should check out Seville’s Feria de Abril which is one of Spain’s biggest festivals!
Seville’s feria is comparable to Mardi Gras and a carnival all combined into one.
It is a week-long festival filled with partygoers, costumes, parades, music, and dancing.
The highlight of the festivities includes a fireworks show which takes place at midnight on Saturday night along the river banks of Seville.
Stroll through Seville during Flamenco Festivals!
If there is anything that encapsulates Spanish culture, it would have to be flamenco! The vividness of the dance along with its music is one of a kind.
Flamenco Festivals are festivals held during the summer months, and what better place to experience it than the biggest city in Andalucia – Seville. During flamenco festivals, you can experience this dance in its original flamenco form.
Pyrenees Mountains for hiking
The Pyrenees are one of the longest mountain ranges in Europe, stretching for more than 400 miles (1,000 km) across the border between France and Spain.
The Pyrenees are a hiker’s paradise with trails of varying difficulty! It is also home to some of the most picturesque towns like the historical town of Baga, and Lourdes (in France).
Explore the Basque Country along the Western Pyrenees
The Basque Country is a region in northern Spain, southwest France, and western parts of the Pyrenees. This leads to some unique experiences like skiing through lush green forests!
The Basque Country is rich in culture and history, with the Euskal Herria being home to some of Spain’s oldest civilizations. The cities, towns, people are all unique in their own way!
There are also plenty of activities for families looking to have fun including water parks.
Explore southern Spain – Andalucia!
There is rich history and culture as evident in the Moorish influences in the cities architecture, and little streets. Add to it, flamenco, tapas, and laid laid-back/welcoming culture of the locals.
Andalucia makes for an amazing bucket list destination for road trip lovers as well!
Check off Alhambra in Granada
The Alhambra palace is over 800 years old (rebuilt in the 13th century) and the fortress is located within the city limits of Granada, which makes it an easy item for your Spain bucket list.
You can choose to attend a light show or take a guided tour during the day and admire the grand architecture of the Alhambra.
Another aspect of interest is that the Alhambra palace has its very own gardens which are stunning to explore.
You can also visit the nearby Generalife Gardens which is a UNESCO World Heritage site as well (designated in 1984).
Visit a Medieval Castle in Spain
Medieval castles in Spain date back from when it was ruled by kingdoms and knights during medieval times!
Visiting a Castillo is the best way to get a feel for its rich history which includes wars, warriors, kings, and queens.
The castles in Spain are all spread out so you may want to take a road trip in your rental car to visit multiple castles in one day. There are countless castles in Spain so here is a great list of castles you can explore when driving around the country.
Or go on a guided day tour.
One of the most famous castles is the Alcazar de Segovia, which is the most recognizable, along with the Alhambra (in Granada).
Visit one of the oldest cities in Europe – Segovia
Located just 60 minutes north of Madrid, Segovia is one of the oldest cities in all of Europe. The city has a long history thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of the Clamores and Eresma rivers.
Before it was Segovia it was known as “Septem” in Roman times!
The city of Segovia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its aqueduct and Roman and medieval architecture!
If you only have one day to visit, you should definitely go on a guided tour as there are numerous places to visit each with its own unique characteristics.
Segovia is known for its three main landmarks – the Roman aqueduct, its cathedral, and the castle, which served as a blueprint for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
Check off the iconic City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia
Valencia is a coastal city located on the east coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to about 1.7 million people and it has been an important part of the country since it was a Roman settlement.
The City of Arts and Sciences, located in Valencia is a cultural and architectural complex in the city, and one of its iconic landmarks worthy of adding to your Spain bucket list.
The complex is made up of 5 main buildings – L’Hemisfèric, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, The Umbracle and the Oceanográfico. Plus there are a few bridges, and a tower in the locality.
You can visit L’Hemisfèric to admire its 3D projections, El Museu de les Ciències for some hands-on science experiments, or El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía where you can watch a show at one of Europe’s largest theaters!
Taste paella in Valencia
Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain and is known to be the home to paella. The local dish is very popular and can be found in pretty much all eateries. Don’t forget to try some!
Patatas Bravas and Sangria anyone?
If you want to venture out of Valencia, there are plenty of wineries and vineyards around the area! Most popular among them include Aranleón, Vera De Estenas, and Pago de Tharsis.
Check out their wines and buy a few bottles back at your hotel for that nightcap!
Hit the beach in Spain!
Spain is home to some beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters perfect for swimming and relaxation.
It has a coastline of 4,964 kilometres (3,084 miles), as most of the country is surrounded by water – the Mediterranean Coastline, the Atlantic, and the Bay of Biscay.
The long coastline of Spain alone has over 300 beaches with amenities.
If you are looking for a secluded and uncrowded beach you will want to hit up the Canary and Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain’s mainland!
Add San Sebestian to your Spain Bucket list
San Sebastian is known to be the culinary capital of Spain, thanks to its close proximity with France and its rich coastal waters – Bay of Biscay.
This city has become a favorite for foodies around the world and has even been dubbed as the Culinary or Food Capital of the Planet. You can visit many restaurants and cafes during your stay and try their native dishes, or go on a guided tour to visit the local markets and learn about the local cuisine!
On your trip, don’t forget to relax at their stunning beaches – Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta, and stroll their quaint Old Town.
Sip delicious wines in the Rioja region
The Rioja region is one of Spain’s most popular wine regions. It has over 1,000 wineries to choose from. One of the best ways to take it all in would be to visit a wine estate and learn more about the winemaking process.
There are plenty of culinary experiences as well like cheese making, and other such installations that you can check out!
Walk the Camino de Santiago
Camino de Santiago is a historic route traveled by countless people for over 1000 years. It includes visits to beautiful cathedrals and other monuments around Spain.
It takes about a month (up to 6 weeks) to complete if you walk up to 20-30 km a day! Some pilgrims also finish the trail route in 20 days or so.
The most common route for El Camino de Santiago starts at Saint Jean Pied de Port, in France, and travels 804 km or 500 miles through four of Spain’s 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
Santiago de Compostela’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today.
July and August are the most popular months, but they can be very hot. May-June and September are the best time to g on this trail, as the temperature is bearable, and the weather is pleasant with less possibility of rain.
This hike/walk is a must-add for outdoorsy lovers’ Spain bucket list.
See Mount Teide in Tenerife
The island of Tenerife is one of the most accessible islands from mainland Europe thanks to its many flights into the Tenerife South Airport.
Tenerife is a nature lover’s paradise filled with various hiking trails, natural attractions, and even the highest mountain in Spain!
That’s right! Tenerife is home to the highest summit in the whole of Spain – Mount Teide, and it is an active volcano. Do add this to your Spain bucket list.
There are also plenty of beaches to enjoy around Tenerife which you can explore in your rental car.
Dance the night away in Ibiza
Ibiza is one of the most popular islands visited by tourists from around the world and for a good reason! The island is filled with young people partying day and night on the beach or at some of the best clubs in the world.
Often known as the world’s clubbing capital, Ibiza is home to more than 20+ superclubs, nightclubs, beach clubs, and more.
You can also take a day trip to Formentera from here, to escape the madness if you are looking for some serenity!
Visit the White Towns of Andalusia, aka Pueblos Blancos
The White Towns of Andalusia, or Pueblos Blancos, is a group of whitewashed towns and villages, located in the northern part of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga in southern Spain, and the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
They are all listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since December 14, 1996. The houses are painted white to protect them from the sun during hot summer months. This tradition dates back to the Moors.
This quiet, laid-back part of Spain is perfect for relaxation and walkabouts. They are definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the region.
Explore the town of Ronda in southern Spain, one of the White Towns
Ronda is a town in the Spanish province of Málaga.
The population is about 35,000 but during the peak summer months, it jumps up to about 100,000 people! Ronda and its old town are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its unique historical and cultural heritage.
The ravine of El Tajo canyon was formed by the Guadalevín River, which runs through the city from north to south.
Ronda has also been home to the Ronda bullfights since 1785, a tradition that is now forbidden but still celebrated in a big way during festivals!
Go on a whale watching trip in Spain
Spain is an amazing destination to go whale watching. You can opt for expeditions in the south of the Spanish Mainland (Tarifa and Malaga) and all seven of the Canary Islands.
Every year large groups of whales migrate south to the Canary Islands! You can take a whale-watching trip off the coast of Tenerife.
The best part? This is one of the cheaper activities on this list costing around 30 euros for anywhere from 2-3 hours!
Soak in the vibes at Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol is a stretch of Mediterranean coastline with countless resorts and beaches, especially along with Malaga and Marbella.
It hosts numerous wellness resorts and spas (like the spa at Ritz-Carlton) that are perfect for unwinding. You could even go scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea! Or go golfing!
If you are looking for a perfect beach experience, Costa del Sol should be your pick!
Relax in Costa de Almeria’s beaches!
Almeria is a pretty city in Andalucia and one that is less crowded. It has an interesting history and showcases some of the best beaches along this coastline.
Some of the nicest beaches to hang out here are Playa de los Genoveses, Playa de los Muertos (one of the best in Europe), and Vera Playa – Playa El Playazo (nudists beach).
Check out the works of Salvador Dalí in Costa Brava
Costa Brava is one of the most popular summer destinations for tourists visiting Spain.
Many people know about Costa Brava because it’s where Salvador Dali spent much time in his life, so there are plenty of beautiful, surrealist sights to see, beaches to explore, and local cafes and restaurants to check out.
Salvador Dalí was a famous Catalan Spanish artist, who spent most of his life in Catalonia. He is best known for the painting ‘The Persistence of Memory’ which featured melted clocks!
Dalí worked mostly on his own surrealist artworks and many museums in and around Costa Brava that houses Salvador Dalí’s creations – like the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres.
This museum is dedicated entirely to Salvador Dalí and his works. It features more than 400 original pieces of art, including drawings, sculptures, paintings, and other objects! So if you a Dali fan or an art lover, add Costa Brava to your Spain bucket list!
Admire the Sierra Nevada National Park
Sierra Nevada National Park is Spain’s largest national park and home to some of Europe’s biggest mountains. It also includes the highest peak in Spain, El Mulhacén. At 3,478 metres high, this is one of Europe’s most picturesque mountain ranges!
Check out the Albufera Nature Reserve
Located 40 minutes from Valencia city is Albufera Nature Reserve another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s been protected since 1982 and is home to more than 260 species of birds and incredible Mediterranean wetlands.
Albufera Nature Reserve is a man-made lake, which means that it’s very delicate and needs to be protected. The reserve also has trails that you can follow as well as go on hikes if you want to get a bit more active!
Albufera means “small sea”, in Spanish defining it as a “salt-water lagoon”. The Albufera of Valencia is unique in that it is now a fresh-water lagoon, usually considered a lake.
Visit Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands and is a Unesco designated Biosphere Reserve. This park has some incredible natural features such as volcanic craters, which make for an amazing hike!
Access to the park by the public is heavily regulated by authorities, so you can only visit the volcanic areas through a coach tour.
The geologic formation (including the volcanic landscape) is about 28,000 years old and they were formed after thousands of years by lava flows that created Timanfaya’s valleys.
Timanfaya National Park is one of the best places to visit in Spain, especially if you love nature and want an active holiday!
Go on a tour of the Doñana National Park
Doñana National Park is in southern Spain and it’s one of the most important wetland reserves in Europe. This park is also a major site for migrating birds.
You will find several species of rare animals living here including the Spanish Imperial Eagle, Iberian Lynx, and Iberian Wolf. There are over 300 types of flowers and plants in the national park, which makes it a gorgeous place to go hiking!
Hiking the Picos De Europa National Park in Asturias, northern Spain
Picos de Europa National Park is famous for its mountain ridges and peaks. It has many impressive summits in the park, and is filled with many hiking trails (from easy to difficult ones) for visitors to enjoy!
The landscape of the park looks like something straight out of Game Of Thrones! This is one of those places that you will definitely feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere when in fact, it’s only two hours away from Asturias.
The park is also one of the firsts of the National Parks of Spain.
Soak in the sun at the Calas de Mallorca
Mallorca is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It has incredible limestone cliffs known as Calas or coves. The Calas are very picturesque and have small beaches that are perfect for swimming!
You will notice stairs leading down to the water, which makes it easier to get into the sea. Or you can climb down the limestone cliffs through ladders that are built into the rocks.
Mallorca is an awesome place to go if you’re looking for a beach holiday. Calas de Mallorca has three calas – Cala Domingos Grans, Cala Domingos Petits and Cala Antena.
Cartagena one of the hidden gems in Spain
In the southeast of Spain is Cartagena, a city that’s been well-known since Roman times. This place has an incredible history as it was one of the most important cities during the Middle Ages and Renaissance!
Among its many Roman ruins are a 1st-century B.C. theater and Casa de la Fortuna.
Today, this city is one of those places where you can visit historical monuments and buildings as well as have fun in the sun at the beach.
Cartagena has everything you can ask for in a holiday – historical sites to marvel at, beaches to hit up, and delicious seafood! It is also known for its wines so make sure to get your hands on some while you are there.
Exploring other countries from Spain
Although this post is all about Spain’s bucket list experiences we had to share this tip about exploring other European destinations.
You can explore Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory from southern Spain. Known for its historical landmarks, museums, and architecture is easily explored from Seville (vs flying from the UK).
Iberian Peninsula is only a short ferry ride away from the north of Africa. Head to Tangier, Morocco, and then explore more of the country like Fez, or Marrakech.
Lisbon the capital of Portugal is an overnight bus ride away from Seville.
In the northern part of Spain, you can explore Andorra, a European micro-state, or check out France.
We hope you enjoyed reading our list of Spain bucket list ideas. If we missed anything that we should experience in Spain on our future trips, then let us know in the comments!
Travel Tips for Spain
- Spain: Most beautiful places in Spain
- Barcelona: 2 day Barcelona itinerary, Barcelona viewpoints, Barcelona Tips
- Seville: 2 day Seville itinerary
- Spain and Portugal: Spain and Portugal itinerary