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The sights of Spain are famous not only for hot bullfighting, incendiary dances and luxurious beaches. The ancient age of this country allowed it to form a rich original culture, which found its expression in amazing architecture. What to see in Spain if you came here for the first time? Let's get acquainted with the main attractions of the country, which you cannot miss.
What to see in Spain first of all
Before diving into the descriptions and photos of the main wonders, we advise you to make a decision on how your holiday will be organized. When exploring the local beauties in the company of only friends and relatives, you will spend less money, but you will not learn about the history and traditions of the Spaniards. In turn, guides in Spain will allow you to join the culture and think over the route so that you can see the maximum number of monuments.
1. Prado National Museum (Madrid)
Prado Museum in Madrid
The museum is located on the Boulevard of Arts, a popular tourist route. Its most valuable collection includes more than 8.5 thousand paintings and about 700 sculptures. Built at the end of the 18th century, this building became a museum only during the reign of King Charles III's grandson, Ferdinand VII. It was he who decided to form the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture. The first gallery opened in 1819 and exhibited 311 paintings.
In 1936, the museum was closed due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The collection was moved to Switzerland. After the stabilization of the political situation, the exposition was returned to its original place.
Art connoisseurs from different eras will find something to see in Spain, in particular, in the Prado Museum. It welcomes visitors with paintings by the great Spanish masters, including paintings by Goya and Velasquez. The Italian art school is represented here by the works of Tintoretto, Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Veronese, Fra Angelico, Mantegna. And as part of Flemish painting, the museum exhibits paintings by Vander Weyden, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, Jacob Jordaens, Peter Paul Rubens.
The exposition features masterpieces by masters from Great Britain, Holland, France, and Germany.< /p>
Official site: https://www.museodelprado.es/en
2. Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)
Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Interior of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, in the Eixample district
The place of this attraction in Spain is included in the lists of UNESCO sites. Sagrada Familia or Sagrada Familia, as it is also called, gives tourists different feelings. The first associations evoke an old church building, but the unusual structure suggests that it was created by an alien mind.
The creator of the project of the original temple is Antoni Gaudí. Don't know what to see in Spain that will be remembered forever? Visit the Sagrada Familia. As conceived by Gaudi, the temple was destined for the role of the Bible, embodied in architecture. The magnificent facades were supposed to symbolize the main stages of the life of Christ: the Birth, the Torments of Christ, the Resurrection.
The amazing acoustics in the temple are due to the ideal bell system, and the columns, approaching the vaults, form a fantastic likeness of intertwining tree branches.
The construction of the temple continues only at the expense of individual donations. Its fabulous splendor makes it the most popular European monument.
Official website: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/
3. Altamira Cave (Santadera)
Polychrome stone painting of Altamira Cave
In this sight of Spain, historians see the primitive analogue of the Sistine Chapel. The walls of this unique cave, 270 meters long, are decorated with rock paintings. Seven corridors and a 6-meter-high hall cover these ancient paintings that tell about the life of primitive people.
The cave was discovered by the little daughter of an archaeologist who loves ancient artifacts. Her attention was drawn to the huge bulls painted on the ceiling in bright colors, and the drawings covering the low cave vaults.
The most famous part of the rock painting is the plafond with a total drawing area of about 100 square meters. m. Drawings in a limestone cave depict various animals, reliably conveying their habits and temperament. The smallest drawing of details in the form of eyes, hooves, protruding tongues strikes with specificity and plausibility. The texture of animal fur, created using different shades of paint, makes the images even more authentic.
Official website: http://en.museodealtamira.mcu.es/
4. Park Güell (Barcelona)
Combination of gardens and residential areas in Park Güell
The great architect Antonio Gaudí had a hand in creating another landmark of Spain, famous throughout the world. Park Güell is not just a cluster of green spaces. This site harmoniously combines gardens and residential areas – an analogue of the fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century. garden city concept.
Initiated the construction of Usebi Güell, choosing the outskirts of Barcelona for this purpose. The talented architect Gaudi was invited, who did not recognize monotony and straightforwardness. Gaudi diversified the architecture of the park, decorating it with a fantastic combination of colors and curves of lines, giving this object a sense of external harmony and naturalness.
What to visit in Spain for a sophisticated tourist? Park Guell! At the entrance to the park, tourists are greeted by a pair of gingerbread houses decorated with bright ceramics. All the pavilions in the park look like big cake decorations, but they look very realistic. Painted animals froze in the flights of stairs.
Each object in the park breathes life. The columns that support the gallery of the walking path can easily be mistaken for trees, they are so gracefully and subtly curved. Balancing on the verge of the fictional and the real, the park strikes the imagination of tourists.
Official website: https://www.parkguell.cat/en/
5. Colomares Castle (Benalmadena)
Some of Spain's landmarks have a touch of futurism. Such objects include Colomares Castle, located in a small resort town. It is called a legend carved in stone and vividly tells about the discovery of America. Built in 1994 in honor of the 500th anniversary of the event, it impresses tourists with a mixture of styles, creating a resemblance to lace weaving.
Along with a part of a replica of the Columbus ship protruding from the wall, three more ships that accompanied the navigator's expedition are imprinted in the stone , – “Nina”, “Santa Maria” and “Pinta”.
On the territory of the castle you can find the smallest chapel in the world with an area of u200bu200bless than 2 square meters. m. When creating the objects of the castle, concrete, brick, stone, glass and wood were used. The architecture of the towers, palace and fountains symbolizes events that played an important role in the history of Spain.
Feel the atmosphere of Spain in this beautiful video!
6. Alcazar of the Christian Kings (Cordoba)
Alcazar of the Christian Kings in Cordoba
What to see in Spain to get acquainted with the architectural styles of different eras? Of course the Alcazar of the Christian Kings, which is a worthy part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. With magnificent gardens, an impregnable citadel, ancient Mudéjar architecture and a rich history, it is the second royal residence in the world, after Seville.
Time has not spared many of the sights of Spain. However, despite repeated restorations, the Alcazar appears today in its former glory. In its original form, the main and Lion towers, towering on the main facade, have come down to us. In the XV century. the Tower of the Inquisition was added (the highest here), and in the 20th century, during the reconstruction, the Pigeon Tower was built.
According to the principles of Arab architecture, the palace has the shape of an almost regular square. Symbolizing the victory of the Christian religion over the Muslim, the palace has signs of European Gothic. Thus, the Tower of Respect, with its carved floral ornaments and soaring vaults, contains elements of French architecture.
In the palace you can see collections of antique items: carpets, tapestries, antique furniture, paintings. Exhibitions, solemn ceremonies, presentations are held here.
Alcazar gardens, spread over an area of about 55 thousand square meters, are a work of art. The territory is decorated with flower beds, fountains, artificial ponds, statues of Spanish monarchs.
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The famous wine region of Spain La Rioja
There is something to visit in Spain for connoisseurs of real Spanish wines. The Rioja region in northern Spain is famous for its vineyards. The wines produced here are full-bodied and full-bodied. Due to the unique composition of the soil and microclimate, each zone is characterized by its own type of wine.
What attracts tourists here? A sea of vineyards with wineries, excellent gastronomy, the hospitality of the locals and the opportunity to taste great drinks. The number and level of wineries varies. There are traditional ones, and the most modern ones, owned by large firms and small family ones, compact and huge.
If you want to get acquainted with the technology of wine production, the guides will definitely offer a tour to La Rioja. In addition to visiting wineries, here you can visit a number of restaurants, wine spas, and spend the night in a cozy hotel. When visiting the wine capital of La Rioja, the fortress of Laguardia, it is worth visiting the wine culture museum with an exposition of items related to the wine theme.
8. Cuenca Old Town (Cuenca)
The ancient Spanish city of Cuenca on a rock
This pearl of the Middle Ages is located high above sea level, at an altitude of 956 m. If you do not know what to see in Spain, try to get to the old Spanish city on a rock surrounded by deep gorges.
district. The new city is separated from the historic center by the Huécar River. The ancient spirit of the Middle Ages is especially felt in the old part. There is a Gothic cathedral in the central square. Once here, it is worth visiting the Tesoro Catedralicio Art Museum with a collection of paintings by El Greco.
In the Old Town is the watchtower of Manyana – the remains of a ruined fortress wall, once erected by the Moors. The ancient convent invites tourists to visit the Museum of Science located there. The Museum of History will tell about the interesting fate of the city.
The “hanging houses”, “glued” to the south side of the Gothic cathedral, have become the symbol of Cuenca. It is also worth visiting the House of the Mermaid, the Royal Houses, St. Julian's Park.
9. Ordesa i Monte Perdido National Park (Spain)
Landscape of the Ordesa i Monte Perdido Park
Famous sights of Spain can be found in its most remote corners. One of the first national parks, the Ordesa y Monte Perdido Nature Reserve, is still considered the most beautiful in the country.
Ordesa Park was created in 1918 and in 1977 it was merged with Monte Perdido Park. Of all the parks that make up the natural complex of the Pyrenees, this park is considered the most striking.
The main attraction of the park is the Ordesa Canyon. It impresses with huge rocks hanging from both sides of the mountain path. The river of the same name runs along the bottom of the canyon. Its waters are replenished by streams flowing down the slopes. The lower part of the park is represented by a dense forest, where you can meet many representatives of the forest fauna.
There are many waterfalls that cascade one after another. Among them, the most powerful, perhaps, is the Cola de Caballo waterfall, from which the Ordesa River begins. Cows graze in the spacious meadows of the park, dense poplar and beech forests are located at the foot of the mountains.
It is difficult to describe the beauty of the park in words. This splendor of the nature reigning here must be seen at least once!
10. Ibiza (Spain)
The beach of the fashionable resort of Ibiza
Europe is rich in beach resorts, among which the Spanish resort of Ibiza is especially popular. Tourists rush to this sunny island in the Mediterranean Sea, which is part of the Balearic archipelago, in anticipation of the sea and round-the-clock fun.
The bulk of the tourists are young people. For them, a network of nightclubs with regular show programs is open on the island. The main city of Ibiza with the same name is known for its excellent infrastructure, pleasant friendly atmosphere and is focused on the most demanding tourist.
The old part of the city is surrounded by an ancient fortress wall. Walking along the winding streets, you can visit souvenir shops, simple cafes or good restaurants. Young people tend to the old fishing district, which is the center of nightlife. Two embankments with a lot of entertainment facilities are at the service of vacationers.
The island impresses with its nature, which makes even the hot months comfortable thanks to the sea breeze.
Official website: http://www.ibiza.travel
Attractions Spain: what else to visit while in Spain
Excursions in Spain to Barcelona are the leaders in popularity, but this does not mean that you need to limit yourself to this city only (although it’s definitely worth a trip there for a day or two!), because there are many other amazing places. Now you will know where you can go while relaxing in Spanish resorts.
11. Santiago de Compostelo (Galicia)
St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostelo
Those who are interested in religious sights in Spain should visit Santiago de Compostelo. After Jerusalem and Rome, it is considered the third center of Christianity.
At the entrance to the city, tourists are greeted by a huge figure of a pilgrim made of bronze. It seems that he is looking at the building of the cathedral, surrounded by multi-storey monasteries. The building was built in the Baroque-Neoclassic style and has four different facades of amazing beauty. Built in the form of a cross 75X57, it has a richly decorated altar, on the pedestal of which rises the wooden figure of St. Jacob. Pilgrims are allowed, having risen to the pedestal, kiss this figure on the shoulder or touch it with their hand.
In the city center you can watch wandering mime artists, listen to the music of student orchestras. Art lovers should visit the Pobo Galego Museum with an excellent ethnographic exposition.
This religious city does not stop developing, offering tourists a perfect communication infrastructure.
12. City of Segovia (Segovia)
The ancient Castilian city of Segovia
Due to its historical significance and unique atmosphere, the city of Segovia has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The tiny province of Segovia is adjacent to Madrid. On its old streets one can hear the echoes of mixed eras – Vestgod, Arabic, Spanish, Roman.
Arriving here, tourists immediately go to the most famous place – the Roman aqueduct. It was built from 20,400 granite blocks without the use of cement. It consists of 166 arches and has a length of 18 km.
Attention is drawn to the Cathedral of Segovia, built in the Gothic style, and the Alcazar fortress, which at different times happened to be the residence of the King of Castile, and military fortification, and the state prison, and artillery school. The city has many cathedrals and fortresses that you can see while walking around the city.
13. Costa Brava in Catalonia (Catalonia)
A picturesque corner of the Costa Brava in Catalonia
What to visit in Spain for lovers of beach pleasures? The picturesque resort of Costa Brava is famous for its sandy beaches, protected from sea winds by mighty cliffs with slopes densely overgrown with olive and pine groves.
Nature has created a true paradise here. The coastline is generously indented with small bays, and the economic unattractiveness of the area has left intact the pristine landscapes, preventing ports and moorings from forming there. There are many cozy small towns on the territory of the resort, which are smoothly located one after another.
Each town has its own offer: in Lloret de Mar you can visit theatrical shows in a medieval castle, in Tossa de Mar it is worth visiting the museum with the works of Marc Chagall, and Cadaqués boasts the Perro Mura Art Center with works by Salvador Dali, in Pubol you must see Dali's own castle. The city of Blanes will provide an opportunity to visit the old church, the castle of San Juan and the Botanical Garden, and in Palafrugell you can go to the Cork Tree Museum. Each of the cities of the resort has its own history and traditions.
14. Old city of Toledo (Toledo)
Old City DistrictToledo
The significance of this landmark of Spain lies in the uniqueness of its cultures and eras. The ancient capital of the country has retained its original appearance even today.
Among its famous masterpieces of world significance is the Cathedral. Representatives of many nationalities had a hand in its construction, which lasted three centuries. The three-meter tower in the center of the cathedral is made of gold and silver. The walls of the cathedral are decorated with originals by Goya, Rubens, Raphael, Titian and other world-famous artists.
The Arab fortress Alcazar rises above the city, within the walls of which the Museum of the Armed Forces is now located.
A remarkable place is the huge bridge of San Martin, built in the Gothic style. On both sides it is protected by powerful towers and consists of five arched spans.
The attention of tourists is also attracted by the building of the Tavera hospital in the Renaissance style. Inside the hospital there is a museum with works by El Greco, Zurbaran, Tintoretto, Ribera.
15. Escorial Monastery (Madrid)
Large museum-monastery of Escorial
In an hour drive from Madrid you find yourself in the monastery and the ancient palace of El Escorial, which immediately stuns you with its imposing appearance. Escorial is a major museum and architectural heritage.
On the territory measuring 208×162 m there are 9 towers, 13 chapels, 15 galleries, 16 patios, 300 cells. The building has 86 stairs, 1200 doors, 2673 windows. One of the two museums located here contains exhibits related to its construction. The second museum is a world-class art gallery and houses works by Titian, Bosch, Veronese, El Greco.
The walls of the palace are decorated with carpets woven according to sketches by Rubens and Goya. More than 200 statues are installed on the territory of the courtyards. In the treasury you can see a collection of silver and gold items with precious stones. The most outstanding exhibit is a unique gospel with pages of pure gold.
The library of the palace is second only to the Vatican. Books are placed here with their spines inside to keep them longer. Notable is the painting of the ceiling, symbolizing the seven sciences, and the end walls, dedicated to theology and philosophy.
16. Burgos Cathedral (Burgos)
Burgos Cathedral in the Gothic style in the center of the Old Town
In order to cover the sights of Spain in a week, travelers need to plan their route in advance based on this overview. Here is the Cathedral of Our Lady in the city of Burgos – a charming architectural creation with a lacy Gothic facade. The construction of this masterpiece began in the distant 13th century on the site where the Romanesque cathedral once stood, and only by the middle of the 16th century was its construction finally completed. The interior of the cathedral is grandiose with abundant stone carvings, gilded decor, stone sculptures and other valuables. In the courtyard in front of the cathedral, two beautiful medieval fountains beat and a sculpture rises – a monument to a pilgrim, dedicated to all wanderers in holy places.
17. Plaza de España (Sevilla)
View of the semicircular Plaza of Spain with a fountain in Seville
If we take as an example the best architectural sights in Spain, Barcelona, Seville and Cordoba occupy the first positions among the Spanish cities with a rich historical heritage. In Seville, the square built just over a century ago specifically for the Ibero-American Exhibition deserves attention. It was decorated antique in the beautiful Mudéjar style, with an abundance of elements of openwork blue and white painting. Today, the square has become a favorite place for walking residents and guests of Seville. The space of the square has the shape of an oval, framed by the waters of the canal – along the canal, by the way, you can take a boat ride. From the oval island of the square, 4 bridges were laid across the canal, leading to the surrounding buildings – it was these buildings that served as exhibition pavilions during the exhibition.
Official website: https://www.visitasevilla
18. Royal Palace (Madrid)
Grand Courtyard of the Royal Palace in Italian baroque style in Madrid
The Spanish royal crown and scepter at the Royal Palace of Madrid TheRichic
When it comes to testifying to the past greatness of the nation and mentioning the historical sites of Spain, Madrid is the first city that deserves attention. It is here that one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Europe is located. The Royal Palace was built in the 18th century, and since then until recently it was the residence of the Spanish royal family, and later it was used only for official ceremonies, receptions and other special occasions. Impressive are the rich baroque interiors of the palace halls, which house the rarest and most valuable works of art. Nowadays, the palace is open to visitors, and you can see a lot of interesting things in it – for example, visit the royal library, the Armory, royal kitchens, walk along the main staircase or look into the luxurious palace halls.
Official website: https://www.patrimonionacional
19. La Concha Beach (Donostia San Sebastian)
Panoramic aerial view of one of the most famous city beaches – La Concha
Spanish beaches have already become a national symbol of the country, and along with such popular Spanish resorts as Malaga on the Costa del Sol or Cadiz on the Costa de la Luz, the city of San Sebastian in the Basque Country is one of the fashionable resorts . The main beach of the city – La Concha, is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in Europe. It stretches along the coast of the bay of the same name for about 1.5 kilometers. The shape of the beach is reminiscent of a giant shell, and from any point you can enjoy beautiful views of the beautiful places on its opposite side. The finest white sand and a very gentle entrance to the sea create ideal conditions for relaxing under the warm Spanish sun. In addition to swimming, you can do a variety of sports here, including beach soccer, surfing and windsurfing.
20. Alhambra (Granada)
Alhambra – an architectural and park ensemble on a hilly terrace against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains
Granada is the heart of southern Spain, a beautiful city at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada, at an altitude of more than 700 meters above the sea. One of the most important architectural creations of this city is the Alhambra palace complex, an ancient building of the rulers of the Emirate of Granada, a priceless monument of Moorish architecture. Surrounded by mountains, in the midst of landscaped gardens, this complex began to be built in the middle of the 13th century. The main entrance to it is the Gates of Justice in the form of a powerful vaulted arch. The entrance is followed by the Wine Gate, then a view of the Plaza de los Aljibes opens, and only after the square does the entrance to the palace follow. One of the courtyards of the castle, the Myrtle Yard, has retained its solemn appearance to this day. Magnificent gardens grow inside the walls of the Alhambara, and around the walls there is a picturesque park called the Alhambra Forest.
Official website: http://www.alhambra-patronato
21. Mesquita (Cordoba)
Mesquita or Córdoba Cathedral Mosque in the Andalusian city of Córdoba
Moorish architecture in the Mezquita interior in the Spanish town of Cordoba
When wondering what to see in Spain in a week, be sure to include the city of Cordoba in your itinerary. After all, the incredible Cathedral of Cordoba, which during the time of the Cordoba Caliphate was the largest mosque in the Islamic world, is really worth seeing. It occupies vast territories – 175 meters long and 128 wide, and it can only be seen in its entirety from afar. Once on the narrow streets surrounding the mosque, one can only be amazed at the size and monumentality of the structure. It is noteworthy that in the very heart of the mosque, replete with elements of elegant Arabic script, there is a Christian Cathedral. Thus, in the course of its history, going from the mosque of the Caliphate of Cordoba to the cathedral of Christian Cordoba, this attraction, like aged wine, has only acquired its unique “taste”.
Official site: https://mezquita-catedral
22. Alcazar of Seville (Seville)
Patio de las Doncellas – the famous Moorish-style Alcazar courtyard
Gilded domed ceiling in the Hall of the Ambassadors (Salón de Embajadores) in the Alcazar of Seville
When choosing what to see in Spain in the spring, it is ideal to opt for Seville. This is a city for all seasons, but spring is the time of significant religious and national holidays. At this time, one can observe the mournful processions of Semana Santa (Holy Week), and the solemn events of the April fair, which honors everything that the nation cherishes. Studying the sights of Spain on the map, you can also see that in Seville there is an important historical site – the luxurious palaces of the Alcazar of Seville. In the architecture of this complex, several cultures and eras have left their memorable mark, but despite this, it surprises with its integrity and filigree of Mudéjar ornaments. Most of the buildings were built in the 14th century, and some of them are the best surviving examples of Mudéjar architecture, while others have a contrasting Gothic style.
Official website: https://www.alcazarsevilla
23. Canary Islands (Atlantic Ocean)
The city of Puerto de Santiago on the island of Tenerife in the archipelago of the Canary Islands
To see interesting places in Spain, you can also make a not quite standard route – for example, cover the sights of Italy and Spain in one trip by flying to the Italian coast from Madrid, Alicante or Barcelona. Or arrange a vacation in the Canary Islands, having moved there from the mainland by ferry. Moreover, on the distant volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, there is a wonderful warm climate and magnificent nature – for example, there are 4 completely different national parks included in the World Heritage List. Tenerife, the largest of the islands in the archipelago, has the best seaside resorts with wide sandy beaches, and here you can also climb the highest peak in Spain – Mount Teide with a height of more than 3700 meters.
24. Loro Parque (Puerto de la Cruz)
Entrance to Loro Parque in Tenerife Matthias Friedewald
Parrot Park at Loro Parque Zoo on Tenerife island
In continuation of the review of the Canary Islands, it does not hurt to mention one fascinating place on the island of Tenerife. This is the largest amusement park Loro Park, which should be given the status of the best attraction in Spain for children. This place for a serene family vacation combines a zoo, a dolphinarium, a penguinarium, a botanical garden, an aquarium, children's entertainment areas, various shows and a lot of interesting things. There are restaurants, cafes and even hotels on the territory of the park, so many people come here for several days at once – after all, the park is truly huge, and one day is not enough to go everywhere. Its territory covers more than 13 hectares, and once in the 70s it all started with 1.3 hectares and a small collection of parrots from 150 species. Now the collection of these bright birds has grown to 4 thousand species and is the largest in the world.
Official website: https://www.loroparque
25. Dunes Maspalomas (Gran Canaria)
Sand dunes in Maspalomas Himarerme National Reserve
The Dunes of Maspalomas are an amazing natural landmark of the island of Gran Canaria
The natural sights of Spain, the presentation of which must certainly end with something interesting and unusual, can surprise you with the edge of sand dunes, like in a real desert. These are the dunes of Maspalomas on one of the Canary Islands – Gran Canaria. These natural creations look almost alive – their outlines are constantly changing under the influence of the wind. The dunes are part of the Maspalomas Natural Reserve, which covers an area of a thousand hectares and includes two ecosystems – sand dunes and a lagoon. Due to the protection of this area by the mountain range, the weather here is dry and warm all year round. Therefore, you can have a great rest on the local beaches, especially since the territories here are equipped for a comfortable stay – there are bungalows, hotels, shops and restaurants. Spain's neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula is Portugal – a country of navigators and pioneers. Be sure to check out this country if you are already in Spain. Read about the sights of Portugal and get inspired for your next trip to Europe!