Category Archives: Spain

31 Things to do in Tenerife: Best Beaches, Bars & Attractions

Playa del Duque Beach area Tenerife

Tenerife, a popular Canary island for families looking for a sunny holiday, couples hoping to sink multiple jugs of sangria and groups of friends with their sights set on cheap drinks! 

Whatever your reason for visiting, this guide details the best things to do in Tenerife with a focus on the south of the island since that is usually the destination of choice for hotels, apartments and all inclusive stays. 

However, if you have the time, we recommend hiring a car and driving round the island for a day to visit the lesser-known areas including Mount Teide and the capital, Santa Cruz.

If this is your first time going to Tenerife, scroll to the bottom to read our essential information section which includes accommodation, getting around, what to expect and how to stay safe. 

Things to do in Tenerife South/Tenerife Sur

1. Relax at one of the Beaches 

One of the top things to do in Tenerife is sunbathing at one of its many beaches.

Rocks, black sand, man made golden beaches, you’ll find it all in the south.

Here is a summary of what the most popular Tenerife beaches have to offer.

Since these lovely shorelines run into each other and are connected by a wide path, it is often quite difficult to tell the difference unless you take note of the beach signs.

There are a few lesser-known beaches dotted in between the following too.

2. Los Cristianos Beach

Playa de Los Cristianos is a sandy beach with a built up area packed with bars and shops.

If you don’t want to lie on the beach, there are benches sandwiched between the tree-lined boardwalk.

Los Cristianos also has a harbour where you can see day cruises sailing off.

Look out for the pirate’s ship!

Consider a whale watching cruise from Los Cristianos.

This tour has a no chase policy which is important because there are captive animal day trips in Tenerife which should be avoided.

3. Las Américas Beach

The most popular beach in is Las Playa de Las Américas is the golden sands of Playa de Troya.

The area also has a pebble beach with grassy patches for people to sunbathe on. 

This area is used daily by surfers and you can hire boards on the streets just behind the beach.

Las Americas beach rock Tenerife

4. Playa de la Pinta

Playa de la Pinta is the beach with the big inflatable in the water!

There are sun beds with umbrellas to keep your family in the shade during the hottest time of the day.

Toilets are limited around this beach but there are bars and restaurants.

Playa La Pinta Beach from Center Tenerife

For sunset views over la Pinta, reserve a table at El Horno de Neptuno in the shopping centre just before the beach.

Note: There are quite a few street sellers around this beach which is part of South Tenerife life.

El Horno sangria food Tenerife tapas sunset views over la Pinta beach

5. Torviscas Beach

Playa de Torviscas is a great spot for a full day at the beach as you can hire a sun lounger by card machine and you are close to toilets.

The toilets are technically free but there is a tip jar for change.

If you are hankering after a McFlurry, there is a Golden Arches on the beach or, if you prefer to support local, a lovely beachfront cafe which serves ice cream, cocktails and barraquito, more on that delight below!

A wooden boardwalk takes you to the beach which saves your feet from burning in the sand.

The boardwalk also leads on to Fanabe Beach which has lots of lively beach bars.

Street sellers roam the sand offering fresh fruit and massages.

The sea is swimmable and while the stretch out to the buoy is relatively easy, the swim back can get tiring so be aware of your abilities before attempting.

You’ll find a disabled access and support station located at Torviscas.

It is manned by lifeguards.

6. Fañabé Beach

Just along the road from Torviscas Beach is Playa de la Fañabé, another sandy beach with sun loungers and elevated beach bars. 

This is a great area day and night with lots of restaurants and pubs.

Fanabe is one of the best places to visit in Tenerife for foodies and we share where to eat and drink below.

7. Duque Beach

Playa del Duque is an upmarket beach resort area.

There is also a shopping centre nearby.

8. La Caleta and Enramada Beach

Playa de la Enramada near La Caleta is a pebble beach popular with windsurfers.

There is a beach bar and restaurant by the water.

You may also like our beach packing list.

Viewpoint views of Playa de la Enramada Tenerife

9. Hit the Pubs 

There are so many pubs and bars in Tenerife you wouldn’t be able to squeeze a pint at every one during a month’s stay, never mind a two-week holiday.

There is no shortage of pubs with big TVs showing sports so you won’t miss any football or rugby games.

In Adeje alone there is The Rumpot, Eugines, Temple Bar, The Ginger Pig (image), The Thirsty Turtle, and many more.

Tenerife food Ginger Pig Caesar salad

Some pubs put on live artist music shows featuring acts covering such as Blondie and Lady Gaga. 

Others have karaoke with compères like News Cafe at Torviscas.

Most pubs have indoor and outdoor seating. 

10. Enjoy a Slow Brunch 

While nighttime activities and daytime drinking are the reason most people visit, there are a handful of cafes that do a decent brunch in Tenerife.

Suka offers healthy açai bowls with a side serving of pancakes and fresh fruit juices.

Cinnamon and Vanilla does crepes with Nutella. 

Both cafes are located near Fanabe. 

In Adeje, head to The Smart Bakery for fresh bread and pastry based brunch or The Ginger Pig for poached eggs in a hip setting. 

Bloom in Caleta has a boozy brunch menu but it is pretty pricey. 

If you find yourself in the ex-pat area around Aqualand, Hemmingways and The Deli are a go-to for brunch or breakfast. 

11. Set the Day up with a Big Breakfast 

Since many of the people that visit the island are from the UK, most cafes and restaurants have full English and Scottish breakfasts on their menus.

The Cozy Cafe is an affordable breakfast we return to often. 

They also bake cakes for special occasions which is ideal if someone in your party is celebrating a birthday or anniversary.

Cozy Cafe food Adeje Tenerife

12. Try a Canaries Coffee

Skip the breakfast pint and go for a barraquito instead!

Layers of hot and cold liquids including coffee, Liqor 43 and condensed milk makes this mid-morning cocktail. 

The Guest bar serves them in champagne glasses and has seats overlooking the beach. Bliss!

13. Ron Miel 

The local tipple is a liquor called Ron Miel and it is delicious.

Best served on the rocks.

You can pick up miniatures for a euro in supermarkets. 

Glass of Ron Miel La Trattoria in Tenerife

14. Drink Sangria with a View

Multiple jugs of sangria are consumed during most Tenerife holidays! 

What’s your preference – sangria with a beach view, at the top of rocks at Cafe Wolfi or in the shade at one of the many beach bars?

Lagarto in Caleta does rose wine sangria, if you want to switch it up from traditional red wine.

The Duque area has the most expensive sangrias so avoid here if on a budget. 

15. Have a Beer, in a Boot

Dorado is the cheapest beer in Tenerife and by cheap we mean cheap!

€1.50 will get you a pint and sometimes it is served in a glass boot for novelty pics. 

Beer boot in Tenerife

16. Try an Extensive List of Cocktails 

Frozen daiquiri, milky choco loco or fresh mojito, whatever your poison is, there are plenty of bars spread out over the south with a cocktail menu waiting to be devoured.

Check out Bar Fresh in Fanabe for a lovely ambiance and fun social media counter or Lumma Beach Bar for chilled daiquiris with a sea view. 

While we don’t normally recommend chains, Hard Rock Cafe in Las Américas does a good cocktail and has a rooftop with live music.

17. Spend the Day at a Beach Club

Kaluna Beach Clubin between La Pinta and Fanabe Beach is a fun day out for young, and young at heart, visitors.

Chill out on the sun beds, sipping on cocktails served to you or cool off in the infinity pool as live jazz players compliment the DJ’s tunes.

Don’t be put off by the bods on KBC’s IG, we’ve been and felt totally welcome.

This is a popular thing for hen groups to do in Tenerife.

Kaluna Beach Club wall with sign

18. Eat Tapas

You’ll need to line the stomach if you plan to drink all our booze recommendations and since you are on a Spanish island you should try tapas at least once.

Our favourite tapas restaurants in Tenerife are El Horno De Neptuno (Fanabe) and Pipos (Las Américas).

19. Don’t Skip Canaries Potatoes

While patatas bravas is a difficult small plate to give up, you are going to want to sample local Canaries potatoes.

These are small potatoes with dry and salty skin and are usually served with green and red sauce. \

Delicioso! 

La Caleta Tenerife Canary potatoes food El Caldero

20. Other Places To Eat 

Italian Food in Tenerife

Try Milano for simple bowls of pasta and beer in boots at Fanabe.

For an upmarket and unique take on Italian, consider Il Forno in the ex-pat area of Costa Adeje.

Indian Food in Tenerife

Mantra Tikkas and Tacos and Delhi Darbar are two great options for curries you will recognise from home.

Both are located in Fanabe.

Thai Food in Tenerife

Banh Noï Thaï Viet Food (Fanabe) is a very popular restaurant that serves big plates of Pad Thai.

To guarantee a seat, arrive when Banh Noi opens.

Oriental Garden (Las Américas) does a mix of Thai, Chinese and Japanese food.

Pub Grub  Food in Tenerife

The Ginger Pig does a nice selection of burgers and salads.

The chicken Caesar comes in an edible bowl!

The dessert menu changes daily so you have a reason to keep going back.

Chill Out in Los Cristianos is recommended for meat dishes and pizza.

And if you want to end the night on a high, Planet Kebab (Costa Adeje)!

Most of the things to do in Costa Adeje involve eating and drinking, but who is complaining at that?!

Things to do in Playa de las Américas

If you’ve had a bit too much to drink or are travelling with wee ones who need entertained, here is a list of things to do in Las Américas that don’t involve alcohol.

21. Play Mini Golf

Just across the road from the infamous Veronicas you will find Treasure Island Mini Golf or closer to the upmarket shops across from Hard Rock Cafe is Mini Golf Santiago.

22. Light and Music Fountain

Check out the Light and Music Fountain at Centro Comercial Safari (Safari Shopping Centre) which comes alive at night.

23. Escape Rooms

If you want to hide from the sun or wind, consider an escape room challenge where you and your team are given a series of clues to help you get out of the locked space in a set amount of time.

No pressure!

24. Enjoy a Massage

There are heaps of spa rooms located around the south, many of which are just off the beach next to the bars.

Most offer head, back and foot massages and other beauty treatments.

Prices are similar to that in the UK, sometimes a little cheaper.

Trained masseuses also work on the beach, approaching potential who are sun bathing.

25. Make a Splash at Siam Park

Siam Park is a wild day out for all of the family.

Whether you are visiting with your kids or you are a big kid yourself, you can easily spend a day at this waterpark.

Siam Park Tenerife maps

The park is split into sections with most people basing themselves at the Siam Beach sun loungers.

This ‘beach’ has an ‘ocean’ with a crazy wave machine, fake sand and at restaurants serving burgers, hot dogs, ribs and salads.

You can also buy beer and cider in this area.

Tip: Use the locker rooms at Siam Beach, skipping the most popular ones closest to the entrance.

There is also a quieter area called Coco Beach at the other side of the park.

Most adult flumes require a dingy and some rides are for four people but don’t worry if there are only two of you, the guards arrange for others to join you.

Be prepared for big laughs and lots of ‘no ways’.

Pack a pair of water socks for walking about the park, the floor is just concrete and it is rough at the newer sections.

Water shoes/socks are an essential item in our beach packing list.

Some rides require lots of walking up stairs and waiting during busy times.

If visiting during high season, consider a fast pass.

How to Get to Siam Park

Siam Park busses run daily but be prepared for a tour of the island when in reality, Siam Park is a 10 minute taxi ride or 40 minute walk from Las Americas!

Where to Buy Siam Park Tickets

You can buy your Siam Park tickets here with GetYourGuide and take advantage of the buy now, pay later option.

You can also purchase the tickets as a gift.

Siam Park is one of the most, if not the most, popular Tenerife attractions and it enjoys custom from repeat visitors which is testament to how much fun the waterpark is.

Temple at Siam Park Tenerife

27. Teide Buggy or Quad Tour

If you don’t want to hire a car but are curious about the huge mountain that the beaches sit in the shadow of, you can hop on a buggy tour of Mount Teide!

This buggy tour lasts around 3-4.5 hours and tours Las Cañadas del Teide National Park with a local guide.

Alternatively, do a messier quad bike tour.

My brother did a quad tour and highly recommends it.

Tenerife Road Trip 

There are plenty of car hire options in each area of South Tenerife.

We picked up car keys from a shop front in Adeje and walked five minutes to a public car park where the car was located.

As always with car hire, take photos of the state of the car and note any damage with the company before driving off.

Also find out what the situation is with petrol.

For example, do you get a full tank and return it full?

You can drive around the island in a day with lots of stops for photos, snacks and meals.

If you think you will arrive back to the south after the car rental office is closed, ask what the out of hours options are.

You might also find our road trip packing list useful.

The first stop on the Tenerife road trip is Mount Teide which gets busy by afternoon so set off as soon as the car rental opens.

28. Mount Teide 

Mount Teide is the volcano on Tenerife and although you can’t always see it from the beach, its summit is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic!

The drive to Teide National Park takes just over one hour.

When you arrive park at the base station car park where you will find a restaurants and public toilets at around 2,356 metres.

Mount Teide rocky summit Tenerife

Most visitors pay for the cable car ride to the top which can be chilly so pack layers!

There are a few paths to walk around but if you want to do a proper hike you need to organise a free permit before your visit.

Mount Teide is one of the most popular places to visit in Tenerife for day trips so be sure to arrive early and leave before lunch to avoid traffic.

If you think geology rocks, consider a trip another Canary Island in the future as Timanfaya National Park is one of the best things to do in Lanzarote!

29. Los Gigantes and Masca

Next stop on your road trip is the resort with cliffs, Los Gigantes which has lunch options.

Then the ride takes you to a daring drive along hairpin bends at Masca, 650 m high in the Macizo de Teno mountains.

We stopped in El Pilón (C. el Pilón, 30, 38680 Guía de Isora) to dine on stew and Canaries potatoes at a local restaurant.

30. Garachico

Drive on to Garachico, park up and enjoy an ice cream from Heladería La Alsaciana while watching the waves lap around the town.

31. Things to do in Santa Cruz 

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital and a port city in the north of the island.

Wander through the old town colonial buildings and admire the murals at Plaza Los Patos.

As with every capital there is a shopping street so if that’s your bag, head to Calle del Castillo.

If you are done with Tenerife sightseeing and want a dip to cool off before the drive back to the south, join the locals at Playa de Las Teresitas.

Every year, Santa Cruz plays host to Tenerife Carnival where parades fill the streets and parties celebrate with lots of colour.

So now we’ve covered Tenerife activities, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about your visit.

Essential Travel Information 

Tenerife Areas Explained 

Las Américas is often the preferred location for first time visitors.

This hot spot is sandwiched between Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje, two areas which can be slightly more affordable compared to Las Américas. 

It is easy to walk between all three areas so you can enjoy all of the beaches, shops, restaurants, pubs and bars dotted along the seafront and the back streets.

Fanabe and La Caleta are a little more expensive and the latter is the quietest holiday destination.

Most beaches have small supermarkets which sell water, snacks and tat. 

Getting Around Tenerife 

Most visitors walk, or stumble, their way from their accommodation to the beaches and bars. 

There is a long and wide path which connects all of the beaches and areas which is shared by walkers, runners, and motor scooters which you can hire. 

There is also a white train-bus that rides between Las Américas and Playa Torviscas near Costa Adeje. 

Taxis are relatively cheap and found at hotels and ranks. 

Costa Adeje mosaic sign and paved path

Tenerife Airports 

There are two airports, Tenerife North and South.

Most fly into the south.

From here you can hop in a taxi to your accommodation and see the price on the metre.

A taxi from Tenerife South to Costa Adeje near Aqualand costs around 25 euros. 

Since budget airlines are often used to fly to Tenerife, you will be limited when it comes to luggage.

Check out our hand luggage review for the best space saving options.

Man pulling Eagle Creek luggage at Tenerife South airport

Accommodation 

There is a variety of accommodation to suit every budget.

There are usually packages at hotels, for example, bed only, breakfast included, half board or all inclusive including local alcoholic drinks.

High season is obviously more expensive than low and the closer you are to the beach, the pricier hotels get. 

Las Américas Hotels

Gran Oasis is a family favourite which my brother returns to frequently.

Coral Beach is an adult-only resort close to the beach.

Costa Adeje Hotels

Laguna Park I is compact, central hotel surrounding by bars and restaurants.

Not to be confused with Laguna Park 2!

Iberostar Las Dalias is a huge complex for all inclusive bookings.

Costa Adeje beach coast line Tenerife

Safety 

Tenerife is a relatively safe place, with lots of crowds on streets near the bars at all hours of the day and night.

If you feel uncomfortable at any time, get in a taxi.

You can drink the tap water in Tenerife and the council pleads that you do to help reduce plastic waste so remember pack a water bottle.

If you forget, you can pick up water bottles at Ale Hop which is similar to Tiger. 

Cow outside Ale Hop shop in Tenerife

Have we missed any of the best place to go in Tenerife? Tell us in the comments.

10 Stunning Towns & Cities in Andalucia, Spain: History, Food & Beaches

Andalucia Cities and Towns Spain

In search of the best places to visit in Andalucia, Spain? Look no further than these charming Andalucia cities and towns!

Are you planning to explore Spain’s southern province of Andalusia? If so, you are undoubtedly going to have an unforgettable vacation in this beautiful and distinct region of Spain that attracts millions of tourists to its shores annually. 

Stretching from the Portuguese border right through to the Balearic Sea and boasting some of the most iconic landmarks in Spain, you’ll never get bored exploring everything that Andalusia has to offer.

Visit charming villages, laze about on the golden beaches on the Costa del Sol, and explore the historical cities of this vibrant region that is filled with history, lovely coastlines, rolling mountains, and national parks too.  

Although there is an endless number of places to explore in Andalusia, making the choice of where to visit first that much harder, here are a few of our favourites to hopefully inspire and get you started on your southern Spanish adventure!

So, be sure to pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable Andalusian holiday!

Note: the names Andalucia and Andalusia are both used to describe this gorgeous region.

Stunning Cities in Andalucia You Must Visit

Seville 

If you’ve never visited this region of Spain before, then Seville, the capital and also the largest city in Andalucia, should undoubtedly be at the top of your list. 

A city steeped in history, as is evident in the numerous historic sights such as the Torre del Oro, La Giralda, and the famous Plaza de Espana, Seville offers visitors an incredible array of attractions to explore.

Admire the Baroque churches and the old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz or the colourful riverside barrio of Triana.

Apart from the historical monuments, the city is also home to the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, the stunning Seville Cathedral. Of course, the Royal Alcazar palace is the crown jewel of Seville and definitely worth a mention and a visit too. 

For a more modern twist, be sure to check out the Las Setas (also known as the Metropol Parasol) viewpoint.

Not only is the structure in itself extremely photographic, but it also offers sweeping views out over the city too. 

If there’s one thing Spain is famous for, it is for its incredible gastronomy, and Seville is definitely no exception to this rule. As for traditional foods in Seville, you’ll definitely want to taste dishes such as Torrijas, Pork cheeks (Carrillada de cerdo), Solomillo al whisky (featuring Seville’s famous whisky sauce) and many more delectable treats.

Seville is also famous for its Flamenco shows, definitely one of the best things to experience in Spain.

Jazz up your evening by booking an authentic Andalusian Flamenco show and gastronomy experience whilst visiting Seville!

Flamenco Dancer

Granada 

Historic Granada is an ancient city that dates all the way back to 5500 B.C., with strong Moorish influences still evident throughout.

Located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain, the city is most known for the incredible Alhambra complex, one of Spain’s top tourist attractions and one of the best sights to explore in Granada.

Hikes in Granada Spain

The Alhambra, with a documented history dating back to the 9th-century, has evolved over the centuries with different rules, including Moorish and Christian rulers, adding and rebuilding the complex into what it is today.

It consists of several palaces (Nasrid Palaces), fortresses, and gardens (The Generalife Gardens), and is today a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Once the seat of the Moors that ruled this part of Spain, the gorgeous and incredibly intricate Islamic architectural and design features can still be admired here today. 

Granada-Alhambra

Do note that entry to the Alhambra is carefully managed with a set number of visitors allowed in each day.

If you’re travelling, especially during the busier summer months, it’s imperative to book your tickets in advance as these slots do tend to sell out fast. 

Apart from visiting the Alhambra, Granada also offers a variety of other sights to explore.

Walk down the Carrera del Darro or visit the old Arabic quarter of Albaicin with its quaint and charming cobbled streets.

Enjoy a drink with tapas, which is included in the price of the round!

Tapas with Drinks Granada

Meander through the old historic city centre and visit sights such as the Basilica de San Juan de Dios.

Outdoor lovers can also venture out to the nearby Sierra Nevada National Park and mountains for a spot of hiking. 

Hanging Bridges of Los Cahorros Granada

Malaga

Just like the other cities, Malaga carries an abundance of history and has its share of castles and fortresses.

The city is sure to surprise, as you walk through the narrow cobblestone streets lined with colourful buildings.

Famed for being Picasso’s birthplace, the city has grown to become one of Spain’s most culturally dynamic cities. 

Spaniards and visitors arrive here for its galleries, restaurants and nightlife and of course, the resorts and endless beaches found along this stretch.

Take advantage of the thriving food scene in the second-largest city in Andalusia, which has long since been a firm favourite amongst travellers.

Pay a visit to the old Roman Amphitheater and visit the impressive Cathedral.

Visit the Alcazaba castle that is located on the hill above Malaga and commands sweeping views of the city.

Visit the Picasso museum to admire some of his most beautiful works.

Or, try out some great spots for food such as Cortijo de Pepe, or El Tapeo de Cervantes or El Meson de Cervantes.

Malaga Spain

Ronda

There is no denying that Ronda is a spectacularly located town with a 100-meter-deep gorge on either side and set between two natural parks.

It is perched carefully on the El Tajo Gorge. The dramatic history of one of Andalusia’s largest white towns has become synonymous with a legend of the “bandoleros” (or the bandits), made famous after Ronda’s defence against the French. 

Enjoy picturesque views of the city and the Guadelevin river with its sheer cliffs and canyon.

Walk along the southwestern edge to enjoy some spectacular views of the valley below from the iconic Puente Nuevo that connects the two sides of the white-washed village.

Stop by the Plaza de Toros if you’re interested in the Spanish tradition of bullfighting. Stop wherever you want for a glass of wine or sample a few local pastries and delicacies such as the tasty pestiños or rosquillas.

Cádiz

Located on a peninsula, Cádiz was an isolated port between the Atlantic and Mediterranean and is considered to be the oldest inhabited city in Spain.

For many decades, Cádiz was regularly attacked by English pirates thanks to its privileged vantage point.

Today, the city is dotted with watchtowers, churches and convents, and many plazas.

You will love the scruffy bohemian charm of the city that is steeped in thousands of years of history.

Many might not know, but the famous Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set sail from Cádiz on his second voyage to the New World.

Climb the most famous of those watchtowers, the Torre Tavira, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of this picturesque city.

Visit the giant Cathedral, the Plaza San Juan de Dios, and the San Francisco church. 

Spain is known for its elaborate celebrations.

From the colourful Semana Santa easter celebrations to incredible New Year’s Eve festivities, the Spanish sure love a good party.

Each year around the end of February through to the beginning of March you can attend one of Spain’s most vibrant carnivals, the Cadiz Carnival. 

Cádiz buildings and beach front

Marbella 

Marbella is well known for its beautiful beaches and beach resorts in Spain, and particularly known as a playground for the rich and famous.

The city has an extravagant collection of expensive hotels, shiny restaurants, and star-studded clubs.

Sheltered by the beautiful Sierra Blanca mountains, the town indeed enjoys a magnificent natural setting.  However, there is a lot more to this coastal town than its glamorous beach parties.

Explore the city that carries excellent examples of Moorish architecture.

Visit Plaza de Los Naranjos, which is a beautiful fifteenth-century square located in the Old Town.

Golfers can play a round of golf at La Quinta Golf & Country Club.

Or visit the ultra-luxury marina, Puerto Banús, a known hangout of the rich and famous as you admire the super yachts moored here.

Marbella Spain golf course

Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera is still very much a hidden gem of southern Spain that is yet to be discovered fully by tourists.

Here you are in the true home of flamenco and at a place famous for its sherry and beautiful horses. Drink with the locals and have some tapas or take guided tours around the city.

Explore the surroundings and enjoy some of the best sherry in Spain! Visit the stunning Mudejar Church of San Dionisio, the incredible Neoclassical Cathedral, and the Alcazar as you explore the old Christian and Moorish neighbourhoods where you’ll still find traces of the towns rich history dating back to the Romans, Phoenicians, Visigoths, and the Moors.

Charming Towns in Andalucia

Estepona

Nicknamed the “Garden of Costa del Sol”, the gorgeous town of Estepona is often overlooked by many visitors to Andalusia.

However, once you step foot in Estepona, you’ll soon realise why it’s considered one of the prettiest towns in the region and will no doubt fall in love with its picturesque streets and alleyways bursting colour everywhere you look. Each street has its own colour or pattern on the pots used to decorate each home.

Apart from strolling through the old town of Estepona to enjoy those colourful pots and charming streets you can also explore the Ruta de los Murales (the Mural Route) showcasing stunning street art and murals.

Alternatively, catch some rays at the Playa de la Rada beach and sample some seafood at one of the many top-rated restaurants that line the promenade, such as Restaurante La Escollera or Restaurante El Palangre to name a few.

Nerja

Under an hour’s drive from Malaga is yet another Andalusian gem, the seaside town of Nerja.

Nerja is everything you’d expect from a quintessential Spanish town.

With its cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings decorated by colourful doors and flowers and jam-packed with restaurants and tapas bars, it’s no wonder many visitors flock here to rest and unwind.

Nerja is also well-known for having the best beaches, coves and most picturesque coastlines on the Costa del Sol.

Visit the  Balcón de Europa for unparalleled sea views.

The iconic site Acueducto del Águila, which is also referred to as Eagle Bridge is another must-visit sight. 

Nearby visitors can also explore the Nerja Caves, a massive underground network of caves with impressive stalagmite formations and neanderthal cave paintings dating back thousands of years.

Nerja in Spain with buildings on rocky cliffs overlooking blue ocean sea

Olvera

The historic and beautiful hilltop town of Olvera is another place you won’t regret visiting whilst exploring Andalusia. 

Visit the Spanish church (the stunning Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación), built between 1822 – 1843, and admire the historic white buildings and architecture found here.

Another site not to be missed is the Moorish castle (the Castillo de Olvera) dating back to the 12th century.

As you explore the charming streets of Olvera, be sure to locate the towns prettiest and probably most photographed street, Calle Calzada.  

Olvera Spain with building high up in skyline

Bookmark for later by saving to your Spain planning Pinterest board

In search of the best places to visit in Andalucia, Spain? Look no further than these charming Andalusian cities and towns! Including historic landmarks, art, coasts, port, beaches, golf and food!

About The Author

Born and raised in South Africa, Marco Santos from Travel-Boo, currently resides in sunny Lisbon, Portugal. With an absolute love for Europe, he is on a mission to rediscover his own Portuguese & European heritage along the way. Marco has set out to blog and share his passion for travelling through and exploring Spain, Portugal and other parts of Europe, sharing what he’s learned through his travel blog Travel-Boo. 

Follow Marco on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

57 Fun Things To Do In Spain All Year Round

Granada-Alhambra

Looking for fun things to do in Spain? This bumper guide details a variety of things to do, from popular flamenco shows to lesser-known graffiti murals, from adventurous water sports to beach hopping and party spots. We’ll look at the best-rated hiking trails and the locations that put a spotlight on Spain’s history. How could we forget the art and architecture? We’ve got tips for that, too. So let’s take a look at Spain’s attractions and what to do there from A-Z. 

Top Things to Do in Spain

Almeria

Explore the Film Locations of Almeria, Plus Much More

Almeria is a hidden gem in the south-east corner of Spain. The area is known for its tomato growing, thanks to the warm and dry climate, but there are so many things to do in Almeria. 

The city is overlooked by an imposing Moorish fortress that was used in the filming of Game of Thrones.

It’s also home to a fortified Gothic Cathedral and underground tunnels from the Spanish Civil War, not to mention some of the best tapas in Spain! 

As well as Game of Thrones, Almeria and its surroundings have also been used in the filming of many Hollywood movies.

For example, Indiana Jones, Lawrence of Arabia, and plenty of Spaghetti Westerns, most of which were filmed in the nearby Tabernas Desert where you can still visit the old film sets.

In 1966, while John Lennon was filming a movie in Almeria, he wrote Strawberry Fields. There’s now a statue honouring him in the city centre. 

Zapillo Beach is located in the city itself, but it’s also worth visiting nearby Cabo de Gata Natural Park, where the turquoise waters meet the dry, desert lake landscape.

It’s also a short drive from Almeria to the historic, white-washed coastal Moorish villages like Mojacar, or those in the Alpujarras mountain region.

As you can see, you won’t be short of things to see on a trip to Almeria!

By Sonja, Migrating Miss

Almeria Spain

Andalusia

Take a Road Trip Through the White Villages of Andalusia

The white villages of Andalusia (Pueblos Blancos) are one of the most scenic destinations in southern Spain.

There are many picturesque little settlements of white-washed houses clustered in the hills behind Costa del Sol that you can visit easily from Malaga, Seville, or Cordoba.

Our tip is to explore the region by car (your own or a rental) and discover where the road takes you. You could make a round trip from one city or drive from one to the other via a very panoramic detour.

The most important thing is to slow down; allow for small, winding roads and numerous photo stops, enjoy the mountain scenery, stroll through as many of the white villages as you fancy, and enjoy a quiet drink at one of the many picturesque plazas.

Each of these villages has its own unique atmosphere and, often, several historic landmarks.

During the Berber invasion, this mountainous region was an ever-changing frontline between the invading Muslims and the Christians.

The legacy from these tumultuous times is countless fortifications and watchtowers dotting the hills. Today this history is preserved in many village names, which end in “de la frontera” (of the border).

So, which of the many white villages you should visit? It’s difficult to say.

Ronda is certainly the best known of all, mostly due to its spectacular clifftop setting.

But others are quieter and no less photogenic. Just explore and discover your own favourite!

Our favourite was probably Setenil de las Bodegas, famous for its “houses under the rock”. This village is wedged into a deep river gorge.

Many of the buildings’ roofs are simply rock overhangs, left behind in the soft sandstone by the formerly fast-flowing river.

Find out more in our guide on towns and cities in Andalucia.

By Juergen Klein, Dare2go Road Trip Ideas

dare2go-white-village-Setenil-de-las-Bodegas

Asturias

Drink Asturian Cider in ‘Green Spain’

Forget flamenco and vino, it’s all about bagpipes and cider in northern Spain!

You may have been to Barcelona, Madrid, or Seville and think you’ve got Spain nailed. Sun, sea, sangria….

But northern Spain (AKA ‘Green Spain’) is a completely different world entirely.

Made up of the lesser-known Celtic regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, and the Basque Country, you’re more likely to see a band of tartan-clad bagpipe players than a flamenco show.

But that’s not all it’s known for. Ask any Spaniard what makes the ‘Costa Verde’ so special and they’ll likely regale you with tales about the amazing seafood (owing to the fertile stretch of Atlantic coast on which it sits), and they’ll most definitely make quite a fuss about Asturias’ famous hard cider (or ‘sidra’).

Fret not, however, if you have fever-inducing memories of sipping cider in the park, as this isn’t the sugary, headache-inducing swill many of us grew up on.

No, Asturian cider is a zesty and purely natural artisanal product made with as much care and skill as Spain’s more famous grape-based beverages.

But cider is so much more than just a drink. Much like coffee in Italy and tea in the UK, Asturian sidra is the anchor that daily life revolves around.

From the workaday ‘sidrerias’ (cider bars) of Gijón and Oviedo (Asturias’ two main cities) to the rural restaurants where you’re invited to pour it directly from the barrel, it is sipped with great gusto night and day.

Head to any and all of the sidrerias you come across and order a bottle.

The best bars have professional sidra pourers who will keep you topped up with ‘un culin’ (‘a little bottom’ or ‘short pour’) that you knock back in one while the cider is still fresh and ‘alive’. 

You’ll be ready for la fiesta in no time!

By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com

Asturian Cider_Sidra Pouring in Northern Spain - Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com

Asturian Cider_Sidra Pouring in Northern Spain - Travel Photography by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com

Party in Oviedo

Oviedo is the capital of Asturias in Spain’s lush, green northern region. 

This regional capital is a stately, gracious affair with the traditional central plaza surrounded by the requisite cathedral, government buildings, and Baroque architecture. 

The leafy parks are among the most beautiful in Spain. 

Broad pedestrian avenues showcase upmarket stores on both sides of the street. 

It is a pleasant town with its museums, galleries, and restaurants offering the Fabada Asturiana, the region’s classic dish.

But don’t be fooled by the gracious, sedate atmosphere. 

Oviedo has another side to it and can party with the best of them.

Head over to Gascona street and surrender to the exuberance and musical merriment of an evening in Gascona’s cider taverns. There is nothing quite like it in Spain.

The street has cute little tapas bars and big family restaurants on both sides.

The speciality of the establishments is the traditional Asturian cider, a lightly alcoholic beverage that the waiters pour from three feet above the glass in order to aerate the liquid. It’s fun to see who can fill a glass without missing a drop.

The cider is accompanied by the specialities of Asturian cuisine: stews, roasts, and seafood. 

While all of this is going on, local musicians play lively traditional music and encourage patrons to sing along, which they do with wild abandon. 

The excitement builds to a crescendo. When the musicians leave to play elsewhere, the patrons follow them out into the street and into their next gig. 

Nobody parties like an Asturian.   

By Talek Nantes, Travels With Talek

Oviedo, Asturias statue

Ávila

Eat Yemas de Ávila

Yemas de Ávila, or Ávila egg cake, refers to what might be one of the best and well-known Spanish confectionaries.

The origin of this famous delicious sweet dish from the medieval walled city of Ávila is not very clear, but it was first commercialized and popularized as Yemas de Santa Teresa.

However, an interesting story for its origin goes by this…The convent of Santa Teresa had winemakers as its neighbours. They were using only the whites of eggs to clean their casks of red wine and used to throw the egg yolks.

When residents of the convent came to know of this, they requested the winemakers donate the yolks to them, as they were always in need of some foodstuff. Hence started a new revolution in eating habits.

For hundreds of years, the sisters would prepare Yemas from yolks. Its shape and recipe remain almost unchanged.

The tradition is passed on from parents to children to date.

These delicious little balls are dream souvenirs for every tourist to Spain. More than 2,50,000 boxes of Yemas are produced in Avila every year!

It has a simple recipe made of egg yolk, sugar, and lemon rind. Made by hand, they are very delicate and melt in the mouth very easily.

They are small orange balls in a tart white paper. No preservatives or additives are used and it has an expiration of almost 30 days! It can be bought anywhere in Spain but typically they are a souvenir associated with the city of Ávila.

By Nisha and Vasu, Lemon Nicks

yemas cakes

Barcelona 

Art and Architecture

Barcelona is often the ‘entry’ city for many tourists to Spain. One taste of the winding Gothic streets and whacky Gaudi architecture and they are hooked. Barcelona is a walking museum. 

Every Spain itinerary should include some time in the Catalan capital, visiting the yet-to-be-completed La Sagrada Familia, two Gaudi Casas, and Park Guell.

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona Attractions

Gaudi is not the only creator that is celebrated in the city. Picasso has a mural and a museum, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein has a structure, even the locals have had their hand at it via The World Begins With Every Kiss mural. 


» Find out more | How to spend two days in Barcelona


The World Begins With a Kiss Kiss of Freedom Barcelona Mural_

Barcelona’s Christmas Markets 

While Barcelona is not the most festive of places, it is nice to spend some time in warmer temperatures during winter. 

You can visit the beach for a walk, enjoy sundown drinks at sunset and then visit the markets which sell two poo-related items!

Yes, Catalan Christmas culture and tradition includes two poo items. You can are about both in our Barcelona in December guide

Caminito del Rey (Hiking)

Caminito del Rey is one of Spain’s most famous and beautiful hikes. It is located in the community of Malaga in Andalusia and takes place in the incredible Chorro Gorge, on a wooden path 100 m above the ground. The views are simply breathtaking.

The trail is a linear route of 8 km, of which 2.9 km is done on wooden pathways. You will also need to cross a high hanging bridge, so it isn’t advised for people with a fear of heights.

Besides the heights, it isn’t a hard trail, and at the end of the route, you can catch a bus back to the starting point.

Caminito del Rey was once designated the “most dangerous trail in the world”, but nowadays, it is perfectly safe.

It was rebuilt on top of the old pathway, but parts of the old trail were kept untouched, making you realize how crazy dangerous the path was before.

Hiking Caminito del Rey has to be on your bucket list when visiting Spain. It is an adventurous hike with unforgettable scenery.

Normally fully-booked in summer, you have to book the hike in advance through the official site, and it has a cost of 10€.

You should also be aware that Summers in Andalusia tend to be very, very hot, so the ideal time to hike Caminito del Rey is Spring or Autumn.

Claudia Bastos from Travel Drafts

Caminito-del-Rey-History

Castilla – La Mancha

La Ruta de Don Quijote

The Don Quixote Trail (Ruta de Don Quijote) is a list of sites related to Don Quijote de la Mancha, one of the most famous novels in the history of literature.

The novel, written by Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, tells the adventures of a man who wanted to be a knight-errant in the land of La Mancha and who could not distinguish fantasy from reality to the point to confuse the windmills of Campo de Criptana with terrible giants. This route was declared European Cultural Itinerary in 2007 and it is the fourth of this kind in Spain.

All the sites of the Don Quixote Trail are located in the five provinces of Castilla – La Mancha, a region in central Spain. Due to the distances and scarce public transportation options, this trail is best explored on a road trip.

The trail is very varied and includes the sites mentioned in the novel plus some sites related to the author. On the way, there are small towns (Belmonte, Puerto Lápice, Toboso), national parks, natural parks, posadas (road inns), 16-century traditional houses, and other sights, without forgetting the infamous windmills! This trail is also a great opportunity to explore a lesser-known region in Spain, world reputed for its cheese and wine.

The Ruta de Don Quijote is best done in spring or fall, when the weather is good and the roads are less crowded. Summers in central Spain are very hot and dry so you could also end up seeing giants in the plains of La Mancha, just like our hero Don Quixote.

By Elisa, World in Paris

Ruta-Don-Quijote

Costa Brava

Cami De Ronda, Hiking in Southern Spain

One of the most picturesque things to do in Southern Spain, the Cami de Ronda is a fairly unknown hike along 220km of Costa Brava’s beautiful coastline.

Also known as the GR92, the hiking trail starts in the Northeastern Spanish town of Portbou. It then follows the coast through some of the most popular Costa Brava towns.

These include Cadaques, Roses, L’Escala, Palamos, Tossa De Mar, Lloret De Mar, and Blanes.

The Cami de Ronda was originally built to help the Guardia Civil control the coast and stop smuggling. Today, the route is one of the best for hiking in Southern Spain.

The Cami – also known as Camino – De Ronda is made up of a series of small footpaths weaving through the cliffs, short tunnels, and lots of stunning beaches and tranquil coves.

Some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain are based along the GR92 route. 

You can start hiking at any part you wish. Platja D’Aro is close to the highest density of amazing beaches, coves, and crystal blue waters.

The coastal path is a fairly easy and straightforward route. However, there are quite a few parts that go up a number of stairs and inclines along the way.

Make sure to be prepared depending on the weather. There are limited shops on the way, so take some water and snacks. Wear proper walking shoes or trainers and suncream.

There are a number of hotels and campsite placed along the route so you can do multiple days walking if you want. 

By Amy Gillard, Follow Our Freedom

CamiDeRonda

Marimurtra Botanical Garden in Blanes on the Costa Brava

Blanes is a seaside town on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain known as the Costa Brava. It is part of Catalonia (Catalunya), an autonomous region in Spain where the primary language is Catalan.

Most tourists head to the Costa Brava for sun, sand, water activities, and seafood in congenial restaurants and bars. 

A bonus attraction is the world-class Marimurtra Botanical Garden (el Jardí Botànic Marimurtra) in Blanes. The garden has earned classification as a Cultural Asset of National Interest.

The Marimurtra Botanical Garden is a well-established, mature garden. It boasts flora from Mediterranean climate habitats on 5 continents with some 4,000 specimens.

The garden is set high up on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, such that the gorgeous setting of the garden is a specimen in and of itself.

There are some stairs and uphill/downhill paths. When you need a rest, there is a lovely pergola with a bird’s eye view of the coast where you can sit in the shade. Drinks are available at a small snack bar.

Give yourself at least 2 hours to walk through the 4-acre site which is divided into 3 gardens. If you’re a plant or photo person, allow more time!! For more information to plan your visit and to download a PDF map of the garden visit the Marimurtra Botanical Garden website.

By Suzanne Fluhr, Boomeresque: Baby Boomer Travels for the Body and Mind

Marimurtra Garden-Blanes

Cadiz

Hunting for Sea Glass in Cadiz

Cadiz is a beautiful coastal town in the south of Spain on the Costa de la Luz. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, some of the beaches are a good place to go sea glass hunting. 

Many people enjoy the iconic sandy beach of Playa la Caleta. However, to the southern side of the beach is Paseo Fernando Quiñones, which is a great spot for sea glass hunting.

Head halfway down the walkway to find steps leading down to a small beach dotted with pebbles. Wear sturdy shoes to avoid your feet getting cut. 

Keep your eyes open for odd colors.

Bright blues, vibrant greens, icy blues, and frosted white are some of the most common colors.

But you can find red, yellow, orange (the rarest colors), black, brown, lavender, and just about any color in between! 

Morning is the best time to find sea glass as this is when the best batch is washed up by the tide.  

By Niki Gordon Chasing Departures

playa cadiz

Comillas

Visit El Capricho de Gaudi in Comillas

If you ever find yourself driving along the northern coast of Spain, then you may want to visit the small town of Comillas in Cantabria. 

It’s home to this unusual castle-like villa called El Capricho, which was designed by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.  

Commissioned by the wealthy lawyer Maximo Diaz de Quijano, it was constructed between 1883 and 1885 when Gaudi was in his early thirties. It’s considered one of his earliest works of importance and is just one of a handful of buildings he created outside of Catalonia.

Walking up the hill to El Capricho, the first thing you’ll notice is the building’s cylindrical tower.  

It’s designed in the shape of a Persian minaret, with its surface covered in glazed sunflower ceramics. 

At the time of its construction, Gaudi was drawing inspiration from the art of the Middle and the Far East, hence the building’s oriental style. It’s a fascinating structure which, unfortunately, not as many people get to see due to its more remote location.

You can go to Comillas by bus, but the easiest and best way to visit El Capricho is by rental car. We rented a car from San Sebastian and drove to Santiago de Compostela, making stops in key cities like Bilbao, Oviedo, Lugo, and Comillas. 

Comillas wasn’t even in our plans but we had to make a quick detour there after learning about El Capricho. After all, it isn’t every day you get to see a Gaudi building like that outside of Barcelona.

By JB Macatulad, Will Fly for Food

el-capricho-de-gaudi-

Cordoba

Patio Festival in Cordoba

The Patio Festival in Cordoba is a bucket list experience in Southern Spain. This festival, which began in 1918, is UNESCO recognized as an intangible heritage site.

During the Patio Festival, at the beginning of May, residents of Cordoba open up their patios to visitors.

There are over fifty patios across Cordoba that are free to visit.

However, most of the patio owners do accept donations. These patios are elaborately decorated with flowers, each more intricate than the next.

The patios are either singly owned or multi-family dwellings, the owners working hard to design and upkeep their patios. It is a true sensory overload, with vibrant flowers, floral scents, and excited crowds.

You may even be lucky to experience some traditional singing, flamenco guitar playing and dancing during the festival. Crowds move from one residence to the next to visit the beautiful patios across the historic center of Cordoba.

Lines are fairly long, especially at the more popular patios. Yet, the floral displays are well worth the wait.

The Patio Festival also doubles as a contest: the patio owners vie for the title of best patio each year. The patios are only open for visitors during specific hours of the day; from 11 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 10 pm, allowing you time to explore some of the other incredible things to do in Cordoba when the patios are closed.

If you are unable to visit Cordoba during the Patio Festival, be sure to check out Palacio de Viana.

Palacio de Viana is the patio museum in Cordoba, which has twelve impressive patios to visit year-round. 

By Anna Hammerschmidt, Come Join My Journey

Cordoba Patio Festival

El Torcal de Antequera National Park 

If you enjoy spending time in nature and are a mountain lover, then hiking in the El Torcal de Antequera is one of the activities you must do when you visit Spain.

El Torcal de Antequera was formed millions of years ago when this entire area of Spain was under the sea. As the water retracted, the karst formations were sculpted by the wind and rain into unique shapes that people are coming from all over the world to see.

El Torcal de Antequera is over 1,200 meters high, only 48 kilometres away from Malaga, and it is easily reachable by car.

There is no public transport to the National Park, so to get there you can either rent a car or book a taxi from Antequera.

Hiking in the El Torcal de Antequera National Park is quite magical because very often, even if in Malaga it is sunny, the mountain will be covered by clouds and fog.

There are two public trails that can be accessed at any time by the general public: the green one is very easy and can be finished in 45 minutes, whilst the yellow one is a bit more difficult and takes around 2 hours.

On top of the unique karst formations, you will often notice the Iberian ibex looking curiously down at the path. El Torcal de Antequera is not a very popular touristic place and, out of season, you can easily notice that you are alone on the trail.

At the end of the hike, next to the parking lot, there is a viewpoint from where you can see Malaga, the Mediterranean Sea and, on a clear day, the mountains of Morocco.  

By Joanna, The World in My Pocket

antequera - el torcal

Galicia

Check Out Celtic Traditions in Spain

You are still on time to visit Galicia without being a victim of over-tourism that affects other parts of Spain (such as the Mediterranean coast or islands).

Galicia is located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, north of Portugal and with access to the Cantabrian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. About 3 million people live there, among which I include myself.

Due to its capricious geography and being away from historically significant centers such as Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona, Galicia has remained more virgin over time, more authentic if you want to say so.

For me, it is the most beautiful land in the world, more similar perhaps to Scotland and Ireland (for its Celtic tradition, traditional music, weather, own language, and other factors) than to Andalusia, in southern Spain. If you want to fully experience the unique Galician culture, the best thing to do is getting lost there. 

This land will make you find yourself. It has been a pilgrim’s mecca since the Middle Ages – as it is where Santiago de Compostela is located, which is the end of the world-known Camino de Santiago.

You will discover how down-to-earth Galician people are, how delicious and healthy its cuisine is, how wonderful is its coast with estuaries that will remind you of the fjords, the history that can be breathed in the cobbled streets of the historical centers of its cities, and ultimately, the blind passion that its inhabitants feel for their land.

You are invited, the Galician highlights are waiting for you.

By Inma Gregorio, A World to Travel

Galicia Serpal - A World to Travel

Granada

Visit Granada Alahambra 

Constructed by the Romans and the Moors, you literally can’t miss the city’s top attraction as it sits perched on the hill. 

Tourists can visit the palace and fortress grounds independently or as part of a tour. During your visit, you can walk through the archways, courtyard, and Royal Complex. 

It is advised to reserve your ticket months in advance, especially during high season. 

After you’ve toured the palace, grab a drink at a bar and enjoy the free tapas that are served with every round!


» Further information | Things to do in Granada


Granada AlhambraGuadalupe

Sleeping Inside the Guadalupe Monastery

When you hear the name “Guadalupe” as a Catholic place of worship, the first thing you think of is probably the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

That one is now the world’s most visited site of Catholic pilgrimage, but it’s not the original.

That claim to fame goes to the monastery in Guadalupe, Spain, in the remote region of Extremadura, and for hundreds of years, it was the most important cloister in the whole country.

As the official royal sanctuary, this was where King Ferdinand and Isabel signed off on the papers authorizing Christopher Columbus’ voyage in 1492.

Indeed, many of the Spanish conquistadors came from this region, and they were the ones who spread their devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe to Mexico and beyond.

Nowadays, the monastery of Guadalupe remains popular among Spaniards but is virtually unknown among foreign tourists.

A visit to this quaint town is the perfect opportunity to get off the tourist track and experience a slice of real Spanish life.

And while you’re there, you have the chance to not just visit an architectural masterpiece, but also dine in the cloisters and even sleep inside the monastery itself!

Dining al fresco in the monastery courtyard, surrounded by intricately carved arches and colonnades, is an experience you won’t soon forget. The restaurant staff are very accommodating and willing to cater to special requests, such as vegetarian or vegan meals.

After dinner, you can retire to one of the rooms inside the hospedería — a section of the monastery that has been converted into a guesthouse. Despite the opulent surroundings, the rooms here are extremely affordable, sometimes going for as little as 65 euros for a double room.

By Wendy Werneth, The Nomadic Vegan

Guadalupe Royal Monastery

Gran Canaria

Fishing in Gran Canaria

There are many exciting places to see and things to do when you visit Spain. However, nothing is more exciting than going on a fishing expedition in Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria is a part of the Canary Islands, which belong to Spain. They are located just off the northwestern coast of Africa, surrounded by the lovely Atlantic waters. It’s only a short and relatively inexpensive flight away to reach an all-year-round sunny destination.

Moreover, this kind of activity offers a breathtaking experience and it gives you the opportunity to get a glimpse of the stunning coastline from the boat. Best of all, you’ll have the opportunity to watch the sunset right on the sea.

Going on a fishing expedition is quite simple. It’s best if you book your stay at the Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel, which is a five-star, adult-only hotel. They can organise plenty of expeditions for you (tailored to your needs), including your own fishing expedition.

You’ll have the chance to join the local fisherman and fish for some beautiful Atlantic fish, like bonito or wreckfish. The best part is, that they’ll even show you how to prepare them, gut them, clean them, as well as cook them.

All in all, a fishing expedition is adventurous and educational. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to catch some sun and discover Gran Canaria’s coast as you travel in the waters. To learn more about going on a fishing expedition and things to do in Gran Canaria, click here.

By Michelle, Greedy Gourmet 

Guatiza

Visit the Cactus Garden

If you are looking for the best things to do in Spain, you will probably first think about stunning beaches, tapas in Barcelona, or a party on Ibiza island, right?

But what about something different? What if we tell you that one of the most interesting places to visit is a… Cactus Garden!?

Jardín de Cactus, or Cactus Garden, is proof that architecture in the Canary Islands can be an integral part of the natural landscape. This place can be found in the tiny town of Guatiza (Costa Teguise municipality) in the northeast of Lanzarote.

What awaits us inside the garden? Cacti, of course! More specifically – over 1,400 species of these plants.

This is the last great work of Cesar Manrique, who lived and created on the island and it is mainly thanks to him that Lanzarote is the most interesting island (in my opinion) of the Canary Islands. The cacti are tiny, measuring only a few centimetres, as well as huge giants several dozen meters high.

Their shapes, colours, and various forms in which they combine together create a view from which it is difficult to take your eyes off.

The garden was built like an ancient theatre, in the shape of a circle, with bunk terraces and cacti grow everywhere, so for lovers of these plants, it is a paradise.

If you ever go on holiday to Lanzarote island, make sure you visit Jardín de Cactus – it is one of the best places to visit in the whole of Spain. 

By Darek and Gosia

Ibiza

Sailing Around Ibiza

From postcard-perfect beaches to fresh seafood paella to some of the most trendy clubs and parties in Europe, Ibiza has it all.

But since it ticks so many boxes, Ibiza also attracts a lot of people and can get a bit crowded, particularly in the summer.

There´s a solution: Ibiza is best enjoyed by boat.

You can be based on the water, sailing from cove to cove and discovering the island from the seaside.

During the day, go snorkeling or go for a paella lunch at a beach restaurant (they will pick you up at your boat!).

In the evening, head inland to famous Pacha if clubbing is your thing, or lie on deck and watch the stars.

It´s easy to rent a boat for a few hours or an entire week, with captain or without (license required), and Ibiza has lots of stunning coves and anchorages that can easily be reached within a couple of hours sail from each other.

You can also take a day trip to the neighbouring island of Formentera. 

Even the famous Café del Mar at sunset is a fun, relaxing experience from the comfort of your own sailboat – and you can search for yourself in other people´s Instagram shots afterwards.

By Edwina, Traveling German

Sailing Ibiza Spain

Sunset at Cafe del Mar in Ibiza

Ibiza is the party island of Spain, known for its pumping club nights. But not everything in Ibiza is high energy!

If you like listening to chill-out music while watching the sunset, a visit to Cafe del Mar is worth it.

Cafe del Mar is located on Sant Antoni de Portmany, the second-largest town in Ibiza.

The bar plays a mixture of music including chill out, lounge, ambient, and Balearic beats; music with the beauty of nature. It offers an unforgettable show for locals and tourists.

Of course, you do not have to be a client of the bar to enjoy the beautiful view, because at the seaside there is enough room for everyone and it is open for the public.

After the sun is down, only a few steps separate you from the largest cluster of clubs and discos on the Ibiza island.

If you’re still not convinced to visit, turn on one of Cafe del Mar’s mixes on YouTube to feel the good vibes.

The most convenient way to get to Ibiza is to fly from Barcelona.

You can get to San Antonio from the Ibiza airport by public transport, but it is more convenient to rent a car (prices are very low out of season).

By Marta & Milosz, BackpackersWro

Madrid

Explore Madrid’s Local Market 

There are countless things to do in Madrid over the span of a few days, including visiting the capital’s inimitable art museums, like the Prado or the Reina Sofia, seeing the beautiful Palacio Real, or strolling in El Retiro Park.

However, one of the best ways to get a bit off the beaten tourist path and to really get under the skin of traditional Madrileño culture is to head to a local market.

While upscale food halls like the Mercado de San Miguel are definitely popular in Madrid and have become one of the city’s top tourist attractions, this isn’t what a traditional Madrid market looks like.

If you want to explore a part of Spanish culture that has held true for centuries, you need to venture only slightly away from the tourist centre and explore a proper local market. One of the best places to visit in Madrid is the Mercado Antón Martín in the trendy and diverse Lavapiés neighbourhood, just south of central Madrid.

In this market, you can browse stalls selling everything including fresh fruits and vegetables, delicious brined olives, beautifully cured meats, and exquisite cheeses. Most markets will also have a couple of areas where you can rest your feet after (or during!) your shop.

The Mercado Antón Martín, for instance, includes a couple of places to grab some tapas, a vermouth bar, and even a taco shop!

Another fantastic nearby market is the Mercado de San Fernando in the Embajadores neighbourhood. 

There are excellent and authentic local markets in most Madrid neighbourhoods and this is where you will see local Madrileños going about their daily lives.

It is also a great place to sample local cuisine at a fraction of the price that you will find in restaurants and bars in the city centre.

By Maggie Turansky, The World Was Here First

Anton Martin Madrid

Street Art in Madrid

One of the best things to do in Spain is visiting Madrid.

It is a vibrant city, full of life and with many activities that will surprise you. One of them is a walking tour to discover the best street art in the city, definitely, one of the coolest things to do in Madrid.

There are many hidden places in Madrid where you can find murals by artists such as Suso 33, Borondo, Okuda or Jonipunto, which fills the walls and facades of the capital with color and poetry.

You don’t need to pay to watch them, just walk around and enjoy!

Some of the most famous murals in Madrid that you can not miss on your visit to the capital are:

  • The Monkey by Okuda San Miguel with Bordalo, a geometric graffiti full of symbols made with recycled materials, that has become one of the most popular murals in Madrid, located in the corner of Embajadores with Travesía.
  • The walls of the old Tobacco Factory of Madrid, that have become an open-air art museum, with a total of 57 graffiti, including the popular by Borondo or Suso33.
  • The mural of the Paco de Lucía metro station, the largest suburban graffiti in Madrid of 300 square meters, made by artists Okuda and Rosh333.

By Sara, Madrid Traveling


Street Art in Madrid

Malaga

Hiking El Saltillo trail in Malaga is a great thing to do on your trip to Spain.

The hike has been called “the other Caminito del Rey” by hikers for its boardwalk hanging close to a hundred meters up on the vertical cliffside.

Only this hike can be done for free, it doesn’t require a helmet, and hardly any tourists know about it! How cool is that?

The hike of El Saltillo starts in the small white village of Canillas de Aceituno and begins at the same trail as the more famous hike up La Maroma, which is Malaga’s highest peak.

Actually, if you forget to turn right onto the small path that is hidden in the middle of the stairs above the village, you are quite likely walking up towards La Maroma instead. Which is a great hike, don’t get me wrong! But El Saltillo is just much more unique.

Following the path through olive groves, the views open up and you start following the water pipes along the hillside.

The path is extremely narrow at places, and just as steep, so if you suffer from vertigo, you might reconsider as this part of the trail doesn’t have any rails to hold on to.

After walking like this for a while you finally meet the boardwalk. It’s actually two parts with boardwalks hanging on the cliffside with views of the rugged mountains on the other side.

Following the path to the end, there is a small but refreshing waterfall to cool down and have a lunch break.

The whole hike there and back takes 4 hours and is great to combine with a walk around the village of Canillas de Aceituno.

By Linn Haglund, Brainy Backpackers

el Saltillo trail - Brainy Backpackers

Mallorca 

Hiking and Stand Up Paddle in Puerto Pollensa

Beach and nature lovers must book a trip to Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca.

The Spanish island is world-famous for its beaches and parties, but it’s much more than that, especially Puerto Pollensa town.

Think about crystal clear water, breathtaking sunrises, stunning mountains, and delicious fresh seafood. Puerto Pollensa can give you all of that, with lovely beachfront hotels, laidback restaurants, and a quiet vibe.

The fishing village is the perfect destination for nature and outdoor lovers, and among all the top things to do in Puerto Pollensa, our favorite ones are hiking and Stand Up Paddle.

Puerto Pollensa is a hiking paradise due to its location on the foot of Sierra de Tramuntana.

Bring your hiking shoes and get lost in magnificent trails that go through the rocky mountains and end in secluded beaches.

On the way, you might find old windmills and some curious goats. Don’t forget to pack water, beachwear, and a snorkel, as most of the beaches offer excellent swimming spots but no restaurants or shops.

Another unmissable thing to do in Puerto Pollensa is SUP (Stand Up Paddle). If you have never done it, give it a try. You can find many shops renting the boards and even offering SUP classes. Look around town or ask at your hotel.

The main beach of Puerto Pollensa is a great place to do it and we also recommend trying at Can Cap Bou Beach, where all the kite surfers go. It has a very flat sea, the water is shallow, and it doesn’t have many people.

Our last suggestion would be going for a SUP session during the sunrise.

OK, we know it’s hard to wake up before 6 am, especially on your holidays, but it’s worth it. It will be an unforgettable experience, that’s for sure.

By  Natalie Deduck, LoveandRoad


» Read next | Romantic places to visit in Europe


Puerto Pollensa - Mallorca by Love and Road

Calo des Moro Beach Hopping

Calo des Moro is one of the most beautiful calas (bays) in Spain, known for its lush and protected nature with pristine sand and turquoise water.

Moreover, it’s quite isolated and despite its fame, it doesn’t get too crowded most times of the year. There is even the possibility to stay overnight in a cave on the beach.

There is also a parking space right before the small road that leads to the stairs down to Calo des Moro.

From the parking lot, it’s a 15-minute walk until you reach the stairs, and from there you can descend in approximately 5-10 minutes.

There are signs leading to Calo des Moro, which makes it easy to find, although some effort is needed to get there.

Mallorca, also known as Majorca, is very famous for its beaches, and while Calo des Moro is absolutely stunning and well worth visiting, there are lots of other beautiful beaches in Mallorca.

Some of the best beaches include Alcudia Beach, Cala Agulla, Playa de Canyamel, Es Trenc, Cala Mesquida, and Cala Mondragó.

These are known for their fine sand, plus their water quality and the stunning blue color in various shades.

For those who venture further and go by rental car, it’s possible to find remote beaches with untouched nature in several parts of the island. However, most of the best beaches in Mallorca can be accessed by public transportation.

Most of them are located in the southern part of the island while a few are located in the northeastern part of Mallorca.

By Alexander Waltner, Gourmand Trotter

Calo des Moro

Touring Mallorca on a Motor Scooter

If you find yourself in the Balearic islands, with a sense of adventure and little time, a motor scooter can enhance your trip.

Due to the island’s infamy of attracting mass tourism at 10 million visitors annually, you might not expect much bar tourists hot sports.

However, exploring by scooter will show that Mallorca is an incredibly multifaceted island.

From Palma, explore the beaches, lighthouses, castles, capes, cafés, and cute villages. It is a lot easier to find a parking spot in a historic center with a scooter than with a car.

The freedom of the scooter is a great fit for all the random things you can do such as challenging hikes, relaxing at Cap de ses Salines lighthouse, the hike to and swimming at Coll Baix beach, the views from Alaró castle, and the winding road through the Serra de Tramuntana.

Pro tip – it is best to reserve a rental scooter before you arrive in Mallorca.

By Iris Veldwijk, Mind of a Hitchhiker

Marbella

Party at Beach Clubs of Marbella

If you love a good party and you love to connect with other travelers, plan a night out in Marbella.

Even though Marbella is not the largest town, it boasts some of the best clubs in all of Spain. 

Marbella is renowned for being the playground of the rich and famous…thus the perfect setting for people who want to enjoy and celebrate life to the fullest.

One of the most famous beach clubs in Marbella is Amare Beach for more relaxing afternoons with cool DJ sounds in the background.

Another beach club you can’t miss in Marbella is the legendary Nikki Beach. The club offers the full VIP experience, from sun loungers to the terrace, combined with world-class DJs.

Opium Beach Club is the place to be for younger travellers. It’s one of Marbella’s trendiest summer establishments.

If you are wondering where to stay in Marbella to make the most of your stay, I recommend one of the world-class beach resorts such as Puente Romano or Hotel Don Pepe. Many hotels in Marbella have their own beach club, thus in many cases, you don’t even have to leave your resort.

By Paulina, Paulina On The Road

Montserrat

Attend a Montserrat Boys’ Choir Performance

An 11th-century monastery spans the Montserrat mountain peaks in Spain’s Catalonia region.

The monastery alone is reason enough to visit Montserrat. But within the monastery is the home of the internationally-known L’Escolania de Montserrat (the Montserrat boys’ musical school).

You can attend one of the choir’s daily performances in the Basilica of Santa Maria (13:00 and 18:45 Monday-Friday). 

That is, when they aren’t performing around the world in places like The Vatican, New York City, or Moscow. Witnessing and hearing these talented kids sing is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s also completely free.

The prestigious choir is rooted in tradition. The choir became well-known and relevant in the 17th century, although records of its existence date to the 14th century.

The 50 kids who are accepted to the live-in school begin their intensive education and musical studies at the age of 9, and they remain members until they turn 14.

Join an organized tour to visit the interior of the school. You’ll tour the school’s classrooms, music rooms, and recreation areas while hearing the school’s history and curriculum from the school’s administrators.

There are also plenty of things to do in Montserrat outside of the choir performance.

Tour the monastery grounds, do some hiking, check out Catalan art at the Montserrat Museum, or soak in the mesmerizing views from an outdoor café.

If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, the one-hour train ride to Montserrat makes for an easy and memorable day trip! 

Elizabeth, Anchored Adventure Blog


» You may also like | Barcelona’s best day trips


Montserrat funicular railway SpainPalafrugell

Palafrugell Carnival

Palafrugell is an appealing market town on the Costa Brava in northeast Spain, around an hour from Girona. 

As well as being an excellent base for a beach holiday, Palafrugell is a great destination for visitors after a spot of authentic Spanish culture as the town holds a particularly good carnival each year.

Unlike most European carnivals, the Palafrugell Carnival is held in late spring, at the end of May.

The processions begin in the early evening with dramatic floats, people in elaborate costumes, and live music.

Confetti and sweets are thrown from floats to excited children waiting by the side of the streets and there’s an infectious party atmosphere. It feels like most of the town is involved in the festivities, with locals young and old involved in the parade.

Palafrugell has a lovely central square, which is perfect for morning coffee before a wander through the local market. There’s also a cork museum that charts the growth of the town in line with its cork production during the 19th and 20th centuries.

If you’re visiting the Costa Brava with kids from the U.K., the carnival usually falls in line with the May half-term holiday, so it’s a great opportunity for families to combine culture with a beach holiday.

There are some fabulous beaches close to Palafrugell, with Aiguablava being particularly lovely: crystal clear waters and excellent beachfront restaurants. 

Palafrugell can be reached easily from Girona airport (50km). Hiring a car is the best way to get the most out of a holiday in this part of Spain.

By Annabel Kirk, Smudged Postcard

Palafrugell carnival

Ronda 

Vacation Like Hemingway

Spain is home to dozens upon dozens of lovely villages and towns, each with their own appeal, but few are more magical than Ronda.

This striking town in southern Spain’s beguiling Andalucía region has attracted the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, both of whom are said to have drawn inspiration from the historic town.

The Austrian poet and novelist Rainer María Rilke even described it as the “city of my dreams”.

But there’s more than just a few celebrity endorsements to lure you to Ronda during a southern Spain road trip. So, lace up some good walking shoes, because this town is perfect for exploring on foot.

First up, start at the top of the El Tajo Gorge and feel your jaw drop as you gaze down into the rocky chasm.

Cross the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) and marvel at this engineering feat that straddles the ravine and provides a means to cross between the two parts of Ronda. The “new” part of the bridge’s name is a misnomer, as the bridge is, in fact, more than 200 years old.

The Arab Baths are another highlight of Ronda. These 13th-century baths are no longer in operation, but you can imagine the thousands of people who have bathed in the waters that once flowed.

While visiting Ronda, tick off some other historic sites: crossing the Puente Viejo (Old Bridge, a more appropriate name), visiting the world-famous bullring and museum, and strolling through the Old Town with its crumbling walls that once protected the citadel from invaders.

When you’ve had enough history, plonk yourself down in front of a cup of hot chocolate and churros, or nibble on some tapas.

By Rebecca, Rebecca and the World

Salamanca

Salamanca’s Quirky Graffiti Neighbourhood

Admittedly, Salamanca might not be a city you’ve heard of. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not surprising considering the overwhelming number of cities in Spain that are worth a visit. 

However, after studying abroad in Salamanca for five months, I can tell you that it’s just as worthy of your time as Valencia or Seville. One reason for that is its vibrant street art neighbourhood, called Barrio del Oeste.

Barrio del Oeste is located just outside of the city centre, but it’s easily accessible by foot (as is the rest of Salamanca). When you’re wandering around the neighbourhood, you’ll come upon a new dazzling work of art each time you turn a corner.

These artworks were created by young Spanish artists, who really did a splendid job of sprucing up an otherwise uneventful neighbourhood and making it one of the most vibrant places to be in Salamanca.

The whole project was commissioned by Salamanca’s tourism board and the project has its own website, where you can see an overview of every artwork that is a part of this ‘urban gallery’.

The website also includes some videos that give you a general idea of the neighbourhood, as well as an app and a downloadable map with the main artworks.

So, while many people may never make it to Salamanca, you now know better than to skip over this boring (yeah, right) city in western Spain. Happy wandering!

By Sander, Arscurrendi

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Ring The Bell

An island located near Bilbao, this tourist destination became famous because it was the filming location used for Dragonstone in Game of Thrones.

Its scenic chapel up the top and gorgeous man-made bridge is enough motivation to get you there. It is also a great day trip from Bilbao, which is only a 45-minute drive away.

You will need to hike to get to the island, down from the mainland, through the bridge, and up to the chapel of St John.

Once you get to the chapel, make a wish, ring the bell three times, and hope that your wish will come true. This place is seriously picturesque! 

By Ruby, A Journey We Love

Gaztelugatxe

San Sebastian

Experience the Cider House Culture in San Sebastian

San Sebastian is one of the trendiest cities to visit in Spain right now. 

It’s hard to beat those beautiful beaches, picturesque landscapes, or the pintxo craze that has travelers flocking to this northern Spanish coastal city. 

Yet, something I’ve also noticed is that there’s a forgotten piece to this story, one that seems to get repeatedly glossed over by tourists: the cider house experience.  

At the Cider House Experience, you can devour the Basque Country’s best steak, talk to friendly Basques with a little Dutch courage from the alcohol and learn cider traditions. 

Most visitors wouldn’t know this, but a lot of locals follow certain customs at the cider house. 

For example, when you hear someone scream “txotx” it means a new cider barrel is opening. 

Also, as you are getting some cider from that barrel (which you literally “catch” in the air with your glass), you shouldn’t fill it up all the way, nor should you drink your glass empty afterwards. 

The custom is to toss the last part of your drink into the drain on the floor. 

After all, the point of being there is to sample various ciders, not just chug down heaps of alcohol.

Ultimately, many tourists come to San Sebastian and only visit the beaches and fill their tummies with lots of delicious Basque food.

However, one of the most memorable experiences you can have there is waiting for you at the cider houses in Astigarraga. 

Just be prepared for a great time.

By Natalie, Tourist 2 Local

Cider House Culture in San Sebastian

Santillana del Mar

Spend a Few Days in Santillana del Mar

Wander around the cobblestone streets of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria and you’ll think that you are walking through a movie set.

The charming town is a treasure trove of Renaissance palaces and Medieval buildings housing museums, galleries, shops, inns, and bars.

Wander past lush gardens decorated with statues and fountains. Santillana del Mar is an Instagrammer’s dream.

The town’s churches and halls often host classical music concerts. The town is packed with delightful cafes, restaurants, and wine bars, making it a perfect getaway for a romantic weekend.

The town is rich in history and grew around the Santa Juliana Collegiate Church to become one of the most beautiful places in Cantabria.

The best way to explore Santillana del Mar is on foot, stopping for a drink of cider in a local tavern and to shop for ceramics or silk, and to watch local artisans chisel beautiful designs in timber furniture. Taste candy, cheese, and locally-produced chocolate.

One of the things to do in Santillana del Mar for your bucket list is to visit the National Museum and Research Center of Altamira, where you’ll learn all about the UNESCO World Heritage Altamira cave paintings.

This museum has a replica of the original Altamira cave and its paintings. These are famous palaeolithic paintings that are between 14,000 and 20,000 years old.

The paintings of European animals – which include bison and bulls – are fragile and only five people can visit the original cave each week.

Santillana del Mar is about 30km from Santander Airport.

By Christina, Travel2next.com

Santillana-street

Santander

Go Surfing in Santander

One of the best things you can do in Spain is head to the north and go surfing. Surfing in Northern Spain is world-class and, with an abundance of surf schools, it’s also a great place for beginners.

I did a week-long surf camp there a few years ago and it was a truly wonderful experience. Most of the small towns in the Santander area where surf schools are located are great places to visit. 

I stayed in a town called Loredo and it was bliss, a far cry from visiting the larger cities that most tourists go.

A normal day started early with a fresh breakfast in the surf house, then a morning lesson, a lunchtime siesta, followed by an afternoon class.

The rest of the day was spent hanging in the surf house where someone always had a guitar and a deck of cards. It was a truly blissful time filled with good food and even better company. Plus, you get so fit after a week of 2 surf classes a day!

If you are new to surfing, book a minimum of 1-week surf camp in Spain and find a school that has accommodation, especially if you are traveling solo.

The surf house will be set up to cater to all of your needs and they will often have social events happening in the evenings.

Whichever town you end up in, rent a car and explore the neighboring places, too, as there are so many beautiful places in this area of Spain.

By Claire, Claire’s Itchy Feet

Seville

See a Flamenco Show in Seville

If your Spain itinerary takes you to Andalusia in the south of the country, and specifically to Seville, make sure you spend an evening seeing a flamenco show!

Flamenco is the traditional form of music and dance in the region. It is known for classical guitar music accompanied by rhythmic clapping patterns, bright dramatic costumes, and passionate presentation.

There are many places to see a flamenco show in Seville. Many of them are in specialized venues that offer a combined dinner and dance show.

Often, you can just go later to the show if you prefer to eat on your own. If you are visiting Spain on a budget, traveling in Spain with kids, or simply prefer a different type of atmosphere, you can see a show at the excellent Museum of Flamenco Dance.

They offer multiple shows every night of the year to meet your scheduling needs and the venue is even more intimate than you’ll find at a dinner show.

By Melissa Conn, The Family Voyage

Seville_Cathedral

Visit Metropol Parasol in Seville

Metropol Parasol (Las Setas De Sevilla) or, as it is affectionately known, the ‘mushroom’ is one of the top things to do in Seville.

It is a unique and iconic (and dare we say pretty ‘out there’) structure that opened in 2011, after six years of construction. It is said to be the largest wooden structure in the world and consists of six parasols in the form of giant mushrooms  – ‘las setas’ in Spanish (I personally think it looks like a big waffle). 

To access the top of the 85-foot high structure, you will need to take a lift up after paying an entrance fee (pretty affordable at just 5€ per person).

The panoramic views across the city are breathtaking and there are several walkways winding across the structure that offer great viewpoints and many amazing photo opportunities.

Time your visit just before sunset for glorious red-hued views of the city. The evenings are a little busy, though, so if you want to visit with no crowds, head up first thing in the morning. 

There is a reasonably priced café at the top that sells alcohol, smoothies, and snacks if you need to refuel. This is one of the coolest architectural things I’ve seen (although the locals are rather divided about it), and would highly recommend if visiting Seville or Andalucia.

By Caroline Keyzor, CK Travels

CK-Travels-Metropol-Parasol

See the Cathedral of Seville

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the colossal Cathedral de Seville is the third-largest church in the world.

It’s also the largest Gothic cathedral in the world in terms of surface area. The church’s long-winded history started in the 12th century when the Moors built an Almohad mosque where it currently stands.

Later, the mighty Ferdinand III of Castile conquered Seville and the mosque was converted into a Christian cathedral. In the 15th century, city officials wanted to create a grand church so “that those who see it finished will take us for mad”.

Construction on building the imposing cathedral started in 1402 and its sheer size and opulent details continue to inspire awe today. What seems endless is the cathedral’s nave, which rises to 42 meters. The church also has an astounding 80 chapels.

One of its most famous features is the bell tower, La Giralda, which has an emblematic statue on top called El Giradillo, making the tower the tallest monument in Seville.

It’s recommended to climb the tower to get a sweeping view of Seville’s cityscape. But be prepared to climb 35 floors!

The Cathedral also holds the remains of the great and controversial explorer Christopher Columbus. His adorned tomb is held regally by four pallbearer statues representing the kingdoms of Navarra, Aragon, Castile, and Leon.

Finally, visit the Patio de Los Naranjos (“patio of orange trees”), a delightful courtyard where Moorish worshippers used to wash their hands and feet in the fountains before prayer. Its surrounding orange trees and cathedral in the background make for a picture-perfect backdrop for a classic photo of Seville. 

By Justine Ancheta, Latitude 41

The Royal Alcazar, A Must-Visit Sight in Seville

If you are planning a visit to Seville, the capital of Andalusia, visiting the Royal Alcazar should be at the top of your list of things to do there. The beautiful Mudéjar architecture of the Alcazar will take your breath away.

Seville’s Royal Palace was built for King Peter of Castile on the site of a Moorish fortress, after the Reconquista.

Some of the original Moorish parts, such as the Patio del Yeso, survived the destruction of the fortress-palace by the Christians. But much of the current structure is from the 14th century. The palace is still used as a residence by the Spanish royal family when they are in the city.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, the Alcazar has served as a Game of Thrones shooting location. See if you can recognize the Water Gardens of Thorne when you visit!

Some of the must-not-miss parts of the Alcazar include the stunning Courtyard of the Maidens and the golden-domed Hall of the Ambassadors. Allow lots of time so you can take in the beautiful arches in the courtyards and the lovely tile work you will see in many rooms at leisure.

The grounds and gardens of the Alcazar are just as gorgeous, especially if you visit when they are in bloom. In the early spring, especially, the gardens are a joy to explore, with the sweet scent of citrus blossom and jasmine wafting along the pathways.

The Alcazar is one of Seville’s most popular attractions, so reserve skip-the-line tickets well ahead of time!

By Dhara, It’s Not About the Miles

Courtyard of the Maidens Royal Alcazar Seville

Semana Santa in Seville

One of the top things to do in Spain is visiting Seville during Easter. Seville celebrates Easter with a whole week called Semana Santa.

This Holy Week is filled with Spanish traditions. Different fraternities go around the city and carry statues (pasos) depicting the suffering of Christ and Maria.

These processions come from all over the city and always pass through the cathedral. The cathedral is a sight itself, since Seville has the biggest gothic cathedral in the world.

It is easy and free to watch the processions.

It is very popular with Spanish tourists and inhabitants, but foreigners are very welcome as well. People have been nothing but helpful and kind. They will always point out where the processions are going or tell you what time they will be at your location.

Even though it is a big festive week, all of the sights in Seville are still open to the public. It is recommended to book tickets online because the lines can get long.

Do not forget to leave the busy streets and processions in the city centre for an afternoon to discover the neighbourhood of Triana, which used to be another village.

Seville is always beautiful, but Semana Santa makes it extra special.

By Manouk, Groetjes uit Verweggistan (With Love from Far Away in Dutch)

Sitges

Drag Shows in Sitges

There are so many amazing things to do in Spain, so it’s hard to know where to start and what to prioritize. 

For LGBT travelers, there’s one Catalonian beach town that stands out among the rest: Sitges.

There’s nothing like a Sitges gay beach holiday for LGBT visitors to Spain. The coastal town is a charming and beautiful enclave of tolerance, sun, and fun.

The town of Sitges is located about 35 kilometers southwest of Barcelona and is easily reached by train or bus in about 40 minutes. It’s a wonderful destination to plan your holiday around or to visit for a day from Barcelona.

Sitges has gorgeous beaches, a compact old town, and it’s full of charming boutique shops, delicious restaurants, and lively gay nightlife.  

One of the best things to do in Sitges is to eat. The tapas bars serve some of the freshest seafood and an after-dinner stroll on the seaside promenade is perfection.

The Passeig Maritim runs along the coast and offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean. You can find other great views in the Museu Cau Ferrat (a museum of Catalan art) or along the beach itself.

That’s where you can scope out the seaside church of Sant Bartomeu.

Speaking of beaches, the microclimate in Sitges gives visitors about 300 sunny beach days per year. There are multiple golden beaches in Sitges, some with beachfront bars and clubs to add to your fun.

LGBT visitors will enjoy the gay nightlife which offers everything from cocktail bars to nightly drag shows. There’s really something for everyone in Sitges and it’s one of the best things to do in Spain.

By Derek and Mike, Robe Trotting

Tarifa

European Capital of Kitesurfing

Tarifa is an amazing, off-the-beaten-path village in Spain.

This Andalusian beach town is the south-westernmost point of Europe and the place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. 

You will find a budget-friendly, walled city with a labyrinth of cobblestoned alleyways full of shops, restaurants, and bars.

Camping on the beach is popular in Tarifa, 4-star accommodations are affordable, and tapas are 1.5-2 euro each. Tarifa is traditional, so visitors should be prepared for everything to shut down for siesta between 2-4 pm.

With the almost constant sun and wind, Tarifa is most well-known as being the European capital of kitesurfing.

Many professional kitesurfers make Tarifa their home base; watch for kites with Red Bull logos to see them in action. There are kitesurfing shops and schools up and down the 10km beach.

After a few kitesurfing lessons, beginners will be jumping waves in no time. The wind is most consistent between April and October; June through August is the busiest time of year.

There are also many other things to do in Tarifa.

If the wind is weak, adventure lovers can go mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, sandboarding, horseback riding, or scuba diving. Day trips are available to Tangier, Chefchaouen, Rock of Gibraltar, Seville, or to see the bulls on the beach in Playa Bolonia.

Simply eating tapas, drinking beer, wandering the alleys, and relaxing on the beach is time well spent. There is something for everyone in Tarifa.

By Sherianne at OutOfOffice.Blog  

Tarifa Spain Kitesurfing Best Things to do in Spain-1

Tenerife 

Hiking 

The largest Canary Island is a mountainous wonderland full of hiking trails and varied terrain. Closer to West Africa than to mainland Europe, Tenerife enjoys mild temperatures throughout the year.

While most travelers flock to the island’s southern coast for a sunny beach holiday, a small number are dedicated to exploring the island’s most sensational scenery on foot.

The most impressive places to hike in Tenerife are the Anaga Mountains, the Teno Mountains, and Teide National Park.

The Anaga mountain range occupies the northeastern tip of the Island and is best accessed from Santa Cruz and La Laguna. Expect rugged coastal scenery, remote hamlets, and dense laurel forest. One of the most popular hiking trails in Anaga starts in Cruz del Carmen and ends in Punta del Hidalgo.

My favorite trail is the Grand Faro de Anaga circuit, starting in Benijo.

Tenerife is also home to Spain’s highest mountain: Mount Teide. To check out this impressive volcano, head to Teide National Park.

While a permit is needed to ascend to the top of Teide, there are a number of other hikes worthy of your time, including the easy Roques de García and moderate Guajara loop hikes. 

If hiking in Tenerife is something you want to do, make sure to bring sturdy hiking shoes and sun protection (sun hat, polarized sunglasses, sunscreen).

Also, download the Tenerife map on Maps.me, a reliable offline map app. While it’s super easy to follow trails on this Canary Island, it’s not always easy to find the trailhead. Maps.me is super helpful for locating starting points and viewpoints along any given trail in Tenerife.

By Sabrina Brett, Moon & Honey Travel


Read next: Fun things to do in Tenerife


Hiking Tenerife_Spain

Whales and Dolphin Watching in Tenerife

Tenerife, a Spanish island found in the Canaries, is a popular destination amongst English families for its many all-inclusive resorts, all-year-long sunny and warm weather, as well as its affordable prices.

But what’s less known, is the fact its southern coast is also the home to resident Pilot whales and Bottlenose dolphins.

This is where you can go whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife.

It is in fact, one of the only places in Spain to see these marine mammals up close and in the wild, and probably the most incredible activity to do with the entire family on the island, with a 99% chance to see the whales and the dolphins during a tour!

Moreover, while the Pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins can be seen at any time during the year, you can also spot migratory marine mammals from November to February, if you are in luck.

During these months, humpbacks, Bryde’s whales or even the majestic Blue whales can be seen passing through the Tenerife waters for a small break on their huge migration route taking them to or from their feeding and breeding spots.

2 to 4-hours tours are organised on a daily basis by responsible companies and you’ll have plenty of choice in term of boats! Will you prefer a large catamaran, monohull sailboat or a bottom glass boat from where you can see the whales underneath the surface?

By Jenny – Tales From The Lens

Spain-Tenerife-Whale-and-Dolphin-Watching

Toledo

Learn About The City of 3 Cultures

One of my favorite things to do in Spain is to go on a day trip to Toledo, on an adventure back in time.

Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage city in Spain, is only a 1-hour drive away from Madrid, making it a perfect destination for a day trip from the capital city. 

But what’s so interesting in Toledo? Well, the City of 3 Cultures is absolutely filled with epic monuments to visit – from the cathedral to churches, to medieval bridges and castle.

The best way to discover the city is by foot and you’ll be able to see all of the old town (where you’ll find all of the monuments) in a day. Ready for a trip back in time? Let’s see what you’ll find in Toledo!

  • The Catedral de Toledo: One of the finest Gothic cathedrals in the world, absolutely gorgeous from the outside, and even more impressive inside, with so many things to see inside (really, plan 2 hours for the visit)
  • The Alcazar de Toledo: The symbol of the city, a massive castle overlooking Toledo
  • Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes: A monastery open to the public with a jaw-dropping church inside and a 2-level cloister
  • There are actually more than 25 great things to see in Toledo – you can find them all here

Oh and I almost forgot to mention, Toledo was Spain’s Capital of Gastronomy in 2016. Yep! 

So, not only will you discover a historically-rich city, but you’ll also satisfy your taste buds with Toledo gastronomical heritage. Try the Carcamusas (a snack served in bars), one of Toledo’s most famous foods.

By Kevin from Kevmrc.com

Toledo in Spain

Get Lost In The Medieval Town

Toledo, Spain, is a medieval town filled with history. It is a favorite with tourists, with its unforgiving labyrinth of ancient streets enclosed by massive stone walls. It is also a town that is very easy to get lost in when visiting.

Even with the advent of GPS and good old-fashioned maps, you will most likely get lost.

Therefore, the best way to explore Toledo is to put down the map, close the GPS on your smartphone, and let yourself get lost. It is not a large city, so a day is all you need to explore Toledo.

All signs point to Toledo Cathedral, located right in the center of town, which makes it easy to reorient yourself in the town.

The Toledo Cathedral doesn’t look as massive as it is on the inside. It is filled with gold relics, stained glass, and a fantastic treasury filled with gems, gold, and silver.

The Cathedral took 200 years to construct and was completed in the 15th century. It is also a great introduction to the famous artist El Greco, as he was commissioned to paint many altarpieces as well as artwork throughout.

Two Jewish Synagogues in the Jewish quarter, Santa Maria la Blanca and El Transito Synagogue are remaining examples of the once-thriving Jewish population of the town.

El Transito Synagogue is now a museum detailing the arrival of the Jews to the Iberian Peninsula, as well as their culture and importance to the area. It also tells of their expulsion, persecution, and conversion during the Inquisition.

Kids may like the torture museum in Toledo, but the Spaniards had a way of masking the truth about whom the devices were used on by calling the victims “heretics.”

They were not “heretics,” they were the Jews of Spain. They tortured and killed them during the Inquisition.

Don’t leave without trying the marzipan, a thick dessert consisting of sugar, honey, and almond meal. Toledo is famous for this sweet and it can be found throughout the town.

By Alison Netzer, Five Family Adventurers

Valencia 

What to do in Valencia

Valencia is coined the City of Arts and Sciences for its uber-modern scientific and cultural values, and the architectural novelty that spans approximately two kilometres across the city. 

Most of the six iconic buildings were designed by Santiago Calatrava and each is awe-inspiring.

The Oceanografic, Europe’s largest aquarium, is home to seven marine environments hosting 45,000 specimens of ocean species.

Next in line is the Hemispheric, a 3-dimensional cinema noticeable due to its concave screen, which is symbolic of the eye of wisdom. 

This cinema screens films on a daily basis that are generally education-based; it operates dually as a theatre and a planetarium.

The Principe Felipe Science Museum is an interactive museum that celebrates science and technology. The museum hosts workshops and exhibitions.

Classical music lovers are sure to enjoy the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia opera house. A variety of operas, concerts, zarzuela, and ballet shows are showcased daily. 

The Umbracle is a futuristic garden of sorts, featuring contemporary sculptures and Mediterranean plant species. In summer, the terrace opens at night for visitors to enjoy the view under the moonlight. 

The Agora is the most recent addition to the City and generally hosts private events, such as the Tennis Open. Nonetheless, its stunning design is worth capturing.

Lastly, the Assut D’or Bridge is built across the Turia’s riverbed and connects the two banks of the garden.

By Chrissy, Travel Passionate 

Valencia

Las Fallas 

Las Fallas is the most important festival in Valencia, a festival that is constantly evolving and one of the best things to do in Valencia.

From the 1st of March to the 19th of March, at 2pm, the Town Hall Square is filled with locals and tourists, who do not want to miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the most characteristic events of this festival – the Mascleta. Gunpowder, noise and the fallero environment are the main ingredients of the famous mascletas.

The Planta marks the beginning of the last week of the festival.

After a whole year of intense work in the workshops of the Fallero artists, the work will be materialized in perfectly arranged ninots.

On the 15th of March all the Fallas monuments should be ready.

The Crema puts an end to the Falla monuments of the year. The 19th of March, the day of San José, marks one of the most anticipated days for the falleros and falleras, the crema of its monuments.

After 4 days where the monuments have taken to the streets of many Valencian neighborhoods, the flames will put an end to renewing cycle, as all Falla monuments will be burned.

Although the main days of the festival are from the 1st to 19th of March, the truth is that, throughout the year, the city of Valencia enjoys different fallero acts, which are also a tradition, such as the preselections of the Candidates to form the Court of Honor, the presentation of the sketches of the municipal monuments or the fallero theater contest, in which the different commissions present their work.

By Laura, Travelers Universe

Las Fallas Festival

Learn to Cook Authentic Paella in Valencia

If you’re visiting Spain, then I’m sure trying paella is on your list. If you happen to be in Valencia, don’t just sample it, also learn to cook it for yourself. 

Paella is an internationally-known rice dish that was first made in Valencia, Spain, originating in the 19th century.

Traditional Valencian paella is comprised of rice, rabbit, chicken, and spices and is characterized by its color due to the use of saffron.

Nowadays, you can make paella with just about anything. Many people will order seafood paellas in restaurants, especially when visiting the coastal cities in Spain.

You can learn to cook it for yourself with local chefs, in the heart of where it all began.

In Russafa, there is a class that takes you to the local market to learn how to buy the right ingredients, and then back to the kitchen where you and a few others learn to cook the dish step-by-step while sipping on Sangria.

It’s an experience you’ll never forget, and you’ll be able to take your skills home with you. 

By Lauren Cirkot, Always Find Adventure

Valencia cooking class

Drink Horchata in Valencia

Valencia is world-renowned as the birthplace of paella and rightfully so.

The best paella can be found in decades-old restaurants scattered throughout the city.

There is another tasty treat, though, that is best enjoyed in Valencia. It’s often overshadowed by the more famous Spanish rice dish. Horchata is a cold and refreshing drink loved by Valencians, especially on hot summer days.

The popularity of horchata in Spain dates back to 1000 A.D. when it was first brought over from Africa. Made from dried and sweetened tiger nuts instead of cow milk, this vegan-friendly drink is milky, creamy, and sweet.

There is a little more texture than typical milk, almost with a chalkiness to it. Perfect first thing in the morning or as an afternoon pick me up, horchata is truly a Valencian speciality.

To enjoy horchata like a local, no glass of Horchata is complete unless you enjoy it with fartons, which are long, thin, sweetbreads sprinkled with sugar or frosting. Dip it in the horchata or don’t – it’s completely up to you. 

Horchata can be found throughout Valencia. Horchata and fartons are one of the best treats to eat in Valencia.

Some of the best places around the city to enjoy horchata and fartons are in the L’Orxateria del Mercat Central, Horchatería Daniel at Mercato de Colon, and Horchatería Santa Catalina on Plaça de Santa Catalina. 

By Amber, Food and Drink Destinations

Horchata in Valencia

La Tomatina

Music is not the only kind of festival in Spain. La Tomatina, the world’s biggest food fight is where big kids go to have one hundred metric tonnes of tomatoes thrown at them.

The festival takes place in Bunol near Valencia on the last Wednesday of August.

For safety, the number of participants has been limited to 20,000 people.

Zaragoza

Old Spain

Zaragoza might not be as well-known as Madrid or Barcelona, but it is Spain’s oldest settlement.

It has over 2,000 years of history and has been ruled by the Romans, the Moors, and the Christian kings, giving it a rich history and leaving a ton of ancient sites for visitors to explore today. 

One of the most unique things you can do in Zaragoza, Spain, is visiting the Aljaferia Palace.

This stunning Moorish palace is truly a remarkable gem and a rare historical architectural monument from the Taifas time that is still standing today. It is the best Moorish architecture you can find outside Andalusia.

Built in the 11th century, Aljaferia was originally the residence of the Banu Hud dynasty. After the reconquering of Zaragoza by the Christian armies, it became the home of the kings of Aragon.

The interlacing arches, geometric carvings, and ornate brickwork reflect the coexistence of the Muslim and Christian cultures. That is the reason why UNESCO declared the Aljaferia Palace as one of the most representative Mudejar architectures in 2001.

There are many palaces in Spain, but Aljaferia is a true must see!

By Cat Lin from For Two, Please

Zaragoza_Spain


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One Day in Barcelona: Three Itineraries + Map

Barcelona in one day itinerary

Striking architecture, delicious food and of course, the beaches, one day in Barcelona is just about enough to enjoy a taster of what the Catalan city has to offer. This 24-hour guide will detail exactly what you should do to get the best out of your Barcelona itinerary, provide advice on how to save time and as always, offer choice! So let’s take a look at the best things to in Barcelona, all year round. 

One Day in Barcelona Itinerary 

Morning – Breakfast, La Rambla, Barcelona Cathedral 

Start your day with breakfast at your accommodation. If that’s not on offer, there are three options we can recommend. 

  • Brunch & Cakes for something sweet and photogenic at Passeig de Joan de Borbo, near Port Vell 
  • Restaurant La Boqueria for something traditional at Carrer de la Boqueria, Raval
  • Señor Pina for something healthy at Carrer de la Boqueria, Raval

The first option is slightly off the itinerary where are the other three are close to our next stop. Factor a 15-minute walk between Brunch & Cakes and the start of your Barcelona sightseeing. 

Brunch and Cakes Barcelona_

La Rambla

Next, we’re heading to the most popular boulevard in Barcelona, Las Ramblas, but just to walk through it because it’s very touristy and really just a street. Watch your belongings, pickpockets do operate here. 

Mercado de La Boqueria on La Rambla 

This is a popular covered market with stalls selling sandwiches, empanadas, cheese, meat, snacks and fruit juice. 

→ Time-saving tip: Pick up lunch items to eat in the sun or on the run this afternoon. 

St Joseps Market Barcelona_

Gothic Quarter/Barcelona Cathedral 

Barcelona Cathedral 

You literally can’t miss Barcelona’s Cathedral which pierces the sky with its gothic-style tips and floral design.

Built in the 13th to 15th century, the detail is so intricate it makes your eyes melt trying to focus. Don’t labour too much time taking it all in because we have a busy schedule ahead. 

Across from the Cathedral is the Architects’ College of Catalonia which, in comparison, is more, let’s politely say, practical looking but what brings it to life is the Picasso mural which is drawn on the stone. 

At Christmas, this is where one of the busiest markets takes place. Read our Barcelona in winter guide for more. 

  • Address: Pla de la Seu

Barcelona Cathedral_

Barcelona Bus Tour 

From the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) you can jump on the Barcelona open-top bus which lets you hop on and off at the main Barcelona sightseeing stops such as the Gaudi attractions – La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and Park Guell.

Plus many more Barcelona points of interest around the city. 

It isn’t just a mode of transport though, the bus also offers panoramic views from the top of the bus and an audio guide.

If you’d prefer to stick to public transport, I will discuss the Barcelona Metro below in the travel advice section. 

Afternoon at Casa Batllo and Casa Mila on Passeig de Gràcia. 

Casa Batllo and Casa Mila are houses (casas) designed by the Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi.

To get here from Barcelona Cathedral take the L3 line from Liceu to Passeig de Gràcia. If you find the time, the walk is around 20 minutes. 

Casa Batllo Gaudi Barcelona

The great news for time-saving is that both casas are both on the same street. The bad news is they take around 30 to 60 minutes to tour (with audio guide) depending on your interest levels. 

Since you only have a day in Barcelona, I would recommend choosing one or saving a visit to both for the next time you return. 

If you are planning on visiting either, it is advised to book at ’skip the line’ ticket which you can reserve here:

If you are just here for Gaudi – consider this 5-hour tour of this work

Casa Mila Gaudi in Barcelona_

Late Afternoon at La Sagrada Familia 

Now it is time for the highlight, for some, of today’s itinerary, Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia. 

Did you know that although it was started in 1882 this incredible piece of architecture is still not finished? 

It is hoped that it will be completed by 2026. 

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona Attraction

You have two options for visiting La Sagrada Familia to ensure you get the best out of your visit:

Your first option is to reserve a time to enter. This means you can choose when you enter and skip the line. Since you only have a day to see as much as possible, it is advised you do this as Gaudi’s attractions are busy all year round. Book here.

The second option is to join a small group tour with a local leader. We opted for this as I wanted to hear the stories behind the Sagrada!

The tour lasts for 1.5 hours, the guide speaks to you via audio as to keep the noise levels down and so you can hear.

A red flag comes with the tour guide so you don’t lose them when you are mesmerised by the basilica!

Reserve a spot here.

To get here from Passeig de Gràcia take the L5 Metro from Diagonal to La Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia Inside Barcelona

Hotel Ayre’s Rooftop

If you are early for your tour or reserved time, buy drinks at Hotel Ayre’s bar downstairs and take the short elevator ride to the top to enjoy stunning views of Sagrada Familia.

This could be done after your tour if daylight is on your side.

La Sagrada Familia Ayre Hotel Roodtop Gemma and Craig Armit
Alternative Afternoon – Park Güell

Parque Güell

If you’d prefer to see Gaudi’s whacky and bright garden then head to Park Güell on Carmel Hill.

Parque Güell is on a mountain so be wary of this if you intend to walk there from a metro station.

Alternatively, there is a free Güell Bus which leaves frequently from Alfons X (L4) metro station.

Park Guell Barcelona Houses
Across the road from the bus stop, there are lovely deli/cafes where you can pick up a bocadillo.

I dream of these Spanish sandwiches, so do try to pick one up during your day in Barcelona so you can experience the soft baguette lunch too. 

You can choose a time slot to enter. This is the case if you rock up to the park to pay directly or whether you reserve online.

Since Güell is popular they have put in measures to control the crowds.

If you don’t want to see the tiled balcony, houses and famous lizard inside the park you can just walk on the outskirts. You can’t really see anything bar palm trees and touts selling selfie sticks though.

Guell Barcelona Views of City From Balcony
Alternative Afternoon – Montjuïc

Montjuïc is a hill with a lot going on.

Firstly, you can ride the Telefèric de Montjuïc cable car one-way or return to Montjuïc Castle.

From here you can walk through the castle ruins with sweeping views of the city and beyond.

Barcelona Montjuic Castle
Secondly, and this is my favourite thing to do in Barcelona after bar hopping, visit Palau Montjuïc.

This huge national palace with its flowing waterfalls is home to the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Take a snap but save a visit to the gallery for another time.

Palau Nacional
There is an affordable bus (150) that runs up and down Montjuïc so you don’t have to walk and the closest metro station is Pl. Espanya. 

There is a small outside cafe that sells coffee and bocadillo sandwiches outside of Palau Montjuïc.

Evening – El Born Dining

El Born is an energetic area of Barcelona with lots of small streets, cute shops, hip cafes and jumping bars.

We ate at El Xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada, 22) which is a tapas bar. Customers eat sitting down or standing up while chatting and sipping drinks.

El Xampanyet El Born Barcelona
If you’d prefer a sitdown dinner you could try Cap Pep, Bodega La Puntual or Cafes El Magnifico.

Close the night with a bit of bar hopping. Check out Cactus Gin-Bar and Super Super. Can you find the speakeasy in El Born?

Alternative Evening – Plaça Reial

Dine alfresco at Plaça Reial Barcelona. Enjoy dinner under an umbrella at one of the many restaurants around this popular square/plaza. 

Then close the night with sangria at Hotel Colon, with views of Barcelona Cathedral from both the balcony and terrace.


» You may also like | Most romantic cities in Europe


Plaça Reial Barcelona

Barcelona Cathedral at Night Gemma_

Alternative Evening – Flamenco Show

Dine at one of the above but leave room for a fantastic flamenco show.

During this one-hour show at the City Hall Theatre, feel the passion and rhythm of Catalan flamenco as the song and dance take over the stage.

The energy, the heat, the talent of flamenco on one stage. Feet stomping, hands clapping, skirts flowing, a perfect end to 24 hours in Barcelona.

Practical Barcelona Planning Information

Where to Stay in Barcelona 

Hotels in Barcelona

  • Park Hotel – comfortable, clean hotel in El Born. Rooftop pool all year round [we stayed here, image below].
  • Iberostar Paseo de Gracia – Plaça Catalunya Square, pool and free parking available.

Hostels in Barcelona

Park Hotel Room Barcelona El Born Accommodation

Currency

Barcelona uses the Euro. Check out today’s rates here. Most restaurants, accommodation and tours accept all well-known credit cards.

Euros in Barcelona

Tourist Information Address

The main tourist information is located at Placa de Catalunya, 1708002.

Barcelona Map

Here’s a free map with all of the best things to do in Barcelona.

Getting to Barcelona

El Prat Barcelona Airport (BCN) is the main airport and there is an Aerobus outside of the terminal.

You can buy there or reserve your ticket before here

Getting Around Barcelona 

The metro system is easy to use and stops at all the major Barcelona points of interest.

Stations have clear signs at each station and on the trains. If you are spending some time in Barcelona I suggest you buy the ten stops ticket for 10 euro (English machines). 

If you plan to use the public transport system a lot, you might want to invest in the Hola BCN card.

Pickpockets operate on the metro so be cautious. 

We had an attempt at theft! A man jumped up from his seat just as the doors were closing and ‘bumped’ into Craig.

Luckily he was wearing his travel vest and his wallet and phone were zipped away on the inside of the vest.

Barcelona Metro Ticket

As mentioned above, Barcelona has an open-top hop on/off bus which is useful in summer when it is very hot.

My Mum thinks is the best bus tour she’s ever been on and my parents use it in most cities. Reserve here.

Telefèric de Montjuïc cable cars operate in the city too stopping at Castle Montjuïc.

How to get to the Telefèric de Montjuïc

  • Hop on the 150 or 5 bus or L2 or 3 Metro to Paral·lel.
  • You can walk, we did on the way up. It is not for those who get out of breath quickly.
  • Check the website for more details. 

Barcelona Teleferic de Montjuic

Weather in Barcelona 

Barcelona sees the least rainfall in autumn and spring although it never really sees much rainfall throughout the year.

Temperatures spike in July and August reaching 30 degrees. The coldest times of the year is January when the average is 13 degrees.

Barcelona Packing List

  • Layers like a cardigan for shaded areas and indoors
  • A waterproof coat like this Marmot Precip US / UK
  • Comfortable walking shoes like Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
  • Camera and battery
  • Battery pack for your phone – I like Anker’s range US / UK
  • Eco water bottle like the Tree Tribe US / UK
  • Bamboo cutlery set US / UK for the markets
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK
  • Hydration tablets US / UK for hangovers. Damn sangria!
  • Tote bags if shopping
  • Travel Insurance

Book your travel insurance before you arrive. We use True Traveller Insurance for bigger trips, many others use World Nomads Travel Insurance

W Hotel in Barcelona_

Overtourism in Barcelona

Consider the following so you can enjoy your stay while reducing the impact on the city.

  • Visit in low season, avoid June through to September
  • December is a great time to stay, visit the Christmas markets and enjoy the warm days. Read more here
  • Avoid taking a cruise, the port is said to be one of the most polluted in Europe
  • Book a room in a hotel and not Airbnb*
  • Stay longer than a day, I appreciate that set vacation/holidays dictate this

* We love booking self-contained apartments and have done so all around the world but there are some cities I won’t because of the impact it has on local people. Too many businesses ‘buy to rent’ which forces locals out of their homes and communities.


Final Words

Barcelona in a day is doable and will leave you with a taste for returning! So whether you are swinging by as part of a cruise, hopping off the train on a Euro inter-railing trip or just enjoying a quick stopover, have fun and share your experiences with us in the comments below. 

When you do plan to return, check out our guides before you go:


Pin to your Barcelona planning board.
Any questions? Please leave them in the comments

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2 Days in Barcelona: Jam-Packed Itinerary 

Looking for tips on how to spend 2 days in Barcelona? Look no further! We (Gemma and Craig) have created a jam-packed Barcelona itinerary with additional options to suit your travel style. From the Barcelona must-sees such as La Sagrada Familia to lesser-known activities, time-saving tips and budget advice. Let’s dive in and if you have any questions, please leave a comment at the end of the guide.

2 Days in Barcelona Itinerary

Day 1: Morning Gothic Quarter, Port Vell, La Rambla

For breakfast, if required, start the day in the Raval area, next to La Rambla but not quite on it.

You have two options for breakfast, a healthy acai bowl at Senor Pina (sit-in or takeout, nice wee patio out back) or a cooked breakfast at a local cafe with beautiful tiles, Restaurant La Boqueria (Carrer de la Boqueria, 17). They are next door to each other.

Once you’ve filled up on coffee and food, it’s time to hit the itinerary.

Senor Pina Barcelona_

Gothic Quarter

Walk over La Rambla (we’ll come back to that) and through the cobbled streets of the Barcelona sightseeing spectaculars, the Gothic Quarter and Barcelona Cathedral (Pla de la Seu).

Constructed in the 13th to 15th century, Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulali is a fine example of gothic building with sharp edges and towering heights.

The Cathedral is open in the morning, again at lunch, then in the evening.

During Christmas, Barcelona’s most traditional Christmas market takes at the plaza in front of the Cathedral.

Visiting in December? Read our guide on festive things to do

Barcelona Cathedral Gothic Quarter_

Picasso Mural

While you are in Pla de la Seu, look out and up for the Picasso mural, which looks etched on the side of the Architects’ College of Catalonia.

Is It Too Early?

It might be a little too early for a drink, depending on what time your start this itinerary, but if you are game check out the panoramic rooftop at Hotel Colón (Av. de la Catedral, 7). Alternatively, take note of its location for a sundown drink.

Barcelona Cathedral

The World Begins With Every Kiss Mural

Swing by Plaça d’Isidre Nonell to see the mural called The World Begins With Every Kiss.

If you look closely you will see a thousand images which were provided by locals when asked to contribute to the theme ‘Freedom Kiss’. Sweet eh?

This is one of the places to visit in Barcelona if you like to find the best Instagram spots in a city.

The World Begins With a Kiss Kiss of Freedom Barcelona Mural_

La Rambla

Everyone rumbles about La Rambla, Barcelona’s most notable street, but I’m going to be honest, it’s just a very busy touristy street which you have to have your wits about you.

My advice, get in, take a picture and get out. Look out for the gorgeous Gran Teatre del Liceu if you are an opera fan. You can get a tour of the theatre which first opened in 1847.

La Rambla Sign Barcelona_

Port Vell

Walk down to the water to see the beach and boats at Port Vell. The palm-tree-lined streets down to the sea are a delight and a nice reminder that you are on vacation!

Port Vell Barcelona_

Head of Barcelona

One more mural for you to spot while you are out and about near Port Vell, El Cap de Barcelona Roy Lichtenstein.

There’ are two different faces on either side. See if you can recognise the artists who influenced this piece.

The Head of Barcelona by Roy Lichtenstein

Two options for lunch, stay down the Port Vell area and grab a seat at the Instagram-worthy Brunch & Cakes By The Sea (Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 5) or head up to La Rambla for market food.

Brunch Cakes Chocolate Pancake Barcelona Cafe

Mercado de La Boqueria

Mercado de La Boqueria or just La Boqueria is a popular market on La Rambla. I’m not allergic to everything touristy, I genuinely really love the buzz about this place.

There is a quiet market in El Born, not far from here, called Santa Caterina if you find La Boqueria too much.

La Boqueria’s stalls selling meats, juice and seafood are covered so you can still visit when it rains.

Mercado de La Boqueria Barcelona Spiral Potatoes

Day 1: Afternoon Guadi’s Attractions

Passeig de Gràcia

Take the metro to Passeig de Gràcia or enjoy the 20-minute walk from La Boqueria. This is the brand-friendly shopping street for those with money to spend.

At Christmas time, the lights are very impressive at Passeig de Gràcia.

Christmas Lights Passeig de Gracia

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló (Passeig de Gràcia, 43) is the first of the two Casas designed by Antoni Gaudi on Passeig de Gràcia and one of the more popular Barcelona points of interest.

Created for the Batlló family, the building is now a museum for visitors. Audio guides are available. Reserve your ticket here.

Casa Batllo Barcelona

Casa Milà

Casa Milà or ‘La Pedrera’ which means stone quarry, is the second casa you can visit. Designed for, you guessed it, the Milà family, visitors can climb the many (many) stairs to the rooftop to see Gaudi’s work up top.  Reserve your ticket here.

If architecture is the main reason your main reason for visiting Barcelona, you should consider this five-hour group tour of the most popular Gaudi sites in Barcelona. This guided tour sells out so check availability here.

Casa Mila Gaudi Barcelona_

Everything that Gaudi did resembled some relationship with nature. You can definitely see the waves and plants at Casa Milà.

At night there is a special animation show which you can sign up for here.

You probably only have time for one tour so choose between Batlló or Milà.

Casa Mila Roof Structure

La Sagrada Familia

Now it is time for the star of the show, Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia. This is one of the places to see in Barcelona in 2 days.

The highlight of many Barcelona itineraries, this wonder was started in 1882, Gaudi took over the in 1983 until his early death in 1926.

Today, construction still goes on around you and other tours but there is enough in place for you to really feel Gaudi’s work.

It is advised to book a group tour so you can learn about the facade which tells the story of Christ in tiny detail. Group tours also get to skip the line which is beneficial because Sagrada Familia is busy all year round. Reserve your spot here.

Failing a tour, definitely reserve a timed entry so you save valuable time during your 2 days in Barcelona.

The reason I have reserved this thing to do in Barcelona until later in the day is so you can see the light change through the stain glass windows. It can create an explosion of lights inside the basilica.


» For more tips | Read – everything you need to know about Sagrada Familia


La Sagrada Familia Barcelona Attraction

How to get to Sagrada Familia

  • Metro: L2 and L5 lines
  • Bus: 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50 (fast), 51, B20, B24.
  • As part of a tour: use your hop-on /off bus pass

La Sagrada Familia Inside

Hotel Ayre

Celebrate your visit with incredible views of the La Sagrada Familia from Hotel Ayre’s rooftop (Carrer del Rosselló, 390).

Buy a drink at the downstairs bar then relax on the roof.

Sagrada Familia Ayre Hotel Craig Gemma Armit_

Day 1: Evening El Born Escapades

We stayed in the El Born area at Park Hotel – and recommend this option for anyone who travels on a midrange budget.

We purposively chose not to promote self-contained apartments like Airbnb during our Barcelona guide because we are very cautious of the issues the rental industry is causing locals.

Born Comerc

Dinner at a Traditional Tavern

Grab a seat or standing space at El Xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada, 22) for tapas and drinks.

White wine is served is really cute glasses. The staff are super friendly and the bar/restaurant is charming.

El Xampanyet El Born Barcelona

Bar Hopping in El Born

El Born is a series of small streets serving a variety of bars, cafes and independent shops.

Enjoy a few brews at the likes of Savanah and Corner.

Once you’ve warmed up, complete this challenge – find the Speakeasy, Paridiso, which hides behind the deli. Did you get there?

Tell me in the comments. Avoid the cocktail which comes in a plastic cone. It tastes like baby sick.

Stumble home, sleep well. You have one more crammed day in Barcelona to look forward to it.


Day Two of Your Barcelona in 2 Days Itinerary

Day 2: Morning – Park Guell

Make your way to Park Guell using the metro stop Alfons X (L4).

If you need breakfast I recommend grabbing a bocadillo (sandwich) from the cafes close to Alfons X before you hop on the free Bus Guell. Melt in your mouth material.

You must reserve a time slot to access Park Guell, regardless of whether you do it at the park, before you go or what time of the day you plan to visit. This is as busy as La Sagrada Familia. You can’t just walk up and pay.

Park Guell Lines

Tour the grounds checking out the famous tiled balcony, popular lizard and houses inside Park Guell.

This should take around one hour. Hop back on the free bus service to the metro station and make your way to Pl. Espanya using the L3 metro line.

Honestly, the Barcelona Metro is one of the easiest I’ve used in the world. See below for our Barcelona travel advice and details on how to save money on the subway.

Seville also has incredible architecture. Here’s a 3-day Seville itinerary for you to check out.

Guell Barcelona Views of City From Balcony

Day 2: Afternoon – Montjuïc

From Pl. Espanya, hop on the 150 bus to Castle Montjuïc for awesome views of the city and castle ruins.

Take the Telefèric de Montjuïc back down (or up to begin with) for panoramic views in the clear cable car.

Barcelona Teleferic de Montjuic
Palau Montjuïc

Now we’ve arrived at my favourite building in Barcelona, Palau Montjuïc.

This building has waterfalls flowing down the front of it and at night, this is where the Font Màgica de Montjuïc light show takes place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

If you are peckish you can grab a bite to eat the cafe just outside of Palau Montjuïc.

Palau Nacional Craig Gemma Barcelona


Day 2: Evening – Dinner and Rooftop Drinks

Dinner at Plaça Reial Barcelona

Enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants on Plaça Reial Barcelona or at Gats plaza (Carrer d’en Xuclà, 7).

Wondering what to do in Barcelona on your last night?

It’s time to end the trip back where we started at Hotel Colón (Av. de la Catedral, 7). Come face to face with Barcelona Cathedral as you sip of overpriced sangria. Salud!

Plaça Reial Barcelona


Other Things to do in Barcelona in 2 Days

We appreciate that everyone’s travel style is not the same so we’ve put together a list of other shows, landmarks, museums and tours. So let’s take a look at the other options for what to see in Barcelona in 2 days.

  • Flamenco Show in Barcelona
  • Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona
  • Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
  • Picasso Museum
  • Palace Guell
  • Paella cooking class
  • Sunbathing at the beach
  • Barcelona’s IceBar
  • Palau Montjuic – Font Màgica de Montjuïc
  • Bunkers viewpoint – read about all the viewpoints here

» Find out more | Things to do in Barcelona at night


Palm Trees Ferris Wheel Port Vell Barcelona

Day Trips From Barcelona

From art to wine, mountains to beaches, there are so many really easy Barcelona day trips. Read about them in detail here.

Do you have three days in Barcelona? Read this next

Barcelona beaches


Barcelona Travel Information

Getting to Barcelona

El Prat Barcelona Airport (BCN) is the main airport and there is an Aerobus just outside of the terminal.

You can buy there or reserve your ticket before here

Getting Around Barcelona 

The main mode of transport you will use in Barcelona is the metro system.

It is easy to navigate as it has clear signs at each station and on the trains.

Barcelona Metro Signs
If you are spending some time in Barcelona I recommend you buy the ten stops ticket for 10 euro (English machines). 

If you plan to use the public transport system a lot, you might want to invest in the Hola BCN card.

Be careful, pickpockets operate on the metros.

A man jumped up from his seat just as the doors were closing and ‘bumped’ into Craig.

Luckily he had to his travel vest on and his belongings zipped away on the inside of the vest.

Bluffworks Men Vest with Pockets

The city has an open-top hop on/off bus which is useful in summer.

I used this the first time I visited Barcelona to help find my bearings while avoiding walking long distances in the sun!

My Mum says the Barcelona bus tour is the best she’s ever been on and my parents use it in most cities. Reserve here.

Unique to Barcelona is the Telefèric de Montjuïc cable cars stopping at Castle Montjuïc.

How to get to the Telefèric de Montjuïc

Hop on the 150 or 5 bus or L2 or 3 Metro to Paral·lel.

You can walk, we did on the way up. It is not for those who get out of breath quickly.

Check the website for more details. 

Barcelona Teleferic de Montjuic

Where to Stay in Barcelona 

Hotels in Barcelona

  • Park Hotel – clean, comfortable hotel in El Born. Rooftop pool all year round [we stayed here].
  • Iberostar Paseo de Gracia – Plaça Catalunya Square location, swimming pool and free parking available.

Hostels in Barcelona

  • Yeah Barcelona Hostel – modern hostel with custom-made beds. Central location.
  • Ten to Go Hostel – cool hostels in the authentic Sants neighbourhood. Capsule dorm beds for privacy.

Park Hotel Room Barcelona El Born Accommodation

Park Hotel, El Born

Where to Eat in Barcelona

  • Restaurant La Boqueria – traditional cafe
  • Senor Pina – Acai bowls and poke bowls
  • Brunch & Cake – Instagram friendly all-day brunch
  • El Xampanyet – tiled decor, local tapas and drink in El Born
  • Gats – small courtyard, indoor seating, cool mural and toilets
  • Pasta Bar – build your own pasta plate
  • Santa Caterina Market – quieter market in El Born

Sausage at Santa Caterina Market Barcelona

Weather in Barcelona 

Barcelona doesn’t face much rainfall all year round but it is at its rainiest in autumn and spring.

Temperatures soar in July and August reaching 30 degrees. The coldest times of the year is January when the average is 13 degrees.

Barcelona Packing List

  • A layer for the shade
  • A waterproof coat like this Marmot Precip US / UK
  • Comfortable walking
  • Camera and battery
  • Battery pack for your phone – I vouch for Anker’s range US / UK
  • Eco water bottle Tree Tribe US / UK
  • Filter and purifying water bottle like Water To Go [quote TSA15 at checkout for 15% off]
  • Bamboo cutlery set US / UK
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK
  • Hydration tablets US / UK if participating in sangria!

Book your travel insurance before you arrive. We use True Traveller Insurance for bigger trips, many others use World Nomads Travel Insurance.

Park Guell Lizard_

Currency

Barcelona uses the Euro. Check out today’s rates here. Most restaurants, accommodation and tours accept all major credit cards.

Tourist Information Address

There are a few tourist information points in Barcelona, the main one is located at  Placa de Catalunya, 1708002 Barcelona, España.

Barcelona Map

Here’s a free map with all of the best things to do in Barcelona.

Overtourism in Barcelona

Consider the following so you can enjoy your trip while reducing the impact on the city.

  • Go in low season, avoid June through to September
  • Visit the Christmas markets and enjoy the warm days. Read more here
  • Skip taking a cruise, the port is said to be one of the most polluted in Europe
  • Book a room in a hotel, not Airbnb*
  • Stay longer than one day

* We love booking self-contained apartments and have done so all around the world but there are some cities I won’t because of the impact it has on local people. Too many businesses ‘buy to rent’ which forces locals out of their homes and communities.


Pin to your Barcelona planning board
Have any questions? Just leave them in the comments. 

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Final Words

We hope you have found our Barcelona itinerary: 2 days in the Catalan capital useful. Barcelona is an obvious choice of art fans, sports fanatics, beach lovers and folks who can appreciate a really good looking city, even through the crowds.