Passionate, sophisticated and devoted to living the good life, Spain is both a stereotype come to life and a country more diverse than you ever imagined.
An Epic Land
Spain’s diverse landscapes stir the soul. The Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa are as beautiful as any mountain range on the continent, while the snowcapped Sierra Nevada rises up improbably from the sun-baked plains of Andalucía; these are hiking destinations of the highest order. The wildly beautiful cliffs of Spain’s Atlantic northwest are offset by the charming coves of the Mediterranean. And everywhere you go, villages of timeless beauty perch on hilltops, huddle in valleys and cling to coastal outcrops as tiny but resilient outposts of Old Spain. That's where the country's charms are most likely to take hold.
A Culinary Feast
Food and wine are national obsessions in Spain, and with good reason. The touchstones of Spanish cooking are deceptively simple: incalculable variety, traditional recipes handed down through the generations, and an innate willingness to experiment and see what comes out of the kitchen laboratory. You may experience the best meal ever via tapas in an earthy bar where everyone's shouting, or via a meal prepared by a celebrity chef in the refined surrounds of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Either way, the breadth of gastronomic experience that awaits you is breathtaking and sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Art Imitates Life
Windswept Roman ruins, cathedrals of rare power and incomparable jewels of Islamic architecture speak of a country where the great civilisations of history have risen, fallen and left behind their indelible mark. More recently, what other country could produce such rebellious and relentlessly creative spirits as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí and place them front and centre in public life? And here, grand monuments of history coexist alongside architectural creations of such daring that it becomes clear Spain's future will be every bit as original as its past.
Fiestas & Flamenco
For all the talk of Spain's history, this is a country that lives very much in the present and there's a reason 'fiesta' is one of the best-known words in the Spanish language – life itself is a fiesta here and everyone seems to be invited. Perhaps you'll sense it along a crowded, post-midnight street when all the world has come out to play. Or maybe that moment will come when a flamenco performer touches something deep in your soul. Whenever it happens, you'll find yourself nodding in recognition: this is Spain.
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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Spain.
BasilicaLa Sagrada Família
The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) is considered to be the symbol of Barcelona by many residents, and the…
The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture. Set against the brooding Sierra Nevada peaks, this fortified palace started…
A magnificent marriage of Christian and Mudéjar architecture, Seville’s royal palace complex is a breathtaking spectacle. The site, which was originally…
It’s impossible to overemphasise the beauty of Córdoba’s great mosque, with its remarkably serene (despite tourist crowds) and spacious interior. One of…
CathedralCatedral & Giralda
Seville’s showpiece church is awe-inspiring in its scale and majesty. The world’s largest Gothic cathedral, it was built between 1434 and 1517 over the…
MuseumMuseo del Prado
Welcome to one of the world's premier art galleries. More than 7000 paintings are held in the Museo del Prado’s collection (of which only around 1500 are…
CathedralCatedral de Santiago de Compostela
The grand heart of Santiago, the cathedral soars above the city in a splendid jumble of spires and sculpture. Built piecemeal over several centuries, its…
Visitors and locals alike love Park Güell. The waving balcony and the colorful Guard’s House, with the imposing Barcelona skyline and sea in the…
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is one of the three points composing Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art along the Paseo del Prado (Art Walk), together with the…
MuseumCentro de Arte Reina Sofía
Home to Picasso’s Guernica, arguably Spain’s most famous artwork, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Madrid’s premier collection of contemporary art. In…
GalleryMuseo Guggenheim Bilbao
Shimmering titanium Museo Guggenheim Bilbao is one of modern architecture's most iconic buildings. It played a major role in helping to lift Bilbao out of…
CathedralCatedral de Toledo
Toledo's illustrious main church ranks among the top 10 cathedrals in Spain. An impressive example of medieval Gothic architecture, its enormous interior…
The first name that pops into your head when you lay eyes on this red castle-like building, topped with giant eggs and stylised Oscar-like statues and…
In the top tier of Gaudí's achievements, this madcap Unesco-listed masterpiece, with 33 balconies, was built in 1905–10 as a combined apartment and office…
This Unesco World Heritage–listed cathedral, once a former modest Romanesque church, is a masterpiece. Work began on a grander scale in 1221; remarkably,…
One of Europe's strangest residential buildings, Casa Batlló (built 1904–6) is Gaudí at his fantastical best. From its playful facade and marine-world…
HouseCasa Museu Dalí
Overlooking a peaceful cove in Port Lligat, a tiny fishing settlement 1km northeast of Cadaqués, this magnificent seaside complex was the residence and…
León's 13th-century cathedral, with its soaring towers, flying buttresses and breathtaking interior, is the city's spiritual heart. Whether spotlit by…
MuseumMuseo Picasso Málaga
This unmissable museum in the city of Picasso’s birth provides a solid overview of the great master and his work, although, surprisingly, it only came to…
CaveCueva de Nerja
It’s hard to imagine the surreal world that lies beneath the mountain foothills 4km east of Nerja, and it’s even harder to believe that these vast caverns…
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Spain.
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