Spain is one of my favourite countries. I love the food, the weather, the friendly people and local culture. With its Mediterranean culture it’s the European country that most resembles Italy, and where I always feel at home.
There are so many incredible things to do in Spain, and I wanted to share them with you in this ultimate Spain bucket list. I’ve been lucky enough to travel across a lot of Spain, but I haven’t been everywhere.
I teamed up with other travel bloggers to cover all the most awesome things to do in Spain in this guide. If you’re looking for a bit of Spain travel inspiration, this is the guide for you!
So without further ado, let’s dive in and explore the ultimate Spain bucket list!
- 1 25 awesome things to do in Spain
- 1.1 Explore the Spanish capital; Madrid
- 1.2 Do a day trip to Toledo
- 1.3 Visit the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
- 1.4 See the sunset from Park Guell
- 1.5 Enjoy the view from Bunkers del Carmel in Barcelona
- 1.6 Hike the Camino de Santiago
- 1.7 Go hiking in Mulhacen
- 1.8 Learn to surf in the Canary Islands
- 1.9 Discover the natural beauty of Lanzarote
- 1.10 Hike Mount Teide in Tenerife
- 1.11 Explore Costa Brava
- 1.12 Discover Spain’s best kept secret: Asturias
- 1.13 Try Spanish cuisine!
- 1.14 Explore Valencia
- 1.15 Visit Montserrat
- 1.16 Party & relax in Ibiza
- 1.17 Do a day trip to S’Espalmador Island
- 1.18 Sail to Cies Island
- 1.19 Visit Cordoba
- 1.20 Beyond the Alhambra; discover Granada
- 1.21 Explore Seville
- 1.22 Visit Malaga
- 1.23 Discover Tarragona
- 1.24 Explore Rhonda
- 1.25 Visit Cadiz
25 awesome things to do in Spain
Explore the Spanish capital; Madrid
“Madrid is one of the best destinations in Spain. You find the city in the middle of Spain. You can easily reach it from other parts of Spain and from other countries.
It is the capital of the country and there is a lot to do and see. For example, you can visit many museums in Madrid. The Prado museum is one of the best of these.
Furthermore, the food is amazing. If you want to taste delicious tapas, then Madrid is a great place to go! Moreover, Mercado San Miguel is a good place for local food.
Besides that, there are beautiful historic buildings and squares, such as the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor. Also, there is a fun nightlife scene in the city. The weather is great as well!
Because there is so much to experience in the city, Madrid should definitely be on your bucket list for Spain!”
– by Dymphe, author of Dymabroad
Do a day trip to Toledo
“Toledo is one of central Spain’s most breathtaking cities. Perched atop a hill overlooking the Tagus River, the monument-laden gem provides a glimpse into the religious fabric of Spain’s storied past.
Toledo’s picturesque streets are home to a beautiful assortment of churches, mosques, and synagogues.
Top places of interest in Toledo include the Alcazar, the Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue, and the Reyes Monastery. For panoramic views over town, check out the Idelfonso Church Bell tower.
A popular day trip destination, Toledo lies only half an hour away from Madrid by high speed train. The town is teeming with things to see and do—from shopping for marzipan pastries to soaking in scenic views.
Spain’s Imperial City is the type of place that feels frozen in time. It boasts Medieval buildings, traditional artisan shops, and a celebrated culinary tradition.
With iconic places of worship packed into its dense urban core, Toledo’s architecture is a testament to Toledo’s deep-seated history of religious harmony.”
– by Erika, author of Erika’s Travels
Visit the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of my favourite cities in Spain, and with so many gorgeous things to do, it deserved more than one entry in this Spain bucket list.
One of the most noteworthy things to do in Barcelona is without a doubt visiting the Sagrada Familia.
The Sagrada Familia is a huge cathedral designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudì. The cathedral is still unfinished, but is considered a masterpiece nonetheless.
With its unique design and architecture, it’s easy to see why. The cathedral is inspired by many natural elements, visible both in the interiors and façade. Exploring the Sagrada Familia will leave you marvelling at its beauty.
If you want to learn more about this unique cathedral and Spain, check out these questions about Spain!
See the sunset from Park Guell
Another Gaudì masterpiece that can’t miss from any Barcelona or Spain bucket list is Park Guell (or any Europe bucket list if we really want to go there).
Park Guell is a public park in Barcelona, composed of gardens and architectural elements designed by Gaudì.
It’s also one of the largest green spaces in Barcelona. You can wander around the park at any time of day, but it’s especially magical at sunset.
At sunset you can look over the viewing decks of Park Guell, to admire the Gaudì artwork and view over the roofs of Barcelona.
Walk around the unique and quirky gardens, and then stop at the viewing spot at sunset, just in time to watch the golden light wash over Barcelona. It’s without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience you must have in Spain.
Enjoy the view from Bunkers del Carmel in Barcelona
Last of my Barcelona entries for this Spain bucket list, is Bunkers del Carmel. After the more touristy and well-known Gaudì artworks, I wanted to include something a bit less known, but equally stunning.
Bunkers del Carmel is a park and viewpoint in Barcelona, from where you get an incredible view of the entire city and the sea. You will find many local here hanging out with food and drinks, enjoying a picnic with a view.
Hike the Camino de Santiago
“Looking for a true spiritual journey? The ultimate Spain bucket list wouldn’t be complete without a trek along the Camino de Santiago.
This ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela follows in the footsteps of St. James the Apostle. The Camino boasts multiple routes, but the most popular route is the Camino Frances.
The Camino Frances measures 500 miles and takes roughly one month to complete! To start your journey, put on your backpack, and head to the picturesque village of St. Jean Pied de Port, France.
Over the next month, walk on rolling hills, climb mountains, and stroll magical plains on your way across Spain to the northeastern autonomous community of Galicia.
Along the way, enjoy wine and simple lodging with pilgrims from all over the world.
Don’t forget to mark your journey by leaving a small stone at the foot of the Iron Cross. For more resources and to start planning your Camino, head to Love at First Adventure.”
– by Tristina, author of Love At First Adventure
Go hiking in Mulhacen
“One of the absolute best bucket list experiences in Spain is to climb the highest peak in the Iberian peninsula, Mulhacen (3479m).
The peak is said to be the burial place of one of the last Muslim kings of Granada, Abu I-Hasan Ali, but this has not been confirmed.
There are different routes to reach the top and many go on a multi-day trek including other peaks in the Sierra Nevada National Park. But a Mulhacen hiking experience doesn’t have to be all that hard.
You can get a shuttle bus from the white village Capileira up to Mirador de Trevelez (2700m). From there it’s only a 6 hour trek return and the shuttle bus will pick you up where it left you.
There are multiple routes from Capileira and Trevelez. You can easily get there from Granada and Malaga by car. There are also buses, but they take much longer.
Mulhacen is definitely a summer hike as the peak gets covered in snow already in October-November and throughout the winter months.”
– by Linn Haglund, author of Brainy Backpackers
Learn to surf in the Canary Islands
I love surfing. I surfed for the first time in my life in Tenerife, and despite getting pretty much washed away by the waves for an hour straight, I still had loads of fun.
Since then I’ve been back to the Canary Islands three times to improve my surfing skills. I’ve been surfing in Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, and the back to Tenerife, and can highly recommend all the islands.
Both islands are lively, with cute towns and stunning natural landscapes. When it comes to surfing the Canary Islands are one of the best European destinations for it.
Especially if you’re looking for a bit of winter sun in Europe. The Canary Islands are blessed with sunshine and warm weather year round, and consistent surfing waves for every level.
Discover the natural beauty of Lanzarote
“Lanzarote is one of eight islands that make up the Canary Islands located off the north-west coast of Africa. It is a unique and popular bucket list destination in Spain.
The temperate climate makes the island a hit all year round and a popular European winter destination.
Lanzarote’s beaches are perfect for sun lovers from the golden sands of Playa Del Carmen to the black volcanic sand in El Golfo fishing village.
And for culture and nature lovers there are a wealth of beautiful places to visit around the island. Hire a car or take an island tour and head to the volcanic area of Timanfaya with its moon-like craters and camel rides.
Or soak up the essence of Lanzarote at one of the many iconic landmarks and buildings designed by local artist Cesar Manrique, who made his mark by developing his vision to turn Lanzarote into the best island in the Canaries.
And don’t forget the sensational scuba diving, traditional villages and the local food and wines waiting to be savoured, Lanzarote has something for everyone!”
– by Angie, author of Where Angie Wanders
Hike Mount Teide in Tenerife
“Tenerife is the largest of the eight Canary Islands, located off the western coast of Africa.
Blessed with gorgeous year-round warmth and sunshine, the island offers the perfect break whether for couples, families or groups of friends. There are world-class golf courses, stunning beaches and plenty of outdoor activities.
One of the most popular things to do in Tenerife is to visit the often snow-capped Mount Teide, one of around 300 volcanoes on the island. Make sure to explore the peak of the volcano, which is the world’s third largest!
You can hike, bike or even take the cable car to the top, which offers stunning views across Tenerife and to the neighbouring islands.
Its peak is also one of the best places in the world for stargazing, so make sure to visit the observatory to witness the stunning night’s sky in person.
Make sure to dress warmly, it’s far cooler at the top of Mount Teide than at the beach!”
– by Claire, author of Stoked to Travel
* 2021 update *
1.5 years after publishing this article I found myself living in Tenerife for three months, and I can only say good things about this gorgeous Spanish island.
As Claire said, hiking Mount Teide is one of the main attractions, but there is actually so much more to it.
Explore Costa Brava
“Located just 100 km (62 miles) north of Barcelona, visiting Costa Brava is an absolute must.
From the Dalí Theatre-Museum created by local artist Salvador Dalí himself, bathing in transparent waters that stretch over its 200km coastline, exploring medieval villages to eating in Michelin starred restaurants, there are so many things to do in Costa Brava.
Getting to Costa Brava is easy too. From Barcelona, it’s just a quick 40 minutes train ride. Alternatively, you can fly into Girona/Costa Brava airport. Girona is a great place to base yourself for a few days.
Explore its colourful homes that line the river and walk along the defensive medieval walls that still encapsulate most of the old quarter. From here it’s just 35 minutes to the coast.
Base yourself in a seaside resort like Tossa de Mar which will give you easy access to other coastal gems including Platja d’Aro for its coastal walk, Lloret de Mar for fun water activities including scuba diving and kayaking, and Blanes for excellent seaside restaurants.”
– by Michele, author of The Intrepid Guide
Discover Spain’s best kept secret: Asturias
“Spain’s best kept secret is Asturias, the lush green region in northern Spain on the Bay of Biscay.
Asturias has it all. The coast is dotted with charming fishing villages offering beach fun and seafood so fresh you can see it being fished.
For the history and culture vulture, Asturias is a treasure trove. The region is home to caves dating from prehistoric times.
Once the home turf of the Asturian kings, you can still see their castles and palaces as beautiful as they were in 900 CE.
Medieval towns surrounded by fortified walls encase winding streets and picturesque homes dripping with flowerpots.
Asturias’ capital city of Oviedo is chock full of museums and theaters. One of its main roads, Gascona Street is lined with interesting restaurants offering traditional Asturian dishes and tempting tapas.
Musicians entertain patrons with rousing traditional music and everyone joins in. Asturias will not stay a secret for too long with all it has to offer.”
– by Talek, author of Travels With Talek
Try Spanish cuisine!
I always one of the best ways to experience a country is to taste the local cuisine, and Spain is no different! Spanish food is brilliant. I love the variety of dishes and flavours, as well as presentation.
The most classic Spanish dish is, without a doubt, paella. This rice based dish comes with vegetables, seafood or meat (there’s something for everyone basically)! If you pair it with a Sangria (a wine based drink), even better!
My favourite form of Spanish cuisine however are tapas and pinchos. Tapas are small dishes that you share with friends, whilst pinchos are small nibbles served on bread, usually served as a buffet.
Pinchos are quite informal and similar to an Italian aperitivo, where you get a drink and then nibbles to go with it.
I love these because they don’t feel like a heavy sit down meal. You can have little bits and bobs, trying lots of different things while sharing food and drinks with your friends.
“Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain, but it doesn’t get as much attention from tourists as Madrid and Barcelona.
But that just makes those lucky folks who get a little off the beaten track and head to Valencia that much more fortunate.
Valencia is home to some of the most delicious food in Spain thanks to its fantastic markets. The most famous is Mercado Central, where you can sample fresh seafood and some of the finest hams in Spain.
But don’t miss smaller markets frequented by locals like the Ruzafa Market.
Valencia is a beautiful city as well as a delicious one. Some iconic landmarks include the Valencia Cathedral and La Lonja, a stunning building dating back to the 15th century.
For those who prefer more modern attractions, there’s the massive complex the City of Arts and Sciences, which is home to Valencia’s science museum, aquarium, and planetarium.
Or you can just wander around the city and see Valencia’s fabulous street art scene. Truly, Valencia has something for every visitor.”
– by Stella Jane, author of Around the World in 24 Hours
“The mountain-top monastery of Montserrat is an impressive sight nestled in unique-looking mountains.
This Benedictine retreat is a draw for tourists and Catholic pilgrims alike to visit the stunning cathedral and the famed Black Madonna.
The monastery is a popular day trip from Barcelona. It’s around 30 miles away and easy to get to the base of the mountains by train. Then, visitors can take a cable car or a funicular to reach it.
There is no charge to visit the monastery or the Black Madonna, though donations are appreciated. There is a museum with artefacts from the history of the area that costs 7 EUR (around $8.30 USD) to visit.
Montserrat’s vantage point provides great views of the stunning valley surrounding it. Follow the footpaths around the monastery or hike in the mountains to Sant Jerone, the highest peak, to enjoy the best views.
This is an incredible place to visit for its cultural and religious importance, as well as the stunning beauty it showcases.”
– by Sam, author of My Flying Leap
Party & relax in Ibiza
“For decades the world’s most high profile DJs have come to this Spanish island every summer to take up residencies in some of the biggest and best super clubs on the planet.
This annual pilgrimage attracts people from all over the world who have partying in Ibiza on their bucket list.
There is world-class talent on offer every night of the week, with most of the biggest parties taking place from Monday to Thursday – while the rest of the world is at work.
The following areas are where most tourists will stay in Ibiza:
- Playa D’en Bossa – Nice beaches (but very busy) and home to big name clubs like Hi, Ushuaia Hotel, and the Bora Bora Beach bar.
- Ibiza Town – The commercial hub and port area, with a hint of Spanish History. The old town will take you back in time, and towering over it all is Ibiza Castle.
- San Antonio – Famous for sunsets and drunk British tourists.
During the day you can either laze around on the beach, or rent a car and explore all the island has to offer.
Day trips to Cala Tarida, and Cala Llonga are worthwhile and if you head to the southern part of the island you can catch a glimpse of the Es Vedra rock formation.”
– by James, author of teamajtravels.com
Do a day trip to S’Espalmador Island
“S’Espalmador Island is a true oasis. A pristine private island surrounded by sublime beaches and the most beautifully clear water you’ve ever seen.
It’s also uninhabited, and therefore remains largely in its natural state, untarnished by human development.
Located just off the coast of Formentera in the Balearic Islands in Spain, S’Espalmador is easily reached via boat from the port in Formentera, or as a day trip from nearby Ibiza.
Some people even swim the short distance between the tip of Formentera and S’Espalmador, but it’s not advised due to strong currents.
Pack a picnic and everything you’ll need for the day, and enjoy this little slice of paradise in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its popularity, the wide, white-sand beaches don’t get crowded, and you can always find a tranquil spot.
But if you do fancy getting away from the other day-trippers, you can always follow the wild winding trails that weave around the island and see what you can discover on the other side…”
– by Nadine, author of Le Long Weekend
Sail to Cies Island
“Off the coast of Galicia, in the northwest of Spain, is one of the most beautiful and untouched islands in Europe which needs to be on your Spain bucket list.
Cies Island is uninhabited and can only be reached by a ferry from the mainland. There are no cars and only some paths and beautiful sandy beaches throughout much of the island.
Ferry capacity is limited so it’s recommended to buy a ticket at least a few days in advance to avoid disappointment.
If you’d like to plan to spend the night on the island, you’ll need to apply for one of a limited number of camping permits, which are even more limited than the ferry tickets, and need to be secured much further in advance (months).
There is a restaurant near the dock. And there are a few very basic outhouses around the island. But expect to be roughing it. There is no glamping and definitely no accommodation on the island.
Besides sunning yourself on the beautiful beaches, take a climb to the top of the island where you’ll reach a lighthouse and a spectacular view of the surrounding (even less accessible) islands.
Remember, whether going for the day or the weekend, to leave the island as beautiful as it was when you arrived. Pack out what you pack in. Leave no trace. And enjoy!”
– by Caitlin, author of The Country Jumper
“Cordoba is one of the beautiful and most visited cities in the Andalusian region of Spain. Despite that, as a city, Cordoba gets overshadowed by its neighbours Seville and Granada.
Although initially founded by Romans, it was only during the rule of Moorish, Cordoba came to spotlight, especially after the exemplary work of Mesquita – the great mosque of Cordoba.
After reconquering the city, Christians were in awe with the architecture, and left most of the mosque untouched, only adding enhancements to it.
One of the prominent features of Mesquita is its horseshoe shaped arches with red and white stripes.
Today Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, as it is called, is one of the best examples of Moorish architecture and most visited attraction in Cordoba.
Cordoba has a wealth of monuments in its sleeve, because of which the historic centre has gained the UNESCO Heritage Site status.
While in Cordoba, also don’t miss out visiting the Roman Bridge, Alcazar, Jewish Quarter and Viana Palace.”
– by Anuradha, author of Country Hopping Couple
Beyond the Alhambra; discover Granada
“Of all the amazing places we visited in Spain, it was Granada that we fell head over heels in love with.
Most travellers come to Granada solely to visit the hilltop UNESCO World Heritage site that is Alhambra with its magnificent palaces, gardens, courtyards, and fortifications but there is so much more to see and do in Granada.
Granada is a ‘working city.’ It is not just a tourist attraction and so you get to experience an authentic Spanish way of life. It has a fascinating and very rich history that you find evidence of around every corner.
There is Albaicin, the old Arabic quarter with its narrow winding cobbled streets and whitewashed houses covered in potted flowers, Sacromonte with its gypsy quarter, cave houses and authentic flamenco shows, and the former Jewish quarter that is Realjo with its street art.
Granada is overlooked by the soaring peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains and only about 70 km from the sea so it is possible to go snow skiing and swimming on the same day!
If you’re visiting Spain, make sure Granada is top of your must-visit list.”
– by Maureen Spencer from “So Many Places! So Little Time!”
Located in Andalusia, Seville is the perfect city getaway. I spent a weekend in Seville a few years ago and loved it.
Seville is a vibrant city, with nice weather all year round, tasty cuisine and lots of things to see. If you’re a history and culture lover, you will enjoy Seville.
In Seville you can explore the Real Alcazar, the Cathedral and Plaza de Espana.
The Real Alcazar is the largest royal palace still in use, and has a very distinctive architecture thanks to the Arabic influence in the region.
The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
The Star Wars fans might recognise Plaza de Espana as Naboo from Attack of the Clones. It’s a gorgeous square with unique architecture, where you can calmly walk around, enjoy the sights, and maybe even go for a boat ride.
“When anybody talks about Malaga, the first thing that might come to your mind is the beach. Although, the capital Costa del Sol is a spot for Europe’s best beaches, there are more things to do in Malaga than enjoying the sun.
Malága has a diverse history set first by Phoenicians, then the Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and finally by the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella.
With a fascinating history, and remarkable architecture and culture, the city is an awesome destination to visit in Spain. You must include Malaga in your travel itinerary because of the impact of its Iconic civilization.
Loaded with history and brimming with youthful verve, the city is perfect to be on your Spain bucket list. The place is well connected to the remainder of Spain and traveling there is easiest by air.
Thankfully, Costa del Sol airport holds traffic for the entire Malaga, making it convenient to reach it.”
– by Pauline, author of Visit Southern Spain
“If you’re looking to visit an underrated town in Spain with lots of charm add Tarragona to your Spain Bucket List!
Tarragona is referred to as the “Rome of Spain” because of its many Roman ruins including the Roman circus, a well-preserved Roman amphitheater, Roman walls, and more.
The Tarragona Amphitheater will have you feeling like you’re in the 2nd century when it was built. The amphitheater once hosted gladiator fights and other large events and you can now visit this gem.
What makes Tarragona so special is that it has stunning beaches. It’s a mix of old and new. It’s a short one-hour train ride from Barcelona and it the perfect escape if you’re looking for a smaller town to explore.
There are plenty of great things to do in Tarragona but don’t miss the view from the Mediterranean Balcony, the amphitheater, and the beaches.”
– by Jeanine, author of Le Wild Explorer
“Ronda is a beautiful pueblo blanco you must definitely put on your Southern Spain itinerary. Perched on top of El Tajo, a deep gorge, Ronda features commanding views over the surrounding countryside.
Puente Nuevo, a bridge that spans the gorge, is one of the most picturesque bridges on the planet.
Walk across it to the historic center, or the old town, where you can wander the cobblestone streets and admire the beautiful architecture.
Ronda also features terraced gardens and palaces that overlook the countryside. Here you will not only find lush greenery and colorful flowers but also lovely azulejos, the decorative tiles for which Spain is famous.
You can also hike down to gape at the Ronda bridge from below. Tour the old city walls and gate, and explore the old Arabic hammams.
You can make Ronda a stop on a road trip of Andalusia, or you can take public transport from Malaga or Seville.”
– by Dhara, author of It’s Not About the Miles
“If you visit Spain, you must also visit the ancient city of Cádiz. Founded in 1104 BC, Cádiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe.
The city’s “Old Town” is quintessentially Spanish, with narrow, winding streets brimming with shops, cafes, and of course, tapas bars.
Spend the day wandering the Old Town, including a stroll along the beautiful coastline and beaches. Within the city, each plaza boasts a stunning landmark building.
Plaza San Antonio was the ancient city’s main square, but Plaza de la Catedral is now among its most famous.
While in Cádiz, don’t miss a visit to the Mercado Central in Plaza de la Libertad. This market is full of local products, fruits and vegetables, and freshly-caught fish.
Surrounding the market are dozens of food stalls, where you can sample some of the best local dishes at great prices.
Cádiz has a train and bus station, so you can easily travel there from Seville or one of the other cities in Andalusia.
If you are in one of the nearby towns, such as Rota or El Puerto de Santa Maria, the ferry is the most convenient and scenic way to travel to Cádiz.”
– by Stephanie, author of Poppin’ Smoke
Final thoughts on the ultimate Spain bucket list
There you have it, the ultimate Spanish bucket list! How many of these places and experiences have you ticket off your bucket list already? Let me know in the comments below!
I’ve been lucky enough to visit many of these places in Spain, however there are still others that I hope to explore one day. I teamed up with other travel bloggers to ensure this Spain bucket list was the most complete out there.
I hope you find this guide useful for planning your own Spain trips! If you have any questions just let me know in the comments below.