Spain is the second largest country in the European Union and a place known for its amazing food, incredible architecture and scenic vistas. It is the second most visited country in the world, behind only France. Over 80 million people travel to Spain every year to experience the beauty and culture of the stunning country. A visit to Spain should always include a selection of its most attractive spots.
Many of these areas are well-known and popular tourist destinations, but there are also many lesser-known locations that deserve a visit.
Medieval Charm in Alcalá del Júcar
A stunningly beautiful and unique place to start is with the village of Alcala del Jucar. Once a Moorish settlement carved into a mountain, the medieval town includes homes built into the rocks, the ruins of a 12th-century fortress, and endless stunning views. The view of the village with its twisting and steep city streets is even more impressive when seen from across the river that drifts past the edge of the town. The small village of fewer than 1,500 residents also includes a uniquely shaped bullfighting ring built around the rocky terrain of the area.
Beyond the Nightlife of Ibiza
The island of Ibiza is best known for its nightlife, but there is much more to appreciate in this location. There are more than 80 beaches to choose from along the coastline of Ibiza. Not all are the busy, party spots that many of the tourists that travel to the island seem to prefer. A 30-minute walk takes visitors to the hidden cove of Es Portitxol and its small but exquisite beach. Cala Tarida boasts a wide ocean view with a white sand beach and gem-coloured water that is stunningly clear.
Striking Beauty of Catalonia
The autonomous area of Catalonia is a destination that offers something for everyone. The region includes the magnificent and towering Catalan Pyrenees as well as a long stretch of stunning coastline. The area has a wide variety of wildlife and diversity in flora that offers plenty for nature lovers to enjoy. Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is also an aesthetically pleasant stop. The city holds many treasures, but the Sagrada Familia Church is one of the most eye-catching. The unfinished Roman Catholic Church is part of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Anyone that chooses to stay in Catalonia should also consider taking a trip to Costa Brava. Costa Brava is along the coastal region of Catalonia and is a popular and active resort setting. This is the top place for many tourists because it offers the largest selection of sandy beaches, a pleasant climate and a welcoming community for travellers. The area is also a popular destination for artists. The Dalí Theatre and Museum, a museum that honours the work of local artist Salvador Dali, is a 15-minute ride from Costa Brava to its location in Figueres.
The Transformed City of Bilbao
Bilbao was once an industrial centre that suffered economically in the early 1990s. The city steadily reinvented itself into a cultural paradise that has earned it many awards including the title of the 2018 European City of the Year. Visitors to Bilbao will enjoy the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, the entrancing design of the Vizcaya Bridge, and the colourfully painted stretch of buildings along the Nervion River. Bilbao is a stop for anyone that enjoys the beauty of architecture and man-made art over the scenery offered by nature.
Castles and Beaches in Cadiz
The celebrated beach of La Playa de la Caleta is unrivalled in its beauty. The sandy beach sits between two castles and is edged by clubs, restaurants, and a spa. The popularity of it is due, in part, to its immediate proximity to the newest sections of the city of Cadiz. The beach is not the only one in the city, however. The other beaches in the area allow visitors to view the older parts of the city and have less tourist traffic than the main beach.
Visitors to Cadiz that want to see architectural beauty beyond the beachside castles can visit Gran Teatro Falla. The concert hall was built in a Moorish design in the 1800s. Torre Tavira is a watchtower built in 1778 that offers panoramic views of the city. Parque Genovés is an incredible urban park. Included are sand paths, a grotto with dinosaur sculptures and a waterfall, and an enormous botanical garden filled with native and non-native plants.
Stand atop Mountains in Ronda
A massive stone bridge built in 1793 covers the expanse of the El Tajo gorge that the city of Ronda overlooks. The destination offers the opportunity to explore 13th-century Arabic baths and a 14th-century palace that was once the residence of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The ancient walls that were the entrance to the city itself is an impressive spectacle, but the Moorish stone walls are only a small part of the beauty of the city.
Ronda offers churches built in Gothic and Renaissance styles, city squares with intriguing monuments, and breathtaking vistas. Visit the terraced Cuenca Gardens for a number of views of the city beneath. Stand on a platform above the gorge at Mirador de Aldehuela and Balcón del Coño Viewpoints. The Cueva del Gato is a pleasant picnic spot that includes a river pool with crystal clear, and amazingly cold water. The icy water stays cool as it is fed from the limestone cavern that is the namesake of the location. The cavern itself is not open to visitors.
Every year more tourists choose to spend their breaks in Spain. The country has such a diversity of sights and activities, it really is the perfect destination for anyone. Spain is known for its amazing culinary offerings and fine wine, incredible churches and palaces, and its unforgettable beaches. Plan carefully before a trip to the country because it is easy to become sidetracked and miss many of the must-see destinations. A multi-week journey is also recommended because a week or less is never enough to satisfy most visitors.