Best Places to Visit in Spain
Spain's dynamic metropolises, breathtaking landscapes and cultural offerings are second to none, making the country an undisputed stop on many travelers' Eurotrip itineraries. With so many varied destinations, each with its own celebrated sites, it may be hard deciding which cities are worth traveling for. U.S. News factored in sights, culture, seasonality and expert opinion to come up with the Best Places to Visit in Spain for all types of travelers – from city slickers to beach bums to outdoors junkies. Got an opinion? Vote below to influence next year's ranking.
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Barcelona is without a doubt Spain's cultural capital. The Catalonian city's urban sprawl is dotted with Antoni Gaudí's whimsical architecture, including La Sagrada Familia, as well as museums carrying the masters, such as the Picasso Museum. You can also explore centuries-old neighborhoods, including Barri Gotic, which dates back to the Roman Empire. Don't forget to take advantage of the city's equally magnificent outdoor offerings too, including Parc Güell and La Barceloneta beach.
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Of all the cities in Spain, Madrid is the one that knows how to show travelers the best time. The city's party-hard reputation is really all it's cracked up to be, but that's not all Spain's capital has going for it. Madrid is filled with varied, vibrant neighborhoods, stunning parks, enviable shopping and some of the best art institutions in Europe, including the world-renowned Prado Museum.
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This beautiful Andalusian city is awash with romantic allure. During the day, you'll find outdoor cafes along cobbled streets and horse-drawn carriages meandering through pastel-colored plazas. And when night falls, flamenco dancing comes out in full force. This is the kind of place you should allow yourself to get lost in, but if you carve out time for popular sites such as the Plaza de España or the Real Alcázar you won't be disappointed either.
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Valencia stands out for offering a little taste of both the old and the new. You'll get to experience classic architecture at the city's Cathedral and Plaza Ayuntamiento, as well as modern sites like the City of Arts and Sciences and the Valencia Institute of Modern Art. Then, take a detour away from the city for some fresh air at the Albufera Nature Park or unwind at nearby beaches.
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Situated along the northern coast, San Sebastian is one of the most underrated destinations in Spain. Locals understand its majesty and every summer flock to this beach destination for its breathtaking shorelines, hiker-friendly mountains and unmatched foodie scene that's world-famous for its pintxos (Basque tapas). For a quintessentially Basque experience, travelers suggest pintxo bar hopping in the city's center, Parte Vieja.
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Granada's Arabic influence makes this destination different from the rest of Spain. Thanks to its history as part of the Moorish Empire, Granada is home to tapas bars and flamenco venues that rub elbows with Moroccan tea cafes and Arab bathhouses. This confluence allows you to experience two cultures simultaneously. And you must make time to behold the breathtaking local treasures, including the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada National Park.
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This cluster of Spanish islands located off the northwestern coast of Africa is one of Spain's premier beach destinations. In addition to sultry shorelines, the Canary Islands are also teeming with outdoor attractions that will make any adventurer swoon, including three national parks. In between hiking and relaxing on the beach, take some time to stroll the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz or Las Palmas to get a taste of local life.
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