Find out what the best destinations in Spain are as awarded by millions of real travelers.
Architecture buffs should make a beeline for Barcelona. The medieval and Roman buildings in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) provide quite a contrast to Antoni Gaudi's fanciful architecture, which you'll find all around the city. A visit to his still-unfinished Church of the Sacred Family (Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia) is a must.
Strolling through Madrid is a great way to see the lavish Royal Palace, the 16th-century Puerta del Sol (Sun's Gate) marking the center of Spain, the old Moorish quarter of Moreria and much more. Art enthusiasts flock to the famous Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museums. Families enjoy boating in Retiro Park and visiting the zoo and the amusement park in Casa de Campo. After eating paella and tapas and watching flamenco, night owls can dance at clubs that are open until dawn.
Situated on the river Guadalquivir, southern Spain's largest city has been home to Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro, and its Gothic cathedral is the resting place of Columbus. Muslim and Jewish art can be seen throughout the Reales Alcazares. It's a contagiously romantic city whose celebratory ambiance pervades Seville's winding streets and spills out of the bars and tapas parlors of Santa Cruz and Plaza Alfalfa. Make sure to climb the Giralda tower for a spectacular view of the city.
Travel into Spain's Moorish and Christian history with every step you take in compact, walkable Granada. The famous Alhambra fortress is a required visit, as are the Alcaiceria (marketplace), the Cathedral and too many architectural sites to name. Wander through Granada's fascinating Moorish old quarter, the labyrinthine Albaicin; then plan to head out again by night, because the nightlife here is particularly lively.
You’ll find plenty of orange trees here, but the fruit known as the "Valencia orange" was actually developed in California. Travelers interested in local food should focus on paella instead. While the city contains many monuments, Valencia’s modern crown jewel is the City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic complex of museums, cinemas, theaters, and more.
Bask on four miles of golden beaches, hit the Mediterranean Sea on water skis or stroll along Benidorm's promenade and revel in its seaside charms; it's a true Spanish beauty of the Costa Blanca. Originally a fishing town, the city's historic center wows with its blue-domed 18th-century church and picturesque alleyways. Panoramic views reward those who climb into the surrounding Canfali hills, and nearby rocky coves reveal underwater riches for scuba enthusiasts. End a day in the sun with a feast of local seafood.
Known as Spain’s "golden city," Salamanca is rich in architectural, religious and gastronomic culture. Marvel at the La Casa de las Conchas (house of shells) and the 18th century Plaza Mayor, then pore over the fresh produce of the Central Market. Both the Old and New Cathedrals of Salamanca are celebrations of Renaissance and Gothic styles.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
If you see nothing else in this World Heritage city, you simply must visit the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, an awe-inspiring confection of baroque architecture. Once you’ve regained composure, head out on a bicycle to see the rest of this glorious city. Foodies and boozehounds will delight in a guided gastronomy tour, while modernists will enjoy the Galician Center of Contemporary Art.
In the chic, sun-drenched Costa del Sol town of Marbella, hints of its former Moorish occupation mingle with modern-day resort amenities. Bask on the sands of famous La Fontanilla beach or ricochet among the area's family-oriented water, wildlife and theme parks. Experience the Andalusian charm of the historic quarter, filled with whitewashed buildings, remnants of a ninth-century Arab fortress and fragrant orange trees. End a relaxing day with a dish of the cold almond soup ajoblanco and some of the region's excellent dessert wine.
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma, the economic and cultural hub of Majorca, is a delightful base for exploring the island's many gold and white beaches. A former Moorish casbah, or walled city, Palma's Old Town is an appealing maze of narrow streets that are a delight to explore on foot. Hop on the Soller Railway for a 17-mile scenic trip, visit 14th-century Bellver Castle and the museum of contemporary art, and check out the nightlife.