10 things to do in Spain at least once in your life

It seems impossible to reduce the best of Spain to a simple list. There are so many places to be, so many dishes to taste, so many adventures ahead of us! From ancient Roman ruins to sun-drenched cities and spectacular mountain landscapes, Spain gifts the traveller countless amazing experiences to remember. These are some of the best things to do in Spain to add to the bucket list of those who want to enjoy this diverse country to the fullest.

Top 10 things to do in Spain

1. Hike along the northern coasts

The coast of Cantabria

The coast of Cantabria. | Shutterstock

One does not need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy the wonderful natural landscapes of the north. Despite being less touristy than the southern coast, this part of the Iberian Peninsula will charm the traveller with its green, mountainous coastline, which beautifully meets the Cantabrian Sea.

Walking across these wild landscapes, following the fresh winds of the Atlantic and passing by charming fishing villages is just an adventure of a lifetime. Many pilgrims have fallen in love with this journey so far. Indeed, the Northern Way to Santiago goes along the coast and provides the travellers with many paths and places to rest.

2. Explore the vestiges of Al-Andalus

The Alhambra in Granada

The Alhambra in Granada. | Envato

Any list of things to do in Spain should include the great architectural legacy of Al-Andalus. The Muslim reign lasted more than 700 years in Spain, and the traces it left behind have become some of the signature monuments of the country.

Among the most important buildings from the Al-Andalus period anyone should visit at least once in their lives, we must mention the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, La Giralda, Torre del Oro and the Real Alcázar in Seville, the castle of Gormaz in Soria and the Aljafería in Zaragoza.

3. Feel the magic of the white villages

Setenil de las Bodegas, one of the white villages of Andalusia

Setenil de las Bodegas, one of the white villages of Andalusia. | Shutterstock

Most people fall in love with the white villages of Andalusia when they first visit them. There is something spellbinding about their whitewashed houses and narrow streets, as well as the authentic Andalusian atmosphere one can breathe there. Besides, they are usually located in beautiful landscapes or surrounded by majestic Andalusian mountains.

Moreover, each of these village has its own essence, and they are all unique for different reasons. For instance, we have Setenil de las Bodegas, which is sheltered by a giant rock. There is also Ronda and its spectacular bridge on top of a cliff, or Zahara de la Sierra, a white treasure scattered on a hillside. Either way, visiting the white villages will be a great thing to cross off the list.

4. Discover secluded beaches on the islands

A secluded beach in Menorca, Balearic Islands

A secluded beach in Menorca, Balearic Islands. | Shutterstock

The Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are full of breathtaking landscapes with spectacular beaches and coves. Exploring those natural corners is a must for anyone who wishes to experience Spain to the fullest.

Most tourists travel to cities like Mallorca or Las Palmas and just stay there. Those are wonderful destinations with great architecture and cuisine, but it is easy to miss out on the most beautiful natural landscapes if one does not go beyond those crowded places. To that end, we suggest renting a car and embarking on an adventure to discover wild and secluded beaches and enjoy the sea in the most authentic way.

5. Visit an art museum

Interior of the Prado Museum in Madrid

Interior of the Prado Museum in Madrid. | Shutterstock

There are many internationally acclaimed museums in Spain, and visiting them is a great way of diving into Spanish history and culture. Either you like Renaissance paintings or modern art, you can find fascinating museums to enjoy the reality of Spain from a different perspective.

In fact, there are traditional art museums, like the Prado Museum in Madrid, and other equally influential ones, like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbo, which displays works of contemporary and modern art. If you prefer to focus on specific artists, you can find places like the Picasso Museum of Barcelona too. There is an art museum for every taste in Spain, and they all help us understand different aspects of the country and its people.

6. Plan a route in the Pyrenees

Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, in the Pyrenees

Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, in the Pyrenees. | Shutterstock

This mountain range marking the natural border with France encompasses some of the most spectacular natural landscapes one can ever see. There are countless hiking routes and paths to explore its valleys and peaks, and one can comfortably choose any of them, depending on difficulty and experience. However, it does not have to be a battle. Kids will love the smooth routes too.

Apart from that, there are lovely towns and villages in the Pyrenees for a nice getaway, such as Aínsa, Isaba, Lanuza, Benasque and Llivia. When the snow falls, these places and the mountains surrounding them provide such a magical sight.

7. Eat delicious Spanish tapas

Eating typical Spanish tapas is one of the best things to do in Spain

Typical Spanish tapas. | Envato

This might seem a bit obvious, but have you really been to Spain if you haven’t gone out for tapas? This custom lets us experience Spain’s vibrant social life, with its crowded terraces and bars, full of people enjoying a nice time with friends and good food. However, in order to truly experience this cultural aspect of Spain, it is important to become aware of tourist traps and follow the lead of the locals. Eating the tapas Spanish people eat is doubtlessly one of the best things to do in Spain.

8. Taste an authentic Valencian paella

Traditional Spanish paella

Traditional Spanish paella. | Envato

Paella is one of those things foreigners typically link to Spanish culture and gastronomy. However, do not let yourself be fooled by tourist-oriented restaurants trying to sell you overprized, poor-quality paellas. It does not necessarily have to be in Valencia, but eating an authentic paella is a must for anyone visiting Spain, and most people agree that it adds a nice touch to the experience. If you are not into seafood, there are many different variations of this dish for you to try, like the delicious vegetable paella.

9. Attend a flamenco show

A flamenco dancer in Seville

A flamenco dancer in Seville. | Shutterstock

Besides paella, flamenco is one of the signature elements of Spanish culture worldwide. This art has its roots in Andalusia, and it is most typical in Seville. If you have the chance to attend a flamenco performance there, we suggest doing so. You can also find authentic flamenco shows in other parts of Spain, though. The easiest way to make sure they are not a scam is asking the locals or checking it on the Internet.

10. Enjoy the Spanish fiesta culture

Carnival celebration in Las Palmas, Canary Islands

Carnival celebration in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. | Shutterstock

The word fiesta has many meanings in Spain, and one can find a tailor-made solution to enjoy it. Spain has a vibrant nightlife many travellers find surprising and alluring, and some people fall in love with its nocturnal atmosphere. However, if you prefer having a good night’s sleep, there are countless events and festivities for you as well.

From Holy Week processions to the colourful Carnival of the Canary Islands, including a wide range of music festivals, local celebrations and many more instances to make the most of the lively culture of Spain, the word fiesta is a delightful thing to get to understand in Spain.

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