Spain has always been a very special place for me, say I spent here quite a lot of time; first studying in Granada when I got an opportunity to travel extensively Andalusia, then in a language school in Salamanca exploring Castile and Leon and Galicia provinces. Besides I traveled to Spain four more times and as a result I collected a good deal of photos; different provinces, different seasons, different experiences. Spain is still my favorite country. You ask why? Because in Spain you can literally find everything; a unique mix of different cultures, amazing nature, beautiful beaches, stunning mountains, great collection of art, unusual architecture (both old and modern) and warm and sunny weather. Are you ready to get inspired and fall in love with Spain? Let’s start!
26 amazing photos of Spain that will inspire you to go there!
Prince Felipe museum of Science, the City of Arts and Science complex, Valencia. Designed by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava it reminds a skeleton of a giant whale. The place is absolutely stunning; surrounded by small pools you get a perfect view from any angle you look at it. Blue and white colors, reflexions, bizarre shapes it’s worth to come to Valencia just to see it. But except for that Valencia has a lot to offer; long sandy beaches, warm water, casco viejo (old town) and not to forget the famous festival Las Fallas that takes place every March.
Calo des Mort beach, Mallorca, the Balearic islands. Beautiful sandy beaches, turquoise warm water, rocky cliffs and delicious local cuisine all these and more you can find on Mallorca. The island has a lot to offer for history lovers as well from old Roman city ruins to Medieval castles you’ll have a lot to explore and discover here. Mallorca is one of the best islands for families in Europe.
El Escorial monastery, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid. This impressive monastery-palace was built in 16th century for King Philip II with the idea to use it for multiple purposes as a royal residence, monastery and a burial place for Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The monastery is as beautiful from the outside as from the inside. In the rich decoration according to the Renaissance style you’ll find here an interesting collection of art. Visit to El Escorial can be a perfect day trip from Madrid.
The Walls of Avila, Avila, Castile and Leon. The fortifications were built in 12th century. Nowadays the Walls is the main symbol of the town. Avila is considered to be the most 16th century town in Spain. Due to its well-preserved architecture the historical center of Avila is a perfect decoration for multiple festivals and events among them the Medieval festival that takes place every year in the beginning of September. Avila as well is a great place for food lovers; best quality meat, tortillas and typical sweets Las Yemas de Santa Teresa will make your visit to this town unforgetable.
View over Atlantic ocean from Hercules lighthouse, cape Finisterre, A Coruna, Galicia. Finisterre means “the end of the world” in Latin, in the Roman times it considered to be the end of the known world further there was only the ocean. The Atlantic coast of Spain is very different from the Mediterranean one more wild and dramatic maybe not an ideal place for a beach holiday but a perfect place to admire a stunning beauty of the ocean.
Royal Palace in Madrid is definitely one of the must-see places to include in your Madrid itinerary. It is the largest palace in Europe by floor area – 135 000 square meters. Though the palace is still the official residence of Spanish royal family it’s used only for official ceremonies. Interior of the palace is richly decorated with paintings of famous Spanish and Italian artists; Goya, Caravaggio, Velazquez etc. Several rooms of the palace are opened for visitors.
Santa Cruz neighborhood from the Giralda tower of the Cathedral, Seville, Andalusia. The heart of Andalusia bustling and hot Seville has so much to offer! Real melting pot of cultures and traditions; Romans, Moors, Spanish, gypsies, Jewish all left their traces in this city. In old times Santa Cruz was a Jewish quarter nowadays it’s the main tourist area of Seville. By the way best tapas (snacks) in Spain (which basically means best in the world) I ate here in local street restaurants they are specially charming at night time. If you’re like me a culture and history junkie check this Things to do in cultural Seville post to find out more about activities in this amazing city.
La Boqueria market, Barcelona, Catalonia. Spanish food and markets is a special theme of discussion; tapas, pinchos, paella, jamón etc. Everything is always fresh and delicious! Here in La Boqueria you can find anything from fresh seafood and meat to tropical fruit and freshly baked pastries. Come here in the evening just before the closing time and you’ll be able to buy some of the delicacy for half price. The market is worth of visit even if you have only a day in Barcelona.
Santiago de Compostela cathedral, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Famous pilgrimage Camino de Santiago finishes in this one of the most sacred places in Europe. The town does have a very special atmosphere. Even if you’re not very religious it’s worth to visit this place just for its beautiful architecture, nice parks and delicious local cuisine, a must try almond dessert Tarta de Santiago.
A stork nesting on one of the towers of the New Cathedral, Salamanca, Castile and Leon. In some areas of Spain you’ll find peaceful coexistence of wild life and cultural heritage monuments. In Castile and Leon it’s very common to see white storks nesting on tops of old towers, houses, poles and even cathedrals!
Montserrat Abbey, Barcelona, Catalonia. A pleasant day trip from Barcelona the journey in the cable car will give you a chance to admire fantastic scenery of Barcelona and its surroundings. There are several walking trails around that lead to the top of the mountain. It’s a great place, you can spend the whole day hiking in Montserrat and enjoying the stunning views.
On the streets of the old town, Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia. Jerez is the world’s capital of sherry here you can visit one of the famous bodegas (cellar) and do some sherry and brandy tasting. Restaurants and cafes on its small cobblestone streets are too charming to resist. Be careful coming just for a couple of hours you can end up spending here the whole day.
Plaza de Espana, Seville, Andalusia. Even nowadays Seville looks like a decoration for a drama, opera or movie and the list of those is quite impressive and includes Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Yet the best thing about Seville is the weather it has 300 sunny days a year it means almost every day is sunny!
Casa Batllo and Casa Amatller, Barcelona, Catalonia. Barcelona is a real Art Nouveau city, it is a real pleasure to walk around and discover its hidden gems. For many tourists Art Nouveau in Barcelona is one of the highlights of their visit. Not only houses, cathedrals and palaces but small details; gates, balconies, doors and even houses’ numbers everything here is bizarre and eye-catching. Take your time, explore the city and it’ll surprise you! When in the city don’t forget to visit its surroundings there are several amazing places that can be visited as day trips from Barcelona.
The Alcazar (castle), Toledo, Castile La Mancha. The city of three cultures once the capital of the Empire and the “home” of famous artist El Greco. The best way to discover Toledo is to stay here for a day or two and walk around late evening or early morning without tourist crowds. Empty narrow streets of the old town, the cathedral at night and the sounds of your steps on the cobblestone streets will be a real time travel experience.
San Sebastian, La Gomera, the Canary islands. San Sebastian is the capital town of La Gomera island nevertheless it’s a quite and pleasant place that offers a tranquil stay at the sea between the banana plantations. The Canary islands is probably the last place to seek for nice warm and sunny weather during European winter.
Windmills, Consuegra, Castile La Mancha. Spanish windmills the famous giants from Cervantes’s Don Quixote are undoubtedly the main symbol of the province. There are twelve mills just outside the town they were in use till 1980 nowadays the mills and the nearby castle became a tourist attraction o the Windmills route that brings thousands of people to Consuegra. Interesting fact every mill has a name.
The Alhambra complex, Granada, Andalusia. Only this place on its own is worth of visit to Spain. Stunning places Alhambra consists of several palaces, fortresses and lush gardens with fountains you’ll need a day to explore the complex. Tip! If you really want to experience the authentic atmosphere of Granada stay here for a couple of days, walk in El Albaicin (old Gypsy quarter), watch sunset from one of the Miradors (view points), visit a local tablao (bar) and get into flamenco rhythms.
Park Retiro, Madrid. Madrid is my favorite European capital city from the first visit I basically fell in love with it. Maybe it can’t compete with Rome or Paris but Madrid has a perfect balance between a lot to see and not too much. Here I don’t feel like I will never be able to see all must see sights even if I spend all my life in this city even if you spend one day in Madrid you can see a lot.
Malecon (seafront), Cadiz, Andalusia. You can describe Cadiz in three words; air, sun and sea. One of the oldest cities in Europe it was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. Once an important sea port of Spain and a trade center there is so much to explore and discover; seafood, beaches, historical sights and of course the carnival that was started in 16th century as a copy of the famous carnival in Venice.
Mesquita and the Roman bridge, Cordoba, Andalusia. About a thousand years ago Cordoba was the capital of Islamic Spain. Nowadays a lot in the city reminds about its past; famous Mesquita (mosque) with its “forest” of columns and Muslim quarter are just some of them. The city is well known for its courtyards (patios), locals decorate them with flowers, foliage, grapes etc. The patios look especially impressive during the Patio Festival that takes place every year in May.
Calahonda beach, Nerja, Andalusia. Located on the Costa del Sol Nerja is famous for its clear warm water, sandy beaches, seafood restaurants and the caves. It’s a perfect holiday place for those who wants to escape bustling and crowded Malaga and Marbella and go more local and off-the-beaten-track on the Costa del Sol.
Guggenheim museum, Bilbao, the Basque country. Spain it is not only amazing cathedrals, fortresses, alcazars and Gaudi modern architecture buildings became an important tourist attraction in the country. Guggenheim museum is one of the most recognizable symbols of modern Bilbao and one of the most interesting building in Spain. Not to forget Bilbao and the Basque county in general is a gourmand’s paradise; famous pintxos (snacks), wine, seafood, meat and delicious desserts all you need to enjoy this city and even more. You can spend two days in Bilbao or the whole week there are more than enough things to do and see here to keep you busy.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalonia. Probably one of the best known buildings in the world and one of the most interesting and mysterious buildings of Catalan Modernism style. The construction works started in 1882 and it’s still remains unfinished but even though the cathedral is absolutely stunning so different from any other cathedral, temple or church in the world, a unique masterpiece of Gaudi’s imagination.
The Puente Nuevo (new bridge), Ronda, Andalusia. Three bridges across the deep crack connect two parts of Ronda, Puente Nuevo is the biggest one, 120 m deep. Town’s location gives you an impression that a giant’s hand placed it on the top of the mountain. Except breathtaking views Ronda has one of the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain. For more thrilling feeling go to the balcony of the Mirador (viewpoint) de Aldehuela stunning view is guaranteed.
La Gomera island, the Canary islands. La Gomera is the greenest island of the archipelago it has mild climate you can enjoy it all year around. It’s a real paradise for hiking lovers; here you’ll find 600km of hiking trails all over the island through National parks, along the coast, over the hills, across banana plantations. Interesting fact before the Spanish came here locals used whistling sounds for communication till now whistle plays an important communicative role here.
The New cathedral of Salamanca, Castile and Leon. Salamanca is a famous university town. The University of Salamanca was founded in 1134, it’s the oldest university of Spain and the third oldest in the world after universities of Bologna and Oxford. The facade of the New cathedral has some funky details that were carved after the last renovations; a faun eating an ice cream and an astronaut, try to find them! Don’t forget to visit Plaza Mayor de Salamanca it’s considered one of the most beautiful plazas (squares) in Spain.