Spain is a country brimming with cultural diversity, vibrant history, and breathtaking landscapes. As we step into 2024, the allure of its sun-drenched beaches, historic cities, and gastronomic delights beckons.
If you’re yearning to explore more of Spain, we’re put together a comprehensive list of the most popular places to visit in 2024.
Note: If you’re coming from overseas, it’s worth knowing that many travellers will soon need to complete an ETIAS application to enter Spain and the rest of the Schengen Area.
Barcelona: A modernist wonderland
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia, is a treasure trove of architectural marvels, from the whimsical creations of Antoni Gaudí to the medieval alleys of the Gothic Quarter.
The city’s crowning glory, La Sagrada Família, continues to draw millions with its intricate facades and awe-inspiring interiors.
Beyond architecture, Barcelona’s beaches, such as Barceloneta, offer a perfect blend of urban and seaside pleasures.
Madrid: The heart of Spanish culture
Madrid, Spain’s bustling capital, is a city where tradition and modernity meet. The art enthusiasts will find their haven in the Golden Triangle of Art, comprising the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
Madrid’s nightlife is legendary, offering an array of options from flamenco shows to modern dance clubs.
The city’s culinary scene is a delightful exploration of Spain’s diverse flavors, with the San Miguel Market offering an array of gourmet experiences.
Seville: The soul of Andalusia
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is famed for its Gothic cathedral, the largest in the world, and the Alcázar, a stunning example of Mudéjar architecture. The city’s historic center, with its winding medieval lanes and vibrant plazas, exudes a timeless charm.
Seville is also the birthplace of flamenco, and experiencing a live performance in the Triana district is a must.
The April Fair (Feria de Abril) transforms Seville into a spectacle of color, music, and dance, offering a deep dive into Andalusian culture.
Granada: A Moorish dream
Nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is home to the Alhambra, a breathtaking Moorish citadel and palace that stands as one of Spain’s most iconic landmarks. The Alhambra’s intricate Islamic art and lush gardens are a testament to the city’s rich Moorish heritage.
The Albaicín, Granada’s old Muslim quarter, offers panoramic views of the Alhambra and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Granada’s culinary scene is renowned for its tapas culture, providing a delightful way to sample local flavors.
Valencia: The city of art and science
Valencia, blending historic charm and innovative architecture, is famed for the City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic complex that houses a science museum, planetarium, and aquarium.
The city’s Gothic cathedral claims to house the Holy Grail, adding to Valencia’s allure. The Turia Gardens, a verdant oasis snaking through the city, offer a peaceful retreat.
Valencia is the birthplace of paella, and savoring this iconic dish in its hometown is a culinary pilgrimage.
San Sebastián: A culinary heaven
San Sebastián, nestled along the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country, is a haven for foodies. Its Old Town is packed with pintxo bars, offering bite-sized local specialties that are a feast for the senses.
The city boasts a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, cementing its status as a culinary capital.
San Sebastián’s picturesque beaches, such as La Concha, are perfect for relaxation and water sports.
The Balearic Islands: A Mediterranean paradise
The Balearic Islands, with their crystal-clear waters and idyllic landscapes, are a perennial favourite.
Mallorca, the largest island, blends historic towns like Palma with stunning mountain scenery and secluded coves. Ibiza is famed for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches, while Menorca offers a more tranquil getaway with its Biosphere Reserve.
Formentera, the smallest of the main islands, is a paradise of unspoiled beaches and turquoise waters.
Santiago de Compostela: A Pilgrim’s Haven
Santiago de Compostela, the final destination of the legendary Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, is a city of profound spiritual significance.
The city’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a labyrinth of ancient streets filled with historic buildings and lively squares.
The local cuisine, featuring Galician specialties like octopus (pulpo a la gallega) and the famous Santiago cake (tarta de Santiago), provides a delicious insight into the region’s culinary traditions.
Cordoba: A Tapestry of Cultures
Cordoba, once the capital of the Islamic Caliphate in Spain, is a city where cultures converge. The Mezquita, a mosque-cathedral, is a symbol of this rich cultural tapestry, with its stunning array of columns and arches.
The historic center, a blend of narrow streets, courtyards, and whitewashed houses, invites exploration. Cordoba’s patios, adorned with flowers, are celebrated each May during the Festival de los Patios, a vibrant display of the city’s living heritage.
The city’s culinary scene reflects its diverse history, offering a blend of Arabic, Jewish, and Christian influences.
The Canary Islands: A Year-Round Paradise
The Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa, offer a diverse landscape ranging from the lunar-like terrains of Lanzarote to the lush forests of La Palma.
Tenerife, the largest island, is home to Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide, a must-visit for nature lovers. The islands’ unique climate makes them a perfect year-round destination, with opportunities for hiking, water sports, and enjoying the beautiful beaches.
The Canary Islands’ cultural festivals, such as the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, one of the largest in the world, add to the allure of this exotic destination.
Bilbao: The Industrial City Reimagined
Bilbao, in the heart of the Basque Country, has transformed from an industrial city into a center of culture and design.
The Guggenheim Museum, a masterpiece of contemporary architecture by Frank Gehry, has become an iconic symbol of the city’s revival. The museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art, alongside temporary exhibitions, makes it a must-visit for art lovers.
Bilbao’s culinary scene is renowned, with pintxos bars and Michelin-starred restaurants offering a taste of Basque cuisine.