Here Are The Best Places To Visit In Spain

Explore all the beauty that Spain has to offer when you visit these unforgettable places.

Here Are The Best Places To Visit In Spain

Lisa Nguyen, a trilingual biochemistry student currently enrolled at the University of California San Diego, spent the summer of 2022 studying literature in Spain, a European paradise where gleaming white hotels stud the shoreline just a stone’s throw from the aquamarine Mediterranean Sea. A haven of art and architecture, Spain boasts towering cathedrals, historic museums and the mighty red fortress of the Alhambra. From classic attractions to hidden gems, here are the best places to visit during your trip to Spain.


Alhambra. Photo: Isak Gundrosen on Unsplash

Start your trip to Spain at the Alhambra, a stunning fortified complex where eye-catching red stone buildings conceal elaborate inner rooms graced with opulent tiles. The Alhambra has several unique Moorish-style courtyards and patios inside its vast compound along with the soaring Torre de Comares—a sturdy tower that overlooks the city and surrounding gardens—and the Salón de los Embajadores, a throne room where Spanish rulers greeted foreign ambassadors in times past.

Make sure to visit the Alhambra’s Nasrid Palaces, where intricately decorated columns form long hallways that surround a single fountain in the center of the courtyard. Walk in the footsteps of ancient kings and sultans who strode past these same terraces and cisterns which are now relics of a past age that give the palace an air of timeless sophistication.

“I would highly recommend the Alhambra, especially at night when it is less crowded,” Nguyen said. “Bonus tip: If you just want to come read and not visit any attraction, you won’t need a ticket!”


Albayzin. Photo: Pedro Sousa on Unsplash

Known as the Old Arab Quarter, Albayzin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Granada with narrow streets and magnificent churches, including the immense Church of San Salvador and mountaintop Church of San Nicolas. Catholic monarchs conquered Granada in the 15th century; during the 17th century, architects Jose Granados and Leonardo de Figuera converted the al-Andalus mosque into the Church of San Salvador. Over 300 years later, part of the original mosque—a courtyard with a water cistern for ceremonial ablutions—remains intact.

Spend time roaming Albayzin’s narrow cobblestone streets before making your way to Plaza de San Nicholas, a panoramic hilltop viewpoint with stunning vistas of Granada’s meadows and towering mountains. Walk through the artisan market for an up-close look at locally crafted souvenirs as musicians play soft flamenco in the background, then stop by the 16th century Church of St. Nicolas on the far side of the plaza.

Where To Eat

Grillo Gelato Italiano
Grillo Gelato Italiano. Facebook: Grillo Gelato Italiano

After touring the Alhambra and Albayzin, head to the chic vegan bar El Ojú for a Spanish omelet or mushroom pizza. Then, satisfy your sweet tooth at Grillo Gelato Italiano, a traditional gelato shop where you can sample a delicious white chocolate, pistachio or Stracciatella-flavored treat. Another must-try is a steaming café from Arabica Coffee in Alicante.

“El Grillo is an amazing gelato place, El Ojú has the best vegan food I have ever had and the staff are the sweetest, and I also highly recommend Arabica Concept coffee,” Nguyen said. “The owner is Walter and believe me, it is an amazing place to learn Spanish and such a wonderful place to hang out.”

When in Spain…

Highway. Photo: Caleb Stokes on Unsplash

At night, when hazy streetlights bathe sidewalk cafés in a golden glow and receding taillights smear city streets with bright red streaks, the traveler exchanges the hustle and bustle of life in a foreign country for an even more foreign silence. Along with the glamor of courtyards and cathedrals, a trans-Atlantic voyage brings the anxiety of navigating a new country where people speak an unknown tongue and every conversation is fraught with potentially perilous misunderstandings.

According to Nguyen, however, having a solid support system of family and close friends gave her strength in the midst of alien surroundings.

“Confide in a strong support system—it can be difficult due to stress but having a good circle of friends and family really helps,” Nguyen said. “Believe me, people will love it if you make an effort to speak Spanish. Don’t be scared of messing up. I definitely learned to be more confident—having a doctor’s appointment in Spanish was difficult but I was jumping for joy when I realized how well I could understand and respond!”

Hannah Larson

Contributing Editor

A southern California native, Hannah is a traveler and thrill seeker whose love of writing is matched only by her passion for adventure. From ziplining alongside Niagara Falls to paddleboarding in Lake Itasca, she is always on the lookout for exciting experiences in beautiful places. Her favorite national parks include the Great Smokies, Sequoia and Glacier because of the spectacular mountain views.

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