Spain has a wealth of alluring places to visit. It is an incredible diverse country which offers breathtaking landscapes, a fascinating history, as well as a host of buzzing cities. Spain is referred to as “Las Españas” (The Spains) as it is made up of numerous regions with their own unique cultures.
After France, Spain is the second most visited country in the world. It receives over 80 million visitors each year and these figures is expected to rise over the next few years.
Deciding which part of Spain to visit can be difficult as there is so much much choice. To help you, we have compiled a list of the most visited destinations in Spain (only counting foreign visitors) and we have included what you can see and do in each city.
Top 5 Most Visited Places in Spain
Here are the top 5 most visited cities in Spain based on the number of foreign visitors received last year. They are all fantastic locations which offer something unique.
Barcelona is the country’s second city but it is Spain’s most popular destination for international visitors. It is a laid-back city which offers stunning coastlines combined with a wide range of things to see and do.
The city is synonymous with Antoni Gaudí, the architect whose other-worldly structures attract millions of visitors each year. The Sagrada Familia is the most famous and most extravagant and no one should miss a chance to visit the jaw-dropping church. Other highlights include the Fundación de Joan Miro, Camp Nou (Barcelona F.C.’s stadium), Montjuic, and the Picasso Museum.
Madrid actually receives more visitors per year than Barcelona, however, Spain’s capital receives fewer foreign visitors. The city is famous for its world-class museums, such as the El Prado Museum as well as one of the liveliest nightlife scenes in the world.
Some of the other bets sights to see include the Retiro Park, the Royal Palace and Gardens, Plaza Mayor (the capital’s main square), and the Temple of Debod. Madrid may not have a beach like Barcelona but it makes up for it with its abundance of cultural points of interest.
Seville is the capital of Spain’s southern Andalusia region and it is famous for sunny weather, flamenco dancing, and a some of Spain’s most historical landmarks. These include the exquisite Alcazar Castle complex (built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty) and the Gothic Seville Cathedral where Christopher Columbus’ tomb lies.
The city’s streets and squares and lively and atmospheric as are the bars and restaurants (it is one of the best places in the country for tapas). There are also some sensational museums, art exhibitions, theatres, and theme parks, so there really I something for everyone.
4) Palma de Mallorca
If you are looking for sun, sea, and sand, Palma de Mallorca is the perfect location. The beaches are the main attraction, and they are magnificent, but the city also has some other landmarks worth visiting such as the Royal Palace of la Almudena and the cathedral.
Palma is the capital of the island of Mallorca, situated in the Balearic Sea. From Palma you can explore the rest of the island easily and also visit the neighboring Menorca which is also very beautiful.
Granada is in Spain’s southern Andalusia region and sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The city is famous for its stunning medieval architecture which dates back to the Moorish occupation, the most famous example is the Alhambra.
The city is also renowned for its electric atmosphere. The streets are packed with tapas bars, restaurants, bohemian cafes, and flamenco clubs. It has one of the biggest student populations in the country, as well as being one of the most visited places, which makes it a truly special place.
Visiting Spain After 2021 With the ETIAS Visa Waiver
Many nationalities can currently visit Spain without a visa including citizens from the U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. However, after 2021 travelers from these countries will need to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver for Spain.
The online ETIAS application will only take minutes to complete and the visa waiver will allow visitors to enter all the countries in the Schengen Area including Spain. The visa waivers will be valid for 3-year periods and will grant stays of up to 90 days in the zone.