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Spain is one of Europe’s most-visited countries, but many tourists stick to the tried-and-tested coastal resorts. Explore a little further with our top tips for the best destinations to visit in Spain.
Granada is like a Disney fairytale come to life: it has the stunning ancient fortress, the snowcapped peaks and winding cobbled streets. The Alhambra is one of Spain’s most famous attractions, and for good reason. The Moorish palace sits high over the city and contains some of the best-preserved Islamic art and architecture in the world. Don’t miss Sacromonte, an area of white caves clinging to the hillside where the city’s gypsy community originally lived and flamenco dance and music flourished.
Tenerife might bring to mind package holidays and beaches, but this Canary Island, located off the coast of West Africa, is so much more. Its lunar landscapes and volcanic peaks are otherworldly. Mount Teide is Spain’s highest peak and is set within the Teide National Park, where you can explore the peculiar landscape of craters and ancient lava flows, Spain’s most unique geological gems.
Sun, sea and a soaring rocky peak make Alicante a prime coastal destination in Spain. But while many foreign tourists fly into the city’s airport then leave for resorts further along the coast, Alicante is worth exploring in itself. The port city has a buzzing city beach that has the dramatic Mount Benacantil as a backdrop, a huge rocky peak whose summit is home to Santa Bárbara Castle. Stroll by the city’s marina on an evening then do some tapas bar hopping in the old town.
Spain’s second city is an eternal favourite with visitors for its stunning Mediterranean location, iconic architecture and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Go gaga for Gaudí at the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell and check out some of the architect’s lesser-known works such as Casa Batlló. Make the trip up to Mount Tibidabo for sparkling views across the city to the sea beyond; rollercoaster lovers should visit the Tibidabo Amusement Park, opened in 1905, while the mountain is also a great place to cycle or hike.
This elegant city on the Basque Country coast is a must for foodies; the pintxo – a Basque version of tapas that usually includes delicious morsels balanced on crusty bread – is the city’s gastronomic calling card and the bars of the Old Town lay out their pintxos on the bar tops so you can see everything on offer. The city’s Concha Beach is a beautiful, shell-shaped cove popular with families, while the nearby Zurriola beach is great for surfing.
Seville, the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain, is famous for its thriving flamenco culture. Take in a show in one of the city’s intimate little flamenco bars to fully appreciate this passionate, dramatic and melancholy art form. Explore Seville’s history with a trip to the Real Alcázar, a well-preserved example of Mudéjar architecture that has been added to by Spanish rulers over the years, and take in the city’s modern architecture at the Metropol Parasol, a huge wooden structure that brings much-needed shade in the summer.
Cordoba was the most important city during the Moorish rule of Spain in the Middle Ages, and it was home to the stunning Grand Mosque of Cordoba. Today, the mosque is the city’s cathedral, but retains much of its Islamic design. Cordoba’s old town is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is home to the city’s Roman Bridge, charming cobbled streets and some fascinating pieces of architecture.
The home of paella is a great place to sample what is perhaps Spain’s most famous dish. Head to a beachside restaurant and enjoy the rice dish for lunch (Spaniards never tend to eat the heavy dish for dinner) washed down with some Agua de Valencia, a potent local cava cocktail. Explore Valencia’s beautiful old town and don’t miss the incredible,