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Spain

A guide to its main attractions
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Selected by piero scaruffi | Back to the travel page | Suggestions
This page provides a list of the main things to see in Spain. "++" identifies the top attractions.
Legenda:
castillo = castle
basilique = basilica
catedral = cathedral
monasterio = monastery

Northwest:
Santiago de Campostela (Galicia): ++catedral (+Goldsmith's portal of 111x and +Gloria Portal of 1188), convento de San Martino Penario, Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos, Praza do Obradoiro,
Santillana del Mar (Asturias): La Colegiata
Oviedo (Asturias): Cathedral San Salvador, San Julian de los Prados (830), Naranco's Santa Maria (848)

West:
Guadalupe (Estremadura): +Monasterio
Trujillo (Estremadura): Plaza Mayor
Caceres, (Estremadura): Casa de los Golfines, Santa Maria,
Merida (Estremadura): Teatro romano, Puente romano

Central:
Madrid:
  • ++El Prado
  • Plaza Mayor
  • Plaza de la Villa
  • Puerta del Sol
  • Palacio Real
  • Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales
  • Plaza de Cibeles
  • Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
  • ++El Escorial
  • +Torres Puerta de Europa (Plaza de Castilla, Line 10 Cuzco station)
  • Edificio Torres Blancas (Corazon de Maria & Avenida de America)
  • Skyscrapers near Line 10 Santiago Bernabeu Station: Picasso Tower (157 m), Europa Tower (121 m), Banco de Bilbao Tower (107 m), Titania Tower (104 m)
  • Skyscrapers near Line 10 Chamartin Station: Caja Madrid Tower (highest in Spain), Sacyr Vallehermoso Tower, Cristal Tower and Espacio Tower

Segovia (Castilla): ++Alcazar, Catedral, aqueducto
Belmonte (Castilla): castillo
Ponferrada (Castilla): castillo
Puebla de sanabria (Castilla): castillo
Astorga (Castilla): Catedral, Gaudi's Palacio Ebiscopal
Leon (Castilla): +Catedral, Basilica de San Isidoro (+Panteon de los Reyes, 1067)
Sahagun (Castilla): +San Tirso (12th c)
Zamora (Castilla): +Catedral, +San Pedro dela Nave at El Campilo (680 AD)
Ciudad Rodrigo (Castilla): Catedral
++Salamanca (Castilla): Plaza Mayor, Torre del Clavero, +Catedral (+Torre del Gallo), Universidad, Casa de las Conchas
Avila (Castilla): ++Walls (11th c), San Vicente (12th c), Monasterio de Santo Tomas, Catedral (1160)
Coca (Castilla): castillo
Penafiel (Castilla): castillo
Tordesilla (Castilla): Convento de Santa Clara
Valladolid (Castilla): Catedral, Colegio de San Gregorio
Medina de Rioseco (Castilla): Santa Maria de Mediavilla
Fromista (Castilla): Iglesia de San Martin
Palencia (Castilla): Catedral
Frias (Castilla): Puente medieval
Covarrubias (Castilla): Iglesia colegial, Tower of Dona Urraca (950)
Burgos (Castilla): +Arco de Santa Maria, Monasterio de las Huelgas, Cartuja de Miraflores, +Catedral (1224, +puerta sarmential, +Judgement of the world in portal), San Baudelio de Berlanga (11th c)
Alava: +Bodegas Ysios
Lerma (Castilla): old town, Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos
Burgo De Osma (Castilla): Catedral
Molina de Aragon (Mancha): old town
Guadalajara (Mancha): +Palacio de los Duques
Cuenca (Mancha): +Casa Colgadas, Catedral
Toledo (Mancha): Iglesia de Santo Tome (+El Greco's painting), ++Catedral (stain glass window, +retablo "El Trasparente"), Alcazar (16th c), Sinagoga del Transito, Sinagoga de Santa Maria, +Monasterio de San Juan, +Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz (tenth-century mosque)
Belmonte (Mancha): +castillo
Alarcon (Mancha): old town
Albacete (Mancha): +Alcala del Jucar, castillo de Almansa
Alcaraz (Mancha): Tardon, Trinidad
Calatrava la Nueva (Mancha): +castillo

Northeast:
Bilbao (Basque): +Guggenheim with Louise Bourgeois' sculpture "Maman"
San Sebastian (Basque): old town
Olite (Basque): Palacio Real
Pamplona (Basque): old town
Loarre: Castle (12th c)
Elciego (Basque): Gehry's Hotel Marques de Riscal
Leyre (Basque): monasterio
Ainsa (Aragon): old town
San Juan de la Pena (Aragon): monasterio
Alquezar (Aragon): old town
Zaragoza (Aragon): catedral, Nuestra Senora del Pilar
Daroca (Aragon): old town
Teuel (Aragon): catedral

East:
Barcelona (Catalonia): +Sagrada Familia, Gaudi homes (+Casa Batllo, Casa Mila La Pedrera), Barrio gotico, Cathedral, Museo Picasso, Juan Miro foundation, Jean Nouvel's ++Angbar Tower (2005), Meier's Museum of Contemporary Art, St Paul Hospital, Park Guell (Gaudi)
Near Barcelona: Gaudi's crypt in Colonia Guell, Bofill's Kafka Castle in Sant Pere de Ribes (1968)
Figueres (Catalonia, 1 hour from Barcelona by fast train): Dali museum and Torre Galatea
Ripoll (Catalonia): +Monasterio de Santa Maria (mostly 19th century, but +doorway with reliefs)
Santander (Catalonia): Villa Quijana (Gaudi), Altamira Caves with paleolithic wall paintings (pinturas rupestres) of 14,000 BC
Besalu (Catalonia): old town
Girona (Catalonia): old town
Figueres (Catalonia): Dali museum
Montserrat (Catalonia): +monasterio, Santa Cecilia (957)
Lerida (Catalonia): Cogul Caves with paleolithic wall paintings (pinturas rupestres) of 10,000 BC
Cardona (Catalonia): old town (+San Vicente)
Poblet (Catalonia): +monasterio
Tarragona (Catalonia): anfiteatro, catedral
Morella (Murcia): old town, cave paintings (pinturas rupestres) of 3,000 BC
Peniscola (Murcia): Castel del Papa Luna, old town
Sagunt (Murcia): Castillo, Teatro romano
Valencia: Catedral, Torres de Serranos, Santiago Calatrava's +Arts and Science Museum
Murcia: Catedral

South:
Sevilla: Hospital La Caridad, +Torre del Oro (12th c), +Catedral, Los Venerables, +Alcazares, +Plaza de Espana, Altar of San Luis (1731), Alcala de Guadaira's fortress (a few kms east of Sevilla)
Granada (Andalucia): +++Alhambra, Generalife, Catedral, Capilla Real
  • Torres Bermejas (12th century)
  • Puerta de la Justicia (1348)
  • Puerta del Vino (14th c)
  • Torre de la Vela
  • Mexuar: the Serrallo facade (the southern facade), especially the eaves
  • Patio de los Arrayanes (sometimes called de la Alberca, del Estanque or de los Mirtos): semicircular arches of the ceiling, wooden ceiling in the north gallery
  • Sala de la Barca: inverted boat of the ceiling
  • Salon de Embajadores
  • Banos Reales : polychromatic decoration in the main room, frescoes in the Tocador de la Reina
  • Sala de las Dos Hermanas: dome
  • Sala de los Reyes (or de la Justicia)
  • Patio de los Leones: gallery supported by 124 white marble columns, +fountain with 12 lions, +alabaster basin)

Ronda (Andalucia): old town, Puente Nuevo
Cadiz (Andalucia): Catedral
Malaga (Andalucia): Catedral
El Chorro/Alora: El Caminito Del Rey (walkaway and bridge 100 meters over the river)
El Chorro: El Caminito del Rey
Carmona (Andalucia): Medina Azahara
Cordoba (Andalucia): Alcazar, ++Mezquita, old town
Ubeda (Andalucia): old town
Baeza (Andalucia): old town
Almeria (Andalucia): Alcazaba, La Chanca
Ibiza
Mallorca: Monasteri de Lluc, Catedral de Palma
Menorca: Ciutadella
Links
Warnings

Things that annoyed me in Spain:

  • The "corrida" (bullfight) is a barbaric tradition (let the coward toreadores fight with their hands, not with the sword, and with no help)
  • Barcelona (2017) is one of the most expensive cities in the world for tourists. Personally, i think that Gaudi is one of the most overrated artists of the 20th century, but Barcelona has done an excellent job of publicizing his works. Entrance prices to anything Gaudi are astronomical. If you pay that much to see a childish house or a weird church, you only have two options: 1. You tell your friends that you were an idiot (my case); 2. You tell your friends that it's a masterpiece. Most people choose the latter. I literally couldn't stop laughing at Parc Guell thinking that i paid to see that little Disneyland.
  • Montserrat (2017): The roundtrip ticket from Espanya station costs E20 and includes either teleferica or cremallera (teleferica has better views if you are not afraid of heights but might not work in bad weather) Beware that there are three train stations called Montserrat and you need to know which one to use for the funicular (second stop) or the cremallera (third stop). These vehicles are fully automated, which means that there is no human being to help you. They are also synchronized so that one leaves when the other one arrives (eg the train for Barcelona leaves a few minutes after the cremallera reaches the train station). Making a mistake is fatal: you'll have to wait one hour for the next train. The monastery itself is not worth the trip, IMHO, nor is the church, nor is the view, but, again, Catalunia has been very good at marketing this place.