Spain is a popular European destination for endless reasons. Known for its sunshine, shopping, and delicious food, it’s common to add Spain to your travel bucket list. Home to unique culture, history, and art, there is so much to discover in this European oasis.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Bucket List Destinations in Spain
- Must-Do Activities in Spain for Travelers
- Spain Bucket List Ideas for Summer
- Outdoor, Park, and Hike Ideas for Spain
- Spain Bucket List Food and Restaurants
However, with so many things to do in Spain, how do you identify the best bucket list ideas? Whether you flock to the cosmopolitan cities of Madrid and Barcelona or one of the many small towns, there’s something for everyone here. In this guide, we’ll share the best bucket list ideas for Spain.
Bucket List Destinations in Spain
First, where should you visit in Spain? It’s hard to narrow down this list, but we decided on the most important cities and towns to visit. These are hubs of culture, art, and so much more.
1. Relax on the beaches of San Sebastian
If you’re looking for classic Spanish beaches, look no further than San Sebastian. Located in the Bay of Biscay, this is a known spot for lavish hotels and vacations. It’s warm all year long, and you can’t beat this holiday getaway spot.
2. See the culture in Barcelona
There are few cities as romantic as Barcelona. A famous city for its history and nightlife, this cultural hub offers so much to do. Stroll through the famous Gothic Quarter to see the cobbled streets, discover the music scene, or tour the street art for a local experience.
3. Soak up cosmopolitan charm in Madrid
The capital city of Spain is arguably one of the best places to visit. More contemporary than other Spanish cities, this is the largest city in Spain and a great base camp for seeing the rest of the country.
4. Walk back in time in Granada
To see Moorish architecture and Roman history up close, you must visit Granada. This gorgeous city is home to the spectacular Alhambra, a feat of architecture. The city dates back to pre-Roman times, so this is one of the most historic spots in the country.
5. Visit the palace in Seville
Did you know Seville, Spain is the capital of Spain’s Andalusia region? It also used to be the capital of Muslim Spain. It’s an important place for culture and history, dating back thousands of years. While here, you must see the Alcazar Palace built in the 12th-century.
6. Go off the beaten path in Cadiz
Last but not least, Cadiz is a true Spanish gem. Spain’s southernmost city, this beach town even has a clear view of Morocco from the hilltops on sunny days. Though smaller than other cities on this list, that’s part of its charm.
Must-Do Activities in Spain for Travelers
If you’re a traveler in Spain, do as the locals do. These must-do activities will have you living the life of a true Spaniard!
7. Visit a medieval town
Though most of Spain’s big cities have been modernized, you can find history inside most smaller towns. Asturia in the Bay of Biscay, for example, has plenty of charming medieval towns. Preserved from centuries ago, these places feel like stepping back in time.
8. Take a siesta
In Spain, do as the Spanish do. This means taking an afternoon siesta. While you don’t have to nap, this is a great time to relax, unwind, and prepare for a late-night ahead.
9. Explore a monastery
A very Catholic country, there are endless monasteries to discover in Spain. One of the most famous is the mountain-top monastery of Montserrat. This is a place for Catholic pilgrims and tourists alike to take in the famous cathedral and Black Madonna.
10. Go to an all-night party
The Spanish are certainly known for their nightlife and with good reason. You can find all-night parties just about everywhere in Spain. For the most high-profile DJs and clubs, head to the island of Ibiza.
11. Wander an art museum
Spain has no shortage of art museums. Home to some of the most famous artists of all time, it’s easy to see why. One of the most well-known and beloved art museums is the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. Named after Queen Sofia, this art museum is truly built for a queen.
12. Sightsee at cathedrals
Another thing Spain has no shortage of is cathedrals. While you’ll find cathedrals in every city in Spain, few are as eye-catching as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, it’s far from practical, but it’s certainly something remarkable.
Spain Bucket List Ideas for Summer
The summer is one of the busiest seasons in Spain. Known for the warm weather and endless sun, it might seem like there’s a party around every corner.
13. Explore the beauty of Costa Brava
Located just 60 miles north of Barcelona, there’s so much to explore in Costa Brava. Local artist Salvador Dali designed many of the famous buildings here himself, and you’ll also find Michelin-starred restaurants.
14. Watch the sunset
In Spain, there are endless places to watch the sunset. You’ll spot locals flocking to parks with wine and picnic baskets, perfect for tapas, as the sun sets over the city. Head uphill in any city for the best views.
15. Cheer on a soccer game
If you’re a soccer (football) fan, Madrid is the place to be. Stop by one of the most sacred sites in the city for club football fans: the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. This is where Real Madrid’s many legends played, so try to score match day tickets.
16. Attend a summer festival
Spain is largely known as a country full of celebrations. During the summer, you’ll find endless festivals like the Bonfires of Saint John. This is a night of feasting, campfires, and socializing as a way to pray for protection from evil.
17. Watch a flamenco performance
In Spain, it’s said that every day is a flamenco day. If you’re a fan of classic music, you absolutely must watch a live flamenco performance.
18. Fall in love with Ronda
Situated in the Andalusia region, this is one of the most romantic towns in Spain. Though rapidly modernizing, Ronda still holds its historic charm close. Wander the old quarter, explore the local folklore, and take in the historic sights.
Outdoor, Park, and Hike Ideas for Spain
Spain is also loved for its breathtaking beauty. Though most people think of the big cities, there’s actually endless natural beauty for outdoor-lovers to enjoy.
19. Hike the Camino de Santiago
Considered a pilgrimage, this ancient trek to Santiago de Compostela follows in the steps of St. James the Apostle. The Camino Frances route is over 500 miles, and it takes a month to complete, but you can do a small portion if time is short.
20. Climb the highest peak
Another must-do outdoor activity in Spain is to climb the highest peak in the Iberian peninsula. Mulhacen is the name of this high peak, and it’s rumored to be the burial site of one of the last Muslim kings of Granada.
21. Surf in the Canary Islands
The lively Canary Islands are known for more than just nightlife. They’re also the perfect places to surf and improve your skills, even if you’re just getting started.
22. Scuba dive off the coast
There are a lot of places to scuba dive in Spain, but few are as breathtaking as the Lanzarote island of the Canary Islands. Though you’ll need to be certified, this is a trip to remember.
23. Take a ferry to a natural island
While most of Spain’s islands are inhabited by people, this isn’t the case for S’Espalmador. Easily reached from Formentera or Ibiza, this uninhabited island is largely preserved in its natural state.
24. Go sailing on the water
Sailing is a popular European pastime, so it’s no surprise it’s common in Spain as well. If you’re wondering how to make a travel bucket list for Spain that’s unforgettable, try sailing off the coast of Galicia.
Spain Bucket List Food and Restaurants
It wouldn’t be a travel bucket list without adding some food picks. These Spain food bucket list ideas will have your mouth watering for more.
25. Try authentic paella
Paella is easily the most popular Spanish dish to try. This rice dish is made with a variety of seafood, and it’s typically served on a large dish for everyone to enjoy at once.
26. Experience jamon iberico
If you’re in Spain, odds are you’ll be enjoying endless tapas. One of the musts you’ll find on every menu is jamon iberico. Spain is the world’s top producer of dry-cured ham, and this traditional food is still made using century-old methods.
27. Sip on sangria
You can’t visit Spain without trying sangria. The most popular drink in the country, you can order this fruity wine drink by the glass or as a pitcher to share. Most often ordered at celebrations, this is the official drink of Spain.
28. Add chorizo to a dish
As explained above, the Spanish love pork dishes. Chorizo is a type of pork sausage, and it’s usually added to other dishes, though you’re welcome to enjoy it on its own.
29. End the day with churros con chocolate
Finally, indulge in your sweet tooth with churros con chocolate. This fried, sugary churro is best dipped into a cup of warm Spanish chocolate. More like hot fudge, this is something you’ll never get enough of!
Enjoy the Land of the Setting Sun
Ultimately, there’s so much to explore in Spain that it’s hard to fit everything into a single trip. This country's identity and history date back to pre-Roman times, and these early roots can still be seen in the country’s art and culture.
Are you ready to visit the land of the setting sun? If so, make sure to keep this Spain bucket list in mind. We focus on the best must-dos so you can build your own travel legacy.