Skip to Content

14 Best Vacation Destinations in Spain

14 Best Vacation Destinations in Spain

The best vacation destinations in Spain take you from beautiful cities to seaside resorts and Mediterranean islands.

No two destinations in Spain are ever the same. While there are similarities linking Spanish vacation spots, the architecture, the food, the vegetation, and even the language differ in this extraordinary European country.
Best Vacation Destinations in Spain

Spain is a choice destination for families, couples, and solo explorers alike. Let’s take a look at the best Spain holiday destinations for all types of travelers.

1. Costa del Sol

As the name suggests, the Costa del Sol – the Sun Coast – is one of the best places to vacation in Spain for sunshine. Lots of sunshine. The region receives 320 days of sunshine on average each year.

The Costa del Sol is located in southern Spain’s autonomous region of Andalucia. Málaga and Marbella are the most well-known Costa del Sol cities and are equally appealing to holidaymakers.

However, smaller towns such as Nerja and Estepona are worth considering. It’s not that these resorts are secret gems – nowhere in the Costa del Sol is quiet once summer rolls around – but they do offer a slightly calmer atmosphere.

Many of the best Costa del Sol beaches are close to Málaga and Marbella and others can be visited as a day trip.

2. Málaga

Málaga is one of the best Spain holiday destinations to sample a bit of everything we know and love about the country. Historical landmarks, check. Great food, check. Beaches, check.

The beaches in Málaga are some of the best in the Costa del Sol. Summer makes the sea perfect for swimming while watersports activities extend to jet ski rentals and catamaran cruises.

Other things to do in Màlaga include exploring the Alcazaba, Gibralfaro, Roman Theater, and Picasso Museum. On top of a packed day of sightseeing, Málaga has a vast spread of restaurants and bars. It’s not a party-centric resort but there are certainly options for a late night.

There are lots of wonderful day trips from Málaga. In addition to local beach towns and villages, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is possible with a car or on a guided tour.

views of the city of seville from above.

Seville is definitely one of the best vacation destinations in Spain and one of the best places for a winter workation if you are a digital nomad!

3. Marbella

It only takes an hour to drive to Marbella from Málaga. This is a much smaller city with fewer tourist attractions to build into a full-blown itinerary. However, the plazas and parks of Marbella Old Town are a joy to potter around. It has a classy vibe and is popular with couples.

Marbella also claims some of the best beaches in southern Spain. These are linked by the Paseo Maritimo which is lovely to wander on foot or cycle if you prefer to get your vitamin D on the move.

Marbella is one of the best places in Spain for vacations by the sea – and lots of luxury. Golfing, tennis, and sailing draw in a solid stream of regulars. The most luxurious hotels and resorts are located along the Golden Mile that links Piruli Tower and the shores of the Río Verde close to Puerto Banús.

As Marbella is so popular, it can feel congested over the high season. Travel outside of July and August for the nicest experience.

4. Madrid

As the capital, Madrid is one of the best vacation destinations in Spain for diving deep into the country’s history.

A classic Madrid itinerary will include a tour of the Royal Palace, a selection of museums, and time to explore the parks. It’s also pleasant to simply wander around the neighborhoods of Madrid and while away an afternoon over tapas, cerveza, and conversation.

The only drawback is that Madrid is so central that it’s not possible to take a day trip to the beach. That so, the city is awash with beautiful boulevards and cultural activities. Beyond the urban parks, there are several stunning mountainous areas and small villages within easy access that showcase a different side of Spain.

Furthermore, Madrid Airport is an easy first destination from overseas. Upon arrival, you can always spend a day or two exploring before heading to the seaside or an island.

beautiful beach with soft sand and calm waters.

Is it even a vacation if there isn’t a beach? Luckily, Spain has tons of amazing vacation destinations close to the beach.

5. Ibiza

Speaking of islands, Spain gives you the choice of the Balearic or Canary archipelago. Ibiza is probably the most well-known, due to its storied history as a party destination.

Ibiza is actually one of the best holiday destinations in Spain for couples and honeymooners. This Balearic island offers sandy beaches, excellent hiking, and some pretty lavish coastal resorts where you can live like a celebrity.

Another of the best things to do in Ibiza is to take a day trip to the smaller isle, Formentera.

In terms of partying, the historic superclubs are located near Ibiza Town. These are pretty pricey once you take into account the price of admission, the cost of drinks (even soft ones), and a taxi back to the hotel. However, they do attract major names and have an exciting atmosphere.

Over on the west, Sant Antoni has an elevated nightlife scene and does tend to be cheaper on the whole.

The beach clubs in Ibiza are a happy compromise for couples and groups seeking a mix of sun and music – plus mellow activities like yoga classes and romantic suppers on the sand.

6. Mallorca (Majorca)

Ibiza’s eastern cousin is over double the size and attracts a wide range of travelers. While it used to be considered one of the more budget-friendly areas in Spain, Mallorca has become fancier in recent years and has entered the luxury market.

Due to the beaches, amenities, and attractions, Mallorca is one of the best family holiday destinations in Spain.

Palma, the island capital, is home to a medieval fortress, Moorish buildings, and grand churches. The cathedral even features some restoration work by Gaudí. Up on the northern coast, Alcúdia’s sheltered beaches are popular with families. The western coast is devastatingly scenic and offers a mix of hiking, cycling, and rock climbing.

Note that if you stay beyond Palma, a rental car will likely be required.

beer, slice of spanish omelette, and a slice of bread on the side.

Spanish food is one of the best reasons to visit Spain and you can sample it in many of these amazing vacation destinations in Spain! My personal favorite is a Spanish Tortilla with a dollop of aioli.

7. Seville

Swooping back to the mainland, Seville is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalucia. This is the archetype of a Spanish city – spread over handsome plazas, vast green parks, and spectacular architecture.

Seville is the best place to vacation in Spain to encounter authentic flamenco culture. While the origins are unclear, the art form is associated with the Andalucia region and has strong ties to Seville. Catching a show is one of the quintessential things to do in Seville.

Besides seeing flamenco – or even enrolling in a class – Seville is home to Moorish architecture including the Royal Alcázar.

Day trips from Seville take you to neighboring cities with Moorish heritage, the Gulf of Cádiz, and Doñana National Park. Overall, Seville is one of the best vacation destinations in Spain for a blend of everything.

8. Costa Blanca

Costa Blanca is one of the best places in Spain to vacation on the Mediterranean coast. Located in the province of Alicante on the southeastern coast, the 150-mile White Coast runs from Dénia in the north to Pilar de la Horadada in the south.

Bear in mind that many of the beaches in the Costa Blanca are pebbly rather than sandy. Remote coves are flanked with limestone cliffs and Mediterranean vegetation. Some are easily accessible from the main cities while others take a bit of extra effort and require a rental car or taxi.

The larger resorts of Alicante, Calpe, Altea, and Jávea (Xàbia) have developed into some of the best family holiday destinations in Spain.

Torn between Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca?

Choose Costa Blanca for cheaper accommodation and slightly calmer summers. Both are warm year-round but Costa del Sol is a touch hotter and sunnier. The more southerly coast is also slightly better for public transport.

city of arts and sciences building in Valencia, one of the best vacation destinations in Spain.

Don’t miss out on exploring the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia!

9. Valencia

Valencia is one of the best vacation destinations in Spain for seaside city culture minus the crowds of Barcelona.

The medieval walls and museums of Ciutat Vella tick all the history boxes. Meanwhile, the City of Arts and Sciences is a treasure trove of modern architecture, ground-breaking sights, and family-friendly attractions. Naturally, eating paella is a major component of any Valencia itinerary.

Beyond the downtown area, Valencia is well-positioned for a beach trip. Buses serve the city’s southern beaches and the town of Gandia after which the Costa Blanca soon starts its course.

Another perk of Valencia is that the airport is less than 20 minutes by taxi. It’s also possible to take a ferry from Valencia to Ibiza and Mallorca.

10. Basque Country

Sweeping up to the oft-overlooked north of Spain, Basque Country is another autonomous community. As the weather is cooler on the whole and prone to rain, this area is sometimes avoided.

For that reason, Basque Country is one of the best holiday destinations in Spain for couples seeking a calmer vacation spot. Furthermore, this region on the north coast offers a mix of nature, culture, and wine.

It would make sense to base yourself in Bilbao, the de facto capital. Marveling at the unique blend of modern and historic architecture is one of the main things to do in Bilbao. The Guggenheim Museum – one of the 12 Treasures of Spain – provides a bounty of conversation to see you through until supper.

The Basque Country wine region produces exceptional Txakoli wines and is close to the Rioja region. Wine tours and tastings are one of the best things to do.

11. Menorca (Minorca)

Completing the trio, Menorca is the most low-key of the three Balearic Islands. Rather than attractions and clubs, the emphasis of a Menorcan holiday is on the natural beauty.

Therefore, Menorca is one of the best vacation destinations in Spain for couples and honeymooners seeking barefoot luxury – with a dash of adventure.

Beaches range from the long, sandy shorelines of the south coast to the inlets of the north. These “calas” are sometimes trickier to access but the priceless scenery is a fine reward for tackling rocky paths. Other beaches and grottos are accessible only by sailboat or kayak. Note the red tint to the area: a nod to the volcanic topography.

The island capital, Mahón, is famed for its cheese production and having the first distillery in the Mediterranean. Xoriguer Gin Distillery’s handcrafted gins are celebrated for their strong herbal and botanical notes. You’ll also want to sample the island’s signature sundowner, the gin-based Pomada cocktail.

gaudi cathedral in Barcelona.

The Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous monuments in all of Spain, be sure to prebook your tickets so you don’t miss out!

12. Barcelona

Barcelona is the best place to vacation in Spain for tracing the career of Antoni Gaudí. In addition to seeing Sagrada Família, a typical Barcelona itinerary should feature a wander through the hilltop Park Güell.

As the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is a fine destination for foodies. The streets of the Gothic Quarter are flooded with tapas bars and markets where bacalao (cod) reigns supreme.

Barcelona’s popularity has made it quite an expensive destination for accommodation. Fortunately, there are scores of free things to do in Barcelona to help stick to a budget. That includes unwinding on the beaches of Badalona and roaming around Montjuïc Hill.

13. Costa Brava

Racing up from Barcelona to meet the French border, Costa Brava is one of the best vacation spots in Spain for rugged coastal landscapes. The “Wild Coast” comprises medieval villages and tapas bars dishing up Catalan tapas plates.

A number of these are accessible as a day trip from Barcelona. However, any of these towns would work as a base for a couple of nights or a week.

Cadaqués on the Cap de Creus peninsula is one of the most spectacular towns in Costa Brava. From here, you can visit Figueres – the birthplace of Salvador Dalí – as well as the artist’s former residence in Port Lligat. The nearby nature park is a prime spot for hiking as well as sea kayaking.

Costa Brava is significantly cooler in the winter in comparison with the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol. However, it’s still perfectly pleasant for outdoor exploration minus the summer crowds.

cliffs along the edge of the ocean.

The Canary Islands are some of the most spectacular vacation destinations in Spain and indeed, in all of Europe. Just look at these majestic cliffs!

14. Canary Islands

Rounding off with the other Spanish archipelago, the eight Canary Islands sit closer to the Moroccan coast. As such, they’re the warmest places in Spain in winter.

Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa each offer gorgeous beaches, pine forests, and volcanic landscapes.

Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote have the most developed infrastructure and yield a variety of accommodations. Teide National Park is home to Spain’s tallest mountain plus phenomenal stargazing. Gran Canaria is splendidly green with captivating mountain villages to explore. Fuerteventura’s white-sand beaches are perfect for snorkeling while the interiors are practically Martian.

The remaining four are less visited and serve as the best vacation destinations in Spain for winter sun off the beaten track.