Spain’s distinctive history and culture, with origins in the ancient Phoenician, Roman, Visigothic and Moorish empires, has allowed it to develop into one of Europe’s most culturally diverse countries. From the stunning costas of Andalusia to the rugged peaks of the Pyrenees, there are many incredible places to visit in this beautiful country. Whether you want to relax on the golden sands or hike up mountains with breathtaking views over turquoise waterfalls, Spain has something just for you.
1) The Balearic Islands
These islands off Spain’s coast have a reputation as hedonist havens and are home to some of Europe’s most celebrated beaches. If you’re looking for sun, sand and scantily clad bodies, head here—and don’t miss out on Ibiza for clubbing.
2) Spanish Canary Islands
If you want a Mediterranean island getaway without heading too far from home, look no further than these stunning Spanish islands. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Palma—collectively known as the Canary Islands—are just off Portugal’s west coast and easily accessible from mainland Spain.
3) The Canary Island Ranges
The Canary islands are a Spanish archipelago off of Africa that is famed for its pristine beaches and laid-back lifestyle. Several well-known islands reside in these ranges, like La Gomera, Tenerife, Lanzarote, La Palma and Fuerteventura.
4) The Gibraltar Arc
The islands are situated just off of Morocco’s coast and consists of Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, and five other islets. The archipelago belongs to Spain. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on an area of land that juts out from southern Spain. It’s one of Europe’s only two true subtropical regions.
5) Costas Brava, Costa de la Luz, Costa de la Navidad and Costa Tropical
These four Spanish coastlines are famous for their stunningly beautiful beaches and glamorous resorts. Head here if you want nothing but pure relaxation. Be sure to check out Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Málaga as well.
6) Tenerife (Canary Islands)
Surrounded by crystal-clear waters, Tenerife is a must-visit for any beach lover. Inland, there’s Mount Teide National Park: covered with pine trees and some of Europe’s oldest lava flows, it offers plenty of hiking opportunities. Then there are places like Santa Cruz de Tenerife—with its white-sand beaches and picturesque architecture—and Arona, with its black-sand beaches and quiet coves that you can find yourself all alone on.
7) La Gomera (Canary Islands)
La Gomera is one of my favorite islands in all of Europe and I’ve visited over 25 countries on three continents. La Gomera is a laid-back, quiet little island with beautiful beaches, friendly people and unique nightlife. On top of all that, it’s off-the-beaten path enough that you won’t have to battle with other tourists for your perfect spot on Playa Santiago or anywhere else on the island!
8) El Hierro (Canary Islands)
El Hierro is one of four Canary Islands (the other three being Tenerife, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote). The island can be a little tricky to get to but it’s well worth it. Tourists who visit are rewarded with some of Europe’s best beaches. And if you happen to be there during summertime, make sure you check out their stunning fire shows that light up their northern coastline!
9) La Palma (Canary Islands)
La Palma is easily one of my favorite islands off of mainland Spain. It’s gorgeous! La Palma is famous for its volcanic landscapes and lush forests; it also has some of Europe’s best hiking. One of its most striking features is a giant crater called Calderas de Taburiente, located on an island high above sea level.
10) Fuerteventura (Canary Islands)
Travelers seeking beach escapades and dramatic cliff-side vistas need look no further than Fuerteventura. It’s one of seven Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa, and its volcanic sands cover hillsides crisscrossed by cliffs that plunge dramatically into turquoise waters. Best for: Those who like a laid-back vibe with plenty of outdoor activities available. Locals are friendly, and English is widely spoken, so you’ll have no problem settling in.