The Best Places to Visit In Spain For First-timers

The Best Places to Visit In Spain For First-timers

Spain is one of those countries that has a rich history that is often intertwined with other cultures and countries. It is one of those places in Europe that is part of people's bucket list.

Here are some of the places to visit on a first trip to Spain, let's call them Spain's greatest hits. Any Spain itinerary for first-timers should include Madrid and Barcelona. And once that is done, then the rest of Spain is open for the taking.

A travel tip that is important to keep in mind is to go on a guided tour of a city when you first arrive. It will give you context on the history and culture of a city as well as help you familiarize and navigate the area as well.

The best places to visit in Spain for first-timers

Visiting Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain that is known for the aristocracy, its museums full of Spanish art, and as the home of the football team Real Madrid.

Reina Sofia

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is a 20th-century art museum in Madrid. It is one of the museums in the Golden Triangle of Art that is home to the art of Spain's masters like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. One of f the highlights of the exhibits is Picasso's Guernica, his response to the bombing of of the Basque town in 1937.

El Retiro Park

Combined with the Paseo del Prado, El Retiro Park is one of the Unesco World Heritage Parks of Spain. The park was started by the Spanish monarchy but was opened to the public in 1868. It is the green heart of the city and has a wonderful rose garden.

Prado Museum

The Museo Nacional del Prado is the national art museum of Spain. One of its notable paintings is the Las Meninas painted by Diego Velasquez in 1656. Various works by Francisco Goya are also on display.

Royal Palace

The palace is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, though it is only used for state ceremonies nowadays. Visitors can visit for tours and to see the garden.

Plaza Mayor

Once the center of Old Madrid, Plaza Mayor is still the center of modern-day Madrid. Locals and tourists alike wander the esplanade, especially during the holidays for a traditional Christmas Market.

Visiting Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia region of Spain and was once the capital of the country itself. It is a lovely city full of interesting architecture by Antoni Gaudi. Modern art is also part of it's claim to fame with dedicated museums for Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro.

Las Ramblas

This is the best place to get a feel of the city with it's street performers, vendors, and food stalls of delicious Spanish food.

La Boqueria

For almost 200 years, La Boqueria has supplied fresh groceries and amazing restaurants. It is the place to see free fresh produce and try Spanish cuisine, plus it is right by the entrance to Las Ramblas.

Pablo Picasso Museum

The Museu Picasso is a museum opened while Picasso was still alive. Most of the original collection came from Jaume Sabartes and connects Picasso's early work and life in Barcelona. For fans of the painting Las Meninas, they can view Picasso's interpretation of the masterpiece.

Gaudi's Barcelona

Watching over Barcelona is Park Güell, a private park composed of buildings and artworks by famed Spanish artist Antoni Gaudi. The distinctive style of Gaudi covers buildings, structures, and art installations.

Sagrada Familia

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a religious structure designed by Gaudi. The artist took over as architect of the project in 1882. The Gothic and art noveau design was expected to be completed in 2026, but is pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter is an ancient neighborhood just off Las Ramblas. It's narrow streets and gothic architecture are unique in the city. A whole day can be spent in just that neighborhood exploring the different shops, cultural sites, and, of course, trying Spanish food and wine.

Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

The Benedictine church and abbey is a worthy day trip from Barcelona. It is known for it's black Madonna and wonderful views of the Spanish countryside.