My top 10 things to do in Spain

7 June, 2023|Destinations, Europe|

By Dr Charlotte Russell, Clinical Psychologist

Spain has a lot to offer. It’s a foodie’s paradise, has spectacular architecture and a rich history and culture. It is also hugely diverse, with countless different regions and islands to explore. So with more than 20 years of travelling in Spain, here are my 10 top picks. This is not intended to be a list or an itinerary to be ‘ticked off’ as that would go against being intentional and mindful with our travels. However these are the 10 experiences that I have really enjoyed and felt connected with, and hope that some of them may resonate with or inspire you.

1. La Plaza de España, Sevilla

Those of you who know me will know that this is one of my favourite places. It really is spectacular and is the perfect place to explore and take photographs.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

La plaza de España

The semi-circular building has two towers, one at each end, which are visible across the city. On the ground level there are 48 alcoves, each decorated to represent the different regions of Spain. Its really lovely to spend a bit of time looking at each of these and understanding how diverse Spain really is.

If you visit the Plaza I would encourage you to also explore the surrounding gardens of Parque de Maria Luisa. They really are gorgeous and extensive and you can find a quiet place to sit away from the tourists visiting the Plaza.

For more information on the city, check out my Sevilla guide

2. Córdoba Patio Festival 

Taking place for two weeks each year in May, the patio festival is really a must see. The annual event celebrates the courtyard gardens in the region by hosting a competition for the best. Patios can be visited for free throughout the festival between 11am and 1pm, and 6pm and 10pm.

For more information see my full guide, hosted by Templeseeker Córdoba Patio Festival (La fiesta de los patios) 

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

Córdoba Patio Festival

3. The Alhambra, Granada 

The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular sites in the whole of Spain. It is a palace-fortress with spectacular views over the Sierra Nevada mountains. The size and grandeur of the Alhambra really has to be seen to be believed. You could spend several days fully exploring the complex.

I’d absolutely recommend visiting. Ensure you book here as tickets often sell out months in advance. Also remember to take your passport with you on the day as this required for entry. You can explore most of the complex freely but entry times to the Nasrid palace are strictly followed, so make sure you arrive on time.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

Inside the Nasrid Palace

If you’d like to wake up with a gorgeous view of the Alhambra, then I can’t recommend Casa Bombo highly enough. This place is cool: beautifully furnished with a modern touch.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

4. Ibiza Town

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

The pretty streets of Ibiza Town

It’s fair to say that the Island of Ibiza fell a little short of my hopes. Despite the Island’s natural beauty, it was a little on the touristy side for me personally. However, I loved exploring the Old Town of Ibiza.

The ‘Dalt Vila’ or ‘Upper Town’ of Ibiza was everything that an old town in the Mediterranean should be; small streets filled with picturesque buildings and Bougainvillea. There were also plenty of local restaurants tucked away; the type that make you feel like you’ve discovered a hidden gem. The castle complex itself is right at the top of the hill and has gorgeous views of the city and port.

5. Port de Soller, Mallorca

When I think of the Balearics, I often imagine all-inclusive resort hotels by the beach, which really aren’t my cup of tea. Port de Soller on the North of Mallorca was something different. A small port town with a traditional Mediterranean feel; fish restaurants with a view of fishing boats, orange trees and a laidback feel. Watching the sunsets from the local bars with the sound of Spanish guitar is something that I will never forget.

Historically this part of Mallorca was isolated from the rest of the Island due to the Serra de Tramuntana Mountain range. The mountains span 90km over the Northwest coast of Mallorca and so you can see how historically this part of the Island was heard to reach. As a result, Port de Soller had a trading route to Southern France and you can sense the French influence in the town even to this day.

The town of Soller is a couple of miles set inland from the Port itself. It is a small town with a beautiful square and Church. Notably the Town and Port are connected by a traditional Tram system that is pretty and fun to do.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

6. Jardines de Alfabia, Mallorca

Sticking with Mallorca for our next recommendation Jardines de Alfabia.

Here you will find the most beautiful gardens tucked away on the edge of the Traumantana mountain range. I’m a lover of tropical plants including monsteras and bird of paradise plants, and so I was in my element here. There is also a snack bar situated in a peaceful and sunny spot where you can enjoy a glass of cava.

As well as the gardens, there is a historic house to explore. If you want you can imagine yourself living there.. or perhaps that was just me!

You can reach the gardens by public bus on the route from Palma to Soller.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

7. Corral de la Morería, Madrid

Well known as the one of the best flamenco venues in the World, this place did not disappoint. I love watching flamenco and was lucky enough to spend the evening here on my 30th Birthday. It was an evening I’ll never forget as the performances were out of this world. Make sure you book your tickets in advance here.

Flamenco performances usually include guitar performances, singing and dancing. There is usually a female dancer and one or sometimes two male dancers. Performances tend to last around 90 minutes.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

Corral de la Morería, Madrid

8. Cueva de Nerja, Costa Del Sol

If like me, you did GCSE Geography, Cueva de Nerja is the place for you! It was really interesting to see the natural rock formations and those all-important stalagmites and stalactites.

The caves were discovered by five young local men in the 1950s. I can’t imagine how shocking it must have been to stumble upon this place! It was much bigger than I had anticipated and really sparked my curiosity.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

Inside Nerja Caves

The caves are located around 3km from the centre of Nerja. There is a Tourist Train which runs frequently and the local public buses also stop there.

9. La Segrada Familia, Barcelona 

Designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Família is a Basilica that is famous across the World. Due to the incredible detail throughout the design and construction, it is known for both it’s beauty and the fact that it has never finished, despite work beginning in the 1800s. Once you get there you realise the building is truly extraordinary and really has to be seen and experienced to be believed.

For more information on the city, check out my Barcelona guide

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

La Segrada Familia, Barcelona

10. Rut Montiel Yoga Class, Nerja

When I visited Nerja recently I went to the loveliest yoga class hosted by Rut Montiel Wellness  in the gardens of Hotel Parador. It was such a lovely class in a stunning location, with a view over the mountains and beach. If you’re in Nerja and you get the opportunity then you should definitely try it! Classes run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 10.15.

My top 10 things to do in Spain The Travel Psychologist

A beautiful spot for a yoga class