Top Spain Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews & photos]

Spain Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

415 Spain trips. Compare tour itineraries from 38 tour companies. 2,230 reviews. 4.5/5 avg rating.

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Top Spain Attractions & Experiences

Top Spain Experiences

  • Viewing Antonio Gaudi’s fanciful and enormously ambitious church of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, still a work in progress almost 90 years after the architect’s death.
  • Swimming in the warm waters of the Mediterranean sea off one of Spain’s alluring islands of Mallorca, Ibiza or Formentera.
  • Staring, amazed, at the detailed tile work in Granada’s 14th-century Moorish palace, the Alhambra.
  • Staying in a parador, one of the government inns converted from former castles, monasteries, and other atmospheric buildings.
  • Making the rounds of the tapas bars in Madrid, downing a complimentary olive there, a slice of roasted potato there, and perhaps splurging on a grilled prawn or two.
  • Throwing tomatoes at strangers in Valencia’s famous La Tomatina, a 40,000-person tomato fight held each August.
  • Admiring the Old Masters in Madrid’s Prado Museum and Picasso’s masterwork Guernica in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
  • Taking in a flamenco show at a club in Seville where you know the dancing is authentic.
  • Joining the pre-dinner crowds along Las Ramblas in Barcelona as they enjoy their evening paseo, while passing chic sidewalk cafes and lively street entertainers.
  • Marveling at the formal gardens and fountains in Seville’s Royal Alcazar Palace.
  • Spending an art-filled day in Toledo, home of the painter El Greco and a medieval masterpiece of a city.
  • Walking at least part of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, an ages-old, now newly popular pilgrimage route.

Spain Tours & Travel Guide

Spain Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Spain -- the tempestuous land of Don Juan and Don Quixote, Carmen and Figaro, bullfighting and flamenco -- once ruled an empire that stretched across the Americas and points beyond. By the 20th century it had fallen into decline, merely another poor nation in southern Europe. Now, in the midst of a cultural renaissance, Spain is much like a theme park devoted to the good life -- a sensuous feast of fun, food, and fine art and architecture.

Start with the beaches, as many visitors do. (Northern Europeans, who search out sand and sunshine like heat-seeking missiles, have made Spain their holiday central.) The most crowded stretch, the Costa del Sol along the southern Mediterranean, sports highly developed resorts like upscale Marbella and carnival-like Torremolinos, once quiet fishing villages now packed with sunbathers and bar-hoppers. The Mediterranean island of Ibiza is another incredible party scene, though with better beaches; the smaller island of Formentera is quieter.

Art and Architecture

In Spain, you can spend hours or days with Spanish masters like Velasquez, El Greco, Goya, Dali, and Picasso in Madrid’s Prado and other top museums. Architecture? Frank Gehry’s sensational Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is one of the most talked-about buildings in Europe. You can even view ancient Roman ruins such as the two-millennia-old aqueduct in Segovia.

The Spanish have turned eating into an art form, not so much with the classical artistry of the French as with the playful palette of Picasso, a native Spaniard. Dining often begins by making the rounds of tapas bars -- grazing on small platefuls of delicacies washed down with glasses of local wine or sherry. It continues with multi-course meals that may run on till midnight. Seafood is often the centerpiece, sometimes topping giant platters of paella, the saffron-tinged rice dish that’s almost synonymous with Spanish cuisine.

The Backdrop

All of these cultural, culinary and recreational riches are set against a scenic backdrop as varied as any in Europe. To the east and parts of the west, the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines frame hundreds of miles of blue sea. To the north, the green and forested Pyrenees rise to form a mountainous border with France. In central Spain, arid brown valleys and high plateaus add dramatic contours to the landscape. And in the far south, the Andalusian countryside is reminiscent of Spain’s onetime New World outpost, southern California. Each region is wildly beautiful in its own way.

The Spanish people enhance it all with their exuberant approach to life, much of it played out on the public stage. In cities and villages across the country, they emerge to see and be seen on their evening paseos, strolling often arm-in-arm with family or friends, typically dressed to be admired.

7 Must Visit Cities in Spain

  1. MadridSpain’s central capital, driven in tapa culture, is filled with vibrant museums, bustling parks like Puerta del Sol, shopping stores around the famous Gran Via and many historical sites such as the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Egyptian Temple of Debod and the Almudena Cathedral.

  2. BarcelonaPerhaps the most tourist friendly place in Spain, Barcelona is a traveler’s favorite for the amazing architecture spouted from the Catalan modernist movement. Although the main language is Catalan and not Spanish, the city is easy to navigate and is bustling everyday with food scenes, festivals, serene beaches as well as gorgeous sunsets bleeding through the distinguishable Barcelona skyline.

  3. SevilleThis big city south of Spain is the origin of flamenco music and dancing. The narrows streets of Seville are pulsating with the passion and artistry of flamenco shows, dotted with manicured parks and topped with astonishing sites such as the Seville Cathedral, the largest gothic cathedral in the world!

  4. ValenciaThe port city of Spain is a must see for adventurers looking for architecturally beautiful sites, such as the art and science culture park, L’Oceanografic aquarium, the central market of Valencia and many futuristic museums.

  5. GranadaThis city is only a 2 hour drive from Seville and is a distinct location to travel to historically to see the fortress of Alhambra, the remaining stronghold of Arab influence.

  6. BilbaoCulture and food are the two main reasons tourists come back to Bilbao. Be sure to visit the stunning museums and bridges that encompass the city. Also, if you’re a serious foodie, Bilbao has over 40 michelin-star restaurants. The Basque country is also known for having plentiful, mouthwatering pintxo bars, which are the region’s versions of tapas.

  7. Canary IslandsThe 7 islands are an honorable mention because of its rugged, volcanic beauty, tourist friendly spots and being simply beautiful and warm all year round.

Regional Spanish Cuisine

Spanish cuisine is rich with history and culture. Taking a Spain food tour, covering regions from Barcelona to the Basque Country, reveals how vastly different they are from each other, especially when it comes to food.

But don’t fret! We have compiled a list of must try foods to eat from regions of all over Spain so that you know just what to order to get the whole experience.

Something useful to know about ordering in Spain is that there are 3 types of portion sizes that the waiter will ask for:

  • Tapas: small portion snacks offered alongside a refreshing glass of wine or beer.
  • Raciones: large tapas intended to be shared in a group
  • Medu del dia: translated as the menu of the day are individual dishes, what we would think as main courses.

8 most popular Tapas across Spain

  1. Patatas bravas - There is no greater crowd pleaser than one of Spain’s most popular tapas: deep fried, crispy potatoes. It is served differently in every region but these delicious wedges of potatoes are usually eaten with a tomato based sauce or olive oil and chili.

  2. CojonudosCommonly found in the city of Burgos, this tapa consists of slices of blood sausage, pact full of flavor, with fried quail egg over a fresh slice of bread.

  3. Bacalaodry salted cod is a staple of Spanish tapas, and it is best served fried with batter. This flavorful dish, originating from the Catan region, is seen across almost every food market in Barcelona for a reason!

  4. Gambas al AjilloThese sizzling garlic prawns are popular appetizers at bars. Cooked usually in clay pots with garlic, olive oil and parsley, many locals chew these down with a glass of red or white wine.

  5. Pescaito Frito - Most common in the food scene of Andalusia and Catalonia, pescado frito, or fried fish, is a guilty pleasure of tapas made by deep frying white fish and tossing in salt, olive oil and fresh lemon.

  6. Jamon Iberico - This delicious cured ham can be seen hanging from the ceilings in most Tapas bars. The pungent, salty aroma is sure to make you hungry from the moment you walk in. You can eat this on its own or with a slice of bread with manchego cheese and dried tomato.

  7. Pulpo a Feira - Simplicity is key for this dish. Most popular in the region of Galicia, this tapa consists of freshly boiled octopus seasoned perfectly with olive oil, salt and pepper.

  8. Gilda - A tapa, or pintxo as they say in the Basque country, is a prominent part of the Basque identity. It is the mouthwatering combination of anchovies, olives, pickles and chillies into a bite size snack.

8 most popular Menu del Dia dishes across Spain

  1. Paella Valenciana - Any foodie would know that you come to Spain to try paella, but not a lot of people know that the original paella, from the city of Valencia, is with vegetables, saffron and poultry, not seafood.

  2. FideuaAlso originating from the coast of Valencia, this is a seafood dish similar to paella with noodles instead of rice.

  3. Pollo en Pepitoria - Discover a traditional Spanish dish through this seared chicken favorite mixed with a creamy Pepitoria sauce with egg yolks and almonds.

  4. Chorizo a la SidraThis simple dish from the northern region of Asturias encapsulates the essence of classic Spanish cuisine by combining smoked chorizo and dry apple cider. I know, really simple, but so popular that this turned from a tapa into its own dish.

  5. Cap i PotaThis rustic Catalan stew uses pieces of veal or beef boiled with chickpeas to create a flavorful and hearty meal.

  6. Percebes - This is kind of a weird one, but Percebes is translated as goose barnacles. The region of Galicia is famous for this seafood dish and many locals swear this savory meal is the tastiest thing to order of them all!

  7. Churros con ChocolateFound all over Barcelona, this beloved dessert is a mouth watering treat.

  8. Crema Catalana - This Catalan dessert is a quintessential part of Spanish cuisine. It’s simple, sweet and rich in cream and zest.

Top 6 Travel Activities in Spain

  1. Visit the beachesAs a coastal country, Spain is rimmed with gorgeous beaches. Catch the basking sun and clear, blue waves in postcard looking places such as Costa Blanca in Valencia, beaches of Sitges in Catalonia, Costa del Sol in Andalusia and more!

  2. Food Tourism - A trip to Spain is a culinary experience at its heart. Take food tours and travel from Galicia for the best seafood to the food markets in Catalonia to bustling around tapa bars in Madrid to what many call the food capital of the world, San Sebastian.

  3. Watch a football match - Whether you’re a die hard fan of the sport or not, Spain is home to some of the global superpower teams in the football world, including Europe’s most successful football team, Real Madrid. Many people come to Spain and enjoy watching football matches in gargantuan stadiums present in almost every city, specifically the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, an impressive 85,000 seater stadium. The energetic atmosphere and entertaining matches is definitely something many add to their itineraries!

  4. Visit wine regionsSpain holds some of the most praised and historic wineries, vineyards and cellars. Take a tour and appreciate the great Spanish wines in La Rioja, the south of the Basque country or the beautiful vineyards of Andalucia.

  5. Architecture tours - If there is anything most distinct about Spain, from just a glance, it is its architecture. A clear winner for the architecture scene is Barcelona, a city knitted with the work of Antoni Gaudi during the 19th century historic cultural movement of Catalan modernism. You will see some of the most creative buildings in the world!

  6. FestivalsFiestas and shows are extremely integral to Spanish culture. Whether it is a flamenco show, a tapa festival or the many music festivals taking place in Spain, there is always something happening all year round that makes this country the heat of cultural expression.

Top 6 Spain Attractions for Art Lovers

  1. Dali Theatre and MuseumJust seeing a glance of the Dali museum will make you wonder if you’re glimpsing through a surrealistic world. Knowing the whimsical style of Salvador Dali, the artist that conceptualized the museum, that is probably the intended response. Everything inside the gallery was designed by him to encapsulate visitors into how he sees the world. The museum itself is where Dali chose to be buried, and is considered his final artistic project.

  2. Valencian Institute of Modern ArtHolding over 11,000 modern art pieces, this is a must see for contemporary art enthusiasts that are interested in seeing the works of artists such as Ignacio Pinazo and Marcel Duchamp. It is the first center of modern art opened in Spain.

  3. Guggenheim MuseumThe Guggenheim museum in the city of Bilbao is. in itself, a jaw dropping sight to see with its curved and otherworldly glass and titanium structure. It is the center of modern art, holding many contemporary national and internationally recognized pieces.

  4. Picasso MuseumThe museum in Barcelona holds the most complete collection of Picasso’s work, featuring over 3,000 pieces throughout his life. The museum boasts a special focus on Picasso’s formative years, including his work as a ceramist.

  5. Museu Nacional d’Art de CatalunyaA big attraction of Barcelona is the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, a place to visit to get a breathtaking look into the cultural and artistic history of the city from its medieval period to the contemporary scene today. It holds over 1,000 years of art, and don’t forget to take in the collection of Catalan modernism from Gaudi’s work!

  6. Museo del PradoMadrid’s main museum stands as one of the most visited sites in the world. This cultural hub is packed full of exhibits more than 8,000 paintings and 700 sculptures with a special focus on the royal collection, such as the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch.

Top 7 Festivals to See in Spain

Festivals in Spain, packed with vivaciousness, color and passion, are a time to witness local culture first hand. Spain has a festival for every season, each very different from the next and never failing to deliver an unforgettable experience.

Here are the top, unmissable festivals in Spain to make your trip one for the books!

  1. Feria de Abril (4-11 May)This is Andalucia’s biggest and most vibrant fair of the year. Located in the city of Seville, you can see people celebrate with horse-drawn carriages, music, dancing and drinking for six days straight! Get ready for a party that begins with the marking of Alumbrao, a traditional lighting ceremony.

  2. Fiestas de la Marce (Around September) - Barcelona’s biggest street festival is 4 days long filled with a pulsing concerts, fireworks, a parade of giants in order to celebrate the Patron Saint of Barcelona.

  3. La Mare de Deu de la Salut Festival (7-8 September) - This festival, located in Algemesi, Valencia is the fiesta to see for many locals and tourists, especially after being awarded the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage designation. Celebrated by the townspeople since the 13th century, today more than 1,400 are joined into an incredible parade with music, dance and theater.

  4. Las Fallas Festival (Around March) - Also added as one of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage List, in this celebration, held in commemoration for Saint Joseph in Valencia, you can expect large parades filled with giant puppets, paper mache artworks, costumes and lots and lots of paella.

  5. Haro Wine Festival (28-30 June) - If it’s not obvious yet that Spain is a country that loves their wine, there is an actual festival that celebrates the wine harvest in a town north of Spain called Haro, located in the region of La Rioja. Perhaps the most exciting part of the festival is the Batalla de Vino, translated as the battle of wine, where locals toss wine over each other before heading for street feasts and sometimes events of bullfighting held every summer. If you’re a wine lover, this should definitely be in your list to see!

  6. La Tomatina (28 August)Perhaps the most well known festival in Spain that many travel all over the world from is La Tomatina, a ticketed event in the town of Bunol where locals and tourists run around throwing tomatoes at each other. Interesting fact: this fiesta started in 1945 when someone lost his mask at a parade and locals thought it was hilarious and began throwing tomatoes at each other!

  7. Sonar (17-19 July) - Founded in Barcelona, Sonar is one of the biggest music festivals with a massive line up of electronic artists and DJs. The techno event grows in size and creativity every year and is an extremely unique scene to be a part for an immersive cultural experience.

Revelry and Recovery

The narrow streets of Barcelona’s old Gothic Quarter, the now-chic antiquity of Madrid’s Puerta del Sol area, and the winding medieval alleyways of Seville’s Barrio Santa Cruz and Granada’s Sacromonte (gypsy) district are often packed far into the night with diners and revelers who see daybreak not as the start of a new day but the end of the old.

The country’s many fiestas rachet up the festive mood even higher. July’s annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, March’s Las Fallas de San Jose in Valencia, and Easter’s Feria in Seville, among many others, all provide spectacular pageantry.

But when do they sleep? A partial answer rhymes with fiesta: siesta, an afternoon tradition that is struggling to survive the economic pressures of modernization. Tour leaders know to plan sightseeing and shopping trips in the mornings or late afternoons since many museums, stores and other attractions often close for two or three hours at midday. Take a cue from the Spanish: enjoy a leisurely lunch and rest up during the hottest part of the day.

Key Sights in Spain

All roads lead to and from stylish Madrid, the centrally located Spanish capital, which combines world-class art museums like the Prado with alluring public parks and nightlife. Just south of Madrid lies the photogenic and beautifully preserved medieval city of Toledo, immortalized by the artist El Greco.

Much farther south, Andalusia is a sunny, Moorish-influenced land that spawned flamenco and forms many people’s mental image of Spain. Seville is a maze of courtyards, plazas, bars and restaurants, while Granada is home to the Alhambra, an ornately tiled 14th-century Moorish palace. Cordoba’s 1,100-year-old Great Mosque, with its hundreds of colorfully striped columns and archways, is so vast that an entire Roman Catholic cathedral (added later) seems almost lost within it.

Barcelona, in the northeast, is the epicenter of the Spanish revival. The old Gothic Quarter, with its jumble of twisting streets, opens onto Las Ramblas, one of the world’s great promenades, and Gaudi’s surreal architectural legacy is everywhere. To its south, vibrant Valencia, birthplace of paella and the world’s biggest tomato fight, is often overlooked -- but shouldn’t be.

Still a good value

While not the dirt cheap destination of old, Spain is still a good value for Europe -- especially if you consider all that it has to offer. If you haven’t visited Spain since the sleepy 1970s, you’re in for a huge surprise.

Stride can help you find the tour that best represents what you most want from your Spanish vacation -- whether it’s a tour of the classic sights, a multi-week trek along northern Spain’s Camino de Santiago, a riverboat cruise along the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia, or perhaps a culinary tour where you can discover the secrets of making a great paella.

Spain Reviews & Ratings

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Susan

Oct 2023

Written on

Discover Madrid, Basque Country, Rioja, Barcelona

San Sebastian was high on my list of places to see and it didn't disappoint. Cybele took us on a great orientation tour, recommended a fabulous pintxos bar and none ...

J

Joy

Sep 2023

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Discover Madrid, Basque Country, Rioja, Barcelona

Standing in bars with a selection of tapas and red wine! San Sebastian and Laguirda were fabulous

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Robert

Jul 2023

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Discover Madrid, Basque Country, Rioja, Barcelona

Our guide was exceptional, both knowledgeable and friend...

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Elizabeth

Apr 2023

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Discover Madrid, Basque Country, Rioja, Barcelona

Unquestionably Barcelona. It's fairy tale city and I will go bac...

B

Barbra

Apr 2023

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Discover Madrid, Basque Country, Rioja, Barcelona

Easy paced and visited all places I wanted to see

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