From top to bottom, Spain is home to scenic vistas, vibrant flavors, and must-see sites. Whether the rugged mountains in the north or the glittering shores of its southern coasts are calling your name, here’s a roundup of what makes each region unique.
To the north
With both the Pyrenees and Cantabrian ranges, northern Spain offers some truly stunning landscapes. It’s here that the Picos de Europa rise into the sky. As one of the first views of Europe for mariners sailing across the Atlantic, these dramatic crags were given their name—meaning “peaks of Europe.”
Hailing from the Basque region, pintxos typically consist of a combination of fish, meats, cheeses, or peppers secured with a toothpick to a small slice of bread. It’s the toothpick that sets these bites apart from traditional tapas, as they take their name from the word pincho, or “spike.”
La Sagrada Família
Though it’s been under construction since 1882, Gaudí’s masterfully designed church (and pièce de résistance) has earned its place as an icon of the city of Barcelona. It’s also here that the famous architect is buried.
To the south
Costa del Sol
There’s a reason why this area of Spain is named after the sun—it sees an average of 300 clear days each year. When combined with miles of sandy beaches, this coastal region invites you to kick back and relax. Make your way down to the shore to dip your toes in the sea.
Famed for its contributions to Spanish cuisine, the city of Valencia has a rich gastronomic culture—modern day paella was developed here in the mid-19th century. Over the years, this fragrant and colorful seafood dish has not only become symbolic of the area, but of Spain itself.
With its intricate design, bright mosaic tiling, and serene courtyards, this striking palace is a prime example of Moorish architecture—in 1984, it was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
North or south—which of these Spanish regions is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.