Spain possesses an immense number of amazing monuments and a great mixture of cultural attractions that people travel across the world to see. The list of landmarks in Spain is truly impressive from the ancient churches, cathedrals, and castles left by the Romans and Moors, the incredible works of art to the futuristic museums. It’s a tough choice deciding which should be at the top of your list to visit!
We have selected our top 10 most visited monuments in Spain that you need to discover when you are on vacation.
1- Royal Palace of Madrid:
via – getyourguide
Royal Palace in Madrid was completed in 1751, situated on the site of an Alcazar and the former palace that was demolished by fire in 1734. Besides, the Royal Palace continues to serve its original protocol function, by being the official residence and place for celebrations to their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.
The palace is popular for its artwork, tapestries, and paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco, and Caravaggio. Also, many of its 3,000 rooms are open to being seen by visitors. Moreover, the palace entrance is breathtaking a truly large principle staircase and then throughout the main staterooms, the Hall of Halbardiers and Hall of Columns, all with soaring ceilings and frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto and Giambattista Tiepolo. The Grand Throne Room which is the most significant representative and richly decorated place contained some fine 17th-century sculptures commissioned by Velázquez, which were saved from the earlier Alcázar.
2- The Alcazar of Segovia:
via – wikipedia
The Alcazar is an imposing castle palace taking place in the province of Segovia in Spain. It’s one of the most popular castles located at the top of Guadarrama Mountains, and the fort looks like to the shape of a ship’s bow. The Alcazar was built as a fortress and later it was used as Royal Palace, Royal Artillery College, and Military Academy.
The Alcazar Palace constructed by King Alfonso VI in the 11th century, following the victory, on a site protected by the Visigoths, Romans, and Moors successively. In 1862 however, the Alcazar was destroyed by fire, and it was rebuilt in 1882 by using old sketches of the interior before the fire. After accomplishment, the palace became the Military Archives and later an Artillery Academy. In the mid-20th century, the Alcazar is used for cultural activities and as a museum.
Today, when you visit the palace you can see the Hall of Ajimeces that features the collection of arts, the Hall of Kings and the Hall of the Throne.
3- The Alhambra of Granada:
via – getyourguide
The Alhambra is a prehistoric palace, fortress, and citadel situated in Granada, Spain. The upland was built between 1238 and 1358, in the reigns Ibn al-Ahmar, of the founder of the Nasrid dynasty, and his successors and it overlooks the Albayzin (Albaicín) quarter of Granada’s Moorish old city. At the base of the plateau, the Darro River flows throughout a deep ravine on the north. Besides, the complex surrounded by defensive walls and extends over nearly 26 acres, 30 towers, with more than a mile of walls, and numerous smaller structures.
The Alhambra was labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 along with two other related sites which are the Albaicín (Albayzín) and the Generalife Garden is located nearby on the slopes of the Hill of the Sun. Besides, it contained residential buildings and land used for grazing and cultivation, and it was intended as a place of rest for the Muslim royalty living at the Alhambra.
The Alhambra complex contained numerous structures but these are the most major ones:
The Alcazaba is a military base that lodges guards and their families. The palatial zone, which included various palaces for the sultan and his kin. The Medina, a district where court officials lived and worked. As well as, three independent areas first, the Mexuar an area for justice administration and state affairs. Second, the Comares Palace is the official residence of the sultan that was contained of several rooms that surrounded the Court of the Myrtles means an outdoor area containing a large central pond lined with myrtle bushes. Last, the Palace of the Lions is the private area for the king and his family and mistresses.
Other popular structures contained the Hall of the Abencerrajes, which has a stalactite ceiling, the Hall of the Ambassadors, a chamber where Islamic commanders would negotiate with Christian emissaries.
4- Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia:
via – getyourguide
The Sagrada Familia is one of Europe’s most distinctive churches, it is also unfinished. The church refers to the Christian faith through a combination of artistic disciplines. Its imposing design and the richness of its decorative touches that you could spend a whole day admiring it and discovering its incredible history.
Moreover, in the year of 1883, the popular engineer Gaudí accepted to take on this project, succeeding Francisco de Paula and put all of his backgrounds at it until his passing. Gaudí completed just the house of prayer of San José, the sepulcher and the entryway of El Nacimiento. Be sure to discover the interior of the basilica will conduct you to a fancy world in which the columns recreate the shapes of nature, imitating a huge and colorful forest of stone.
The church exterior has three facades. First, the Nativity (street Marina), splendidly decorated and full of life, refers to the birth of Jesus. Second, the Passion (Sardenya Street), harsher, reflects the suffering of Christ during the crucifixion. Last, the façade of La Gloria (street Mallorca) which symbolizes Death, the Last Judgement, Glory, and Hell.
Today the church is still under construction, once the works are completed, the temple will be crowned by 18 towers with different heights depending on the religious hierarchy they represent: 12 will be devoted to the apostles, four to evangelists and one to the Virgin Mary. The last one, dedicated to Jesus Christ.
5- Mezquita of Cordoba:
via – lonelyplanet
Cordoba‘s great mosque is one of the biggest in the world and known as the Mezquita. Besides, Mezquita considered an example of Islamic art and architecture in Western Europe. The popular monument was named UNESCO to include its attractive mosque and its charming old town.
The magnificent structure is proof of Moorish design and a lowering sight. The Mosque, a huge 23,400 m² of property and what fascinates the most about this place is that it is a mosque in a church monument! Its vast size, differing architectural styles, and impacting cultures make it the ideal monument to capture in your vacation.
6- Aqueduct of Segovia:
via – wikipedia
The Aqueduct of Segovia is one of the most picturesque historical monuments in Spain, dating back to around 50 A.D. Besides, in 1985 it was designated part of the Segovia World Heritage site.
The aqueduct was one of the best-preserved Roman engineering works because of its aim of carrying water 10 miles from the Frío River to the city of Segovia. The most famous part of the aqueduct where you can see the arches is situated in the Azoguejo square and is the perfect place for admiring the architecture and taking good pictures, and also is a great spot from where to enter to the historic part of the city and explore many other monuments.
7- Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao:
via – lefigaro
Guggenheim Museum is truly a stunning contemporary architectural masterpiece in the center of Spain’s Basque Country, Bilbao. Besides, the museum design makes it one of the most attractive buildings designed by Frank Gehry. It was constructed from titanium, limestone, and glass, which gives the building a timeless look that would most likely not be out of place 100 or 200 years from now.
Outside the Guggenheim Museum, you will find three major sculptures like: first, at the entrance to the museum there is Puppy by Jeff Koons designed by the artist Jeff Koons measures 1240 x 910 x 850 cm and stands opposite the Guggenheim Museum. Besides, it is a steel statue covered with flowers and represents a West Highland white terrier puppy. Second, the huge sculpture of a spider called Maman by the artist Louise Bourgeois and made of marble and bronze stainless steel. Last, called the Tall Tree and the Eye a permanent installation by Anish Kapoor.
8- City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia :
via – getyourguide
The City of Arts and Sciences is an impressive example of modern architecture and designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. Besides, the complex is made up of the following six areas in the dry river bed of the now diverted River Turia in Valencia, Spain.
El Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía:
A magnificent opera house devoted to performing arts. Measuring over 70 meters in height. It is split into four separate halls, all possessing the latest technological advances designed to stage all kinds of opera, musical and theatrical performances.
Belong to the City of Arts and Sciences complex considered as a spectacular Laserium, Planetarium and IMAX cinema over a 900 square meters of the screen. The building has the shape of an eye and is reflected 24.000 square meters lake.
El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe:
The building reminds a whale skeleton. It is designated to learning the sciences through experience, so everything is graphically exhibited, with huge texts and pictures, experiments, buttons to touch and experience.
invite us to discover the planet’s major seas and oceans. It housed more than 45,000 examples of 500 various marine species inhabit nine underwater towers, structured in two levels, represent the most allegorical ecosystems of the planet.
this imposing icon is a convertible space that will allow the organization of varied events such as the staging of congresses, conventions, concerts, and performances; it can also be transformed into an exhibition area.
9- Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Barcelona:
via – pinterest
Tibidabo cathedral has been built by architect Enric Sagnier I Villavecchia. Its design style can be described as a mixture of a modernist and neogothic. Besides, it is located on the summit of Tibidabo, the highest mountain in the Collserola mountain range. This means it is recognizable from many of the city streets that have a view of the mountain.
The cathedral has imposing stonework, beautiful stained-glass windows, and viewing platforms to enjoy views of Barcelona. Furthermore, when you are approaching the cathedral from the Tibidabo funicular station, you are entering at the level of the crypt which is the first thing that the visitor discovers; it has Gothic and Romanesque decorative elements, and its interior also displays a Neo-Byzantine aesthetic, presenting a plant of five naves finished in a semicircular apse, which are demarcated by thick columns and covered with low vaults.
10- Plaza Mayor of Madrid:
via – pestanacollection
Plaza Mayor is a large square where to explore traditional restaurants and bars, and take part in the city’s most important celebrations. This plaza measures 129 meters in length and 94 meters in width. It is filled with residential buildings having 237 imposing balconies facing the center of the square.
In the centre of the Plaza, you can get close to a majestic statue of King Felipe III on his horse. This statue was created in 1616. Finally, the facade of the Casa de la Panadería dating back to 1590, and covered in beautiful frescoes.