Set in Southwestern Europe, Spain is a country with an abundance of traditions, customs, weathers, landscapes, and gastronomy. The Iberian peninsula has breathtaking coastlines, including the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, and the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Narrowing the best places to see in Spain is a difficult task, as the country boasts incredible nature reserves, lush beaches, nightlife, and vibrant cities. From north to south and east to west any visitor in Spain will find delicious food, some of the world’s best wines and great landmarks accompanied with intricate and fascinating histories.
If you are a US citizen and are thinking about visiting Spain you can travel to the country without a visa. American citizens, in fact, can visit the 26 member countries in the Schengen Zone without applying for a visa. It should be noted, however, that the EU is working on establishing a new system, the European Travel Information and Authorization System, ETIAS. The ETIAS program is an effort by the European Union to protect its borders more effectively from terrorism threats and uncontrolled migration. ETIAS will require that travelers from visa waiver countries apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before their departure to the region. In order to apply successfully, travelers need to complete an online form with their personal details and passport information. For a successful ETIAS application, the traveler will need to provide an email address and pay the ETIAS fee to finalize the process.
Traveling to Europe will remain the same otherwise. US citizens who have a valid ETIAS will be able to move freely in the Schengen Area. The ETIAS system will be launched in the year 2021, so US travelers should keep this in mind for their future travel plans.
What to See in Spain?
Spain is probably one of the best travel destinations in Europe. It’s also one of the sunniest, coastal resorts enjoy nearly 300 days of sunshine each year. From the rocky coasts in Galicia to the paradisiac beaches in the Balearic Islands, to the snowed Pyrenees, nature in Spain is without a doubt, stunning. Not only is the country diverse, but it offers music, film and local festivals for all kinds of audiences. Some of the world’s must-see cities are found in Spain and visitors can learn about the Moors and the Romans that once lived in this territory. Read further to discover more information about the best places to see in Spain.
The Spanish capital is a haven for culture. There are dozens of museums including the incredible Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bronemisza that feature exhibits all year round. The city boasts charming boutiques, trendy restaurants, gastrobars, food markets, and cafés. The center of Madrid is made up of a series of neighborhoods, each with its own identity. You can head to Malasaña for a night out, and to La Latina to look for antiques and low-key bars. Chueca is perfect for shopping and dining. Madrid has a lot of green spaces and parks where you can have a picnic and soak up the sun, Parque del Buen Retiro and Casa de Campo are great choices to have a chilled day.
The Catalan city of Barcelona has architectural treasures that span over 200 years, and visitors can admire ancient city walls and subterranean stone corridors. Barcelona’s infrastructure was heavily influenced by its preparation to host the Olympics in 1992. The city has become a hub for creatives from all over the world. When in Barcelona, there are numerous museums you can visit including the Picasso Museum, Miró Museum or the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Neighborhoods in Barcelona are clearly defined and you can get lost in the streets of Born or Gothic. If you wish to shop and support local businesses, Gracia is a charming neighborhood with colorful and unique shops. Certainly, you can enjoy drinks by the Barceloneta beach and soak up the Mediterranean sun while at it.
Costa Brava is a little piece of paradise featuring some of the finest Blue Flag beaches in Europe. There’re plenty of hotels and accommodations that allow visitors with different budgets enjoy its beauty. The stretch of the coast has restaurants with fresh seafood and other traditional local dishes. The weather is wonderfully warm most of the year and ideal for a holiday by the sea. The region was Dalís favorite and visitors can actually visit the artist’s house, which is located in Cadaqués. Costa Brava is also home to some of the most scenic and important Greco Roman and Iberian archaeological sites in Europe. You can go on hikes to reach the most intimate coves.
Wine lovers can rejoice, La Rioja is the most famous wine area in Spain. It’s worth visiting not just for its fantastic vineyards, but for its food and breathtaking countryside. The region has charming villages and is home to the Michelin-starred El Portal Restaurant. La Rioja is one of the best places to see in Spain that allows you to discover lesser-known parts of the country. It’s located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and its capital is Logroño. Highlights in La Rioja include the Santa Domingo de la Calzada Cathedral, San Bartolomé Church, and the Yuso Monastery.
Also known as San Sebastián, the city has a reputation for being one of the world’s great dining destinations. There’re numerous dishes and the Pintxos Basque tapas bars are often crowded with people feasting on chorizo, hams, cheese, oysters and more. San Sebastián has golden beaches and draws in many surfers. Though a smaller city in comparison to Madrid or Barcelona, it has a wide range of festivals and cultural events. Every September, the city celebrates de International Film Festival. Furthermore, the city has an enviable design with art nouveau buildings, ornate bridges, and pretty parks and squares. San Sebastián is located in the Basque country, one of the best places in Spain to try local food and pastries.
Set in the south of the country, the Andalucia region is divided from the rest of Spain by the Sierra Morena mountain range. With more than 500 miles of coastline, it features beautiful and diverse beaches. The Moorish civilization has left a strong legacy that can be admired in the cities of Seville, Córdoba, and Granada as well as the rest of the region. The Andalucian people are warm, open, and lively. In this region you can also go to Flamenco shows where the songs and dance will leave their mark. Top things to do are the Alcazar in Seville, Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Córdoba.
If you are thinking about traveling to Spain and explore one of its incredible destinations make sure you revise the entry requirements when planning your trip. The ETIAS visa waiver for Europe will be launched in the year 2021. Bear in mind you will always need a valid passport in order to visit Spain or other Schengen Member countries.