When many of us think about wineries, we often picture a far-away, picturesque location in the middle of nowhere. While this can definitely make for a nice getaway, not all of us want or are able to spend the extra travel time getting there and back.
Perhaps you’re pressed on time or just prefer touring wineries to driving. Whatever your situation may be, Barcelona is quite a bit different.
This culturally-rich, visually-stunning city features some of the most incredible wine regions in the world within a small radius from the city center.
Best Barcelona Winery Tours
|Montserrat & Cava Wineries Day Trip||Sailing Cruise and Vineyard Visit with Tasting||Half-Day Wine and Electric Bike Tour|
|Location:||Barcelona with Pickup Included||Barcelona coastline||Penedes|
|Duration:||10 hours||4.5 hours||4 hours|
|Tour Guide:||Yes, in English, Spanish & German||Yes, in English & Spanish||Yes, in English, Spanish & Catalan|
|Best For:||Private or small groups||Private or small groups||Private groups|
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Barcelona Winery Tours
- Montserrat & Cava Wineries Day Trip
- Sailing Cruise and Vineyard Visit with Tasting
- Half-Day Wine and Electric Bike Tour
- Freixenet Cellars Visit from Barcelona
- Penedès: Codorniu Winery Tour with Cava Tasting
- Montserrat & Cava Winery Small Group Day Tour
- Full-Day Wine Tour with Electric Bike
Barcelona Winery Tour Reviews
- Location – Barcelona with Pickup Included
- Duration – 10 hours
- Live Tour Guide – Yes, in English, Spanish, and German
- Best For – Private or small groups
Barcelona is a city filled to the brim with culture and history, and this tour puts that on full display. If you want to see another side of the Catalan area, aside from the normal tourist traps, then you have to take advantage of this incredible tour.
Ticketing is a breeze, as you can choose to either print your voucher or simply use your phone. Currently, tours only consist of groups of 8 or less people which makes it perfect for a couple experience or with a bunch of family or friends.
As long as you’re residing in the city, they will come pick you up. As the tour is around 10 hours long, in total, pickups start around 8:30 am.
Once they pick you up, you’ll head off to the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter the mind-blowing Romanesque construction that is the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat.
Not only is it known worldwide for its unusual sawtooth mountain-like appearance, it’s also renowned for housing the ancient shrine for the Virgin of Montserrat. Known as “The Black Madonna”, it was supposedly made by St. Luke, then taken to Spain by St. Peter.
Explore both outdoors on the uniquely-shaped rocks which stand over 2,000 feet above sea level and breathe in the fresh air. Afterward, head inside where you can get a glimpse of the Black Madonna, herself.
Next up, we have the cave chapel, known as “Santa Cova” to locals, and “The Holy Grotto” to the rest of us. The Virgin of Montserrat was hidden here during the Moorish invasions and was eventually discovered by shepherds in 880. Because of this, the Montserrat Abbey was founded here.
The tour includes the chance to hear the incredible voices of La Escolania de Montserrat, or “The Boys Choir”, which is one of the oldest in Europe as well.
While history is indeed fun, it’s even more so when it involves wine. Head to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, which is where the Premium Cava Winery resides. Here, they’ve been making sparkling wines all the way back to 1385! This immersive experience takes you down to the cellar where you can see the dungeons where the wine has been kept for many years.
An expert viticultor will show you first-hand how to produce wine, and you’ll get to taste 3 local wine and cava varieties. To accompany them, they also serve traditional cheeses and cold meats. Soak it all in while gazing out over the Spanish countryside.
- Location – Barcelona coastline
- Duration – 4.5 hours
- Live Tour Guide – Yes, in English and Spanish
- Best For – Private or small groups
There are few things more exhilarating than the feeling of breathing in the fresh sea breeze. Even more so if you’re doing it on the deck of a luxury sailboat, sipping on some top-notch wine! If you’re in Barcelona and love the posh life, this is right up your alley. It’s also a nice option if you’re looking for somewhat shorter tours.
You’ll start off by boarding a one-of-a-kind luxury sailboat, which you’ll be on for the better part of 4.5 hours. Once you get out on the water, you’ll really be able to take in Barcelona’s impressive skyline and some notable landmarks to check off your list.
Staff will supply you with delicious eats like olives, sausage, tomatoes, chips, soft drinks, beer, wine, champagne, and more. However, you may want to go easy on the alcoholic beverages while on board, as there’s more coming your way.
Once you arrive at Alella Harbor, you’ll get on a private transfer to the vineyard. Once you arrive, professional sommeliers will greet you at this legendary family winery. Started in the 14th century, the architecture and vibes are something you’ll remember fondly for many years to come.
Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the vineyards have produced wines all the way since the Middle Ages. Once the Barcelona Cathedral became fans of their products, it quickly spread in popularity all throughout the globe. You’ll get to taste 3 of their best, then head back to the city in a luxury minivan.
- Location – Penedes
- Duration – 4 hours
- Live Tour Guide – Yes, in English, Spanish, and Catalan
- Best For – Private groups
If you’re traveling with a partner or very small group of people, this half-day wine and electric bike tour can’t be missed. It’s the perfect opportunity to have some fun or bonding with someone close to you. Just make sure you’re dressed in stretchy, comfortable clothing and that you come prepared with some sunscreen!
We’ll start out at the Lavern-Subirats train station which is around 50 minutes outside Barcelona. You’ll land in Penedes where you’ll receive an electric bike rental. This bike will allow you to pedal through the vineyards of a family winery.
Trust us when we say this is one of the most exciting ways to experience a vineyard, and if you love the outdoors, it’s an authentically rustic way of filling that need for good ole’ outdoor fun.
Once you join the tour, you’ll be lead by your guide through a full tour of the region. The group holds a maximum of 12 people, so keep this in mind when planning. Along your tour, you’ll meet the 4th generation of the winery’s family and enjoy some of their delicious wine.
There are some important things to remember, however. First, is that you will be required to wear a safety helmet while biking. Second, is that you need to know how to ride a bike. Depending on the season, you may even encounter a bit of rain so bringing a jacket or umbrella is recommended!
- Location – Freixenet Vineyard, Sant Sadurni d’Anoia
- Duration – 1.5 hours
- Live Tour Guide – Yes, in English
- Best For – Private and small(er) groups
While not quite as old as some others on our guide, the Freixenet Vineyard has worked to produce some of the finest sparkling wine and cava since 1861. Located right across the main train station in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, it’s well-located and great if you’re looking for a short tour.
Coming in at just 1.5 hours, they pack their tour full to ensure you never get bored. While train is definitely the most scenic and relaxing mode of transportation there, you can also drive in the direction of Lerida/Tarragona and get off exit 27.
Things start off with you watching a video about the vineyard’s history, and follow it up by taking you down into their wine cellars which have been used for 100 years now.
Here, you’ll learn all about their famous method of producing cava which keeps tradition at the forefront while mixing in some 21st-century techniques as well. This keeps efficiency strong while also creating a wine that tastes as authentic as you can get, today.
Once your tour is finished, you’ll get to try a glass or two of their refreshingly cool cava if you’re 18 or older, or a non-alcoholic drink otherwise.
If you fall in love with their cava and can’t live without it, afterward you can head to their store, Dolores Ferrer. Here, you can purchase all the cava to your heart’s content, or other wines from around the world.
- Location – Penedès
- Duration – 1.5 hours
- Live Tour Guide – Yes, in English, Spanish, and Catalan
- Best For – Small groups
By now, you’ve probably noticed that Spain has incredibly rich wine country. While there are countless wineries in the area, Codorniu manages to keep its reputation as one of the most important. As they’ve produced wine all the way since 1551, you could say that they’ve had a bit of time to perfect their craft.
In 1872 they actually became the first to create the country’s first sparkling wine after being inspired by their neighbor, France’s, Méthode Champenoise.
Taking just 1.5 hours, this tour is perfect if you’re on a time crunch and want to pack as many cool experiences in your trip as you possibly can. As the tour is limited to just 10 people, you want to make sure you go with a very small group.
To start things off, you’ll go to Sala Puig, which has been declared a national monument since its inception. Rightly so, as its multi-arch construction, rouge ceilings, and sparkling crystals hanging from the ceiling are absolutely phenomenal! Here, you’ll watch a brief video of Codorniu’s history and how they make their wines.
Before you head into your full-on tour, you will get to walk around the historic spot with your guide, winding through the estate gardens and stunning museum for a visual blast to the past.
Both offer excellent photo opportunities, though you may just want to leave the camera in your pocket and focus on your in-the-moment experience.
Now that you have some general knowledge, your guide will take you underground for an even more in-depth lesson. In fact, you’re going to head over 20 meters underground by means of electric train to explore their dugout cellar tunnels! This experience on its own is certainly memorable, and feels like something out of a movie.
Throughout your time in the tunnels, you’ll continue to absorb knowledge about their unique cava-making processes. At the end of your tour, you’ll head back aboveground where you’ll get to taste this legendary sparkling wine. You can select between 2 premium cavas, based on your newly-found beverage smarts!
- Location – Montserrat
- Duration – 10.5 hours
- Live Tour Guide – Yes, in English
- Best For – Small groups
This tour draws many similarities to the first one on our list, where you’ll head to Montserrat and its almost-eerie cava cellars. This is another full-day tour, so if you and your group members really want to learn about the area’s history and cava, this is one of the best ways to do it. As it is 10.5 hours, it’s an experience you’re surely not to forget either.
Ideal for small groups, it’s an intimate tour where you really get to pick the brain of your tour guide instead of getting lost in the crowd. First, you’ll meet with your group at Plaça Catalunya and make the 1-hour venture off to Montserrat.
When you arrive, you’ll get to check out the sanctuary where the Black Madonna is kept. Following that up, you can dive in to the interesting history of the Museum of Montserrat. This museum houses unique collections from modern art, to centuries-old archaeology. No matter what your tastes are, you’re sure to find something that captures your attention here.
If you like staying active, you’ll appreciate the various walking and hiking trails that snake around the mountain. No matter what kind of activity level you’re used to, you’ll definitely find one that suits your physical fitness. Each trail comes with a slightly different view, complete with all kinds of small chapels.
If you can’t or prefer not to hike around, you can also take one of the rack railways or cable cars. As you can imagine, both modes of transportation feature breathtaking views baked in.
Later in the day, you’ll head out to Penedes, which is one of the most famous wine-growing regions in the world. Stopping by one of their finest wineries, you’ll get to tour the enormous wine cellars and of course, taste some of their best products.
At this point, your guide will teach you all about the wine-making process, from pressing grapes to fermentation!
- Location – Penedès
- Duration – 5 hours
- Live Tour Guide – Yes, in English, Spanish, and Catalan
- Best For – Small groups
Okay, so we already covered the half-day wine and electric bike tour earlier on in our guide. However, there are many of you out there who want a full-day tour! Once you get out in the fresh Spanish air, you’ll understand why, too. If that sounds right up your alley, then you’ll want to put yourself and the rest of your group on the reservation list for this tour.
Much like the other bike tour, you’ll meet in Lavern-Subirats, which can be accessed simply straight from Barcelona by mode of train. The entire train ride is captivating, with endless scenery, greenery, and a sense of calm that will make the ride somehow fly by.
Once you arrive to the wine region, you’ll get to rent a comfy e-Bike where you’ll get to travel throughout the vineyards casually. As they are quite expansive, cycling is one of the best ways to see everything with little effort.
Located right next to the Mediterranean Sea and the picturesque seaside village of Sitges, you’ll learn all about the history and culture of the region.
Trust us, there is a lot of history to take in, too! The winery you’ll visit has been in business for over 4 generations and it’s there where you’ll actually get to meet the family, themselves.
This is a crowd favorite if you really want a chance to taste multiple premium wines and cavas. Not only that, but you’ll get to revel in a delicious brunch made with all local products. To finish off the day, you’ll take the train back to your lodging in Barcelona.
Spain Travel Guide
Due to geography and how condensed the city is, you may assume there aren’t many wineries in this breathtaking Spanish metropolis.
However, with 12 denominación de origen wine regions in Catalonia, you don’t ever have to worry about your glass running dry.
You may have to start thinking about which wine tour to go on, though, with so many to choose from! We’re here to help you out, taking our first-hand experience to bring you the best guides and tours out there.
During its long and fascinating history, Spain has done more to shape the modern world than any other country. Though nobody today would condone the actions of the Conquistadors in America, Spain did form the first major global empire and forever change the world map.
From Santa Cruz de Nuca in British Columbia down to Santiago de Chile in the far south, Spain left its footprint across the whole of the Americas. Yet the nation itself is relatively small, with a population or only 47 million, not all even identifying as Spanish or speaking Spanish.
Spain is in fact a divided nation. The northeastern autonomous community of Catalonia contains 8 million people who identify as Catalan not Spanish. As recently as 2017, this region attempted to become fully independent from Spanish rule. This region contains Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, as well as much of Spain’s industry.
When visiting Spain, most people head first for three cities. In the north, Barcelona is the cultural and historical capital and the most popular destination. In the south, Granada is a focal point, featuring the ancient Moorish palace of the Alhambra. And in the center, you will find the capital city — Madrid. There are other wonderful places to visit in this diverse and culturally rich nation, notably Seville and Salamanca, but those three cities are by far the most interesting.
Hot Air Balloon Flights in Barcelona
Two hundred years ago, hot air balloons were the only way that humans could fly. Today, they are considered an outdated and slow means of transport as well as difficult to control. However, there is something uniquely magical and romantic about a trip into the sky with only an air-filled balloon keeping you high off the ground.
Barcelona is an excellent location to try hot air ballooning for the first time. There are many experienced and competent hot air balloon tour operators willing and able to launch you high up into the sky.
Not only that, but Barcelona is also surrounded by spectacular scenic landscapes that are perfect to explore while flying in a hot air balloon. Popular locations near to the city include the Costa Brava, historical landmarks like Montserrat Monastery, and the renowned Natural Park of Montseny with its mountainous scenery and unique biosphere.
Note that most hot air balloon trips in Barcelona start early in the morning. This means that you’ll have to rise and shine at the crack of dawn…or before if you want to catch a sunrise. But these early flights provide the optimum photography conditions meaning that you’ll be able to take many Instagram-worthy shots while you’re in the air.
Traveling in the time of COVID
Like many destinations, some tours and visitor attractions in Spain have adopted special precautionary measures during the pandemic.
Face masks are mandatory in some locations, notably in enclosed public areas such as travel hubs and shopping malls. You are expected to supply your own mask and wear it when you enter buildings.
It is in your own interest to keep your distance from other visitors who are not in your family group or bubble. You are expected to keep your distance inside boats, coaches, train compartments, and other vehicles and when seated in restaurants.
At the time of writing, Spain welcomes visitors and visas are not required for US citizens. However, with the exception of children aged 12 and under, every person arriving in Spain must provide a negative COVID-19 test certificate (NEAR, LAMP, TMA, or PCR — NOT an antigen test) or proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days before entry using a vaccine authorised by the WHO or the European Medicines Agency. This certificate must be time stamped within 72 hours.
You can obtain the most up-to-date information directly from the Spanish government’s Spain Travel Health portal. During these relatively uncertain times, it is wise to also consult the US Department of State website for current travel advisories.
Airports & Entry
You can enter Spain by sea, land, or air. What works best depends upon where you’re coming from. However, if you are traveling more than a hundred miles, it is best to fly. It is cheapest and most efficient to arrive by airplane.
Spain boasts 47 airports, and most of them handle international flights. This is because there are so many popular tourist destinations, including many of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea that are popular clubbing spots for youths from across the whole of Europe.
When planning a journey to Spain, it is important to decide what cities you most want to see before flying and to compare ticket prices carefully. Because of the different airlines serving different airports, you will find an astonishingly broad range of prices.
It’s difficult to generalize due to competition between the airlines, but typically it’s much cheaper to fly into the two busiest airports in Spain: Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona El Prat. Direct flights to Granada, Seville, and Salamanca tend to be much more expensive.
Spain is a fascinating country with a rich history and culture, which is why it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe. Here are a few specific tips to help you get the most out of your vacation.
If you have tips of your own about this beautiful country, please share them with other readers in the comments below.
Tip #1: Travel there for less
It is both easiest and most cost effective to enter Spain through one of the two most popular international airports — Madrid and Barcelona. Because they are such popular destinations, don’t just book a ticket with your favorite airline. Instead, shop around. To get the best flight times and cheapest rates, aim to book 3 months in advance.
Time of year is a major factor in flight prices. During the long summer vacation and Easter, flights cost much more due to the high demand. Planning your vacation outside of these two high seasons will save you a lot of money in flights and hotel rooms.
#2. Enjoy free tours
Though you will want to enjoy some tours that aren’t free, such as a Mediterranean boat cruise, you will find free walking tours in some cities such as Barcelona. For example, Free Walking Tours Barcelona offers a free 2.5 hour walking tour of the historic city center along streets laid out by Roman planners 2,000 years ago and lined with breathtaking Medieval buildings.
The expert guide will entertain you with information about the local history and culture as well as anecdotes about the many famous articles who have lived in Barcelona, such as Picasso and Gaudi.
#3. Eat for less
If you’re staying in Barcelona, ask about the menú del día at local restaurants. This is a set price, 3-course meal with a drink offered weekday lunchtimes and occasionally on weekends. You can enjoy a complete traditional meal for as little as €15. Typically, the menú del día is not advertised, so you must ask.
There is also a menú del noche during the evening. This costs more than the lunchtime meal but still works out much cheaper than selecting dishes from the expensive menus found in tourist traps.
#4. Pay less for museums
Across Spain, many museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of every month. In Barcelona, this is the evening of the first Sunday. Time your vacation to coincide with the first Sunday and head for the most expensive museum you want to visit on that day.
#5. Book Ahead
There are many tours you can enjoy around major tourist attractions in Spain that provide you with transport and an expert guide and work out costing less than taking public transport and paying an entrance fee. However, you must book in advance to avoid possible disappointment because these tours are understandably often fully booked weeks ahead of time.
Restaurants & Eating Out
Spanish cuisine is strongly influenced by its rich history. You can find traces of Roman, Arabic, and Mediterranean dishes as well as imports from its former colonies. Specific traditional dishes vary around the country depending upon geographical position.
Spanish regions along the Mediterranean coast obviously feature seafood on their menus alongside signature local dishes. Typically, these dishes involve copious use of the olive oil so popular in Mediterranean countries.
In Andalusia, the most southerly region, the local specialty is cold soups like gazpacho, with crushed cucumber, onion, pepper, tomato, and garlic. Calamares a la Romana is popular, but it is not for the squeamish. This is battered, deep-fried squid served with lemon and salt.
Rice-based dishes are popular along the coast, especially seafood paellas. The most famous paella is found in Valencia, though this features chicken and rabbit meat. In Catalonia, arros negre is popular.
Spicy fish or vegetable-based stews are popular along the Atlantic coast, such as fabada Asturiana, marmitako, and caldo Gallego. Chorizo is also popular. This spicy sausage is slightly sweet and utilizes lots of garlic.
Sometimes it seems that each town and village boasts its own special chorizo recipe that is claimed to be better than all the others, such as the renowned chorizo Riojano. Fabada Asturiana is a white-bean stew from Asturias that makes ample use of the local chorizo variety.
Because historically food transportation was difficult and the central region imported much of its food from the coastal areas, the central regions are known for preserved foods, like Spanish ham and Manchego cheese. Inland, thick, spicy stews are also popular, like cocido madrileño. The most famous Spanish ham is jamon Iberico made from Black Iberian pigs and featuring a distinctive rich, savory taste.
Nightlife & Entertainment
Spain is famous world-wide for its fiestas, and its Balearic Islands are at the heart of the modern nightclubbing scene. For this reason, many travellers come to Spain specially to experience its vibrant nightlife. The island of Ibiza is renowned as Europe’s party capital, but the major cities each offer their own brand of exciting evening entertainments. Madrid’s nights are reputed to be never-ending.
A typical Spanish evening out begins with a visit to the small restaurants and bars for tapas to line the stomach. This transitions into bar hopping before hitting the huge international nightclubs found in all major cities. Due to relaxed licensing laws, these clubs and bars remain open until the early morning hours.
When staying in any Spanish city, it’s a good idea to gain some local insights from your hotel’s staff or tourist guides. The central streets and plazas are typically lined with bars that offer an eclectic mix of music and that are designed for people with different tastes.
Rather than waste your time pushing through the crowds to then listen to music that isn’t your style, tell a local what you like and follow their directions. You can be certain that there is a live music venue that will cater to your tastes.
According to popular opinion, the three top nightlife spots in Spain are Ibiza, Madrid, and Barcelona. Ibiza, of course, caters to the young crowd with its mega clubs and all-night beach parties. Madrid is renowned for the huge variety of nightlife it offers where everyone is guaranteed to find a scene they enjoy.
Barcelona’s nightlife is noted for its spectacular displays and wild abandon. But the nightlife isn’t limited to just these three locations since music and fiestas run in the Spanish blood. You can find a selection of lively bars and clubs in any Spanish town or city.
If you’re looking for an upscale experience, Marbella is the place to go. That’s where you’ll find the more exquisite cocktail bars and the difficult-to-enter clubs filled with the wealthy folks and celebrities. If it’s a pub craw you prefer, Malaga is famous for having the most bars per square foot in Europe.
Granada is noted for its student vibe, Valenicia for its boho chic bars, and Bilbao for its funky nightspots. But if you want a truly exclusive Spanish experience, head for Seville. That’s where you can watch or maybe join in with traditional flamenco dancers.
It’s easy to get around Spain by airplane, train, coach, or hire a car. In fact, you’re spoiled because Spain’s transport network is so good.
Unlike many other countries, domestic flights are relatively frequent and affordable throughout Spain. Trains are typically cheaper, but you can often find air tickets for less than the same train journey, so it’s always worth checking both options before booking.
However, if you fly, you do have the extra hassle of transferring from the airport to the city center while the main train stations are typically in the heart of the cities. As a general rule, if you’re traveling from one side of the country to the other, take a plane. If you’re traveling between neighboring cities, take a train.
Spain also boasts Europe’s most extensive high-speed railway network. Spanish trains regularly reach speeds of up to 190 mph! Check comparison websites before booking any train tickets because you can sometimes pay much less if you travel on a different train or sometimes by flying.
Coach & car
Because the trains are so efficient and there are also lots of domestic air flights, it’s not a great option to go by coach or to hire a vehicle. If you have lots of time and a tight budget, long-distance coaches can be much cheaper than the trains or planes.
Driving your own car gives you much more flexibility than you could ever get from a train. You will be able to visit and explore remote rural locations other tourists never see. However, you will find that your long-distance journeys take a lot longer by car or coach when compared with the high-speed train. Sadly, even if you hire a Ferrari, you won’t be allowed to drive along the Spanish roads at 190 mph.
Hotels vary across Spain depending upon where you’re staying. In Barcelona and Madrid, prepare to pay higher prices, especially during Easter and summer. Across the rest of the country, you can find rooms in a hostal for as little as €50 per night and in better hotels for around €100.
Note that each city and region has its own high season due to special fiestas and local events, so it’s a good idea to research the specific towns you want to visit.
Booking in advance is highly advisable, especially during Easter and summer. Otherwise, you may not get the hotel you want or even the kind of room you prefer. You typically get the best deals in Spain by booking online. There are 5 general types of accommodation to choose from.
The high-class hotels are called paradores. These boutique hotels are often converted castles or other historic buildings. For example, the Parador de Siguenza is a castle that dates back to Roman times, and the 15th-century Parador de Santiago de Compostela is said to be the world’s oldest hotel.
Hotels and hostals
In Spain, normal hotels are classed as either hotels or hostals. A hotel offers a full range of services but a hostal is a budget hotel with fewer services equivalent to a 1-star hotel. A standard hotel should be 3-stars, and a paradore is 5-stars.
Bed and breakfasts are common around Spain. These are typically either fondas, which have a restaurant attached, or pensiones, which are budget guesthouses. If you’re an adventurer traveling by the seat of your pants, watch out for signs saying “B&B”, “Habitaciones”, or “Camas”.
Villas and apartments
Vacation properties are popular in Spain. If you’re traveling as part of a large family group, you’ll find a villa a cost-effective form of accommodation. However, they are typically rented by the week or longer, so not as flexible as a hotel or guesthouse.
If you’re headed for the great outdoors, you’ll be delighted to learn that Spain is awash with affordable campsites that typically charge around €6 per person per night. However, research in advance because campgrounds near the most popular natural or cultural attractions charge significantly more.
Interestingly, Spain’s climate can be divided along the same lines as its cuisine. The three main zones are the Atlantic, the interior, and the Mediterranean.
Along the Atlantic coastline, the ocean ensures that the summers remain relatively cool and the winters mild. In the deep interior, the climate is semi-arid. Along the Mediterranean coast, the summers are dry and hot while the winters are mild.
If you’re interested in hiking and sightseeing, the temperatures are mildest in spring and in the fall. July and August see the highest temperatures which are great for sunbathing but a little too hot for admiring architecture or hiking through the wilderness.
You can expect temperatures over 860F during the day and remaining over 700F at night. The coolest months are January and February, which see a lot of rain in the north.
A common mistake is to visit mountainous regions in the winter without taking proper winter clothing. While these high regions are baking hot in summer, those picturesque mountain villages are often dusted in snow during January and February.
Spain is rich in history and culture, so there are lots of things to do and see around the country. Unless you’re most interested in the nightlife, the three top spots to visit are Barcelona, Madrid, and Granada.
Barcelona is a city rich in culture and art. A great place to start is La Rambla — a pedestrianized street where you’ll find human statures, street performers, Bouqueria Market, museums, and other attractions including the 197-foot high Columbus Monument.
Don’t miss the Magic Fountain of Montjuic which features half-hourly music and light shows during the summer months and weekends. When the fountain is in action, its water sprays are lit in different colors and dance to the music.
If you are interested in modern art, you’ll be in Heaven. The Picasso Museum is renowned for its unique collection of Picasso memorabilia from his school workbooks right through to his final masterpieces. But the most obvious evidence of Barcelona’s fixation with modern art is Park Guell, which is filled with Gaudi’s unique sculptures and buildings.
But Gaudi’s greatest accomplishment is unarguably the Sagrada Familia. This strangely designed basilica has become Barcelona’s most famous landmark, and it isn’t even finished yet. Gaudi laid out the plans and began the work, but the basilica will not be completed until around 2026.
If soccer is more your style, you’ll want to visit the world-famous Barcelona FC Museum. There you can learn all about the training and lifestyle of the world’s highest paid soccer players. A tour of the museum includes a visit to the players’ changing rooms and a walk through the tunnel onto the pitch itself.
History lovers should ride the Montjuic Cable Car to get scenic views of the city as they rise up to Montjuic Castle. This 17th-century fortress offers fantastic panoramic views of the city and a fascinating armour museum.
And your kids will love Tibidabo Amusement Park. This is one of the world’s oldest parks — much older than Disney World or Universal Studios. Some of the rides there are genuine antiques, and the suspended airplane ride is considered an iconic symbol of the city. Don’t miss the historic automation collection in the park.
Madrid boasts a fine collection of historic buildings and the kind of internationally renowned museums you’d expect to find in any major capital city. The most iconic structure is the Palacio Real.
The Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, is the official palace of the King of Spain. Boasting 3,000 rooms and an amazing art collection, this is a fantastic place to learn about the glamor and luxury of a European royal family. During a visit, you’ll see a sweeping main staircase, the Throne Room, the Royal Chapel, and the Royal Apothecary.
Granada is reputed to be the most beautiful city in the world. However, most visitors head straight for the Alhambra. This Moorish fortress and palace is one of the world’s best examples of early Islamic architecture. Its breathtaking vistas, marble fountains, and unique mosaics are beyond compare. The palace began life as a Roman fort before the Moors invaded and made it their own. The Moorish fort was built in 889 and transformed into a much larger palace complex in 1333.
Visitors from the US will be particularly interested in visiting the throne room. This is where Christopher Columbus came to propose his voyage to the west to find a new trade route to India. If Queen Isabella had said no to his ambitious plans, the US and all the other American nations might not exist today.
If you want to explore beyond these three major tourist cities, head west to Salamanca to experience one of the world’s oldest universities. Salamanca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is the third oldest university in the world founded in 1218. Arguably, it is really the world’s oldest university because it was the first officially granted university status by the Vatican, which was then the major power broker in Europe.
If you’ve ever seen Harvard or Oxford, you’ll know what kind of buildings to expect. However, here they have a more flamboyant Catholic touch, with more ornate details and bright colors. The main university library is a must-see attraction.