Which are the best cultural landmarks in Spain to visit? Why are these landmarks of Spain so great? In this article, both of these questions will be answered thoroughly! Ready to learn more? Read on…
Which are the best cultural landmarks in Spain and why?
If you plan to unwind, and travel away to a land full of history and culture, then adding Spain to your travel list will an ideal option. Knowing the 50 most amazing cultural landmarks in Spain will definitely take your travels to another level.
Ever been to a country and missed out on the true essence of the place? Perhaps, not anymore as our list of these 50 landmarks are enough to say that you have truly absorbed every Spain’s history and architectural wonder.
For your ease, these Spanish landmarks have been divided into categories so you can pick and choose ones that best fit your agenda and references.
Let’s dive in!
Cultural Landmarks in Spain: Famous Cathedrals
Whenever you visit a country you get to experience its history, and when the country is as historic as Spain the landmarks each carry a story worth sharing.
- The Cadiz Cathedral
The first of the most awesome cultural landmarks in Spain is Cadiz cathedral. Over 115 years old, this cathedral has to be a must visit destination when visiting Spain. Situated in the oldest city of Europe, Cadiz, the cathedral showcases all the artefacts from the new world.
The basement crypt of the cathedral is an architectural phenomenon where, upon touching the walls, you can actually feel the vibration of waves. Moreover, you can even get a stunning view of the entire city by climbing the spiral staircase of the bell tower. This cathedral embodies a perfect symphony of baroque and neoclassical style of construction.
- Leon Cathedral
Also referred to as “the house of light” this cathedral dates back to 1205 and covers an area of 1800 meters. Even up till this date, most parts of the cathedral are still original.
Inspired by the Reims Cathedral of France, this cathedral is made of stained glass, thus the nickname. These stained glass windows are lit up in the holiday season for the tourists to get a look inside this amazing cathedral.
- Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Even though each landmark in Spain and cathedrals for that matter have a story to them, this one however, is considered as the end of pilgrimage. The cathedral holds a lot of religious values to the locals apart from that it is an architectural beauty.
It was originally designed as per the medieval structure enrapturing the romanesque essence, the cathedral that we see today has been reinvented with afew baroque and gothic touches that has turned it into a masterpiece that we see today.
- Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba
A unique design that exudes essence of two very different architectural history, this cathedral is truly a marvel. It is said that the cathedral was built in the 18th century over a mosque from the 9th century.
This is why the cathedral is a mixture of Islamic and gothic architectural styles. In 987, the mosque of Cordoba was one of the biggest mosques in Islamic history. As told in history, the feared warrior Mansur rampaged Santiago cathedral and took the holy bell down, melted it and molded them into lights for the mosque.
It was later in 1236, that it was captured by the Christians. Instead of demolishing it, a cathedral was built over the mosque, thus giving it a hybrid look. This is one of the most important cultural landmarks in Spain for religious history.
- Segovia Cathedral
Built in the 1520s, this cathedral is the last ever gothic style cathedral made in Spain. Since this cathedral is built on the top point of the town, it can be seen from every part of the city.
The cathedral went through a lot of wear and tear over the years and was reinvented a few times. Back in the day, the original tower of the cathedral was one of the tallest towers in Spain. When visiting make sure to climb the stone spire referred to as “the lady of cathedrals” which leads to a breathtaking view of the society. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Sagrada Familia Barcelona
One of the most famous cultural landmarks in Spain, this should be on any Spanish travel itinerary! The Sagrada Familia is a true depiction of modernist architecture. The construction of the cathedral started in 1882. The original plan of the cathedral was to have 12 towers, this was then redesigned to have 18 towers, out of which 8 are ready.
The interiors have been tastefully designed to recreate the look of a forest. The pillars of this cathedral are designed in the form of trunks that give it a concrete forest look.
When visiting, make sure to climb the two towers of this cathedral for insta-worthy photos of the breathtaking view of Barcelona!
- The Montserrat Monastery
Built on the mountains, this cathedral has to be a must-visit place in your itinerary. It not just offers a scenic view but has the famous statue of black madonna and one of the oldest music schools in Europe.
Dating back to the 11th century, the cathedra today has lots to offer. Built in the middle of a natural park, it is a perfect hiking spot and a perfect trip to spend the day. This is one of the most magnificent cultural landmarks in Spain to visit.
- New Cathedral of Salamanca
This Cathedral is one of the “new” cathedrals; construction of this building started in the 1500s but was completed 200 years later in the 1700s. This is why the outside of the cathedral is more towards the gothic style while the interior is more in the baroque style.
The entire plan is decorated with human and animal figures while the whole of the cathedral is renaissance images that make it a treat for the eyes.
- Seville Cathedral and La Giralda Tower
The Seville Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world and is a true beauty. Built over the Moorish mosque, this cathedral is spread over an area of 127 meters.
The church has some amazing sightseeing spots like the tomb of Christopher Columbus, royal chapel, a treasure room and giralda tower.
The Giralda tower was the preserved minaret of the mouse which is 104 meter high. The view from the top of the tower will be etched in your mind forever.
- Almudena Cathedral
Commonly known as Catedral de la Almudena, this massive church is one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the world and the most visited cultural landmarks in Spain
This Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral was built over a time period of almost a century and stands out for its unusual shape. It has four side towers and a large central dome that makes it look like a ship.
The Interior of the cathedral is very grand with elaborate stonework and beautiful stained glass windows making the church a sight to behold. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Palma Cathedral
El Seu de Mallorca cathedral was commissioned by the King of Spain Ferdinand II in the 15th century. It was the first gothic-style cathedral built in Spain.
The construction of this cathedral involved the demolition of the existing Muslim fortification built by James I of Aragon in 1229 and it lasted from 1402 to 1902.
It is breathtakingly beautiful from the outside and the inside with its intricate stone carvings and definitely deserves a spot on this list of the best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo
This beautiful monastery complex dates back to the 13th century when it was first built as a hospital for the nobility.
It’s located in Olmedo and features the ruins of two old medieval castles and an incredible garden which is free to visit making it a top choice of cultural landmarks in Spain.
The complex is made up of two huge walled courtyards and a central cloister with a beautiful waterfall in the center making it a popular place for families to go and relax on sunny afternoons.
- Burgos Cathedral
Burgos Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals in all of Europe. It is located atop a small hill overlooking the historic center of Burgos City and is divided into two levels connected by a spiral staircase.
It is a place well-suited for worship and prayer.
Cultural Landmarks in Spain: Famous Castles
No history is complete without castles and palaces. These palaces are the highlight when it comes to cultural landmarks in Spain. Each palace is jam packed with stories from the past that will send you on a whimsical ride to the centuries before.
- Alcazar De Los Reyes Cristianos, Cordoba
This stunning piece of architecture was built in the mid-16th century by the Catholic Monarchs Isabel and Fernando as a palace and fortress where they ruled Spain together.
It was also the childhood home of Queen Isabella who later married Ferdinand III to become Queen of Castile and Aragon.
Visit to explore spectacular rooms and learn about the history of the palace and the different kings who lived there.
- Alcazar Of Toledo
Alcazar de Toledo is a medieval Spanish Moorish castle located in the city of Toledo which was originally built during the ninth century and has been restored several times since.
It is a place worthy of a pilgrimage as it has been called “The Wonder of the Orient” due to its beautiful architecture and intricate artwork.
- Alcazar Of Segovia
The Segovia Alcazar was built by Alfonso VI around the year 1110 as part of a defensive structure to protect the people of the city.
Ever since then, it has been used for many different purposes including a prison and a school but it has retained its medieval character and is still used today as a tourist attraction.
Located in the heart of the city of Segovia, this majestic medieval castle is definitely worth a visit and one of the most interesting cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Alcazar Of Seville
Constructed on the orders of King Henry II in the 13th century, this Gothic-style building was dedicated to Saint Mary of Jesus and is one of Seville’s most iconic landmarks.
It is mainly famous for its ornate balconies and large stained glass windows. Make sure to visit this landmark and learn about the history of this beautiful building while admiring its breathtaking architecture.
- Alcazaba Of Almeria
Located in the town of Almería in northern Spain close to the sea, Almeria Alcazaba was built during the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman III between 871 and 899 AD.
It is known for its distinct circular shape and its many towers which were originally topped with golden domes. It features fascinating Islamic architecture with opulent chambers and beautiful mosaics that make it must-see landmark in Spain.
- Alcazaba Of Malaga
The Alcazaba of Malaga is a Moorish fortress situated on a hill overlooking Malaga City which was built in the late eighth century by the Arabs to protect the city from enemy attacks.
This cathedral was designed by the same architect that designed the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona which is another famous landmark in Spain and is a magnificent sight to behold. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Alhambra, Granada
El Rey Moro’) the Sultan of Granada built this stunning complex to house his harem and palace as part of the “Barrio Chico” district.
It was built on the foundations of a former Roman settlement called Feria Alta in the tenth century.
Today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain and remains one of the most important architectural sites in the country.
- Aljafería Palace, Zaragoza
Known as the Royal Warehouse, it was built in 1322 by the Catholic Monarchs of Aragon to store their army’s weapons and munitions to protect them against the Muslim forces in the region.
This Palace has a beautiful courtyard surrounded by three arched entrances which lead into the main chamber which is covered with large frescoes showing the battles of the Spanish king against his enemies making it a must-visit!
- Colomares Castle
Located about forty miles west of Barcelona, the Collomeres Castle was built by the Counts of Urgell sometime during the 11th century.
The castle is notable for its unusual circular design and the fact that it has never been fully completed to this day.
Its best feature is its Romanesque doorway with its two semi-circular towers which are decorated with Lombard sculptures featuring the heads of mythical creatures. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Crystal Palace, Madrid
Located in the city center, this iconic building was completed in 1889 for the World Fair and it was designed in Art Nouveau style by British architects Joseph Paxton and John Mitchell.
This landmark in Spain is a must visit because it is free and offers a look into the history of this fascinating city, Moreover, there is an amazing restaurant on the second floor which offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains
- Gibralfaro Castle, Malaga
The castle was built on a rocky spur overlooking the sea for protection from the pirates who regularly attacked the region from North Africa.
This Castle was built during the Muslim rule of Spain. It has an unusual horseshoe shape which has forced the locals to call it La Giralda meaning the Lamp Chimney because of its resemblance to an oil lamp when viewed from a distance.
- Palace Of The Kings Of Navarre Of Olite
The Royal Palace of Olite was built in the early 13th century by King Sancho VII of Navarra it originally served as a fortified residence for his family but he later moved his court to the nearby city of Pamplona
The structure is made of sandstone blocks joined together with a mortar and the walls are covered in decorative stucco work depicting scenes from the bible, this is truly one of the most mesmerizing cultural landmarks in Spain. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Palacio De La Magdalena, Santander
Palacio De La Magdalena was constructed on the site of a much older church in the 16th century and it is one of the most impressive examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture in the country.
This palace sits on a hilltop on the outskirts of town and has a beautiful Baroque exterior complete with elaborate carvings and colorful statues.
It has undergone several restorations over the years but its most impressive feature is the largest unsupported dome in the world.
- Royal Palace, Madrid
Located in the heart of Madrid, the Royal Palace is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and the official residence of the Spanish royal family since the late 15th century.
It is one of the oldest royal residences in Europe and it offers a glimpse into the past of this fascinating city, it is a great place to learn about the rich history of Spain and there is an incredible museum filled with priceless works of art.
- Royal Palace Of La Granja De San Ildefonso
Every summer since the 18th century the Spanish Royal Family has used this breathtaking palace as their holiday retreat and it has also served as a meeting place for heads of state from around the world.
Surrounded by gardens in a rural setting near the town of Aranjuez, this spectacular complex consists of a series of palaces, pavilions, and chapels that have been built in various stages making it a fascinating place to explore.
- Royal Palace Of Aranjuez
Tourists flock to the Royal Palace of Aranjuez each year to see this stunning estate which is surrounded by beautiful gardens and stunning fountains and there are plenty of historical attractions to explore in the surrounding area
The main palace, known as the Buen Retiro, was built in the 17th century and it surrounds a courtyard that features a large reflecting pool and a fascinating array of tropical plants. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Xativa Castle
Valencia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country; it is also home to the spectacular Xativa Castle which is located in the foothills of the Sierra Calderona mountain range.
It was restored in the early 20th century and turned into a luxurious hotel where visitors to the castle are greeted by a huge gatehouse which is decorated with distinctive gothic arches and there are an impressive array of towers and battlements to explore throughout the grounds.
Other Famous Cultural Landmarks in Spain
- Aqueduct Of Segovia
The aqueduct of Segovia is an impressive structure that was built between the years 1561 and 1567 and is one of the most prominent examples of Spanish architecture.
Located in the city of Segovia in the province of Castile and Leon, the aqueduct is made up of 166 arches that were built with limestone and granite blocks and it is one of the most iconic lamdmaks in Spain.
- Casas Colgadas Of Cuenca
The Casas Colgadas of Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is comprised of a number of brightly colored houses that are built on the side of a cliff overlooking a beautiful gorge.
With more than 100 colors being used to create the unique designs on each house, this unusual attraction is one of the best places to admire the architecture and artistry of the Peruvian people.
- Casa Mila & Casa Batllo, Barcelona
Casa Mila was originally the residence of the legendary painter Antoni Gaudi who lived in the house from 1906 until his death in 1926 and it is currently a museum that is popular with tourists all around the world.
Its impressive facade is decorated with colorful mosaics and stained glass windows and there is a fascinating spiral staircase that gives access to an atrium with a mosaic-covered ceiling and a skylight in the center that provides light to the interior hall.
- City Of Arts And Sciences, Valencia
The City Of Arts And Sciences is one of the most adventurous cultural landmarks in Spain. It is a huge complex that has been designed to resemble a lunar landscape.
It features a huge planetarium as well as an interesting museum and an IMAX cinema and has plenty to see and do for all ages.
- Dalí Theatre-Museum,Figueres
It is a museum devoted to the works of Salvador Dali who was born in Figueres in 1904 and is now one of the most famous artists in the world.
Here you’ll find a collection of art nouveau-style furniture and decorative objects and paintings by Salvador Dali himself as well as many of his works such as Mae West Lips Sofa and The Snail.
The museum contains a video that shows how the surrealist artist lived and worked in his own home.
- El Capricho De Gaud Comillas
El Capricho de Gaud Comillas was originally designed as a private house and is located about 75km northeast of Madrid in the town of Comillas.
For tourists, there is a beautiful patio garden and numerous sculptures and other works by various artists on display in the gardens outside the main house it is truly one of the most artistic and cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao was designed by Frank Gehry and features an unusual design that is almost reminiscent of a boat with curved lines and shiny metal surfaces and it attracts many tourists to its exhibitions every year.
Visit this museum to see works by artists like Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and many more famous artists.
- Medina Azahara
It is home to what is left of a 12th-century Moorish castle but the castle is more famous as the backdrop to one of the most epic fantasy movies of all time – The Princess Bride.
Tourists visit Medina Azahara from all over the world to visit the palace and the labyrinth of underground tunnels that stretch for many kilometers beneath the palace grounds.
- Old Town Of Caceres
Like many Spanish cities, the Old Town of Caceres has a medieval feel to it with its narrow streets and small shops selling all manner of goods, and its picturesque streets are home to many historic buildings.
Tourists visit to look around the beautiful Gothic cathedral as well as the Plaza Mayor which is surrounded by various bars and restaurants where you can sample the local food and drink.
- Palau De La Música Catalana, Barcelona
The modern Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona was opened in 1908 and designed by architect Lluís Domènechi Montaner.
It is the venue for the annual Catalonia International Music Festival held each summer and many tourists visit the city specifically to see the performances at this event.
- Park Güell, Barcelona
A magical place in the heart of the city, where nature and architecture coexist in harmony and offer visitors a unique experience they will never forget.
The monumental works of Antoni Gaudi have transformed the city into an architectural jewel. Park Güell is one of his most important creations.
- Plaza De España Seville
People who visit Plaza De España usually spend the whole day there because there is so much to see and do in the area surrounding the square.
The square is surrounded by interesting historical buildings including the Royal Hotel which was built for the Ibero American Exposition in 1929 and the beautiful Maria Luisa Park. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Puente Nuevo, Ronda
The town of Ronda is an interesting place to visit because of its location on one of the deepest gorges in Europe at more than 100 meters deep and the town sits perched on the top of a cliff. The view itself makes it the most scenic cultural landmarks in Spain.
Visiting Puente Nuevo is a must for anyone who visits Ronda because it gives a fantastic Nuevo view of the town and its surrounding mountains from its lofty vantage point on the cliff top high above the river Tajo.
- Roman Theatre Of Mérida
The ruins of the Roman theatre of Merida were discovered in the late nineteenth century during the Construction of a new housing estate near the town.
It attracts thousands of tourists every year who come to see it for themselves as well as to learn about the history of the Roman theatre which is located on the outskirts of town next to the Archaeological Museum.
- Roman Amphitheater Of Tarragona
This amphitheater was first built in the first century A.D. but fell into disrepair over the centuries until it was finally restored in the eighteenth century and is now used as a concert venue by the Spanish National Orchestra
Tourists today can visit the Roman amphitheater in Tarragona which is the best-preserved example of the large oval-shaped amphitheaters that the Romans built throughout their empire to hold events such as jousts or gladiatorial combats. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Silk Exchange, Valencia
It is located in the center of Valencia City near the “Plaza de Mercado Central” which is the largest fresh produce market and one of the most known cultural landmarks in Spain.
It is a must-visit for people interested in the history of Spain because of the beautiful architecture of the building as well as all the artifacts that were preserved inside when the building was restored.
- Tower Of Hercules, A Coruña
The Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse located in the city of A Coruña, It is widely known as La Torre de Hércules or “La Muralla” in Spanish, referring to the fortified wall that surrounds the monument.
The tower is one of the most unique cultural landmarks in Spain. It offers tourists the chance to visit the World Heritage-listed building and enjoy spectacular views of the sea and city of A Coruña.
- Walls Of Avila
The area between the walls has been used as a city park since medieval times and provides a beautiful setting in which to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
It also contains some interesting architectural features and makes a great place to enjoy a picnic when the weather is fine.
Visitors to the medieval town of Avila are amazed at the beauty of its narrow streets and the charming houses which are adorned with brightly decorated facades and many contain beautiful wrought-iron balconies with intricate designs. This impressive tourist attraction is definitely worthy of a spot on this list of best cultural landmarks in Spain.
- Walls Of Lugo
The city walls of Lugo date back to the 13th century when the Moors were defeated by the Catholic Monarchs in the famous battle of Las Navas de Tolosa and they constructed the walls for protection in the future.
Tourists often enjoy the views from the walls which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and there are walks along the walls that offer spectacular views of the city.
- Windmills Of Castilla-La Mancha
They are working windmills that are traditional to the region of Spain called Castilla-La Mancha and they are a symbol of the region as well as a tourist attraction for visitors to the town of Villanueva de la Serena and the surrounding area.
The best cultural landmarks in Spain- Wrapping it Up
As you can see, this is a land full of scenic and noteworthy cultural landmarks in Spain. When a country has such a rich history it tends to have landmarks that highlight different events and hold plenty of significance.
Each and every landmark has a story attached to it; from its history to the architectural beauty, these cultural landmarks in Spain will truly touch your soul.
Make sure to add these 50 amazing landmarks of Spain to your bucket list, learn a few phrases of Spanish and voila just like that you are ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
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