These are my personal top 5 recommendations for Spain, but keep in mind that I have not visited Granada yet so that might be added to the list after next weekend. Also! I want to emphasize that everyone’s top 5 places in Spain are going to be different so if you get recommendations to go somewhere else in Spain you should travel as much as you can. There’s honestly no “bad” part of Spain so wherever you visit I’m sure you will enjoy.
NUMBER 5: Salamanca
Salamanca is located close to Madrid but is like a 5-6 hour bus ride from Sevilla. However, I thought it was completely worth the hike to get to. Not only can you walk the graffiti lined streets for hours, but there’s a bunch of hills you can climb and the view overlooking the city is amazing. The University of Sevilla also has a spot that I stayed at for a while just taking in the full view of the city. There’s also a stain glass museum that has wonderful artwork and includes a collection of sculpted dancers that spin and their shadows really make them look like they are moving. Sadly, you cannot take photos in this museum, but all the more reason for you to visit yourself! If you like small gardens there is also a mini garden that I assume looks better in full bloom because we visited after the season was over and it wasn’t quite what I expected. If you’re flying in from Madrid, I would definitely recommend that you make a pitstop in Salamanca. The hostel I stayed in had a lot of food for breakfast and was very inexpensive!
NUMBER 4: Strap on your walking shoes and
walk around Sevilla without a destination in mind
Sorry this isn’t quite one location, but I think it’s important for people to learn what a truly walkable city looks like. My hometown has the tiniest of sidewalks and there really is not much to do so when I got to Sevilla and realized I could walk for hours at a time in any direction and constantly have enough sidewalk to walk on AND there were shops, cafes, malls, and fun things to do all around me I was in awe. You can literally go in any direction and you will find a great cafe with cheap coffee. Depending on where you go you could also end up at a flea market, a food market, a fun sock store, a five euro movie theater, a trampoline place, or a fun new restaurant. I’ve also learned a lot about the opposite side of the city by taking the bus that’s about a 30 minute walk from my house. I go on runs around Sevilla most weekdays and I always find inspiration for new places to visit during that time. For example, on my run the other day I learned where the Betis stadium is- which by the way you should make sure you have a stance on Real Madrid vs Betis before you get to Spain because you WILL be asked about it AT LEAST 3 different times during your visit.
NUMBER 3: Rhonda
If you like nature and adventure this is the place for you. Rhonda has some of the most scenic views I have ever seen in my entire life. Depending on how daring you’re feeling you can also go past the man-made paths and into the river bends under the bridges. There’s also a few caves you can peak into, but I wouldn’t go too far into those. I went with two friends who were ready for a hike so make sure your partners are in for a full day of walking. We started the day at a cafe that happened to sell sweet potatoes and being a BIG fan of sweet potatoes myself I had to order one before I left. You don’t see a lot of sweet potatoes in Spain so I didn’t want to waste my chance. If you’re on a budget this is also a great place because we brought lunch but also bought jamon y queso sandwiches and did not spend money on much else. There’s no admission fee for the hike unless you want to go to fancier parts of the city and the museums sometimes cost money but we just skipped the ones that weren’t free and still had a great time. We ended the day playing cards and eating ice cream so I’d say it was a very successful day.
NUMBER TWO: Plaza de Espana
Most Spanish cities have their own version of “Plaza de Espana” but I would argue that Sevilla’s is the best. When my program first took us there I knew from that moment that I would love Sevilla. The intricate architecture that makes the three towers stand out, the detailed painting that form seats in a crescent shape, and the flowing water fountain right in the middle make this a must see destination in Spain. The best time to go is when the sun is setting. I like to bring a book, my journal, and some headphones and find Toledo (each sitting spot is painted for a different Spanish city) and watch the sun go down and the lights come on. If you’re lucky (I was not because I was in Morocco) you might even catch a concert or two in Plaza de Espana. The MTV festival was held here and Green Day was the main act. You can also just walk around the park in front of Plaza de Espana. There are plenty of pretty places to sit on a bench because there are so many twists and turns in the park. The park next to Maria Luisa (the park in front of Plaza de Espana) also hosts the International Festival every year which lasts for a little over a month and has booths with food from many different parts of the world. During the day time there are also vendors that sell clothes, jewelry, and trinkets that are worth a walk through. Overall, Plaza de Espana is worth the trip not only for its ideal location but for the effort you can tell it took to make it. Also, a quick fun fact, scenes from Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia were filled in Plaza de Espana.
NUMBER ONE: Toledo
Oh Toledo. I knew this was going to be my favorite spot even though it was only the second place in Spain I visited. Toledo was special because of its cooperation with nature and its old architecture. Our bus dropped us off almost at the top of the city and I love that the whole city was just built around the winding paths of rock and dirt. As someone with a deep appreciation for nature I loved that I could walk around the cobblestone pathways and look over the cliffs to see water flowing. I also loved that everything had a story and a history to it and that the tour guides tried to tell us as much of that history as possible in the short time that we had. It was also the first time I had ever heard of nuns making pastries and selling them out of the church so that was a fun story to hear. I don’t really know how to describe Toledo better than showing a lot of pictures of it so I have included my thousands of words of explanation here: