Though technically in Europe, Spain is one of those countries that really lies on the border between many different continents and the varied ethnicities that make them what they are.
With historic and cultural ties related to North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, Spain’s heritage, cuisine, and architecture reflect these amazing influences, making it a truly unique destination.
Though Madrid and Barcelona are full of important and often-visited tourist sites, the rural and coastal areas are full of equally important history and some amazing natural scenery as well.
Below are 15 of the best tours in Spain that you won’t want to miss.
1. Horse Dance at Jerez de la Frontera
Andalusia is world-famous for its exotic landscape and culture, but also for the amazing horses that are bred and trained there.
This 90-minute show is accessible for those in wheelchairs and will provide an amazing display of fluidity, grace, and choreography that’s incredible by human and animal standards.
The ballet-like show is accompanied by traditional Spanish music and costumes from the 17th and 18th centuries, giving it an added layer of splendor.
Each show consists of a variety of displays by the horses and their riders. It’s really one of the things that shouldn’t be missed in when you’re in Andalusia.
2. Sagrada Familia Entrance Fast-Track Ticket
You’ll hear a lot about Antoni Gaudi on your trip to Spain, which isn’t surprising considering he’s the country’s most recognized and celebrated architect.
On this fast-track tour, you’ll visit a home that’s considered one of his crowning achievements – although he didn’t live long enough to complete the project.
Tours of this amazing site in Barcelona are available in more than 10 languages and include stops at buildings featuring an exotic mix of art nouveau and gothic elements, the most dramatic of which is probably the basilica – one of the city’s most recognized and iconic structures.
If possible, don’t miss this historic gem.
3. Half-Day Excursion to the Caminito del Rey
If walking along wooden footbridges hundreds of feet above a rocky canyon floor sounds like a great way to spend a few hours, then a half-day trip to Caminito del Rey in Málaga should be on your Spanish itinerary.
Famous for its safe but precarious mountain walkways, Caminito del Rey and the Gaitanes Gorge are areas of natural beauty that should be on the to-do list of nature lovers visiting the area.
This exciting tour is offered in English and Spanish, and since it requires more than a little walking, it’s best left to the relatively fit and healthy.
You’ll learn lots of interesting historical and geological tidbits from your local guide.
4. Skip-the-Line Alhambra & Generalife Guided Tour
The Alhambra complex and Generalife Gardens are often busy with tourists, but with this skip-the-line guided tour, it won’t matter.
Your professional local guide will give you the historical rundown on this site that’s nearly 600-years-old and has been an official UNESCO World Heritage Site since the ‘80s.
In centuries past, Alhambra was home to Sultans and the opulent palaces where they resided with their families.
In the 1500s, the grounds that are now Generalife Gardens were relaxing getaways for Moorish royalty who needed some time away from the stresses of court life.
They’re full of beautiful plants, trees, and flowers that create a tranquil oasis of beauty.
5. Oceanogràfic Entrance Ticket in Valencia
Valencia is home to one of the largest aquatic centers in Europe.
The Oceanogràfic in the City of Arts and Sciences is full of marine habitats and aquatic species from around the world. It even sports an amazing underwater restaurant that’s sure to be a favorite, especially if you’re traveling with little ones.
The tour lasts four hours and will give you and your travel companions an appreciation for the vastness and diversity of life found in the world’s seas and oceans – and how important they are to preserve.
The largest of the tanks holds nearly 25 million liters of water.
6. Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba Tickets with Guided Tour
This brief 1 ½ -hour guided tour is great for those on a tight schedule, or who just want to play the rest of the day by ear.
The tour’s centerpiece is the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The tour is wheelchair-friendly and available in English and Spanish.
You’ll marvel at the structures, scale and dramatic blends of Moorish and Byzantine architecture, which were popular when it was built in the 8th century.
The cathedral’s interior is comprised of numerous towering arches and amazing domed ceilings hundreds of feet above.
Not surprisingly, it’s one of Córdoba’s most visited sites.
7. Casa Batlló Ticket and Video Guide
If you’re interested in the fascinating history of Spain’s most celebrated architect and the amazing works he left behind, this video-guide tour of Barcelona’s Casa Batlló is for you.
Considered to be one of the iconic examples of modernist-style architecture, the home was designed by Gaudi in the early years of the 20th century; it includes a grand stairway and mezzanine which were popular features of the time.
The site is located on Barcelona’s swank Passeig de Gracia. The tours are available in a multitude of different languages.
If you’ve never taken a video-guide tour, give it a shot, you’ll probably love it.
8. Guided Tour of Alhambra Surroundings
Alhambra is full of amazing history, natural wonders and some of the region’s most breathtaking architecture.
This guided tour to Alhambra and the surrounding area will visit such icons as the palace of Carlos V, the Puerto del Vino – which means wine port in English – and the Alhambra Forest.
Tours are offered in English, Spanish or French, last just a few hours, and include a professional guide who’ll be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about this amazing area and its rich history.
Another great idea for those on a tight schedule, the tour meets at Puerta de la Justicia de la Alhambra.
9. Mount Teide Cable Car Fast-Track Ticket in Tenerife
Cable cars at Tenerife are a wonderfully dramatic way to get a bird’s eye view of some of the highest mountains in Spain, which also include majestic geologic formations like lava flows and craters that were formed by volcanic activity eons ago.
Though this isn’t a guided tour, when you see the dramatic vistas, you’ll be thankful that you can just enjoy them without a well-meaning guide talking your ear off.
At nearly 3,600 meters, Mount Teide is beautiful no matter when you go, but is particularly so at sunrise and sunset.
The uppermost stop has a few trailheads that are great places to stretch those legs.
10. Casa Milà-La Pedrera Fast-Track Ticket & Audio Guide
Casa Milà is a notable gem in Barcelona’s architectural crown and was considered to be among Gaudi’s most ambitious designs when it was built in the early 20th century.
The apartments are on the Passeig de Gracia, near the Gaudi exhibition which is a celebration of the life and work of Antoni Gaudi, who was internationally known at the time.
This video-guide tour will be a pleasant mix of amazing visual images and the fascinating accompanying history that goes along with all that you’re seeing.
Take your time and go at a pace that’s right for you. If you need a break, enjoy a cool drink or coffee at one of the nearby cafes.
11. Medina Azahara 3-Hour Guided Tour Córdoba
This three-hour guided tour will be like a leap back in time as you explore and discover the amazing history of the centuries-old palaces of Medina Azahara de Córdoba.
This is a great tour for those who are interested in learning about the country and region’s history, which is a unique mix of influences from Europe, Africa, and Middle-Eastern cultures.
Your local guide will be particularly knowledgeable about the complex and buildings within, which include House of Ja’far, the remains of the Pórtico de Medina Azahara and Salón Rico – where ancient royalty relaxed and entertained special guests.
12. Madrid City Tour
Your roofless bus will be the perfect way to see all there is to see. You’ll be impressed by places such as the Plaza de Colón, and Puerta de Alcalá.
13. Park Güell Admission Ticket
This park – once owned by a local businessman who hired Gaudi to design it – is now one of the most visited public spaces enjoyed by Barcelona’s inhabitants and tourists alike.
The park is full of idyllic green spaces that are great for relaxing or a picnic and provide gorgeous views of the dramatic, modernist buildings in the surrounding city.
It’s also full of surreal and charmingly fantastical buildings that give it an almost fairy-tale feel.
The land officially became a park in the ‘20s, and due to its cultural and historical significance, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the ‘80s.
14. Skip-the-Line Ticket to the Prado Museum
The Prado Museum in Madrid has been open since 1819. In the intervening years, it has amassed one of the country’s most complete and priceless collections of art that include paintings, sculpture, and prints, just to name a few.
Many of the pieces in the museum were once part of Spain’s Royal Museum, now known as the National Museum of Painting and Art.
Works from many of Europe’s grandmasters are on display, as are thousands of other works in different media and from different eras and regions.
With so much to take in, it can be overwhelming, but the ticket is good for an entire day so there’s no need to rush.
15. Madrid: Bernabéu Stadium Tour with Direct Access Tickets
If you’re a diehard footballer, this stadium tour at one of Spain’s football meccas is just the thing for you.
You’ll get amazing access to many areas of the stadium that are typically off-limits to visitors, like the Presidential Box, which is usually the exclusive domain of club owners and their VIP guests.
The tour also includes a trip to the room where the team’s trophies are kept on permanent display to celebrate their accomplishments.
A movie documenting the team and league’s history is also included, as is a tour of the actual pitch, which is surrounded by a dizzying array of seats.