20 unmissable things to do in Spain: experience the best of this captivating country


From the snow-dusted, ski-worthy Pyrenees to the glinting golden beaches of the south, Spain unfolds in a series of ever-changing landscapes, traditions, attractions, cuisines and even languages.

Its vast natural spaces are a dream for outdoors lovers, while the cities, towns and villages fizz with energy, cultural jewels and unstoppable gastronomy. But where to start? Whether you’re keen to get stuck into dazzling architecture, cycle to a secret beach or spend your days tasting wines, tapas, or olive oils, here are 20 unmissable things to do in Spain. 

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1. Taste Spain’s best wines

From headlining grape-growing regions such as La Rioja and the cava-making Penedès to Andalucía’s unmatched Sherry Triangle, Spain’s 70 Denominaciones de Origen (Denominations of Origin) roll out a tantalizing line-up of wines. Many wineries here are now experimenting with unusual combinations, pushing forward sustainable production methods and working to recover rare ancestral grapes.

For the most exciting tours, seek out small, independent bodegas (some still run by their founding families) and track down lesser-known wine-making areas such as Galicia’s up-and-coming Ribeira Sacra, Catalonia’s cool Costers del Segre or the innovative El Hierro and Lanzarote DOs in the Canary Islands. Salud!

Planning Tip: Don’t want to drive? Here are some other ways to travel around in Spain.

2. Dive into art (and nightlife) in Madrid 

Spain’s capital is one of Europe’s greatest cities for art lovers, with a clutch of prestigious galleries where you’ll meet such icons as Picasso’s Guernica (Centro de Arte Reina Sofía), Van Gogh’s Les Vessenots in Auvers (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza), and Velázquez’s Las meninas and Goya’s Saturno devorando a su hijo (

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