The Cordoba Roman Bridge, Santa Eulalia Cathedral, and El Escorial are just a few of the amazing structures that the Celts, Romans, Arabs, and Catholic Monarchs left behind in Spain. Belchite, the Roman Walls of Lugo, and the spooky but lovely La Sagrada Familia in the heart of Catalonia’s Barcelona are among the famous historical attractions in Spain.
The cultural and national identity of modern Spain may be traced back to the Romans. Several of the most notable Roman emperors, including Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius I, were born in what is now Spain.
The Umayyad Caliphate attacked the Visigoth Kingdom in the early eighth century, bringing nearly 700 years of Muslim control to southern Spain. By the end of this time period, Al-Andalus had established itself as a prominent cultural and commercial hub.
Yet new Christian kingdoms quickly emerged and retook Spanish territory; beginning in the 1600s, they ruled over a global superpower.
Top 10 historical attractions in Spain
The cultural locations, landmarks, and monuments of Spain are a fascinating part of the country’s history. Thus we compiled a list of the top 10 historical sites in Spain to highlight them.
- Seville Cathedral
- Alcazar of Seville
- La Sagrada Familia
- Monastery of Montserrat
- Mezquita in Cordoba
- Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
- Caves of Altamira
- Santiago de Compostela Old Town
- Toledo Old Town
The amazing complex of royal palaces, mosques, baths, shops, and other structures known as Calat Alhambra, or the “Red Fortress,” in Granada is protected by an impressive 2 km constructed wall. This amazing structure is, without a doubt, one of the best historical attractions in Spain.
The Alhambra is currently accessible to the general public. Palacios Nazares and the Palace of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively, and both are open for tours. The Alcazaba, often known as the “citadel,” is the centerpiece of the Alhambra’s defenses and a major tourist attraction.
Two principal courtyards serve as the heart of the Alhambra: The Court of the Lions and the Court of the Myrtles, the former including a fountain and the latter a lengthy pool. The Alhambra Museum houses a variety of exhibits, from Nasrid art to archaeological artifacts, and the grounds and architecture of the Generalife are lovely as well.
Seville Cathedral is another one of Spain’s top historical attractions with amazing features. Christopher Columbus is buried at Seville Cathedral, the third-largest cathedral in the world and a World Heritage site.
Seville Cathedral is the third biggest cathedral in the world after St. Paul’s in London and St. Peter’s in Rome. Its total area is 11,520 square meters, making it a remarkable gothic construction. Regarding volume, some would even say it’s the biggest.
The cathedral’s interior is just as impressive as its exterior, earning it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987. The central nave of the cathedral is forty meters high, making it the tallest point in the whole structure. Seville Cathedral is an impressive sight simply because of its size and the variety of architectural styles it incorporates, from Gothic and Baroque to Mudejar. Its interior is adorned with gold and has eighty chapels.
- Address: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain.
- Monday to Saturday from 10:45 AM to 5 PM.
- Sundays from 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM.
Alcazar of Seville
Sevilla is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Alcazar (Reales Alcazares), which is another one of the best historical attractions in Spain. One of the most stunning specimens of Mudéjar architecture, this palace was initially constructed by the city’s Moorish lords. Situated in Patio de Banderas, just outside the Cathedral of Seville, is this Moorish-style castle and Arab stronghold from the 14th century.
This Royal House, which is located right next to the cathedral, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it has some of the best examples of mudéjar architecture in Moorish Spain.
- Address: Patio de Banderas, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain.
- Timings: every day from 9:30 AM to 5 PM.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is a cathedral in Barcelona that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site despite the fact that its construction was abandoned during the Spanish Civil War. This magnificent structure is sure one of Spain’s top historical attractions.
In 1882, architect Francisco de Paula del Villar began construction on La Sagrada Familia, and it was completed by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s most celebrated native. Gaudi invested over 43 years and his own money in building La Sagrada Familia because he considered it a sacred mission after the initial commission’s funding dried up.
In spite of the fact that La Sagrada Familia is still under construction, its stunning architecture continues to attract thousands of visitors every year. From its stunning exteriors to its imposing towers and rich symbolism, La Sagrada Familia has become an instantly recognizable feature of Barcelona.
- Address: C/ de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain.
- Timings: every day from 9 AM to 6 PM.
Monastery of Montserrat
The Montserrat Monastery, also known as Santa Maria de Montserrat, is a medieval abbey and one of the most significant places of worship in all Catalonia. The monastery’s location, high in the Catalan countryside’s mountains, provides tourists with not just breathtaking scenery but also fascinating architecture and history.
The monastery was destroyed in 1811 when Napoleon’s soldiers ransacked and set fire to it. During the Spanish Civil War, the monastery once again became a target of violence, and many of the priests and religious locals who lived there were slaughtered. While Franco’s forces waited for the outlaws down the road, the Montserrat Monastery was a safe haven for intellectuals, politicians, and artists. Make sure you visit this amazing site on your trip to the country, as it is one of Spain’s top historical attractions.
- Address: 08199 Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain.
Mezquita in Cordoba
Cordoba’s La Mezquita, also known as the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, was first built as a mosque in the 8th century and then turned into a cathedral in the 13th. It is a symbol of Spain’s religious and cultural heritage and one of the world’s most well-known examples of Islamic architecture. this cathedral is one of the best historical attractions in Spain.
The Catholic Basilica of San Vicente was shared by Christians and Muslims when the Moors conquered Spain. Abd al-Rahman I began building the Mezquita in 784 A.D. after he had purchased the Christian quarter (Great Mosque). Even though it now serves as the Cathedral of Córdoba, most of the original Moorish architecture has been preserved.
- Address: C. Cardenal Herrero, 1, 14003 Córdoba, Spain.
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
With Spain’s long and distinguished history, it seems to reason that the country’s many magnificent cathedrals would be among the top attractions. Not only is the one at Santiago de Compostela a wonderful structure, but the atmosphere created by the hundreds of pilgrims who come there after walking the Camino de Santiago makes it one of the best historical attractions in Spain.
- Address: Praza do Obradoiro, s/n, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain.
- Timings: every day from 7 AM to 8:30 PM.
Caves of Altamira
The magnificent caverns of Altamira stretch for roughly 3 kilometers and are home to elaborate Palaeolithic murals that are said to be thousands of years old. Just a few will be allowed into the original caves each month, so if you do get to see them, count yourself among a lucky couple of people. This cave is sure one of the best historical attractions in Spain.
In Avenida Marcelino Sanz de Sautola, there is a museum dedicated to replication, with a number of interesting historical displays. To the southeast, a half-hour journey will take you to El Castillo, another cave site with remarkable rock art that is easier to approach.
- Address: Avenida Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, s/n, 39330 Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, Spain.
- Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 AM to 6 PM.
- Sundays from 9:30 AM to 3 PM.
- Closed on Mondays.
Santiago de Compostela Old Town
The Moorish invasion of Spain is commemorated at this Catholic pilgrimage site. When Muslim monarchs took over towards the end of the 10th century, they ordered the city to be destroyed and rebuilt in a style that combined Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque elements.
The Cathedral of St. James, with its elaborately carved Romanesque great entrance, is the epicenter of the city’s monumental architecture. Make sure you visit this magnificent neighborhood on your trip to the country, as it is one of Spain’s top historical attractions, and it will take you back in time to show you the beauty of Spain’s multicultural society.
Toledo Old Town
Toledo existed before Madrid. This former Roman town, Spain’s ancient capital, is full of history and provides a wealth of attractions; it is rightfully listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and it is one of Spain’s top historical attractions.
The city’s medieval stone bridges, such as the Puerta de Alfonso and the gothic Church of San Bartolomé, are only two of the city’s many impressive structures. Several significant historical sites in the city feature a fusion of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic architectural traditions.