Spain, home of the sultry flamenco, toes-in-the-sand beach bars for sunset tapas, exquisite palaces, and whitewashed hilltop villages, positively oozes romance.
Whatever your shared interests, Spain will enchant you. Spend your time together exploring centuries of history, basking on gorgeous beaches, or setting out for hikes against a backdrop of wild, volcanic scenery.
Here are 12 of the most romantic places in Spain for couples, where love is sure to blossom.
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Antoni Gaudí’s extraordinary unfinished basilica is a wonderful adventure to share when in Barcelona. The structure is highly unusual, with its slender towers, organic curves, and brilliant color.
Step into a world of soaring ceilings designed to resemble the treetops of a forest canopy, supported by impossibly skinny columns. The stained glass windows filter in sunlight in a rainbow of color.
Try to get a ticket to whizz up one of the towers of this famed Spanish landmark in the elevator. You’ll need a head for heights, but the views stretching away in every direction over the city and the sparkling Mediterranean beyond are unrivaled.
Dalt Vila, Ibiza
Ibiza, the “White Isle”, is best known for its sizzling and sophisticated nightlife. Even during the day, you could enjoy a taste of this glamor. Visit one of its hip beach clubs, sink into a double lounger with a cocktail, and listen to music all afternoon.
For a deeper insight into the island’s fascinating history, one of the best things to do in Ibiza is to stroll the steep, narrow alleys of Dalt Vila, which means “high town”.
The rampart-encircled capital of the island spills over a hillside, with sweeping views from the top over the sparkling Mediterranean towards the island of Formentera.
Peek into the chunky cathedral, wander along the walls, and check out the excellent Contemporary Art Museum. It was built on top of a house constructed by the Phoenicians, who founded the city.
Alhambra Palace, Malaga
Granada’s exquisite, rose-colored Alhambra Palace, an easy day trip from Malaga, has to be one of the most romantic places in Spain.
The palace was built over hundreds of years, between the ninth and 15th centuries, and is an elaborate complex that once housed markets, hammams, multiple palaces, and a harem.
The attention to detail here is extraordinary; you won’t be able to stop gazing at the exquisite tiles and elaborately carved ceilings that make it one of the most beautiful places in Spain.
After your visit, stroll through the orange and pomegranate groves of the Generalife, the garden that used to grow food for the palace. Sun-dappled patios and splashing fountains provide a beautiful setting for quiet moments of contemplation.
Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park has a stark beauty, its rugged, volcanic landscapes and rippling dunes creating an otherworldly feel. You can hike here or ride a camel against the desert-like backdrop of one of Spain’s most romantic places for outdoor lovers.
Head up into the Montañas del Fuego—the Fire Mountains—and you’ll get a feeling of just how close to the phenomenal power of the Earth you are. A bucket of water poured into a hole in the ground emerges seconds later as a steaming geyser.
One of the best things to do in Lanzarote is to dine at El Diablo restaurant, where your steak will be seared over a grill powered by heat from the underlying volcano.
In Palma de Mallorca, head for the Plaza de España station and board the Ferrocarril de Soller. This vintage train, with its carriages of brass and mahogany, has been in operation since 1912. It’s possibly one of the most romantic train journeys in Europe.
You’ll chug slowly up through the foothills of the wild Sierra de Tramuntana mountains, through silvery olive groves, reaching pretty Soller, nestled in the foothills, after an hour.
Once in Soller—if you can bear to leave—there’s a streetcar ride down through orange groves to picturesque Soller Port, where you’ll find classy restaurants overlooking gleaming yachts.
You could, of course, save your appetite for your return to the capital. As the heat of the afternoon intensifies, wander the narrow alleys of the Gothic Quarter behind the cathedral and take refuge in a cool cellar bar for tapas and chilled glasses of local wine.
Teide National Park, Tenerife
Spain’s towering Mount Teide, its snow-capped peak visible from all over Tenerife and its neighboring islands, is one of the few places where you can say you’ve thrown a snowball in the morning and swum in the sea in the afternoon.
Teide, like all the mountains in the Canary Islands, is a volcano. The scenery as you near its conical peak is increasingly dramatic.
The color palette changes from the bottle green of the pines and gray of the eucalyptus forests to ochre and rust as you pass otherworldly lava fields and spiked rock formations.
Glide up to the peak in the cable car and gaze out at the view; you can see La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro islands from here. The vista is all the more dreamy if you’re above the clouds and can just see the summit of each island peeking through the mist.
The air up here at 12,190 feet is thin and the sky an astonishing dark blue. For couples who love the outdoors, visiting here is one of the best things to do in Tenerife.
Turia Gardens, Valencia
In 1957, the Turia River, around which Valencia was built, was diverted away from the city center, as it was prone to flooding. The remaining river bed was turned into a beautiful park that snakes its way in a six-mile swathe of green through the city.
Filled with lawns, cycling trails, orange groves, palm trees and rose beds, and crossed by 18 bridges, the park is where locals head to exercise, relax, picnic, flirt, and stroll.
Combine a visit to the park with two other activities for a romantic day in Valencia. Start at the Mercat Central, or central market, in Valencia’s Old Town. This is Europe’s largest fresh produce market, housed in a striking modernist building.
Browse the market for Spanish souvenirs and stock up on cheese, air-dried ham, crusty bread, olives, and freshly made dishes to go. (And a bottle of local wine, of course.)
Walk a few blocks to the Turia Gardens and enjoy your gourmet picnic in the shade of the trees. Next, either rent bicycles from one of the many concessions there or stroll through the park.
Head toward the coast and you’ll arrive at the City of Arts and Sciences, one of the best museums in Spain. This eye-catching complex of futuristic buildings was built around a series of reflecting pools.
Designed by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the complex includes a science museum, IMAX cinema, aquarium, opera house, and the vast Umbracle sculpture garden.
Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville
Seville in Southern Spain is such a sensual, seductive place, you can’t help but feel romance in the air. The scent of orange blossom floats on the breeze, and the rhythms of flamenco from street performers in the old Santa Cruz quarter fill the air.
There’s a great deal to see, most of it in the city center. The Real Alcázar, the royal palace, is a mesmerizing blend of Christian and Mudejar styles and has stood here in one form or another for 11 centuries.
Nearby is the world’s largest gothic cathedral, built in 1434 on the site of a former mosque. Today, it’s crammed with exquisite stained glass windows, intricate carvings, and priceless works of art by Spanish greats including Goya and Murillo. The tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus is here, too.
After you’ve visited the cathedral, head up the sloping ramps of the Giralda Tower, a minaret that’s the only real reminder of the ancient mosque, for breathtaking views across the old city.
You’re already in Barrio Santa Cruz, the city’s old Jewish quarter and possibly the most romantic neighborhood today. Roam the cobblestone alleyways, admire the brightly painted buildings, listen for the strains of flamenco from the various dance schools, and stop for tapas and a glass of chilled white.
Cíes Islands, Vigo
Embrace the salty air and the pounding of the waves in the craggy Cíes Islands, a spectacular barefoot escape just off the coast of Vigo and home to some of the best hikes in Spain.
This is where you can experience Spain’s nature at its finest as the islands are heavily protected. Visitor numbers are capped, and there are no cars and no hotels here—just pine-scented walking trails, empty beaches, and sweeping views.
If you’re a get-away-from-it-all couple, this is one of the most romantic places in Spain for you.
Take a direct ferry from Vigo, which takes 45 minutes. For lunch, head to one of just two restaurants on the islands.
Both are laid-back, toes-in-the-sand kinds of places where you can sample the monkfish, sardines, mackerel, and turbot these waters are known for.
La Rioja, near Bilbao
Improve your knowledge of Spanish wines together with a tour to the rolling vineyards of La Rioja, one of the country’s most famous wine-growing regions, near Bilbao.
Take a trip to the fortified hilltop village of Laguardia, underneath which thousands of bottles are stored in the cool gloom of a complex network of underground tunnels. Wander the historic streets, which are free of cars, and admire buildings dating back as far as the 10th century.
Of course, the wine that Spain is known for is the star here. The Rioja region has more than 500 wineries, producing red, white, and rosé. In Laguardia, you can taste the wares of several growers, all sharing the same dark warren of tunnels.
Maspalomas Beach, Gran Canaria
There’s a real sense that the mighty Sahara Desert isn’t far away when you visit Maspalomas, the most famous Spanish beach on the island of Gran Canaria, which basks in the Atlantic just 67 miles from Africa.
Golden dunes ripple as far as the eye can see, resembling the great sand seas of the desert, the vast beach pounded by Atlantic waves. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in the Canary Islands.
You can stroll the dunes, keeping to the boardwalks and marked trails, and bathe in the warm sea together, or watch the kite surfers zipping back and forth. A popular resort borders the dunes, its palm-lined promenade lined with bars and cafés, with a lively buzz all day long.
La Caleta Beach, Cadiz
Cadiz is believed to be the oldest settlement in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. Wandering its tangle of ancient streets is undeniably romantic; the old city is almost surrounded by sea, its ancient walls pounded by the Atlantic.
After you’ve explored the ancient center, head for La Caleta, the town beach. Flanked by two Spanish castles, Santa Catalina and San Sebastián, this sandy cove is always lively with locals swimming, sunbathing, and snacking from the various street food stalls here. It’s a great way to feel part of local life.
Alternatively, take a side trip to one of the pueblos blancos, the “white towns” for which Andalucia is so famous. These pretty villages are generally located on hilltops, and acted as a defensive line against invaders, hence the suffix of many of them, “de la Frontera”, or “of the frontier”.
Vejer de la Frontera, close to Cadiz, is one of the most perfectly preserved, its cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses that give way to hidden courtyards and splashing fountains. A stroll around this enchanting place is undeniably romantic.
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