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Spain's Best

Simple...a series of lists declaring Spain's "best" in anything and everything...they may be lists compiled by independent reviewers or by myself....whichever, I hope you find them useful :-)

Spains' Most Visited Monuments
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 @ 9:26 PM

Visited by more than 83 million tourists in 2019, Spain can be proud of having some of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, fifteen cities that are recognised as World Heritage Sites by the UN and 52 Biosphere Reserves declared by UNESCO. In addition, Spain has museums that house world-famous works of art, historical buildings, and unique constructions. Among all of them are some of the most visited monuments in Spain. Here is a list of the top 11...



11  Royal Palace (Madrid)

Destroyed by fire in 1734, Felipe V ordered the reconstruction of the Royal Palace to the extended form it shows today, although today it is no longer the residence of the Monarchy, its more than 3,000 rooms serve daily as a museum and, on special occasions, as a venue for events and receptions for the Head of State.

The Royal Palace of Madrid received 1,547,967 visitors in 2019.

10 Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum (Madrid)

Specialising in contemporary and 20th-century works of art, the Reina Sofía Museum exhibits abundant and well-known works by Picasso, Dalí or Miró along with other representatives of Cubism, Surrealism and other pictorial trends.

The MNCARS complex received a total of 4,425,699 visitors in 2019. Of these, the main headquarters, the Reina Sofía Museum, received 1,714,409 visitors, the Crystal Palace 1,994,979 and the Velázquez Palace 716,671 (the latter two in the Retiro Park).


9 Camp Nou (Barcelona)

The Soccer Stadium of one of the most famous teams in the world is also one of the most visited spots in Spain. A tour of the Camp Nou covers the most significant corners, such as the stands, the pitch, the visiting team's dressing room, the dressing room tunnel, the press room, the mixed zone, the benches and much more.

In 2018 the Camp Nou Experience had 1,900,000 visitors.

8 Reales Alcázares (Seville)

With architectural elements from the High Middle Ages, the Islamic world, Mudejar, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque, this set of buildings that includes a remarkable garden in addition to being the oldest Royal Palace in Europe is so impressive that it has been the scene of films and TV series such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), 1492: the conquest of paradise (1992), The Kingdom of Heaven (2004) or Game of Thrones (5th and 6th season).

The Reales Alcázares de Sevilla received 2,067,016 visitors in 2019

7 Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba (Córdoba)

Re-Christianised, so to speak, with the construction of a basilica consecrated as a Cathedral after the Christian reconquest of the Andalusian city, the Mosque of Córdoba is a beautiful example of Muslim art in the Peninsula, surpassed perhaps only by the Alhambra in Granada.

The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba received 2,079,160 visitors in 2019


6 Cathedral of Seville 

The Cathedral of Seville is the largest Gothic temple in the world, it is a World Heritage Site and has an attached bell tower that was originally the minaret of the old mosque and is today the famous tower known as La Giralda.

2,298,702 visitors passed through the Seville Cathedral in 2019


5 The Alhambra (Granada)

Alhambra, palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada, Spain. The name Alhambra, signifying in Arabic “the red,” is probably derived from the reddish colour of the tapia (rammed earth) of which the outer walls were built. Constructed on a plateau that overlooks the city of Granada, the Alhambra was built chiefly between 1238 and 1358, in the reigns of Ibn al-Aḥmar, founder of the Naṣrid dynasty, and his successors. 

2,766,887 people passed through the Alhambra in Granada in 2018 (curiously, 3,387 exceeded the limit of 2,763,500 annual visitors established by a regulation of the Board of the Alhambra and the Generalife in 2016)


4  City of Arts and Sciences (Valencia)

With such a futuristic appearance that it has even served as a set for the “Westworld” series, the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is a snowy set of buildings with stylized shapes and biological inspiration. The largest aquarium in Europe, the largest exhibition hall in Spain or the interactive exhibitions of the Science Museum and the world-leading Opera house are some of the attractions that will get you walking through its doors.

The City of Arts and Sciences was visited by 2,876,524 people in 2019


3 Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Santiago de Compostela)

At the end of the Camino de Santiago, the ritual of entering the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela looking for the tomb of the Apostle Santiago is the wish of the thousands of people who make a pilgrimage there every year and who, in addition, enjoy visiting a colossal building with beautifully detailed facades such as the Obradoiro or the Platerías.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela does not have an access control system, as it is free, but it is estimated that between 3 and 3 and a half million people visited it in 2015, given that that same year 262,516 pilgrims arrived in the city (rising to 301,000 in 2017, the same year that overnight stays in Santiago were around 1.5 million) the figure of 3 million visits is not unreasonable.

2  Prado Museum (Madrid)

The most important art gallery in Spain, the Prado Museum, houses great works such as "Las Meninas" (Velázquez), "The Garden of Delights" (El Bosco), "The executions of May 3" (Goya) as well as one of the best collections of Flemish art, to name just a few of the more than 35,000 works in the museum's collection.
The Prado Museum received 3,203,417 visitors in 2019

1  Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)

It may be curious that the most visited monument in Spain has been under construction for almost a century and a half, but the cranes and scaffolding don't scare away the visitors. What will be the highest Christian church in the world was designed by the great Gaudí at the end of the 19th century and exudes his peculiar style from the moment you first step inside to the top of any of its 8 towers.

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia received 4.5 million visitors in 2018.

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