💃 Get our list of the 6 best summer vacation spots for Spain 2023 – we’ve tried them all!!!
This isn’t the usual mass produced list of vacation spots and places to visit in Spain – because we’ve been to every single one of these destinations. Consequently, we can tell you (from experience) where to go, what to see and where to stay. Trust us… we know travel! And all the good vacation spots for your summer in Spain 🏖
If you’ve got summer holidays on your mind… and you’re trying to narrow in on a couple of vacation spots in Spain, then look no further. This list can help you decide which area of Spain to visit, depending on the type of vacation spots of your calling.
You know the kind I’m speaking of… tapas, beautiful Mediterranean beaches a bit of culture and loads of sangria. From road tripping, to island hopping, beaches, kitesurfing, culture or city trip, we cover the best of Spain.
As a result we have created loads of in-depth guides and content – hidden gems, city guides, beach guides, Southern Spain itineraries and even a sneaky luxury adult only getaway. The kind of places where you can find those sweet Spanish summer vibes.
Read on for an overview of 6 unbeatable vacation spots in Spain, that we think that you should consider for this summer 2023. We’ll have you booking an awesome holiday in no time!
See this interactive map for an overview on all the vacation spots we recommend for Spain.
Table of Contents
6 Best Summer Vacation Spots to Visit in Spain
🪝 As mentioned above we have spent months travelling Spain. And somehow during our full-time travels, we always find a reason to return back to this spectacular country. Perhaps it’s the beautiful mediterranean blues and turquoise hues… but whatever the case… it’s safe to say that Spain has it’s hook in us!
Each time we return to Spain, we find a new vacation spot that we fall head over heels for. So, below we cover each of these destinations in a little detail to help you decide where to go for your summer vacation 2023. Or if you want to jump straight to our in-depth guides on these destinations then use our quick links here.
🌹 Barcelona – One of my favourite cities in the world – shopping, art, culture!
🍒 Ibiza – Party atmosphere and beach life at it’s best
🍷 Mallorca – Incredible food, wine and beaches
💃 Granada – Moorish architecture of Alhambra + rich music and dance scene
🌶 Tarifa – Kite surfing and small beach town feeling
🐙 Javea – Gastronomy + stunning small bay and beaches
+ Bonus Destinations – Ronda, Cartagena (Portus), Madrid & Valencia,
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Barcelona is a favourite! Each time I go I see more and love it even further.
If you are a lover of the arts be sure to geek out on Gaudí. Remnants of and dedications to his work are scattered throughout the city. If it’s Gaudí you seek, then don’t miss La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Casa Batlló.
Go shopping in the Gothic Quarter, wander Las Ramblas and feast in the Mercado de la Boqueria, explore the Cathedral of Barcelona and check out the CosmoCaixa Science Museum. There are days worth of exploring to be done in Barcelona. This list scratches the surface!
Cons – Barcelona is expensive, due to it’s popularity and it can be a hot spot for pick pockets. However, in my most recent visits I definitely noticed a change in terms of feeling safer. I for sure noticed a lesser presence of opportunists who might grab for your wallet when distracted. This said, be careful and keep your bag close.
Tip – Don’t eat on Las Ramblas. Look for the smaller streets in the Gothic Quarter for less touristy places to eat. Not only will you pay less, but the food is way better!
Where to Stay
- We recommend the Catalonia Catedral for location and quality. This hotel is great for families and couples and bonus it even comes with a pool!
🌹 Read our dedicated post on 3 days in Barcelona to find our favourite places to eat, tips on how to get around, exactly what to see and accommodation alternatives.
Despite what you might have heard about Ibiza, I’m here to confirm that you don’t have to be in your early 20’s to enjoy it. There is plenty enough room on this island for everyone, including families if you have a couple of kids in tow.
Beautiful beaches and small calas surround Ibiza. These little bays provide the perfect beach vacation spots if that sounds like the taste of Spain you are looking for.
Sant Antoni is the party hub, but we can recommend Santa Eulalia as a quieter spot on the island to stay. The beach is very pretty and the boardwalk is a great place to explore the local restaurants and bars.
It’s a 30 minute taxi ride from either Sant Antoni ferry terminal or the main airport in Ibiza to Santa Eulalia.
And there are plenty of other little beaches to see in the area, which are only a short boat or ferry ride away. We enjoyed a day at Cala Llonga. Or if you prefer off the beaten track and you’re up for a hike then Cala Blanca is worth the visit.
Where to Stay
- For the perfect beachfront accommodation for families book here for the Hotel Riomar. You’ll have the best beach views at very reasonable prices.
- For couples looking for an adult only location, our choice would be the La Bohemia del Rio Hostal Boutique. We love boutique accommodation, and this one is only 400 metres from the beach.
This has to be one of the most picturesque islands in Spain. And each corner of the island has something different to offer.
Mallorca is mountainous, the scenery and views are what Mallorca is well known for. Don’t miss the opportunity to rent a car and see as much of the island as you can. And I’ll let you in on a little secret… my friend who lives in Mallorca shared the cheapest car rental company with me. So here you go, and shhhh keep it to yourself.
Definitely visit Palma while you visit, go shopping at the indoor market in the old fishermens’ town of Santa Catalina and hit the beautiful beaches.
Other top things to do in Mallorca –
- Drive to the far north towards Formentor
- Visit the Santanyi markets
- Swim at the famous Cala Mondrogo or Platja des Trenc (one of my favourites)
- Eat at the mountain restaurant of Es Verger
- Drive the MA-10 for rugged mountains and cliff scenery
- Stroll through the village of Soller
In terms of accommodation, there is something in Mallorca for everyone. You can easily find large resort style accommodation or smaller villages to stay in providing a more authentic experience. We loved our stay in Binassalem, which meant we were central to exploring the whole island.
Where to Stay
- IF you love ecotourism as much as I do, then you’ll LOVE this beautiful little hotel in the countryside of Mallorca. This accommodation is ideal for families and couples.
🍷 Detailed guide to Mallorca – coming soon!
Ahhh Granada! Another of my favourite cities for Southern Spanish Andalucian beauty. This city is the home to Flamenco and in my opinion is the best part of Spain to eat tapas!
Tourists flock to Granada from all over the world to see Alhambra. Before I had visited I hadn’t done a lot of reading around the significance of this incredible example of Moorish architecture. Well I was in for a surprise and so are you!
Alhambra palace and grounds sit on a hillside, a piece of historical beauty. From the grounds of Generalife, to the Arabic adorned Nazrid palace to the views of Granada from the turret points of Alcazaba. One word – breathtaking.
From Granada there are several day trips that can be made to see the beautiful white villages set in the mountains of Southern Spain. Get our itinerary for a Southern Spain road trip, if that kind of vacation grabs your attention.
Where to Stay
- We love these boutique apartments – La Corrala del Realejo. The location is great in terms of access to Alhambra and the city centre. And a great deal of effort has gone into making these apartments a special stay. Trust me when I say this cosy little place is going to impress!
💃 IF you need further convincing then visit our dedicated post on the Best Places to Visit and Best Place to Stay in Granada.
We spent a solid week in this southern most point of Spain – Tarifa. In truth, I would never have thought of Tarifa, but we had friends who had a holiday home here. We were super glad we went!
The coastline is unlike the beaches on the East of Spain. There are plenty of beautiful white sandy beaches to choose from and they are slightly more wild. If you are a kite-surfer then this is the right vacation spot in Spain for you.
And if you aren’t but you are accompanying someone who is, then not to worry as the summer vibes are REAL. The beach bars, or chiringuitas as they’re known, are a very cool place to hang out for an afternoon… or a full day! Order yourself a Tinto de Verano and chill!
Stay in the old town, catch a ferry to Tangier Morocco for the day, or take a drive over to Gibraltar. There is plenty to do in and around Tarifa. Definitely rent a car and explore nearby towns and villages. We loved Gaucin in the mountains. A quintessential Southern Spanish village, painted white with lime and the perfect sleepy little town to wander and explore.
Where to Stay
- For a cute guest house we recommend Posada La Sacristía right in the heart of Tarifa’s old city walls. Great for couples.
- A family of four will love this apartment in the heart of it all. Book here to reserve Casa de la Luz, grab it early as it does book out.
- For a beach stay then you’ll want to book one of these Tangana Bungalows. Couples will love the atmosphere here and the many number of chiringuitas to choose from at the stunning Valdevaqueros beach.
- And at the same beach families or couples will love the Hotel 100% Fun. Yes that is the name, but don’t let that put you off, the location is perfect, the pool as stunning and you are right beside the beach.
Jávea / Xàbia in Costa Blanca
Just south of Valencia and north of Alicante, Jávea is an easily accessible destination in terms of flights from Europe. And the airport shuttles get you to and from your accommodation easy peasy.
Along the main white sandy beach of the Arenal, you’ll find plenty of restaurants to choose from. While in the old town is known for it’s Gastronomy! Jávea is a great place to hang out, particularly at the end of summer in September when tourists begin to head home.
You don’t want to miss Cala Portitxol! This is a little piece of Mediterranean paradise. Be sure to get there early to grab a car park and bring your snorkeling gear.
Once again there is plenty to explore in nearby towns. So make sure you rent a car and for the absolute best deal in town Mia Cars is the cheapest. But book in advance as they don’t have a huge supply and in summer they do run out.
Jávea has the perfect vacation vibes with a little bit of culture in the old town, awesome local walks, beach life at the Arenal or nearby calas, and plenty of great places to eat at!
✨ Read our post on 21 best things to do in Javea for more & don’t miss our ultimate hotel and accommodation guide to Javea, Spain!
Where to Stay
- For couples, our boutique hotel of choice is – Villa Riu Blanc 30 minutes from Jávea. The owners Patricia and Dirk recently opened their incredible sustainable hotel. The attention to detail is outstanding and you can’t beat the blue Mediterranean views!
4 Bonus Vacation Spots to Visit in Spain
2023 Update: As travel in Spain gets busier with each passing year, we hunt for more idyllic vacation spots and destinations in Spain. Here are 4 more bonus destinations in Spain to consider for your holidays.
Not far from Marbella, is one of the most incredible bridges and villages of Southern Spain – Ronda. The grand old bridge, known as Puente Nuevo connects the old town to the new town. It stretches over a deep ravine, making for stunning photos.
Honestly speaking you could spend one or two nights here as it’s very small and everything is walking distance. So we recommend including Ronda on a road trip or Southern Spain itinerary.
But if you’re a culture lover and want a taste of the Spanish mountains and quintessential Spain then Ronda is a must-see.
Find a small bar such as Restaurant Bar El Lechuguita or Bodeguita El Coto and eat authentic tapas and drink copa de vino during the midday. Then visit Plaza de Toros and admire the view from the lookout. Cross Puente Nuevo to the old town and walk down to the river through La Casa del Rey Moro. Then head to the Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda for the lookout point and spectacular views of Ronda – bridge and all!
Where to Stay
- We recommend staying in the centre of old town for atmosphere. The Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel in the middle of old town is a stunning 18th Century building and as such a beautiful place to stay for an historic, authentic taste of Andalusian Spain.
Cartagena – El Portús
If you want off the beaten track, and I mean really off the beaten track in Spain… then check out Portus. We lived on a small eco section in Portus for a month and loved the peace and tranquility along with crystal clear waters.
If you feel like you need a vacation without all the tourists then this could be for you. There is almost no-one around except for the locals, so Portús is the perfect place to disconnect. There are some stunning walks nearby into the surrounding mountains. Also you’ll find a small kayak rental and tour provider right on the beach.
Choose from three beaches, including a naturalist beach, to catch some sun rays and snorkelling! And not so far away is the historic city of Cartagena. This is a fantastic location for a day trip, particularly if you love Roman history, then the Teatro Romano de Cartagena should be on your list.
Where to Stay
- We stayed in the cute little Airbnb camper and tent. It was very remote, so be prepared for open air toilets and showers if you choose to stay here. In terms of price it is a total bargain, especially if you book a one month long stay.
The beautiful coastal city of Valencia is packed full of history and culture and art. It’s one of my favourite cities in Spain and one that I always recommend to friends and families. Every time we visit Spain we visit Valencia!
Some of the top spots to see:
- Turia Gardens and the Botanical Gardens
- Admire the architecture of the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias
- Visit the l’Oceanografic
- Stroll through the old town – visit Plaza de la Reina, Plaza del Ayuntamento, the Cathedral and Central Market.
For more on the highlights of Valencia, read this post here by the Flashpacker.
Where to Stay
- The Soho Valencia is a great centrally located hotel in the heart of Valencia that won’t cost a fortune. It’s walking distance from both train stations and therefore perfect in terms of location.
- Alternatively check out the Art Lofts Gardens to be closer to the Turia Gardens in Valencia. These bright and beautifully presented rooms are reasonably priced for a comfortable stay in Valencia.
If you feel like a city getaway that feels more Cosmopolitan then you might want to consider a vacation to Madrid!
Will Fly for Food writes that they felt more like tourists in Barcelona than they did in Madrid. This is because while Barcelona attracts the international travellers, Madrid tends to appeal to a different type of visitor.
We also loved Madrid, I could have eaten in the San Miguel Market every single day given the choice. But also the energy and general vibe was fun and infectious! Aided most likely by the fact that, unbeknownst to me, I had booked our stay in Madrid for the Annual Pride Week (MADO). The Pride Parade was an experience I’ll never forget.
In addition, Madrid is known for art… visit Museo del Prado which is the place to go for art and culture. Admire masterpieces by Spanish artists such as Francisco Goya. Or for Salvador Dali and Picasso fans then don’t miss the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
Madrid can be as busy or chilled as you want it to be. Basically, the streets in Madrid are made for wandering, admiring historical buildings, palaces and botanic gardens. And when you need to stop and relax find a patch of grass at El Retiro Park, bask in the Spanish sun and enjoy people watching!
Where to Stay
- We love the Limehome Madrid la Bolsa – this highly rated little fully kitted out apartment is the perfect place for families who want to be self-catering. Plus the it’s located near the San Miguel Market. What more could you ask for!
- For something a little quirky then check out Room Mate Alba – also ideally located, with extremely high reviews. Aside from their funky style and furnishings, they serve a great breakfast.
🌞 More on Travelling to Spain
🇪🇸 And there we have it! A little bit on each of our favourite vacation spots in Spain. We highly recommend you check out our other in-depth guides and itineraries on Spain. Our guides dig deeper into regions and destinations mentioned above.
🇬🇷 We also provide some great vacation tips and itineraries for Greece. So for another Mediterranean inspired holiday check out our page on Greece.
And hey don’t forget to pin this post on Vacation Spots in Spain for later!
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