Top ten landmarks in Spain

by Deborah Cater
Mérida Roman Theatre one of the top ten landmarks in Spain Image:©Deborah Cater
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Travel through Spain and evidence of its history and culture is evident in its landmarks and monuments. Ten of the most popular monuments in Spain cover the Roman empire and the Moorish era through to the modernist sculpture and architecture of the early 20th century.

InSpain.news brings you the top ten landmarks in Spain.

The Alhambra, Granada

The reconquista - Granada's Alhambra

Wherever you view this incredible palace-city from, you’ll be in awe. A blend of medieval Islamic, Renaissance Christian and modern architectural styles, it has intricate carvings, gorgeous gardens and viewed from the city at night it’s magical.

As Washington Irving said in his Tales of the Alhambra: “…when the moonlight is added to all this, the effect is like enchantment. Under its plastic sway, the Alhambra seems to regain its pristine glories.”

It is the second most visited site in Europe. To book, visit the official website

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Sagrada Familia Barcelona

A monumental church devoted to the Holy Family of Christianity. Construction began in 1882. Antoni Gaudi continued the project in 1883. Yet, the church is still not complete. Built using solely donations, and working to Gaudi’s incredible aesthetic and design, it is a long process.

Progress sped up in recent years and the intricacies of the design are amazing viewed up close.  No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the Sagrada Familia.

Mezquita Cathedral, Cordoba

Mezquita Cordoba

A mesmerising example of Islamic architecture, the striped arches play tricks with the eyes. Stroll through a forest of columns, domes, mosaics and carved marble. Discover the 16th century Christian cathedral in the centre of Cordoba‘s  mosque.

If you approach the mezquita from the opposite riverbank, across the Roman bridge, you’ll see the dome rising from behind the wall. The patio of orange trees is beautifully shaded; a wonderful respite from the hot summer sun. Check opening times here.

Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Composatela cathedral

El camino’ or Way of St. James leads you to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. A pilgrim’s destination since the 13th century, it is an impressive building with Romanesque art.

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The centuries of extensions bear the imprint of other styles including, the Baroque of the Obradoiro and its imposing facade. Dominating the square in which it sits, you’ll understand why pilgrims were, and often still are, in awe of this incredible cathedral.

Roman Theatre, Mérida

Mérida Roman theatre Image: ©Deborah Cater

Part of an archaeological site in the town, alongside a Roman circus and amphitheatre, the Roman theatre in Mérida is breath-taking. Sit and look at the backdrop of the stage, through which you can glimpse a small garden.

You can enjoy open-air performances, just as the Romans would have done, during the Mérida International Classical Theatre Festival.  The theatre is Mérida’s ‘cherry on the top’ of a host of Roman ruins.

Cathedral, Burgos

Burgos Cathedral

The soaring spires of Burgos cathedral are awe-inspiring. For lovers of Gothic art, the elegant cathedral is not to be missed. It’s home to the remains of the 11th century Reconquista hero, El Cid (famously portrayed on film by Charlton Heston).

Historic centre of San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife

San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife Image by Jorge Franganillo

The streets in the city of San Cristóbal de la Laguna on Tenerife offer an insight into the origins of Spanish-American town planning. The original Upper Town was unplanned, while the Lower Town is the first ideal ‘city-territory’ laid out according to philosophical principles. Its wide streets and open spaces have a number of fine churches and public and private buildings dating from the 16th to the 18th century.

Giralda Tower, Seville

Giralda, Seville

Unforgettable views of the city are there to behold from the top of the cathedral of Santa María de la Sede’s bell tower. A renaissance top now graces the former minaret of the Arab mosque, added after the Christian reconquest in the 15th century. For centuries it was the tallest structure in Spain and one of the highest in Europe.

Alcazar, Segovia

Alcazar, Segovia

If you were to draw a fairy tales castles it would probably look like the Alcazar. With its moat with drawbridge, pinnacle towers and halls decorated by Mudejar artists, it was once home to Castilian monarchs.

 It is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain due to its shape – like the bow of a ship.

Cathedral, Mallorca

Cathedral, Mallorca

A treasure of Gothic art, it sits atop the city walls in Palma de Mallorca’s historic quarter. This is a chance to see one of the most spectacular rose windows in the world, known as the “eye of the Gothic”.

Reformed by Antonio Gaudí, it contains a spectacular mural by the Majorcan painter Miquel Barceló.

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