The 11 most visited monuments in Spain

Visited by more than 83 million tourists last year, Spain can proudly boast some of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals, fifteen UN World Heritage cities and 52 UNESCO-declared Biosphere Reserves.

In addition, we have museums that house impressive works of art, historical buildings, and unique constructions. From all of them we have selected the ones that compose this list as the 11 most visited monuments in Spain.

11 Royal Palace (Madrid)

Royal Palace © David Escribano

If Madrid is Villa y Corte, the Royal Palace of Madrid was the seat of the second since the time of Charles I, although the building was another then. Destroyed by a fire in 1734, Philip V ordered the construction of the current and majestic Royal Palace, although today it is no longer the residence of the Kings of Spain but its more than 3,000 rooms serve daily as a museum and, on special occasions, as a place for events and receptions of the Head of State.

You can discover the Royal Palace of Madrid with this guided tour that includes the entrance without queues, or, since it is a unique building (it took 110 years to build) and is just a few meters away, combine the guided tour of the Royal Palace with a guided tour of the Almudena Cathedral. Another option is to combine the visit to the Royal Palace with a tour of Madrid and a visit to the Prado Museum.

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

10National Museum Reina Sofía Art Centre (Madrid)

Photo (cc) Zarateman

Specialized in contemporary and 20th century art, the Reina Sofia Museum exhibits an abundance of well-known works by Picasso, Dalí and Miró along with other representatives of Cubism, Surrealism and other pictorial trends.

You can discover this museum by buying a ticket here, or by taking an expert guided tour of the Reina Sofia Museum. If you want to combine the visit with access to other museums, you have the possibility of taking a tour of the Reina Sofía and Prado Museums (both without entrance queues), or of covering the whole triangle of art in Madrid, with a combined tour of the Reina Sofía, Prado and Thyssen Museums (all three with entrance without queues).

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

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9Camp Nou (Barcelona)

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The football stadium of one of the most famous teams in the world is also one of the most visited places in Spain. A tour of the Camp Nou goes through the most significant corners, such as the stands, the pitch, the visiting team’s changing room, the dressing room tunnel, the press room, the mixed area, the benches and more.

You can buy here your ticket without queues to visit the Camp Nou or, if you want to improve the experience, you can opt for a guided tour of the Camp Nou.

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

8Reales Alcázares (Seville)

With architectural elements from the High Middle Ages, the Islamic, Mudejar, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque worlds, this group of buildings that include a remarkable garden as well as being the oldest Royal Palace in Europe is so impressive that it has been the setting for 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).

You can buy a ticket for a guided tour of the Alcazar or discover the three most famous monuments of Seville by visiting its three most important monuments with a combined tour of the Real Alcázar, the Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede, and the Giralda, the symbol of the city.

The Royal Alcazar of Seville received 2,067,016 visitors in 2019

7Mezquita – Cathedral of Cordoba (Cordoba)

Mosque of Cordoba. Photo David Escribano

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

You can buy here the ticket for a guided tour of the Mosque of Cordoba – which, by the way, was built over an old Christian church – or combine it with another attraction, making also the guided tour of the Jewish Quarter. If you want to explore the city, you can sign up for a free tour or a complete tour of Cordoba with tickets.

Seguros

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

6Seville Cathedral (Seville)

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

You can buy here your ticket to the Cathedral of Seville with a guided tour or a combined ticket for a tour of Seville that includes the Cathedral, the Alcazar and the Giralda. If you got hooked on the TV series, don’t miss the “Juego de Tronos” tour of the Alcazar of Seville.

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

5The Alhambra (Granada)

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The Alhambra was built between the 13th and 14th centuries when the hooves of the horses on which the Reconquest was galloping were still very far away. Be sure to read our article with the best advice for visiting the Alhambra in Granada, a beautiful Andalusian palace – fortress that fascinates both inside and outside.

In the link you can buy your ticket for a guided tour of the Alhambra, and if you want to enjoy other monuments of the city, do not miss the Royal Chapel and the Cathedral of Granada. Complete your experience in Granada with a flamenco show with dinner or relax in an authentic Hamman Al Ándalus.

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

4City of Arts and Sciences (Valencia)

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias de Valencia

City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia. Photo David Escribano

So futuristic in appearance that it has even served as a set for the “Westworld” series, the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is a snowy collection of stylishly shaped, biologically inspired buildings. The largest aquarium in Europe, the largest exhibition hall in Spain or the interactive exhibitions in the Science Museum are some of the attractions that will make you cross its doors.

At this link you can buy your ticket for a guided tour of the City of Arts and Sciences with tickets to the Prince Felipe Museum and the Aquarium, or if you wish, just the ticket. If you want to know more about the city you can take a complete tour of Valencia or a simple free tour. And for an original experience why not a Valencian paella workshop?

In Viajablog you will find several articles to enjoy the city to the fullest, such as what to see in Valencia in a day, a tour of urban art in Valencia, the 10 best things to see in Valencia, what it’s like to visit the central market in Valencia, the wildlife protection work they do in the Bioparc or practical information such as how to get from Valencia airport to the city centre.

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

3Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Santiago de Compostela)

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

Don’t miss our article with the best tips for visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the 10 best things to see and do in Santiago de Compostela and our Guide to Santiago de Compostela with 11 sites to see, whether you are a pilgrim or not, and recommendations for eating and sleeping.

When visiting Santiago de Compostela, we recommend a guided tour of the Cathedral of Santiago and its museum, a free tour of Santiago de Compostela, a dramatised tour of mysteries and legends, a private tour of Santiago de Compostela or one of these other magnificent excursions in and around Santiago de Compostela

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela does not have an access control system, which is free, but it is estimated that between 3 and 3.5 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 the overnight stays in Santiago were around 1.5 million) the figure of 3 million visits is not unreasonable .

2Museo del Prado (Madrid)

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Spain’s most important art gallery, the Prado Museum, houses great works such as “Las Meninas” (Velázquez), “El Jardín de las Delicias” (El Bosco), “Los fusilamientos del 3 de mayo” (Goya) as well as one of the best collections of flamenco art, to name just a few of the more than 35,000 works in the museum’s collection.

Be sure to read our article with the best tips for visiting the Prado Museum. And if you want to explore Madrid, do not miss our 7 plans to enjoy in Madrid, the 3 best secret corners of Madrid or the curious legend of the house of the 7 chimneys.

For practical transport information, we have told you all the ways to go from Barajas Airport to Madrid city centre, with an article dedicated to our favourite option (depending on which area you go to and which can be combined with others), to go by train from the airport to Madrid.

You can buy your ticket to the Prado Museum in advance on the link, but you can also enjoy a queue-free ticket and guided tour of the Prado Museum. For culture lovers, the recommended tour is the combination of a guided visit to the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen Museum.

The Prado Museum received 3,203,417 visitors in 2019

1Sagrada Familia Basilica (Barcelona)

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It may seem curious that the second most visited monument in Spain has been under construction for almost a century and a half, but such a magnificent work does not matter if you visit it with cranes and scaffolding. What will be the tallest Christian church in the world was designed by the brilliant Gaudí at the end of the 19th century and is full of its peculiar style from the first steps of the access to the top of any of its 8 towers.

As one of the editors of Viajablog lives in Barcelona, don’t miss the local touch in these articles with the best tips for visiting the Sagrada Familia, what is a must see in Barcelona, what to see in Barcelona in one day, what to see in Barcelona in three days, ten unknown places in Barcelona that you won’t find in the guides, the best tips for visiting Barcelona and which are the best viewpoints in Barcelona.

In this link you can buy online the ticket without queues to the Sagrada Familia, the entrance to the Sagrada Familia with ascent to the towers or a tour that combines the best of Gaudi in Barcelona visiting with a guide the Park Güell, the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. We also offer you other activities in Barcelona such as a sailing trip with tapas, a dramatized tour of modernist Barcelona or the gastronomic experience of a tapas tour of the Boqueria Market and the Santa Catalina Market.

The Basilica of the Holy Family received 4.5 million visitors in 2018.

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