10 things in Spain to put on your bucket list

David Ramos/Getty ImagesGo clubbing in Ibiza, Spain.
  • With its variety of climates and culinary styles, Spain is a traveller’s dream.
  • You can participate in the world’s largest food fight and zip-line to Portugal.

Spain is a traveller’s dream. It has a variety of climates – one day you can be lounging on La Concha beach in the coastal city of San Sebastián and the next skiing the slopes in Granada – and a number of culinary styles. Central Spain is known for roast meats and stews, Cataluña for casserole, and Northern Spain and Andalucía for seafood.

From eating at the world’s oldest restaurant to taking a zip line to Portugal, here are 10 can’t miss things to do on a trip to Spain.

Dine at the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world in Madrid.

John Greim/LightRocket/GettyA chef at Sobrino de Botín tending to a baby pig in the restaurant’s open oven.

The Guinness Book of World Records named Sobrino de Botín in Madrid the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world. French cook Jean Botín and his wife opened the restaurant in 1725, initially as an inn that cooked only what guests brought into the establishment. Today the restaurant is known for its roasted meats.

Read more: Here’s what it’s like to eat at the world’s oldest restaurant

Feast on free tapas in Barcelona.

Many bars offer free tapas – small plates of food to share – when you buy a drink. Barcelona has a host of bars that will give you patatas bravas (fried potatoes in spicy tomato sauce) or pinchitos (marinated pork skewers) with a beer.

Go to a flamenco show in Seville.

Flamenco is a style of music and dance associated with the Roma people of the Andalucía region, who call themselves Gitanos. UNESCO listed the dance as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, and it’s a truly unique thing to experience while in Spain.

There are a number of flamenco performance venues, called tablaos, in Seville, and you can also see performances in bars and small clubs called peñas.

Visit Devil’s Bridge in Catalonia.

De Agostini/GettyDevil’s Bridge in Catalonia.

One of the highlights of Catalonia is the Les Ferreres aqueduct, also known as the Pont del Diable or Devil’s Bridge. Of the original 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), only 217 meters (712 feet) remain. UNESCO named it and other ruins in the area, collectively the Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco, a World Heritage Site in 2000. According to UNESCO, Romans built Tárraco, which is now Tarragona, in the third century BC.

You can visit the aqueduct for free and walk across it, and there’s a nearby park with walking trails and more Roman ruins.

Go to a secluded beach in the Cíes Islands.

homydesign / ShutterstockSpain’s Playa de Rodas, on the Cíes Islands.

With over 3,000 miles of coastline to its name, Spain is not lacking in beautiful beaches. One that stands out is Playa de Rodas, on the Cíes Islands. There are no hotels and it’s a 40-minute ferry ride from the northern coast, but beach’s white sand and crystal waters are worth the trip.

Go clubbing in Ibiza.

Flickr/Amnesia IbizaAmnesia club in Ibiza.

Following in the tradition of dining late, clubs in Spain open late and stay busy into the morning. Barcelona, Valencia, and other cities have big nightlife scenes, and Ibiza, one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, is one of the most popular party spots in Europe.

Read more: I visited Ibiza, the party capital of the world, but the best part of the island is the side no one ever talks about

Eat churros con chocolate.

millerv / iStockChurros con chocolate.

Dance until the sun comes up, then indulge in churros con chocolate: warm, fried dough served with chocolate dipping sauce. The food is a Spanish staple.

Witness one of the greatest soccer players.

Even if you’re not a soccer fan, you’ve probably heard of Lionel Messi. The Argentinean player is considered one of the best of all time, and the pitch he plays on, Camp Nou, is pretty spectacular too. The stadium is in Barcelona and it’s the largest stadium in Europe. You can take a 90-minute tour for 26 euros (about $US30).

See the Barcelona basilica that’s been under construction for more than 135 years.

David Ramos/Getty ImagesThe Sagrada Família.

While you’re in Barcelona for Camp Nou, go to the Sagrada Família. Workers laid the basilica’s first stone in March 1882, and it’s been under construction ever since. Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí came on board in 1883 and designed the plan for the Sagrada Família, which is set to be completed in 2026.

You can take a tour of the basilica for 17 euros (about $US19) and see the intricate statues, carvings, and stained glass.

Read more: Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia has been building without a permit for 136 years – and now it has to pay a $US41 million fine

Zip-line over international waters.

Limite ZeroThe Limite Zero zip line crosses the Guadiana River.

The Limite Zero zip line extends over the Guadiana River from Huelva, Spain, to Alcoutim, Portugal. When you zip-line the 720 meters to Portugal, you gain an hour because of the time-zone difference.

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