My 6 Favorite Views in Spain

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”

Liz

So you are planning a trip to Spain, are you? Or maybe you are even moving here soon? What do you want to see? What do you want to do? Where do you even begin?! 

Don’t worry, I always feel the same way. There is so much to see and do in Spain it can be overwhelming. Some places you imagine to be so amazing that when you get here, it can be underwhelming and almost disappointing, or perhaps you end up somewhere you never intended and fall completely in love with it!

But do you want to know my secret for being both surprised and overwhelmed at the same when traveling? This will be our little secret, shhhhh…..a place with a view! Whether of a city or a landscape, of a village or an ocean. If you go somewhere with a view, 99.9% of the time you are going to lose your breath, take a step back, say, “holy s***” and then take a million photos, in that order.

One of my biggest travel tricks is looking for views. Whenever I am in a city, I always try to get up to the top of the tallest building or even outside on a mountain for a spectacular view of the place itself. The only chance you have of disappoint could be the weather, depending. Sometimes clouds and rainy days make for even more dramatic skylines. It all depends on you! 

So here are my top 6 views in Spain, from me to you. Some of them are well-known, some are way off the beaten track.

What are your best views in Spain or around the world? Did I chose any of your faves?

1. Granada

Granada is the jewel of Spain. Tucked in next to the towering Sierra Nevada mountains in the south, this small ancient city packs a punch. Popular with tourists and university students alike, Granada is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain for a good reason. Home to the famous Alhambra moorish palace, fortress and garden complex overlooking the crumbly old city, it has to be my favorite historical site in Spain. I fall in love with Granada every time I visit. The only thing I can’t agree on is if the view is best from the Alhambra palace itself of the old white city and mountains in the distance, or from the Mirador de San Nicolás in the Albayzín looking towards the Alhambra in the distance with the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains in the background.

2. Montserrat

Montserrat is a famous mountain in Cataluña, near Barcelona. Perched precariously on top of the mountain is a small working Benedictine monastery named Santa María de Montserrat. To get up there you have to take a rather shady cable car through the clouds and mists. As you walk around this thousand year old monastery, taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and landscape, you might never want to leave.

3. San Sebastián

San Sebastián is one of my favorite places in northern Spain. Only a few miles from the French border, it is a cute medieval town on the Basque coast, surrounded by green mountains and forests with a lush countryside. The old town is right next to the harbor and you can climb up to the top of the mountain with an amazing view over the bay, islands and city. San Sebastián is seriously beautiful, making it very popular with Spaniards and tourists alike. It helps that San Sebastián is home to the famous pinchos, northern Spain’s version of the tapa. Delicious!

4. Ronda

Most likely the least known place on this least is Ronda, Spain. Located in the south near Málaga and Granada, it an old town beloved by Ernest Hemingway also perched on top of some sheer cliffs, divided by a tall gorge with a river running down into a waterfall. Ronda is not very touristy, which makes it the ideal place to visit if you want to steer away from the beaten path in Andalucía. Really cheap with lots to see and do, it’s the perfect weekend destination, though make sure you are in shape because you are in for a lot of stairs and climbing around. The views from the old bridges and along the cliffs are unparalleled, but it is also worth hiking down below to get some great shots of the city high above.

5. Toledo

Toledo is one of my all time favorite cities in Spain and the place I’ve returned to the most on this list. Ever since I first visited it in 2005, I fell in love. 30 minutes outside Madrid, it is super easy to get to, and I go back every chance I get. A medieval small city perched high on a hill, surrounded by a river and more mountains, it couldn’t be more picturesque. My secret is driving outside the old town up to the Parador hotel. Located high on a mountain above the city, in back they have a cafe with a terrace overlooking all of Toledo. You can drive, hike, or walk up here, but the best time is at sunset when the city turns pink and gold.

6. Lanzarote

Want to take a break from the Peninsula and look for a nice beach getaway? Hop on a cheap flight to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Less touristy and smaller than the other islands, there is tons to see and do, and the views are spectacular. My favorite view was from the northwest part of the island at a place called Mirador del Río. High on top of a mountain, it overlooks the tiny islands of la Graciosa and Montaña Clara. Driving up tiny back roads to the viewpoint can be rather terrifying, but it’s worth it.

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21 Comments on “My 6 Favorite Views in Spain

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  1. Thanks for a truly inspiring post, Liz! Your own personal Vista de Toledo is gorgeous. Now, did you say you drove up to the parador to get that view? With a rental car, I guess? Could you explain how that works in Spain; e.g., paying a deposit/credit limit check thing, driving stick-shift, pricing, etc.? I’m going to be an auxiliar in Andalucía this fall and am trying to think what to do for transportation for trips. Thanks so much!!!

    1. 🙂 actually I always take a taxi haha. It’s really cheap, especially if you share with people. I haven’t really rented too many cars in Spain, but usually they either have a young drivers fee or you have to have a credit card, it all depends on the company. mostly stick cars, its a lot more expensive to rent an automatic here but they do have lots of deals, so you can usually rent a car for cheap. where in andalucia will you be? I was an auxiliar in cordoba last yr.

  2. Nice picks! Ronda and Granada have seriously gorgeous views, and I can’t wait to go to the rest of the places on your list.

    My top picks for views? I love the view from Barcelona’s Port Vell, as you can see the whole city light up if you go in the evening. And watching the sunset at Ibiza’s Café del Mar was mind-blowingly beautiful.

    1. Wow I have to add those two to my list! I am hoping to make it out to Barcelona this summer again, but I’ll have to save Ibiza for another year. Can’t afford it right now haha 😀

  3. Thanks for the great pictures and suggestions. I will be in Spain next year and am trying to decide where to go and what to see, after walking the Camino Frances. You have helped immensely!

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