If you love visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites, then Spain must be on your travel list. Did you know that there are 47 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain? This country is home to so many places worthy of this designation for their cultural significance, or natural beauty? Here are six of my UNESCO sites in Spain that travelers shouldn’t miss!
The Works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona
Everyone knows about La Sagrada Familia as it is one of Spain’s number one attractions. But several other Gaudí works in Barcelona are also classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites. These include Parque Güell, Palacio Güell, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, Casa Batlló, and the Crypt in Colonia Güell.
Architecture lovers might want to consider a private Barcelona walking tour, which I can help arrange, to get an up-close perspective of Gaudí’s whimsical architectural style.
Córdoba’s Centro Historico
The entire historic center of Córdoba is a designated UNESCO site. Therefore, Córdoba boasts one of the largest world heritage sites in all of Europe. Included is the famous Mezquita Mayor (pictured above), which used to be a mosque, but was turned into a cathedral in the 1200s. Known for its mesmerizing arches, evidence of both faiths can be found in this unique building. Make sure to also spend some time wandering Córdoba’s small streets. You will soon understand why the whole centro histórico is included on the UNESCO list.
Córdoba’s annual Fiesta de los Patios is my personal favorite festival in all of Spain. Want to go next year? Let me help you plan your visit!
The Mudéjar Buildings in Aragón
Mudéjar is an architectural style unique to Spain. Although you can find buildings in this style in several areas of Spain, the Aragón area has so many gems that UNESCO listed “the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon” to their list. This style was developed by the Catholics but was meant to mimic the Moorish style. The reason behind it? Economics. It was less expensive to design buildings in Mudéjar style. Some of the best places in Aragón to see these architectural gems are Zaragoza, the largest city in the province, and Teruel, a small, regional city.
Looking to visit some of the off-the-beaten path towns in Aragón? I can put a handcrafted itinerary together, personalized just for you!
Salamanca is another city where the center earned a UNESCO World Heritage Site mention. All within the small historic center, you can find Renaissance, Baroque, Romanesque, Gothic, and even Moorish buildings. At night these monuments are all lit up gold and are just as impressive as they are during the day. Do not miss Salamanca’s stunning Plaza Mayor. Bonus points: if you find the frog carved into the facade on of one of the buildings at the University of Salamanca, legend says you’ll have good academic and love luck. It’s there!
Salamanca is a perfect stop on a Spain and Portugal road trip. Contact me if you want some tips for planning that!
Alcalá de Henares’ (streets and university)
Looking for an easy day trip from Madrid via commuter train? Look no further than Alcalá de Henares! The university in Alcalá de Henares is not only one of Spain’s best but is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure to also explore the medieval streets near the University. You will quickly learn that Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes, was born here. You can visit his birth house as well as find a lot of other tributes to the writer and his most famous work, Don Quixote in Alcalá de Henares.
Visiting Madrid? Want local tips and ideas of how to spend your time in Spain’s capital? Let’s get in touch!
If you know me, you are probably not at all surprised to see the Alhambra rounding out my list of favorite UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain. As famous as it is, the Alhambra is not overrated. The intricate carvings and Moorish geometrical tile work will blow you away. And the birds-eye view of Granada that you get from the Alcazaba on site is like no other. A visit to Granada’s Alhambra is simply a Spain must-do! The Generalife (gardens) and Albayzín (old Moorish quarters) are also included as part of the Alhambra complex by UNESCO.
Going to Granada? I can help you secure your Alhambra tickets for the best possible time. There are also many other insider tips and Granada tricks that I share with my travel planning clients.
Ready to start planning your trip to visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain?
There are quite a lot to choose from as these are only a few of them. Need help deciding which ones to see and how to strategically plan an itinerary to make the most of your trip to Spain? Simply use the form on this page to get in touch with me about my Spain travel planning services.
Come discover the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain for yourself!
My name is Karen & travel is not only my passion but also my profession.