Spain’s Scenic Spots: 6 Can’t Miss Views Around the Country

Santa Maria de Montserrat
John Greim / Getty Images

The beautiful country of Spain has far more to offer than just Barcelona (the capital and largest city in Catalonia) and Madrid (the richest part of Spain). These bustling cities and the small towns around them are full of warm culture, excellent cuisine, and attractions, but part of Spain’s draw is its breathtaking natural beauty and scenic drives. The landscapes are varied and jaw-dropping and the architecture is rich in history and awe-inspiring. In fact, Spain is dotted with incredible views that would make anyone step back and gasp. Some of Spain’s scenic spots are well-known and therefore well visited while others are a little more off the beaten path. Regardless, these are six of the most beautiful scenic places in Spain and should be on your itinerary to discover on your next trip.

Mount Teide, Tenerife

Mount Teide has many claims to fame, including its summit, which is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic. It only takes eight minutes to reach the top of this volcano via cable car and during that eight minutes riders will get absolutely spectacular views. Travel from November to March and be treated to snow covered peaks and glistening snow. The top station of the cable car is where you can buy a drink, enjoy the sweeping views, and take plenty of photos. If you want to reach the actual summit of this volcano ensure you have obtained a free permit beforehand. If you really want to take in the views that this volcano offers, tackle it by foot, a grueling five-hour trek that takes you through some spectacular landscapes. This is a hike you’ll never forget!

Toledo

According to an old Spanish saying, until you have seen Toledo, you have not seen Spain. One of the best ways to see this city is from above and there is no shortage of scenic outlooks here. Head to the Mirador del Valle located across the river Tagus that lends traditional views of the city as are often portrayed. The medieval castle of Mirador del Castillo de San Servando offers a different view of the Old Historic Toledo with both the river and the bridge Alcantara in the background. The ancient defensive tower turned into the public park of Torreon del Puenta de San Martin offers views of the old quarter of San Martin and the bridge over the river Tagus. The city’s two fortified footbridges can be reached from one another in just an hour and views across the gorge are simply stunning.

Santa María de Montserrat, Montserrat

Located about 45 kilometers northwest of Barcelona, this mountain with the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat is not only a grand site from afar but offers an exceptional view from the top. The monastery is Catalonia’s most religious retreat and groups of young people from all over make overnight hikes at least once in their lifetime to watch the sunrise from the heights of Montserrat. Get here from Barcelona by train and cable car, with the cable car offering outstanding views along the way. Once at the site you will be exploring by foot. Don’t miss hiking to the highest point – Sant Jeroni – where almost all of Catalonia can be seen. Be sure to pick up a map from the information desk and hike around the peaks for the best views in all of scenic Spain. Alternatively, choose a reputable company offering tours. They may even navigate the winding road and drive you to the monastery – perfect if you weren’t planning on renting a car.

Picos de Europa Mountains

It is hard to narrow down the best view in the Picos de Europa Mountains, mainly because these jagged, deeply fissured mountains offer some of the most spectacular landscapes in all of northern Spain. The Picos de Europa area was the first National Park to be created in the country at the start of the 20th century and walking through it proves to give visitors the best views. There are a great variety of trails to explore from whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or challenging hike. The most famous route in the area is La Ruta del Cares, which follows the deep Cares gorge for 12 km through the center of the mountain range. Spectacular scenery, awe-inspiring views, and an interesting history make this hike well worth the effort. Also worth checking out is the ascent to Enol Kale and Ercina Lake in the mountains near Covadonga as it is considered to have some of the best views of the Picos.

Ronda

Ronda sits in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda and above a deep ravine, surrounded by lush river valleys and about 100 kilometers from the city of Malaga. The Puente Nuevo bridge was completed in 1793, after 42 years of construction, and joins the old Moorish town and the newer El Mercadillo parts of the city. It also happens to offer unforgettable views over the El Tajo gorge. Another place to take in views of the gorge is the Parador Hotel, which sits adjacent to the bridge. Visitors who take the time to walk down into the gorge along the Camino de los Molinos will have the greatest of views. Pro tip? Springtime trips offer the best view when the whole valley floor is awash with blooming flowers.

Mirador de San , Granada

If you want the best view in Granada, head to the Mirador de San Nicolas. Here, you can expect to see the Alhambra palace, the city of Granada, and the world-famous Sierra Nevada mountains. Don’t expect to have this place to yourself though, as it’s a very popular tourist attraction, in addition to the locals who come up to sing, play music, and sell their wares. Sunset is the absolute best time to be up here, but you should come at least an hour early to grab a good spot as this is the busiest time of the day. Choose to walk or take one of the tiny rickety buses up – either way this is one scenic view in Spain you won’t want to miss out on.

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