Whether you prefer the calm of life around the coast, the excitement of the wildlife, or the splendor of the vibrant metropolitan cities, it can all be found in Spain. As one of the most historically significant countries in Europe, Spain is known to be rich not only in history, but also culture, customs, and traditions. As an international student in Spain, you will find this country has simply so much to offer (to fulfill, both, your academic and individual expectations). Truth be told, there are countless places to visit while studying abroad in Spain, and you can visit many of them depending on the duration of your stay.
If you really want to experience the Spanish culture and traditions, make sure you travel as much as you can. Keep reading for more information in this regard.
Here are the top places to visit in Spain as an international student:
1. Barcelona and Madrid
Maybe not as budget-friendly as, let’s say, Zaragoza, Barcelona and Madrid are two Spanish cities loved and appreciated by international students and tourists alike. Often students do not know which one to choose first, whether it is when it comes to choosing a university or simply visiting. Both Barcelona and Madrid have more or less the same cost of living, which is largely more expensive than in other Spanish cities. However, they are both astounding when it comes to visit-worthy attractions, academic institutions, or social and nightlife.
Dipped in rich history and an amazing culture, there is plenty to see and do in both these cities, whether you are looking for museums, art galleries, cinemas, or theaters. Do not forget to check for student discounts! While Spain’s capital Madrid, located almost in the centre of Spain, is known for its elegance, boulevards, and European art, Barcelona, located on the coast of northeastern Spain, is largely recognized for its expansive and outstanding architecture, especially the famous landmark known as Sagrada Família church.
2. San Sebastián
Among places to visit in Spain for international students is also San Sebastian. As one of the most visited cities in Spain, San Sebastian is rich in beaches and food culture. The culinary experience is one of a kind in Spain’s San Sebastian, from pintxos to cider houses, to txokos. The food is a must-try here, and many suggest that the right way to grab a bite in San Sebastian is if you order one or two pintxos and drink per bar, and proceed to the next one. Try them all! From international film to jazz and food festivals, everything seems perfect to an international visitor. If you are wise with your finances, your visit might even be considered budget-friendly.
Zaragoza is a vibrant city with plenty of opportunities to explore and have fun. Although it does not look like the traditional tourist attractions, the city is famous for its folklore, cuisione, and landmarks like La Seo Cathedral, Aljafería Palace, Goya Museum, or Basílica del Pilar. If you find yourself in Zaragoza, pay attention to the beautiful architecture, try the local cuisine, visit the outstanding museums and explore the cathedrals and fortresses. Zaragoza, even if not as famous as Barcelona or Madrid, is an impressive city that creates the perfect blend of the modern and the old, and there is culture and history everywhere you look.
As an international student, Salamanca should definitely be among cities you visit while studying abroad in Spain. This city is home to the oldest university in Spain (and 5th oldest in Europe) that is still actively working. The date of construction of the University of Salamanca dates back to 1218 and it still welcomes students today. The Plaza Mayor in Salamanca is often referred to as the ‘living room’ of the city and it is one of the most fascinating arcaded plazas in Spain. Sandstone architecture, lovely souvenirs, culture, and history, are essentially what make this city so special. Let’s not forget, you will be able to find numerous exquisite buildings in Salamanca, one of which is the outstanding Casa de las Conchas, studded by carved stone shells!
Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, has so much to offer in terms of art, culture, beaches, nightlife, and festivals. As an international student looking for a destination in Spain where you could spend some quality time and feel fully immersed in the Spanish culture, Valencia would be a perfect choice. If you like the golden sand and sunshine as a way to relax and take a break from studying and exams, explore the Valencian coastline because it will not disappoint. The Old Town makes you feel at home and comfortable, and the street art and coffee shops will definitely compel you to come back some time in the future. Cobblestone streets, tiny churches, even tourist attractions (if you like following the curious crowd), and just plenty of unexplored sights. The locals are more than willing to offer directions. Make sure you do not leave without trying the famous paella dish – authentic to Valencia.
6. Tamariu, Costa Brava
This picturesque coastal village is located on the Costa Brava and it belongs to the municipality of Palafrugell. It is rich in vegetation and its beach is a sight to behold. The beach is surrounded by pine trees, while the restaurants and coffee shops simply complement the whole aesthetic. Tamariu used to be a small fishing village in the past. Located less than two hours from the city of Barcelona, Tamariu might just be dubbed as a Spanish haven. The view, tranquility, surrounding region, and the overall experience is exceptional in Tamariu. Definitely worth the visit.
7. Marbella, Costa del Sol
Surrounded by the warm Mediterranean and the Sierra Blanca, Marabella enjoys protection from harsh meteorological conditions. With approximately 320 days of sunshine, mild winters, and warm summers, this city in the Andalucian coast offers its visitors a wonderful and relaxing experience. With approximately 30km of beaches to choose from here, this city is an ideal place to enjoy leisure time. You will be able to find wonderful options of food, considering that the gastronomy is top-notch, and the Old Town with its cobblestone streets will make you feel like you are back in time. Whether you want to rent banana boats, kayaks, pedal boats, or jet-skis, you will find everything in Marbella.
8. Ayamonte, Costa de la Luz
If you are interested in visiting a place that has not been touched by crowds of tourists, you should visit Costa de la Luz. Ayamonte has a typical Mediterranean climate, which ensures mild and sunny weather year round. This is among places you could visit if you want a nice and calm holiday, where the leisure activities are also plentiful. You could engage in water sports, sailing, and even biking and walking to enjoy the view. While in Ayamonte, make sure to visit the historic old town and take a walk through the centre. Located next to the town’s castle is the Church of the Divine Saviour (Iglesia del Salvador) built in mudéjar style, which is a compelling form of architecture.