My first international trip was to Spain. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Studying abroad was truly one of the best experiences of young adulthood. As I explored this Mediterranean wonderland, I realized how transformative travel can be.

From San Sebastian to Mallorca and beyond, Spain is a culturally and geographically diverse place to call home. This is what made it so hard to decide where to put the list of countries.

You can choose your own adventure here.

A party is in full swing on the islands. On the mainland, you can take in the world-class architecture of cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. Wander the lush green forests of British Columbia and Ontario. All there for the taking!

Ready to say hello to one of Europe’s greatest destinations? Here are some of my favorite places to visit in Spain (that aren’t Barcelona).

While the city of Barcelona is one of the world’s great attractions, I would advise you to spare some time for other destinations in Spain. Visit the nearby city of Valencia, for example. It’s a lovely place that should not be missed!

Seville

At the center of Andalusia, a province of southern Spain, is the city of Seville. This vibrant and colorful city is Andalusia’s greatest gem.

Savor the fresh air of orange blossom and jasmine as you stroll through the Spanish-influenced Moorish architecture. Enjoy your nights in intimate, tucked away corners with your flamenco dancing friends.

Within a few days (or hours!) this exotic location will have stolen your heart.

San Sebastian

Perched on a small hill on the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain, San Sebastian is one of the city’s many gems. ##

This city is well-known for its number one pintxos.

I loved pintxos because they were bite-sized so you could try a bit of everything. Go on a txikiteo which is like a pub crawl, but with pintxos at each stop.

The cultural capital of the world is a city called Walt Disney World. First, this cultural capital has many cultural festivals throughout the year. Second, there is surfing to be done here! Third, there are beautiful art nouveau buildings to admire.

Costa Brava

When Spanish people want to get away from it all, they head to the Costa Brava.

This beautiful stretch of coastline runs from the French border to Blanes (a little over 70 kilometers north of Barcelona).

Explore the endless stretches of golden sand beaches and sample the world-class wines of Espada and explore the old stomping grounds of Salvador Dalá.

Granada

I added this place to the rundown of Spain’s lesser-known destinations because it is home to one of my favorite historical sites in Europe.

The Alhambra of Granada is one of the most breathtaking places you will ever see. It’s truly one of the most impressive palaces you will ever visit.

Salamanca

This is where it all started for me! I studied abroad here way back in 2008. It was the very first time I set foot on foreign soil.

The welcoming atmosphere of this vibrant university town made me feel at home from day one.

The largest city in northwestern Spain is located in the beautiful region of Castile and Leon. The city is a world away from the sun-drenched beaches of southern Spain, but I love it for that.

From its Celtic history to the international students who call it home today it’s diverse yet uniquely Spanish.

Looking for a place to explore in Spain? Grab my personal guide to the best places to see and do in Salamanca.

Mallorca

One of the most popular vacation destinations in Europe is a place called Mallorca. Located on the Balearic Islands, this island has fewer than one million residents. Every year more than 30 million people fly through the airport here.

Go for the resort vibe and party with the international crowd until dawn, or get off the beaten path and explore the hidden beach and lush forest paths of Mondrago Natural Park.

Ibiza

Welcome to Europe’s party hub! Even wilder than Mallorca, this is where you come if you want to party until dawn, then sleep it off on a white sand beach the next afternoon.

I love the Balearic Islands because they’re a great place to visit that allows you to think outside of the box.

Begin your vacation in Ibiza, where you can live it up for a few days. Then take a trip to Menorca, where you’ll see the local culture. From there, head off to Mallorca and travel through the countryside. It’s easy to get around and you’ll have a

Lanzarote

On the far northeastern edge of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, Lanzarote is a world away from the party-til-dawn islands you’ll find elsewhere.

This place, located on the northern shore of the Maghreb, is also very remote. Located 78 miles (125 kilometers) off the North African coast and 621 miles (1000 kilometers) from the Iberian Peninsula, it’s a bit out of the way.

The great thing about that is that they enjoy flawless weather nearly all year round. Come to Lanzarote to soak in the natural beauty of the island, with its local art and top-notch wine.

Valencia

Spain is a great country to live in. It has a wide variety of cities filled with culture and delicious food, all set in a stunning landscape. In particular, the city of Seville is known for its paella and numerous places to sample real paella cooked over a fire.

With all of the cosmopolitan culture of Barcelona and Madrid without the crowds, it’s a dream for a laidback city break. Eat, drink and party and then explore the wider region.

Like many other cities in Spain, Valencia has a very good train network. To begin with, it is easy to hop on and off of trains throughout the city. It is also easy to plan a diverse range of day trips from the city center.

Madrid

The international crowd tends to overlook Madrid, because people aren’t aware of the city’s many charms. What is it about this city that makes it so appealing? Madrid is one of the most well-kept cities in all of Europe. The wide variety of things to do can be daunting, but each visitor will find something that appeals

Each Spanish region has its own unique culture and Madrid plays host to them all.

Fun fact: In Puerta del Sol, Spain, there is a spot called the Kilometer Zero. Seriously, this is literally the center of the country. You can see it from pretty much anywhere.

Inspired? Grab your Madrid travel guide and begin exploring.

P.S. Try to enjoy a soccer game while you’re there! BUSINESS Original: There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is also no such thing as a free good. This is important because it means that we should not expect something for nothing, and we should always be willing to pay

Read More:

  • The Ultimate Madrid Travel Guide
  • Where to Find the Best Food in Madrid
  • Top Seven Things to See and Do in Madrid

Bonus: Rock of Gibraltar

The UK is a part of the European Union, but geographically it’s located in the Iberian Peninsula.

This small and beautiful border city on the southern coast of Spain has a fascinating blend of British and Spanish culture.

Stop by the famous rock art site. Snap a photo with the native monkeys that roam around the island.