Spain is famous abroad for many different things – tapas, fiestas and sangria are some of the many things we love about this country. However, the world heritage sites in Spain also make this country so special: Anyone who is keen on culture, Spain is the right place to visit. Because the country boasts a rich cultural heritage, thefore you should visit some of its wonders once in your lifetime. In the following lines, we introduce you our 10 favourite Spanish World Heritage cities, where you will travel back in time through numerous historical monuments and buildings.
The 10 World Heritage sites in Spain not to miss:
One of the most famous World Heritage sites in Spain is Ibiza´s old town. Over the last few centuries, many different cultures have settled in Ibiza, and today still remains a diverse heritage. Nowadays, you can stroll through Ibiza´s streets. For example, the Dalt Vila, is a part of the old town, which in 1999 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This part of the old town is home to historically representative buildings such as the Cathedral of Santa María de las Nieves or the City Hall. Among other attractions, are the archeological site of Sa Caleta or the necropolis of Es Puig des Molins, besides Ibiza´s stunning beaches and cool bars. All these rich historical places make Ibiza even more beautiful.
Santiago de Compostela
Especially for pilgrims, one of the most well known World Heritage sites in Spain is Santiago de Compostela. The city is the finish line for one of the most popular pilgrimage routes in the world – the Way of St. James, where every year thousands of people take part in. Santiago de Compostela known as one of the holy cities in Christianity. According to a legend, the tomb of James the Apostol is located in the Cathedral of Santiago. Therefore, it attracts many balievers and interested people to the city. The interior of the cathedral delights with Romanesque art dating back to several centuries ago. As per the historical center of the city, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Not to mention, the gastronomy of this World Heritage Site: as it has a large, affordable and good quality offer.
The World Heritage city of Tarragona, located on the Costa Daurada, has several World Heritage Sites that are well preserved until today. Poblet Monastery is one of the best preserved Cistercian monasteries in the world. Since Tarragona was founded during the Roman Empire, the city is home to a variety of buildings from this period. The amphitheater, dated back to the 2nd century, was designed for approximately 14,000 people and served to show gladiatorial and predator battles. Even today, this can be visited and admired, as well as it offers a wonderful view of the Mediterranean Sea. The historical city center hosts the famous Cathedral of Santa María, embraced by the ancient city walls, built in the 3rd century BC. Along the coast you will find small fishing villages, where you can taste delicious fish and seafood dishes. Tarragona also boasts large selection of beach coves where you can relax!
Segovia has two official World Heritage Sites: its old town and the Roman aqueduct. This aqueduct was important in the past as it supplied the city with water 18 kilometers away. But also the old town has a lot of sights that you must visit: Particularly well known, the Álcazar palace fortress in the west of the old town, considered one of the most famous castles in Spain. The cathedral, located in the center, captivates many tourists with its Gothic style and contrasts with the many Romanesque churches of the city of Segovia
If you want to visit the most on one trip, then Toledo is the place for you. Considered the city with the most tourist attractions in Spain and also known as the city of the three cultures. The background is that in Toledo, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together for centuries. Thus, Toledo offers a wide cultural heritage. Among the buildings, there are palaces and fortresses, but also there are different prayer houses. You can find churches, synagogues or mosques. Because of its enormous cultural diversity, the whole city is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When talking about Spanish World Heritage sites, we cannot forget Córdoba. A city in the southern Spain, in the region of Andalucía. The Mosque-Cathedral shows through its architectural features the importance of the city in the Middle Ages. Cordoba used to be an important Roman city and a major Islamic hub in the middle ages. The most important monument is “La mezquita”, a large mosque dating back to 784 A.D. In 1236 it became a Catholic church. If you come to Córdoba, you will certainly have a lot to do. Because of its numerous events, museums, gardens and its famous flowery courtyards.
Like many other World Heritage sites in Spain, Úbeda has a wide range of historical places to visit . She is famous for her Andalusian Renaissance style, which is magnificently drawn throughout the city. Úbeda boasts 48 monuments and another hundred of interesting buildings, most of them from the Renaissance style. The Palacio de las Cadenas or the Basílica de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares, are just two examples of this astonishing architectural style. These numerous and well-preserved buildings make Úbeda one of the most important Renaissance cities in the country. For this reason, in 2003 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.
For all those language lovers, Salamanca should be listed at the top. Because from Salamanca comes the first grammatical forms of the Spanish language, found in the 15th century. Thus, this city was the origin of Spanish, before it got spread worldwide. Likewise, its historical city center is a World Heritage Site. Furthermore, the university of the city, is one of the most ancient universities in Europe, considered a masterpiece from the times of the Spanish Renaissance. Besides, most of Salamanca´s buildings are made up of villamayor, a stones that gives the impression of being turned into gold at dusk.
For this reason, Salamanca is called the golden city, so make sure you visit it during the daylight and night light.
Cuenca is a particularly a fascinating city, because it has many hanging houses that seem to float between rocks. The so-called houses with their layers of wooden balconies, seem to emerge from the rock as if an extension of the cliffs. The best views of the hanging houses is from San Pablo footbridge. These houses date back to the 15th century, and considered one of the most impressive landmarks in the city. Also, is worth seeing the Plaza Mayor with the town hall and the Gothic cathedral, Nuestra Señora de Gracia, which due to the length of its construction, the building contains elements from three different eras: Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.
At last but not least, we have Merida as one of world heritage sites in Spain. It particularly stands out its Roman influences. The Roman theatre with a capacity of 6,000 people is one of the most striking indicators and one of the most famous attraction in the city. Right next door is the amphitheater. The Summer is the best season to visit Merida, when the theatre festival takes place. During this season these two cultural heritage sites open to the public. We highly recommend you to experience this truly exciting tourist attraction.
We hope we make you feel like travelling through Spain and exploring these beautiful cities. It is undeniable that the Spanish cultural heritage, thanks to the cultural diversity of its past, is very rich and interesting. So, what are you waiting for to visit them?Pack your luggage and explore the 10 world heritage sites in Spain. If you need some entertainment while travelling, have a look at Muchosol´s favourite travel movies to watch on the ipad or laptop while you travel.