Barcelona may be an obvious choice, but this much-loved city has more than meets the eye, and even if you’ve been here ten times, you’ll still find something new to discover. The city also has a great hostel culture and there are so many different meet-up groups, events and themed tours to sign up to, that you won’t ever be truly be alone (unless you want to be). Some opportunities include Devour Barcelona‘s food and tapas tour or an art or photography tour with Art Space Barcelona. And if you decide to stay in a hotel and not go to any group events, there are so many festivals in Barcelona, (one is sure to coincide with your trip) that you’ll have plenty to entertain you, even without others around.
Madrid might seem a little overwhelming for solo travellers, at first, as it’s so big (one of the biggest cities in Europe in fact), however it’s packed with so many sights, you’ll be too busy to ever feel lonely. Madrid is especially great for art museums and since art galleries are no-talking zones anyway, you may as well visit them solo. The city is in fact home to three of Spain’s best art museums, known as The Golden Triangle – the Reina Sofia Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Prado Museum, which are sure to keep you entertained for hours on end.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Paseo del Prado, 8, Madrid, Spain, +34 902 76 05 11
Museo del Prado, Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain, +34 913 30 28 00
Spain’s third largest city has really been coming into its own in the last few years, with lots of new attractions opening and regeneration of parts of the city, such as El Cabanyal and Ruzafa. With so many new openings, it won’t be hard to fill up your solo time in Valencia. Just a few of the new attractions here include the Silk Museum; the Bombas Gens art gallery, housed in an old bomb factory; and the recently-restored frescoes in the Church of San Nicolás de Bari. The only problem you might find is that made-to-order paellas are often made for two or more people, so opt for menus of the day, where you may be offered a plate of paella as either a starter or a main course instead.
Granada is a very small city, so it’s an easy place to meet other travellers. Just wander around the elegant plazas or cute little cobbled streets of the Albaicín neighbourhood and you’re sure to bump into people again and again. The exquisite beauty of the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife gardens are excellent spots for personal reflection and getting lost in your own thoughts when you want some alone time too. Granada is also a good place for hanging on a little longer and joining some type of course – always a great way to meet people. There are lots of good inexpensive language schools if you want to learn Spanish, and it’s also one of the best places in Spain to learn flamenco.
Bilbao is another great Spanish city for art and architecture lovers. The city is filled with many amazing contemporary structures, which are ideal for exploring on your own, with just your camera for company. As well as the celebrated Guggenheim Museum, there’s the Azkuna Zentroa arts centre and the Ribera Market to explore. And if you do feel like meeting up with other travellers, then it’s a great city for tours, from walking and boat options to pintxos tours. Check out our list of the best Bilbao tours for some inspiration.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Abandoibarra Etorb 2, Bilbao, Spain, +34 944 35 90 80
Azkuna Zentroa, Arriquíbar Plaza 4, Bilbao, Spain, +34 944 01 40 14
La Ribera Bilbao, Erribera Kalea, Bilbao, Spain, +34 944 79 06 95
Seville is Spain’s most romantic city, so it may not seem like an obvious choice for travelling alone, however it’s one of Spain’s most beautiful too. You’ll be so busy looking at fountain-filled courtyards, colourful tiles, and charming lemon-coloured houses, that you’ll simply forget that there’s no one there beside you. Two of the top sites to visit are the Moorish Real Alcázar and the impressive Plaza de España, but you’ll also find plenty to explore in amongst the cute alleyways of the old Jewish Quarter – the Barrio de Santa Cruz.
Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Patio de Banderas, s/n, Seville, Spain, +34 954 50 23 24
Camino de Santiago
Not simply one destination, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route traverses the top of Spain, all the way to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Some of the major cities it travels through are Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, León and Santiago de Compostela. The Camino is an ideal adventure for solo travellers, and thousands undertake the journey alone every year. It’s a time to walk and be totally immersed in your own thoughts, but it’s also an opportunity to meet a wide range of interesting characters and make ever-lasting friendships along the way. There is a real sense of camaraderie on the Camino, and sharing a hostel room with other pilgrims every night, you’re sure to make friends or walking buddies in no time.