Rich with history, culture and magnificent natural landscapes, it’s no wonder that Spain is home to dozens of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the protected landmarks are as diverse as Spain itself. From national parks to cathedrals, we’ve chosen our favourite of Spain’s breath-taking World Heritage Sites – and each has its own intriguing story to tell.
Works of Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona
The innovative Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi left a legacy of seven works in Barcelona after his death in 1926, including Park Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Vicens and the still-unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral. Each of his works shares the same fantastical aesthetic, and whilst he endured much criticism for his experimental style during his lifetime, his beautiful works have finally been appreciated with World Heritage Site status.
The Biodiversity and Culture of Ibiza
Think Ibiza is nothing more than just a clubbing destination? You may be surprised to learn that the entire island of Ibiza is a World Heritage Site, thanks to its abundant sea life, historic architecture in Ibiza Town and numerous archaeological sites that have been discovered across its landscape.
Teide National Park, Tenerife
Home to Mount Teide, a volcano with the highest peak in all of Spain, Teide National Park has an astonishingly unique landscape that in places, can only be described as lunar. Vast craters and steep mountains characterise Teide National Park, as well as the distinctive flora that thrive in the volcanic soil, so be sure not to miss this magnificent landmark after arriving on cheap flights to Tenerife.
Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, work on the cathedral in Burgos was completed in 1293, with extra features added to its façade during the 15th century. Burgos Cathedral was built in tribute to the Virgin Mary, and was considered to be deserving of World Heritage Site status due to its architectural style which has been seldom seen outside of France.
Vizcaya Bridge, Bilbao
An iron bridge may seem like a strange addition to the list of World Heritage Sites, but the Vizcaya Bridge in Bilbao happens to be the oldest hanging transporter bridge in the world, and is considered to be a feat of innovation in the era it was constructed. Its designer, Alberto de Palacio, was a keen follower of Gustave Eiffel’s architectural style, which explains why the Vizcaya Bridge is constructed entirely of iron and twisted steel cables.
Old City, Salamanca
The ancient university city of Salamanca boasts many examples of fabulous Baroque, Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance architecture, and as the whole town has been classified as a World Heritage Site, you could spend hours wandering its streets and find something new to dazzle you around every corner.