Unlock Spain’s Rich Past: The 5 Best Historical Tours You Can’t Miss in 2024

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Spain is one of the most historically rich countries in the world. There are vestiges of cultures more than 1 million years old. For centuries the Spanish territory was home to Iberian, Celtic, Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman peoples. 

The presence of Muslims, Jews, and Christians marked a period of artistic, scientific, and linguistic prosperity (and conflict). The arrival and subsequent conquest of Christopher Columbus in the Americas made Spain the most powerful country in the world. 

A mix of cultures, architectures, traditions, and idiosyncrasies are part of a rich legacy that reaches the modern nation. Spain’s history is a beautiful treasure that the Spanish are tremendously proud of.

Now, the vital question: how to enjoy all this?

The answer: Discover with us the best historical tours in Spain. We want to show you our favorite routes and help you make the dream of traveling to the past come true.

Best Historical Tours in Spain

What are the Best Historical Tours in Spain?

Best Tour of Andaluía, Southern Spain.

For history buffs, this would undoubtedly be the first tour.

From the Alhambra in Granada to the Cathedral of Seville and the Great Mosque of Cordova, you can enjoy experiencing this crossroads of civilizations. 

Alhambra. Photo by Walkerssk at Pixabay.
Alhambra. Photo by Walkerssk at Pixabay.

Vestiges of the Roman period can be seen in an ancient amphitheater in Malaga and the ruins of the city of Italica in Seville. At the same time, the Jewish presence is visible in the visit to the synagogue of Cordova and the beautiful former Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz.

The southern itinerary takes us to the Royal Chapel of Granada, where Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic kings, are buried. The remains of Christopher Columbus and several former kings of Castile can be seen in Seville. 

You cannot miss the extraordinary Real Alcazar of Seville, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As if all this were not enough, remember that southern Spain is the capital of flamenco.  

Fantastic fact: the famous Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian were born in the city of Italica, near present-day Seville. In Trajan’s time, the Empire reached its maximum extension and splendor. This unknown history allows us to talk about Hispanic emperors.

Best Tour of Don Quixote and Christopher Columbus.

Don Quixote of La Mancha is the main character of the world’s first modern novel. Called “el caballero de la triste figura” (the knight-errant of the sad figure), he was born from the literary genius of Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra.

If you want to walk through the plains of Castilla La Mancha represented in the novel. And better yet, visit the windmills against which Don Quixote fought; this is your tour.

Consuegra Mills. Photo by Javier Álamo at Pixabay.
Consuegra Mills. Photo by Javier Álamo at Pixabay.

The south leads us to another important symbol of Spain, this time a real one, Admiral Christopher Columbus. This itinerary takes us to the monasteries of Guadalupe and La Rabida, related to the preparation and departure of the expedition of 1492.

In “El Muelle de las Carabelas” visitors climb aboard the replicas of the ships that sailed to the New World: the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María. From Seville to Granada, we can experience the visit to the Cathedral and Royal Chapelle, where Colon and Catholic King’s remains can be seen.

As if all this were not enough, you can visit Alhambra Palace, Merida Roman ruins, Toledo, and Madrid with this tour. All this tour is an opportunity to use our imagination and travel back in time.


Fantastic fact: Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra was known as the “Manco de Lepanto” (One-handed of Lepanto). The writer lost the mobility of his left arm in the battle between Christians and Ottomans in 1571. With only one hand, he wrote the most significant work of literature in the Spanish language.

Best Tour of Madrid & Surroundings

Spain’s national modern-day essence took form from the medieval period up to the 18th century. The monarchy was the protagonist in the union of many small kingdoms of a greater state.

Wars of conquest, great battles, palaces, walls, and cathedrals symbolize a stage built with blood and fire. Traveling through Spain takes you back in time over and over again. Undoubtedly, Madrid and its surroundings are one of them.

Enjoy from the Cathedral, the Sefardi Museum, and the Santo Tome Church in Toledo to the spectacular Alcazar of Segovia, a great city of ancient Castile. Also, from the Royal Palace to El Retiro Park, both in Madrid, the kingdom’s capital since 1561. 

Lovers of this period of history will be impressed by the imposing Royal Monastery of El Escorial. The building is one of the best examples of the Renaissance style. Important kings such as Charles I (Charles V, emperor of Germany), Philip II, and Charles III are buried here.

Escorial Monastery. Photo by Hernán González at Unsplash.
Escorial Monastery. Photo by Hernán González at Unsplash.

You cannot miss an itinerary through central Spain. 

Fantastic fact: The Alcazar of Segovia is one of the most famous medieval castles in the world. Its beauty inspired Walt Disney for the castle in his movie Snow White.

Best Tour of Mediterranean Spain.

The Mediterranean Sea has been a determining influence on Spanish history, culture, and gastronomy. The people’s connection with the sea has been determinant in their customs and ways of seeing life.

There has been a relationship between the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula and the peoples of this sea. Romans, Italians, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians influenced the Spanish.

A coastal route from north to south enjoying the beautiful Barcelona, Tarragona, and Valencia. From the Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family) Cathedral to the San Nicolas Church, visiting the ruins of an ancient Roman circus and amphitheater.

Inside of "La Sagrada Familia". Photo by CD_Photosaddict at Pixabay.
Inside of “La Sagrada Familia”. Photo by CD_Photosaddict at Pixabay.

As a protagonist for history lovers, Sagunto gets to know one of the best-preserved vestiges of the Roman past in Europe. Enjoy the city besieged by Hannibal Barca in 219 BC, starting the Second Punic War. Learn about the city’s role in the Spanish war against the French Napoleonic occupation. 

And as if this were not enough, there are lectures, visits to local markets, hands-on cooking classes, and much more. 

Fantastic fact: The name Mediterranean comes from the Latin “Mar Medi Terraneum” and means “sea in the middle of lands.” This toponym is a perfect description of its location. The sea washes the coasts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Best Tour of Western Spain and the Iberian Peninsula

When we talk about cosmopolitan Spain, we think of two big cities: Madrid and Barcelona. If we value the typical, we think about the south of flamenco, bullfighting, and olive oil. If we want beaches, sun, paella, we think of the Mediterranean.

The same thing will happen if we love history, architecture, or arts. We will think of the big cities, some small cities in Castile (Toledo, Segovia), and the wonderful south (Seville, Granda, Cordova). 

However, all of these options have a disadvantage. They prevent us from discovering other exceptional regions and historical and cultural sites. For these reasons, we invite you to take a lesser-known route from the south to the north, through the western side of Spain.

The western itinerary takes us from Seville to Santiago through the lands of Andalusia, Extremadura, Leon, and Galicia. 

On a journey through time, we can visit Merida’s Roman ruins and the Al Andalus vestiges. We will live a past of conquest and colonization in the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro. 

The oldest university in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe, the University of Salamanca, is on the route. Also, the beautiful cathedrals in Seville and Salamanca.

Galicia – historically considered an individual nation – is the jewel of a western tour. Galicia is heavily influenced by the arrival of Celts, Vikings, and Normans, as well as having an essential link with Portugal. The Galicians speak their language, with similarities to Spanish and Portuguese.

Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Photo by Javier Álamo at Pixabay.
Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Photo by Javier Álamo at Pixabay.

You can’t miss the opportunity to visit this different and unique region in Spain, a land that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

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