Searching for unique Spain experiences to inject a touch of originality into your summer getaway? From food fights on the streets to ziplining across international borders, there’s a myriad of unique things to do in Spain.
Spain is one of the most popular countries in Europe with tourists, and it’s no surprise given the nation’s rich history, epic nature, incredible cities and enviable climate (which makes it particularly appealing with those who live towards the north of the continent).
But even though Spain’s primary draws traditionally include beach getaways, city breaks and booze-fuelled benders, there’s plenty more to this incredible nation than typical tourist traps and outdoor escapes.
Whether you want to politely throw tomatoes at strangers (and be appreciated for doing so), sample volcano-grilled Mediterranean delights or zipline over the border into Portugal, one of the most unique experiences in Spain is bound to be right up your alley. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Unique Spain experiences for an unforgettable getaway
Want to enjoy a far-from-typical adventure to the immensely popular nation of Spain? Here are 13 of the most unique Spain experiences.
1. Zipline into another time zone
Spain might not offer time travel services just yet, but it does give you the chance to zipline across the border into Portugal, which sets its clocks an hour behind Spain’s.
At Limite Zero, you can zipline 720 metres over the Guadiana river from Sanlúcar de Guadina in Spain to Alcoutim in Portugal. Reaching speeds of up to 50 mph, Limite Zero takes you from A to B across an international border in just 60 seconds.
It might only last a minute, but there’s no rush quite like ziplining through the air on a sunny day surrounded by views of the sparkling river and rolling hills. The views during the ferry ride back to Spain from Portugal after the flight are gorgeous as well.
2. Dive into Europe’s only underwater art gallery
Europe’s only submerged museum resides within the borders of Spain, more specifically the Spanish Canary Island of Lanzarote near the coast of West Africa. Designed by artist Jason deCaires Taylor – the name behind submerged sculptures in the West Indies and Mexico – the Museo Atlántico is as much a hotspot for divers as it is art lovers. It’s definitely one of the most unique Spain experiences on the list.
On a glass-bottomed boat trip, you’ll see a range of incredible sculptures 12 metres beneath the ocean’s surface. Attracting a variety of colourful sea life are artificial reefs that make the Museo Atlántico one of Lanzarote’s best diving spots.
I’d recommend checking the weather conditions before embarking on a trip to the Museo Atlántico. Poor visibility could leave you disappointed.
3. Admire the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is truly out of this world in just about every single way. It’s the still-under-construction masterpiece of the legendary architect Antoni Gaudí, who was a rather larger-than-life character himself. Visiting is definitely one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
Construction of the Sagrada Familia started in 1882, making it one of the longest-running architectural projects in history. Characteristic of Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia combines Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. This vast basilica is also infused with religious symbolism. The building’s façade and interior features, such as the columns and stained-glass windows, tell ten different stories from the Bible.
Even if you don’t explore the interior of the Sagrada Familia, admiring its modernist architecture and tall spires is a unique Spain experience that’s not to be missed. You can also pick up some great Barcelona souvenirs while you’re here too.
4. Dine in the world’s oldest restaurant
Established all the way back in 1725, the Sobrino de Motín in Madrid is the world’s oldest restaurant in continuous operation – it’ll be celebrating its 300th year in business in just two years.
Inside, the restaurant is separated into different lounges on each floor; most are decorated with paperwork and old pictures that shed light on the venue’s three-century legacy.
The menu may appear somewhat limited, but the pork and lamb really are to-die-for treats. These succulent meat dishes are cooked in an oven that goes all the way back to the restaurant’s beginnnings.
If you want to feast on classic Spanish delicacies when the atmosphere at the Sobrino de Motín is at its liveliest, reserve a table for around 10 or 11 pm. This unique Spain experience is incredible at any time of the day – it’s attracted clients including Ernest Hemingway in its lifetime.
5. Visit the Alhambra
Spain’s history has been shaped by a diverse range of cultures. If you want to see one of the best examples of Islamic architecture on the Iberian Peninsula, you simply need to visit the Alhambra in Granada.
This stunning palace and fortress complex was built by the Nasrid Dynasty during the 13th century. You’ll see some of the most famous examples of Islamic craftsmanship at the Court of the Lions and the Generalife Gardens.
On top of being an iconic historic landmark in Spain, the Alhambra doubles up as an excellent vantage point above the city of Granada with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance.
6. Pay your respects at the Valley of the Fallen
If you want a moving experience while you’re visiting Spain, head to the Valley of the Fallen near Madrid to pay your respects to the 30,000 soldiers that lie within the basilica crypt.
The basilica was constructed under the orders of General Franco to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives in the Spanish Civil War. General Franco himself was buried here from 1975 to 2019, when the former dictator’s remains were exhumed following a legal process.
In addition to the basilica, the Valley of the Fallen is home to a 150-metre-tall cross that stands on top of a rocky hill. It’s a bit of an eerie place, but it’s certainly one of the most unique Spain experiences.
7. Cross the Caminito del Rey
The Caminito del Rey is an elevated walkway hugging the rocky walls of a near-vertical gorge in the village of El Chorro near Malaga. While not for the fainthearted, the views this walkway offers from 100 metres high are incredible.
The walkway was originally built early in the 20th century so that workers could walk between the power plants at Gaitanejo Falls and Chorro Falls.
The Caminito del Rey was once known as the ‘world’s most dangerous footpath’. Though much of the original 3km walkway remains, complete with rusted poles and missing sections of concrete, most of it was rebuilt and made much safer in 2015.
8. Join in Valencia’s Fallas festival
If you fancy a unique cultural experience while you’re in Spain, I’d suggest heading over to Valencia in March to attend the Fallas, a festival that sees the locals craft vast papier-mâché sculptures (known as Fallas) of satirical scenes, works of art and public figure caricatures.
On the last day of the festival, the Fallas are set alight to symbolise the renewal of life and the triumph of light over darkness.
Besides the striking visual displays, the Fallas festival sees parades, musical performances and traditional costumes take over the streets of Valencia. The celebrations also provide you with the perfect opportunity to sample some tasty regional delicacies.
If you’re visiting Valencia, you need to go to the City of Arts and Sciences. It’s one of the biggest aquariums in Europe, and is really, truly amazing!
9. Battle it out at La Tomatina Festival
Before moving on from the subject of festivals and food, I need to give a quick shout out to the amazing La Tomatina Festival. While food, specifically tomatoes, take centre stage at La Tomatina, this isn’t exactly a festival for your typical food aficionado.
Instead of eating tomatoes at La Tomatina, you throw them at other attendees. The sound of fireworks signals the beginning of the one-hour food fight, which takes place in the town of Buñol on the last Wednesday of August each year.
While the food fight itself is relatively short, the parties that pop up afterwards continue until the early hours of the morning.
Word of advice – do NOT dress to the nines for this unique Spain experience. La Tomatina Festival is very messy!
READ MORE: What Do I Need to Take to Tomatina?
10. Eat pintxos in San Sebastian
Heading to the beautiful Basque Country during your visit to Spain? If you’re interested in broadening your culinary horizons while you’re here, I’d recommend heading to San Sebastian to sample delicious pintxos.
Pintxos are small, bite-sized snacks typically served on small slices of bread and secured with a toothpick or skewer. San Sebastian has a distinct pintxos culture, where bars and taverns line the streets, each showcasing an array of tantalizing pintxos on their counters. The locals love to dine on pintxos while barhopping.
11. Feast atop a volcano
Believe it or not, you can dine on volcano-grilled delicacies while visiting the Spanish island of Lanzarote. If you want a unique dining experience during your trip, you simply need to reserve a table at El Diablo.
Located on an active volcano (that’s been dormant for over a century), El Diablo cooks its dishes to perfection on a grill suspended over a hole in the floor, which allows heat from the lava below to escape into the atmosphere.
On top of everything, you can take in amazing views of the Timanfaya National Park while digging into your volcano-grilled feast.
12. Ski in the deep south of Europe
Spain is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in Europe. But did you know that Spain is also a fabulous destination for snow sports? And, believe it or not, the best of Spain’s snow action can be found towards the south of the nation.
The Sierra Nevada Ski Station, Europe’s most southerly ski resort, is located less than 20 miles from the city of Granada. Here, you’ll find around 65 miles of ski runs, and the ski season often lasts from November all the way until May.
If you don’t want to hit the slopes yourself, keep your eyes peeled for events and tournaments taking place at the Sierra Nevada Ski Station. It hosted the Snowboard World Championships and FIS Ski in 2017.
13. Boogie in a record-breaking nightclub
It seems fitting to end this list of unique experiences in Spain with something you can do all night long until sunrise – boogie in the nightclubs of Ibiza! Or, more specifically, dance the night away in the biggest nightclub on the planet.
The super club Privilege can accommodate up to 10,000 partygoers per night. It’s held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s biggest nightclub since opening in the 80s, and it attracts some of the biggest names in the dance music industry.
READ MORE: Where to Stay in Ibiza
Any more unique Spain experiences we should know about?
Thanks to its incredible cities, sandy beaches and enviable Mediterranean climate, Spain is one of Europe’s top two or three holiday destinations every year. But, as you can see from above, there’s much more to this diverse nation than just sun-kissed sandy strips and historic metropolises.
A trip to Spain can include a variety of experiences that can’t be found anywhere else, from food fights that take over the streets to food dishes cooked over boiling lava. You can even go snowboarding in this famously sunny country during winter and early spring.
Are there any unique Spain experiences that my readers and I should know about? What are your favourite things to do in Europe’s top summer getaway destination? Let me know in the comments below.
Quick list of unique Spain experiences
- Zipline into another time zone
- Dive into Europe’s only underwater art gallery
- Admire the Sagrada Familia
- Dine in the world’s oldest restaurant
- Visit the Alhambra
- Pay your respects at the Valley of the Fallen
- Cross the Caminito del Rey
- Join in Valencia’s Fallas festival
- Battle it out at La Tomatina Festival
- Eat pintxos in San Sebastian
- Feast atop a volcano
- Ski in the deep south of Europe
- Boogie in a record-breaking nightclub