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Tourism In Spain Statistics 2024: Your In Depth Travel Guide

Ajitsa A.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Ajitsa A.

Last updated : Apr 11, 202458 min read

General

Spain Tour Guide

 

Picture this: you’re lounging along the sun-kissed shores of Spain, as an evening siesta calls your name, and tapas followed by a cold drink fills your taste buds. There’s a reason why Spain is the second most toured country in the world. If you’re dreaming of being one of the 80+ million travelers to the Kingdom of Spain, you’re not alone. 

 

But what lies beyond the postcard-perfect images? It's time to peel back the layers of data and discover the vibrant mosaic that is Spain's tourism landscape. Beyond the numbers, our in-depth travel breakdown will let you know where to go, what to eat, what to avoid, and when to take your trip to the next level with a local Spain tour guide. Let’s go! 

 

Spain By The Numbers: A Full Tourism Statistics Breakdown 

 

A collection of Spain’s tourism statistics represented on graphs and pie charts, with information from 2019 to 2023 that includes yearly visitors, countries that visit most, Tourism GDP, popular destinations and tourism issues.

 

As the birthplace of the modern novel (Don Quixote, anyone?) and the source of the second most spoken language in the world (Español), Spain is a nation of big accomplishments, and even bigger numbers, so how is Spain ranked in tourism? With Over 71 million visitors in 2022, Spain is the second most visited country in the world, a trend that continued in 2023. Now let’s take a look at how Spain stacks up travel wise. 

 

How many people visit Spain every year? A whopping 85.1 million visitors flocked to the Iberian jewel in 2023, making that year the new record holder for most travelers, previously held by 2019’s  83.5 million visitors. Though this number came to a grinding halt in 2020 as the global health crisis struck, Spain has bounced back in what seems like an overnight success. 

 

 

Spain Travel Statistics:  Quick Facts

 

A graph highlighting the number of monthly visitors to Spain from January to December, in comparison with the weather, highlighting peak seasons and high/low temperatures.

 

  • 85.1 million - The number of visitors to Spain in 2023. This is higher than the 83.5 million in 2019. Talk about a full recovery! 

  • 50 - The number of Official UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. 

  • 12.4% - How much of Spain’s economy is based on tourism? Well, the overall contribution towards Spain’s GDP that tourism brings. Is Spain reliant on tourism? Yes. The tourism sector employs a critical 12.7% of Spain’s workforce. 

  • 108.7 billion Euros - Is tourism the biggest industry in Spain? No, but it's one of the largest, as this was the income resulting from foreign travelers in 2023. 

 

 

For The Love Of Spain: Visitors By The Numbers

Okay, so Spain is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to tourism numbers, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. So where do most tourists in Spain come from? In 2022, that title went to the United Kingdom, which brought in 15.12 million travelers. They continued to keep the title in 2023, with over 8 million tourists in the first half of 2023.  Ready to see who came in 2nd place? Drumroll please…

 

  1. United Kingdom - In first place, Spain’s EU buddies can’t get enough of the Kingdom, with 15.12 million visitors touching down in 2022. 

  2. France -  Coming in second is Spain’s largest tourism competitor, France, with 10.09 million visitors in 2019. 

  3. Germany - In third place is Germany, with 9.7 million travelers touring Spain in 2022. 

  4. Nordic Countries - Made up of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, The Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland, the Nordic countries brought in 4.2 million visitors in 2022. 

  5. Italy - Last but not least, Italy brought in 4 million visitors in 2022. 

 

Travel Truth: What are the tourism issues in Spain? 

Spain is having a tourism renaissance that’s lasted over a decade, but it’s not all sangria and siestas. Tourism has had some negative impacts, which include; 

 

  • Overcrowding at historically delicate sites such as the Sagrada Família.  This leads to slow erosion of sites as time goes on. 

  • Mass littering from tourists that eat/consume food as they walk. 

  • Pickpocketing and stealing on the increase as high tourist crowds make stealing easy

  • Small businesses being pushed out of popular tourist areas (Madrid, Barcelona, Canary Islands) in favor of chain restaurants and name brand shops/recreational companies. 

  • Higher rent prices as new “tourist targeted” accommodations are built. 

 

Travel Tip: Responsible Tourism in Spain 

Looking to travel through Spain without straining the nation’s ecosystem? Try getting in touch with a local expert guide from Spain who knows local restaurants, shops and sites off the beaten path, creating unique experiences and helping pour into the local economy. 

 

Why We Love Spain: The Golden Age of Culture & Essential Experiences 

Why is Spain popular with tourists? From the bustling streets of Madrid, to the calm vineyards of La Rioja, Spain offers something for every traveler's taste. Whether you’re looking for cultural fun, or beachside relaxation, the allure behind Spain's magnetic pull for travelers worldwide. Which experience appeals to you? Keep reading to find out. 

 

Celebrating Siglo De Oro (The Golden Century): Must-Have Experiences in Spain

The nation that makes fiestas part of its woven fabric is rich with life-changing experiences every traveler should try at least once. Just think of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, where medieval architecture meets modern art, and the scent of freshly baked churros calls you. It’s but one of many adventures, so here are our picks for the best Spanish encounters you can have. 

 

5 pictures of Spain

 

  • Barrios De las Letras: From the whimsical halls of the Cervantes institute, where famed author Miguel de Cervantes is celebrated for the world beloved novel Don Quixote, to the narrow yet booming alleys of Calle de las Huertas filled with Spain’s odes to art, this district within Madrid was made for creatives. 

  • Art Celebrated: You probably know that Spain is the birthplace of world-beloved painter Pablo Picasso, so why not indulge in the unmatched art scene with a tour of works from El Greco, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán, and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo? 

  • Festivals and Fun: Participating in or attending events at renowned literary festivals such as the Madrid Book Fair or the Hay Festival Segovia allows you to discover contemporary Spanish authors and their works. You can also dive into Catalan and Galician literature. 

  • Folk Dance Forever: Head to Andalusia to experience the most vibrant, authentic and powerful form of flamenco from the region it originated from. Ready to try something off the radar? The Aragon born folk dance known as the Jota is a great introduction to the region’s traditional movements. 

  • Modern Classics: Music is at the heart of the Kingdom of Spain, and it’s a factor that’s only grown over time. Enjoy classical concerts in historic venues like the Royal Palace of Madrid or the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, which highlight Spanish composers such as Isaac Albéniz and Manuel de Falla.

 

The Art of Architecture - Must See Structures

With 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to its name, you could spend a month in Spain and still have so much to see. Whether you’ve got a few days or weeks, here are the architectural marvels you must see. 

 

Seven images of Spain

 

  • The Alhambra 

  • The Sagrada Família 

  • Palace of Charles V

  • El Escorial

  • The Plaza Mayor

  • The Granada Cathedral 

  • The Cathedral of Valladolid

 

Travel Treat: Looking to experience Spain’s authentic culture? Try a locally curated Arts, Culture & History Tour that’s fully customizable! 

 

Fantastic Food - Spain’s Culinary Cravings

You can’t spend a day in Spain without celebrating the globally beloved gastronomy scene. From salty street foods to fried milk (yes, it’s a real thing), these are Spain’s greatest food creations. 

 

A collection of 7 images of Spain

 

  • Tapas:  Made of small, savory dishes typically served as appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine, Tapas includes a wide range of olives, cheese, cured meats, seafood, sauces and vegetables, often served alongside bread or crackers, and a cold beer. 

  • Valencian Paella: If you ask Spaniards, Valencian paella is the true paella. A rice dish originating from the Valencia region, it features short-grain rice cooked with saffron, vegetables like tomatoes and green beans, and meat such as chicken, rabbit, or seafood. Authentic Valencian paella is cooked in a wide, shallow pan called a paellera.

  • Jamón: Spanish dry-cured ham, which is a staple of Spanish cuisine and often considered a delicacy. The most famous type is Jamón ibérico, made from the meat of black Iberian pigs raised in Spain. It is prized for its rich flavor and marbled texture.

  • Patatas Bravas:  A popular Spanish tapa consisting of fried potato chunks served with a spicy tomato-based sauce (brava sauce) and sometimes topped with aioli or mayonnaise. The dish is known for its combination of crispy potatoes and bold flavors.

  • Fideuà: Fideuà is a seafood dish similar to paella but made with short strands of pasta (fideos) instead of rice. It originates from the coastal regions of Valencia and Catalonia. The pasta is typically cooked with seafood such as shrimp, clams, mussels, and squid, along with tomatoes, garlic, and saffron.

  • Churros: Made from fried dough and typically served as long, ridged sticks, and often dipped in chocolate, these crispy on the outside and soft on the inside delights are the perfect breakfast treat, often dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Simply delicious. 

  • Leche Frita: Or "fried milk," is a traditional Spanish dessert made by thickening milk with flour or cornstarch, then shaping it into squares or rectangles, coating them in breadcrumbs, and frying until golden and crispy. Dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon, you’ll find these defying sweet treats everywhere. 

 

Food Fun: Looking to try something completely unique in Spain? Enter the La Tomatina Festival, the world’s biggest food fight held in Bunyol, Valencia on the last Wed of August. Craving more of Spain’s sweet and savory foods? Check out our Top Ten Most Popular Foods In Madrid and The Seven Most Popular Foods In Barcelona

 

 

Modern Cities, Old World Charm: Spain’s Most Popular Destinations

 

A detailed graphic displaying 8 images that highlight Spain’s most popular destinations which are Catalonia, Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastián, Seville, Canary Islands, Granada & Valencia.

 

  • Madrid: Spain's vibrant capital offers world-class art at the Prado Museum, lively plazas like Puerta del Sol, and Royal Palace tours. Indulge in tapas hopping in La Latina, catch a flamenco show, or stroll through the Retiro Park.

  • Barcelona: Barcelona boasts architectural wonders like Sagrada Família and Park Güell. Explore the Gothic Quarter's narrow streets, visit the Picasso Museum, relax on Barceloneta Beach, and savor Catalan cuisine in La Boqueria market.

  • Valencia: Experience futuristic architecture at the City of Arts and Sciences, wander through the historic Old Town, and visit the vibrant Central Market. Don't miss trying authentic Valencian paella and enjoying the sandy beaches along the Mediterranean coast.

  • Seville: Immerse yourself in Seville's rich history with a visit to the Alcázar Palace and the Gothic Seville Cathedral. Wander through the charming Santa Cruz neighborhood, enjoy flamenco performances, and savor tapas in lively local taverns.

  • Granada: Explore the majestic Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, wander through the labyrinthine streets of the Albaicín neighborhood, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sample Moorish-influenced cuisine and soak in the city's enchanting atmosphere.

  • San Sebastián: Relax on the beautiful beaches of La Concha and Zurriola, stroll along the scenic waterfront promenade, and indulge in the city's famous pintxos (Basque tapas) in the atmospheric Old Town. Hike to Monte Urgull for panoramic views of the bay.

  • Canary Islands: Discover diverse landscapes from volcanic terrain to sandy beaches across islands like Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Gran Canaria. Enjoy water sports, hiking in national parks, or simply unwind in luxurious resorts amidst stunning natural beauty.

  • Catalonia: Experience the unique blend of culture and history in Catalonia. Explore Barcelona's architectural wonders, hike in the Pyrenees mountains, visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, and unwind in the picturesque coastal towns of Costa Brava.

 

Planning The Perfect Spain Tour:  When To Go, How To Get Around & How To Act

Living the fiesta life is something most of us dream of. Ready to tour Spain the right way? These handy tips and safety notes should create a peaceful, authentic and relaxing Spanish exploration. 

 

Spain’s Ever-Changing Weather: When To Plan Your Trip 

As a country that takes up 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain’s weather system changes from one region to the next. From the warm and cool Mediterranean coast, to the dry and drought-prone interior, each climate has its ups and downs. 

 

An infographic of Spain’s 7 climatic regions with pictures of the Mediterranean Coast, Central Plateau, Northern Green Spain, Atlantic Coast, Pyrenees, Canary Islands & Balearic Islands as well as the popular destinations in each region, and the best times to visit, average temperatures, and tourist high seasons.

 

Quick Weather Highlights

  • June-August are the hottest parts in most parts of Spain, and the highest tourist season.

  • Spring (March-May and Autumn (September to November) are low tourist seasons with moderate temperatures. 

 

Mediterranean Coast: This region experiences hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. 

Destinations: Barcelona, Valencia, and Alicante.

  • Summer temperatures: 25-35°C (77-95°F)

  • Winter temperatures: 10-15°C (50-59°F)

 

Central Plateau (Meseta): Characterized by hot summers and cold winters, with low rainfall. 

Destinations: Madrid, Toledo 

  • Summer temperatures: 30-35°C (86-95°F)

  • Winter temperatures: 0-10°C (32-50°F)

 

Northern Green Spain: This region has a maritime climate with mild summers and cool, wet winters. Destinations:  Bilbao, Santander, and San Sebastián.

  • Summer temperatures: 20-25°C (68-77°F)

  • Winter temperatures: 5-10°C (41-50°F)

 

A chart of Spain

 

Atlantic Coast: Much like Northern Green Spain, with mild summers and cool winters. 

Destinations: A Coruña, Vigo, and Cadiz.

  • Summer temperatures: 20-25°C (68-77°F)

  • Winter temperatures: 10-15°C (50-59°F)

 

Pyrenees and Northern Mountains: Alpine climate with cold winters and mild summers. 

Destinations: Pamplona, Pyrenees ski resorts.

  • Summer temperatures: 15-25°C (59-77°F)

  • Winter temperatures: -5 to 5°C (23-41°F)

 

Canary Islands: Subtropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. 

Destinations: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote.

  • Summer temperatures: 25-30°C (77-86°F)

  • Winter temperatures: 20-25°C (68-77°F)

 

Balearic Islands: Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. 

Destinations: Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca.

  • Summer temperatures: 25-35°C (77-95°F)

  • Winter temperatures: 10-15°C (50-59°F)

 

 

Tackling Transportation In Spain: How To Get Around

Traveling from one point of The Bull Skin (Spain) to another is a simple task, thanks to Spain’s extensive transportation systems. Which method suits your journey? Let’s find out. 

 

A collection of Spain

 

Train: Spain's national railway network, operated by Renfe, offers extensive coverage across the country. Renfe operates both high-speed trains (AVE) and regional trains.

  • High-speed trains: AVE (Alta Velocidad Española)

  • Regional trains: Renfe Regional

 

Bus: Buses are a popular mode of transportation, especially for traveling to destinations not served by trains. Several companies operate bus services in Spain, including:

 

Metro/Tram: Major cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Bilbao have metro systems that provide efficient urban transportation. Tram systems are also available in some cities, such as Seville and Valencia.

  • Madrid Metro: operated by Metro de Madrid

  • Barcelona Metro: operated by TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona)

  • Valencia Metro: operated by Metrovalencia

  • Bilbao Metro: operated by Metro Bilbao

 

Taxi: Taxis are readily available in urban areas and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance through apps or by phone. Some popular taxi companies include:

  • Radio Taxi: operates in various cities across Spain

  • Tele Taxi: operates in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and other cities

 

Car Rental: If you’ve got an international/European driving license, and you want to go the distance from site to site, a car rental is very convenient. 

 

Air Travel: For longer distances or travel between mainland Spain and the islands, air travel is available. Major airports in Spain include:

 

 

Living The Good Life: Dos & Don’ts While Touring Spain

The Spanish are a very relaxed, and easy going group of people, so these etiquette tips should keep your journey in “fiesta” mode.

 

Am illustrated list of things to do and things not to do while traveling in Spain.

 

 

Staying Safe: The Spain Edition

So is it safe to go to Spain right now? Yes! According to 2023’s Global Peace Index, Spain is the 32nd safest country in the world, beating Italy, The United Kingdom, South Korea and France in terms of overall peace! 

 

An infographic giving tips on how to stay safe in Spain.

 

To add to that, Spain has a low crime index of 36.17 out of 100, and a safety during the day index of 79.48. 

Sadly, because of the high tourist numbers in major cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, and Seville, pickpocketing is on the rise. To avoid being a victim, keep any flashy jewelry at your accommodation, and wear a money purse inside your clothing, close to you. Better yet, carry a card instead of cash, as most major cities are practically cashless. 

 

Conclusion 

Ever dreamed of having an entire medieval village to yourself? Spain's lesser-known destinations boast unrivaled charm without the crowds. Discover the allure of off-the-beaten-path locales and why savvy travelers are seeking out these hidden treasures with our Spain tour guides. Create your dream itinerary today!

Barcelona Tour Guide - Christian H.

Christian H.

Spain

I left Germany 23 years ago and have been living in Barcelona for 12. I am an experienced world traveller having visited more than 40 countries on all continents. When coming to Barcelona I developed a passion for its architecture, the rich history & the many legends that can be found all over the city. Turning passion into a profession I became a tour guide and founded my own company specialising in off the beaten path tours and historic walking routes. We offer private tours. This way we can guarantee a high level of intimacy. For us it is important that there is also time for personal conversations. We love to learn about the lives of our guests. Our mission is fulfilled when you got the feeling that you discovered Barcelona with a friend who happened to know a lot about the city. Catch The Barcelona Feeling with me!                                                                                                                                 

Madrid Tour Guide - Leire I.

Leire I.

5.00 / 5
(2 reviews)
Spain

Being a guide for me is more than a job; Being able to show the culture, history and art of this country is something that I am passionate about, being the bridge between my country and the people who visit it. I discovered this profession almost ten years ago and since then I know that my future is here.                                                                                                                                 

Toledo Tour Guide - Laura R.

Laura R.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
Spain

My name is Laura and I am a passionate official tour guide and I try to show visitors the essence of my place, the unique and memorable places. I've been working full time as a tour guide for over 8 years and I hope I can continue for many more. I am also a sworn translator and interpreter by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I have been travelling around the world to meet new people, to learn about new cultures and to be sure I can speak English in a bilingual way. Toledo holds a special place in my heart, it is my hometown. This is the place that made me who I am today and made me feel what I feel today when I go to work, when I walk around its narrow streets (where I used to play), around the Jewish quarter (where my grandma used to live and the place she had to be hidden in the Civil War), around the convent area (that quiet and fascinating area that surprises me every single day), when I cross the two stunning bridges we have and when I realize that to go to work is a pleasure. There is an indescribable charm about this town. That is why I am a proud official local guide of the beautiful City of the Three Cultures. This is the reason why I love to show visitors the important legacy we have in form of churches, synagogues and mosques. Let me show you the charm of Toledo. I am a very open minded person and I adapt and customize the tour to your specific needs and to anything you may be interested in. It will be a pleasure. Warm regards from the beautiful Toledo.                                                                                                                                 

Madrid Tour Guide - José enrique  A.

José enrique A.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
Spain

Hello everyone!!! My name is José and I'm official Tour Guide in Spain!!! I was born and raised in Madrid and I really love my city, I would like you to join me in a tour around the Medieval Madrid,. a spot really unknown even for the citizens of my town which was the core of Madrid!!! You will not regret the experience. You will also have the chance of getting to know other places of my beautiful hometown and the surrounding areas of Madrid, such as Alcalá de Henares (World Heritage by the UNESCO), San Lorenzo del Escorial and Aranjuez.                                                                                                                                 

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