Best Places to Study Abroad in Spain

Authored By:

College Study Abroad

Home to sites like the Prado Museum, Camp Nou, and Catedral de Sevilla, Spain is a country rich in culture and history. With so much to see in Europe’s fourth-largest country, it can be challenging to pick your favorite study abroad destination in Spain. Why not let CIEE Study Abroad help you decide? 

Will it be Spain’s large capital city, Madrid; modern and young Barcelona; elegant and lively Seville; or historic and charming Alcalá de Henares? 

But where is the best place to study abroad in Spain?

Go Mad for Madrid

study in madrid spain

Madrid is not only the capital of Spain, but it is a capitally amazing place to study abroad! Meet young Spaniards through walking tours, language exchanges, day trips, tapas tours, and so much more. Do tapas tours pique your interest? Madrid is the city for you! Known for their numerous tapas bars, taverns, rooftop lounges, and neighborhood markets, tapas are an essential part of any study abroad visit to Madrid.

One of the world’s oldest food inns, Botín Restaurant, can be found right in this mecca of tasty treats and eats! This historic eatery first opened its doors in 1725 and serves delicious Spanish and Mediterranean dishes to this day. 

Not a foodie?

  • Enjoy nature amidst this bustling city in one of Madrid’s many greenspaces, nature parks, and mountains - all perfect for pleasant walks, adventurous hikes, runs, or even skiing in the winter
  • Become captivated by Chutes dancers
  • Make your way to a Real Madrid basketball game or a Madrid marathon

Madrid has something for everyone!


Best of Barcelona

study in barcelona spain

Known for its art and avant-garde architecture, you’ll take your Spanish language skills to the next level in Barcelona as you gain an appreciation for Spanish culture, politics, and society during visits to storied museums and towering cathedrals, language exchange sessions with Spanish peers, homestays, and activities. 

Nestled between the mountain and the sea, learn firsthand why Barcelona is world-renowned for its rich history and vibrant culture. No matter your Spanish language skills when you arrive, you’ll fully immerse yourself in Spain’s deep cultural roots in your classes and/or internships.

  • Take in the beauty of the historic La Sagrada Familia
  • Catch a game at Camp Nou
  • Stroll through Park Güell

Balancing its remarkable history with eclectic architecture and a modern aesthetic, Barcelona is perfect for experiencing both old-world and cosmopolitan charm.


Study in Sunny Seville

study in seville spain

Capital of Spain’s Andalusia region, Seville is home to the Royal Alcázar palace, known as one of the most beautiful sites in Spain. As you enjoy the city’s near-constant sunny weather, take day trips to Cádiz, Carmona, Jerez, or Córdoba and tour iconic sites such as Catedral de Sevilla, Giralda, Parque de María Luisa, and so much more. 

Into adventure? Take hikes in the Sierra Norte, Sierra de Cádiz, or Sierra de Aracena! In Seville, you have the opportunity to volunteer or intern with local NGOs, organizations, or public schools. 

  • Take Flamenco lessons
  • Practice a new sport by the Guadalquivir River
  • Discover the winding footpaths of the Barrio Santa Cruz

In Seville, your study abroad experience will make all your dreams come true!


Amazing Alcalá de Henares

study in alcala de henares spain

Why study abroad around the corner from a UNESCO World Heritage Site when you could live inside of one! Alcalá de Henares, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site city, is filled to the brim with medieval structures, old theaters, tapas bars, and museums. 

Merely 30 minutes outside of Madrid with safe and clean public transport between them, you get two amazing cities all in one study abroad program. You might even take classes in a 16th-century convent and the sandstone buildings of the University of Alcala (retrofitted with all the modern comforts, of course). Have no sense of direction? Alcala is a smaller city, which is quite easy to navigate. 

  • Wind through the picturesque streets of the city center, Calle Mayor
  • Do a deep dive into the life of famed “Don Quixote” author, Miguel Cervantes, at the Cervantes House Museum
  • Watch the 180 white storks return to rest on the city’s rooftops each year

Fully immerse yourself in the language and culture of this cultural treasure!


Perfect Palma de Mallorca

study abroad in palma de mallorca

Does basking in island life sound like your kind of study abroad adventure? You can do just that on one of Spain's most historic islands, Mallorca, best known for its capital city, Palma. When you select Palma de Mallorca as your study abroad location, pristine beaches, quaint city squares, and a bustling, cosmopolitan lifestyle will be a regular part of your everyday life abroad. 

When you're not sampling the island's 250+ diverse beaches, spend your time discovering the city's countless street-side cafés, high-end shops, and beautiful Spanish architecture. Looking for other ways to make the most of your time in Palma? Explore the city's top landmarks!

  • Visit World Heritage Site Sierra de Tramuntana, Mallorca's most important mountain range
  • Stop by Can Joan de S'Aigo, a 1700s creamery known for its traditional handmade Mallorcan almond ice cream
  • Learn to appreciate the savor and vintage of wine during a tour of Macià Batle, a traditional local vineyard

In no time at all, you'll become accustomed to island life in Palma de Mallorca!


Across its 195,364 square miles, Spain is full of incredible cities and landmarks for every type of traveler.

Which exciting study abroad location in Spain do you want to take your studies to?