Located along the stunning Mediterranean coast, cities in Spain effortlessly bring together history, culture, and natural beauty. Its incredible beaches and crystal-clear waters have long been a magnet for travelers seeking the perfect seaside escape. But Spain is not just about sun and sand; it’s a culinary wonderland where every meal is a flavourful adventure through its cities. At Heymondo, we understand the wanderlust spirit and have compiled a guide to the best cities to visit in Spain. From the vibrant streets of Barcelona to the artistic treasure troves of Seville, join us as we explore these destinations.
This article will cover some of the best Spanish cities for your next adventure. You will discover their must-sees, cuisine, weather, and more. So, if you find the cities you want to visit, don’t forget to buy your travel insurance. Furthermore, it will cover you throughout your trip in case of risks like cancellations, medical emergencies, luggage loss, or accommodation disruptions.
- 1 What are Spain’s Top 15 Cities?
- 2 What is the best city to visit in Spain?
- 3 What city in Spain should I visit first?
- 4 Don’t forget your insurance
What are Spain’s Top 15 Cities?
Madrid is a city where history seamlessly blends with modernity. This vibrant metropolis is the nation’s capital and home to some of Europe’s most renowned art museums, including the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia. So, stroll through the enchanting Retiro Park, where you can row a boat on the serene lake or enjoy a leisurely picnic under the shade of ancient trees.
Madrid is not just about art and nature; it has a lively nightlife that will excite you. As an illustration, the city comes to life after dark with bustling tapas bars, flamenco shows, and clubs that keep the energy high until the early morning. You’ll find yourself immersed in Spanish culture, savoring delicious tapas, and dancing the night away in this enchanting city.
Located in the southern region of Andalusia, Seville is a treasure trove of Moorish architecture. It has the stunning Alcázar Palace and the Giralda Tower as standout examples. Finally, you get to wander through the narrow, winding streets of the historic Jewish Quarter (Santa Cruz) and discover picturesque plazas and hidden courtyards.
Seville is synonymous with flamenco, and you can witness the passion and rhythm of this iconic dance form in intimate tablaos scattered throughout the city. So, during your expedition, be sure to visit the Plaza de España. This architectural masterpiece has been a filming location for several movies, including Star Wars. Seville’s intoxicating blend of culture, history, and vibrant street life makes it a must-visit destination.
Barcelona is located along the north-eastern coast and showcases Spain’s creativity and innovation. Some aspects that define the city’s skyline include Antoni Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces, such as Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. On your visit, explore the bustling La Rambla, a vibrant walkway lined with shops, street performers, and open-air markets.
The city’s Mediterranean beaches offer a perfect escape for sunbathing and water sports. Barcelona is also a food lover’s paradise, with its bustling food markets. You can taste fresh seafood, traditional tapas, and Catalan specialties. So, whether you’re an art enthusiast, a beach lover, or a culinary adventurer, Barcelona promises an unforgettable journey.
Bilbao is located in northern Spain and has made notable transformations. To highlight, it’s popular for the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry, which houses a remarkable collection of contemporary art. The city’s industrial past has led to a thriving cultural scene with vibrant street art, innovative cuisine, and a lively waterfront area.
You can stroll along the Nervión River, where the La Salve Bridge and Guggenheim Museum create a beautiful cityscape. On the other hand, Bilbao is also famous for its pintxos, a Basque version of tapas. Finally, to fully experience the gastronomic aspect of the city, hop from one pintxos bar to the other. The city’s unique blend of art, industry, and culinary delights make it a great option.
Granada is tucked away in southern Spain’s foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Its crowning jewel is the Alhambra, an exquisite palace and fortress complex that showcases intricate Islamic architecture. The Alhambra’s beauty is a testament to the city’s Moorish heritage.
While visiting, you can wander through the historic Albaicín neighborhood. It allows you to explore the cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and hidden plazas that offer panoramic views of the Alhambra. Don’t forget to indulge in the city’s free tapas culture, where you’re served delicious small plates with your drinks at local bars.
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela sits in the verdant region of Galicia in northwestern Spain. It is among the cities in Spain steeped in religious significance. Most people know it as the final destination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. As such, it attracts pilgrims from all over the world to its majestic cathedral, which is said to house the remains of Saint James.
The historic center of Santiago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site characterized by its granite streets, medieval buildings, and charming squares. The city is also known for its seafood cuisine, focusing on octopus dishes.
Salamanca, in western Spain, is synonymous with education and history. Its prestigious university, founded in 1218, is one of the oldest in Europe. The Plaza Mayor, often called the “living room of Salamanca,” is a stunning square adorned with baroque architecture and bustling with cafes. All this makes it the perfect place to soak in the city’s ambiance.
Salamanca’s cathedral and the historic University buildings in the Gothic quarters showcase impressive Plateresque styles. Looking around, you will notice that the city’s most famous feature is its golden sandstone, which bathes the city in a warm, glowing light at sunset. Evidently, Salamanca’s blend of academic excellence and historical charms creates an unforgettable experience.
Cordoba is located in the heart of Andalusia in southern Spain. It is a city that bears witness to the harmonious coexistence of different cultures and religions. The highlight of Cordoba is the Mezquita, a stunning mosque-turned-cathedral that showcases a blend of Moorish and Christian architecture. Its red-and-white striped arches and serene courtyard are simply breathtaking.
While visiting, you will stroll through the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter and take photos while on the patios with colorful flowers. On the other hand, Cordoba is also famous for its annual Patio Festival, where residents open their homes to showcase their beautifully decorated courtyards.
Zaragoza stands at the crossroads of Spain, where the Ebro River meets the ancient trade routes. To highlight, the city’s most iconic landmark is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, a grand cathedral built upon the belief that the Virgin Mary appeared to St. James. And, the Aljafería Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcases stunning Moorish architecture.
Zaragoza is famous for its vibrant festivals, mostly surrounding religion. To summarize, these include the Fiestas del Pilar, a week-long celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary, featuring parades, concerts, and fireworks. Finally, like most Spanish cities, Zaragoza boasts hearty dishes like migas and ternasco, showcasing the flavors of Aragonese gastronomy.
Cádiz is in southwestern Spain and has a rich maritime history and a laid-back coastal charm. As one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Cadiz boasts a stunning historic center filled with narrow winding streets, plazas, and elegant neoclassical buildings. The city’s golden beaches, like La Victoria, are perfect for sunbathing and water sports.
Cádiz is famous for its Carnival, one of Spain’s liveliest and most colorful. As a result, with vibrant parades, costumes, and music filling the streets, you will surely have fun in Cádiz. This Spanish city’s blend of history, beach life, and festive spirit make it an alluring coastal destination.
Valencia, on the eastern coast of Spain, seamlessly fuses futuristic architecture with a rich historical heritage. The City of Arts and Sciences, a modern architectural marvel designed by Santiago Calatrava, is a must-visit. It houses a planetarium, an opera house, and a science museum, all set in a futuristic complex surrounded by water.
Valencia is popular for its annual Las Fallas festival, where enormous sculptures are set ablaze in a display of art and tradition. Hence it is indeed the city of arts. Don’t miss trying the city’s signature dish, paella, which originated in Valencia and comes in various delicious forms.
Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca is a Mediterranean gem known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and charming Old Town. It sits in Majorca, one of the Balearic Islands in the country. However, the city’s iconic landmark is the Palma Cathedral, an imposing Gothic masterpiece overlooking the sea. On your visit, stroll through the streets of the Old Town, where you’ll find quaint shops, vibrant squares, and historic buildings.
Palma’s coastline boasts numerous beautiful beaches, including Playa de Palma and Cala Major, perfect for relaxation and water activities. So, as you can see, Palma de Mallorca’s blend of natural beauty and historic heritage makes it a captivating island destination.
Oviedo sits in the lush region of Asturias in northern Spain. The city center has well-preserved medieval architecture, with the Oviedo Cathedral and the San Isidoro el Real Church as prominent landmarks. Also, the city is famous for its Asturian cider, and you can participate in the traditional pouring ritual at local cider houses.
Oviedo is home to the Museum of Fine Arts, showcasing an impressive collection of Spanish art, and the striking Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre. Also, besides the architectural and historical aspects, the city is known for its hearty cuisine, featuring dishes like fabada asturiana, cachopo, and stuffed beef dishes.
Toledo is perched on a hill overlooking the Tagus River in central Spain. Known as the “City of Three Cultures,” it boasts a rich blend of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim influences. Furthermore, the towering Toledo Cathedral and the Alcázar of Toledo dominate the city’s skyline.
Your visit allows you to stroll through the streets of the Old Town and see charming squares, ancient synagogues, and a rich tapestry of architectural styles. Finally, Toledo is famous for its traditional craftsmanship, particularly its finely crafted swords and damascene work.
Malaga is situated along the sun-drenched Costa del Sol in southern Spain. Because of this, it is a city that embodies the perfect blend of culture and beach life. Being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, the city pays homage to its artistic heritage at the Picasso Museum. Ultimately, it showcases an impressive collection of his works.
Malaga’s historic center features lively plazas, traditional tapas bars, and charming streets lined with orange trees. The city’s coastline boasts beautiful beaches like La Malagueta, where you can soak up the sun and sample fresh seafood at beachfront chiringuitos. Also, Malaga is famous for its sweet wine, making it an ideal place to indulge in a glass of Moscatel. Finally, with its cultural richness, coastal beauty, and vibrant atmosphere, Malaga beckons travelers to embrace the Spanish sunshine and the Mediterranean way of life.
What is the best city to visit in Spain?
Choosing the best city to visit in Spain is a tough decision. Because, the vibrant country offers a diverse tapestry of experiences, landscapes, and cultural riches that cater to a wide range of preferences. It ultimately depends on what you’re seeking in your Spanish adventure.
For instance, if you’re a food enthusiast looking to savor exquisite cuisine in a milder climate, the northern regions of Spain, such as San Sebastian or Bilbao, should be on your radar. Also, known for their culinary prowess, these cities boast an array of Michelin-starred restaurants, bustling food markets, and a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.
On the other hand, if you’re seeking sun all year round and thrive in hot weather, the southern regions, such as Seville, Malaga, or Valencia, beckon with their Mediterranean charm. Seville, with its historic Alcázar and passionate flamenco performances, offers a taste of authentic Andalusian culture. Also, Malaga’s beautiful beaches and cultural attractions provide endless opportunities for relaxation and exploration. In the south, you can bask in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and enjoy al fresco dining year-round, making it a haven for sunseekers.
As you can see, the best city to visit in Spain truly depends on your preferences: culinary delights, a mild or hot climate, beachfront relaxation, or an immersive city experience. Furthermore, visit our blog on backpacking in Spain to know where to begin your expedition depending on your preferences.
What city in Spain should I visit first?
For an unforgettable first trip to Spain, we recommend a captivating journey through four of the country’s most iconic cities: Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Granada. This is because each destination offers a distinct cultural experience that provides you with a comprehensive introduction to the rich tapestry of Spanish heritage.
Begin your adventure in Barcelona, where you’ll have fun exploring the wonders of Antoni Gaudí. From there, head to Madrid, Spain’s dynamic capital, where world-class museums like the Prado and the Reina Sofia beckon art enthusiasts.
Continue your journey to Seville, and finally, make your way to Granada, the home of the Alhambra Palace, and the historic Albaicín neighborhood will transport you back in time. Finally, this curated itinerary allows you to experience the diversity and beauty of Spain, ensuring an unforgettable experience.
Don’t forget your insurance
When embarking on a journey abroad, one essential aspect of trip planning that should never be overlooked is travel insurance. So, it is your safety net to ensure peace of mind during your adventures. With good insurance, you get a shield to protect you from unexpected events.
At Heymondo, we understand the importance of safeguarding your travel experience, and that’s why we offer all-inclusive coverage. Our commitment to your well-being can be seen in our 24/7 Heymondo assistance app. Because of this, in the event that you require medical assistance, our app offers a convenient medical chat feature, ensuring that you can quickly reach out to a medical team. Indeed, this immediate access to professional medical consultation and care is invaluable when you’re far from home.
With Heymondo, you can have up to 10,000,000 USD in medical coverage, giving you the confidence that you’re financially protected in case of unexpected medical expenses. So, whether it’s a minor ailment or a more serious situation, you won’t have to worry about the financial burden.
It doesn’t stop at your health. We also understand the importance of safeguarding your belongings while you’re on the move. Our travel insurance extends to cover your luggage, protecting against loss or theft. Basically, you can travel with the assurance that your personal items are secure.
So, what are you waiting for? Get Heymondo Insurance today and embark on your adventures with confidence, knowing that you have reliable coverage in unforeseen circumstances. We’ve got you!