Every city within Spain has its own enchanting appeal, making it difficult to pin-point which ones to head to when making your way around the country.
Well, whether you want a selection of museums and historic landmarks or gastronomical delights that have made the country famous, these are the best Spanish cities to visit.
Let’s begin with the country’s capital, Madrid. If you love museums, you’ll feel right at home in the city, because Madrid is home to an impressive 44 museums. Tour the Reina Sofia for 20th century Spanish art, including the famous Guernica by Picasso, or the Museo Nacional Del Prado for both Spanish and international masterpieces, with these two museums being at the top of every must-visit list.
If museums aren’t your thing, take a stroll around the Royal Palace, the largest palace in Europe, or simply explore the city streets, packed with shops, bars, restaurants, and churches. In addition to fashion boutiques, you will also find an OROGOLD store on Calle de Velazquez, where you can treat your skin to a luxury pampering. With beautiful architecture, landscaped gardens, and traditional flamenco dancers providing a lively atmosphere, it’s no surprise that Madrid is often the first point-of-call for tourists visiting Spain.
The third-largest city in Spain, Valencia is famous for being home to paella, which is Spain’s most famous dish. You will find it served up just about everywhere throughout the city, with it being most popular at lunchtime.
Where should you go for the best paella in Valencia?
Many locals would recommend Restaurante Levante, which specializes in a Valencian-style paella. La Pepica is also popular, with this restaurant serving up a delicious seafood paella. Since the city is so easily walkable, you could easily sample the dish from a few different restaurants in one mealtime, but don’t forget to also save room for some of the other regional specialties.
In addition to its cuisine, Valencia is also known for its contrasting architecture. The city’s old town takes you on a journey through its past, while the abundance of bold and futuristic architecture dotted around the place is a result of a decade of rapid development. Together, this gives the city a truly unique charm, all of which is emphasized by the miles of sandy beaches that run along the city’s edge.
Seville has made a name for itself by being the birthplace of flamenco, and the flamenco culture here really is at the forefront of the city’s vibe. It also happens to be the capital of Spain’s Andalusia region, and its popularity among artists, composers, and writers has given the city a charming bohemian ambience that it has managed to retain over the years.
While catching a few shows at the city’s flamenco bars is a must, take some time to soak up some of Seville’s history. Traditional architecture is everywhere here, from the cobbled streets of Santa Cruz in the city’s old town, to the extravagant Alcazar Palace, to ancient cathedrals.
Wondering if this is where Seville oranges come from?
It most definitely is, and the oranges are in season from the end of December to mid-February. However, most choose to visit between late February and March, because once the trees start blossoming, the entire city is filled with the tangy aroma of fresh oranges for about three weeks!
The capital of the Catalonia region of Spain, Barcelona is known for being vibrant, cosmopolitan, and packed with incredible art and architecture. Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia is usually where all tourists immediately go, and while this is definitely worth a visit, do check out some of the lesser-known landmarks also by Gaudi, such as the Casa Batllo.
Shopping is a very popular pastime in Barcelona, and while there are a few different shopping streets to choose from, just about every route will begin at Placa de Catalunya. While you’re shopping your way around the city, do stop off at one of the two OROGOLD Barcelona stores – you’ll be able to enjoy VIP facials, product demonstrations, and some of the best skin care advice you will have ever received.
If you would like to see the city from the outside, Mount Tibidabo is the place to go. You will be able to enjoy panoramic views across the whole city, including the sea that lies beyond. This is also a great place to hike or cycle, making it popular with adventure and nature lovers.
Don’t forget that Barcelona is also home to seven beaches, many of which are lined with tapas bars and restaurants. These areas become especially vibrant in the evenings, making it easy to see why Barcelona is often considered to be the liveliest city in Spain.
If you want to experience a region of Spain that is truly unlike any other, then Granada is the city to head to. Many would say that Grenada is Spain’s most beautiful city, a claim largely due to its Eastern and Moorish-style architecture. Of course, being located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains doesn’t hurt either, giving the city a stunning backdrop no matter which angle it is viewed from.
One of the city’s most famous landmarks is Alhambre, an ancient hilltop fortress complex that’s home to royal palaces, landscaped patios, and serene pools, all dating back to the Nasrid dynasty. This stunning palace, which overlooks the city from its high vantage point, is also where you will find some of the best-preserved examples of Islamic art and architecture, anywhere in the world.
While Alhambre may be the first place you visit, Granada has plenty else on offer too. Head to the Realejo district for narrow, cobbled streets bursting with tapas bars, or to Sacromonte, an area known for its flamenco culture, where white caves dot the hillsides.
Sleek, stylish, and trendy, Palma has quickly become an “it” destination for many. The capital of Mallorca, Palma is home to glitzy boutiques, brand new art galleries, and gleaming museums, giving the city the dose of culture that it was seeking.
Most of this city has been newly gentrified, meaning that you will never be short of hip bars, restaurants, and beach clubs to visit, along with tapas bars dotting every street.
The Costa Brava is known for having some of the most natural and untouched stretches of coastline in all of Europe. Rugged and wild in many areas, while tamed and manicured in others, this is the Spanish city to head to if you’re seeking incredible beaches. Costa Brava is where you will find some of the best Blue Flag Beaches on the continent, with everything from serene horseshoe bays to secluded hidden coves.
Foodies will also appreciate all that the Costa Brava has to offer, with a wide selection of Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from here. In fact, El Celler de Can Roca boasts three of these coveted stars, making this the restaurant to book a table at if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
For art fans, the Costa Brava is where you will find the Dali Theatre-Museum, one of the last pieces of work by the master himself. Taking a walk around the museum is like enjoying a peek into the artist’s mind and his artistic journey.
Don’t forget that the Costa Brava is also known for being one of Spain’s most successful wine-producing regions. This means that there are plenty of wineries to visit here, especially if you head to the Emporda DO wine region, which stretches out for over 2000 hectares towards the north of Girona. The grapevines here have been in existence since the 5th century BC, so you really will be getting a taste of Spain’s past by treating yourself to a wine tasting.
Logrono isn’t a city that many have heard of, but, if you mention the word Rioja, eyes start to light up. Rioja wines have really been taking the world by storm, and these come from the Rioja region of Spain, of which Logrono is the capital.
For those who want to explore the region’s vineyards and wineries, make Logrono your base. You will be able to access hundreds of different vineyards from here, while always returning back to a safe and vibrant city that’s packed with tapas bars to help soak up all of that alcohol!
If you want to visit a region of Spain that’s largely undeveloped when it comes to tourism, then Cantabria is the place to go. It may be lesser-known than some of the other Spanish cities, but it’s definitely more than deserving of a visit.
For starters, Cantabria boasts more than 220 kilometers of coastline, meaning over 90 sandy beaches to choose from. If you can’t pick, head to Laredo, where you will find some of the softest white sands.
History is abundant here too, with everything from the Palacio de la Magdalena to the Santo Toribio de Liebana Monastery to explore, the latter of which dates back to the 6th century. If you would like to see something even older, the prehistoric art in the Altamira Cave won’t disappoint. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has some of the best prehistoric art in all of Europe, with the work on the walls here dating back to 35,000 BC.
Those seeking natural beauty will also be impressed by Cantabria, since this is where the Picos de Europa National Park is located. Sitting in the Cantabrian Mountains, the landscape here is dominated by snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and beautiful gorgeous, making it the perfect spot for a hike.
If you have been looking into the seaside regions of Spain, then Alicante has probably already made it onto your list. With its sunny weather and spectacular sea views, as well as its throbbing nightlife in the evenings, Alicante is never short of tourists, but many don’t tend to venture much further inland than the coastal areas.
However, Alicante really does have so much more to offer. From the 16th century fortress castle, the Castillo de Santa Barbara, that watches over the city, to the magnificent Mount Benacantail, to the cobbled streets of the city’s old town, there is so much to see in this sun-soaked city.
Sitting on the coast of the Basque Country, San Sebastian is an elegant city that is famous for its food scene. Pintxo is what you will find on the menus here throughout the city, the Basque version fo tapas that consists of deliciously flavorful morsels of food ladened onto crusty bread. In the same way that other parts of Spain have tapas bars, San Sebastian is where you will find pintxo bars, with the dishes laid out on bar tops so that you can see what’s available before you choose.
Of course, there’s only so much eating you can do, but San Sebastian also boasts some stunning gold-sand beaches with picturesque views out over onto the Cantabrian Sea. Concha Beach, with its shell-shaped cove, is especially popular, while Zurriola Beach is the one to head to if you want to do some surfing.
There is plenty of history to experience in San Sebastian too. The city hall dates back to 1882, while the Museo de San Telmo was build in the late 1800’s, both sharing traditional architectural styles from that period.
Each city in Spain has so much of its own culture, heritage, and diversity, with each one leaving you with a totally different experience of the country. Whether you are seeking ancient history and art or relaxing beaches and lively nightlife, Spain really does have something for everybody.