Largest cities in Spain

Largest Cities in Spain

Curious about the largest cities in Spain? In this article we are looking at the most populous metropolitan areas of Spain. It’s good if you want to get an overview of how populated the cities are compared to each other.

It might help you decide where to go on vacation, or where to move. Some people are attracted by large cities, while others prefer smaller ones. But let’s get to it – the largest cities in Spain measured by population!

1. Madrid

With a 5,2 million population, Madrid has the largest metropolitan area of Madrid. The inside area of the city has a smaller population, but the metropolitan area is huge and contains several smaller cities that have been almost absorbed by Madrid.

Because of its size, Madrid is one of the most interesting and entertaining cities in Spain.

And we have written plenty about it. Get an overview of all our Madrid guides right here.

2. Barcelona

Almost the size of Madrid. Barcelona’s metro area has 4,2 million people, just one million short of the capital.

Located in Catalonia, Barcelona has a unique culture with endless opportunities.

It is the most popular travel destination among Spanish cities. And some argue that Barcelona is the best city to visit in Spain.

At Spain Guide Now, we consider Barcelona among the absolute best as well. The best of all? Maybe, but it’s a close race. Madrid is amazing and so are many of the hidden gems around the country. But Barcelona will always be one of the largest and most interesting cities no matter what.

3. Valencia

Valencia has always been a bit in the shadow of Madrid and Barcelona. However, it is equally interesting. Although not as large, Valencia has a lot to offer in every single way.

If you are into architecture, history, art, food, nightlife, or anything else – you are more than likely to find it in Valencia. Furthermore, it is located right by the coast, which makes the air fresh and humid – and a beach trip is always a possibility.

In recent years, Valencia has embraced its own spirit, and it has a vibe that no other Spanish city can match. Valencia is not only a city that tourists like to visit – it’s also a city that many foreigners choose to move to, because the lifestyle is so interesting when you live there.

In plain numbers, Valencia has about one and a half million people living in its metropolitan area. A big part of them live quite central. It has become one of the more expensive cities to live in when we measure by rent prices. Simply because it attracts so many people.

4. Seville (Sevilla)

Seville – “Sevilla” in Spanish – is the largest city in the south. It is located in Andalucía, a major region, and a lot of Spanish culture origin from here.

To this day, Seville is still one of the most influential in Spain. With a population that edges close to 1,3 million, just slightly behind the coastal city of Valencia, it is also one of the largest. Measured by these metropolitan statistics, it ranks as number four in Spain.

Seville has hot weather. It is a very walkable city with plenty of attractions, most of them being old. The architecture of Seville is very interesting and appealing. It is a big reason why it is one of the most liked cities in southern Europe by travelers.

5. Bilbao

This Basque city has almost a million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. That makes it Spain’s fifth largest – and in many ways one of the more remarkable cities in the country.

Bilbao is famous for its art and unique culture. It is certainly worth a visit if you would like a vacation that is somewhat different to usual holidays. However, Bilbao is not far off the coast, and likewise not far from other interesting cities.

Northern Spain has plenty of gems. Bilbao is too big to call it a true gem, but that doesn’t make it a less interesting city. Definitely worth learning more about, and potentially visiting!


The statistics come from ESPON, a huge European study. The most recent one – and the one used as a source here – takes statistics from 2007.

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