Interested in appealing cities with lots of wonderful attractions? Then check this article. We are looking into the most beautiful cities in Spain and it has resulted in a top 10 that includes cities such as Madrid, Seville and Toledo.
It was very hard for us to decide what cities should be on this list, but after some time brooding on it we decided the following cities should be on this list:
Just like New York, Madrid is known for being a city that never sleeps thanks to its vibrant nightlife.
In fact, they say sundown is like a gunshot that signals the start of a race and party until sunrise. Rammed with historical monuments, sprawling museums, stunning parks and more cafes and bars than you can shake a chorizo sauce at – Madrid has it all. Watch people in Plaza Mayor, amble around the Prado Museum and stroll down the city’s main artery, Gran Vía.
Alternatively, explore the beautifully kept Retiro Park, visit the Egyptian temple of Debod smack in the city centre or hang out in Puerta del Sol – Madrid’s answer to Piccadilly Circus. Feeling peckish? Visit Casa Botín, the world’s oldest continuously running restaurant (open since 1725) or the indoor food market – Mercado de San Miguel – to fill your boots with tapas and a glass or two of wine.
Scorched by centuries of sunshine, the sultry southern city of Seville (Sevilla) is known as the frying pan of Europe – with temperatures reaching up to 46 celsius degrees in the summer. But its cool city vibe, Moorish architecture and ancient streets make it the perfect city to explore over 48 hours (we recommend at least 4 full days to see the city well though).
Seville, which is also the capital of Andalusia, is said to be the home of Flamenco (some say it is while others say it is not), so make sure you catch a show while in town. Places to enjoy a respite from the sun include the Cathedral, the Plaza of España, the Alcázar Palace (full of leafy patios and fountains) and the Jewish Quarter of Santa Cruz, a (former) well-preserved Jewish District.
There is an upside to the excessive heat for the sun-worshippers among us, high season is low season, meaning you can save around 30 percent in the summer compared to spring and autumn rates. This is also because there is no beach in Seville and both many locals and foreigners prefer to go to coastal places during the summer. Oh and this is a plus for people who do not like crowds when sightseeing!
Spain’s former capital until the mid 15th century, Toledo is home to a large chunk of the country’s monuments, It’s known as the City of Three Cultures as Arabs, Christians, and Jews lived together for centuries behind its impressive city walls.
The old town is a treasure chest of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues, earning it the reputation of an open-air museum and a UNESCO Heritage Site award in 1986. Almost an island city as it surrounded by the River Tajo on three sides, Toledo is small enough to explore on foot, although one of the best ways to discover the city is to literally get lost by wandering aimlessly around the city’s medieval streets. This is especially exciting at night as you feel like you’ve been transported back to the Middle Ages.
You can’t mention Madrid without its arch rival Barcelona! famous for its iconic architecture, Spain’s second city is vibrant, bustling and fun – and unlike the capital, it has a Mediterranean beach where you can escape the heat of the city life.
The heart of Barcelona is the popular avenue La Rambla (an old river bed) that’s filled with restaurants, shops and street entertainers. While walking down this route to the lively port, you’ll also pass the medieval Gothic Quarter. This is a must-see thanks to its centuries-old buildings, narrow streets and grand, palm-tree filled plazas. However, no visit to this 2,000-year-old city would be complete without seeing la Sagrada Familia, which is not expected to be completed in 2026.
Another popular attraction is the port Cable Car that cuts across the city’s skyline to the Mountjuíc hill above the city.
While it’s not as touristy as its neighbor Sevilla and Granada, Córdoba is a must visit for any Hispanophile.
Once one of the greatest cities of the medieval world, Córdoba was the capital of Al-Andalus, the Muslim occupied part of the Iberian Península, and home to one of the grandest mosques in the Western World. Today, the magnificent Mezquita (mosque) of Córdoba is still one of the wonders of Europe – especially since a cathedral was built at its heart by the Christians during the re-conquest of Spain.
The city is perfect for those who like to explore on foot as the narrow streets surrounding the Mezquita are filled with beautiful plazas, narrow side-streets and bustling tapas bars.
Scorching hot in the summer, May is the best month to visit as locals decorate their courtyards with potted plants and flowers during the Patios Festival – an annual competition that draws thousands of visitors. During the last week in May you can also catch the Feria of Córdoba, a week-long festival with plenty of sherry, horses and dancing.
Salamanca lies 200 km west of Madrid close to the border with Portugal and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. What’s more, its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while its lavish Plaza Mayor is said to be one the country’s most elegant city squares.
Salamanca is also known as the Oxford of Spain, as the purest form of Spanish is spoken here – some experts disagree on this though.
Meanwhile, its university, founded in 1218, is thought to be the third oldest in Europe, attracting a large student population that keeps the city alive and buzzing with youthful energy. Most of the architectural treasures in Salamanca are built from local sandstone and over the years have acquired a soft glow, giving rise to the title “the Golden City“. For a breathtaking view, circle the cathedral walls until you find the Patio Chico, the only spot where you can see both of Salamanca’s two great cathedrals, Vieja (old) and Nueva (new) next to each other.
One of Spain’s most popular cities with the perfect blend of culture, beach and gastronomy, Valencia is the ideal location for a city break. Visit the modern City of Arts and Sciences, ponder the cozy streets in Barrio del Carmen and there is no better place to sample the Spanish dish of Paella, originating from the province of Valencia.
This city is known for its modernist buildings and for its stunning monuments. But Valencia is also home to festivals. Las Fallas is the most popular and important festival in this city, it is unique and spectacular!
Santiago de Compostela
The Galician capital is the final destination for millions of weary pilgrims completing the Camino de Santiago each year. But you don’t have to walk 550 plus miles along this ancient Christian pilgrimage to visit this World Heritage City! Santiago has one of the most magnificent old towns in Europe, with a labyrinth of cobble-stoned streets laced with gothic buildings galore.
A nighttime stroll here is recommended, as the medieval streets take on an old-world vibe after dark. Eating is a wonderful experience in Santiago de Compostela and the tapas bars legendary. Head down Rua do Franco towards the cathedral for a mouth-watering selection of eateries where you’ll find that the “Galician-style octopus“. It goes down very nicely with the local Albariño wine.
Another UNESCO World Heritage location, Segovia’s signature monument is the impressive Roman Aqueduct. Many myths and legends surround the city, now vibrant and arty, it sits beautifully on the hills of the Castille and León region with the Sierra de Guadarrama in the backdrop.
As we said the main monument of the city of Segovia is the 28-m tall and 813-m long aqueduct – yes, almost 1 km long – but there is also the Jewish quarter and the cathedral. The latter is just amazing, and the Jewish quarter is so cool too. We recommend to visit it on a guided tour in order to discover many details about it and the city. When it comes to monuments and must-see attractions you cannot miss the Alcázar – stay tunned so you do not miss the guide to this city.
This city is full of students and young people, so despite being a medium-small city, there’s a lot to do when it comes to social life and nightlife. Plus, it is a relatively cheap city. Isn’t that awesome for people who want to do sightseeing in a beautiful city and have some fun when traveling abroad? I think it is more than awesome!
The last stronghold of the Islamic occupation of Spain, Granada (meaning pomegranate in Spanish) has a mesmerizing mixture of Muslim and Spanish heritage.
Home to the grand Alhambra Palace (Spain’s most popular tourist attraction) the city is overlooked by the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range – Europe’s most southern ski resort. What’s more, Granada is one of the handful of Spanish cities that still offer free tapas – making it a must for foodies.
The romantics among us might want to watch the sunset from the Mirador de San Nicolás in the Albaicín Quarter. It has a breathtaking view of the Alhambra Palace.