Spain has so many beautiful cities with history, monuments, festivals, traditions and exquisite gastronomy, that it is difficult to choose which of them are the most attractive. However, we did.
Let’s get to know the 22 most beautiful cities in Spain, based on their architecture, places of entertainment, gastronomy and traditions.
The historic center of the Andalusian capital is the largest in Spain and one of the largest in Europe.
The natural symbol of Seville is the Guadalquivir river, which has the only maritime category port in a Spanish inland city.
The Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede together with its famous Giralda bell tower, the Alcázar, the Torre del Oro, the Archivo de Indias, the Plaza de España, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Royal Tobacco Factory are some of the most important Sevillian monuments.
Other relevant buildings for their art and history are the Palace of San Telmo, the Town Hall, the old Royal Court and the Palace of Dueñas.
Las Setas de Sevilla stand out in modern architecture. It is a wood and concrete pergola in the Plaza de la Encarnación, completed in 2011.
As for its gastronomy, the Andalusian gazpacho, the aliñas potatoes, the bull’s tail and the flamenco-style eggs stand out.
The main entertainment in Seville is in the flamenco tablaos.
The former capital of the Nasrid Islamic kingdom and the last Muslim stronghold on the Iberian Peninsula, it is an Andalusian city considered one of the most beautiful in Spain.
The Andalusian city of La Alhambra is one of the great Spanish and humanity monuments and La Alpujarra, shared with Almería, is a historical and natural region among the most important in Europe.
In the cathedral of Granada, considered the masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance, are the tombs of the Catholic Monarchs, architects of the end of Muslim rule.
A few tens of kilometers in front of the city rises the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain range in Western Europe after the Alps. It is home to the southernmost ski resort in Europe and hiking and mountain biking trails.
The city has a wide range of museums made up of some 20 venues, highlighting the Science Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Archaeological and Ethnological Museum and the National Museum of Hispano-Muslim Art, which operates in the Palace of Carlos V, in the Alhambra.
The broad beans with ham, the San Antón pot and the poor potatoes are typical dishes of Granada cuisine.
3. San Sebastian
The capital of the Basque province of Guipúzcoa is within the first 5 positions of our ranking of the most beautiful cities in Spain, for its beaches, monuments and cultural activity.
La Concha is one of the best-known urban beaches in the country with 1.4 km of white sand and excellent tourist services such as beach furniture, showers and restaurants. Other San Sebastian beaches are Ondarreta and Zurriola.
The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the religious symbol of the city, built at the end of the 19th century in neo-Gothic style and is noted for its elegant slenderness.
The Miramar Palace or Royal Palace, facing the Concha Bay, is English-style and one of the headquarters of the University of the Basque Country.
The Wind Comb, the work of sculptor Eduardo Chillida, is the most famous work of art in the city.
San Sebastian has an intense cultural activity led by its prestigious film festival and jazz festival. It is also one of the world’s gastronomic capitals with internationally famous chefs and restaurants, serving famous dishes such as pintxos, pil pil cod and spider crab.
Extremadura town considered one of the 3 best cities in Spain to live, for its pleasant climate, gastronomy, architectural beauty and history.
Its old city was declared a World Heritage Site and the so-called Barrio Bajo houses architectural gems such as the co-cathedral church of Santa María, the Palacio de Carvajal, the Palacio de Hernando de Ovando and the Palacio Episcopal.
In the Barrio Alto of the Monumental City are the church of San Mateo, the convent of San Pablo, the Palacio de las Cigueñas and the Palacio del Comendador de Alcuéscar.
In the other neighborhoods of Cáceres there are valuable buildings such as the Arco de Santa Ana, the Faro de los Balbos, the Casa del Mono, the Church of San Juan Bautista and that of San Juan de los Ovejeros.
Manteca colorá is one of the culinary icons of Cáceres. It is an orange-colored lard that contains pieces of pork meat prepared with paprika and spices. It is eaten with muffins and other breads.
Other typical dishes are the patatera, which is the traditional sausage, the zorongollo and the lamb chanfaina.
The capital of the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha is always among the 5 most beautiful cities in Spain, according to specialized publications.
Also known as the Spanish “imperial city” for having been the seat of the court of Carlos V, it stands out for its rich history and cultural heritage. It is also called the “city of three cultures” for its historical tolerance for the coexistence of Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Toledo brings together the Bab-al Mardum Mosque, the Mayor Synagogue of Toledo and a great Christian architectural heritage with jewels such as the Primate Cathedral of Santa María, the churches of San Ildefonso, San Román and Santo Tomé, as well as the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes and the convents of the Madre de Dios, San Pedro Mártir and Santo Domingo el Antiguo.
El Greco settled in Toledo painting some of his masterpieces such as El expolio, preserved in the primate cathedral, and El entierro del conde de Orgaz, exhibited in the Santo Tomé parish.
Toledo is an excellent place to enjoy Castilian-La Mancha cuisine, with dishes such as stewed partridge and venison with mushrooms.
The capital of the Autonomous Community of Aragon stands out among the most beautiful cities in Spain and benefits economically from its location, less than 315 km from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, San Sebastián and Bilbao, as well as being 400 km from Toulouse ( France).
The Ebro, Gállego and Huerva rivers pass through the city, as well as the Imperial Canal of Aragón.
It combines the architectural gems of its historic center with modern buildings built under its economic strength. Among the former, the Cathedral-Basilica of the Virgen del Pilar stands out, the largest Baroque temple in Spain with works of art such as the main altarpiece and the frescoes painted by Goya.
Francisco de Goya lived part of his life in Zaragoza, leaving great works in the city, especially mural and religious paintings.
The Goya Museum exhibits a collection of paintings and engravings by the famous artist, including the first edition of La Tauromaquia.
Another interesting site is the Tapestry Museum of La Seo de Zaragoza, with a sample of 63 tapestries from between the 15th and 17th centuries.
Lamb and chilindrón chicken are delicacies of Zaragoza cuisine.
The third largest city in population in the European Union, behind London and Berlin, it is also the richest in Spain and fourth in Europe, hosting several international organizations related to the economy, culture and tourism, including the International Labor Organization . All that and more, is Madrid.
The Spanish capital has a modern metro that is the third longest in Europe, allowing you to get to or get very close to all the city’s attractions.
The Prado Museum is one of the most visited in the world and one of the richest art galleries in works by great masters between the 16th and 19th centuries.
The Royal Palace, the Reina Sofía Museum, the Madrid Amusement Park, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and El Retiro Park are among the main places of interest.
Madrid’s football passion is expressed through Real Madrid, the most successful club in Europe, and Atlético de Madrid, both with museums in their Santiago Bernabéu and Wanda Metropolitano stadiums, respectively.
The Madrid stew, Madrid-style tripe, Madrid-style sea bream, garlic soup, potato omelette and fried eggs are gastronomic symbols of the Spanish capital.
The seat of the oldest national university is one of the must-see cities in Spain, mainly because of its “old city” declared a World Heritage Site in 1988.
Founded in 1218, the University of Salamanca is the oldest in Spain in activity and students such as Fray Luis de León, Hernán Cortés, Luis de Góngora and Calderón de la Barca passed through its historic classrooms.
The Plaza Mayor, the two Salamanca cathedrals (the old and the new), the Casa de las Conchas, the Escuelas Mayores and the convent of San Esteban, are emblematic attractions of the old city.
The Plaza Mayor is a quadrilateral surrounded by splendid pavilions built in the mid-18th century, according to a design by Alberto de Churriguera, a member of the family of Baroque architects who created the Churrigueresque style.
The old cathedral is consecrated to Saint Mary and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. It is a beautiful Romanesque and Gothic monument that houses an impressive main altarpiece made up of 53 panels, the work of the brothers Daniel, Sansón and Nicolás Delli.
The new cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, is a beautiful complex that harmonizes the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
The capital of the autonomous community of Cantabria stands majestically facing the Cantabrian Sea.
The rise of spa tourism in the mid-nineteenth century with the “wave baths” associated with health, led to the development of El Sardinero as a summer resort for the aristocracy and bourgeoisie of that time. This and other beaches such as Virgen del Mar, La Concha and La Maruca, are fantastic beach destinations.
Since the Middle Ages, a beautiful Santander architectural heritage has been formed, headed by the Asunción Cathedral, the Riva-Herrera Palace, the Poor Clare Mothers of Santa Cruz convent and the majestic Magdalena Palace, built in 1911 for the royal family. Spanish.
The Museum of Prehistory and Archeology of Cantabria houses the High Medieval Treasure of Ambojo, a collection of medieval coins.
Santander is home to several museums related to Cantabrian culture, such as the Cantabrian Maritime Museum and the Museum of Prehistory and Archeology of Cantabria.
The Botín Center is an artistic space that operates in an avant-garde building designed by Renzo Piano.
In Santander do not forget to taste its fine clams (amayuelas), razor clams (muergos) and fish.
Los Amantes de Teruel, a tragic love legend from the 13th century starring Isabel de Segura and Diego de Marcilla, has inspired great playwrights such as Tirso de Molina, painters and sculptors, who have artistically recreated the mythical story, the most famous of the city .
In the church of San Pedro de Teruel the “mausoleums” of the couple are preserved, the work of the contemporary sculptor, Juan de Ávalos y Taborda.
Teruel is a beautiful Aragonese city at 915 meters above sea level, at the confluence of the Guadalaviar and Alfambra rivers. It stands out for its Mudejar-style monuments, some of which have been declared World Heritage Sites.
The cathedral of Santa María de Mediavilla and the parish church of San Pedro de Teruel are outstanding examples of Hispanic-Muslim art in Teruel.
An important event in the city is Las Bodas de Isabel de Segura, which on the third Friday of February commemorates the Lovers of Teruel. On that day, the city is decked out in a “13th century” style and the participants wear medieval costumes.
The province of Teruel is practically the only producer of black truffles in Spain and you can treat yourself to this expensive gift at local restaurants.
The aqueduct of Segovia is the most important Roman monument in Spain, which together with the old city of Segovia was declared a World Heritage Site.
The aqueduct that supplied the city with water dates back to the 2nd century, in the time of Trajan, and its impressive double-order arcade reaches a height of 28 meters in the Plaza del Azoguejo.
In the old city there are magnificent buildings such as the Alcázar of Segovia, a royal palace erected during the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture; the Cathedral of Santa María called the “Lady of the Cathedrals” and a masterpiece of Castilian Gothic; and the monastery of San Antonio el Real, which stands out for its coffered ceilings in the Mudejar style. Three gates remain from the wall that runs through the old city.
The Segovia Museum operates in the Casa del Sol with a collection of archaeological, ethnographic and artistic objects, covering the Palaeolithic and the Celtic, Roman, Visigothic and Christian periods.
The Segovian suckling pig, a roast suckling pig, is a gastronomic symbol of the city, along with the Segovian punch, a square-shaped sponge cake that is eaten for dessert.
The capital of the autonomous community of Navarra was founded by the Roman general Pompey in 74 BC under the name of Pompaelo, although the Sanfermines, the bullfighting festival that has made the city famous, originated in the High Middle Ages.
The event’s worldwide fame began with Ernest Hemingway’s novel, Fiesta, published in 1926.
The monumental and historical heritage of Pamplona has also helped to elevate the city in national and international tourism, with places of interest such as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa María la Real, whose cloister is considered the best of the fourteenth century of Gothic art.
Other attractions are the church of San Nicolás and the citadel, a Renaissance fortification completed in the 17th century.
Pamplona also has beautiful parks and bridges. These include the Taconera gardens, the Yamaguchi Park and the River Arga River Park, as well as the Roman bridges of Miluce and San Pedro, and the medieval ones of Santa Engracia, Rochapea and Magdalena.
The most representative of Pamplona’s cuisine are the pintxos, tapas that local chefs turn into gastronomic wonders.
13. Santiago de Compostela
One of the most beautiful cities in Spain is the Galician Santiago de Compostela, known worldwide for being the end point of the famous Camino de Santiago. Together with Jerusalem and Rome, it forms the three great destinations for Christian pilgrimages, since according to tradition, the city’s cathedral houses the tomb of the apostle Santiago el Mayor, patron saint of the country.
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a Romanesque temple built between the 11th and 13th centuries, with later Gothic and Baroque additions. It has valuable components such as the Pórtico de la Gloria, the Obradoiro, Platerías, Azabachería and Quintana façades; 3 towers, the sepulchral crypt of the apostle and more than 15 chapels. The temple also has 5 rooms for the exhibition of tapestries.
Other places of interest in the city are the Plaza del Obradoiro, the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, the Colegio de San Jerónimo, the Palacio de Rajoy, the Palacio de Gelmírez, the monastery of San Martín Pinario and the house of La Conga.
In Santiago de Compostela you can enjoy Galician empanadas, Galician octopus, fish stews and other regional cuisine delicacies.
The fertile lands of Murcia motivated the nickname of the city as the Garden of Europe. Although the economy has diversified, the town has not lost its agricultural vocation and the Huerta de Murcia continues to harvest high-quality peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, pumpkins, melons, limes, oranges, peaches and other vegetables, fruits and vegetables.
The Council of Good Men of the Huerta de Murcia was declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Founded in 825 by the Umayyad emir of Córdoba, Abderramán II, Murcia became a town with a great student tradition since the first local university was opened in 1272.
In its historical and artistic heritage, the Cathedral of Santa María stands out, a temple built between the 14th and 15th centuries with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque components.
The Royal Casino of Murcia, melting pot of architectural styles from the 19th and early 20th centuries, is the most visited civil building in Murcia.
The Spring Festival and Holy Week are the main celebrations in the city.
In typical cuisine, the zarangollo is a scrambled egg with fresh vegetable products from the garden and the Murcian salad is a local moje.
15. Palma Majorca
The Majorcan and Balearic capital is distinguished by its beaches, architecture, entertainment venues and gastronomy. It was founded in the 2nd century by the Romans and until the 19th century it was called Palma. The filler “de Mallorca” was added to differentiate it from other Spanish towns that have “Palma” in their name. Since 2016 the official name has been Palma again (just plain).
The main recreational activity in Palma is beach tourism. The city has several sandy areas with comfort services such as the beaches of Palma, Cala Mayor and Arenal.
The main entertainment centers are in Playa de Palma and on the seafront, although there are also discos and nightclubs in the fish market or old town, the Tito’s Palace super-discotheque being one of the most frequented on the island.
The Majorcan fried is the most popular dish.
This beautiful city bathed by the Ebro is the capital of the autonomous community of La Rioja, whose origin is linked to that of the Roman town of Varea and the Celtiberian City of Cantabria. It was already an important station on the Camino de Santiago during the Middle Ages.
Rioja wines made it famous, hosting well-known wineries such as Ontañón, Olarra, Marqués de Vargas, Franco Españolas and Marqués de Murrieta.
The streets of Laurel, San Juan, Marqués de San Nicolás and Siete Infantes de Lara, are the main places for nightlife, gathering tapas and pinchos with Rioja reds.
In the architectural heritage of Logroño, the Cathedral of Santa María de la Redonda, the Church of San Bartolomé, the Imperial Church of Santa María de Palacio, the Convent of La Merced, the Revellín wall, the Espartero Palace and the Roman bridge stand out. of Mantable.
Some emblematic dishes are lamb chops with vine shoots, Rioja-style potatoes, Rioja-style tuna with tomato and Riojan-style eggs.
The best gastronomic seasons are the festivals of San Bernabé and San Mateo, when each neighborhood prepares its typical pots and pans.
What was the capital of the emirate and the caliphate of Córdoba between the 8th and 11th centuries, became the largest, most cultured and opulent city in Europe during the Muslim domination of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Islamic world was more advanced than the Western world during the Middle Ages and Córdoba was an oasis for the arts, sciences and letters, in contrast to the European medieval obscurantism.
From that time there are testimonies such as the mosque-cathedral that was the largest Muslim temple in the world after the one in Mecca. Consecrated as a Catholic cathedral in 1238 after the Reconquest, it is the greatest example of Hispano-Muslim Umayyad art.
In the civil architecture of Cordoba, the palaces of Viana, Merced, Orive and the Marquises del Carpio stand out.
Córdoba is also known for its festivities, among which Holy Week, the Battle of the Flowers and the Cordobés May stand out.
The peculiar battle takes place on May 1 and is a colorful parade of floats from which flowers, mainly carnations, are thrown.
May is the great festive month of Córdoba, adding the festival of the Crosses and the Patios contest.
The “county city” and capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia shines for its modernist architecture from the creative genius, Antoni Gaudí.
Symbolic Barcelona monuments are Las Ramblas, a famous promenade that goes from Plaça de Catalunya to the old port; the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s magnum opus and other works by the famous Catalan architect such as Park Guell, Palau Guell and Casa Milá.
Barcelona is home to some of the most important museums in Spain, such as the Maritime Museum, the Center for Contemporary Culture, the Music Museum, the National Art Museum, the Natural Sciences Museum, the Decorative Arts Museum, the Zoological Park , 2 botanical gardens and the Chocolate Museum. FC Barcelona is one of the most popular and successful teams in world football and also has its own museum.
Barcelona’s theaters are among the most prestigious in Spain, with the Gran Teatro del Liceo and the National Theater of Catalonia standing out.
Bread with tomato, escalivada, sausage with mongetes, black rice, Catalan-style roast chicken and Catalan cream, accompanied by a good cava, are unmissable culinary pleasures in Barcelona, the “city of Lionel Messi”, factor tourist attraction.
The capital of the Valencian autonomous community and the third most populous city in Spain was founded by the Romans under the name of Valentia Edetanorum, in the 2nd century BC.
Occupied by the Muslims in the 8th century, it was reconquered by Jaime I of Aragon in the 13th century. 10 km south of the city is Lake Albufera, one of the largest in Spain.
The city has historical monuments such as the cathedral and its bell tower called the Miguelete, a masterpiece of Valencian Gothic; the basilica of the Virgen de los Desamparados, the monastery of San Miguel de los Reyes, the Lonja de la Seda, the Torre de Serrano, the Torre or Puerta de Quart, the palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas and the Town Hall.
Among the contemporary works, the Exposition Bridge stands out.
Valencia has an intense international vocation and hosts cultural festivals, regional, national and world exhibitions and highly competitive sporting events.
The famous Fallas de Valencia are the most important festivals in the city held between March 15 and 19. The regional gastronomic icon is the Valencian paella.
Valencia Club de Fútbol is one of the most popular teams in the country. Its stadium is Mestalla.
Castilian Burgos is usually included among the most beautiful cities in Spain for its civil, religious and military architecture, as well as for its medieval bridges, urban walks, parks and green areas.
The Cathedral of Santa María La Mayor de Burgos is one of the treasures of Spain with its French Gothic style and its valuable collection of works of art.
According to tradition, El Cid Campeador was born in Vivar del Cid, 10 km from Burgos, and the tomb of the Castilian hero, along with that of his wife, Doña Jimena Díaz, is located in the Burgos cathedral.
Other notable religious buildings in Burgos are the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, the Cartuja de Santa María de Miraflores and the Church of San Esteban and the Altarpiece Museum.
Civil and military architecture is represented by the Palace of Castilfalé, the Palace of the Constables of Castile, the castle and the remains of the walls, as well as several bridges such as San Pablo and Mulatos.
The gastronomy of Burgos has famous products such as black pudding and Burgos cheeses.
21. A Coruna
La Coruña (A Coruña, in Galician) is a historic city founded by the Romans as La Crunia. Its name is believed to derive from Cronos, the mythological titan.
Its center has 2 maritime facades, one towards the La Coruña estuary where the port area is and the other towards the open sea where the main urban beaches are located.
Its main architectural symbol is the Tower of Hercules, the oldest active lighthouse on the planet. Its construction date is not known, but the Romans rebuilt it in the 2nd century and its current neoclassical appearance dates from 1791.
Other A Coruña emblems are the castle of San Antón, the collegiate church of Santa María, the churches of Santiago and San Jorge; and the remains of the walls.
The Millennium Obelisk, a 46 meter high steel structure, was built to celebrate the arrival of the 21st century.
The promenade, almost 16 km long, is one of the longest in Europe. The main urban beaches in A Coruña are Riazor and Orzan, both distinguished with the Blue Flag.
La Coruña is in the Rías Altas, on the northwestern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.
22. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
It is the capital of Gran Canaria, the largest island of the Canary archipelago and shares with Santa Cruz de Tenerife the capital of the autonomous community formed by the island system.
It was founded in 1478 by the hidalgo, Juan Rejón. Fragments of the walls and several castles remain from the time when it lived defending itself from pirate attacks.
Its mild climate is considered one of the best in the world and beach tourism is one of its strengths. Among the urban sandbanks, Las Canteras stands out, a beach 3.1 km long and 50 meters wide with several quality certifications, including the Blue Flag.
In Las Palmas there are architectural attractions such as the historic district of Triana, the cathedral and the castles of Luz, Mata and San Cristóbal, as well as several houses that are elegant monuments.
The city has many theaters and museums such as the Benito Pérez Galdós Theater, in honor of the famous native writer of the city; the Canarian Museum and the Atlantic Center of Modern Art.
What are the best cities to visit in Spain?
If your interest is architectural and historical tourism, some essential stops are Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Cáceres, Toledo, Segovia and Burgos.
Beach lovers should go to the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, although there are also good beaches on the mainland (Andalusian coast, Santander, A Coruña).
Lovers of gastronomic tourism should eat at least once in San Sebastián, Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid.
The most famous museums are in Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish symbol of religious tourism is the Camino de Santiago, towards Santiago de Compostela.
What provinces to visit in Spain?
Spain has 17 autonomous communities that constitute the largest sub-national entities.
Within the 17 communities (equivalent to the states in Mexico) there are provinces and within these, municipalities. For example, the autonomous community of Andalusia has 8 provinces and 778 municipalities.
Major cities are generally community and/or provincial and/or municipal capitals. This is the case of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Zaragoza and other cities included in this article.
What is the most important city in Spain?
Considering variables such as historical, political and economic relevance; places of tourist interest, cosmopolitanism, internationalization, culture, entertainment, transportation facilities, hotels and restaurants, and access to top-level sports, the most important city in Spain is Madrid.
What places to visit in Spain in winter?
To enjoy winter and practice skiing and other snow sports, the best Spanish destination is Granada and its Sierra Nevada.
Other popular Spanish destinations for skiing are Formigal, Candanchú and Astún (Huesca), Valdezcaray (La Rioja), Baqueira-Beret (Lérida), La Masella and La Molina (Girona).
If you are looking for warmth you should go to the Canary Islands with their pleasant spring weather in the middle of winter.
Spain cities map
Most beautiful cities in Spain: additional information
Cities in Spain listed in the top 10 in population: Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia make the top 3. Seville, Zaragoza, Malaga and Murcia occupy places 4, 5, 6 and 7. Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Bilbao close the top 10.
Parts of Spain cities in Africa: Ceuta and Melilla are autonomous Spanish cities on the African continent.
Ceuta is on the Tingitana peninsula, at the African end of the Strait of Gibraltar. Melilla is further east, also on the African Mediterranean coast. Both are surrounded by Moroccan territory and are claimed by the Kingdom of Morocco.
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