The Best Spanish Cities to Visit
Spain: the travel destination of dreams for everyone with an interest in the Iberian Peninsula of Europe.
Spain is a country made up of 17 autonomous regions; some of them vastly different to the next, including agriculturally. This is largely due to the fact that Spain was once a cluster of independent countries on the European continent.
Like Portugal, the climate in Spain is mild, and there are no extreme weather conditions no matter the time of year. Hot summers, manageable winters and everything in between makes for a holiday hotspot. Here are some cites that should see on your radar.
A lot of people confuse Barcelona as the capital of Spain. It’s not, but it is the capital of Catalonia, a major region in the northeast of the country.
Barcelona is the second biggest city in Spain, following behind the real capital, Madrid. In spite of this, Barcelona is much more of a tourist attraction with a lot more to see, do and eat thanks to its Catalan influence.
This is a vibrant and colorful coastal city, with the shoreline resting on the Balearic Sea. Barcelona also went ahead and upgraded the city infrastructure immensely during the Olympic Games in 1992. This is when the city’s beaches were built — no, Barcelona’s beaches are not natural.
Barcelona is one of Spain’s main transportation hubs. The city airport is used as a halfway point for much travel between western Europe and eastern Europe, as well as certain parts of Africa.
Speaking of transportation hubs, our next Spanish city is none other than the capital of Madrid. It lies just about in the center of the country, and is a metropolitan seemingly dedicated to the preservation of European art.
Madrid’s attractions lie in the parks, museums and public squares scattered across the cityscape. It has nowhere near the amount of attractions as Barcelona, but offers a sophisticated and intellectual introduction to the Spanish land for first timers.
As mentioned, this is Spain’s main transportation hub. Iberian airlines make use of Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport in order to connect the people with the rest of the continent, and outlying lands.
One can also catch a train from Madrid to just about everywhere else in Spain, so incoming tourists often explore this city first before moving on to any of the following places.
Seville is the capital of Andalusia; the region situated in the southernmost quarter of the country.
Seville was a surprising one for me. I had never had any interest in paying it a visit, but spontaneously agreed to join a friend who was passing through en route to Málaga. This city blew me away, to put it very mildly.
Seville is rooted in history that most of us forget to consider when in Spain. The city is the sheer remnants of the Moorish dynasty, with the rest of the architecture having been carefully maintained since the 18th century.
On a societal level, the daily life of civilians here is noticeably much lighter and more carefree than the city-dwellers up in Barcelona and Madrid. This is, after all, the birthplace of Flamenco dancing.
I can’t promise Málaga will be as unexpectedly pleasing as Seville; with this city, you either love it or you hate it. I’ve not really found anyone to be indifferent when it comes to this port on the coast.
Málaga is like the go-to vacation destination for anyone wanting a beach getaway while in Spain. The yellow-beaches are surrounded by layers of high-rise hotels and family-friendly resorts.
Deeper into the city, the architecture becomes more aged and traditional, with remnants of Moorish rule visible here too, as well as strong Renaissance influence.
The typical Mediterranean climate makes this an appealing place to be almost year round. Locals love it as much as tourist do, so peak seasons tend to include all Spanish school holidays as well as regular European summer months.
Valencia is another port-city on Spain’s southeastern coast. It sits right on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
This city is deeply affiliated with the arts and sciences; a lot of futuristic architecture makes up the Valencia skyline. It is one of Spain’s smallest cities, but I do believe everyone needs to pay Valencia a visit at least once in their lives.
For one, this is the birthplace of the famous Spanish paella. Getting a chance to try the dish in the very land on which it was created is quite a memorable experience.
Valencia also has many wonderful Mediterranean beaches, some of which will lead you right up into the Albufera Park, a wetland with a vast lake and different hiking trails. I love how closely knit the city-life is to the natural attractions in this region.
Like Seville, Granada is a part of the Andalusia region of southern Spain.
This is another small but important city; one that exists in the picturesque foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Granada’s grand medieval architecture takes us back to the times of Moorish occupation. The flat roofed buildings sometimes transport you to places like Morocco or the Arabian Gulf, particularly in the Alhambra. Travelers call the city “the Moorish jewel”, and from the minute you arrive here it’s easy to understand why.
Granada is a mesh of orchards, pools, palaces, gardens and fortresses. I always recommend at least a two nights stay in the city to properly experience everything that it has to offer.
Alternatively one can do a simple day trip to Granada from Málaga, as they are a two hour train or car ride apart. I recommend hiring a car for the journey if you can, as this will give you access to the incredible Sierra Nevada nature reserve upon arrival in the city.