Spain's cities are among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. However, they are also quite diverse. Each representing a different aspect of Spanish culture, art, food and nightlife. Not sure where to go? Have a look at the 8 cities below.
Madrid – the capital of the country boasts many museums and galleries, parks, gardens and squares such as Plaza de España, Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza Mayor. A must see is the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral and the Templo de Debod, one of the few remaining Egyptian structures in Europe. Enjoy stunning views over the city from the Faro de Moncloa or stroll through La Latina, a vibrant barrio of narrow streets full of little bars and tapas spots. Madrid’s famous nightlife is a thrilling experience with its open air discotheques, flamenco bars, terrazas (open air cafes) and hip and happening clubs great for spotting celebrities and football stars.
Barcelona – the coastal metropolis in the Catalonia region of Spain has endless offerings. Architecture, culture, shopping, parks, an energetic nightlife and even sandy beaches. Las Ramblas is one of the biggest tourist attractions. This long promenade with its many side streets runs from the seafront up to the Plaça de Catalunya and is home to a diverse array of street artists, vendors, locals and tourist from all over the world. When you say Barcelona, you think of its most prominent citizen, architect and visionary Antoni Gaudí and the legacy he left to the city in the form of many houses (Casa Batlló), parks (Parc Güell) and the most famous and celebrated: Sagrada Familia.
Seville – also known as the Flamenco capital of Spain with many authentic Flamenco bars, Seville is one of the largest historic centres of Europe filled with monuments, museums and romantic parks. The city’s most famous building, the Alcázar of Seville, is an enormous palace dating back to the 10th century when it was a Moorish fort. The current Real Alcázar was built on the remains of this fort in the 14th century. To this day, the palace is used as the royal family’s official residence. Other highlights are the crescent shaped Plaza de España, the lush Maria Luisa park which is home to many temples, fountains and sculptures and the Seville Cathedral.
Malaga – the Andalusian port of Malaga in the far south of the country combines a laid-back beach vibe with city life and plenty of arts and culture. It’s home to the Picasso museum and lots of fish restaurants, tapas bars, street markets and Andalusian charm.
Valencia – Located at the Mediterranean sea Valencia brings the best combination of culture and beach. In the historical centre you can find a place to eat paella or have a sip of the local favourite 'Aqua de Valencia'. The City of Arts and Science is an architectural highlight. It hosts a planetarium, an oceanarium and an interactive museum. In March Valencia is all about Las Fallas - the festival in which immense artworks arise around the city to be burned on the last day.
Salamanca - Situated in north western Spain, this medium sized city is one of the most important student hubs in the country; attracting both national and international students. The university dates back to 1218 and is one of the oldest in Europe. Its compact centre is alive with bars, restaurants and clubs. Salamanca is also a popular location to learn Spanish and you can find language schools for every level.
San Sebastian - Surfers from around the world flock to the Basque city of San Sebastian for its incredible waves. There are tournaments from early spring well into autumn and surfing has become a way of live in this resort on the Bay of Biscay. Rent a bike to explore the surrounding hills, and have a phenomenal view of the city and bay from Monte Igueldo, or relax at la Concho beach before grabbing a bite at one of the countless Pintxo bars around the city.
Granda - Most famous for the Alhambra. This vast palace and fortress belonged to the Moorish rulers of Granada, a city in the autonomous community of Andalusia. De stunning halls, courtyards, gardens and artefacts are a unique mix of Islamic and Christian architecture. Another highlight is Granada’s Albayzin quarter. Harking back to the days of Muslim rule, the Albayzin is an ancient neighbourhood with traditional souks and many Arab restaurants.
What do you think is the best city in Spain?