The Best Cities to Visit
in Spain


Spain is a country in the southwestern region of Europe that attracts travelers from around the world. From Madrid to Barcelona, and Granada to Cadiz, Spain offers something for everyone who visits. It also just happens to be my all-time favorite country in the world! 

In this article, we will explore the best cities to visit in Spain. I’ll share the highlights of Madrid, Granada, Barcelona, Cadiz, and more. I’ll discuss what each offers visitors in terms of cultural things to do and the top attractions you can enjoy when visiting these Spanish cities!

granada spain alhambra with mountains

Granada:

I had to put Granada at the top of this list. It is one of the absolute best cities to visit in Spain. It’s full of beautiful architecture, gorgeous scenery, and people who are always ready to share their love for this vibrant city!

One of the best attractions in Granada is walking up the mountain to see the famous Sacromonte caves. These caves were where the famous flamenco singer, José Mercé, was found, and where you can find the Flamenco Museum. It’s worth checking out to learn more about this part of Spanish culture! You can always find small flamenco shows late at night in many restaurants in this area.

Another great thing to do in Granada (or any Spanish city) is to go on a tapas tour! This fun activity allows you to walk around different neighborhoods and taste Spanish cuisine. You order a drink and get a free plate of food with your beverage. What can be better than that!?

If you like history and architecture, you must visit the Alhambra in Granada. This palace is a work of art that was built over time for generations. The intricate Moorish designs here will mesmerize you and you’ll spend hours wandering through the gardens, learning the history behind this ancient structure! 

Skip the Line for the Alhambra

la sagrada familia in Barcelona, spain

Barcelona:


Barcelona is my least favorite on this list because the vibe there differs from my beloved southern Spain. That said, this also makes it a unique city that you must see to decide for yourself! Many travelers adore Barcelona. 

It’s known for its famous Las Ramblas street market full of olive stalls and handmade leather goods. There is also a wide range of museums, buildings, and art galleries to enjoy in this city.

I have to admit, Barcelona has some amazing food! In the Barri Gothic neighborhood, you can find restaurants serving Spanish and Catalan cuisine focusing on seafood, salad & rice dishes.

Don’t forget to visit the Sagrada Familia, a Roman-Catholic church designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. The interior of this basilica was simply breathtaking. The sunlight streams through the windows, creating a mystical effect.   

One last stop in Barcelona is Parque Güell. This is a vast garden full of symbolically shaped architecture. It is definitely unlike any park I have ever seen before!

Explore the Tapas of El Raval with Urban Adventures

madrid, spain
Madrid:


Another Spanish city close to my heart is Madrid. In Madrid, you can visit the Prado Museum to see the artwork. This museum has an extensive collection of many prominent artists, such as Goya and Bosch!

If you want a lazy afternoon, Parque Retiro has you covered. Rent a rowboat and spend an indulgent hour cruising the small lake with your friends and sipping sangria. Another excellent spot for a daytime nap is the Templo de Debod. This is an ancient Egyptian temple, rebuilt right in the middle of Madrid. So cool!

Other attractions include the Reina Sofia Museum, Palacio Cibeles, and Plaza Mayor.

For tapas where you get more food for free than you can eat, visit the ultimate tapas bar, El Tigre. Whenever I am in Madrid, I make a beeline for this epic spot! 


Take a Madrid Tapas Tour with Urban Adventures


 

running of the bulls, pamplona, spain
Pamplona:


Pamplona is one of the first major cities you will cross if you complete the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile hike through the north of Spain. When I first entered Pamplona, it was with stumbling feet after walking nearly 70 kilometers, so obviously, I was happy to see this city appear on the horizon. 

Pamplona is where you can experience one of Spain’s more dangerous festivals, the Running of the Bulls. This festival takes place in July. I’ve never experienced it myself, but this will be one to watch from the sidelines when I do.

While visiting Pamplona, you can check out the Jorge Oteiza Museum to see many sculptures and drawings from this Spanish sculptor. The building is exceptionally interesting in an architectural sense and also the artist’s former home. 

Nearly every Spanish city has a famous cathedral, and Pamplona is no different. The Catedral de Santa María la Real has an impressive gothic style interior. 

Last, explore Fort San Cristóbal. This prison-fort complex towers over Pamplona and has been through multiple wars, including the Spanish Civil War. It’s cool to wander through this old fort overgrown with grass and get a vantage point view of the city.

 

Go Horseback Riding through La Rioja

Santiago de Compostela:


While Pamplona is at the beginning steps of the Camino Santiago, Santiago de Compostela is the endpoint. The primary destination here is the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela, where you will also see many emotional pilgrims completing their long walks. You can even visit the Museum of Pilgrimage to learn about the history behind the Camino. 

santiago de compostela, end of camino santiago, spain

While here, also check out the Contemporary Art Center of Galicia and the Museo del Pueblo Gallego. In this historic city, the best activity is simply jumping in on the pilgrims’ celebrations and feeling the energy. You can dance through the streets with a glass of wine.  

Now for some of the best Spanish Cities with beaches…


That’s right! You can’t forget Spain is home to many gorgeous chill beach cities. It’s hard to choose which to visit, so why not visit them all? 🙂

Find Your Ticket to the Sun

 

alicante, spain
Alicante: 


Another coastal city, Alicante, is where you can enjoy heaps of fresh seafood. The Mercado Central will have your mouth watering as you gaze upon loads of crabs and lobsters. 

The Basilica de Santa Maria makes for an enjoyable day trip paired with the Contemporary Art Museum right next door. 

History buffs can check out the Archaeological Museum or climb to the Castle of Santa Barbara

End your evening with a stroll down the Explanada de España. Here you can vibe with Alicante nightlife and feel the ocean breeze. 

Go Wine Tasting in Alicante

Palma, Mallorca:


On my first trip to Mallorca, I was sure we had teleported to the UK. Mallorca can be full of vacationing Brits, ready to enjoy the sunny beaches. Even some restaurants had staff that were not fluent in Spanish! 

In Mallorca, you can visit the Cathedral de Palma, Bellver Castle, or the Caves of Hams.

Forget about the best cities to visit in Spain and start thinking about the best cruises. Mallorca is the spot for this! For relax mode, book a Catamaran Cruise with lunch included. These cruises can run pretty cheap at around 30 euros per person. 

Other activities are available for the more adventurous, such as quad-biking, cliff jumping, and snorkeling. My friends and I had a perfect day riding rented bikes along the beach here. 

Jump on a Jet Ski or Hot-Air Balloon in Mallorca





palma de mallorca, spain

tenerife, spain, mount teide volcano
Santa Cruz de Tenerife:


Tenerife Island is unique because of its gorgeous black sand beaches. I spent a good 10 days here, doing nothing but lounging on the beach day in and day out. The water here is calm and crystal clear, making it the perfect place to float for hours while watching the clouds pass. 

Take at least one day’s break from sunbathing to check out Mount Teide, an active volcano on Tenerife. You can hike around the volcano and take a cable-car ride up to the rim. You will need to pay a little under 30 euros for the cable car trip, but the view from the top is well worth it! 

(Having the chance to see an active volcano definitely earns Tenerife a spot on the list of best cities to visit in Spain!)

Traveling with kids or want to let your inner child out? Go to Loro Park or the Jungle Park to learn about wildlife and marine animals. You can take your wild adventure a step further by booking a whale-watching boat trip off the Tenerife coast. 

My personal Tenerife experience ended abruptly when a crazy man ran into a market I had been visiting and beheaded a British woman on vacation! Don’t let this VERY random event scare you though, Tenerife is an incredibly safe beach island to visit. 

Drive a Quad-Bike though Mount Teide Park

ibiza, spain, people on beach
Ibiza:
 


I went to Ibiza during the off-season and have to admit, this wild island was pretty dead! You will want to go between May and October to make sure the party is really popping. 

Some of the most famous clubs in Ibiza include Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Club, Bora Bora, and Privilege Ibiza.

But Ibiza is not just a party island! You can also rent kayaks to explore the beaches or check out the Can Marça Caves.  

Like bohemian style and crystals, the Hippy Market has your back with exceptional souvenirs. 

Board, Snorkel, and Cruise in Ibiza

Cadiz:


Cadiz is one of the best cities in Spain with excellent cultural celebrations and one of the best city beaches in the country! This coastal city also has the craziest Carnaval celebrations in all of Spain. The costumes are fantastic, and the parades here are next level. There is no better way to celebrate Lent than with great food, drinks, dancing, music, and more!

Be ready to stay up all night for Carnaval in this city. On my first Carnaval in Cadiz, I woke up on the beach after a long night of dancing through the streets with friends. Hang on to your friends! There are so many people filling the streets that it is easy to get lost between the shopping carts full of drinks. 

Notable Cadiz attractions include the San Sebastian Castle, La Caleta Beach, Cadiz Cathedral, and Genoves Park.

Check out these Epic Cadiz Tours

cadiz, spain

Which of these best cities to visit in Spain are you most drawn to? 

Let me know in the comments!


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