Best Spanish Cities

Top Places to Visit on a Spanish Vacation

Madrid, Spain
Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

There is so much information on the web about Spain it can often be difficult to find a simple guide to what there is to do in the country. The below cities are some of the most popular cities to visit in Spain – click on the link to get everything you need to know about each city on a single page: how long to spend there, what to do and which day trips to take from each city.

Choosing Your City for a Weekend Break or a Tour of Spain

Are you visiting Spain for a weekend break or a longer tour of Spain?

How long your trip will be has a big influence on which city or cities you should visit.

Best City to Start a Tour of Spain

If you plan on spending a week or two in Spain, I would recommend starting in Madrid. From there you can get to anywhere: spend your whole trip in the capital and in the surrounding cities of Toledo and Segovia, head south to Andalusia or north to Barcelona and San Sebastian, or go off the beaten path and head to Galicia. Read more about Guided Tours of Spain from Madrid.

Best Weekend Break City in Spain 

Most of the cities on this page, particularly the top five, are ideal for a weekend break in Spain. Read more about Weekend Breaks in Spain 

See also: Best Parties in Spain

Best Spanish Cities

1. Madrid

Madrid gets mixed reactions from many visitors: some find the pace of life and diversity of the city incredibly exciting, while others are daunted by the size of the city and fail to get to grips with what Madrid can offer.

The longer you spend here, the more you'll enjoy it.

2. Barcelona

Barcelona is without a doubt the most popular city to visit in Spain. With its Gaudi architecture, Las Ramblas and the vibrant city life, it is a vacation in itself!


3. Seville

One thing is for sure: Seville is hot! And in more ways than one. Not only do the Alcazar and Cathedral enchant all those that visit it, but the temperatures in the summer often reach 120ºF!

4. Granada

It is amazing the amount of cool things to do that you can fit in such a small city. With its Moorish Alhambra fortress, the free tapas and Moroccan tea houses, you won’t want to leave.


5. San Sebastian

One of the nicest beaches in Spain and even better pintxos.

6. Bilbao

Home to the Guggenheim Museum, one of Spain's most important museums, and a great place to sample excellent pintxos, the Basque country's version of tapas.

7. Valencia

Valencia is a lot smaller than you would expect from the third most populated city in Spain, but it still has enough charm to keep you busy for a couple of days. Don’t forget to try the Paella Valenciana! (Paella was invented in Valencia.)

8. Cordoba

The Mezquita (mosque) in Cordoba is the city’s main attraction, but the area around it is equally appealing, in particular the Jewish quarter.

9. Santiago de Compostela

The destination of those on the Camino de Santiago, Santiago's cathedral is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Spain. The green countryside around Santiago is also well worth seeing.

10. Salamanca

Salamanca, two-and-a-half hours north-west of Madrid, is a beautiful university town with strikingly uniform sandstone architecture (uniform in a good way).