Have you ever been to Spain? If you have then you know that it is a fantastic country with a rich culture. Throughout the 7th largest country in Europe, there are multiple cities that you absolutely must save some time to explore. The Spanish culture is strong within every city and the traditions of this wonderful country are spectacular.
Madrid, Central Spain
Of course, any capital city is a great place to visit and Madrid is no exception. Its highlights include the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Parque del Buen Retiro and Museo del Prado. By visiting all these attractions, you will get a rounded experience of Spanish city life, as they combine art, culture, history, and fun. With regards to food try Cocido Madrileño, a beef stew, Patatas Bravos aka potatoes with a spicy sauce and Huevos Estrellados, which is a plate of fried eggs with meat and potatoes. Don’t forget to take a sip of the local wine too.
Barcelona, Northeast Spain
The other obvious city to visit in Spain is Barcelona. It’s a great place because it perfectly balances vibrant city life with a relaxing and playful beach vibe. To visit Barcelona, you need a minimum of 4 days, to visit the top attractions at a leisurely pace. The places not to miss are Park Guell, La Rambla, Magic Fountain of Montjuic and the Gothic Quarter.
Sevilla, South Spain
In the south of Spain visit Sevilla, the capital city of the gorgeous Andalucía. It gets incredibly hot in Summer, so best to visit in Spring or Autumn. During your visit schedule time to visit Alcazar of Seville, Giralda, Plaza de Espana and Torre del Oro. Sevilla has a varied history, which includes strong Roman, Muslim and Christian influences. It is this diverse history that makes Seville special, as much of its architecture, still stands so you can absorb and admire all the different styles.
A Coruna, Northwest Spain
This lesser-known part of Spain lies in the Northwest of Galicia. A Coruna is an astoundingly beautiful city, with great beaches, the Tower of Hercules, which is the oldest working Roman lighthouse in the world, museums, and great day trips. This is the place for a summer vacation, for at least a week.
Perhaps the highlight of this city is the food. Many establishments provide a high-quality free snack when you buy a beer or wine. The local beer is Estrella Galicia, it is great with lemon if you’re not a big beer drinker. The best dishes here include seafood because it’s the freshest seafood you can find in the whole country. Also, try the Empanada, which is a tuna pie, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous try the Pulpo a Feira, which is octopus sprinkled with paprika.
Bilbao, North Spain
Bilbao has a European vibe, as the city is built around the Nervión River like Amsterdam, Cologne or London. It was recently modified making it a clean and modern city, with plenty of walking paths and sites to see. Over the course of 3 or 4 days be sure to visit Bilbao Cathedral, admire Iberdrola Tower, explore Doña Casilda Park, and spend the afternoon at the Guggenheim Museum, which is Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum.
If you are a Picasso fan, take a day trip to Gernika, and is the subject of Pablo Picasso’s famous painting, Guernica. Alternatively, if you are a hiker and looking to explore Spanish nature then you are in luck. Bilbao is surrounded by mountains and is known as ‘Little Switzerland.’ Check out Gorbeia, it’s a mountain popular with the locals.
Valencia, East Spain
The final city which is also unmissable is Valencia. Its great for a quick 3-day stopover or longer if you want to explore at a more relaxed pace. A whole day can be spent exploring the historic center, which includes visiting Valencia Cathedral, the Central Market, Church of San Nicolas and the Silk Exchange. Other notable highlights are the city’s beaches and Marina. Plus, the Principe Felipe Museum and Turia Gardens. Valencia is THE place in Spain to try Paella, as it is famous for its seafood and rice. Also try Gazpacho and the noodle-based seafood dish, Fideuà.
That’s 6 of the best cities in Spain. Which one will you visit first? Or would you prefer to do a massive road trip and include them all? If that is the case start with Barcelona and travel across the North of Spain to A Coruna, with a stop at Bilbao. Then head south towards Madrid, before visiting Sevilla and Valencia. Before you hire your car, read How to Avoid Serious Car Rental Mistakes.