Travel

Top 5 Cities to Visit in Spain

As the second-most popular destination in the world, Spain needs no introduction. While many people are drawn to its Mediterranean beaches for the classic combination of sun, sand, and sangria, Spain is also a great choice for a city break.

Remember that you might need a Schengen visa to visit Spain, depending on what country you are from. For example, Chinese and Russian nationals will need a visa. On the other hand, if you have a UK, US, or Canadian passport, for example, you can visit Spain visa-free.

Barcelona 

Barcelona is one of those cities that has a place on everyone’s bucket list. With a rich history, unique architecture, outstanding nightlife, sun-kissed beaches, and one of the world’s most famous sports clubs, Barcelona truly has something for everyone

You can explore the medieval streets of the Gothic, Raval, and Born Quarters, marvel at the iconic buildings of Antoni Gaudí, and still relax in the sun on one of the 9 beaches within the city limits.

For sports fans, there’s Camp Nou, home to Barcelona FC, as well as the Olympic Stadium and Park on the hill of Montjuïc, overlooking the city. This isn’t the only spot to get a fantastic view — Barcelona is surrounded by hills offering phenomenal vistas. Mount Tibidabo and the Carmel Bunkers are some of the best.

Watching the sun go down over Barcelona, behind the towers of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Basilica, is one of the greatest sights you’ll ever see.

Bilbao 

The largest city in the Basque Country is one of the most interesting Spanish cities to visit, giving you a completely different experience to Barcelona or Madrid.

Set on the scenic River Nervion, close to where it meets the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao is surrounded by greenery. As well as the city parks, the verdant hills that surround it look close enough for you to reach out and touch them. Bizarrely, for such a large city, you feel like you’re close to the countryside.

Bilbao isn’t just pretty — it’s also one of the best cities in Spain for art lovers. The iconic Guggenheim is a mecca of modern art, and not just on the inside. Take a stroll around the building to see various sculptures, including the much-loved Puppy — a giant topiary West Highland Terrier.

The food in Bilbao is top-notch too! Try some of the delicious seafood cooked in the Basque style and enjoy the region’s take on tapas: pintxos

Madrid 

You couldn’t have a list of top destinations in Spain without mentioning the capital. Like Paris, Berlin, and London, Madrid has a sense of grandeur about it. Plus there is no shortage of things to see and do.

From world-class art museums like the Prado and the Reina Sofía to magnificent buildings like the Royal Palace, the city is a work of art in and of itself. Stroll through the Plaza Mayor or the Puerta del Sol or go shopping down Gran Vía to get a sense of what Madrid is all about.

Of course, it’s not all museums and culture. Madrid has beautiful parks, electric nightlife, and 2 of the biggest football clubs in the world in Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.

Seville 

Seville (known as Sevilla in Spanish) is arguably the crown jewel of Andalucía. Founded in Roman times, it later became one of the centers of Muslim Spain during the Moorish period, before becoming one of the most important cities in the Christian Kingdom of Castile and, later, Spain. Seville’s history can be seen all around the city.

The city is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, and the General Archive of the Indies.

You might recognize Seville’s picturesque Plaza España, with its combination of Spanish architecture and water features — it has appeared in films from Lawrence of Arabia to Star Wars.

In case you didn’t know, Andalucía is the home of flamenco. If you want to catch a truly authentic flamenco show, Seville is the place!

Valencia

Spain’s third-largest city often gets overlooked in favor of Barcelona and Madrid, but you should never count it out! With fantastic beaches, historic buildings, buzzing nightlife, and a unique, winding city park to explore, Valencia makes for a brilliant city break.

The Jardín del Turia park follows the path of the old riverbed of the River Turia. It was diverted after flooding in the 1950s caused a lot of damage. The fertile riverbed was then landscaped into an unusual park space that winds through Valencia, following the old path of the river.

The park has a number of different sections, including various gardens and water features, and ends at the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. This ultra-modern complex includes exhibition spaces, an IMAX cinema, a planetarium, and more, surrounded by reflecting pools.

Finally, Valencia is the best place in Spain to have an authentic paella. After all, it was invented here.

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