beautiful cities in spain

14 Most Beautiful Cities in Spain for 2020

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There is so much beauty, romance, and mystic in Spain cities, making it the perfect holiday destination. It’s a country that’s known for its stunning beauty, colorful festivals, beaches, culture, tradition and fun-loving people, ensuring there’s always something for everyone. There’s never a dull moment if you visit these most beautiful cities in Spain, and include it in your bucket list. 

 1.  Barcelona

 Barcelona is one among the many well-known cities in Spain, known for its top tourist attractions. It boasts of a myriad of intricate architectural marvels and famous artworks like the Sagrada Familia church and Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. 

Its vibrancy makes it one of Spain’s most energetic cities. It’s very popular with stag groups for its glittering nightlife. Year-round festivals, lively shopping options, restaurants, and hotels also make it a great holiday city for couples.

Summer is the best time to visit this bustling beach city to spend a lazy day or two on the beach and go wandering around the neighboring Barcelona neighborhoods.  

2.  Granada

 Granada is the Spain city to visit to experience a traditional Spanish holiday. It is no wonder it’s included in this list of most beautiful cites in Spain, thanks to the many sights it has to offer. It is less commercial and touristy than other cities like Madrid and Barcelona but is an embodiment of the Spanish spirit. 

 Granada is known for the ancient Moorish Alhambra Palace, a 900-year old palace that housed Muslim kings which is now in UNESCO’s list of historical sites. The city is beautifully nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, while the palace offers incredible views of the entire city.  

It makes the ideal Spain holiday with its relaxed lifestyle, warm climate, rich history, and grand architecture. You will love visiting the tapas bars and restaurants and watch the Alhambra glowing red in the sunset. The Flamenco performances are also worth watching after spending the day exploring the city’s many museums and art galleries. 

 3.   Valencia

Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city famous for its confluence of modern and ancient architecture. It’s a popular city, thanks to its popular blend of gastronomical delights, beaches, and culture.  The city dates back to as early as 150BC and boasts of Gothic, Baroque and Roman architecture. This, with the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences draws lots of tourists to the city.

Valencia is the pinnacle of Spain’s modern architecture and was designed by the exuberant Spanish architectS antiago Calatrava. There are many spots dedicated to sports in the city, while the beach is an added attraction. It’s a mixture of all this that makes Valencia the ideal spot for a city break. 

4.  Seville

 Seville comes next in this list of most beautiful cities in Spain. It’s the capital of Andalusia and is famous for its orange trees, the Alcazar and its many bullfights. 

The city is Spain’s largest historical center and its beauty is enhanced by its 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are the Reales Alcazares palace, the Cathedral housing Christopher Columbus remains and the General Archive of the Indies. This Cathedral is the third-largest in the world and houses the superb Gothic bell tower the La Giralda. 

The city’s vibrancy, charm, and Andalucian traditions strike your senses through its colors and orange blossom fragrances. Seville is Flamenco’s birthplace and is nothing less than beautiful and romantic.

The city’s romantic atmosphere is quite inherent, and can be sensed in its many tapas bars and restaurants. Along with its fine cuisine, the city also has a free-spirited bohemian feel thanks to its large community of artists, composers, and writers. 

5.  Cuenca

The reason for Cuenca making it to this list is because it’s a beautifully preserved town set in east-central Spain’s mountains. It’s also known as the Eagle’s Nest and is an excellent model of a medieval city, enough to be given a world heritage status. 

The specialty of this walled but underrated city is its location. You find amazing hanging houses or Casas Colgadas precariously perched on cliffs overlooking Huecar deep river gorges. The picturesque structures have wooden balconies jutting over the ravine and most of them are now modern galleries which should be visited. You can also spend a relaxed time meandering down San Martin neighborhood’s narrow streets and medieval buildings, and absorbing its beauty. 

6.  Palma

The small, cosmopolitan but underrated Mallorcan capital has of late spent millions renovating the city, and in the process earns a place in this list. The city has always been the gem of Mallorca with its mixture of medieval streets, extravagantly architecture baroque churches and its majestic gothic cathedral. 

With its new museums, art galleries, and fashionable boutique hotels after the renovation, Palma is now a new and stylish travel destination that offers something for everyone on vacation here.  Once you are done strolling down the magnificent boulevard, it’s time to head down to its numerous great eateries, bars, tapas bars, and modish beach clubs and soak up the old town’s bohemian vibes.

7.  Cordoba

Cordoba is a really beautiful place to visit in Spain, thanks to its beholding artistic patios. The city is located just 2 hours west of Granada and is heaven to history and architecture lovers. The city’s beauty starts at its entrance which is a beautiful work of art. 

Cordoba is where the Spanish monarchs Isabella and Fernando blessed Christopher Columbus to go explore the new world. The city has always been one of the greatest cities in the world. It had in its golden age 1 million inhabitants and was a major trade center in Spain. 

The city’s colorful streets and grand architecture make Cordoba an interesting addition to this list of most beautiful cities in Spain. The city is so small; a day trip is more than enough to explore it. 

You can’t miss visiting the La Mesquita de Cordoba or the Cathedral Mosque, a mosque turned church while here. Other treasures of the city are the streets of the Jewish quarter, the Cordoban courtyards, the palace-fortress and the royal Roman Bridge.

It towers over the Guadalquivir River, making an amazing backdrop for your memorial photos. This diverse architecture and emblematic buildings make every corner picture-perfect, and it’s all because of the city’s beautiful blend of three cultures. 

8.  Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of Galacia, an underrated city in Spanish peninsula. It has so much to offer, mainly its architecture, to make it one of most beautiful cities to visit while in Spain. 

The city is famous for its iconic cathedral where the famous Christian pilgrimage Camino de Santiago ends. This is a pilgrimage thousands of people from all over the country take every year till today.

While there are so many other cathedrals all over Spain, this is an entirely special one in its own league. Not only is its interior Baroque design breathtaking, but its many Baroque curves, sculptures and stalagmites are the epitome of its design and grandeur.

It’s difficult to describe this work of art, and only a visit is the best way to absorb and appreciate its beauty. It’s thanks to this cathedral that the city was included in UNESCO’s list of historical sites.  

The church is not the only reason to visit Santiago de Compostela. The city has so many other beautiful structures that should be paid a visit. There is the XI century baroque Benedictine San Martin Pinario Monastery and the Gelmirez Palace, the embodiment of Romanesque civil architecture. 

There’s also the charming Plaza’s and streets to visit for your shopping and gastronomic seafood delight. 

9.  Bilbao

Bilbao is a quaint little city with a super laid-back atmosphere. It’s more a big town than a city thanks to its rolling hills and rivers. This, in combination with the surrounding beaches and the city’s modern architecture, makes this one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Spain. 

While Bilbao is famous for its modern architecture, the Guggenheim Museum is the city’s claim to fame. This is a huge, impressive titanium structure by architect Frank Gehr, and has some of the most beautiful works of modern art on display.

It’s the confluence of the old and new architecture that adds to Bilbao’s splendor. The Dona Casilda Iturrizar park is especially impressive and should be paid a visit for its impressive dancing water fountain. The gothic St. James’ Cathedral is another magnificent attraction the city has to offer. 

Life here is also relatively leisurely because the people here are carefree but reserved. It may be because of the city’s big bar culture where bar hopping is an everyday affair in the evenings. The drinks are cheap but not so strong, and the tapas bars are the best in Spain. Don’t forget to try a plate of pintxos, which is the Basque’s tapas equivalent, while you dip in and out of the many bars. 

10.   Toledo

The city of Toledo is full of picture-perfect streets, architecture and historical monuments, which is why the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage. The city is perched in the hills of Castila La Mancha in Central Spain and is surrounded by a gorgeous landscape, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. 

Toledo makes an ideal day trip from Madrid, reachable by a 20-30 minute train ride. The city is beautifully preserved with history found in every corner. It’s because the city was ruled by the Romans, Arabs, and Visigoths that you find a confluence of the three cultures through the city and in its structures.

The city’s main tourist attractions include the Muslim palace the Alcazar de Toledo, the gothic monastery Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes and the military museum Museo Del Ejercito. You can also pay a visit to the city’s unique cave restaurant that’s not too far from the Museo Del Ejercito while in the city. 

11.  Segovia 

According to legend, Segovia was founded by Noah’s son Hercules himself. This, and the fact that the city’s Alcazar de Segovia (Castle of Segovia) that inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle are the main reasons for tourists to visit Segovia.

The city is just an hour’s drive from Madrid, making it a perfect destination for a day trip. The city is beautifully perched on the hills of the Castile and Leon region and has Sierra de Guadarrama in the backdrop. The city, like most cities in Spain, also has dozens of churches and chapels that should be visited. 

The Castle of Segovia and Disney’s castle are virtually identical. That’s not all you get to see here. You will agree that the city is more of a kingdom than a city, because of its Roman aqueducts and Gothic architecture. It’s the impressive Roman Aqueduct that made this city another addition to UNESCO’s list of historical cities. 

12. Salamanca

The city of Salamanca is another world historical site, and is better known as Spain’s ‘Golden City’. It’s because the city boasts of a rich cultural, historical and gastronomical culture. Salamanca’s main tourist spots are the Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral offering spectacular views and the Roman Bridge. 

The beauty of Salamanca is that it’s a lively university city filled with medieval charm. This charm, with some Plateresque and Renaissance styles makes Salamanca one of Spain’s most resplendent squares.

The city was the seat of one of the most prestigious universities for four centuries. This is the reason why you find a huge student population giving the city youthful and happy vibes. This is also why you have so many great bars, cafes, and restaurants worth visiting to taste the city’s ‘joie de vivre’. 

13. Madrid

Madrid is no doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. The city is most well known for its cosmopolitan essence and nightlife, where party-goers end up reveling late into the night.

Of course, like other cities in Spain, the city is famous for its beautiful palaces, and museums like the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Museo Del Prada. 

Spring and autumn are the best times of the year to explore this historical city. You can soak up the beauty of its architecture and also shop to your heart’s delight in the designer boutiques along the Gran Via.

You can also let your toes tap to traditional flamenco music or just relax and pass time wandering through the city’s beautiful gardens. Don’t forget to also sample the local tapas. Madrid is also famous as a gourmet hub and its trendy rooftop bars. 

14. Zaragoza

Zaragoza is the last in this list of most beautiful cities in Spain. It is located close to Barcelona, in the region of Aragon. Unfortunately, not many know about this charming and underrated city, which is why the city isn’t touristy at all. This is what makes Zaragoza the perfect city for a stress-free and relaxed trip, away from Barcelona crowds. 

The La Basilica de Buestra Senora Del Pilar (Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar) is the one structure you must visit while in Zaragoza. This church is awe-inspiring with its striking domes, artistic roof and colorful tuffets resembling a typical Disney palace, just ideal for your photos.

It has both Gothic and Roman influences and is located near Spain’s largest river, the Ebro River. You can get a beautiful bird’s eye view of the city from the top of the church.  Besides its architecture, the city’s Fiestas del Pilar festival that is conducted in honor of their Patron Saint makes Zaragoza one of the most unique places to visit in Spain.

It’s held on October 12th every year where thousands of people head to the city to participate in its festivities like parades, fireworks and lots of beer. Your trip here will not be complete without a meal at the Casa Lac, one of Spain’s oldest restaurants.  

Frequently Asked Questions about the Most Beautiful Cities in Spain

1.     Which is the most beautiful city in Spain and why?

While there are so many beautiful cities in Spain, Seville is the most beautiful because the city offers so much beauty to see and appreciate. You can go on walking for hours together and still find something new at every corner.

When compared to the other cities in Spain, its tourist attractions are not spread out by random modern buildings like in the bigger cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Similarly, while cities like Granada and Toledo have tourist areas comparable with Seville, the cities are small to warrant only a day’s trip.

Seville, however, has so much to see that you easily need a week to appreciate its beauty. Most of the tourists who come here fall head over heels in love with the city’s beauty and many tapas bars. 

This underrated city is also home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites- the Seville Cathedral which is also the third-largest church in the world, Real Alcazar and Archivo de Indias. The best time to visit Seville is between February and June because the weather’s beautiful with everything blooming. The weather is not too hot but perfect for sightseeing. The Semana Santa and Feria de Abril are two important events in April that make your visit an even more amazing experience. 

2.     What is the prettiest part of Spain?

San Sebastian could be considered the prettiest part of Spain famous for its magnificent mountains, beaches with sparkling clean water, beautiful architecture and of course, delicious food. Like most of the underrated and overshadowed North parts of Spain, the city is so much prettier than other of the most beautiful cities in Spain because of its greenery, minimal commercialization, and better architectural representations. 

3.     Is Spain expensive to visit?

There is no definite answer to this because it depends on the places you plan to visit. The northern cities like Bilbao and San Sebastian are rather expensive. Next in line come the popular cities Madrid and Barcelona where Barcelona is relatively more expensive in tourist areas. The rest of Spain’s underrated cities are comparatively cheaper than these cities.

On average, if you do your research and compare rates, you can a backpacking tour of Spain on a budget of about US$55-65. This shows that Spain is cheap to visit if compared by Western European standards and the UK backpacking budget.

If you plan to fly to Spain, then February is the cheapest month to do so because the rates are most expensive and highest from June to August. 

4.     What is the best time to visit Spain?

The best times to visit Spain are between March to May and during the fall season from September to November.

These are those times of the year when the roads are less crowded, accommodation relatively cheaper and of course, the weather is pleasant for sightseeing and to spend time on the beach. Besides, summer in Spain keeps you occupied with unforgettable events like the Tomatina. 

5.     What are the safest cities in Spain?

Spain was the second most visited country in the world in 2017 with as many as 82 million tourists. It is a relatively safe country to travel, just like other parts of Western Europe.

However, it’s better to be wary of pickpockets in tourist areas, something that’s common throughout the country. There shouldn’t be any other problem, and your trip should go smoothly if you use your common sense. 

With so much of beauty in these Spanish cities, a trip here is something you should include in your bucket list. The photos clicked here will help etch beautiful memories of your visit to the most beautiful cities in Spain.

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