25 Most Beautiful Cities in Spain to Visit in 2022

Spain should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.

From sipping sherry on a flower-filled patio to discovering Moorish monuments to exploring the country’s undulating hills studded with olive trees, there’s something for every traveller. But where should you visit in Spain?

One of Spain’s beautiful cities is a good place to start. Whilst each of its cities has a distinct character and culture, they are all bursting with charm.

Whether you want to immerse yourself in history or lounge on a sandy beach, here are the most beautiful cities in Spain.

orange tree in front of bright blue wall and window in cordoba spain

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Map of the Best Cities in Spain to Visit

These stunning cities are to be found across the length and breadth of mainland Spain, as well as on its islands. If you find it helpful to map it out, here’s one I prepared earlier.

To take a closer look, simply click on this link or on the image itself.

map showing the best cities in spain to visit
Best cities in Spain to visit. Map data @ Google 2022.

Beautiful Cities in Spain with a Beach

Barcelona

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

palm trees and exterior of cathedral seen through gothic arch of cloister
Barcelona Cathedral cloister

Are you looking for a beach and city break rolled in one? Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region has sandy beaches, art and architecture, vibrant nightlife and first-rate food scene. 

This beautiful Spanish city is best known for its whimsical architecture by Antoni Gaudí. His one-of-a-kind creations, which include La Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera and Park Güell, are not to be missed.

With its maze of squares and narrow medieval streets, the Gothic Quarter is one of the oldest and most charming districts of Barcelona. It is also home to the city’s magnificent cathedral, which has a 14th Century cloister with orange trees, magnolias and resident swans.

Stop for lunch at Barcelona’s famous Mercat de la Boqueria, just off the famous La Rambla. This warren of more than 300 stalls offers delicious local products to tantalise your taste buds.

Rest your head at Seventy Barcelona, a fabulous hotel in the Gracia district that has a wonderful bar and terrace and a rooftop swimming pool.

Cádiz

Recommended by Paulina from ukeveryday

domed cathedral of cadiz and other buildings along sea wall

For spectacular beaches, delicious seafood, stunning monuments and interesting museums, visit the wonderful Spanish city of Cádiz. From its port, you can also take a ferry to Lanzarote or Fuerteventura.

  
Relaxing on Playa Santa Maria del Mar is one of the top things to do in Cádiz. The beach is broad and the sea is shallow, making it ideal for enjoying the Atlantic Ocean. There is plenty of free parking nearby and Cádiz’s historic centre is just a stone’s throw away.


Playa Santa Maria del Mar is located between Playa de la Victoria and the Old Town of Puerta de Tierra. This peaceful, family-friendly, sandy beach can be reached by ramps and steps, and its embankments protect it from the wind.

Two international airports serve Cádiz: Jerez, and Seville. There are multiple daily flights from both airports to the rest of Spain and Europe. From these airports, a bus or train will take you directly to the city.

 
Book your stay in Hotel Monte Puertatierra which is just 5 minutes walk from the beach. It offers a variety of rooms, including a few with a terrace where you can enjoy views of the main avenue.

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Recommended by Maria of A World of Destinations

cathedral in a small spanish squate lined with palm trees

Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria, which forms part of the archipelago of the Canary Islands. Gran Canaria is famous for having spring-like temperatures all year round, making it an ideal place to escape winter in Europe. 

Gran Canaria is also known for having a great diversity of natural landscapes for its relatively small size. The south of the island is characterized by Caribbean-like beaches and hotel resorts, while the north features a seemingly untouched and wild coastline. 

Las Palmas is a great base to explore the most beautiful places of Gran Canaria.

There’s a lovely city beach with a boardwalk and the old town, Vegueta, features beautiful architecture. Each Thursday there’s a “Tapas Night” in Vegueta where locals and tourists mingle in the streets and hop from bar to bar to try different tapas and drinks. 

Las Palmas is especially popular among surfers, as Las Canteras beach is one of the best places for surfing and body boarding in Europe. 

The best area to stay in Las Palmas is near Las Canteras beach, from where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset every day. Las Palmas is a hotspot for digital nomads and ex-pats, which is why you will find many young people from all over the world based there, giving the city a young and lively vibe. 

Málaga

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

beach with palm tress and sign saying malagueta

Prepare to have your expectations smashed to smithereens when you visit Málaga. With its rich history and cultural heritage, this port city on the southern tip of Spain is much more than a sun, sea and sangria resort.

Málaga’s magnificent Moorish Alcazaba, built on the site of the former Roman town, is filled with graceful stone gates, pathways lined with orange trees and bougainvillaea, and tinkling fountains. From its Gibralfaro Castle, there are panoramic views of Málaga.

Pay homage to Pablo Picasso, Málaga’s favourite son, by visiting the Picasso Museum. For art with a more modern twist, take a look at the collection at the Centre Pompidou Málaga, or take a self-guided tour of Málaga’s exceptional street art.

Don’t leave town before paying your respects to Málaga’s One-Armed Lady. The city’s cathedral owes its name to its lopsided exterior – its western tower was never built – and has an outstanding collection of paintings and sculptures,

For quality beach time, head to La Malagueta. This sandy Blue Flag beach is the closest to the city centre and is the perfect place to chill and enjoy grilled fish.

Rest your head at Suites del Pintor, a sunny well-equipped apartment in the Old Town.

Marbella

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

pretty pizza in marbella old town with central lampost with 5 lamps

One of the swankiest cities in Spain, Marbella is an easy day trip from Málaga by bus. Beloved by the glitterati, the so-called Diamond of the Costa del Sol has a spectacular setting and a pristine Andalusian old town.

Its Old Town has ceramic flowerpots clinging to the sides of whitewashed buildings that line its cobblestone streets. As you might expect there is no shortage of boutiques and chi-chi shops.

Avenida del Mar, which links the Old Town to the beach, is an open-air gallery, showcasing bronze sculptures by Salvador Dalí. Walk along Paseo Maritimo, Marbella’s elegant seafront promenade, for epic views across the Mediterranean and a great choice of bars and restaurants.

Stay overnight at the elegant Hotel Claude, in the heart of Marbella’s Old Town.

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Awesome Things to Do in a Day in Marbella

Palma de Mallorca

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

exterior of cathedral which is one of the things to see in palma de mallorca in one day
Palma Cathedral

Palma de Mallorca, the capital city of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is one of Spain’s most stunning cities. This popular port of call for cruises around the Western Mediterranean brims with beauty and oozes history.

To make the most of your time in Palma de Mallorca, concentrate your sightseeing in El Casco Antiguo, the city’s compact and picturesque Old Town. La Seu, Palma’s soaring 13th Century cathedral has interior features designed by Antoni Gaudí and the contemporary artist Miquel Barceló.

See evidence of Palma’s Moorish past at the Arab Baths, once part of a nobleman’s manor house in the city’s Medina Mayurqa.

One of the things for which Spain is famous is its food, which varies between regions and even between cities. When you are visiting Palma de Mallorca, try an ensaïmada, the island’s tasty pastry. 

Book a stay at Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume, a 5-star hotel in the centre of Palma de Mallorca, featuring a spa with an indoor pool, sauna, hammam and a rooftop terrace.

READ THIS NEXT: One Day in Palma de Mallorca, Spain: 8 Awesome Things to Do

Peñíscola

Recommended by Martina of PlacesofJuma

aerial view of peniscola in spain situsted on a rocky promontory

Peñíscola is one of Spain’s most beautiful cities that you may not have heard of.

Due to its spectacular location, Peñíscola is often referred to as “The City in the Sea”. Its snow-white houses give this medieval city an extra dose of charm.

Rising 64 meters above the sea, the imposing Peñíscola Castle is the city’s main attraction. From its medieval walls, which date back to 1307, there are views across the sea.

Numerous boutiques and local restaurants line the cobblestone alleyways of Peñíscola’s gorgeous old town.

Another plus is the many fantastic beaches close to the old town of Peñíscola. These are perfect for swimming and sunbathing in the summer.

The best time to visit Peñíscola is late spring. At this time, you can enjoy lots of sunshine, you can swim in the sea and there are fewer tourists.

Peñíscola can be easily reached by train. As the city is well connected with Valencia and Barcelona, it is easy to visit on a day trip.

But if you have time, spend a few days there. A very special place to stay in Peñíscola is the Hotel Boutique La Mar, a wonderful adults-only hotel in the best location near the old town and the beach.

Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

ochre coloured buildings and mural of womans face
Street art in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

Puerto de la Cruz is as far removed from Tenerife’s soulless sun-and-sangria resorts as you can get. Located in the lush north of this Canary Island, it is not only the perfect base for touring Tenerife by bus or car but is also a superb city in its own right.

There’s the small and lush Jardín Botánico as well as the smaller gem of the Orchid Garden (Jardín de Orquideas de Sitio Litre).

The walls of Puerto de la Cruz have acted as blank canvases for some of the greatest muralists, transforming the old town into an open-air art gallery. For more contemporary art, the 17th Century Old Customs House houses the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACEW) which hosts exhibitions by Spanish painters.

You can watch life go by under the shade of Canarian palms in Plaza del Charco. Or visit Castillo San Felipe, a small but imposing fort that was to protect the city against pirates.

To cool off, take a dip in one of the swimming pools at Lago Martiánez. This complex also features gardens, terraces, islands, viewpoints, cultural spaces, bars and restaurants.

Book the wonderful Central PENTHOUSE with TERRACE and SEA views in the heart of the old town with sweeping views across the ocean. 

Tarifa

Recommended by Joanna of Andalucia in my pocket

people flying kites over a sand beach

Tarifa is famous all over Spain as a destination for water sports. Many people come here every year to enjoy the high winds and practice windsurfing, kitesurfing and even surfing.

This is also the most southern point of continental Europe, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Walking on the promenade that separates the sea from the ocean, you can see the contrasting colours of the two bodies of water. The place where they meet is marked by two signs.

Tarifa is also known for its beautiful sandy beaches. The most popular one, Playa de Los Lances, starts directly in the city and stretches for 10 kilometres. The area closest to the city is reserved for sunbathers, whilst the northern part is dedicated to water and wind sports.

This is a lovely whitewashed city, with an old town enclosed by tall walls. Visit Castillo de Guzman el Bueno, a castle built on a rock to protect the city from attacks from the sea.

Walk around Tarifa’s narrow streets to discover small boutiques and local shops. You won’t find any chain stores in the old town of Tarifa, only independent businesses.

If you decide to spend more than a day in Tarifa, check out Riad Tarifa, an adult-only boutique hotel with lots of personality.

Tarragona

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

medieval street with plaza and central building painted with street art
Plaça dels Sedassos, Tarragona

Are you looking for a gorgeous Spanish city where the balmy waters of the Mediterranean meet rich Roman history? Then visit Tarragona, one hour by train from Barcelona in Spain’s sunny Costa Dorada.

Tarragona’s history as the earliest Roman stronghold in Spain – the city of Tarraco –  is evident throughout the city.

The remnants of the Roman walls have been transformed into an archaeological promenade. There’s a first-century Roman circus, one of the best conserved in the Western world, and a Praetorium.

But best of all is Tarragona’s Roman amphitheatre with its backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. Built at the turn of the 2nd Century AD, this is said to have accommodated 12,000 bloodthirsty spectators.

Once you’ve got your Roman fix, spend time exploring Tarragona’s charming Old Town with its sand and ochre-coloured buildings lining narrow, shaded streets. This beautiful city also has a magnificent cathedral with a cloister.

At the end of the day, watch the sunset with the locals from the Balcó del Mediterrani at the south-eastern end of Rambla Nova.

Book a room at Hostal 977, a welcoming guesthouse in the heart of the Old Town.

READ THIS NEXT: Top 10 Things to Do in Tarragona: Spain’s Roman City by the Sea

Valencia

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

piazza in sunshine with cathedral and basilica
Plaça de la Verge, Valencia

Valencia is an understated gem of a Spanish city. It is blessed with year-round sunshine, there are lots to see and do and it attracts a fraction of the visitors that descend on the tourist honeypots of Barcelona and Madrid.

One of the most historic places in Spain, Valencia was founded by the Romans but flourished in the 15th Century, from when many of the city’s most important landmarks date. These include the Micalet, the UNESCO-listed Silk Exchange and the Serranos Towers.

Valencia’s rich history is encapsulated in its cathedral. The Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia was built on the site that once housed a Roman temple, then a Visigoth cathedral and later a mosque.

But Valencia also has a modern edge, and is home to some of the most striking architecture in Spain, from Art Nouveau to Modernista to futuristic buildings. King amongst these buildings is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences).

As the undisputed home of paella, don’t leave town without trying a traditional Valencian paella, which is a mixture of chicken, rabbit and beans.

Book a room at Hostal Antigua Morellana, a family-run guesthouse in the heart of the old city.

READ THIS NEXT: 15 Fabulous Reasons for Visiting Valencia, Spain

Historic Cities in Spain to Visit

Cartagena

Recommended by Faith of  XYUandBEYOND

roman amphitheatre in cartagena spain
Cartagena’s Roman Amphitheatre

Cartagena is located in the region of Murcia on the Mediterranean coast and is known as the ‘winterless region’ as it has some of the best weather in Spain. This is a city you visit for its vibrant history, Art Nouveau architecture, phenomenal food, Roman ruins and a stunning hilltop castle.

One of the best things to do in Cartagena is taking the Panoramic Lift up to the top of the cliff where the Castillo is located. From here, there are jaw-dropping views of sites such as the Roman theatre and the yacht-filled harbour.

The Castillo dates back to Roman times when it was a Temple to Asklepio. There are several ancient sites in the city including a Byzantine wall, Casa Fortuna with its stunning floor mosaics, the Roman Forum with its baths, and many others.

The city centre is walkable and traffic is restricted. This is a bonus as you will spend so much time looking at the stunning Art Nouveau buildings, which are covered in decorative lacework facades and coloured in beautiful pastel shades of pinks, yellows and blues.

Stay overnight at NH Cartagena (Plaza Héroes de Cavite), a boutique hotel that is a short walk from the port.

Córdoba

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

reflection of the mezquita of cordoba in still river with arched stone bridge

Córdoba is one of the most historic cities in Spain and a personal favourite.

The former Roman city of Corduba became the capital of Moorish Spain in 756 AD.  Over the next three centuries, Córdoba rivalled the great cities of Cairo and Baghdad as a centre of Muslim art and learning.

The charm of today’s Córdoba is rooted in its rich history.

Its star attraction is the UNESCO-listed Mezquita of Córdoba, one of Spain’s most magnificent buildings. This was formerly Córdoba’s Great Mosque, which was reconsecrated as a place of Christian worship following the city’s reconquest by the Catholic monarchs.

Climb the Torre del Alminar, built on the site of the minaret of the Great Mosque of Córdoba, for a bird’s eye view of the city.

For a glimpse of what Córdoba would have been like in its golden age, stroll through the city’s Judería (Jewish Quarter), stopping at the old synagogue. Close by are the flower-filled patios for which Córdoba is famous.

Visit the Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos, a 14th Century Mudejar-style palace from where the Catholic Monarchs launched their conquest of Granada. Its gardens are spectacular.

Book a room at Eurostars Azahar, a friendly 4-star hotel that is a ten-minute walk from the Mezquita.

READ THIS NEXT: Top 10 Things to Do in Córdoba in One Day: Spain’s Historic Jewel

Girona

Recommended by Maggie of The World Was Here First

colourful houses along river in girona spain

If you are looking for the most beautiful cities in Spain, you will be hard-pressed to find one prettier than Girona.

Located in Catalonia about 100 kilometres north of Barcelona, this city rose to fame in recent years as a filming location for HBO’s Game of Thrones. However, this historic place has a lot more to offer than transporting you to the streets of Braavos. It’s worth spending a day or two in Girona to really take in this gorgeous city.

Easily reachable from Barcelona, Girona is an excellent place to visit when exploring Catalonia. The centre of Girona is absolutely charming, with winding cobbled streets, grand plazas and historic sites around every corner. Walk along the city walls, visit the Arab Baths, take in the sites in the Plaza de Catalunya, shop for local produce at the Mercat de Lleó and view the beautiful bridges and houses along the Onyar River.

Girona has a lot of things to do and see, but its small size makes visiting this gorgeous city manageable in a short amount of time. Rest your head at Hotel Costabella, a family-run mid-range hotel that has a swimming pool on-site.

Granada

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

dog lying on set of stone steps leading up to whitewashed buildings

Granada is one of Spain’s most captivating cities.

With the magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains, it has one of the most dramatic locations in Spain. Whispers of its rich history are sprinkled throughout Granada, from its treasure trove of UNESCO World Heritage sites to its steep and winding streets.

The Alhambra Palace is Granada’s calling card. One of Europe’s most sensational palaces, it has kept watch over the city for close on 900 years.

But there is more to Granada than the Alhambra.

The Albaicín (Albayzín) is the site of the city’s first fortress and is occupied by whitewashed buildings and elegant private villas (cármenes) that line its narrow cobblestoned streets. Sacromonte hill rises behind the Albaicín and is riddled with colourful caves (cuevas), many of which have been carefully restored. 

Granada is famous for its tapas scene and is also one of the last Spanish cities where tapas are served for free with a drink. Well, mostly.

This is also one of the best cities to discover more about the art of flamenco. La Alboreá, in the heart of Granada, is a great place to catch a performance. Or for a more intimate experience, check out one of the performances held in the caves of Sacromonte.

Stay the night at the wonderful Casa Morisca at the foot of the  Albaicín. Try to book a room with Alhambra views.

Madrid

Recommended by Kate from Our Escape Clause

exterior of wide facade of madrid royal palace behind a rectangular courtyard
Royal Palace, Madrid

Simultaneously regal and relaxed, Madrid is one of the prettiest cities in Spain, in addition to being the nation’s capital.

A visit to Madrid is easy to pack with museums, from the Prado to the Reina Sofia and beyond, as well as stunning cultural attractions like the Royal Palace and Gardens and the famous Plaza Mayor. Don’t miss the incredible cathedral or Plaza de Espana when you’re near the Royal Palace.

No Madrid itinerary is complete without plenty of time spent in its parks, especially the famous Retiro Park. Comparable to NYC’s Central Park, Retiro Park is home to everything from ample greenspace to beautiful attractions like the Crystal Palace.

Other must-see attractions in Madrid include its gorgeous Gran Via (complete with the famous Metropolis Building), Puerta del Sol and Templo de Debod. For a gorgeous neighbourhood to explore, don’t miss the picturesque La Latina and the Sunday El Rastro flea market.

Before wrapping up your trip to Madrid, be sure to stop by Chocalateria San Gines at least once to enjoy their famous churros and chocolate.

When deciding where to stay in Madrid, you can’t go wrong with checking into the popular, beautiful, and centrally located Catalonia Las Cortes.

Ronda

Recommended by Lucy of On The Luce

old srtone bride and town of ronda overlooking a steep gorge
Puento Nuevo and old town, Ronda

The city of Ronda in Andalusia is set on a mountain plateau 40 miles west of Málaga. This pueblo blanco (white town) is one of the oldest towns in Spain, with a spectacular setting around the El Tajo gorge and historic bridges, whitewashed buildings and orange groves.

Ronda is an easy day trip from Málaga or Seville and is especially good in the summer when its altitude means it’s not uncomfortably hot.

Ronda’s most famous sight is the Puente Nuevo, one of three bridges across the gorge. The ‘new’ bridge is only new by Ronda standards and was completed in 1793 on the site of an older bridge. There are great views of the bridge from the top of the gorge, or follow the path down from Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora for a stunning view of the bridge from below.

Also not to miss in Ronda are the 12th-century Arab Baths, the Casa del Rey Moro gardens and the views from the cliffside Alameda del Tajo gardens. Take an evening stroll through the old town, stopping for tasty tapas using local produce like tomatoes, peppers, broad beans and rabbit.

If you are looking for somewhere special to stay, relax at the Alavera de los Banos, a Moroccan-style hotel with a pool and flower-filled gardens

Salamanca

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

sandstone bridge leading to a cathedral in the beautiful spanish city of salamanca

With its glowing sandstone buildings rising on the banks of the winding Tormes Rover, Salamanca is easily one of the most stunning cities in Spain to visit. Thanks to its proximity to Madrid, the so-called “Golden City” is also one of Spain’s most popular cities.

This UNESCO-listed city is the showpiece of the Spanish Renaissance.

There are not one, but two cathedrals. Close to the river is the 12th Century Romanesque Catedral Vieja (Old Cathedral). The larger Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral) largely dates from the 16th Century.

Stop for a drink in Salamanca’s Plaza Major, one of the most beautiful squares in Spain. Tunas (musicians in Renaissance wear) stroll between its cafes, playing for smiles rather than tips.  

If you are looking for a place to stay in Salamanca, book a room at Hotel Rector, a 5-star hotel in the heart of the city that has garnered outstanding reviews.

Santiago de Compostela

Recommended by Alya of Stingy Nomads

a waymarker called a shell on the wet pavement of santiago at night
A Santiago shell, used as a waymarker for Camino pilgrims

Named after St. James, one of the apostles of Jesus (Santiago in Spanish), Santiago de Compostela is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Spain

The history of the city dates back to 814 when the tomb of St. James was discovered in the vicinity. Since then, millions of pilgrims have arrived in Santiago de Compostela following the Way of St. James, the most popular pilgrimage route in Europe.

There are many great things to do in Santiago de Compostela.

Visiting the Cathedral de Santiago is a must-do. Construction of the cathedral started in 1075 and finished in 1122. It’s one of the four cathedrals in the world that was built over a tomb of an apostle.

Along with the Old Town, the cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. Entrance to the cathedral is free.

Becoming a pilgrim for a day and walking the last 20 km to the Cathedral is a unique thing to do in Santiago. You can start the walk from O Pedrouzo or Padron and follow one of the Camino routes.

Going out for tapas is a not-to-miss thing to do in Santiago. Local tapas bars offer a great variety of local delicacies. Rua de Franco in Old Town has the best tapas bars.

The summer months of June to August are the best time to visit the city. Unlike in most of Spain where it gets extremely hot, Galician summers are mild and pleasant.

There is an international airport in Santiago de Compostela with direct flights from the UK, France, Netherlands and other European cities.

Hostal Reis Catolicos occupies one of the most emblematic buildings in Santiago de Compostela. It’s a perfect place to stay for a couple of days in the heart of Old Town.

Seville

Recommended by Bridget of The Flashpacker

majestic seville cathedral seen through an arched gateway

With its labyrinth of concealed squares, rich history and a vibrant tapas scene, Seville is one of Spain’s most romantic cities. The capital of the southern region of Andalusia, it is the country’s fourth-largest city.

Begin your visit to Seville with two of its three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the sublime Real Alcázar of Seville and the monumental Seville Cathedral. Climb to the top of La Giralda, the cathedral’s bell tower, for sensational views over the city.

Explore Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville’s historic Jewish quarter. With its labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets and hidden patios fragranced with sweet orange blossom, it oozes charm.

Examine the extraordinary tilework of the flamboyant Plaza de España, before taking time out in Parque Maria Luisa, Seville’s green lung. Finally, walk across the serpentine walkway of the Metropol Parasol, the city’s most striking modern structure.

Book an apartment at Céntriko Apartments, Quintero 40, tucked in a quiet side street a few minutes walk from the cathedral.

Teruel

Recommended by Laura of Travelers Universe

panoramic view of the small city of teruel in spain

Teruel is a city in the autonomous community of Aragon that punches way above its weight. Although it is the least populated provincial capital in Spain, Teruel is a gorgeous city with stacks of history.

It is best known for its beautiful Mudéjar architecture, one of the many Moorish influences that speak of the time the Arabs ruled this part of the Iberian Peninsula. The other popular attraction is the Mausoleum of the Lovers, located in a side-chapel of the Mudéjar Iglesia de San Pedro.

The best time to visit Teruel is in the spring, summer and fall, avoiding the extremely cold weather during the winter months.

Teruel can be visited in a short space of time and is one of the nicest day trips from Valencia. However, if you want to spend the night book a room in Gran Hotel Botánicos, just across the street from the train station or at Sercotel Torico Plaza, located in the main square.

Gorgeous Places in Spain to Visit for Food & Drink

Bilbao

Recommended by Leyla from Women on the Road

sculptre of a giant spider outside a metal plated modern building
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Unlike many Spanish cities, for years Bilbao stood in the shadows of tourism, often reeling from the terrorism which swept the Basque country as the independence movement gripped the land. After decades of fighting, the Basque groups unilaterally gave up their weapons, and Bilbao emerged, pristine and ready for the world.

Bilbao is a surprising Spanish city, often visited because it is the home of the Guggenheim Museum, a silver-coloured set of waves that roll skyward by the riverside. Perhaps even more striking are the Art Nouveau structures scattered throughout Bilbao, not to mention the older buildings of Casco Viejo, the Old Town.

A major delight of Bilbao is the food.

Basque chefs are world-renowned with good reason. They say it’s because of the freshness of the produce, but it’s probably equally because of the marvellous culinary talent in the city.

A favourite pastime is to eat pintxos, the Basque version of Spanish tapas. They’re often mounted on a small slice of bread and pierced by a toothpick to hold the pieces together. Head for Casco Viejo for some pintxo-hopping!

A fun place to stay is the Basque Boutique, a quirky hotel in the heart of Bilbao that is reasonable and offbeat (my room was decorated like Guernica, the Picasso painting in commemoration of the bombing by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy of this nearby village). If you have time to take a day trip, the village of Guernica, also spelt Gernika, has a small but compelling museum tracing the history of the massacre.

Jerez de la Frontera

Recommended by Sarah of ASocialNomad

sherry barrels

Jerez de la Frontera is the home of sherry, flamenco and one of the world’s best classical riding schools. 

Brimming with history, Jerez is one point of the Spanish “Sherry Triangle” and is famous as the birthplace of sherry. A visit to one – or more – of the sherry bodegas is a requirement for a visit here.  

So too is a trip to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, where horses (and their riders) are trained in classical style. Colloquially, it’s called the dancing horses school.  

The magnificent Alcazar, in the centre of Jerez’s old town, is evidence of its rich history that includes the Moors, Christians, and Romans.  

You’ll find well-preserved Arab baths that date from the 11th and 12th Centuries, a mosque and some defensive walls and towers that afford magnificent views over the city. The fortress was the primary defence of the Moors against Christian invaders.  

Jerez offers fabulous food. The tapas here are amazing, varied and a little different from the nearby city Seville.  

Stay at the centrally-located Hotel YIT Casa Grande to be within walking distance of all the bodegas, attractions and tapas bars.

Oviedo

Recommended by Cosette from KarsTravels.

large square with fountain and modern sculpture in  the city of oviedo spain

Oviedo is a lesser-known city outside of Spain. Undeservedly, since it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Spain to visit, with a historical centre and the best sidrerías.

It’s in Northern Spain in the region of Asturias, close to the coast and the Picos de Europa National Park. The city was founded in 761. It’s a perfect stop on a France Spain Portugal road trip.

The Calle Gascona is a street lined with sidrerías and the number one reason to visit Oviedo.

Sidrerías are cider houses that serve the famous apple cider produced in the region. It’s quite a show when they pour the cider from up high in the glass. This way it has more flavour, due to it getting more oxygen.

Visiting this street isn’t the only thing to do in Oviedo.

The city has a small, but colourful historical city centre. Go on a self-guided city walk and admire the Catedral de San Salvador, the Campo de San Francisco, the Plaza del Fontan and the many statues.

Last but not least Oviedo is the start of the Northern Camino de Santiago, the pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela.

Good places to stay are the Apartamentos Clarin on the Calle Gascona or the Aparthotel Campus

Zaragoza

Recommended by Sarah from LifePart2 & Beyond

domes and spires of basilica nd stone bridge in zaragoza a beautiful city in spain

Zaragoza is Spain’s fifth-largest city, located in the northeast of the country, roughly halfway between Madrid and Barcelona.

It’s a beautiful Spanish city to explore, yet seemingly off the tourist trail. One of the most famous buildings in Zaragoza is the stunning Basilica of Our Lady of the Pilar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar), located on the immense Plaza del Pilar. Other notable buildings around the central plaza include the Cathedral of El Salvador de Zaragoza and the city hall.

Step away from the main square to explore the gorgeous backstreets of Zaragoza’s historic centre. As you wander the streets, you can see how the Romans, the Goths, the Moors, the Aragonese and, most recently, the Spanish have all left their mark on the city.

Take a peek also at the Aljaferia Palace. If you are a museum buff, there are enough museums to keep you busy for days.

But the highlight of Zaragoza is undoubtedly the tapas. Start from the Calle Mayor and hop from one tapas bar to another tapas bar. You won’t be disappointed.

Need a hotel recommendation? Try the Hotel Pilar Plaza Zaragoza. It’s right on the central plaza with great views of the Basilica, within walking distance of all the main sites, and most importantly, great tapas bars.

Are Spanish Cities Safe for Solo Travellers?

Spain is an excellent solo travel destination.

It is not only one of the best places for single travellers in Europe, especially if you are setting out on your first solo trip, but it is also one of the best places to travel alone across the globe. 

It has a rich history, a vibrant cultural scene, buzzing nightlife and well-developed infrastructure. There are activities to suit all interests and plenty of opportunities to meet other people when you are travelling.

One of the main concerns of women who travel alone is keeping safe as solo travellers. Whilst Spanish cities are generally safe, pickpockets do operate, especially in crowded tourist hotspots and on public transport.

A little bit of common sense goes a long way. Remain vigilant, keep your belongings close to you and use your hotel safe to store valuables.