5 Incredible Cities to Explore in Spain

Ready to explore Spain's top cities? From Barcelona to Bilbao, here's a selection of the most popular places to go.

The Casco Viejo is the name for the old town and is the medieval barrio of Bilbao Photo © Getty Images/Alf

Spain is a popular destination for beach holidays as well as adventure, educational and business trips. Its coastline has beautiful beaches and there are striking mountains across the country, especially in the North. There are many tourist attractions, such as impressive architecture and art galleries, demonstrating Spain’s unique history and culture. Visitors can choose their travel destination according to their interests as the country’s cities and rural areas are quite different from one another. Here is a selection of the most popular places to go to.


Barcelona is situated in northern Spain and its inhabitants are Catalan, which is also the language they speak. Although it is a big tourist destination it maintains its local identity of being a stylish place with a laid-back café culture. The architecture in Barcelona is famous for being designed by Antoni Gaudi and is unusually rounded, swirly and colourful. The Sagrada Familia church is his most ambitious project and years after his death it is still being built.


Granada is located in south Spain and is a great place for art and experiencing a bohemian, care-free environment. Most of Spain was under Muslim rule for some time in the 8th century and this is most evident in the South. Granada has a mix of Christian and Muslim architecture and is known for its palace-fortress, the Alhambra, the world's biggest remaining medieval Islamic palace. Granada is a melting pot of cultures and artists and worth a closer look.


Madrid is Spain’s capital and its financial and political centre. It is also an excellent place for culture with the Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza art museums. Madrid has small winding streets in its medieval section and spacious boulevards in more modern parts. The central area between the Palacio Real and Puerta del Sol is known as ‘mile zero’ and is popular with tourists. It is a short walk away from the city’s main street called Gran Vía.


Alicante is a very popular tourist destination because of its beautiful coastline and long sandy beaches. It has long wide seafront promenades that locals and tourists like to walk up and down at night. Often there are cafes on one side and street markets on the other. There are a considerable number of Africans in Alicante who work in the street markets selling their goods. Baroque buildings stand in the city’s historical central area.


Bilbao is in Spain’s Basque region and has a unique culture and cuisine. The restaurants in Bilbao are renowned and very popular. Basque Cider is often drunk in Bilbao and the city has beautiful art and architecture. There is the Euskalduna Palace and the famous Guggenheim museum. The Old Town is also an interesting place to see as it full of busy streets, historic mansions, a gothic cathedral and pretty little boutiques and bars.

What is your favorite Spanish city? Tell us why your love it.

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  • Karen said

    I feel like the best Spanish city has been missed off this list...Sevilla. With its flamenco, oranges, wine and sun, not to mention the famous Semana Santa and Feria de Abril, it really isn't a city you want to miss. Plaza de Espanya is and the Real Alcazar are the iconic places to visit, and a stroll around the narrow old town can leave you lost for hours!

  • Leslie Hoy said

    I'm trying to get a quote for insurance but I'm running into difficulty because it keep on asking for state/province even by typing it..... Country: United states....State/Province: Puerto Rico

    Would appreciate your help.

  • Amelia said

    Hi Leslie,
    Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately there’s no policy available for Puerto Rico residents at the moment. We’re sorry about this, and hope you still have a fantastic trip.
    Amelia, World Nomads Team

  • David said

    I agree with you but I want to go to Valencia and like Karen I want to go to Seville more than Bilbao

  • Mini Bhatt said

    Hello, I’m going to Barcelona next May for two weeks. (Yes, I know not long enough). Because of the limited time line, can you suggest places in the city or nearby that are often overlooked. Thank you!

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