7 Spanish Cities You Have to Visit
It’s Fiesta Nacional de España this weekend, a Spanish national holiday which commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s first arrival in the Americas. To celebrate the occasion, and to give you inspiration for a summer getaway, here’s a list of 7 cities in Spain you have to visit!
Seville is one of Spain’s true gems. Rich in heritage, Seville is ideal for a long weekend away whether you’re looking for cobbled streets and historic architecture or a weekend of bars and restaurants. The influence of the city’s Moorish past and Catholic present is visible everywhere with the Alcázar of Seville the highlight. Coming complete with lush gardens, elaborately tiled courtyards and gilded ceilings, the palace is the oldest in Europe still in use today.
Other main sights to see include the world’s largest Cathedral, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Archeological Museum. Naturally, we’d also recommend catching a football game here, with the Sevilla fans notoriously some of the loudest and most passionate in the country!
We couldn’t have a list of cities to visit in Spain without mentioning the Spanish capital. Though Madrid has always had an appeal, the city has really revamped itself in the past couple of years. The city’s museums have all expanded, while the centre of the city sees numerous new delis, cafés, boutiques and bars opening up on the Gran Vía on an almost daily rate.
Madrid always packs a vibrant atmosphere and the city’s history means there’s never a lack of sights to see such as the Buen Retiro Park, the Royal Palace and the Sunday flea market, El Rastro.
If it’s dining and unwinding you’re after, there are few places in Europe better than San Sebastián. The first Basque city to feature on our list, San Sebastián is unrivalled in Spain when it comes to food. Michelin-starred restaurants are littered throughout the city and even the smallest of restaurants take their food incredibly seriously with pintxos (Basque tapas) served basically everywhere.
Outside of grub, there are three golden beaches, Art Nouveau architecture as far as the eye can see, exhilarating walks, plus one of the world’s most glamorous film festivals. Put simply, San Sebastián is the perfect Spanish city break.
The coastal city of Santander may not be the most architecturally beautiful of cities thanks to a huge fire which ravaged the city in 1941, but the Cantabria capital still makes the most of its setting along the northern side of the stunning Bahía de Santander. The city is lively to say the least with fine urban beaches, busy shopping streets, and a thriving bar and restaurant scene.
But we’d also recommend using the city as base to explore further afield in the Cantabria region. Alongside its incredible coastline, the tiny northern region also features quiet countryside, majestic mountain ranges and plenty of colourful seaside towns. The food here is also worth the visit alone.
If you’re after some fun in the sun with a large dose of culture thrown in, look no further than Valencia. Spain’s third largest city has undergone some redevelopment in the last decade, which means alongside the elegant Art Nouveau buildings that line the city’s streets, the city now features some of the most striking architecture in the country.
As well as numerous museums, a flourishing restaurant scene, lively nightlife and extensive shopping options, Valencia also benefits from miles of Mediterranean beaches which are walkable from the city centre. Perfect for a trip away with friends.
Bilbao won’t knock you out with stunning beauty like San Sebastián but the Basque city has always offered some undeniable charm. Small enough to walk around, this bustling city is a must visit for any fans of art thanks to Frank Gehry’s titanium masterpiece, the Museo Guggenheim, and the Museo de Bellas Artes which also houses some of the finest art in the country.
The port is one of the Balbao’s hotspots with views of the Euskadi’s coastal mountains towering over the Bay of Biscay, while the blend of new architecture alongside the beautiful medieval quarter makes the city perfect for wandering. Like most places in the Basque region, the food is also sensational!
With its deadly combination of sun, sea and sightseeing, Barcelona is one of Europe’s busiest tourist hotspots. Its Catalonian independence gives Barca something truly unique with a great atmosphere complimented by art and some of the most incredible architecture you’ll see in the continent.
Other highlights in the city include Park Güell, the nearby Salvador Dali museum and day trips to the beautiful Pyrenees Mountains if you want to catch some stunning view of the city above. For the hedonists out there, the café culture of Las Ramblas is ideal!
If you’re looking for a getaway before Christmas, here’s what we think are the best winter weekends city breaks in Europe…