Spain boasts an array of beautiful cities that are bursting with Spanish tradition and culture. These destinations are sprinkled with famous landmarks, picturesque landscapes, cobblestone streets, and stunning coastlines.
From the undiscovered gems of Ronda to the enchanting San Sebastian, each of these beautiful cities Spain has its unique charm. Whether you’re spending your time in the south lounging on dazzling beaches or sampling some delicious wines in the north of Spain, there’s something special for everyone.
The country is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful cities, from ancient hubs hidden amidst towering peaks to Mediterranean metropolises and balmy beaches.
Spain has a huge share of stunning cities to choose from. Let’s take a look at a handful of unforgettable destinations that should be on every traveller’s bucket list.
30 Most Beautiful Cities Spain Has that you Must See
Table of Contents
- 30 Most Beautiful Cities Spain Has that you Must See
- 1. Granada
- 2. Seville
- 3. Barcelona
- 4. San Sebastian
- 5. Palma
- 6. Valencia
- 7. Madrid
- 8. Ronda
- 9. Santiago de Compostela
- 10. Cordoba
- 11. Toledo
- 12. Salamanca
- 13. Bilbao
- 14. Malaga
- 15. Caceres
- 16. Cuenca
- 17. Segovia
- 18. Cadiz
- 19. Burgos
- 20. Gijon
- 21. La Coruna
- 22. Girona
- 23. Alicante
- 24. Avila
- 25. Leon
- 26. Zaragoza
- 27. Tarragona
- 28. Ourense
- 29. Melilla
- 30. Huesca
- A Footnote: Most Beautiful Spanish Cities
Granada is steeped in history, culture, and Moorish architecture in southern Spain’s Andalusia region.
Stroll through the narrow, winding cobbled streets and whitewashed houses dotted with flower pots in Albaicin – the Old Arabic Quarter. Or enjoy authentic flamenco shows in the ‘Gypsy Quarter’ in Sacromonte.
The beautiful city is nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, providing plenty of trekking and skiing opportunities. One of the city’s highlights is the Alhambra, home to an ancient royal palace, a citadel, serene gardens and courtyards hailing from the Nasrid dynasty.
Considered one of the most romantic Spanish cities located in southern Spain, Seville boasts endless charm. The capital of the Andalusian region boasts several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, incredible food and wines, stunning Moorish style architecture and pretty urban parks.
Seville is a treasure trove to explore. You can saunter through the maze of narrow alleyways in the bohemian El Barrio de Santa Cruz neighborhood, thereafter discover the stunning tile work on the buildings in Plaza de España.
If you are into Game of Thrones, check out The Royal Alcazar of Seville, or what we know as ‘The Kingdom of Dorne’. The city also holds the largest Gothic church, The Cathedral of Seville, and the fourth largest cathedral, La Giralda, in the world. I highly suggest taking a tour to learn about the history of these magnificent structures.
As the birthplace of flamenco shows, you’ll certainly want to pop into one of Seville’s rooftop bars and enjoy a steamy performance with a cocktail in hand.
You might enjoy reading some of my other articles on Spain: Famous landmarks in Spain, Ibiza Sunsets, Barcelona landmarks, Best Rioja Wineries, Things to do in San Sebastian and What is Spain Known For?
Barcelona, the capital and the largest city of Catalonia, is one of the most beautiful centers in Spain. The city is located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast, rich in history and home to the famed football club FC Barcelona.
It’s the epitome of a beautiful European city, where you’ll find plenty of outdoor markets, shops, museums, churches, and restaurants. While you’re in the city, a must-see is the intricate architecture of the La Sagrada Familia. Other marvel creations from Antoni Gaudi’s works to see are Park Guell, Casa Mila, and Casa Batllo.
While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the Gothic Quarter. Take a stroll down Las Ramblas, and sample some delicious street food at the La Boqueria. I suggest taking a bike tour to explore Barcelona’s vibrant neighbourhoods.
4. San Sebastian
A stunning coastal town on the Bay of Biscay, just 20 km from the Southern French border, San Sebastian boasts pristine beauty all around.
Donostia, the city’s Basque name, is famed as a culinary hotspot, with nearly a dozen Michelin star restaurants. It’s also a prominent arts and culture centre. Embark on a food tasting tour and sample as you stroll through Parte Vieja (Old Town) and marvel at the Basque sculptures dotted throughout.
Enjoy sweeping views at Monte Igueldo or hit a hiking trail to Monte Urgull. Take a boat ride to Santa Clara Island, or ride some gnarly waves at Zurriola Beach. Don’t miss taking a stroll on one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe at Concha Bay.
Palma, officially known as Palma de Mallorca, is considered the gem of the Balearic Islands autonomous community. With a mixture of medieval streets, bustling plazas, Baroque churches and gothic cathedrals, there’s something for everyone in this stunning Mallorcan capital.
Palma sits nestled on the edge of the sparkling Mediterranean sea and is best known for its swanky beach resorts, limestone mountains, and Roman and Moorish remains. Take a stroll through the old town and soak up the bohemian vibe in the Santa Catalina neighbourhood. You’ll find Placa Major dotted with curbside cafes and vibey summer scenes in the city’s historical heart.
Visit the most prominent landmark, the Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca, a 13th-century Gothic landmark that overlooks the Bay of Palma. Embark on a segway tour (or stroll) through the Old Quarter’s maze of cobblestone lanes.
Valencia boasts a colourful mix of contemporary and ancient structures. The anchorage city is located on Spain’s southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea.
Visit the city’s historical centre, the Silk Exchange Market (La Llotja de la Seda), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that hosts many celebrations and events. Some other incredible places you should visit is the City of Arts and Sciences and the Barrio del Carmen.
Valencia is also the birthplace of Paella, so be prepared to sample some mouth-watering delights in this city.
Madrid is the largest city in Spain and is best known for its incredible culture and artistic heritage.
Be sure to make your way to the Puerto del Sol, a plaza in the heart of Madrid. It’s one of the busiest and most exciting places in the city. And while you’re city sightseeing, see the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), the official residence of the Spanish king.
If you’re interested in some incredible museums, there are some great ones to choose from such as Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Museo del Prado, and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. And there are some fantastic areas to stay in Madrid with some lovely hotels.
Located in Malaga, Ronda is a unique city perched above a deep gorge. It’s best known for its laid back cafe culture, its magnificent landscapes, and rich medieval-Moorish history and architecture.
Ronda’s main attraction is the iconic 18th-century arch bridge, the Puente Nuevo, that is now linking the old town with the new. If you’re looking for stunning views, the vista from El Tajo gorge is truly spectacular.
While you’re here, stroll through the palace of hanging gardens. If you’re an avid hiker, trek to the natural caves of Cueva del Gato and Guadalevin for phenomenal canyon views.
I highly suggest embarking on a full-day tour of Ronda to explore hidden gems, Celtic origins, and its natural beauty.
9. Santiago de Compostela
For centuries, thousands of pilgrims have travelled on St. James’ Way every year, finally reaching the capital of Galicia and entering the iconic Cathedral. According to tradition, this is the burial place of the relics of James the Apostle, discovered in the 9th century.
But Santiago de Compostela is very much a living city, with other attractions for travellers, pilgrim or not: countless restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the delicious seafood of Galicia, a UNESCO World Heritage old town centre, daring contemporary art… There’s plenty to do in this city which combines history with a younger modern side.
Enjoy the amazing local octopus and other seafood delights, head to the Sunday mass which pays special tribute to the pilgrims every week and you can even walk the last couple of kilometres of the Santiago de Compostela.
You might enjoy reading my posts on the Canary Islands in Spain: Things to do in Lanzarote, Best Place to Stay in Lanzarote, Things to do in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria Markets and Best Gran Canaria Excursions.
A thousand years ago Cordoba was the largest city in the world. Today, beautiful Cordoba is often overlooked in favour of the more well-known Madrid or Barcelona but has much to offer. Every May the city holds Feria de los Patios. In this festival, the courtyards and patios of Cordoba’s old town are opened to the public to see who has the prettiest space.
Cordoba is also home to the unique Mosque-Cathedral, both a Moorish and a Christian church. Don’t miss its main hall with its 850 double-arched columns. And stroll the lovely streets of the Cordoba old town and its white houses with jasmine and geraniums.
One of Spain’s World Heritage Cities, Toldeo is surrounded on three sides by the Tago River. It is a unique mix of Jewish, Christian and Muslim influences. Its UNESCO listed old town is full of beautiful cobbled streets, atmospheric plazas as well as synagogues, mosques and churches sitting side by side.
For amazing views over this beautiful city in Spain, head to the hilltop at Parador del Conde Orgaz to see all of Toledo. This is the best place to catch the sunset over Toledo. Then head into town and enjoy some of Toledo’s famous suckling pig.
Salamanca is nicknamed La Dorada or The Golden One for its sandstone buildings that appear to glow. It is also home to the first university in Spain and the fourth oldest university in the world University of Salamanca. Today the University of Salamanca is still a prestigious university, and it imbues the town with vitality and energy.
This beautiful Spanish city’s Plaza Mayor is one of the most magnificent in Spain. It is enjoyed by both tourists and locals and is the place to be in Salamanca.
Unlike most of the other beautiful cities in this post, Bilbao is all about modern architecture and impressive museums. This city in the north of Spain is most famously home to the Guggenheim Museum. This is one of the world’s best modern art museums and housed in a stunning building that Frank Gehry designed.
Bilbao is also home to Philippe Starck’s Azkuna Zentroa cultural and leisure centre, Campos Eliseos Theatre and Santiago Calatrava’s Zubizuri Bridge. As if all that wasn’t enough, Bilbao also has the largest indoor food market in Europe at La Ribera Market and a charming little old town Casco Viejo. Plus Bilbao is the gateway town for visiting the wonderful Rioja wineries.
Let’s start with the weather. Malago has good weather all year round, making it very appealing to those who live in cooler climates like the United Kingdom. Good weather means 300 days of the sun over the year!
Malaga has been heavily influenced by its ancient Arab past and its time under Moorish rule. The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro fortresses sit on Malaga’s top of the hill, guarding it against invaders. Malaga also has a lovely harbour, the perfect place to take a cruise, and some great beaches.
A mixture of Roman, Moorish and Conquistador architecture, Caceres is surrounded by medieval walls and has many palaces with watchtowers. The city is in the Extremadura region in Spain and was the first city in Spain to become a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The old town of Caceres is called “Ciudad Monumental”. Very little has changed in the old town over the years so the old town is often used for filming movies. Caceras’ Plaza Major is outside the old town and is popular with locals and tourists. Plus it has an arched gateway called Arco de la Estrella with 15th-century watchtowers on either side.
Cuenca’s old town sits high up in the mountains of east-Central Spain. The gorges of the Huecar and Jucar rivers sit below it. This well-preserved city is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This beautiful city in Spain is best known for its hanging houses or Las Casas Colgadas. These houses were built in the 15th century over a rock and a gorge. Today it is possible to enter a hanging house which is now a modern art museum. Head to the Bridge of Saint Paul for the best views of the remaining hanging houses.
Only 50 miles north of Madrid, Segovia is best known for its awesome intact 2000-year-old Roman Aqueduct and its beautiful Alcazar Castle. In 1985 this beautiful Spanish city also became a UNESCO world heritage city.
Walk along Calle de Cervantes and Calle Juan Bravo to get a feel for this lovely city. Follow them to Segovia’s beautiful Plaza Mayor which has an old theatre and town hall as well as outdoor cafes and restaurants.
This ancient port city is in the lovely Costa de la Luz in south west Spain’s Andalucia. Cadiz is virtually surrounded by beautiful green waters and it is necessary to cross a bridge to enter the city. It is also home to more than 100 watchtowers.
Cadiz is famous for its beautiful white buildings which are within the sea walls that surround the city. Get the best view of the city from the top of Torre Tavira. And this is a fantastic place to experience Spanish seafood at its best – don’t miss the fresh fish markets.
This medieval city is in Castilla-Leon on the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela. The city is known for its Spanish gothic architecture and its well known Cathedral of Burgos. The Cathedral of Burgos is often said to be the most beautiful cathedral in Spain.
Located in the north of Spain, Gijon is the largest city in the Asturias region and is located on the Bay of Biscay. The city’s old town is called Cimavilla and was once a fishing community. Cimavilla is on top of a hill overlooking the coast so it is full of sloped narrow streets. Many of the houses in Gijon have staircases on the outside. This was done to save space inside.
Don’t miss the huge sculpture Elogio del Horizonte by Spanish Basque artist Eduardo Chillida. Not only is the sculpture very impressive, but it also offers fantastic views of both the coastline and the city of Gijon. Then head back into Cimavilla and enjoy a drink at one of Gijon’s famous cider bars known as sidrerias.
21. La Coruna
Another beautiful Spanish city in the north of the country, La Coruna is often overlooked. The city is along a seafront and has fantastic beaches. La Coruna has the air of harbour city and a slightly grungy feel. Plaza de Lugo is the atmospheric main town square and Ciudad Vieja is the city’s pretty medieval old town.
Don’t miss Calle Estrella, the heart of La Corunas tapas area. La Coruna has built up quite a reputation for food – particularly its famous seafood.
Lovely little Girona is in northeast Catalonia. This medieval town has a majestic cathedral, one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in the world, and numerous festivals that go heavy on the flowers.
The beautiful Onyar Rivers is lined with colorful apartments that make for a great photo opportunity. Once you’ve got the perfect shot walk in the narrow alleys in the area. Or try out the well-preserved public baths that were built by the Moors in the 13th century.
This port town is located on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca and averages 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. It is a small compact city so wherever you are a beach won’t be far away. Casco Antiguo is Alicante’s lovely old town that is full of winding streets and tapas bars. Alicante is known for its rambunctious nightlife.
This striking walled city is located in the hills northwest of Madrid. Another UNESCO site, Avila has intact medieval city walls with 80 semi-circular towers and 9 gates. Long sections of the walls are walkable.
For fantastic views of Avila, head to The Four Posts or Los Cuatro Postes, a small shrine just outside the walled city. It is perched atop a small hill and provides terrific views of Avila.
Leon is not one of Spain’s best known cities but it is home to some of the most important buildings in Spain. These include the Basilica de San Isidoro which was consecrated in 1063 and is home to stunning frescoes and a luxury hotel, Antonio Gaudi’s Casa Botines and the Old Convent of San Marcos.
However, Leon isn’t just home to old important buildings. The Museo de Art Contemporaneo houses over 1,650 works of art in a stunning building that is covered in hundreds of sheets of rainbow-colored glass. Once you’ve explored the famous buildings of Leon, head to the city’s lovely Plaza Mayor. Constructed in 1672, its buildings and arches are painted in mustards, rose and crimson.
Another Spanish city that isn’t so well known, Zaragoza is located between Madrid and Barcelona and known as one of Spain’s most artistic cities. Zaragoza has a UNESCO World Heritage title based on the amount of Mudejar Art in the city. Mudejar art is a mix of Islamic and Christian influences from the 12th to the 17th centuries. Mudejar art can be seen throughout the city.
Zaragoza is also known for far more modern art – street art. Each year Zaragoza holds the International Festival of Urban Art. A new neighborhood is chosen each year for street artists to focus on. The festival started in 2005 so Zaragoza has a lot of street art to see.
This beautiful city in Spain is often overshadowed by Barcelona. However, it has its own unique mix of beaches, an ancient walled old town and UNESCO listed Roman ruins. This port city also has a magnificent ampitheatre which overlooks the sea.
The medieval area of the Tarragona is known as La Part Alta de Tarragona. This is where you’ll find the city’s roman ruins as well as a gothic cathedral. Once you’ve explored Tarragona’s well preserved past head to the Golden Coast – the regions ten miles of beaches.
Located in the lovely Galicia region in the North West of Spain, Ourense sits on the banks of the River Mino. Ourense’s Old City is home to historical architecture as well as small squares, cute fountains and winding streets.
The Roman Bridge Puente Viejo is the most recognised site in Ourense, closely followed by the Cathedral of Ourense. Ourense is also known for its hot sulfur springs which have attracted tourists since Roman times.
Located on the north coast of Morocco, Melilla is considered to be an autonomous city of Spain, despite several attempts to declare its independence. Melilla is well known for its beautiful white sand beaches. The city’s walled old town is perched above the Mediterranean Sea. The old town features gorgeous Gothic style infrastructures.
The new town of Melilla was constructed at the turn of the century and features modernist and art deco architecture.
Huesca is located in the Aragon region in Northeast Spain and dates back to Roman times. It is home to a remarkable gothic-style Cathedral and the Romanesque monastery of San Piedro. And you’ll also find a terrific restaurant scene in Huesca with a mix of traditional and contemporary cuisines.
A Footnote: Most Beautiful Spanish Cities
With Spain being one the most beautiful countries in Europe, there is, without a doubt, an abundance of attractive cities dotted throughout the country. Whether you’re on the hunt for bustling metropolitan centres or cultural hubs – there’s the perfect place for every traveller.
So, now that we’ve covered the prettiest cities in Spain, what’s your next destination?