There are so many beautiful Spanish cities, that it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit or live in. There are, in fact, more than 80 cities in Spain, but we’ve narrowed this list down to just 13 of the most beautiful cities Spain has to offer.
Whether you’re planning a weekend trip to Spain, or a longer journey to tick some items off your Spanish bucket list. Or perhaps, you ‘re looking to take the plunge and make the move to Spain, like many other expats have done before.
These are the most beautiful cities in Spain from the North to the South!
Are you searching for a Spanish city with an artistic and cosmopolitan vibe, like Barcelona? The stunning architecture of Seville? The dramatic views of Ronda? Or the beautiful beaches and food scene in San Sebastian?
Whatever your reason for visiting, we’re sure this list of the most beautiful cities in Spain will help you work out exactly which locations will best suit your travel style.
Which of these 13 most beautiful Spanish cities would you like to visit?
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The Most Beautiful Cities in Spain – At a Glance
Below is quick rundown of the most beautiful Spanish cities to visit or live. Read on for more details about each destination, including where to stay, best time to visit, and what makes it so special!
- San Sebastián
Map of Cities in Spain
13 Most Beautiful Spanish Cities
#1 | Seville
The City of Seville is built upon the site of a former Muslim city, and much of the architecture and atmosphere of Seville reflects its Moorish history.
Seville is actually one of the most famous Spanish cities because it was a popular filming location for the Game of Thrones series. The Alcázar Palace, where many GOT scenes were filmed, inside the crenelated walls and lush gardens, is a relic of Seville’s Moorish past.
The Gothic Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede, begun in the 14th century, is another fine example of Seville’s architectural heritage.
The city’s ancient town center, the Barrio de Santa Cruz, is a lively and picturesque warren of narrow streets and white-washed houses.
Seville’s parks and public spaces are also beautiful, and include the Plaza de España, a large public plaza flanked by stately buildings, and the world-famous Maria Luisa Park, with its beautiful walks, lakes, and fountains.
If architecture is your thing, then Seville should be top of your list of cities to visit in Spain. It’s a beautiful place to visit for a weekend trip with your significant other.
Best Time to Visit: As Seville is a popular summer tourist spot, it’s best to visit from March to May when the crowds are thinner, and the weather is starting to warm up.
Where to Stay: Hotel Mercer Sevilla
#2 | Barcelona
The beauty of Barcelona is hard to overstate. Situated on the northeastern coast of Spain, Barcelona is the capital and largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia. With a population of 1.6 million, it is Spain’s second largest city.
The city is known for its architecture, art, and food. Barcelona has become one of the most famous cities in Spain as it’s home to several world-renowned architectural works, such as the church of the Sagrada Família and the apartment building La Pedrera. The city is also home to many famous museums, including the Museu Picasso and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.
In addition to its architecture and art, Barcelona is also known for its food. Tapas, a type of appetizer that originated in Spain, is particularly popular in Barcelona. The city is also home to a number of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Barcelona is a popular city for tourists to stop-off for a few days when making their way to one of Spain’s beautiful islands for a holiday.
Beautiful Barcelona city has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re interested in architecture, art, food, or just want to enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere, Barcelona is the perfect destination!
Best Time to Visit: Barcelona can get hot in the summertime, so it’s best to visit during May to June when the temperature is balmy and there are fewer crowds.
Where to Stay: ME Barcelona
#3 | Córdoba
One of the nicest cities in Spain’s southern Andalusia region is Córdoba, also known as Cordova in English. The city is known for its Roman and Islamic architecture, and is a great city to live or study in Spain.
Cordova boasts one of the most important monuments in Andalusia, the Mezquita, a mosque turned cathedral. The Mezquita is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.
Córdoba is also home to the Great Mosque of Córdoba, another popular tourist attraction. The city is a beautiful mix of old and new, with a historic center that is a labyrinth of winding streets and alleyways, and modern buildings and skyscrapers.
Córdoba is a beautiful city to explore, with a rich history and culture!
Best Time to Visit: Spring (May to June) and Autumn (October to December) are the most pleasant times of year to explore Cordoba.
Where to Stay: H10 Palacio Colomera
#4 | Valencia
Valencia is one of the most beautiful Spanish cities due to its moderate climate, natural beauty and stunning architecture. As a result, it is a very popular tourist destination for visitors from all over the world.
The city of Valencia is home to some of the most beautiful buildings in all of Europe, including the world-famous La Lonja de la Seda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region also boasts several beautiful natural parks, including the Albufera Natural Park, which is one of the largest wetlands in all of Europe.
If you are looking for a place to enjoy stunning scenery, incredible architecture and a moderate climate, then Valencia is the perfect destination for you.
Best Time to Visit: April and May are beautiful months to visit Valencia and take advantage of the warm Mediterranean climate before the summer crowds hit.
Where to Stay: Caro Hotel
#5 | San Sebastian
San Sebastián is a small city located on the north coast of Spain in the Basque Country. The city has a population of about 186,000 people and is known for its beautiful beaches, its Basque culture, and delicious food.
San Sebastián is located in a very hilly area and is known for its stunning views of the surrounding mountains and coastline. The city is also home to a large number of parks and green spaces, making it a very pleasant place to visit.
San Sebastián is quickly becoming one of the best cities in Spain to live. Expat retirees and digital nomads are flocking to the coastal city in droves to take advantage of the sun, beaches, food, cheaper cost of living, and small-town atmosphere.
If you are looking for a beautiful, historic city to visit (or live), then San Sebastián is definitely worth checking out.
Best Time to Visit: Due to its location in the north, San Sebastian’s year-round temperatures are slightly cooler than the rest of Spain. The best temperatures are experienced during the peak tourist season from May to July.
Where to Stay: Akelarre by Relais & Châteaux
#6 | Madrid
There are few cities as breathtakingly beautiful and culturally rich as Madrid. The Spanish capital dates back to the 9th century, and its centuries-old buildings, world-famous museums, and stunning parks are a testimony to its long and fascinating history.
Madrid is one of the richest cities in Spain, with a much higher cost of living than most other places in this guide. But, that means there is a lot of money spent on buildings and infrastructure, making it a very beautiful city to visit or live (if you can afford it).
Madrid is also a very modern city, with a thriving art and nightlife scene. Its streets are lined with chic boutiques and hip restaurants, and its people are incredibly welcoming and friendly.
Whether you’re strolling through the gorgeous Retiro Park, exploring the magnificent Prado Museum, or Savoring a delicious plate of tapas, Madrid will definitely leave you with lasting memories.
Best Time to Visit: We recommend visiting Madrid during the shoulder seasons – March to May or September to November, when hotel prices ease and the weather is nice.
Where to Stay: The Madrid EDITION
#7 | Toledo
The old city of Toledo is built on a hill overlooking the plain of Castile in central Spain, and is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain to visit.
It was once the capital of a mighty empire, and its Situation and history have given it a unique character. The streets are narrow and winding, the houses old and irregular, and the atmosphere is one of ancient mystery. Toledo is a city of great beauty, with a wealth of historic monuments and art treasures.
The Moorish influence is evident in the Alcazar, a fortress which now houses the city museum. The Gothic cathedral is one of the finest in Spain, and the El Greco museum contains many works by the great artist who was born in Toledo.
There is a feeling of medieval romance about the city, which is enhanced by the traditional Spanish festivals such as the Corpus Christi procession, when the streets are decorated with flowers.
Toledo is a place of great architectural interest and beauty. If you are looking for a city to explore, Toledo should be high on your list.
Best Time to Visit: The city is at its most beautiful during spring or summer but avoid July and August when the summer temperature peak and can become unbearable for sightseeing.
Where to Stay: Hotel Boutique Cigarral de las Mercedes
#8 | Bilbao
Bilbao is a port city in the north of Spain, in the Basque Country. It is one of the most important cities in the region and is known for its beauty and its unique architecture.
Although Bilbao was traditionally an industrial city, it has become one of the most beautiful Spanish cities after a modernist transformation over the last 20 years. The city also boasts a number of beaches, delicious pinxtos (tapas), and cool cultural drawcards, making it a great place to visit or live.
The city is home to a number of landmarks and attractions, but the most famous is the Guggenheim Museum, famous for its curvy, titanium-clad facade. Other popular attractions include the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, and the Palacio de Vizcaya.
Bilbao is also a popular destination for shopping and dining and is known for its lively nightlife. If you are looking for a creative and vibrant city to explore, Bilbao is the perfect place to visit.
Best Time to Visit: Bilbao is best experienced during the summer (June to September) when there are plenty of events and festivals happening.
Where to Stay: Hotel Ercilla de Bilbao
#9 | Alicante
If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Spain, then look no further than Alicante on the southeastern Costa Blanca.
Renowned for its natural beauty, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The Santa Barbara Castle is a great spot to enjoy panoramic views of the city and the coastline.
The nearby El Postiguet Beach is a Blue Flag beach with fine golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of amenities. You can find many hiking and biking trails in the Cabo de Huertas landscape located outside the city.
If you’re looking for a place to relax, take a stroll through the Jardin Botanico Hort del Cura, a stunning public garden with a huge variety of plants and flowers.
Alicante is also a popular place amongst expats, making it one of the best cities to live in Spain for foreigners and retirees.
Best Time to Visit: Because of its location, Alicante experiences very little rain and is a great year-round destination.
Where to Stay: AC Hotel Alicante
#10 | Málaga
Málaga is a city in southern Spain and the capital of the Costa del Sol region. It is the sixth-largest city in Spain with a population of over 600,000.
The area around Málaga has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and the city was founded by the Phoenicians in 770 BC. It has been a major port and trading hub for centuries, and was an important stopover on the trade route between Spain and North Africa.
What makes Malaga one of the most beautiful cities in Spain is its long history of art and culture, and it is home to many museums and art galleries. Malaga was also the birthplace of renowned artist, Pablo Picasso.
Málaga is also known for its sunny climate, beaches, top-rated golf courses, and its lively nightlife. This is a city with something for everyone, and it is easy to see why it is one of the most popular cities to visit in Spain.
Best Time to Visit: Summer (June to September) is a popular time to visit Malaga for sun, surf, and sand.
Where to Stay: Gran Hotel Miramar GL
#11 | Salamanca
The most beautiful city in Spain’s western Castile and León region, is Salamanca, renowned for its historical and architectural splendor.
In addition to some of the finest examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Europe, there are numerous Baroque and Renaissance buildings in the city as well. The Old Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, is one of the most iconic buildings in Salamanca, and its ornate facade is a must-see for any visitor.
The New Cathedral, which was built in the 16th century, is also an impressive sight, and its bell tower offers panoramic views of the city.
Salamanca is also home to a number of important universities, including the University of Salamanca, which is the oldest university in Spain.
Best Time to Visit: Shoulder seasons (March to April and October to November) are the best times to explore Salamanca.
Where to Stay: Hotel Rector
#12 | Granada
Granada is a city steeped in culture and history, situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is without a doubt, one of the prettiest cities in Spain.
Founded by the Moors in the 9th century, Granada is home to the Alhambra, a stunning palace and fortress complex that is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Spain.
Beyond the Alhambra, Granada boasts numerous other historical sites, including the Generalife Gardens, the Royal Chapel, and the Albayzín district.
The city is also known for its lively atmosphere, with a number of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to enjoy.
In case you need a break from the hustle and bustle, Granada is surrounded by some of Spain’s most stunning countryside, making it the perfect place to relax and take in the natural beauty of Andalusia.
Best Time to Visit: From May to June the spring flowers are in full bloom and the city transforms into a scene out of a fairytale.
Where to Stay: Alhambra Palace
#13 | Ronda
Ronda is a town in the Spanish province of Málaga, located about 100 km (62 mi) west of the city of Málaga. It’s one of the most beautiful Spanish cities that has gained a lot of attention over the past few years, thanks to Instagram.
It is situated in the northern part of the Serranía de Ronda and overlooks the El Tajo gorge and the Guadalevín River. The cliffs around the gorge and the Puente Nuevo (a spectacular bridge spanning the gorge) are Ronda’s most famous attractions.
The natural beauty of Ronda has inspired many artists and writers over the years. The Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes praised Ronda as “the most beautiful place in the world” in his novel Don Quixote. The British writer George Borrow described Ronda as “the most romantic spot on earth” in his book A Day in Southern Spain.
Being a relatively small city, Ronda is a great place for a weekend getaway in Spain and can be easily explore in just 2 days.
Best Time to Visit: Due to its mountainous location, the summer months (July and August) are quite pleasant in Ronda, but they are also a very busy time to visit.
Where to Stay: Catalonia Reina Victoria
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Ready to Book Your Trip to Spain?
If you’re planning a trip to Spain, then we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. It’s a stunning country with amazing people, great food, and some very beautiful cities to visit! Travelling to Spain at least once in your lifetime is something that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list!
We hope that our pick of the most beautiful cities in Spain has helped you decide where you want to go.
To make the most of your trip, be sure to check out what’s on in Spain by visiting the official Spanish tourism website. And don’t forget to take a look at our other Spain travel blog articles for handy tips and tricks to help you on your journey:
- 9 of the Best Islands in Spain for Holidays (that aren’t Ibiza)
- 11 Picture Perfect Places for a Weekend in Spain (that’s not Barcelona or Madrid)
Feeling inspired? Here are 10 amazing destinations you must add to your Travel Bucket List!
Planning a trip soon? Here’s a list of the websites we use for booking our trips:
- Skyscanner for the best flight deals
- Booking.com for the best rates on hotels
- HomeAway for the best price on apartment and home rentals
- Rentalcars.com for quick and easy car rentals
- Luxury Escapes | Expedia for luxury package holiday deals and tours
- Get Your Guide | Klook | Viator for booking day tours and attraction tickets
- Tourradar for a wide selection of multi-day tours
- Safety Wing for the most comprehensive worldwide travel insurance
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About the Author:
Amanda Twine is the founder and creator of Bucket List Seekers – a luxury travel blog sharing informative travel guides, food guides, hotel reviews, itineraries, and tips about how to make luxury travel more affordable.