My Must-See Cities in Spain
Between the food, the markets, the Flamenco, and the architecture, Spain is an European dreamland for international travelers. Each village and city in Spain has its own identity and features that frankly cannot be missed- so check out my favorite Spanish spots.
Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash
Seville or Sevilla is the birthplace of Flamenco and the perfect place to catch an authentic local performance is at Plaza De España in the Maria Luisa park. During the day, you’ll enjoy lovely walks through orange tree lined streets– just don’t eat them, they are super bitter! You can climb to the top of La Giralda for stunning views of the city or get lost in the gardens of Real Alcázar, the royal palace. At night, the Setas de Sevilla are a must see- this modern structure lights up at night for breathtaking views of the city.
2. Donostia-San Sebastián
Calling all surfers and foodies! San Sebastián is known for its delicious food and amazing pintxos– they even have the second highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants per square kilometer in the world, right behind Kyoto, Japan. If you’re looking for local flavor, stop by La Cuchara de San Telmo for delicious traditional Basque food in the old town. When you’re not tapa hopping, you can spend your time on their beautiful beaches relaxing or catching waves. Afterall, thousands of surfers from all over the world travel to Zurriola Beach in San Sebastián. When you’re done, there is an amazing beachfront spa, La Perla, where you can watch the ocean while soaking in the jacuzzi. Before you leave, you have to climb to the top of Motako Gaztelua for stunning views like the one you see pictured here.
A quick drive along the coast from San Sebastián will take you to the city of Bilbao. This industrial port city is now known as the home for Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum- an absolute masterpiece of a building filled with stunning works of art. For a quaint beach day, you can head to the coast and enjoy Sopelana Beach, but if you’re in for a different adventure, head outside the city to Arrankudiaga and hike to enjoy the mountainous views. Check out my TikTok video to see clips from the summit of Ganekogorta!
Madrid– the city capital that really has it all, from great food to amazing architecture, you will love visiting this cultural center at the heart of Spain. One thing that makes Madrid so special is its historical markets filled with amazing food and drink vendors. Next to Plaza Mayor, you’ll find Mercado de San Miguel, a covered market built in the early 20th century.
Madrid is also home to the oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botín, famous for its roast suckling pig. To continue your culture trip, visit one of Madrid’s stunning art museums like Prado or Reina Sofía, where you can see Picasso’s infamous Guernica painting– it’s larger than life and absolutely worth the trip.
If you’re interested in Baroque architecture or want a taste of the royal lifestyle, check out the Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, where each room is ornately decorated with a different theme. My final recommendation is to enjoy some sun in Retiro Park where you can enjoy quiet walks through the gardens– in the middle, you will even find a scenic lake and a crystal palace!
One word- paella. València is home to Spain’s famous saffron-flavored rice dish, paella, which is cooked and served in a large shallow pan. This city has more than just delicious food, Valencia sits on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and has stunning beaches to enjoy. The lifestyle there is all about sipping on a caña beer, having a few tapas, and enjoying the coastal breeze. On your way out, take a trip down the coast to Denia and kayak into Cova Tallada for the perfect scenic swimming spot.