My list of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities To Visit In Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, includes 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures. Capital city Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church.

In Northern Spain, Basque Country is known for a rich culinary culture and Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Santiago de Compostela is a holy pilgrimage city. Navarra’s capital, Pamplona, is famed for its annual running of the bulls. Eastern Spain’s Valencia is celebrated for its paella (a rice dish). In the south, Andalusia is known as Picasso's birthplace (Málaga), for bullfighting and flamenco (Seville), and for Moorish landmarks including Córdoba’s Mezquita mosque-cathedral and Granada’s Alhambra palace. Spanish beach destinations include the Mediterranean Balearic Islands, including Ibiza, and the Canaries, off Africa.

1. Madrid

Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities To Visit In Spain

There's definitely something unforgettable about Madrid. Whether it's an extra touch in Goya’s paintings that line the Prado or the extra pinch of paprika that adds a kick to the already famous cuisine, the city has a spark that will grab any visitor's attention. Although it's often incorrectly confused as Barcelona’s serious older sister, there’s confidence in the way the people here carry themselves.

Maybe it’s the surroundings —medieval mansions, baroque extravagance, and its centerpiece, the gorgeous Royal Palace—that give the residents a reason to strut their stuff. Start the day in the very green Retiro Park on your way to a morning at the Prado. Take a late lunch and afternoon siesta before joining the locals for dinner – never before 8 pm.

As a traveler, take a look at the best hotels and apartments to book in Madrid.

2. Barcelona

Barcelona

Life in Barcelona seems undeniably easy. Its incredible climate and lively beach culture makes you want to live your life in the sun. Barcelona is the commercial heart of Spain, but has its own unique culture and heritage. For visitors, there’s plenty of things to explore. With Gaudi’s eclectic architecture spiraling around buildings like vines on a tree, the city feels like it’s in a constant state of movement.

Spend time on Las Ramblas where artists, vendors, and dancers compete for your attention. For some extra adventure, head to the Gothic Quarter where you'll find fascinating alleys and bohemian cafés from days gone by. Or tune in to the relaxed vibe, where young and old party the night away.

See the Best Hotels to book in Barcelona.

3. Málaga

Málaga

Málaga is a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, known for its high-rise hotels and resorts jutting up from yellow-sand beaches. Looming over that modern skyline are the city’s 2 massive hilltop citadels, the Alcazaba and ruined Gibralfaro, remnants of Moorish rule. The city's soaring Renaissance cathedral is nicknamed La Manquita ("one-armed lady") because one of its towers was curiously left unbuilt.

In the city center is the Picasso Museum, showcasing works of the famous artist, born in Málaga in 1881. There’s also the Fundación Picasso, dedicated to the study of the man.The city's many other museums include the Museo Carmen Thyssen, focusing on 19th-century Andalusian painting, and the CAC Málaga, exhibiting pieces by up-and-coming artists. The 19th-century bullring La Malagueta still holds fights, especially during August’s famous Málaga Fair. Tapas restaurants and bars line the beachfront and harbor, serving fried anchovies and other regional staples, many reflecting a North African influence.

Here are the best hotels in Málaga for travelers.

4. Seville

Seville

Seville is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. It's famous for flamenco dancing, particularly in its Triana neighborhood. Major landmarks include the ornate Alcázar castle complex, built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty, and the 18th-century Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring. The Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb and a minaret turned bell tower, the Giralda.

Most of Seville's major monuments lie within the walkable old city. The medieval Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz features winding, cobbled alleys lined with orange trees. The Arenal district is home to the Museum of Fine Arts, which showcases painting masterpieces by El Greco and Velázquez. Southwestern Los Remedios hosts the Seville April Fair, a festival of eating, sherry drinking and flamenco dancing, set in colorful casetas (tents) beside the River Guadalquivir. Tapas bars often offer the city’s famous gazpacho soup.

Best Hotels to book in Seville.

5. Marbella

Marbella

Marbella is a city and resort area on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, part of the Andalusia region. The Sierra Blanca Mountains are the backdrop to 27 km of sandy Mediterranean beaches, villas, hotels, and golf courses. West of Marbella town, the Golden Mile of prestigious nightclubs and coastal estates leads to Puerto Banús marina, filled with luxury yachts, and surrounded by upmarket boutiques and bars.

Marbella’s old town, the Casco Antiguo, has narrow cobblestone streets and whitewashed Moorish houses. It centers on the 15th-century Plaza de los Naranjos, where the ruins of the city’s medieval Arab walls stand alongside Renaissance buildings, palm trees and tapas bars. The Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo and the Museo Ralli hold works by Spanish artists such as Dalí, Miró and Picasso. Along the busy waterfront, beaches include La Fontanilla and La Venus, public spaces with facilities for families and water sports, as well as luxurious private beach clubs.

Best Hotels in Marbella.

6. Valencia 

Valencia

The port city of Valencia lies on Spain’s southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea. It’s known for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including a planetarium, an oceanarium and an interactive museum. Valencia also has several beaches, including some within nearby Albufera Park, a wetlands reserve with a lake and walking trails.

Established in Roman times, Valencia has buildings dating back hundreds of years, including medieval city gate (and former prison) the Serranos Towers. The 16th-century Silk Exchange was built when the city was a wealthy and powerful mercantile hub.

Opposite stands the vast Mercado Central (a covered market), built in 1914. In the medieval center, Valencia Cathedral is home to a 1st-century holy chalice and the octagonal Miguelete bell tower. The Turia Gardens form a green ribbon linking the Bioparc Zoo with the port and Malvarrosa Beach. The Museum of Fine Arts houses works by El Greco and Goya.

Best hotels to book in Valencia.

7. Granada

Granada

Granada is blessed with Moorish heritage dating back more than 700 years. The pinnacle of this is the Alhambra, a compound with palaces, courtyards and gardens where the Emirs of Granada would escape the summer heat.

You can work your way along the streets of the old Moorish city, laid out exactly as it was in Medieval times, or enter the cave dwellings of the historic gypsy neighbourhood famed for its flamenco shows. All the while the soaring peaks of the Sierra Nevada will draw you gaze in the distance to the east.

See best hotels and apartments in Granada.

8. Torrevieja

Torrevieja

Torrevieja is a city in Spain's southeastern Alicante province, on the Costa Blanca. It’s known for its Mediterranean climate and coastline. Promenades run along sandy, resort-backed beaches. The tiny Museo del Mar y de la Sal houses exhibits exploring the town’s fishing and salt-mining history. Inland, the Lagunas de la Mata-Torrevieja Nature Park has trails and 2 salt lakes, one pink and the other green.

Best hotels to book in Torrevieja.

9. Benalmádena

Benalmádena

Benalmádena is a town on southern Spain's Costa del Sol, known for its beaches and Tivoli World theme park. The modern Puerto Marina is home to the Sea Life Benalmádena aquarium and moored yachts. In the traditional Andalusian old town lie the Castillo Monumento Colomares, a castle-style monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America, and the Benalmádena Stupa, a large Buddhist temple.

Best hotels to book in Benalmádena.

10. Alicante

Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities To Visit In Spain

Alicante is a port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca, and the capital of the Alicante province. Its old town, Barrio de la Santa Cruz, has narrow streets, colored houses and a nightlife scene. From here, an elevator or a steep climb leads to medieval Castillo de Santa Bárbara, set on a hilltop with sweeping views of the Mediterranean coast.

The Puerto de Alicante is the harbor where cruise ships dock, home to seafood restaurants and nightclubs. Near the port, the marble-paved Explanada de España is a pedestrian walkway popular for paseos, or evening strolls. City beaches include central Playa del Postiguet (near the old town) and Playa de San Juan, which has restaurants, bars and sports facilities. The Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Alicante has collections of prehistoric and Roman artifacts. Housed in the 17th-century Casa de La Asegurada, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo displays works by Dalí and Picasso.

Best hotels to stay in Alicante.

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