Spain is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, with an array of beautiful cities and towns, diverse landscapes, and historical influences, it’s easy to see why that would be the case. You’ve probably visited Barcelona and heard of Alicante, so we wanted to list (in no particular order) some of the more lesser-known, underrated towns and cities in Spain.
Located in central Spain, Salamanca boasts breathtaking beauty due to the nearby sandstone quarries from which many of the city’s buildings were constructed. The golden light that radiates from the stone at sunset has warranted Salamanca the nickname ‘The Golden City.’ The city is home to one of Europe’s finest universities, features historic architecture, and the people have an enthusiastic love for life.
At the foot of the Sierra Nevada lies the provincial capital of Granada in Spain’s Andalucia region. The city offers a noteworthy peek into Spain’s Moorish history with the 13th-century palace of Alhambra, legendary citadel, and ornate architecture. Wander around the city’s old Muslim quarter, watch the sunset from the paved lookout of the Mirador de San Nicolas, or take advantage of Granada’s generosity with some free tapas for every glass of wine or beer.
Spain’s largest port city in the north of Spain is home to the Guggenheim Bilbao museum, which is one of architect, Frank Gehry’s most remarkable accomplishments. There are also several eminent churches in the city’s historic Old Quarter, some dating back to the 1300’s.
The northern city was once a fortified medieval town, and the Old Quarter still reigns supreme. The grand and beautiful statues and carvings within and around the Gothic-style Santa Maria de Palacio are a must-see. Logroño is known for its world-renowned Spanish wine as well as dining scene.
A fabulous example of the old and new blended together perfectly; Valencia has always been one of Spain’s most important cities. It is considered the birthplace of paella, and the modernist City of Arts and Science is potentially the most symbolic sight in Valencia. Venture out of the city and you can find the Albufera Natural Park, a wetlands reserve with walking trails and a lake.
The origin of this town can be traced to the Roman era, and you can still find many bridges that date back to this period. Main attractions include the hot springs that bubble to the surface all throughout the town, including along the banks of the Miño River, and the historic Old Quarter.
Although it is the capital of the Basque Country, it is usually overshadowed by San Sebastian and Bilbao. Public spaces are sociable, relaxing, and picturesque, and the charming corners, and squares, present charismatic architecture and monuments. In July, the famous Vitoria Jazz Festival is held and, as you might expect, there’s delicious food all year round.
With the Roman Amphitheatre overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the city’s Roman civilization, Tarraco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and beautiful beaches, it’s not difficult to see why Tarragona made our list. A vibrant seaside city, with an abundance of culture, great food, and modernist architecture makes this city essential to visit.
Perhaps best known as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, (and of this its inhabitants are immensely proud), Malaga is a culture hub for art and history. There is a buzzing bohemian district, known as SOHO, city-centre roof top terraces, and plenty of eateries to choose from. Visit the Moorish fortress, Alcazaba, or walk up to the viewing point at Gibralfaro Castle to watch the sun set over the city and sea.
Capital of the province of Cordoba, this city is home to the warmest temperatures in Spain and Europe. It has the second largest old town in Europe, which has been named the largest urban area in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meander around patios and courtyards filled with flora, wander through the Jewish quarter, or gaze upon the Alcazar.