Spain Guide

Spanish Cities


If you are considering a Spanish Holiday, Spain is a treasure trove of ancient cities awash with medieval castles, Moorish palaces, stunningly beautiful architecture and some of the world's most important art galleries. The vast majority of international tourists make a beeline for the Costas to spend two weeks enjoying the kind of "sun, sand and sangria" type holiday which has made Spain one of the world's top tourist destinations. No part of the coast is far from one of the country's great cities so try to take at least a day or two to uncover the many cultural delights to be found within easy reach of the all the main package holiday centres.

If you're holidaying on the Costa del Sol you'll be able to enjoy some fascinating day excursions to the historic cities of Cádiz, Córdoba, Seville, Málaga and Granada. Cádiz was founded more than 1,000 years ago and is credited with being the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Christopher Columbus started two of his famous voyages from here and secured the city's glittering future as the major trading centre for the Americas.


Seville is the capital of Andalucia and is one of the most romantic cities in Spain. It's also the hottest city in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. This is the place to go for genuine gypsy flamenco, fabulous fiestas, bullfighting and medieval streets lined with orange trees. Córdoba was once the biggest and most cultural of all European cities after the Moors conquered Spain in the year 711 and made it their capital. Strong Moorish influences are also to be found in Granada, home of the wonderful Alhambra Palace which is one of the country's most visited tourist attractions. Málaga is a cosmopolitan town where ancient streets rub shoulders with modern shops and services it was the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and movie idol Antonio Banderas.

If your holiday destination is the Costa Blanca, take the time to visit Alicante which offers fine Beaches, a wealth of entertainment, shops and culture and one of the most impressive seafront promenades in Spain. Valencia, to the north, has some beautiful architecture, lovely palm fringed plazas and a fantastic new science centre and futuristic aquarium. Visit in March and you'll be able to witness the extraordinary spectacle of hundreds of giant papier mache figures being burnt on every street corner as part of the "Fallas" fiesta.

Barcelona, on the north east coast, is one of the most fascinating cities in the world with its awe inspiring Gaudi architecture which makes you feel as though you've followed Alice into Wonderland. Bilbao, on the north coast, is now attracting international tourists in droves thanks to the fantastic Guggenheim Museum a major work of art in itself and home to some of the world's most priceless paintings. Santander, to the west of Bilbao, has been a favourite seaside haunt of well heeled Spaniards since King Alfonso XIII made it the summer retreat of the royal court in the early part of the 20th century.

Madrid is home to the Spanish government, the royal family and of course the revered Real Madrid soccer team. It's a city of bullfighting and designer boutiques, fiestas and flamenco dancing, gay bars and royal palaces. It's in the central plain of the Iberian Peninsula with the historic cities of Valladolid, Salamanca and Segovia to the northwest, Zaragoza to the northeast and Toledo in the flat landscape of La Mancha, made famous by Don Quixote's creator Miguel de Cervantes.

In the far north west of the country, in Galicia, lies one of Spain's most beautiful cities of all Santiago de Compostela, famed throughout the world as the destination for millions of pilgrims who have trodden the path of the Santiago Way for more than a thousand years.