15 Most Visited Cities In Spain

Do you have the travel bug? If experiencing some of the most visited cities in Spain sounds like the perfect holiday, it will only take you a few minutes to read through this list of the most popular hot spots to find the ideal destination for your next vacation. 

The Top 15 Most Visited Cities In Spain

Of course, Spain is breathtaking with so much to see and do. However, it can be challenging to fit everything in when visiting unless you are a full-time traveler with ample time. 

Key Takeaways

So, for anyone who wants to make the most of their time while in Spain, here is our list of the top 15 most visited cities to make your next holiday planning easier! 

  1. Madrid: The Capital City  
  2. Barcelona: Exquisite Architecture  
  3. Seville: Festival Central  
  4. Granada: Mountainous Landscape  
  5. Valencia: Diverse Attractions  
  6. Alicante: Beach Vacation Spot  
  7. San Sebastian: Basque Culture Hot-Spot  
  8. Ibiza: Music Capital of Spain 
  9. Bilbao: Home of Grandiose Architecture  
  10. Cordoba: Harmonious Spanish Lifestyle  
  11. Las Palmas: Festival Island 
  12. Toledo: Rich With History  
  13. Tenerife: Unique Beach Experiences 
  14. Salamanca: University City 
  15. Malaga: Picasso’s Birthplace
  1. Madrid: The Capital City
A city street in Madrid, at night. There are several tall, tightly packed stone buildings. Lights are seen everywhere. Traffic is moving on the street.

Madrid is the capital city of Spain and sits in the heart of this beautiful country. This popular destination sees over 6 million tourists each year, and for many good reasons. From history and culture to entertainment and breathtaking scenery, stopping in Madrid is never a bad idea. 

Because of its location, it ranks as one of the sunniest cities in Europe. With approximately 2,769 hours of sunshine each year, you are sure to get the Vitamin D you need while visiting Madrid. In addition, visitors can take in an actual bullfight, the Mercado de San Miguel luxury market, and their annual flamenco festival, Suma Flamenca.

For foodies visiting Spain, Sobrino de Botín is the oldest operating restaurant according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Opening in 1725, the oven fire they use has never been extinguished during this entire time. Spaniards really know their cuisine, so experiencing some delicacies at Sobrino de Botin is essential when visiting Madrid. 

  1. Barcelona: Exquisite Architecture  

Although Barcelona was once separate from Spain, it now remains a popular metropolitan destination of this beautiful country. It houses the famous Sagrada Familia temple that began construction in 1882 and is still incomplete, even after all this time. 

The architecture in Barcelona is recognized as being so great that the city received the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. No other city in the world has achieved this status. Visiting Barcelona, it is easy to see why. 

Barcelona is home to the largest football stadium in Europe, Camp Nou. European football is a major attraction, and this famous stadium can accommodate 99,354 cheering fans at once. Its own built-in museum is a must-see attraction for many Barcelona tourists.

If history and culture are your reasons for traveling, Barcelona is ideal. This popular Spanish city is home to nine different Unesco Heritage Sites, giving visitors an exceptional experience like no other. 

  1. Seville: Festival Central  

Seville attracts over two million tourists annually, making it a popular Spanish destination for many. This city is the fourth-largest in Spain and sits just southwest of Madrid. It lies on the east bank of the Guadalquivir River and serves as an important inland port for Spain’s economy. 

If you want a Spanish vacation full of festivals and events, Seville is the perfect destination. During the Holy Week of the seven days leading up to Easter, this city showcases parade floats and other religious celebrations for residents and visitors alike. In addition, visiting Seville in April is a common occurrence because of its April Fair with flamenco performances and art. 

Seville contains many Arabic and Roman Catholic influences within the architecture of its varied culture and history. When visiting this city, you cannot leave without taking in the famous Spanish steps, the Plaza de España. With its grand towers within this popular square, there is much to see, including the fountain and cute bridges. 

  1. Granada: Mountainous Landscape  

Another prominent Spanish destination that brings in over 2.5 million tourists each year is the city of Granada. It is well-known for its medieval architecture and has breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. 

Home to the Alhambra palace, visitors flock to experience a taste of what life was like within the grounds. In addition, tourists who enjoy music and dancing will enjoy the annual festival, focusing on the artistic nature of the area. 

Because of its location above sea level, temperatures in Granada can vary significantly between just around the freezing mark during the winter season and offer hot summer days. It can snow within the city at times, and a popular pastime is Skiing in Swimming Suit Day for the last day of the ski season at the local resort. 

  1. Valencia: Diverse Attractions  

Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain and attracts approximately 2 million visitors annually. Sitting on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, it is in the middle-eastern section of the country. This landscape provides a terrifically mild climate that you can expect from a Mediterranean city. 

If you are partial to Roman Catholic history, visiting Valencia is a must. This Spanish city is home to the Holy Grail, within the Valencia Cathedral. This famous cathedral is rich in history, and the architecture will take your breath away when you step inside. 

Valencia is also the birthplace of Spain’s national dish, paella. So naturally, it would be a shame to visit this Spanish city without taking in a local restaurant and enjoying its cuisine.  

But the residents do not only love their food and culture. They take great care to love the cats within the city borders. If you are a cat-lover, Valencia has dozens of cats in the Botanical Gardens that are well cared for and love to receive attention from the residents and visitors of Valencia.

  1. Alicante: Beach Vacation Spot
An aerial photo of Alicante. The ocean, a busy port, and a marina can be seen in the background. The rest of the photo is filled with densely packed buildings of different size and shape.

For tourists who prefer beach life with days filled with sailing, soaking up the sun, and swimming, Alicante is the ideal Spanish city. Over three million visitors enjoy this destination every year and explore the expansive public beaches. 

Because of its location and access to an international airport, Alicante is one of the hot spots for socialization, restaurants, and an active nightlife for residents and visitors alike. In addition, this harbor city is a major port for Spain. It is also home to The Museo de Arte del Siglo XX La Asegurada that features one of the most important contemporary art collections in Spain today. 

The famous Castillo de Santa Barbara sits on top of Mount Benacantil and overlooks Alicante. This is one of the most visited tourist spots in the city, as one of the largest medieval European fortresses.  Each June brings the Las Hogueras de San Juan celebration, which showcases papier mache sculptures that burn the evening of St. John’s Night around the summer solstice. 

  1. San Sebastian: Basque Culture Hot-Spot  

For over 3.6 million visitors yearly, San Sebastian is the perfect Spanish destination because of its unique Basque culture. Here, the residents have their own language and traditions, giving tourists an entirely different taste of Spain they will not find anywhere else. 

If you enjoy fine dining, this city has everything. San Sebastian is home to the second-most restaurants in the world per capita that have received Michelin Stars for culinary excellence. It would be a shame to miss out on such flavors if you are visiting Spain. 

Its idyllic setting on the northern coast coupled with many local festivals and events throughout the year make San Sebastian a popular hot spot for tourists of all ages and interests. Take a hike through some local mountain trails or relax on the beach before heading out for an evening of fun. This city is one of the best-kept secrets in Spain. 

  1. Ibiza: Music Capital of Spain 

For the almost six million tourists that Ibiza sees annually, music brings everyone together. This small Spanish island off the eastern coast in the Mediterranean Sea is well-known for its electronic music, active club scene, and extended-hour nightclubs. Ibiza is the place to go for clubbers and partygoers while in Spain. 

Although parties and socializing are what everyone associates Ibiza with, it is a Unesco Heritage Site and offers crystal-clear waters at the 57 different beaches on the island. In addition, the ancient olive trees dot the landscape with their gnarled branches are rumored to be up to 2,000 years old and give this island its unique characteristic flair. 

Parties and music are not the only exceptional features of Ibiza, though. They are a large wine producer and craft their beer right from homegrown barley. Additionally, all hotels here must be five-star or better, ensuring that anyone who stays here will enjoy their time in Spain. 

  1. Bilbao: Home of Grandiose Architecture 

Bilbao sits in the northern region of Spain and is a much more popular tourist destination than it used to be, primarily due to the Guggenheim Museum. This cultural focal point brings over one million visitors to Bilbao each year, helping generate economic growth, social and urban regeneration of this small Spanish community. 

With exceptional cultural experiences and majestic architecture, the Basque Culture is alive and well in many historic buildings. Ranging from Gothic to Art Deco and more contemporary structures, Bilbao is an eclectic collection of many styles through the years. 

Although Bilbao is an industrial port city, it has much more to offer visitors. Tourists can take in the many museums, theatres, concert halls, or regular festivals and events during their stay. 

  1. Cordoba: Harmonious Spanish Lifestyle

Nestled in the southern region of Spain, Cordoba is host to over one million visitors every year. Famous for their silversmiths and leather manufacturing sites, they also house the world’s most extensive olive plantations.  

Cordoba contains the Great Mosque of Córdoba and is recognized as one of the most remarkable religious structures in the world. It has approximately 850 pillars that use onyx, marble, granite, jasper, and porphyry. This building helps generate a large portion of the tourism to Cordoba annually. 

When spending time in Cordoba, it is easy to see how harmoniously the residents lived, even when they belonged to separate cultures. The coexistence of the Christians, Islamics, and Jewish people are everywhere, providing a simple yet inviting place to explore within Spain. 

  1. Las Palmas: Festival Island 
An aerial photo of Las Palmas. There is water in front and back, with densely packed buildings sitting in between.

As one of the most popular of the Canary Islands, Las Palmas sees over four million tourists yearly. This major port for cruise ships makes Las Palmas a terrific destination for visitors who enjoy shopping and exploring the picturesque beaches. This popularity can be from its near-perfect climate that gives ideal temperatures virtually every day. 

Las Palmas continues to attract visitors with its many events and festivals, including the ​​Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. As one of the oldest festivals in the Canary Islands, the streets fill with individuals in costumes, music, dancing, and parade floats. It is a sight to behold, and one everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. 

Las Palmas merges the bustling city life with the carefree beach lifestyle into the perfect balance for any newcomer. It takes the best aspects of Spain and its surrounding cultures to morph into a fantastic holiday destination. 

  1. Toledo: Rich with History 

Approximately two million people visit Toledo annually, and although a portion of its tourism is for business, this small Spanish city still offers a wonderful experience. Its primary economic focus is the metal-working industry, making this small hill-top city a popular destination that visitors should not overlook while in Spain. 

Even with the industrial focus of Toledo, it still offers much in culture and art within its city walls. For example, it is home to the famous Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, the oldest synagogue building in Europe that is still standing today. The Roman Catholic Church now owns the structure and is preserved as a museum. 

Toledo has much to explore in history and architecture, even as a small Spanish community. The Puerta del Sol is the gate to the city and is just one of the popular tourist attractions. Although it was built back in the 14th century, the gate is no longer there, but the entrance still stands. 

  1. Tenerife: Unique Beach Experiences 

A list of the most visited cities in Spain would not be complete without the addition of Tenerife. Hosting over five million tourists yearly, Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, making it an ideal Spanish destination for many vacationers. 

The picturesque sandy beaches of this island range in color from yellow to black, giving Tenerife a unique setting for visitors. It is home to the famous Mt. Teide volcano, which sits dormant at the peak. There are many local trails and parks to explore for anyone who loves to take in the countryside. 

Tenerife is ideal for visitors of any walk of life. So whether you want to take in an event or festival or bring your family to enjoy the number one waterpark in the world, Siam Park, there is something for everyone.

  1. Salamanca: University City 

Sitting in the northwest region of Spain, the ancient city of Salamanca hosts over one million visitors annually. Known for its sandstone architecture, the beauty of this city is unparalleled to its neighbors in Portugal. The Plaza Mayor sits in the center of Salamanca and is one of the most beautiful public plazas in Spain. 

One noteworthy feature of Salamanca is its university. It is the oldest university in Spain and one of the oldest throughout Europe. This school attracts students from all over the world, giving this city a youthful ambiance, even if you are just visiting. 

Do not forget to check out the stunning cathedrals, palaces, galleries, and museums as you work your way through the streets of Salamanca. There is no shortage of shopping, entertainment, and food options when visiting here. 

  1. Malaga: Picasso’s Birthplace 
An aerial photo of Malaga. A stadium, perhaps a bull-fighting arena, sits in the middle of the photo. Tall buildings surround the stadium. In the back is some very blue water.

With over 1.4 million tourists arriving in Malaga each year, Malaga is quickly becoming a hot spot to visit when in Spain. This destination is the birthplace of Piccasso, so naturally, you will find many galleries here to explore. 

Malaga offers high-rise resorts and hotels for visitors looking for a more sophisticated Spanish holiday. Located along the Costa del Sol, this Spanish getaway offers excellent beaches close to a bustling metropolis for the best of both worlds. 

One famous cathedral situated within Malaga is the ​​Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, also known as the One-Armed Woman. This notorious structure boasts only one complete tower, making it stand out among other Spanish cathedrals in the area. 

Conclusion 

Spain is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, easy-going culture, and exquisite cuisine. So whether you are searching for an exciting party-hopping holiday, a beach vacation, or a mix of culture and architecture, there is a destination within this country to suit anyone’s tastes. 

Of course, Spain offers so much more than just the 15 most visited cities, so you may have to take a trip and build your own list. Have you experienced Spain yourself and think we missed a noteworthy spot? Let us know in the comments below which areas are your favorite or which destination is next on your agenda! 

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