Culture and traditions

The 10 most important cities in Spain

Spain is a member country of the European Union (EU) whose territory is organized in a total of 17 autonomous communities, with Madrid as the capital and most important city. Spain has nine other cities of great importance in tourist terms.

The table shown below summarizes which are the 10 most populous cities in Spain along with their number of inhabitants:

CityNumber of inhabitants
1. Madrid3,165,235
2. Barcelona1,602,386
3. Valencia786,000
4. Seville697,000
5. Zaragoza666,000
6. Malaga566,000
7. Murcia439,000
8. Palma de Mallorca399,000
9. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria382,000
10. Bilbao346,000

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.


Madrid is the capital of Spain and, at the same time, the most populous city. It is also the capital of the Community of Madrid, which has a GDP per capita of € 29,576 per capita and is the third city with the greatest economic power in Spain.

Here you can find the government headquarters along with institutions, ministries and other associated agencies, as well as the official residence of the President of the Government and the kings of Spain. One of the most visited places in the city is precisely the General cuts, where the Senate and the Congress of Deputies are located.

Lions of the Congress of Deputies, Madrid

Madrid also offers a wide range of cultural offer, as it has some of the most important museums in the world, among which the famous Art Triangle, formed by the Prado Museum, the Reina SofĂ­a Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

In El Prado you can find paintings by artists such as Velázquez or Goya, among many others, while in Reina Sofía you can enjoy works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. In the Thyssen you can enjoy the more than 800 works of art that the homonymous family gathered over two generations.

Velázquez statue in the Prado Museum, Madrid

Another mandatory visit if you travel to the Spanish capital is the Royal Palace, located in Calle Bailén s / n. Although theoretically it is the official residence of the King of Spain, the truth is that currently the royal family does not reside in it, so the palace is basically used for state ceremonies.

Its 3,418 rooms and 135,000 km² make it the largest Royal Palace in Western Europe. It is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the months of October to March and from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from April to September.

Front view of the Royal Palace of Madrid

The Gran Via Madrid is the Spanish equivalent to Times Square (New York). Built at the beginning of the 20th century, it is one of the busiest roads in the city at any time of the year and, in short, the best known street in the city.

Thanks to this route, better communication was achieved between the city center (Calle Alcalá) and the northwest of it (specifically, the Plaza de España). In Gran VĂ­a you can find everything: fashion stores, cinemas, theaters, restaurants … This is why it is popularly known as the Madrid Broadway.

Madrid's Gran VĂ­a


Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and is located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second most populous city in Spain and its per capita income amounts to € 26,531 / inhabitant.

In addition, according to The Economist, Barcelona is ranked number 15 in the list of the safest cities in the world. Without a doubt, if you are going to travel to Barcelona, ​​you must stop at the sacred Family, its most visited monument.

La Sagrada Familia: the most important monument in Barcelona

Another of the great works of the Catalan architect Antonio GaudĂ­, maximum representative of Catalan modernism, is the Guell park (Parc GĂĽell in Catalan), a fascinating public park located in the northern part of the city.

Although its gardens are one of the elements that most attracts the attention of the park, it is its architectural elements that really characterizes this work. The different forms that the elements of the park possess represent nature, all with a different creative and imaginative freedom, unique and full of bright colors.

Park Güell, Barcelona, ​​Spain

GaudĂ­ left a broad legacy in the city of Barcelona. In addition to the Sagrada Familia and the Park GĂĽell, it highlights without a doubt the Casa BatllĂł, a building located at No. 43 of Paseo de Gracia (Passeig de Gracia in Catalan).

Its construction, which took place between 1904 and 1906, reflects the artistic fulfillment of the modernist architect. It stands out for its facade, made of sandstone, carved according to ruled surfaces in a warped shape and with bone-shaped columns.

Casa BatllĂł, Barcelona

All the monuments of Barcelona would not make sense if it were not for its strategic location in the famous Eixample (in Spanish, Expansion, although this denomination is practically in disuse).

It is the most populous district of the city and it is that in it you can find numerous tourist attractions and the main roads and squares of Barcelona, ​​such as the Rambla de Catalunya, the Passeig de Gràcia or the Avenida Diagonal, among others.

In its entirety, the Eixample occupies 7.46 km² and stands out for the grid distribution of its buildings.

L'Eixample of Barcelona


Valencia is the capital of the Valencian Community and is located on the banks of the Turia River, on the Levantine coast and a few kilometers away from the sea.

One of the most unique places that is really worth visiting is the Albufera, which constitutes one of the largest lakes in Spain and has a high cultural, ecological and historical value, which has led it to be declared a natural park.

The Albufera of Valencia

Back to the historic center, we recommend a walk through the Ciutat Vella of Valencia, where there are six neighborhoods of great tourist interest: La Xerea, La Seu, El Carmen, El Pilar, El Mercat and Sant Francesc.

Within this set, the Virgin Square, where you will find monuments as significant as the Cathedral of Valencia, the Miguelete, the Almoina or the Basilica of the Virgin.

In addition, in this area there are numerous restaurants and typical places of Valencia in which you can enjoy a classic horchata with fartons, the most typical dessert of Valencia.

The Cathedral and the Miguelete of Valencia

The Serranos Gate or Serranos Towers, better known as Torres dels Serrans In Valencian, it is another of the monuments par excellence of the Valencian capital.

It is an old Gothic-style Christian wall whose construction took place at the end of the 14th century. The towers can be visited and climbed to the top of them to climb excellent views of the entire city.

Serranos Towers, Valencia

For its part, the City of Arts and Sciences, located at the end of the Turia Garden, is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Valencia and even all of Spain, because it is one of the most spectacular examples of modern art in the world.

This cultural and entertainment complex, designed by Santiago Calatrava and FĂ©lix Candela, has won the 12 Treasures of Spain competition and has been the scene of the futuristic film Tomorrowland (2015).

In the same area are also the famous OceanogrĂ fic, where the different marine habitats of the world are represented, and the Hemispheric, an eye-shaped building whose interior room houses a large format cinema.

The City of Arts and Sciences

When talking about Valencia it is impossible not to mention the Failures or Faults, a massive cultural event held in the month of March, specifically from the 15th to the 19th.

The night of March 19 takes place cream, night in which the Fallero monuments are burned, thus ending this party. Las Fallas is a festival declared of International Tourist Interest in which the typical costume of the fallera woman also attracts attention.

The failures of Valencia


Seville is the fourth most important city in Spain. his old town It is considered the largest in Spain and even one of the largest in Europe.

In short, the capital of Spain is one of the most interesting tourist points. Among them, a series of monuments stand out, starting with the Alcazars, which constitute a set of original palaces from the High Middle Ages in which a mixture between Islamic, Gothic and Mudejar styles can be observed.

Gardens of the Royal Alcazares of Seville

The Torre del Oro is another key point in any trip to Seville. It is located next to the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River.

Restored for the last time in 2005, since then it is known that the brightness that characterizes it is due to the fact that its characteristic tile coating is made from a mixture of lime mortar and pressed straw.

Inside is a Naval Museum where you can find models, prints, marine charts, navigation instruments and historical curiosities.

The famous Torre del Oro in Seville

The Cathedral of Seville and its bell tower, better known as La Giralda, are two other strategic points of Seville.

La Giralda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the tallest towers in Europe, even above Big Ben in London and the Tower of Pisa in Italy. Its construction was developed in two distinct periods: the twelfth century and the Christian era.

Seville Cathedral or Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede It is also considered a Good of Outstanding Universal Value since 2010.

La Giralda: the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville

If in Valencia the party par excellence was the Fallas, in Seville this role corresponds to the April Fair, a massive annual event that attracts tourists from all over the world because in it you can enjoy the Sevillian culture in all its glory.

It is a local party that is celebrated in the Los Remedios neighborhood and takes place one or two weeks after Easter. It is the most important fair in Andalusia and in it you can enjoy two of the typical dances of Spain, that is, Sevillanas and flamenco.

Sevillanas at the Seville Fair


Zaragoza is the capital of Aragon and is located on the banks of the Ebro, Gállego and Huerva rivers, which makes it one of the main communications centers in Spain.

Within the top 10 monuments to visit in Zaragoza, the number 1 position corresponds to The pillar, whose full name is Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar.

It is a baroque-style temple articulated in three naves of equal height and whose facade is made of brick, according to the Aragonese tradition of building in brick.

Basilica del Pilar, Zaragoza

He Ebro riverFor its part, it is one of the symbols of Zaragoza and, for this reason, there is the possibility of making one of the river walks through it to enjoy the magnificent views of the city.

These rides range from the Yacht Club to the Expo pier and a maximum capacity of 54 people is estimated on each boat.

These walks are especially appealing in summer and in them you can see monuments such as El Pilar, the Santiago Bridge, La Almozara or the Volunteer Footbridge, among others.

Views of El Pilar from the Ebro

He Palace of the AljaferĂ­a, known simply as The AljaferĂ­aIt is a fortified palace that was built in Zaragoza during the second half of the 11th century, initially as a recreational palace for the Taifa kingdom.

In fact, the importance of this palace is that it is the only element that is preserved from Islamic architecture from the time of the Taifa, which is why it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2001 as part of the group called Mudejar architecture of Aragon.

Palace of the AljaferĂ­a, Zaragoza

He Natural Park of the Monasterio de Piedra It is a natural space where you can enjoy a landscape surrounded by water, waterfalls and caves. In short, it is considered as one of the most extraordinary natural parks in Europe. Hidden in the rugged mountain ranges of the Iberian System, within Nuévalos, it is a heavenly place that can be traveled in approximately two and a half hours.

Natural Park of the Monasterio de Piedra, Zaragoza


Malaga is the sixth most populous city in Spain and capital of the province of the same name. It belongs to the autonomous community of Andalusia and is located west of the Mediterranean, on the so-called Costa del Sol.

The first thing we recommend visiting is the Larios street, located in the historic center of the city and where you can find the main shops, restaurants and, in short, the tourism mecca in this city.

Calle Larios, the main artery of Malaga

The Malaga Cathedral o Holy Cathedral Church Basilica of the Incarnation is the most important building in the city due to its consideration as one of the most precious Renaissance jewels of Andalusia.

It is popularly known as The Manquita because its inauguration took place when the works for the remodeling of this old Muslim mosque had not yet been completed. Specifically, when it was inaugurated in 1631, it still lacked the south tower, which is why it is given this unique name.

La Manquita, the cathedral of Malaga

Another of the star points of Malaga is The Alcazaba, a palatial fortification of Muslim origin belonging to the eleventh century that sits on top of Mount Gibralfaro.

Although today it reaches an area of ​​15,000 m², these measures do not reach even half the size it had at the time it was built. This has been demonstrated thanks to the conservation of its historical plans.

Interior of the Alcazaba, Malaga, Spain

The Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, where his birthplace is still today, which has now become the Picasso Foundation Casa Natal Museum.

Converted into one of the main museums of Malaga, Picasso's birthplace was created by the City Council of Malaga in 1988 in the Plaza de la Merced.

In it you can find children's memories of the artist, part of his work and that of his father, and a documentation center that includes a library specialized in the life and work of the artist.

Malaga, the hometown of Pablo Picasso

Outside the city center, Malaga has several municipalities that are really worth visiting. One of these is JĂşzcar, located to the west, which constitutes rather a villa for its 221 inhabitants.

The importance of this town lies in the fact that in the past the tin industry was in it.

In addition, today this town is known as the Smurfs' town, because when the movie premiere took place The 3D Smurfs, all the facades were painted blue, which has given this villa a singularity worth visiting.

Juzcar (Málaga), known as the Smurfs village


Murcia, located at No. 7 in the most populous city in Spain, is the capital of the autonomous community of the Region of Murcia. It is located on the banks of the Segura River, 40 km from the Mediterranean Sea and a city with a great university tradition, since the first university was founded in 1272.

One of the places that can not be missing in your list of things to see in Murcia is Cartagena, a municipality in which the Roman theatre belonging to the first century B.C., which is the most visited monument in the Region of Murcia.

The Roman Theater of Cartagena, Murcia

Returning to the city center, one of the main tourist attractions is undoubtedly the Murcia Cathedral or Santa Iglesia Catedral de Santa MarĂ­a, considered by many to be the jewel of Murcia.

Its location is located in the old town of Murcia, specifically in the Plaza Cardenal de Belluga. His style has undergone changes over the years, so, although it retains its original Gothic style, it includes baroque, neoclassical and Renaissance elements.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria in Murcia

On the other hand, Murcia also has a series of beaches and coves where you can enjoy the Mediterranean Sea during the summer. Among the most important coves, we highlight the Cala de la Cueva de las Palomas and the Cala de la Herradura.

Among the best beaches in the Region of Murcia include places like the Calblanque Beach, located within the Protected Natural Area of ​​Calblanque Park, in La Manga del Mar Menor (Cartagena). There you will find golden sand and crystal clear waters.

Calblanque Beach, La Manga del Mar Menor, Cartagena

Another of the star points of Murcia is the famous Castillitos Battery, also known as C-1, located at Cape Tiñoso, within the municipality of Cartagena.

Declared Well of Cultural Interest in 1997, it is a fortification of coastal artillery support of 250 m high and of recent construction, specifically between 1933 and 1936. Its work at first was to protect the entrance to the bay of Cartagena.

Castillitos Battery (Cartagena)

Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the island of Mallorca and the Balearic Islands. It is located in the Mediterranean Sea, 250 km east of the Iberian Peninsula and is the eighth most important city in Spain according to its total number of inhabitants.

If you travel to this tourist city, in your list of things to do you can not miss a visit to the Bellver Castle, a fortification of the fourteenth century that represents the Mallorcan Gothic style.

Located about 112 m above sea level and surrounded by forest, from the top of the castle you can see the Tramuntana mountains and the Pla de Mallorca. In addition, it houses the Museum of History of the city of Palma, which is open to the public.

Bellver Castle, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

For its part, the Cathedral-Basilica of Santa Maria de Palma de Mallorca is the main religious building on the island of Mallorca. It is generally known as Mallorca Cathedral and locally as La Seu.

It is a Gothic-style temple located on the banks of the city of Palma, which was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931 and also stands out as the cathedral with the largest rosette among all European Gothic cathedrals. In short, the Cathedral of Mallorca is an essential visit on every trip to the island.

Cathedral of Santa Maria de Palma de Mallorca

The Caves of Drach They are also one of the main tourist attractions of Palma de Mallorca. In addition, they hide a large underground side, Lake Martel, considered one of the largest underground lakes in the world.

In its entirety, the horizontal development of the caves reaches 1,200 m in length and its depth reaches 25 m below the surface at its maximum height. To visit them, you can make a visit by boat across the lake, which lasts about an hour.

Caves of Drach, Mallorca, Spain

He Cape of Formentor It is a natural beauty that many Majorcans refer to as meeting point of the winds and is that the varied level of this cape has been molded over time because of the collision of winds and waves.

In some areas, the cliffs of this cape are around 300 m high, so the views from above are impressive. You can access it by car, through a road that runs 18 km in total and, at the end of the tour, we will find two main points: the beaches of crystalline waters and the lighthouse of the four winds.

Aerial view of Cabo de Formentor, Mallorca, Spain

Of course, you can't talk about Mallorca without referring to the Mallorcan ensaimadas, a traditional sweet of the island for centuries and that today continues to be made by hand in Mallorca.

In Catalan it is called saĂŻm ensaĂŻmada, which translates into that its main ingredient is lard, in addition to other basic ingredients such as sugary dough, strength flour, water, eggs, sugar, etc.

Although there are many variants of this ensaimada in which angel hair, cream or pastry cream fillings are added, the traditional recipe is known on the island as Lisa and does not carry any kind of filling.

Mallorcan Ensaimada

The Gran Canarian palms

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the ninth most populous city in Spain and, at the same time, the largest and most populous city in the Canary Islands and shares the capital of the autonomous community of Canarias together with Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

If there is something worth visiting in Gran Canaria, those are its beaches without a doubt. Among all of them, it may be the Las Canteras Beach The one with the greatest tourist interest is that many consider it more than a beach, due to its golden sand and crystalline waters, in addition to the characteristic isolated rocks that make it up, such as rock Peña la vieja.

Las Canteras Beach, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The Cathedral-Basilica of Santa Ana o Catedral de Canarias is the headquarters of the Diocese of the Canary Islands and is located in the city of Las Palmas, specifically in the Vegueta neighborhood, in the Plaza Mayor of Santa Ana.

The first thing that attracts attention when you see this cathedral are its twin towers, in addition to its mixture of styles resulting from the intervention of several architects and artists since it began to be built in 1500.

Santa Ana Cathedral, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas is also characterized by the variety of neighborhoods where you can walk and have a quiet drink, among them the most prominent are the neighborhood of the Vegueta and the neighborhood of Triana.

In the first, there are many who say they have been soaked in the history of the Canary Islands after their walk, and if you walk through it, you can find the main monuments of the old town of Las Palmas.

For its part, the neighborhood of Triana is the commercial district of Las Palmas where you can find all kinds of shops, especially in the pedestrian street Calle Mayor de Triana.

Traditional facades of the neighborhood of La Vegueta, Las Palmas

If you want to enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the city, then we recommend you go up to Cittá di Martinsicuro viewpoint, from which you can see contemplate the bay, the commercial and sports port, the city-garden …

In short, the entire city, including the volcanoes that surround it. Specifically, the viewpoint is located in the Altavista neighborhood and its name in Italian is due to the fact that it was twinned in 2009 with this Italian city.

Views of Las Palmas from the Cittá di Martinsicuro Viewpoint

He Alfredo Kraus Auditorium It is another is another point of Las Palmas for a must-see tourist visit. Due to its architectural design by Oscar Tusquets, it is one of the most unique buildings in the city. Its construction took place between 1993-1997 and the original idea was to build a lighthouse for Las Canteras beach, which has been discussed previously.

Celebrations of the size of the year take place in this auditorium international Film Festival from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as well as the Canary Islands Music Festival, among other mass events such as exhibitions, conventions, congresses, etc. In addition, in this same plot is the Canary Palace of Congresses.

Alfredo Kraus Auditorium (Gran Canaria)

If the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium is one of the most unique buildings in the Canary Islands and Spain, the PĂ©rez GaldĂłs Theater It is the main theater venue in Las Palmas, and is also the permanent venue of the Opera Festival of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria Alfredo Kraus.

Located in the Stagno Square, Triana neighborhood, the building was inaugurated for the first time in 1890 and reopened in April 2007. It has capacity for more than 1,000 people and, in short, it is one of the most modern theaters in Spain thanks to the new scenic body that was built in 2007.

PĂ©rez GaldĂłs Theater, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain


Bilbao is a municipality belonging to Vizcaya, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. The importance of Bilbao lies in the thirteenth century, when it became an important commercial enclave in the Cantabrian coast.

Bilbao has several awards, including the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, awarded by Singapore in collaboration with the Swedish Nobel Academy and considered the nobel of urbanism.

Panoramic view of Bilbao, Biscay

He Guggenheim Museum Bilbao It was inaugurated in 1997 and is a museum of contemporary art designed by Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry, who endowed it with its innovative design in which its curvilinear and twisted shapes made of limestone, titanium sheets and curtains stand out. crystal.

In total, the area of ​​the museum covers 24,000 m², of which almost half are occupied by exhibitions.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

He Euskalduna Palace of Congresses and Music (Euskalduna Jauregia in Basque) is a convention and entertainment center that was opened in 1999.

Located next to the estuary of Bilbao, it is the headquarters of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra and, in addition, in 2003 it was rated as the best congress center in the world by the International Association of Conference Centers (AIPC).

Inside the building you can taste the famous restaurant Etxanobe, directed by internationally renowned chef Fernando Canales.

Euskalduna Palace at night, Bilbao, Biscay, Spain

He Arriaga Theater It attracts attention both for its interior design and for its facade. On the outside, it is a neo-Baroque building that was built at the end of the 19th century by the architect JoaquĂ­n de Rucoba.

In fact, its construction was done in honor of the Bilbao composer Juan CrisĂłstomo de Arriaga, hence the name of this building, who was considered the Spanish Mozart.

The Arriaga Theater, Bilbao, Vizacaya, Spain

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