Spain is second on the list with most popular tourist destinations on the planet. With over 80 millions tourists in 2017 they are only topped by France. Spain is on it’s way to take over the first position and to us that’s no surprise. We love Spain! Whether it’s a long holiday or only a city break to one of it’s cities, Spain will deliver when it comes to a great travel destination. This article is about the second of before mentioned holidays, so we will list our favorite cities to go on city break in Spain
Valencia: Our favorite
Valencia surprised us in a good way. Even though it’s Spain’s third largest city, it totally doesn’t feel this way. It’s compact city center is easily explored on foot. Most of the places of interest are within the city center, but not all of them. If you go outside the old town, rent a bike. Valencia is surrounded by a huge park, so you can get everywhere without coping with traffic lights and heavy traffic. Valencia’s public transportation is also well organized. The coast is pretty close, so it’s a nice city to combine for a sunny beach vacation.
Tips for a city break in Valencia
- Tickets to Valencia: Compare ticket prices to Valencia
- Accommodation: We really recommend Valencia Mindfulness Retreat, in the heart of Valencia. Rather stay in a hotel? Compare prices for hotels in Valencia.
- Tours: There are loads of things to do in Valencia. We did a bike tour, but there are plenty of things more to do like a tapas tour.
- If you are staying a few days and want to visit some of the numerous museum Valencia has? Buy a Tourist Card, which comes with free public transport!
It’s not the most visited city of Spain since it’s so far north, but San Sebastián definitely deserves a place in the list of best Spanish cities to visit. The city doesn’t have an airport worth mentioning, so if you’re dependent on air traffic, it’s best to fly to Bilbao. From there it’s a short drive to San Sebastián and its beautiful bay. It’s small city center and the promenade along the beach are truly amazing. Eat pintxos on every street corner and drink wine with the locals. You’ll be in for a treat!
Tips for San Sebastián
- Find cheap tickets to San Sebastián
- Places to stay in San Sebastián: We stayed in Pension Easo on the outskirts of the city center. For a stay in the old town we recommend Pension la Perla or have a look here to compare all accommodations.
- Activities in San Sebastián: Explore the city by bike or go on a pintxos pub tour with a food expert.
Bilbao: Basque Country’s biggest city
Another fairly unknown gem in Spain is Bilbao, Basque Country’s biggest city. The city is most known for the Guggenheim Museum, but it has more to offer; a pittoreske old city center and loads of places to eat pintxos. Combined with the stunning architecture makes Bilbao a great place to visit for a city break in Spain. It’s also a great place to use as a base in your visit to Basque Country. It has an international airport, making it the perfect location to stay in the area.
Tips for a Bilbao city break in Spain
- Compare tickets to Bilbao
- We stayed at Casual Gurea, right in the center of old town. Looking for more than just a basic hotel? Compare all hotels in Bilbao.
- Do a tour in Bilbao: ‘Bilbao Like a Local tour‘
Madrid: the capital
The capital is a great place to visit, especially during the summer months. Madrid is the largest city of Spain and it is indeed huge. If you want to explore the entire city, spending a week would be advisable. If you only have a few days to explore, be sure to visit La Latina and the historical center.
Tips for Madrid
- Compare plane tickets to Madrid
- Accommodation: We booked a nice Airbnb when we stayed in Madrid. (Sign up here for a welcome bonus on your first stay with Airbnb)
- Tours in Madrid: Visit the Royal Palace or go on the hunt for the best tapas Madrid has to offer.
Travelaar didn’t exist yet when we visited Madrid, so we’ll spare you the horrible photos;)
Barcelona: a perfect city and beach combo
Spain’s most popular city is definitely Barcelona. A trendy city combined with awesome food and a man made beach make it a relaxing city. The city playful and young which you can feel all throughout Barcelona. One of the most famous places of interest in Barcelona is Park Guëll which is designed by Gaudi. Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey is also a place which can’t be skipped on your itinerary when visiting Barcelona. A short train ride takes you to the breathtaking monastery.
Tips for a city break in Barcelona
- Find cheap tickets to Barcelona
- Looking for a cool hostel in Barcelona? Check out 360 Hostel Barcelona. Looking for more privacy? Barna House Hotel is definitely worth considering.
- Buy your tickets online for Park Guëll and the Sagrada familia to avoid long queues.
Pamplona: the place to stay for your adventure in Navarra
Pamplona belongs to the lesser known city break in Spain. It’s famous for it’s running of the bulls tradition. Running of the bulls is a yearly event in July that’s held during the San Fermin Festival. It’s a small but vibrant city. Be sure to visit on a Tuesday as locals roam the streets to get tapas and wine for next to nothing. Pamplona lies in the autonome region of Navarra, in the north of Spain. While you’re there, you might as well visit Bilbao and San Sebastián, which are only about an hours drive away.
Tips for Pamplona
- Hopping on a plane to Pamplona unfortunately isn’t possible. Go to Barcelona or Bilbao instead and rent a car on the airport. You’ll be in Pamplona in no time.
- The city isn’t the cheapest when it comes to accommodation. We stayed at Hotel Pamplona Plaza, about a fifteen minute walk from the center. Stay at Pamplona Cathedral Hotel if you want to stay right in the city center. Or, check out all accommodations in Pamplona.
Tarragona: it has more to offer than just a day trip from Barcelona
Tarragona is a great day trip from Barcelona, but if you really love Spanish cities, we advise to at least spend the night in Tarragona. The city is littered with ancient roman architecture. Spend the day to go back in time and imagine yourself sitting in a Roman arena, watching gladiators and operas. At the end of the day wind down on one of the terraces to enjoy a cool beer and some pinchos.
Tips for Tarragona
- Reus, which is counted as one of Barcelona’s airports is actually very close to Tarragona. Benefit of the cheap prices to this airport and book your ticket to Tarragona.
- We stayed at Hostal Forum Tarragona, right in the center. It was basic, but the view was perfect! Another hotel on the square is Placa de la Font.
Our Spanish cities we would love to visit are Seville, Malaga and Salamanca. We’ve heard many good stories about these cities, so maybe next year 😉
What’s your favorite place for a city break in Spain?