Spain / travel

My Top 6 Favorite Places In Spain

A little while ago, I did a list of places in Spain that I haven’t been to yet but want to, and now here’s my list of my favorite places that I have been so far. It was tough to pick, because Spain has so many beautiful things to see. 

 6) Formentera

This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to – gorgeous white beaches, sea so clear you can see all the way to the sandy sea floor, and stunning sunshine (well, we got some after it stopped raining). It’s just a quick boat ride away from party heaven Ibiza and even prettier – the perfect way to relax after a long night in the world’s party capital.


Also we rented a red Jeep convertible to go around the island. I felt like I was a real-life Barbie.

5) Cordoba and Granada (tie!)

I got to travel around Andalucía for fourth months, and these were easily my two favorites. When you just look at both cities, you can see the architectural remains of all the people who have lived there, from the Arabic mosques to the Roman columns still existing.They’re fascinating and beautiful simultaneously. And both have that relaxed, charming feel that’s stereotypically Andaluz. If I were to go back to Andalucía, I’d go to one of these two places.


4) Madrid

How could I leave out Spain’s capital? Madrid is very cool, and very Spanish. That might sound like a silly thing to say (it IS Spanish, after all!), but once I got to know Spain a little better I quickly realized that some regions define themselves on not being “typical Spanish”. I loved all the royal stuff there was to do in Madrid (sparkly palaces are the best!) , and it has some truly amazing museums, parks, and restaurants. Madrid is big, bustling, and full of exciting possibilities.


Madrid loses major points for, as the barceloneses like to remind them, ¿dónde está la playa en Madrid?

3) Cadaqués

This is a little town on the Costa Brava (the coast to the north of Barcelona) where Dalí lived for a while. This is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in Spain, and I have some incredible memories from there. I don’t think I’ll ever go back for lots of reasons, but this is a really gorgeous town.


It’s got a small Spanish fishing village charm mixed with just stunning natural landscapes. If you’re in Barcelona for a longish trip, go!

2) Salamanca

This is the Spanish city that I’m most interested in living in for a while. It’s seriously gorgeous and has a great university. The thought has crossed my mind more than once to do a master’s there….and then I remember how over school I am! Still, this is a really cool place that’s chock-full of history and pretty plazas. And the Duquesa de Alba has a house there – could it get any better?


Sadly, Salamanca is ridiculously cold. I went in early March and thought I was going to freeze to death. Ok, so maybe it’s not THAT cold, but I grew up in southern California. Anything is cold compared to that!

1) Barcelona, of course!

This may be the only city that could knock London off the top slot in my ‘favorite places ever’ list. I don’t even know where to start with a list of reasons that this is my favorite place on the planet so far.


Maybe it’s the sunny, relaxed vibe, or the crazy but gorgeous architecture, or that it has beaches, museums, a metro, and a wild nightlife scene. Or it could be the winding Gothic quarter, studded with reminders of the Roman and medieval days, or Gracia’s bohemian feel. Or perhaps it’s the blend of cultures, histories, and people from all over the world.  Actually, I don’t think it’s any of those alone – it’s more that one place has all of this.

I’m very lucky to live in Barcelona right now! It meshes so well with my personality. This is going to be a tough city to beat, and it’s definitely my personal favorite in Spain. But I’m willing to keep traveling, just to be sure!

Do you have a list of personal favorite cities in Spain? Which one would top your list, and which ones wouldn’t make the cut? 



51 thoughts on “My Top 6 Favorite Places In Spain

  1. Barcelona always beats Madrid, for me. Haven’t been to Cadaqués, but it looks amazingly similar to a very pretty mountain village near to where I live, called Frigiliana. If ever you get down my way, Jess, it would be my pleasure to show you around!

  2. Great post! I of course have a list of favorites but, goodness, it’s hard to categorize them. Madrid will always be near and dear to my heart for the year that I spent there as a junior in college. Sooooooo many fond memories! I think that Barcelona is top on my list of cities in Spain that I want to spend much more time in. 2.5 days just didn’t cut it tho I truly enjoyed those 2.5 days! Málaga of course stole my heart in 2010 and I dream of retiring there…..I love Granada, Córdoba and Sevilla too. And there are so many more cities on my list to explore, including Salamanca and Avila and now Cadaques. and Marianne just reminded me of Frigiliana….ah, so many places to visit!!

    • Thanks! I have similar fond study abroad memories of Barcelona like yours for Madrid, and they definitely add a special touch that’s hard to explain.

      There are just so many beautiful places in Spain to visit though. 2.5 days really isn’t enough for most of them! I hope you get to go back soon 🙂

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  4. Great picks! I definitely need to check out Ibiza, I’ve only been to Mallorca!

    I lived in Salamanca and Córdoba for a year each, and they rocked! You’re making me miss Spain a lot 😀

  5. I’m glad Madrid made the list. 😀 I’ve only been to Barcelona once and I remember loving it when I visited. I feel like comparing Madrid to Barcelona is like comparing New York to Boston. Both cities have a huge sporting rivalry (Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona is like New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox, it is that intense) and both cities HATE being compared to each other. Barcelona and Madrid couldn’t be any more different from each other, just like NYC and Boston. Great list!

    • Exactly, they’re totally different places! I like both of them, but Barcelona’s just a better ‘fit’ for me. Still, I can totally picture living in Madrid and being blissfully happy.

  6. Girona is also well worth a visit! If you like the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona so much, take a train ride and hit Girona… you won’t be disappointed! Oh, and if you need a tour guide, I’d love to join you! That city is a big time favourite 😉

  7. Beautiful pics! I’ve never been to Formentera, nor Cadaqués but would love to visit.

    My fav parts of Spain are in the North–Bilbao and San Sebastian would have to be on my list of top cities!

  8. Great list and I agree with many of these…I’m in Madrid but still need to visit Barcelona and the north (Pais Vasco, Donostia, and Galicia). When’s the best time of year to visit Barcelona?? Cheers

    • Hmm…I think it’s especially pretty in the spring and summer, because then you can enjoy the beaches! But it’s a fab city all year round, and the weather’s never too chilly.

      August is probably the worst month, as the city is especially full of tourists and lots of places are shut for vacations.

    • I loved Castilla too! But I just get a buzz from big cities that smaller towns don’t give me. I’d love to see Zamora someday, it looks so pretty from your blog.

  9. I think my favorite it also Barcelona, where I spent a year studying… the atmosphere and culture is not typically “Spanish” but it’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been, so fun and open. I’m sad I never made the effort to get to Cadaquez when I was there, but I’ll have to do so soon! I also want to check out the even smaller Roses, where I think there’s a Dali house/museum.

    • Yeah, I love that atmosphere and vibe that Barcelona has! I don’t know of a Dali museum in Roses, but there’s the Teatrp-Museo Dalí in Figueres and his house in Port Lligat (right next to Cadaqués). The Costa Brava in general is really pretty.

  10. fantastic blog! I would love to visit all those places, I have found that even though I have seen quite a bit of Catalunya in the 4 years ive been here, the only time i managed to get into “spain proper” was a short visit to valencia!

    formentera is so on my list!

    • Thanks very much! I’m glad you enjoy it. 🙂

      Seeing ‘Spain proper’ is a great way to understand what they mean when they say “Catalonia is not Spain.” I haven’t been to Valencia yet though, it’s on my list!

    • Hmm, I went the first week of May and it was just before Ibiza properly opened up for the season. It was also just a tiny bit on the colder side. So anytime after that! I think it closes in late September.

      Of course, if you don’t want to see all the party stuff it’s probably pretty all year round.

  11. Great photos. I love that Salamanca made the list. It has wonderful architecture and a great feel to it. I also love Barcelona and Madrid, Córdoba and Granada. Haven’t seen the other two. You also have to see Toledo!! Great landscape and wonderful narrow streets filled with great swords and turrón, and all kinds of artesanía.

  12. I love Madrid for the food and Barcelona for the architecture and the beach! I have also never thought of going to some of these other cities in Spain but I am going to look them up right away now! Thanks for the post 🙂

  13. Thanks for the post. In terms of Spanish places I love, I’d also put in votes for Caceres (very atmospheric), Cazorla National Park in Andalusia, the Alpujarras (in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada) and the coast in Asturias. And that’s just for starters. As you said above, it’s amazing just how diverse this country is!

  14. Cadaqués looks beautiful!! Is it a small town? It reminds me a lot of the pueblos in Andalucía.

    Granada is, hands down, my favorite city in Spain! I’m dying to be in my Granada right now!

  15. Been to Toledo…? Adding more Toledo pics to da blog every week… there’s just no end to this town’s ancient lusciousness 😉 I could probably live here for another two decades and still find ‘new’ old stuff.

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