The 12 Most Beautiful and Underrated Cities in Spain

The 12 Most Beautiful and Underrated Cities in Spain

From bustling Barcelona to majestic Madrid and sunny Seville, Spain’s best-known cities are among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, but the country also boasts a broad array of beautiful cities and towns that most travelers never see. While Spain’s diverse landscapes lend each city its own picturesque ambience, it’s the country’s long history that differentiates one town from another. Cities that had their heyday during the Spanish Renaissance are distinctly different from those occupied for centuries by the Moors or Visigoths. A tour of Spain’s less-visited cities gives travelers a unique look at Spain’s long and glorious past and offers a wide range of memorable travel experiences.

12. Salamanca

Located in central Spain, Salamanca owes its breathtaking beauty to the nearby sandstone quarries from which many of the city’s buildings were constructed. The glowing light that emanates from the stone at sunset has earned Salamanca the nickname “The Golden City.” A university town since 1218, Salamanca is still home to one of Europe’s finest universities. The city is filled with historic architecture, including the 12th-century Catedral Vieja and Casa de las Conchas, a 15th-century structure ornamented with hundreds of sandstone shells. Visits to Salamanca often begin at the Plaza Major, a Baroque square where students gather at all hours to eat, drink and sing. Their enthusiasm and confidence offer assurance that Salamanca’s future will be as bright as its golden past.

Salamanca Spain

11. Granada

Nestled at the foot of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada city is the provincial capital of Granada in Spain’s Andalucia region. Home to the fabled citadel and palace of Alhambra, the city offers visitors an intriguing glimpse of Spain’s Moorish history, which effectively ended when Ferdinand and Isabella marched through the city gate of Puerta de Elvira in 1492. With its exquisite ornamental architecture, bubbling fountains and lush gardens, the 13th-century Alhambra is a must-see attraction. An afternoon spent rambling among the white-washed buildings of the city’s old Muslim quarter is worthwhile as well. Sunset draws visitors to the Mirador de San Nicolás, a paved lookout where crowds gather each evening to watch the Alhambra glow red under the reflected light of the setting sun.

Granada, Spain
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