Spain is known as the land of sun, sea and sangria, and a country that attracts millions of British tourists every single year.

However, Spain is also a country with a rich cultural heritage, a strong arts scene, and structures of architectural significance at every turn which cannot be missed.

Away from the obvious attractions of Barcelona, and the endless coastline of the Costa Del Sol, where is best to explore in Spain? If you want to get off the beaten tourist track or explore somewhere a little different, then here are three Spanish cities that you should visit.


Granada is a relatively small city that sits at the base of the Sierra Navada mountain range in the region of Andalucia. It is an ancient city well-known for its rich history. The list of Granada sights for you to explore is near-endless. Watch a flamenco show, enjoy the café culture, and then ensure you spend plenty of time exploring the streets and small corners of Granada’s Old Town. Some of the main attractions in the old town of Granada include the Monastery of Cartuja, the imposing Granada Cathedral, the traditional markets and the Plaza de Toros. 

What makes Granada so interesting and memorable is its unique blend of Arabic and European influences. The historic Arab quarter of Albaicín boasts whitewashed buildings and is one of the most authentic parts of the city, whilst the Plaza Bib Rambla, which surrounds the monastery, is considered the culinary heart of the city. Head here for dinner, people-watching and the chance to experience the authentic heart of Granada. 


Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and is best known as being the birthplace of paella (a famous Spanish rice and fish dish) whilst also being home to futuristic sights like the City of Arts and Sciences. Its sheer size means that it would be impossible to refer to Valencia as a city that is off the beaten track, but it isn’t considered an obvious choice for tourists. 

Some of the must-see attractions you should explore in Valencia include its unique and beautiful Cathedral, where you can go up the 207 steps to the Miguelete tower and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city. Yet another emblematic building is La Lonja (The Silk Exchange). One of the most famous civil gothic monuments in Europe, La Lonja was made World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. 

Valencia is a great city for culture vultures, and boasts temperate weather year-round, making it a great location for an off-season city break. 

San Sebastien 

San Sebastián is a resort city on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country. It boasts a cobblestoned Old Town and is the perfect place for a relaxed and laidback beach holiday with a twist. One of the main reasons people return to San Sebastian, again and again, is for the food: the city boasts an abundance of world-renowned restaurants helmed by innovative chefs. Whether you’re looking for traditional tapas, locally sourced fish dishes, or Michelin-starred fine dining, you’re sure to find it in San Sebastian. 

If you’re not a foodie then don’t discount this small and unexpectedly beautiful location though: it boasts an abundance of architectural wonders and is a destination that people want to return to. You can wander the arcades of Plaza de la Constitución, the largest square in San Sebastián and admire its new-Neoclassical style. You can also pay a visit to the Basílica de Santa María del Coro, an 18th-century church whose architecture is an exquisite blend of Gothic, Neo-classical and several other elements. 

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