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City hopping through Spain? Forget Barcelona. For heritage architecture, eclectic culture and plenty of tapas, these four cities couldn’t be more attractive. Put them at the top of your itinerary.
Explore Spain’s Most Charming Cities
Backdropped by the mystical Alhambra Palace, the Moorish city of Granada is a real charmer. The romantic palace-fortress of the Nasrid sultans (rulers of the last Spanish Muslim kingdom) is one of the city’s most alluring attributes.
Granada is an eclectic mishmash of Muslim and Spanish culture, and the food – from old-school tapas bars to family-style restaurants – reflects the city’s melting-pot past.
The apple of the Basque Country’s eye, Bilbao is a sight to behold – partially due to its impressive architectural credentials. There’s a hive of abstract design; Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad Guggenheim museum, Philippe Starck’s culture centre (formerly a wine cellar) and neo-baroque beauties of the past fill the city’s centre.
Still, Bilbao is no urban metropolis. Surrounded by hills and with breathtaking coastline an easy jaunt from town, this lush corner of northeastern Spain is an easy sell.
Although Toledo is particularly popular with daytrippers, we recommend lingering a little longer to truly appreciate its beauty. Overlooking the Tagus River, Toledo is home to one of Spain’s finest Gothic cathedrals, which is built on the site of a former mosque.
After ogling over towering steeples and imposing buttresses, turn your attention to the city’s many art collections. Scout out copious works by El Greco, an artist synonymous with the city, as well as other Spanish masters such as Zurbarán, Goya and Velazquez while in town.
Favoured by foodies and flamenco fans, Seville is a disarming destination. Mudejar palaces and baroque churches are easily reached down winding medieval lanes.
Skirting the Moorish capital’s historic centre, Seville’s gastronomic offering is robust – tapas is best enjoyed in a crowded bar and, according to young Sevillanos, No Lugar is considered the hottest table in town. If you’ve conquered the city, make a day trip to the ancient Andalusian city of Córdoba.
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