Quite honestly this list could have been longer, but for the sake of your sanity I narrowed it down to eight.
Gary and I have only started to visit Spain in the last four/five years. However, the taster we had back in 2013 encouraged us to embark on two jam-packed fulfilling road trips. One in 2014 and again in 2016. Along with a few mini breaks thrown in along the way.
On each occasion, we caught a ferry from the UK to northern Spain and looped around the country taking in some magnificent sights and sounds of numerous towns and cities, and it was fantastic.
In 2014 we stayed in 7 locations, and in 2016 we toured for 3 1/2 weeks and stayed at 10. There is still so much more of this amazing country that we want to see.
So, I mentioned I’ve whittled it down to eight, and here they are, but I’m sure you must have your own favourites.
A helpful guide
There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
I know perhaps you shouldn’t have a favourite, but Seville is definitely ours. We have now been there on three separate occasions and still can’t get enough.
We enjoy going when the intense heat is out of the way. So October and November are fantastic months to visit, when the temperature is around early to mid 20’s. The architecture in Seville is stunning; I particularly love the Moorish influence.
So where do you start; The Alcázar, the Cathedral, the Metropol Parasol, the narrow lanes around Barrio Santa Cruz, well for me it is Plaza de España. I just love wandering around here, watching people enjoying themselves and sitting amongst the tiled Provincial alcoves.
Oh, and sipping a cold glass of sherry at our favourite tapas bar.
Before we arrived in Bilbao, I imagined it to be a bustling port town with people just passing through before heading on to their next destination. However, to my pleasant surprise, Bilbao offered so much more.
Located in the heart of the Basque region, Bilbao had such a warming culture, with wonderful plazas in the old town, some fantastic pintxos bars and decoratively ornate architecture.
Now famed for the eye-catching Guggenheim museum, stroll further along the banks of the Nervion River and feast upon the delight of the Mercado de la Ribera.
Well, Segovia literally took my breath away. I had seen pictures of the ancient Roman aqueduct, but nothing quite prepares you for when you see the towering feat of engineering in the flesh.
It’s astonishing to think this was built without any cement or mortar.
Segovia is a fairly small city compared to others in Spain, but in addition to its aqueduct, it’s also home to a huge Gothic cathedral next to the Plaza Mayor.
And at the opposite end of the city perched on a rocky outcrop is the stunning Alcázar.
Well if you do, take a wander around the historic Cathedral which houses the infamous Holy Grail, stroll through Turia Gardens to the City of Arts & Science, or even head to the golden sandy beach.
Valencia is often overlooked in favour of Barcelona, which is probably how the Valencians like it. However, this is a lovely friendly city and one I would certainly return to.
Another Andalusia favourite is Córdoba, and home to the incredible Mezquita (Mosque-Cathedral). Walking inside to see the arched forest of columns, was another moment where I was lost for words. I just didn’t expect to see them in such numbers; it was looking down a hall of mirrors.
What a treat to find, this wonderful city in the heart of Castile and León. Salamanca certainly appears to be off the main tourist route. However, it is full of so much history, housing two cathedrals, Spain’s first university (can you spot the frog?), a Roman bridge and a stylish Art Nouveau & Art Deco museum.
But the pièce de résistance, in my opinion, is the elegant Plaza Mayor. It has to be one of the most impressive I have seen and surrounded by a fantastic selection of tapas bars.
Oviedo is in the Asturias region in northern Spain and a great city to discover, and once again not too touristy. Almost around every corner was a statue paying homage to someone, probably the most famous was Woody Allen.
This region is also known for its Sidrerias or Cider houses, and there is a whole tradition here on how it is served. Don’t try this at home it could be messy.
Once again as Santander is a port city, my expectations weren’t particularly high, and I was wrong again.
Santander is so elegant and enjoyable to stroll around, with lovely ornate architecture enticing bodegas and some lovely family parks & plazas.
However, what we really loved about Santander was the promenade. Watching families young and old out for an evening stroll in their finery, enjoying the sunset across the Bay of Biscay.