Regions in Spain
Spain is a diverse country, with contrasting regions that have different languages and unique historical, political and cultural traditions. Therefore, Spain is divided into 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas) and two autonomous cities. Some of these autonomous communities – especially those with other official languages besides Spanish – have been recognised as “historical nationalities” with a unique historical identity. These include the Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia, the Valencia region, Andalusia and the Balearic Islands, but also, more recently, Aragon and the Canary Islands.
The many regions of Spain can be grouped as follows:
- Green Spain (Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria)
- Northern Spain (Aragon, Basque Country, Navarre, La Rioja)
- Eastern Spain (Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia)
- Central Spain (Community of Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla-León, Extremadura)
- Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera)
- Canary Islands (Teneriffa, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, Lanzarote, La Palma, El Hierro)
- Spanish North Africa (Ceuta, Melilla, Rock of Vélez de la Gomera, Rock of Alhucemas, Chafarinas Islands, Alboran Island)
Cities in Spain
Spain has hundreds of interesting cities. Here are nine of the most popular:
- Madrid – the vibrant capital, with its fantastic museums, interesting architecture, gastronomy and nightlife.
- Barcelona – Spain’s second largest city, with its modernist buildings and vibrant cultural life, nightclubs and beaches.
- Bilbao – former industrial city, home of the Guggenheim Museum and other cultural institutions; most important Basque city
- Malaga – the heart of flamenco with the beaches of the Costa del Sol
- Cordoba – The Great Mosque (“Mezquita”) of Cordoba is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
- Granada – a beautiful city in the south, surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, where the Alhambra is located.
- Seville – a beautiful and green city, home to the third largest cathedral in the world
- Valencia – paella was invented here, it has a very nice beach
- Zaragoza – fifth city in Spain to host the 2008 World Expo
Other destinations in Spain
- Costa Blanca – 200 km of white coast with many beaches and small villages
- Costa Brava – the rugged coastline with many seaside resorts
- Costa del Sol – the sunny coast in the south of the country
- Galicia – historic villages and small towns, world-famous seafood and more blue flag beaches than any other autonomous community.
- Gran Canaria – known as “a continent in miniature” because of its many different climates and landscapes
- Ibiza – an island in the Balearic Islands; one of the best places in the world for clubs, raves and DJs.
- La Rioja – Rioja wine and fossilised dinosaur tracks
- Mallorca – the largest island of the Balearic Islands, full of incredible beaches and great nightlife
- Sierra Nevada – the highest mountain range on the Iberian Peninsula, ideal for hiking and skiing
- Tenerife – offers lush forests, exotic flora and fauna, deserts, mountains, volcanoes, beautiful coastlines and spectacular beaches.