THE 17 REGIONS OF SPAIN UNCOVERED

Spain ticks all the boxes for a great holiday, but where to go? Mainland Spain or the Balearic Islands? City or coast? Or what about exploring one of the country’s less visited areas? The choices are endless considering Spain has no less than 50 provinces. Fortunately, we’ve broken it down for you with a whistle-stop tour of Spain’s 17 diverse regions.

 

1) ANDALUCIA

This region covers the entire southern area of mainland Spain and includes the Costa del Sol, Costa Tropical, Costa de Almeira and Costa de la Luz.

This is possibly the region which typifies Spain in the minds of tourists; from beaches to quaint whitewashed villages, flamenco to fiestas, Andalucia has it all, including the popular cities of Marbella and Seville – the region’s capital – plus a wide selection of world-class golf courses.

Provinces: Cádiz, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Seville, Huelva, Jaén, Almeria

2) ARAGON

Aragon in the north/north-east of Spain is often overlooked by visitors perhaps because it is landlocked and doesn’t boast any of Spain’s more well-known cities.

But the region is well worth a visit, especially the area close to the French border, as it offers the stunning natural beauty of the Aragonese Pyrenees, which has no less than seven ski resorts.

Provinces: Zaragoza, Huesca, Teruel

3) ASTURIAS

On Spain’s north coast, this single province region is home to the stunningly rugged Costa Verde that is noted for its beautiful sandy beaches.

The lush landscape comes at the price of higher annual rainfall, but it still draws climbers, walkers, cavers, kayakers and nature lovers to the peaks of the Picos de Europa National Park.

Large centres of population in Asturias include the cities of Gijón, which is located on the Bay of Biscay’s west side and about 12 miles north Oviedo, the region’s capital.

Provinces: A single province region

4) BALEARIC ISLANDS

The single province region of the Balearic Islands consist of the holiday hot spots of Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza plus Formentera, which is less well known but should not be overlooked.

Provinces: The islands count as a single province region

5) BASQUE COUNTRY

The Basque Country is a little different from Spain’s other regions. Located in the north on the Bay of Biscay and bordering France, this region is made up of three provinces and is fiercely independent, with its own flag and version of the Spanish language. However, this little region has much to offer tourists; the Costa Vasca (coast of females from the Basque Country), a virtually unknown Costa, the city of Bilbao, and an alpine landscape all await discovery.

Provinces: Vizcaya, Álava, Guipúzcua

6) CANARY ISLANDS

Off the north-west coast of Africa, these 13 volcanic islands include the holiday hot spots of Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria plus El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera.

We highly recommend you don’t overlook the Canaries’ culture and scenic landscapes – a day away from the beach spent exploring will uncover delightful Spanish villages and beautiful views!

Provinces: Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

7) CANTABRIA

This single province region finds its home on Spain’s north coast. Capital and port Santander welcomes many ferries daily and is steeped in history; the cave paintings at Altamira prove that people were living in Cantabria over 15,000 years ago.

The Costa Verde also spans this region along with the short Costa Cantabria, giving visitors plenty of beaches to choose from. Santander is the Spanish Royal’s summer residence, and sits overlooking the Bay of Biscay.

Provinces: A single province region

8) CASTILLA LA MANCHA

Situated in the heart of mainland Spain, this landlocked area is the second largest region in Spain and hugs Madrid, the country’s capital. This region consists of arid, sparsely populated mountainous land that is dotted with vineyards and castles.

It also contains the former Spanish capital of Toledo, which is becoming increasingly popular as a city break destination due to its good mix of museums, Renaissance buildings and churches, including the 13th century High Gothic cathedral.

Provinces: Guadalajara, Toledo, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Albacete

9) CASTILLA Y LÉON

The largest region in the centre of Spain, which also borders Portugal, Castilla y Leon is taken up by a large elevated plain, which is hard to get to as it is surrounded by mountains! Although the capital of this region, Salamanca, is famous for its university.

If you’re looking for a city break that is a little different and offers great value, we’d recommend a visit. Packed with Spanish culture and history, yet quieter and slightly more off the beaten track than Barcelona, it is a city of beauty.

Provinces: Léon, Palencia, Burgos, Zamora, Valladolid, Segovia, Soria, Salamanca, Avila

10) CATALONIA

Best known for its amazing capital city Barcelona, Catalonia is a favourite among tourists from all over the world looking for a cultural and sunny city break, with the added bonus of the beach; it’s also famous for Antoni Gaudí’s wondrous architecture.

This well-known region – which like the Basque Country is also fiercely independent – has the added bonus of also being home to the beach holiday hot spots of the Costa Dorada and Costa Brava, which both offers great beaches tucked among wild picturesque craggy coves.

Provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona

11) EXTREMADURA

Lying in south-west Spain, Extremadura is bordered to the north and east by Castile and Leon, to the south by Andalucia and to the west by Portugal.

Many insiders say this region is Spain’s best kept secret as far as tourism is concerned. What it lacks in coast, Extremadura makes up for in stunning historic towns and mountains, forests and lakes.

The Roman city of Merida is one of the region’s highlights together with Plasencia, another historic city with ancient walls.

Provinces: Caceres, Badajoz

12) GALICIA

Galicia is situated on the north-west coast of Green Spain, just above Portugal, making it a geographically, scenically and culturally different to many of Spain’s better known southern provinces. It has a warm but temperate climate and a lush landscape with mountain ranges, rivers and 1500km of coastline that indented by a series of rías (coastal inlets), which carve fjord-like into the land to create sandy beaches, while their shallow waters provide a harvest of shellfish.

The region’s largest centres of population are the university city of Santiago, La Coruña, which is noted for its Tower of Hercules lighthouse, and Vigo. Further south, the fishing port of Cambados is seen as the capital of Albariño, Galicia’s delicate and fragrant white wine.

Provinces: A Coruña, Pontevedra, Lugo, Orense

13) LA RIOJA

Think Rioja, think wine!  This single province region has more than 500 wineries and is internationally famous for the quality of their produce. As well as wine tasting, this area, located just under the Basque Country, is also geared up for rural tourism.

Provinces: A single province region

14) MADRID

You’ll know Madrid as the country’s capital, but is also the name of the single province region (the city of Madrid sits in the middle of it). Madrid boasts the stunning Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains, which hide many secluded villages for visitors to explore. Outside of the capital, the main points of interest for tourists include El Escorial, the historical residence of the king, riverside Alcala de Henares, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Aranjuez, the king’s spring residence!

Provinces: A single province region

15) MURCIA

Home to the Costa Calida, this single province region sits in the bottom right-hand corner of Spain. It attracts many loyal sun worshipers to its beaches because of its all year-round rays! This region is great for activity lovers too, thanks to its many top golf courses and well-known walking and cycling trails. Plus, diving here is amongst the best in Spain!

Provinces: A single province region

16) NAVARRA

The single province region of Navarra often gets overlooked as a tourist destination, with France to the north and the Basque Country and wine region of La Rioja alongside.

This incredibly green area has two distinct characteristics. The north attracts walkers, cyclists, climbers and families heading into the mountains of the Navarran Pyrenees.

Much of northern Navarra is covered by hills and mountains, although south of Pamploma – the region’s capital that is best known for the Running of Bulls which form part of the Sanfermines festival that takes place each July – the mountains are left behind, and the plains of central Spain begin to open out, while the wet forests become scorched vineyards and olive groves.

Provinces: A single province region

17) VALENCIA

Valencia is the birthplace of the country’s national dish, paella – and many say this is the best place in the world to eat it!

This region sits halfway down Spain’s Mediterranean coast and is home to the Costa Balnca, where Benidorm and Alicante can be found, and the less well-known Costa Azahar, which is noted for its orange groves.

Provinces: Valencia, Castellon, Alicante

 

 

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