Regions of Spain
Provinces of Spain
As mentioned earlier, Spain is composed of 17 autonomous communities that are: Galicia, Principality of Asturias, Cantabria, Basque Country, Navarra, Aragon, Catalonia, Castilla y León, La Rioja, Community of Madrid, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, Andalusia, Region of Murcia, and Canary Islands.
Each one of the 17 autonomous communities has one or more than one provinces. In total, there are 50 provinces in Spain, but we are not going to cover each province because it will take forever.
Let’s see now what these communities are like and what they have to offer us.
Located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, Galicia is one of the most attractive and interesting regions of Spain. It is formed by the provinces of Orense, Lugo, La Coruña and Pontevedra, composed in turn by 313 municipalities, divided into 53 regions, and as capital has the city of Santiago de Compostela.
This community offers sites of great historical and cultural importance, such as the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, located in La Coruña, and the Basilica of Santa María la Mayor, in Pontevedra, in addition to great beaches such as Playa de la Lanzada, in the outskirts of O Grove, and the Playa de las Catedrales, located in Lugo.
Principado de Asturias
The Principado of Asturias is an autonomous community of Spain, located in the northwest of the country, and whose capital is the city of Oviedo.
It has beautiful landscapes such as those of the Picos de Europa National Park, the famous Covadonga Lakes, and the spectacular beaches of Llanes, Ribadesella, Gijón, and Cudillero, among many other places worth admiring.
Likewise, Asturias offers a reasonably broad cultural environment, characterized by the Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of Asturias, especially the Basilica of Covadonga, the Church of San Miguel de Lillo and that of San Julián de los Prados, and its sites, caves and rock art museums, are also important places that are worth visiting within this community.
Located in the Cantabrian coast, north of the Iberian Peninsula is the community of Cantabria, whose capital is the city of Santander.
This is one of the regions of Spain with the greatest landscape richness and a great cultural life, and it shows its ten prehistoric caves listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, among which the famous Altamira Cave stands out, which It includes representations of rock art of the significant character.
Cantabria is also part of the Camino de Santiago. It has essential monuments such as the Magdalena Palace of Santander, the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, and the Capricho de Gaudí de Comillas.
Its beaches of white and fine sand are other points of interest that attract the attention of travelers and residents, as well as its imposing natural parks, mainly the Picos de Europa National Park.
Located in the eastern end of the coast of the Cantabrian Sea is the Spanish community of the Basque Country, formed by the provinces of Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, and Álava, and whose de facto capital is the city of Vitoria.
The Basque Country is especially distinguished by the beauty of its coasts, including destinations such as Zarautz, Getxo, and San Sebastián, as well as the attractiveness of its inland cities, such as Bilbao and Vitoria.
Among the sites of interest offered by this community are the Guggenheim Museum, in Bilbao, and the Vizcaya Suspension Bridge, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
It also has the popular San Sebastián International Film Festival, held at the Kursaal Palace, as well as various Natural Parks and Biosphere Reserves that make it a stimulus to travel the Santiago Way that crosses the region.
The next on the list of regions in Spain is the community of Navarra, which is located north of the Iberian Peninsula, with the municipality and city of Pamplona as its capital.
It has striking natural landscapes, such as the Bardenas Reales and the Urbasa-Andía Natural Park, as well as other sites of interest, such as the Royal Palace of Olite, the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de Pamplona, the Monastery of Leyre and Javier’s Castle.
Also, in this region, romerias and pilgrimages such as Javierada and Sanfermines, hunting, carnivals, and other traditions, such as Los aquelarres de brujas (the gathering of witches), cultural exhibitions of great attraction for tourists and locals are carried out.
Located in northern Spain is the Spanish autonomous community of Aragon, derived from the historic kingdom of Aragon, whose capital is the city of Zaragoza.
This region is characterized, among other things, by its great monasteries and castles of Mudejar architecture, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, as well as its monuments La Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar and La Catedral del Salvador in Zaragoza
Likewise, the autonomous community of Aragón has graceful natural landscapes such as the one offered by the National Park of Ordesa y Monte Perdido, and another of its main attractions is its distinguished cuisine, headed by wines of excellent quality such as Somontano, which has Denomination of Origin of the area.
The autonomous community of Catalonia is in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is made up of the provinces of Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, and Barcelona, with the latter as its capital.
It is considered one of the most beautiful and attractive regions of Spain, mainly for its impressive beaches, such as those in the area of the Costa Brava, Costa Barcelona and Costa Dorada, and its different samples of culture and history, such as the archaeological site from Tarraco, the Monasterio de Poblet, La Sagrada Familia and Las Iglesias del Vall de Boí, all declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
Also, Catalonia has relevant sites such as el Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña and el Teatro-Museo Dalí de Figuere, and amazing landscapes such as El Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes y Estany de Sant Maurici..
Castilla y León
This community is in the northern part of the plateau of the Iberian Peninsula. It is made up of the provinces of Burgos, Ávila, Palencia, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid, and Zamora.
Among the regions of Spain, Castilla y León stands out as one of the communities with the most significant natural diversity on the continent, having beautiful places such as el the Picos de Europa National Park, which concentrates some of the fascinating Atlantic forests in the country.
It has cities such as Ávila, Salamanca, and Segovia, the three designated World Heritage Sites. It offers unique and highly prominent places such as The Burgos Cathedral and The Atapuerca Archaeological site.
And if that was not enough, this community is also part of the Camino de Santiago, one of the most popular pilgrimage routes in the world.
Located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula is the autonomous community of La Rioja, which is divided into three subregions, La Rioja alta, La Rioja media and La Rioja baja, following the course of the Ebro.
Its capital is the city of Logroño, which includes the town with the highest population in that community.
This region is really famous for its wines and its more than 500 wineries, as well as for the vineyards that cross the area. Also, La Rioja has locations of high importance, such as Santo Domingo de la Calzada and San Millán de la Cogolla. It is full of splendid Mediterranean forests, lunar-looking landscapes, and high mountain ranges, which constitute the perfect destination for nature lovers.
La Comunidad de Madrid
One of the most popular and visited areas in Spain is the community of Madrid, which is inside the Iberian Peninsula, in the central Plateau.
It has as capital the city of Madrid, the best known of the vicinities of this community, in which there are outstanding cultural manifestations such as the Art Triangle, which includes the Prado National Museum, the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
It also has impressive monuments and sites, such as the Royal Palace, the Plaza Mayor, and Gran Vía. In the towns of Aranjuez, Alcalá de Henares, and San Lorenzo del Escorial, it is possible to appreciate unique representations that have earned them the title of World Heritage.
Formed by the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz, the autonomous community of Extremadura is located southwest of the Iberian Peninsula and has as its capital the city of Mérida, where you can see multiple samples of Roman art, including the Theater and Amphitheater Romans, the Arch of Trajan, the Porch of the Forum and the House of Mithreo
Also, this community offers spectacular views in stunning natural areas such as Cornalvo Natural Park and the Monfragüe National Park, among others.
Castilla la Mancha
It is in the central part of the Iberian Peninsula. It consists of the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, and Toledo, with the latter as its capital.
It has two World Heritage cities, such as Cuenca, with its Hanging Houses, and Toledo, with its Cathedral and Alcazar. It also has different Archaeological Parks with some of the oldest rock representations in the country, and natural spaces of unique beauty, such as the National Park of the Tables of Daimiel and Cabañeros.
La Comunidad Valenciana
It is located in the east and southeast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is made up of the provinces of Alicante, Castellón, and Valencia, with the latter as its capital.
It has a remarkable architectural, cultural, and entertainment complex in the city of Valencia, known as La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, which highlights the famous Complejo Oceanogràfic.
It also offers essential tourist sites such as the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, la Lonja de la Seda, la Catedral de Santa María de Valencia and Las Torres de Serranos, among others.
This Spanish autonomous community is made up of the islands of the Balearic archipelago, located in the Mediterranean Sea. It has the capital of Palma de Mallorca.
The main attractions of this community are the small islands known as Menorca, with its famous bay Cala Mitjana and the Natural Park of s’Albufera des Grau, and Formentera, with its Faro de la Mola and The Church of San Francisco Javier, as well as the significant islands of Mallorca, with its Bellver Castle and the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Palma de Mallorca, and Ibiza, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and well known for its beaches and the nightlife that takes them there.
It is int he south of the Iberian Peninsula. It is made up of the provinces of Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Sevilla with the latter as its capital.
Among the main attractions of the region is the Real Alcazar of Seville, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, the Giralda, the Generalife villa in Granada and the Alcazaba of Malaga, as well as the ski resort of Sierra Nevada, the Park Natural of the Sierra de Grazalema and the Cave of Nerja in Malaga.
Región de Murcia
Located in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, the Region of Murcia has as capital the city of Murcia. It offers as its main destinations the Cathedral of Murcia, the Episcopal Palace of Murcia, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fuensanta, the Monastery of Santa Clara la Real, and the Church of Santo Domingo, among many other points of interest, full of culture, history, and tradition.
Las Islas Canarias
Of the regions of Spain, the Canary Islands is the last of the autonomous communities. It is located in North Africa, comprising seven main islands that are El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, and the island territories of the Chinijo archipelago and the islet of Lobos.
Its capital is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and it has beautiful beaches for sunbathing and water sports such as windsurfing and scuba diving.
Its most important monuments are the works of César Manrique in Lanzarote and the monumental complex of San Cristóbal de la Laguna in Tenerife, among many others of great tourist attraction.
Autonomous Cities of Spain
In addition to the autonomous communities, Spain has two autonomous cities, understood as administrative entities with powers superior to those of a municipality, that is to say, that they have the ability to issue executive regulations, although their attributions are still inferior to those of the autonomous communities since they do not have established legislative chambers.
The Spanish autonomous cities are Ceuta and Melilla.
Located on the southern shore of the Strait of Gibraltar, the independent city of Ceuta is made up of a peninsula that joins the area of the Outer Field and Mount Hacho, through the Almina and the Isthmus.
Access to this city can be done by sea, by land, and by air, highlighting the sea route as the most common method of access to the area, starting from the Iberian Peninsula.
Undoubtedly, this is another region of Spain with great tourist attraction, as it has interesting places such as the Mediterranean Maritime Park, and the monuments of the Califal Gate, the Fortress of Mount Hacho, the Monumental Complex of the Royal Walls and the Merinidas Walls, among others.
It also has religious representations of great importance, including the Sanctuary of Santa María de África, where the Patroness of Ceuta is housed, the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Church of Remedies, the Church of San Francisco.
The Church of the Valley and the Hermitage of San Antonio, without neglecting the mosques, the synagogue and the Hindu temple that adorn the rest of the city’s communities.
Of the Phoenician origin and denominated Spanish autonomous city, Melilla is located in the north of Africa, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, specifically in the region of the cape of Tres Forcas. For centuries, this town has played a crucial role as a commercial port and defensive bastion of the Mediterranean.
The old Old City stands out among the architectural modernism of this beautiful city, and its coastline is characterized by the presence of extensive and majestic beaches of fine sand, and the fantastic marina, known as “Puerto XXI,” located between the beach of San Lorenzo and the Mineral Loader, which includes hundreds of berths for sports fleets, as well as a shopping and entertainment center.
Among the most representative places of interest that can be visited in this region are the Santiago Gate, the Fort of Earth, the Hornabeque Trench, the Pantheon of the Heroes, and the Museum of Sacred Art of Melilla.
Without a doubt, the regions of Spain have much to offer both locals and tourists, who have to be delighted with the hundreds of landscapes to be appreciated, as well as the immense historical and cultural framework that characterizes their communities and independent cities, and the towns that each of them understands.