Sharing the Iberian Peninsula with the nation of Portugal, Spain is a nation of rich history, varied cultures, and wonderful natural features. With over 46 million people in total, Spain has many lovely cities and tourist destinations.
Reading about the thirty most populated cities in Spain can give you glimpse of the variety that is available in this country.
Largest Cities in Spain Maps
Largest Cities in Spain (Top 30)
Madrid is the biggest city in Spain by population with 3,334,730 people calling it home. Madrid is the capital of Spain and lies almost directly in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the highest capital cities in Europe, situated on the Meseta plateau at an elevation of 2,120 feet above sea level. Because Madrid is so high, it has cold, windy winters and dry, hot summers.
With 1,664,182 people inhabiting it, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain. This lovely city is located on the Mediterranean Sea, and it is Spain’s largest port city. Called by Hans Christian Anderson, the “Paris of Spain,” Barcelona is one of the most important cultural cities in Spain. It has many libraries, art museums, and interesting buildings, and it is one of the major cities in Spain. The location gives it a very moderate climate that encourages the inhabitants to spend plenty of time outdoors in the streets and in parks.
The third largest city in Spain, Valencia is one of the most popular cruise ports in Europe. It’s 800,215 inhabitants enjoy over 300 days of sunshine and blue skies each year, making it a very popular tourist destination of the major cities in Spain. Valencia has Roman roots, with a rich history and culture. Because so many conquerors have come through Valencia, the area reflects a wide range of cultures, architectures, customs, and languages. Ever since the Muslims conquered the area in the 700s, the seacoast area has been densely populated by small farmers who make up a strong middle class in the region.
Also called Seville, this ancient city is located in southern Spain on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. With 691,395 people, Sevilla is one of the largest cities in Spain. Sevilla is an inland port located about 87 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean, and was the capital of Spain when it was under Muslim rule. The city flourished during these centuries, with plentiful building projects and great economic activity. The Muslims were driven out in 1248 by Christians under Ferdinand the Third. Sevilla features a Mediterranean climate with warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
Located on the banks of the Ebro River in northeastern Spain, Zaragoza is the capital of the Aragon region of Spain and has 681,877 people. The Romans established the city around 2000 years ago and tourists can still see Roman ruins there. In the 500s the Goths enacted a peaceful takeover of the city, followed by the Muslims in the 700s. In the 1100s the Christians took the city, building many fine churches. Up until the mid 20th century when industries developed there, the economy of the area was largely based upon agriculture. Zaragoza is now in the top ten of the biggest cities in Spain by population.
Surrounded by the mountains of the Axarquia, Malaga is located in southern Spain on the Costa del Sol. Its location near the lovely beaches means that Malaga is a very popular tourist destination. One popular attraction is the Moorish fortress called Alcazaba, dating back to the 8th century. It is located high on a hillside above the city with stunning vistas of the city below. The climate of Malaga is considered Mediterranean with mild winters and hot, humid summers. It has the warmest winters of any city in Europe, and it is home to 578,460 people.
Located in the southeastern region of the Iberian Peninsula, Murcia is home to 459,403 individuals. The city was founded around 825 by the emir of Cordoba Abd ar-Rahman II. Over the years, the city became well known for its ceramics, silks, and the paper industry. The Segura River crosses through the city, and much of the region is located in the fertile plains surrounding the river. Murcia has long been known for its agricultural products, particularly the production of fruits, veggies, and flowers from the surrounding countryside.
Also known as Palma de Mallorca, the lovely city of Palma is located on the island of Majorca in Palma Bay. This island is off the southeastern coast of Spain in the western Mediterranean. Palma is a major seaport in the Mediterranean Sea and this tourist destination has a hot, Mediterranean climate. The population of Palma is 422,587, which is almost half of the entire population of the island.
9. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Sometimes simply called Las Palmas, Palmas de Gran Canaria is the capital of Gran Canaria, an island in the Atlantic Ocean. While this city is the ninth largest city in Spain, it is the fifth most populous urban area in the country. The city is located on the northeastern coast of Gran Canaria, off the coast of Morocco. The 381,223 citizens of Los Palmas de Gran Canaria endure a hot, desert climate, with an average temperature all year of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Found on the northern coast of Spain, the city of Bilbao is the largest city by area in the nation. This city is located on the banks of the Nervión River which runs directly through the city, dividing it into two distinct portions. The eastern bank features factories, industry, and the neighborhoods of working class citizens. The western bank has commercial areas, residential neighborhoods, and the historic district. The city of Bilbao is seven miles inland from the Bay of Biscay, and it is an important port city of Spain with 350,184 citizens.
Sometimes called Alacant, Alicante is home to 337,482 people. Located on the Mediterranean coast near Mount Benacantil, this area has been inhabited for over 7000 years. Because it is located in such a dry area, the city of Alicante has very few large water sources.
Found in southern Spain, Cordoba’s central historic area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city has more World Heritage Sites than any other city in the world. Cordoba is home to 326,039 individuals and has some of the highest summer temperatures of any city in Spain and Europe.
Located where the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers join together, the city of Valladolid is known for the wine produced in the region. Home to 299,265 people, Valladolid is in northern central Spain. The city has warm summers and cold, windy winters.
A port city and naval station, Vigo is located in northwestern Spain. This city is one of the most important fishing ports in Europe, and it is located on the Atlantic Sea coast. 296,692 people live in Vigo, Spain.
On the coast of the Cantabrian Sea, Gijon, Spain is in northwestern Spain. This city, which has 271,717 people in it has cool summers and mild winters. The climate of Gijón is extremely wet as compared to many other regions of the nation of Spain.
16. L’Hospitalet de Llobregat
With 269,382 living there, L’Hospitalet is found southwest of Barcelona and is actually a suburb of Barcelona. This city spreads out from the Marina Mountains down to the Llobregat River.
With beautifully preserved streets from the Middle Ages, Vitoria-Gasteiz is located in northern Spain and is the home to 253,996 individuals. The living conditions in this city allow Vitoria-Gasteiz to be listed as one of the top five best places to live in Spain.
18. A Coruña
Located on the Atlantic Ocean off the Golfo Ártabro, A Coruña has 247,604 citizens and is found on a narrow peninsula. The inhabitants speak a mixture of Spanish and Galician.
The center of the footwear industry in Spain, Elche has 234,765 people living there. Palmeral de Elche, the only palm grove in Europe that is of North African origin, is found in Elche, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Settled in ancient times by Iberians, Romans, and Visigoths, Granada is found at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains in southern Spain. Four rivers, the Darro, the Genil, the Monachil and the Beiro, come together near the city of Granada. This city is home to 233,648 people.
Located in eastern Spain, Terrassa is only 30 kilometers from Barcelona. This city of 223,627 people features multiple beautiful churches and cathedrals. For centuries and even to the present day, textiles have been one of the major industries of Terrassa, Spain.
Sandwiched between the Besos River and the Mediterranean Sea, Badalona is northeast of Barcelona. Badalona was settled during Roman times and features a museum that displays ancient artifacts from that era. Badalona’s population is 223,166.
The city of Oviedo lies only about 30 kilometers from the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to its location and elevation of 300 meters above sea level, Oviedo has a maritime climate. 219,910 people call Oviedo, Spain home.
Due to the textile mills located there during the Industrial Revolution, Sabadell, Spain was known as the “Catalan, Manchester” for a time. Sabadell is in eastern Spain on the banks of the Ripoll River and has 216,520 citizens.
Capital of the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department of the Mediterranean, the city of Cartagena has 216,108 inhabitants. Located in southeastern Spain on the Mediterranean coast, Cartagena dates back to Roman times.
26. Jerez de la Frontera
Found in southwestern Spain, the city of Jerez de la Frontera lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cadiz Mountains. The city has 213,105 people who enjoy short, mild winters and long, warm summers.
Located near Madrid, Móstoles is home to 210,309 people. This city lies 660 meters above sea level and is found near the Guadarrama River. Evidence shows that the area has been inhabited since Paleolithic times.
28. Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The second largest city in the Canary Islands, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is also simply called Santa Cruz. This city is the capital of the Canary Islands, and it is located on the island of Tenerife. 209,194 people live in this city.
Famous across the world for the historic Running of the Bulls in its city streets each July, Pamplona is less than a 2-hour drive from the French border. Pamplona, with its 203,944 inhabitants is located in a rounded valley known as the Basin of Pamplona.
Found in the southeastern portion of the Iberian Peninsula, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Almeria became a wealthy city when it was under Islamic Rule. The port of Almeria traded in silks, oil, and raisins. During modern times, Almeria was the location where many spaghetti western movies were filmed. It currently has a population of 201,322.
While all thirty of these main cities in Spain have a single national identity, they vary widely based upon their history, their location, and their industry. Yet, these regions can set aside their differences to join together to make a nation that is beautiful, interesting, and strong.