The Spanish mainland is administered in 15 regions which, although they do not have statehood, as autonomous communities have a range of competencies comparable to the German federal states. For example, each region sets additional public holidays independent of those of the state administration, which is why you should inform yourself about the applicable public holiday regulations before traveling through Spain.
The most famous Spanish regions are the Basque Country, Andalusia, Asturias, Cantabria, Navarra, the Madrid region, Catalonia and Galicia. In addition to the mainland regions, there are also the travel regions of the Balearic and Canary Islands as well as the autonomous Spanish exclaves Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast. The regions themselves are administered in provinces, but seven regions have no further administrative division. For a long time there have been unresolved conflicts over the autonomy status of the Basque Country and Catalonia, which in the past have been accompanied by terror and violence.
The largest cities in the country are the Spanish capital Madrid and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, with 3.2 and 1.6 million residents respectively. This is followed by the cities of Valencia, Seville, Saragossa and Málaga with populations between 800,000 and 600,000 people.
Spain’s third largest city Valencia is located in the eastern part of the country on the Costa del Azahar of the Mediterranean. Almost 800,000 residents live in the city at the mouth of the Turia (2018). Like many cities on the western Mediterranean coasts, the city of Valencia can look back on a history of founding and conquest, which goes back to antiquity, with numerous armed conflicts and associated changes of power. In the 15th century, the city developed into one of the largest Mediterranean ports and an important trading and financial center, which was economically justified by the silk weaving mill located here, among other things.
According to ehistorylib, In the second half of the 19th century, as in some other cities in Spain, the restricting city walls were torn down and new districts with wide, chessboard-like streets were built in the west and south. In the old town, too, some medieval blocks fell victim to the construction of the two large plazas, Plaza del Ayuntamiento and Plaza de la Reina. At the beginning of the 20th century, as in Barcelona, numerous new buildings were under the sign of Art Nouveau-derived modernism, which is still evident today in the facades of numerous bourgeois houses, the Estación del Norte train station and the market halls Mercado Central and Mercado de Colón. The Spanish civil war and the associated bombing by Franco’s air force also left their mark on Valencia.
In early 1970, an unprecedented urban development project diverted the Turia River, which repeatedly tends to flood, around the city. The former river bed has been converted into a park that runs through the entire city area and offers numerous sports and leisure activities.
The architectural sights of Valencia include the medieval cathedral, the silk exchange and the bullring. The city has three beaches on the Costa de Valencia and is a popular destination for language and city trips.
Palma de Mallorca
Palma is the capital of the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca and both the seat of government and the supply center of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. With around 400,000 residents, Palma ranks eighth among the major cities in Spain. With the international airport and the seaport for ferry and cruise ships, the city is the first port of call for trips to the popular Balearic island of Mallorca. From here, the countless seaside resorts, tourist attractions and sights can easily be reached by public transport. Impressive natural beauty can be found in particular in the Sierra de Tramuntana, north of Palma.
The already 123 BC The city, which was founded by the Romans in the 4th century BC, has a number of sights apart from mass tourism, such as the widely visible cathedral La Seu and the Llotja de Palma from the 15th century, the Castell de Bellver, or the many buildings in the style of Modernism. The old town of Palma with the lively Plaça Major as the center is known for its numerous narrow streets, some of which are only connected by stairs. Outside the city center there are numerous beaches and promenade along the coast.