Regions of Spain

Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions known in Spain as ‘Comunidades Autónomas’. Besides these ‘communities’ the country is further divided into 50 provinces (‘provincias’). In the following summary of each ‘comunidad’ we’ve listed which province belongs to which community. However, there are seven ‘Comunidades Autónomas’ which we’ve referred to as “single province regions” which means that they are considered to be both an autonomous region AND a province.

Whilst Andalucia is home to the mass tourism developments of the Costa del Sol it is also the land which most typifies Spain to the foreign visitor due largely to the regions love of flamenco and bullfighting. Escape the ‘costas’ and you’ll discover a historic land with great Moorish cities such as Seville, Granada and Cordoba. And no matter where you visit in this fascinating region you’ll never be far away from a fiesta.
Provinces: Cádiz, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Sevilla, Huelva, Jaén, Almeria.

Aragon is a fascinating region in northern Spain which is often overlooked by visitors. Whilst the region’s capital, Zaragoza, is well worth a visit it’s the stunning natural beauty of the Aragonese Pyrenees and its historic villages which shouldn’t be missed. The Ordesa National Park is one of the most stunning destinations you’ll ever see.
Provinces: Zaragoza, Huesca, Teruel.

Asturias is possibly the most beautiful of all of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities. It lies on the north coast of Spain with Galicia to the west and Cantabria to the east. It is blessed with a rugged coastline along the Bay of Biscay where there are many beautiful beaches. Its interior is even more spectacular thanks to the stunning Picos de Europa mountains. The price to pay for the lush, green landscape is high annual rainfall figures but if you enjoy touring areas of natural beauty and aren’t too concerned about the weather then you simply have to visit.
Provinces: Single Province Region.

Balearic Islands
Whilst the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are well established on the tourism map they don’t get the praise they deserve for their natural beauty. There are some great holiday resorts in the Balearics but the islands have so much more to offer beyond their tourist developments. Rent a car and head a few kilometres inland and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at some of the local villages you’ll discover.
Provinces: Single Province Region.

Basque Country
The Basque Country is different. Located on the Bay of Biscay and bordering France this fiercely independent region is has so much to offer the visitor. The cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian are fabulous places to spend a few days whilst the interior presents a beautiful, almost Alpine, landscape.
Provinces: Vizcaya, Álava, Guipúzcua.

Canary Islands
Lying off the northwest coast of Africa the Canary Islands are one of Europe’s top destinations for beach holidays. Year round sunshine attracts over 12 million visitors to the islands. The top tourist destinations are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura whilst the smaller islands of El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera offer a quieter experience.
Provinces: Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The cave paintings at Altamira confirm that people were living in modern day Cantabria 15,000 years ago. The region is centred on the lovely city of Santander where many ferries arrive from the UK. Located on the Bay of Biscay this small region is home to many lovely villages both along its coast and inland.
Provinces: Single Province Region.

Castilla La Mancha
Castilla La Mancha is an arid and sparsely populated land which lies between Madrid and Andalucia. Apart from being home to the Imperial city of Toledo it is best known for its Don Quijote windmills at Consuegra and for its excellent cheeses.
Provinces: Guadalajara, Toledo, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Albacete.

Castilla y Léon
Historic Castilla y León is the largest of Spain’s autonomous communities with borders to ten of the other regions as well as to Portugal. The Roman city of Segovia is one of its many highlights along with the university city of Salamanca. It is home to some of the country’s finest Cathedrals in Segovia, Burgos and León and is the birthplace of Saint Teresa de Avila.
Provinces: Léon, Palencia, Burgos, Zamora, Valladolid, Segovia, Soria, Salamanca, Avila.

Catalonia is best known for its amazing capital city, Barcelona, which is home to the stunning architecture of Antoni Gaudí and one of the world’s greatest football teams in FC Barcelona. But there’s a lot more to Catalonia than its capital. Tarragona and Girona are two historic cities that are well worth visiting whilst the coast of the Costa Brava offers many beauty spots. The Catalan Pyrenees are an area of outstanding beauty for nature lovers.
Provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona.

Extremadura borders Portugal in the west of Spain. It is probably the country’s best kept secret as far as tourism is concerned. The Roman city of Merida is one of the region’s highlights along with the Moorish city of Caceres. The historic towns of Trujillo and Guadalupe together with the national park of Monfrague are just a few more attractions that this fascinating ‘comunidad’ has to offer.
Provinces: Caceres, Badajoz.

For the best of Spain’s wonderful seafood head to Galicia, a Celtic land in the very northwest of the country where you’ll receive a warm welcome and discover a beautiful and historic land. Santiago de Compostela is the highlight of the region for most visitors but make sure you head inland to visit the hidden valleys and take a trip along the wild coast to Cabo Finisterre.
Provinces: A Coruña, Pontevedra, Lugo, Orense.

La Rioja
There are more than 500 wine bodegas in the region of La Rioja many of which offer guided tours and tastings. If you’re planning on staying in the region head for the lovely town of Haro which is well geared up for wine tourism. Logroño is the only town of any size which has one of the country’s best “tapas’ crawls”. Elsewhere the region is well geared up for rural tourism with some excellent walking opportunities.
Provinces: Single Province Region.

As well as being the capital of Spain, Madrid is also one of the nation’s autonomous regions. The beautiful Sierra de Guadarrama mountains with its many secluded villages take up much of the northern part of the region. The main destinations of interest to visitors outside the capital include El Escorial, Alcala de Henares and Aranjuez.
Provinces: Single Province Region.

The Costa Calida coast of Murcia in southeast Spain attracts many loyal sun worshipers to its shores all year round whilst La Manga maintains its reputation as the region’s flagship tourist destination. There are some world class golf courses in the area and excellent opportunities for scuba diving. Inland, the Parque Natural de Sierra Espuña is growing in popularity for walking holidays.
Provinces: Single Province Region.

Pamplona is the only well known destination in the region of Navarra and is a city that’s well worth a visit even when there aren’t bulls running down the street. Elsewhere you can drive around the countless villages that make up this rural land and find out the true meaning of the “Green Spain” that so many visitors come to find. Outdoor activities abound as you head into the mountains of the Navarran Pyrenees.
Provinces: Single Province Region.

As well as being Spain’s 3rd city, Valencia is also capital of its own ‘comunidad’ which stretches along the Mediterranean coast from Catalonia to Murcia. The newly redeveloped city itself is well worth a visit even if it’s only to see the incredible City of Arts and Sciences. Whilst recent years have seen Americas Cup sailing and Formula One Grand Prix in Valencia, the vast majority of visitors to the region rarely get beyond the popular holiday resorts of the Costa Blanca to the south.
Provinces: Valencia, Castellon, Alicante.