Which Spanish city has the most bars per inhabitant?

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Which Spanish city has the most bars per inhabitant?
The Barrio Húmedo in León is one of the best places for bars in Spain. Photo: Gabriel González / Phexels

Tapas bars are an integral part of Spanish culture, whatever region you live in, but which city in Spain has the most bars per inhabitant?


Bars are an important part of life here in Spain, whether that’s for a morning coffee, a merienda with work colleagues, a drink after work or tapas in the evening with friends or family.

The Covid-19 pandemic was a blow to many bars across the country and in 2021 alone, more than 7,000 bars had to close, according to data from Hostelería de España. But thankfully bars are still an important part of life in Spain and are just as popular as ever. 

But which city has the most bars per inhabitant?  


No, it’s not Granada with its much-loved free tapas bars or lively Madrid or even the Basque foodie capital of San Sebastián. No, it’s actually the city of León, the capital of the region of Castilla y León.

León has a total of 5.03 bars per 1,000 inhabitants, according to data from the Spanish Federation of Hospitality and Restoration (FEHRDATA).

READ ALSO: Where can you get free tapas in Spain?

Most of these are located in the Húmedo and Romántico neighbourhoods. The Barrio Húmedo is the old mediaeval quarter of the city and its name actually translates as ‘the wet neighbourhood’ precisely because of the number of bars and taverns that can be found there.

The neighbourhood is centred around Plaza de San Martín, flanked by bright tutti fruity coloured buildings and of course, many bars. In the evenings it's packed full of patrons spilling out onto the streets with their drinks.

The square itself and the many streets surrounding it, such as Calle Carnicerías (so-called because it is home to an old 16th-century building once used by local meat suppliers), are where you’ll find some of the best bars.

Of course, it’s not all about drinking as in most Spanish cities, tapas is just, if not more important and hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar is a popular pastime in the Barrio Húmedo. According to the León tourism board, “tapas here takes on almost religious dimensions”.

Like in Granada tapas in León are given out for free when you buy a drink in bars. Some of the most typical tapas dishes you may be served here include patatas leonesas (León-style potatoes), or morcilla de León (blood sausage or black pudding from León).

READ ALSO: What to order at a restaurant in each region of Spain

Salamanca is the second provincial capital in the ranking, with 4.22 bars per 1,000 inhabitants, while third place goes to another city in Castilla y León - Zamora with 4.14.  


Behind them is Orense in Galicia with 4.05; Palencia, also in Castilla y León with 3.60; Logroño in La Rioja with 3.53; and San Sebastián in the Basque Country with 3.29. Granada in Andalusia and La Coruña in Galicia come in next, both with 3.27 bars per 1,000 inhabitants, and to close the top 10, it's Bilbao, famed for its pintxos bars with 3.15.  

The small town with the most bars is Sallent de Gállego in Huesca, with 15.74 establishments per 1,000 inhabitants. This is followed by Comillas in Cantabria, and Peñíscola in Castellón, occupying second and third place with 9.8 and 9.4 bars, respectively.

On a provincial level, the historic city of Cáceres in Extremadura comes out on top with 8.07 bars per 1,000 inhabitants, followed by the Balearic Islands, La Coruña, Segovia, Asturias, Huesca and León.


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