Spain is an enchanting country, known for its dazzling beaches and delicious cuisine. But don’t overlook its rich history which is infused with various cultures and religions that make it a truly exciting place to visit.
Andalusia’s Moorish past has produced some of the country’s most spectacular architecture, with Granada’s Alhambra and Cordoba’s Mezquita-Catedral unmissable. Beyond, explore markets blending Spanish customs with culinary traditions and Roman structures that contrast with Moorish palaces.
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Home to one of Spain’s best-preserved old towns and the country’s second-biggest church, Toledo in central Castilla-La Mancha is a must-visit. The UNESCO-listed medieval city is packed with incredible cultural treasures, and its museums are an ideal place to get under the skin of the country’s history.
The walled city has a fascinating history, with a mix of medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments, and the former home of famous painter El Greco. He lived and worked in Toledo, painting numerous works of art for churches and monasteries throughout the region.
If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home from Toledo, try one of the many local crafts that are widely acclaimed for their craftsmanship. Damascene (interlaced gold on steel, applied to jewellery, plates etc) is a popular choice; Toledo steel swords are also widely available, but you’ll need to clear them through customs and they can cost up to US $300.
Food is another area of interest, with a range of traditional tapas served in bars and restaurants. These include carcamusas, which are a pork and pea tapa with slow-cooked meat and vegetables served in a cazuela, and marzipan, a local sweet made from almonds, sugar and egg yolks.
2.Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Spain’s most revered pilgrimage destinations. It’s also a hub of Galician culture and an excellent base for visiting other parts of the country.
The main reason many people visit the city is to attend a mass at the Cathedral. It’s a truly life-changing experience, especially after walking hundreds of miles.
Whether you’re a religious or not, attending a mass at the Cathedral is one of the most memorable experiences in all of Europe. Pilgrims line up to hug the golden sculpture of Saint James, then head below the altar to see his crypt and the remains of the original ninth-century church that was built when his body was discovered.
If you’re a foodie, don’t miss the Mercado de Abastos (the city’s bustling market). The stalls here sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and seafood as well as gourmet souvenirs.
Granada is a city in Spain that has much to offer the traveller, especially those looking for the old-school side of Spain. It is home to a prestigious university and the Alhambra, but it is also an exciting student city with no shortage of trendy bars, authentic districts and no lack of tapas.
Getting around Granada is easy and you can reach many attractions by walking, but there are also buses and taxis that will get you to your hotel in the city centre. It is a good idea to get a map of the city and take your time in deciding what is best to do.
To make the most of your trip to Granada, book a tour that combines the Cathedral, Royal Monastery and San Jeronimo Monastery. This will give you a great overview of the history of the city.
The Granada Cathedral, also known as the Catedral de Granada, is one of the most impressive buildings in Granada. Built in the 16th century, this imposing cathedral is an example of Renaissance architecture.
Seville has a rich cultural tapestry that is shaped by the city’s complex history, spanning Moorish and Christian influence. Its architecture combines Mudejar with Islamic, Baroque and Renaissance influences to create an impressive city centre that is a must-see for any trip to Spain.
The historic city center is comprised of a maze of narrow cobbled streets, lined with colorful houses and orange trees. These picturesque streets make for some of the best Instagram spots in town, so it’s best to shoot early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the light is softer.
Another cool thing to do is visit the Space Metropol Parasol at La Encarnacion square, which gives a totally unique perspective on the city. It opened a few years ago and is one of the newest things to do in Seville.
Besides all the cultural attractions, Seville has a lot to offer culinary lovers, as it is well known for its extensive tapas culture. These small portions are a great way to get a taste of the local cuisine, with everything from sherry wine and beer to cheese and pork cheeks all on offer.
The Balearic islands are one of Spain’s best-known travel destinations. Whether you’re after a romantic getaway with your special someone or an active family vacation with the kids, these four enchanting Spanish islands have it all.
Despite their glitz and glamour the Balearics are still home to a laid-back culture that dates back to Roman times. This is reflected in their cuisine, which still focuses on local ingredients like olive oil, herbs, honey and almonds.
There are so many reasons to visit these magical Spanish islands, from kilometres of sandy beaches to thousands of secret coves and hidden treasures. They’re also one of the most varied travel destinations in Europe, with a wealth of cultural sites to explore.
Mallorca is the largest island, renowned for its beach resorts and world-class nightlife. But there’s much more to it than meets the eye – it’s also an excellent base for hiking, sailing and snorkelling. For a more quiet holiday, Menorca offers the perfect balance of peace and beauty, with its pristine beaches, small coastal resorts and picturesque countryside.
San Sebastian is a Spanish coastal city that combines sunny beaches with a charming old town and scores of Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s also a place where you can discover a one-of-a-kind culture that is totally unique to Spain.
For those interested in history, it’s worth spending time exploring the Buen Pastor Cathedral (or the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd). This Gothic Revival structure was constructed in 1888.
It’s a stunning building that reaches 75 meters into the sky. Its architecture features both German and French influences, making it a major landmark for the city.
Another great option is to visit Castillo de la Mota, a medieval fortress that dates back to the 12th century. Located between La Concha Beach and the Old City, this fort is a cultural highlight.
San Sebastian is known for its world-class dining scene, and is home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the country. You’ll be able to find plenty of enticing restaurants that serve local tapas and delicious drinks.
Barcelona is a beautiful city with a lot to offer visitors. From stunning architecture to a great nightlife, there is plenty to see and do in this city!
One of the top things to do in Barcelona is to visit La Sagrada Familia. Designed by the world-famous architect Antoni Gaudi, this church is an architectural masterpiece and is one of the most visited places in Barcelona.
Another major attraction in Barcelona is the Rambla de Mar, a scenic promenade that stretches 1.2 km along the Mediterranean Sea. It is a famous tourist attraction and attracts millions of visitors every year!
There is also a large variety of restaurants to choose from in Barcelona. Catalan cuisine is known for its fish and superb meat, along with a range of excellent vegetables.
Art enthusiasts will love to check out the Picasso Museum which houses over 4,000 works by the world-famous painter Pablo Picasso. The museum is a must-visit in Barcelona for those who are interested in modern art and sculptures.
If you’re looking for a great combination of culture and amusement, Madrid is the place to go. Its monuments are awe-inspiring, while its museums have some of the best collections in the world.
There’s also a thriving nightlife scene. Get lost in the trendy Malasana or LGBT-friendly Cheuca barrios or check out the street art in the hip Lavapies neighbourhood.
For art lovers, head to the Museum Triangle: here you’ll find the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia. The first two of these museums offer an incredible selection of European art history, while the Reina Sofia focuses on modern art.
Another thing that makes Madrid unique is its parks. Some are survivals of hunting parks, like El Pardo, and others are royal palaces. For instance, Retiro Park is one of the largest in the city, and it’s totally worth exploring for a nice stroll or to rent a rowboat and row across the lake!
You can also shop for the finest Spanish produce at the San Miguel market. This is an easy walk from Plaza Mayor and it’s a gastronomic destination, featuring lots of tapas bars and gourmet food stalls.