Spain is comprised of several autonomous regions and islands that give the country the most diverse culture and stunning landscapes in Europe. The vibrant cities contrast with sleepy villages, and the green hills of Galicia couldn’t be more different from the vast volcanic fields. The country offers a range of activities, from amazing beaches with some of the largest clubs in Europe, to the art and culture of Madrid. It is next to impossible to enjoy everything this country has to offer in one visit. We have made a list of things you should definitely do when on vacation in Spain – even if it means you have to come back more than once.
This is a guest post by Rebecca Brown
La Sagrada Familia in Bacelona
Marvel at Gaudi’s Architecture
Antonio Gaudi is an architect whose work enjoys global popularity and admiration by architects the world over. The majority of his work can be seen in Barcelona. Visit the Casa Batllo, one of the strangest residential buildings in the world, or the UNESCO-listed Park Guell, where he turned to landscape gardening.
La Sagrada Familia is however undoubtedly Gaudi’s masterpiece. Ever since ground was broken, it has been an ongoing project. Legend has it the world will end on the day the church is finally complete. Climbing one of the towers of La Sagrada Familia will give you a truly unique view of Barcelona.
Visit the Alhambra
Looking down upon the city of Granada, Alhambra is an amazing complex that few are able to rival. It started its life as a walled citadel, surrounded by the Sierra Nevada peaks.
The origins of the Alhambra are a mystery. It is believed that the building may have been standing since Roman times. However, the first Nasrid king, el Ahmar, chose this building as a prestigious location to host his court. The Nasrid rulers transformed it into what it is today. Chambers with grandiose ceilings, marble fountains and pomegranate gardens are just a part of this historic treasure.
Walk the Camino de Santiago
Spain is home to Santiago de Compostela, a town famous as the final destination of the Camino de Santiago. The Camino itself is a network of ancient pilgrim roads that lead to the tomb of Saint James the Great, located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
The most popular Camino starting point is Sarria, about 100 kilometres from Santiago. This last stage of the Camino Frances will take you across the green landscapes of Galicia, and you’ll get the chance to see Spain from a different angle. Make sure you get to Santiago de Compostela in time for the mass when the priest welcomes all the pilgrims who arrive on that particular day.
Costa Calma Beach – Canary Islands / Photo from hellocanarysilands.com
Relax on the Canary Islands
If you want to enjoy perfect beaches and pleasant weather all year round, don’t miss the Canary Islands. This archipelago is the most southerly region of Spain, located in the Atlantic Ocean, near the coast of Africa. Whatever island you choose, you won’t regret it.
Tenerife and Gran Canaria are certainly the most popular islands. Visit the Teide National Park and be mesmerized by the sight of Teide, a dormant volcano and Spain’s tallest peak, or relax on the golden sand beaches. Marvel at the greenery of the La Gomera’s National Park or the surreal play of colours of Lanzarote’s lava fields.
Party at the Balearic Islands
Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca make up an archipelago located in the western Mediterranean Sea. The islands have a distinct character, which differs from the rest of Spain.
Ibiza is famous for its beautiful beaches and lively ambience. Although it draws in clubbers from all over the world, it is home to Old Town, a UNESCO-listed and one of the prettiest villages in Spain. Formentera and Menorca offer secluded beaches and rustic charm. Mallorca is the largest and best-known Balearic island, and the only one in the group you might come to for something other than beaches and nightlife. It has glorious churches, ancient villages and plenty of places for hiking.
Plaza Mayor in Madrid
Visit Madrid’s museums
The Spanish capital is home to many of the greatest pieces of art by the most important artist in history. If you are an art lover, head to the Golden Triangle of Art. It consists of three of the most significant museums.
The Centro de Arte Reina Sofia boasts an impressive facade as well as paintings by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. The Museo del Prado, Madrid’s best-known attraction, glorifies artists like Goya, Velazquez, Rubens and El Greco. The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza completes the tour, housing some of the best Expressionist and Impressionist paintings.
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Enjoy a Football Match
Whether you are a Barcelona or a Real Madrid fan, you shouldn’t miss paying a visit to Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabeu. Although Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe, Santiago Bernabeu boasts an incredible atmosphere.
Get a guided tour of the stadium, so you can sit on the team bench and visit the trophy rooms. If you choose to watch a game, learn the chants, so you can fully enjoy the match. Though views from the top of the stadium can be amazing, these seats lack atmosphere. Get a spot behind the goals like the real fans.
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Becca is a traveler and translator, always looking to try another local pizza, and see another sunset. You can read more of her exploits at RoughDraft.
8-DAY SPAIN TOUR
Depart from Barcelona with an air-conditioned deluxe coach to enjoy an intense itinerary through the north of the Iberian Peninsula: Spain and Portugal. Enjoy panoramic sightseeing tours of San Sebastian, Bilbao and La Coruña and guided tours in Santiago de Compostela and Porto.
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