Travel is constantly on the go. So that’s why in May next year, I’ll be in Spain and Portugal. So what to do in Spain? I have a guest post ready to tell me what to do…
Spain is one of the largest countries in Europe and is known for its beaches, its culture and its nightlife, making it one of the most visited countries in the region. Barcelona and Madrid are the country’s main cities. Barcelona, known for Gaudi’s architecture and its waterfront, is one of the country’s most visited places, with many landmarks and monuments. Madrid is known for its museums, its large parks and its historical center, where visitors can enjoy cañas and tapas.
Barcelona is located on the eastern coast, a city known for its architecture. Those who visit Gaudi’s city are drawn to the Sagrada Familia, the city’s main symbol, an unfinished cathedral with views towards the city and the sea. The Barrio Gótico is the Gothic quarter, a neighbourhood known for its Gothic architecture and many small chic boutiques, cafés and vintage shops.
The Boquería Market is located in the city center, just a short walk away from La Rambla, the city’s main street. In this market visitors can mingle among the locals and buy fresh local produce before heading off to enjoy a picnic by the beach.
The Parc Güell, another of Gaudi’s masterpieces, is located on a hill in the city. Visitors are greeted by a large ceramic lizard and many murals made from mosaics. For a taste of tradition, visitors can visit the Spanish Village, a park decorated with buildings from several regions in the country and many markets where visitors can buy local craftwork and produce.
Madrid is known for its museums, mainly the Golden Triangle made by the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. These are located near the Paseo del Prado, a large boulevard near the Atocha train station and the Retiro Park.
Visitors who want to enjoy the outdoors can visit the Retiro, a large park in the center of the city. There is a large pond where visitors can rent boats, and many art exhibitions are organized in the park.
The city has many cathedrals and plazas. North of the center is Serrano street, known for its boutique shops. Malasaña is a chic district with many bars and vintage shops.
The Royal Palace is one of the city’s main landmarks, and guided tours are organized on a daily basis. The Sabatini Gardens are the palace gardens, where concerts are organized during the summer months. It is located a short distance away from the Ancient Egyptian temple Templo de Debod.
Located on the Mediterranean coast, the city of Valencia is known for its Oceanarium, one of the largest ones in the region. There are many small beach towns peppered along the Mediterranean coast, and visitors will be able to relax on the beaches of Alicante, Benidorm and Valencia.
The north of Spain is less touristy and more scenic. The Guggenheim Museum is located in Bilbao, an industrial city known for its pintxos, small snacks made from local ingredients. Santander is another historic city, with large boulevards lined with mansions where local aristocracy used to spend the summer.
The region of Galicia, located in the north on the Atlantic coast, is a region with celtic roots and a pilgrimage site. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the destination for those pilgrims who have walked the Camino de Santiago, one of the longest pilgrimage routes.
The southern region of Andalucia is known for its beaches and traditional towns. The region’s main city is Seville, the city of the Royal Alcazar and the Giralda known for its Feria, a fair that fills the city with marquee tents and the sound of flamenco. Other historical cities are Cordoba and Granada, where visitors can see the Alhambra, an ancient Moorish structure.
The beaches of Andalucia, on the Atlantic shore, are known for their water sports. Cádiz and Huelva are known for their surfing and windsurfing opportunities, and the beaches of Almería and Málaga are tourist resort towns with plenty of bars and shops.
There are many natural parks around the country. The Doñana National Park in Huelva is one of the country’s most visited parks, known for its marshes and the many birds that flock there.
The province of Jaen is known for its landscape, filled with olive trees, and the small local towns that fill with processions of Saints during Holy Week. The pueblos blancos are the traditional Andalusian white villages with houses painted in white and cobbled narrow streets.
Just off the coast of Valencia visitors will find the Balearic Islands. Mallorca is known for its chic beaches, boutiques and clubs, and many yacht competitions take place there. Ibiza is the party island, the destination for those looking for famous DJ’s, clubs such as Amnesia, Pacha and Space, and wild beach parties. The ancient ruins left by the Carthaginians, Phoenicians and Romans are worth a visit.
The Canary Islands, located near Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean, are one of the country’s most visited spots. These volcanic islands are known for their beaches, where visitors can enjoy many water sports, including diving, surf and windsurf. There are many national parks on the islands, including the Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote, where visitors can ride camels and enjoy a steak grilled above a volcano. The country’s highest point, the Teide, is located on Tenerife, one of the largest islands.