With its breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches, cultural centers and rich history, it’s no wonder Spain is one of the top European vacation destinations. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the country’s history, relax on the beach, have an outdoor adventure, or just explore the bustling cities of Spain, there’s something for everyone. Here is just a small glimpse of the best places to visit on your next trip to Spain:
Barcelona. Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city, and has a character all its own. Influenced heavily by early 20th century artists and located on the Mediterranean, Barcelona is a favorite holiday destination. The Sagrada Família is one of the most unique landmarks in the city. This unfinished cathedral was started nearly 140 years ago by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, and work continues to this day. Wander through the Gothic Quarter, the old city center, where you’ll get a sense of the city’s history. Or just relax on one of Barcelona’s beaches.
San Sebastián. Speaking of beaches, if your goal is a laid-back vacation with blue waters, surfing and a little luxury living, then San Sebastián is ideal. Spend time on Playa de la Concha, renowned for its beautiful shoreline. Or visit Monte Igueldo for its panoramic view of San Sebastián’s coastline and surrounding mountains. Or sample the unique foods that the Basque Country is known for by joining a Pintxos Tour where you can enjoy the region’s equivalent of tapas and learn more about Basque history and culture.
Valencia. Head to Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, for more time on the beach, and, of course, to taste authentic paella! Make your way over to the City of Arts and Sciences for a unique look at architecture devoted to science and culture. Visit the Catedral de Santa Maria de Valencia, one of the city’s most famous sites (and rumored to hold the Holy Grail). Or take a turn around La Rotonda’s craft stalls and grab a bite to eat at one of its restaurants or pubs. If you’re up for a little wildlife, visit Valencia’s Bioparc, where you’ll be able to see lions, leopards and other exotic animals through near-invisible barriers.
Monte Perdido National Park. Monte Perdido National Park is Spain’s oldest national park. Located in the Pyrenees, this park is a natural paradise where you can explore meadows, climb mountains, see the beautiful waterfalls of the Garganta de Escuaín or the Cascadas del Río Cinca, and discover the wide variety of flora and fauna of the area.
Madrid. The capital of Spain, Madrid is rich in history and culture. Do not miss the Prado, one of the best art museums in the world. Here, you’ll see works by Spain’s own Velázquez, El Greco and Goya, as well as masterpieces from around the world. Take a walk down Gran Vía, Madrid’s entertainment and shopping district, to get a sense of the hustle and bustle of life in Madrid. The Royal Palace is another must-see – it’s the largest functioning royal palace in western Europe. Inside are the royal collections, tapestries, the only string quartet of Stradivarius instruments in the world, and more.
Toledo. Set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-la Mancha, sits Toledo, known as the “City of the Three Cultures” for its mixture of the three cultures that dominated Spain at one point in history: Jewish, Muslim and Catholic. El Greco, the famous 16th-century artist, captured Toledo’s cityscapes in his paintings, so stop by the El Greco Museum to see them and learn more about this important master. At the highest point in Toledo sits Alcázar of Toledo, originally built to be the royal residence but wasn’t completed until after the court moved to Madrid. Afterwards, it was home to widowed queens. You’ll also want to visit the various cathedrals, synagogues, and mosques that make up the history surrounding Toledo.
Granada. Granada was the capital of Moorish Spain, and gives you a glimpse into Spain’s Islamic history. Visit the Alhambra, built during the 1200s and 1300s as a palace for the Nasrids during the final years of Moorish rule before it became the royal court for the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella I and Ferdinand II. Explore Sacromonte, the city’s gypsy community where homes are built right into the rock face (and you’ll be able to see a true flamenco performance!). Or see the lavish monastery of Granada Charterhouse which is a prime example of baroque architecture and artistry. If you want to explore the surrounding countryside, head to the Sierra Nevada National Park for skiing, hiking and even mountain biking.
There is so much more to see and do in Spain. Let Luxury Destinations Concierge customize your trip. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437 to start planning your dream vacation today.
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