Ancient, medieval and modern marvels await in Spain’s most cosmopolitan city.
Stroll down Las Ramblas as you marvel at the shopping, the art and the heart-stopping crazy architecture of the city’s most famous son – Antoni Gaudi – the surrealist genuis who’s responsible for, among other things, the unfinished La Sagrada Familia church. If you’re a fan of modern masters then the Museu Picasso – Barcelona’s most visited museum – is a must.
Grand boulevards, lovely squares and incredible art, Madrid – Spain’s capital – has some heavy-hitting credentials. First and foremost is the massive Prado – one of the world’s best art galleries – where you can see masterpieces by Goya and Valázquez to name a few. Not to be overlooked is the jaw-dropping Centro de Arte Reina Sofía where Picasso’s epic Guernica is on display, as are modernist gems by Miro, Kandinsky, and Dali as well as others.
Madrid boasts some of Spain’s most picturesque squares, including the simply gorgeous Plaza de Santa Ana – perfect for a tapas and a drink in the mid afternoon.
Fiercely proud and regional, San Sebastian is smack bang in Basque country. There’s a lovely crescent-shaped beach to keep you busy on sunny days, a cobbled old town that’s perfect for wandering and a massive statue of Jesus you can walk up a very big hill to visit too. Don’t forget to sample the city’s unique pintxo, or Basque tapas.
Seville and Andalucía
Hot as hell in summer, Seville is the capital of Andalucía, the most southern of Spain’s region. It’s also one of Spain’s tapas capitals and there are hundreds of bars serving mouthwatering morsals.
Seville’s Cathedral is huge, a mix of styles from gothic to moorish and one of the city’s main drawcards. Huff and puff your way to the top of the bellfry of the Giralda for a stunning view. Seville is also one of Spain’s bull-fighting capitals.
A couple of hours by bus from Seville is Granada – home of Spain’s most celebrated building – the Moorish masterpiece that is the Alhambra. Get up early and visit this sprawling compund which includes glorious gardens, an incredible fortress and churches that were once mosques.
Sea and sun
With so much coastline, Spain is a beach lover’s paradise. So spoilt for choice are visitors that it’s possible to have a fully blown sea and sand holiday at just about any coastal point on the map. Choose from the Mediterranean Costa Blanca, the more built up resort towns of the Costa del Sol or the windsurfing paradise of Costa de Luz and Tarifa.