Sampling the sensations of Spain

Santiago de Compostela view, Spain

Santiago de Compostela ©yannboix/Flickr

When most people think of Spain, they immediately think of a land of music and passion – a country with beautiful beaches, lively festivals, bullfights and historical landmarks. In fact, Spain has the largest number of World Heritage cities of any country in the world as well as the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Spain is that one destination which really has something for everyone. The cuisine is world class and the architecture and art are unforgettable. Visitors will never forget the vibrancy and excitement of the country’s many festivals. There are so many wonderful things here that we can only help you a little with sampling the sensations of Spain.

Getting around

Spain is a large country, so to really get to those hidden gems, the best way to travel around is by rental car. With flying, visitors will miss most of the countryside, and though the bus service in Spain is good, it cannot really beat having access to a personal car to drive at one’s own pace.

Madrid

El Retiro in Madrid

El Retiro – Madrid ©PromoMadrid/Flickr

No visit to Spain is complete without a stay in the capital and cultural hub of Madrid. One can easily spend days admiring the city’s beautiful historical architecture or lazing around the many botanical gardens and parks. For art lovers, there are enough art galleries to keep them busy for weeks. And after all that hectic sightseeing, the perfect way to end the day is to feast on the local tapas and wash it down with a good bottle of local vermouth; then head for the city’s surprisingly lively nightlife.

Barcelona

Not only does Barcelona have stunning architectural masterpieces, but it also has beautiful beaches, sensational food markets and some of the top bars in all of Spain.

The architecture varies from Gothic to stylish Art Nouveau and everything in between. Barcelona is of course famous for the work of the creative genius Gaudi, and one simply can’t leave the city without a visit to the Sagrada Familia cathedral, the amazing Park Guell and the Le Pedrera apartment block.

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia ©tinou bao/Flickr

Those with limited time can simply wander down La Rambla – a spacious 18th century avenue bursting with markets, food stalls and entertainment. From there, head to the adjoining waterfront, which is perfect for walking or cycling.

Granada

For many visitors to Spain, this magnificent city is at the top of their Spanish itinerary. Apart from being home to that historical masterpiece, the Alhambra, it is also a city with a lively nightlife, and the surroundings offer many trekking and skiing opportunities.

Apart from the Alhambra, other sites worth visiting include Plaza de Isabel La Catolica, the Cathedral of Granada, the Royal Chapel, Plaza de Bib-Rambla and Plaza Nueva.

Santiago de Compostela

This magnificent historical city has many beautiful cathedrals and other historical buildings, but that is not the main reason why it is world famous. Santiago de Compostela is reported to be the final burial place for the apostle St. James. Thousands of pilgrims arrive here every day on the last leg of the Camino de Santiago – a pilgrimage stretching over a distance of nearly 800 kilometers.

Santiago de Compostela view, Spain

View over Santiago de Compostela ©yannboix/Flickr

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela incorporates many styles, including Gothic and Baroque. The tomb of St. James is situated immediately under the cathedral.

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