Certain areas of Spain might be associated with cheap package holidays and riotous resorts, but to disregard this vibrant country based on these preconceptions would mean missing out on some of Europe’s, and indeed the world’s, most beautiful places.
Spain’s lively and stylish capital, Madrid is a cosmopolitan city with fantastic shops and even better nightlife. The Prado and Reina Sofia museums are legendary for fine works of art, while the up and coming area around Malasaña offers a cool bar scene with possibly the best tapas in all of Spain.
A city on every discerning traveller’s bucket list, Barcelona is the Catalonian capital that has it all; bustling beaches, incredible architecture and bags of character. Gaze in admiration at Gaudi’s quirky, colourful sculptures at Parc Guell and see some of the best football in the world at FC Barcelon’s Camp Nou stadium.
If you’re in search of traditional Spain, from the contentious sport of bullfighting, to flamenco dancing and sangria, then look no further than this romantic southern city.
Bilbao, in northern Spain, may not quite be on the mass market tour circuit, but it is well worth a visit. Once one of Spain’s most lucrative ports, the city has seen major redevelopment in recent years; the piece de resistance of course being the futuristic Guggenheim museum full of world class sculpture and artworks.
5. The Sierra Nevada
At Spain’s most eastwardly point sits the beautiful Sierra Nevada national park, with mountains, a spectacular array of wildlife and at Las Alpajurras, a smattering of spas and hot springs.
6. Costa Almeria
The countryside of Almeria is spaghetti western terrain, in fact so much so that some of the best loved westerns were filmed there. Amongst the mountains and ruined castles you will find easy-going resorts and quiet, secluded beaches.
7. Costa Brava
There’s a reason why the large resorts on the Costa Brava are so popular. Sun, Mediterranean sea and some of the best beaches in Europe make this part of Spain a destination for many holiday-makers. But the 133 mile coastline still has plenty of untouched terrain. The villages of Cadaques, Begur and Port Lligat for example, are still Spain at its picturesque best, with white painted houses, narrow streets and secluded fishing coves.
Due to Spain’s long-standing reputation as a holiday destination, there’s no shortage of options for accommodation and internal travel. When it comes to travelling to the main airports across Spain flights can be found at a variety of costs; shop around for the best deals and if you can go out of season, even better. There’s no excuse. Go see this amazing country.
Image by cuellar used under the Creative Commons license