Spain is so beautiful, so varied an experience, and offers so much to tourist that it remains one of the most-visited countries from tourists around the world.
It features multiple cities that are focal among the world stage, fascinating landscapes of all sorts, and one of the richest collections of art, architecture, culinary treasures, and people in the world.
Madrid - Spain's capital and largest city, Madrid is famous for its collection of world-class art museums that include works by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, among others. Madrid is a cultural gem, including not only its wealth of art, but also its history of music, architecture, and bohemian culture that stretches back hundreds of years.
Barcelona - Thriving with energy and exuberance, Barcelona is another art lover's dream in Spain that features some of the most beautifully ornate cathedrals in Europe. The beach-side metropolis is known for captivating hills and landscapes, excellent dining, and neighborhood festivals on seemingly every night.
Valencia - Formerly an industrial center, Valencia has been restored to former glory over the last 20 years, making it a must-see location along the Balearic coast. A major shipping port, Valencia also retains much of the old Spanish feel as many medieval buildings have been recently restored.
Seville - Soulful and passionate, Seville is the capital of Andalusia, in southern Spain, and a great location for music and art lovers. The panoramic view at the Plaza de España is striking.
Malaga - The Andalusian city of more than 500,000 people is in many ways the gateway between Spain and Africa, where one can cross through the Strait of Gibraltar into Morocco. In Malaga, Roman ruins are visible from periods past, amidst some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Spain.
The Alhambra - Located in Granada, Andalusia, The Alhambra converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. The fortress is a cultural cornerstone of the Spanish, and have proven influential for writers, filmmakers, artists, musicians, and story-tellers for nearly 700 years.
Sagrada Familia - Barcelona's "Basilica of the Holy Family" is yet uncompleted after its original architecture in 1882 by Antoni Gaudi, but stands as one of the most striking cathedrals, basilicas, churches, and temples in Europe. A UNESCO World Heritage site, work continues on the beautiful structure as it nears completion.
The Great Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba - Ordered constructed by Abd al-Rahman I, the Great Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba later returned to Christian hands before being converted into a cathedral in the 13th century. Today it stands as a shimmering gem of architecture, retaining both Arabian and Christian influences in a heavily guilded, open-air structure.
Plaza Mayor - The central plaza in Madrid was built in Philip III's reign, early in the 17th century, and serves as a central meeting spot in the Spanish capital. It's emblematic of the wild and lovely architecture for which Spain is so well known.
Salvador Dali Museum and Portlligat Home - Only two hours east of Barcelona are two essential destinations for art lovers and historians - the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres, and his Portlligat Home (built for his wife, Gala). Admire the stunning works of this master, and enjoy his Portlligat studio, which was left in the same condition as the day he passed.
Costa del Sol Beaches - Some of the brightest luminaries of Hollywood and entertainment flock to the Costa del Sol beaches, which stretch south from Malaga to the corridor over the Gibraltar. A culinary capital, the mix of Spanish, Jewish, and Arabic traditions prove to open any pallet.
The wealth of things to see and do in Spain require time to experience. Of course, you'll want to see the major cities as a priority, but some of Spain's richest treasures lie in the farthest reaches of the country. There is truly something in Spain for anyone, of any interest.
Depending on the length of your trip, and taking geographic proximity into account, the following are our recommended priorities:
3 - 4 days: Madrid (add Toledo as either an organized day trip or via car)
6 days, add: Barcelona
8 days, add: Sevilla
10 days, add: Grenada
13 days, add: Nerja and/or Ronda
15 days, add: Salamanca and/or Segovia
18 days, add: Santiago de Compostela
21 days, add: Basque Region (San Sebastián and Bilbao are the primary cities)
More: Ibiza and Mallorca are incredibly popular tourist locations, however as islands off the coast by some considerable distance, require itineraries all their own. They are most easily reached from Barcelona, Murcia, and Valencia.
Currency: Euro (EUR). EUR is currently 1 to 1.2 USD.
Power Adapter: In Spain the power sockets are of type F. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Emergency Number: 112
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