For quite some time, Spain has been firmly planted in my mind as a typical tourist destination centred around beaches and warm weather, with package holiday deals, probably due to the fact that these were the type of holidays I experienced when I was much younger. But my trip to Spain last year really opened my eyes to my own ignorance and lack of knowledge, as after spending time in Barcelona and Seville, I realised that there is much more to this beautiful country than its typical beach holiday hotspots, however nice they may be. This has only made me crave adventures in other Spanish cities, wanting to explore with a glass of Rioja in hand.
GranadaAlthough the Granada is packed with traditional tapas bars and flamenco shows, the Alhambra is one of the key attractions for visitors of this city, seeing up to 6,000 visitors daily. This palace complex was initially a walled citadel but has significantly changed since then. Based within the complex, the Palacios Nazaríes is regarded by Lonely Planet as some of the finest Islamic buildings in Europe so it’s no wonder why it sees so many visitors. Another aspect which also appeals to me is the Mirador San Nicolás, a hilltop plaza in Granada’s Moorish quarter with views above the city – this seems like a wonderful location to watch the sun set after a long day of exploring.
MadridAs the capital of Spain, this city simply couldn’t be left off the list. This city is renowned for its incredible architecture including medieval mansions, royal palaces and more, all which provide a beautiful backdrop for your city break and cityscape photographs. It’s said that the city has improved itself significantly in the past few years, expanding its museums such as the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza whilst also seeing new cafes, restaurants, boutiques and so much more opening in the city on a regular basis. This ever-developing city seems like the perfect location for a culture-filled long weekend.
A port city on Spain’s Costa Del Sol, this is a very warm and picturesque destination. But aside from this, the city is also brimming with history and culture. Personally, I’d love to visit during mid-August when the Málaga fair is in full swing, an occasion which commemorates the re-conquest of the city by Isabella and Ferdinand in 1487. Kicking off with a firework show that can be seen for miles, the fair is a two-week long street party, filled with sherry, food, flamenco dancing and celebrations.
La RiojaThis province makes the list simply because it is home to my favourite Spanish red wine, Rioja. Thanks to its delicious wine, this is a popular area to visit as it’s rich with a beautiful countryside and a plethora of vineyards to explore, where you can sample the freshest wine. There are also a number of towns said to be worth a visit in this area including Haro, which is known for its Wine Festival, which sees locals compete in a wine battle every year.
CádizA destination in Spain which was initially brought to my attention by the travels of Explore with Ed, Cádiz is one of the oldest inhabited places in Europe. Founded in 1100BC, this centre is surrounded entirely by water which makes it a wonderful location to find fresh, delicious seafood. I love the idea of visiting this historic city whilst also having the opportunity to stroll alongside La Caleta beach on a hot summer’s day, as recommended by one of my favourite explorers.
There are so many wonderful options available for visitors to Spain, both including beautiful orange-toned cities and those destinations which also include luscious beaches to appreciate some fresh sea air. I would love to learn more about all of these cities and areas mentioned above, take in their history and learn more about wines or traditional dishes from each of these regions. But as always, one place at a time. Where would you recommend visiting in Spain?