If you have never been to Spain, the country will most likely be a mystery to you. You might think it is the same as Italy or France, but it is not. Whether you want to learn more about the Spanish culture or see the best art, Spain has something for you. Read on for some suggestions. Then, plan your next vacation to Spain. Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Madrid, and Barcelona are all great places to visit.
In Spain, you can find a destination that’s just as exciting if not more so than the touristy hotspots. But where should you go to get the best mix of culture and adventure? To answer those questions, U.S. News worked with readers to rank the top Spanish cities and towns that travelers should visit in 2013. > Madrid, Spain – The country’s capital and sprawl is known for its art museums and soccer clubs – but a handful of hip urban districts (Chueca, Malasaña and Nuevos Ministerios) offer plenty of reasons for young travelers to stay more than one night. > Irun, Spain – After all the monuments and museums in Madrid, you’ll probably be ready for some fresh air. Irun makes for a great base for exploring the Basque countryside and visiting neighboring beaches – like Zarautz, San Sebastián and Lekeitio – within a half-day’s drive. > Tarifa, Spain – A tiny coastal town on Spain’s southernmost tip is an outdoor lover’s dream: hiking trails meet with perfect weather (more than 300 days of sunshine per year) while waves crash onto crystal-clear waters below.
For a day of sightseeing in Granada, head to the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is just 30 minutes away by car, bus, or cab. You can hike through the Sierra Nevada, enjoy some breathtaking views of the city, and even attend a music festival. Another popular attraction is the Church of San Nicolas, with its evocative architecture and stunning 360-degree views of the city. The view is stunning and makes for a postcard picture.
Granada is home to the magnificent Alcazaba, an 11th century military fortress that served as the basis for the Alhambra’s construction. The Alcazaba has several towers, and the views from them give visitors a sense of how life used to be in the past. The UNESCO World Heritage site is also home to the Albayzin museum, which exhibits cave dwellings that provide an insight into historical life in Granada.
When traveling by air, it’s convenient to catch a flight to Granada and then get a bus to the city. The city is easily accessible by public transportation, with a number of buses and taxis available. The high-speed AVE train can reach Granada in under half an hour from Madrid, while private transfers are more expensive, but are worth the money. If you have more than one day to spend in Granada, consider purchasing a 1-day or 2-day ticket.
One of the most important sites in Seville is the Palacio de las Duenas, which is the city’s main palace. You can explore the palace’s courtyards and gardens, as well as view its collections of objects from the Alba family. This city is also the perfect place to visit during Holy Week, as it holds some of the largest processions in Spain. During Holy Week, Seville is filled with celebrations, including the Vela de Santa Ana, which takes place over six days.
The city also has a fascinating history. Seville is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. It was built in the 12th century by Christian King Peter of Castile on top of a former Moorish residential fortress. Today, the tower offers spectacular views of Seville. UNESCO recommends this tour to tourists who are interested in history and architecture.
One of the most important museums in Seville is the Museum of Bellas Artes. This museum is housed in the stately 17th-century Convento de la Merced. Its collection of paintings dates from the Gothic period to the 20th century, and includes many pieces by the Seville School. You can even see some works by Zurbaran while you’re there.
There are many reasons to visit Cordoba, Spain. The city is a mid-sized, relatively populated city with over 300,000 people. It is well-connected with other parts of Spain, with numerous direct trains and buses running through the city. A day trip to Cordoba is an ideal option. You should spend the first half of your day sightseeing and grabbing a bite to eat before moving on to the Alcazar.
When visiting Cordoba, be sure to take in the city’s famous Roman Bridge. This ancient bridge was featured in Game of Thrones season five. It features 17 stone arches and a panoramic view of the city. Be sure to view it during sunset for a truly spectacular view. After all, what could be better than sunset to see the city from above? The bridge is a beautiful place to visit during any time of the day, but is particularly spectacular at sunset.
Another historically significant spot in Cordoba is the Palacio de Viana. This former home to the Cordoba aristocracy is now a popular tourist destination. The palace is decorated in the Andalusian style and features twelve courtyards. It features beautiful leatherwork, vintage fixtures, and lush grounds. Visitors can wander around the historic courtyards of the palace, admire fountains, and gaze at statuettes and fountains.
Spain is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, although many still consider it off the beaten path. The country’s dynamic cities, breathtaking countryside and year-round cultural offerings are second to none, making Spain a perennial stop on many European vacation itineraries. And with such a varied country – from its dynamic capitals to sleepy coastal villages – it’s easy to see why. We’ve compiled a list of U.S. News’ best places to visit in Spain for all kinds of travelers – from city slickers and beach bums to outdoorsy types – so you can start planning your trip today.