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                                  Discover Spain

              Top Five Places to See and Explore

When you go outside and ask somebody on the street what country starts with letter “S”, there’s a strong possibility that they may mention Sri Lanka, Sweden, or Switzerland.  But of the number of people whom you tried to ask about it, majority of them will say “Spain”.  Well, that is because Spain is one of the most common names.


Although so common, I bet not everybody knows the fact that Spain has a lot of things to offer to its visitors and locals alike.  Some may associate Spain to sun, sand and the sea, but the truth is, there is more to it and Spain is so happy to provide you a myriad of wonders.  The wonders may vary from man-made to natural, but generally all bear the beauty that is beyond compare. 


From the dynamic fun and sun on the island of Ibiza, to the century-old events and festivals in the region of Pamplona, and to the wondrous arts and architecture of the Romans and the Moors, Spain truly provides you a countless number of things to explore.  What\s nice to know is that all of these things are available for both the laid back traveler and the fearless adventurer.  And, with all these things, it’s no surprise that Spain is now considered as one of the most visited countries in the world, counting for about 45 million visitors each year.


Now, are you planning to visit Spain for a holiday vacation?  Wondering what parts of the country are worth visiting?  Well, I have mentioned below some of the most visited places in Spain that worth every vacationer’s attention.  Continue reading for this will help you decide on where to go for your ultimate Spanish vacation.



#1 Barcelona


Hailed as the second largest city in Spain, Barcelona is basically the capital of Catalonia.  It is well-known for its friendly climate, a broad-based attitude, fine cuisines, and a wide display of arts and architecture to satisfy every traveler’s needs.  It is for these features actually that Barcelona should be included in your must-see list, or else you’ll miss half of your life if you won’t see it.


Barcelona is said to be one of the best places in Spain to see and explore on foot.  It is through wandering on foot that you’ll be able to witness the best of Barcelona attractions, the reason that people who come to visit the city spend most of their time walking around.


But where in the city you can start to walk?


Well, the city of Barcelona is composed of four main districts, including the Old City or Ciutat Vella, Gothic Quarter or El Barri Gotic, El Raval, and La Ribera or the wandering area.  Of these districts, it is the El Raval which is the portal to some of the best wonders in Barcelona.  The El Raval is actually the border southwest of La Rambla, which is considered throughout Barcelona as the city’s thoroughfare center.   So you can start your walk right at this place and head your way to La Rambla which divides the Old Town of Barcelona and is considered until now as the ideal perfect portal for tourists wanting to acquaint themselves with all that the city has to offer. 


After a long walk from El Raval and down to La Rambla, you can stop at the Boqueria Market and head to the Gothic Quarter of the city to witness and enjoy the sights at the Catedral de la Seau.  Here, you can view up close the Sagrada Familia, which is but the architectural masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi.  This artwork is celebrated for its excellent color and texture which according to many resembles that of an ice that is gradually melting away.  This structure is well-known throughout the city of Barcelona, so don’t be surprised when you see a number of people visiting the area. 


There are a lot more attractions to see in Barcelona, including parks and reserves, museums, art galleries, and a lot more.  What’s further nice to know is that after your tiring day tour, there a wide selection of fine cuisines waiting for you to partake in.  The Mediterranean diet of seafood, onions, garlic, virgin olive oil, and red wine is the popular stronghold in the city. 



#2 Madrid


Madrid is in the first place the heart of Spain.  It is the center of everything cosmopolitan and urban, thus Madrid is teeming and beating at varying degrees.  The modern city, according to several statistics, is currently holding an estimated population of about three million.


Madrid is deemed throughout Spain as a must-see place simply for the reason that it is where a multitude of attractions can be found, including museums and art galleries, parks, discos, bars, cafes, and live music hubs.  However, if compared with Barcelona, the city of Madrid only offers a few architectural structures for the visitors to see.  But if these artistic designs are your craving, Madrid can still give you the best option to it, and it’s none other than the wide museums, which is but considered throughout the country as Madrid prime cultural attractions.  So on your visit to Madrid, Spain, you must not forget the museums as your subject for exploration.


Speaking of museums, Madrid boasts three large museums encompassing the El Museo del Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.  The Prado, in the first place, was first set as the house for natural science, but instead of being a house of scientific enlightenment, the museum is now set as one of the largest hubs for artistic excellence.  The works of Goya, Bosch, Botticelli, Velasquez, Titian, and El Greco are shown at this museum.


There is also the Thyssen-Bornemisza, which is but considered as one of the city’s newly constructed attraction.  This museum occupies the Villahermosa Palace which has a history dating back to 18th century.  It is located at the Paseo del Prado and what is shown largely at this museum are some of the developments of the western art form.  The artistic masterpieces of the 13th century Italian Gothic, as well as the 20th century Pop arts are all presented at this place.


Finally, there is the wide collection of modern art at Reina Sofia.  According to several stories, the place was originally built as a hospital, but was converted to a museum for certain demands.  Reina Sofia boasts the works of Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso.  The works of the other Spanish artists are also exhibited here, but of the collection, the Guernica of Piccasso is actually the most valued.  This masterpiece was actually crafted to depict the horrors of the Nazi fire bombing of the well-known town of Basque, Gernika which happened during the Spanish Civil War.


It is further interesting to know that of the all the cities in Spain, Madrid is known for its bullfights.  The bullfights typically happen at Las Ventas Arena in the district of Salamanca.  The fights are staged every Sunday afternoon from the month of April through November.



#3 Seville


The capital city of Andalusia, Seville is another home to many of the country’s artworks.  It is even where some of the musical and literary masterpieces, including the legendary Don Juan, can be found.  And, if you are wondering where the Spanish flamenco dancing is held, Seville is the answer.

According to several resources, people from different areas in the world often visit Seville during the Holy Week.  The primary for this preference is that Seville during the Semana Santa showcases a parade of self-flagellating “Christs” and crying “Virgins”.  The participants who represent these titles often wear the finest jewels and walk through the street barefoot as an act of their penitents.  It is also during this week that some of the most interesting attractions in the city are shown, the reason that visitors come to Seville during the month of April.


There is more to Seville than its attractions on Semana Santa.  For those who love to walk or stroll, Seville gives you a perfect route for your wonderful to the Giralds Minaret where you can enjoy a good climb.  From there, you can dive down to the Barrio de Santa Cruz and get yourself lost in city’s narrow highways where many of the jewelries vendors stay to do their own business.  If you know how to speak even just a little Spanish, you can practice your fluency here with the friendly merchants serving this part of the city.


If you come for the flamenco dance, then you can directly go to the bars of La Maccarena, Triana, or the outlying gypsy community of Las Tres Mil Vivendas.  The dance is even performed at some of the professional and amateur clubs and flamenco societies, and for them the dance is offered at these communities to provide the visitors the chance to learn even just the dance basics.  Note that the flamenco dancing remains until now as the primary and long time attraction of Seville, so it’s worth the attention.


Aside from flamencos and festivals, Seville is also the center of the most told bullring in Spain known as the Maestranza.  Seville is in fact considered as the cathedral of bullfighting just for the reason that it is the home of such popular bullring.



#4 Valencia


Are you a beach lover?  So you come to Spain for its wonderful beaches.  Well, if that’s what you are after, then it would be best if you’ll visit Valencia, the home to many of the country’s pristine Mediterranean beaches.


Valencia, on the most basic, is the gateway to the Costa Blanca, another notable beach in the country.  It is deemed as a perfect tourist destination more for its wide stretches of beaches that boast the best sunshine all year round.  Aside from that, Valencia is the home to the most traditional dish of the Spanish line, the paella.  So if you want to enjoy the taste of this culinary delight, then there’s no other place to go than Valencia.


In addition, the city of Valencia is known throughout the country for its oranges.  Yes, oranges thrive here for the reason that Valencia has the most fertile soil in the whole continent of Europe.  It’s no surprise then that city produces an abundance of oranges and even the best rice in the whole Spain.


What’s further nice to know is that Valencia has the most welcoming weather.  It stays warm and dry during the months of summer, while it stays mild during the winter.  According to several claims, the weather in Valencia is so temperate that it is always good to visit the city no matter what time of the year.



#5 Toledo


Once considered as the heart of everything Spanish, Toledo is but another large Spanish city thrived by people who may welcome you with warm smiles.  The city is nestled on the top of a rocky mountain, highlighted by yellow hillsides.  It is one of the oldest towns in Spain and is considered by UNESCO as the World’s Heritage Site.


Just like the rest of the Spanish region, the city of Toledo boasts a number to things worth knowing and exploring.  It has the oldest selection of architectural structures, including the mosques, synagogues, and cathedrals with histories dating back to the Renaissance.  It is for these centuries-old structures actually that Toledo is now deemed as the historic and religious capital of Spain.


There is more to be said about Toledo.  There is even the Alcazar fortress which is considered by every tourist as a must-see attraction in the country.  Well, this is for the reason that the Alcazar in the city of Toledo provides the best sites and wonders of everything Spanish.


Toledo is also known for its mazelike streets where many of the country’s best architectural designs stood.  However, due to its being “mazelike”, amateurs who come to explore on foot should carry with them a comprehensive map of the Toledo city.  If they can’t find a good map to carry, it would be wise to arm yourself with enough pesetas for you to be able to catch a taxi which will send you off to your exact location.



There are a lot more places to visit and explore in Spain.  But to make you feel like not being overflowed with words and descriptions, I have only mentioned the top five places to see and explore in Spain.  The above mentioned places are worth visiting knowing the fact that they can give you the best ideas possible about everything Spanish.  Knowing the facts can even help you plan your Spanish vacation to the best way possible, and that will of course yield great results.


So if you are thinking about visiting Spain one of these days, whether with your family or friends, try to consider those places and attractions to see.  They can serve as a good start to your ultimate Spanish vacation, after all.

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