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Spain- Splendid beaches, vibrant nightlife and lively fiestas
September 10, 2017, 12:39 pm
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The grandeur of a caliph's palace, sybaritic sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches, the staccato stamp of a flamenco dancer's heels, the awed hush of pilgrims entering the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela after weeks of walking El Camino. You can find the soul of Spain in tourist attractions such as these, which represent the country's tumultuous history, rich culture, and enchanting natural beauty. From the sunlight playing endlessly off the ‘scales’ of Gehry's Guggenheim Museum and the throbbing street life of La Rambla and Plaza Mayor to the forest of columns and Moorish arches disappearing into the silent expanse of Cordoba's Great Mosque, Spain exudes a vibrant energy and a captivating blend of past and present.

Madrid: The Spanish capital since 1561, Madrid celebrates itself and life in general around the clock. A vibrant crossroads, Madrid has an infectious appetite for art, music, and epicurean pleasure, and has turned into a cosmopolitan, modern urban center while fiercely preserving its traditions. The modern city spreads east into the 19th-century grid of the Barrio de Salamanca and sprawls north through the neighborhoods of Chamberí and Chamartín, but the Madrid you should explore thoroughly on foot is right in the center, in Madrid's oldest quarters, between the Palacio Real and the midtown forest, the Parque del Buen Retiro.

Wandering around this conglomeration of residential buildings with ancient red-tile rooftops, punctuated by redbrick Mudejar churches and grand buildings with grey-slate roofs and spires left by the Habsburg monarchs, you are more likely to grasp what is probably the city's major highlight: the buzzing activity of people who are elated when they are outdoors.

Barcelona: Spain’s second city and the self-confident capital of Catalunya — Barcelona vibrates with life, and there is certainly not another city in the country to touch it for sheer style, looks or energy. It has long had the reputation of being the avant-garde capital of Spain, its art museums are world-class, football team sublime, while its designer restaurants, bars, galleries and shops lead from the front. As a thriving port, prosperous commercial centre and buzzing cultural capital of three million people, the city is almost impossible to exhaust — even in a lengthy visit you will likely only scrape the surface.

Valencia: One of the largest and most important cities in Spain, Valencia is located in the eastern part of the country in the region of Valencia. After redirecting the Turia River, the city constructed its most impressive landmark, a massive cultural and entertainment complex known as the City of Arts and Science. Contained within this complex are several buildings such as a science museum, planetarium and aquarium that are each artistic marvels in and of themselves. Every March, Valencia hosts the Fallas Festival where each neighborhood displays papier-mâché figures of all sizes and colors. At the end of the week, the figures are ceremoniously burned, and the communities party into the night.

Toledo: Perched on a mountaintop in central Spain, Toledo served as the Spanish capital until the 16th century. Because it was inhabited by Jews, Christians and Muslims for many centuries, the city is sometimes called the ‘City of Three Cultures.’ Today, Toledo is a popular destination for its wealth of historic art and architecture that dates back to the Roman Empire. The best thing to do in Toledo is to get lost amid the medieval streets and admire the old architecture that includes a stunning cathedral, synagogue and mosque.

Cordoba: The historic quarter of Cordoba is a maze of tiny medieval streets, plazas and whitewashed courtyards all situated around the star attraction, the Mezquita. Initially built as a mosque, the Mezquita is now a glorious cathedral retaining most of its original architecture. Its forest of columns topped with Islamic-style red and white striped arches serves as a reminder of the glory and importance Córdoba held in medieval times.

Granada: Located at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of southern Spain, Granada is the capital of the Granada province. Granada offers a perfect blend of traditional cultures, an animated nightlife and spectacular attractions including the world famous Alhambra, a pinnacle of Moorish art that encapsulates Andalusian history. This medieval complex overlooking Granada is one of the great architectural sights of Europe, with many visitors coming to Granada expressly to see the Alhambra. The last Moorish stronghold in Europe, the Alhambra offers the visitor splendid ornamental architecture, spectacular and lush gardens, cascading and dripping water features, and breathtaking views of the city below.

Seville: Exceptional tourist attractions, lively festivals and buzzing nightlife all make Seville one of the best places to visit in Spain. As the capital city of Andalusia, Seville is also the region’s financial and cultural capital. The city is home to many beautiful and important historic landmarks, chief of which is the grand Cathedral of Seville, where it is believed that Christopher Columbus is buried. Another significant building is the Real Alcazar, an extravagant Moorish palace with luxurious gardens.

San Sebastian: This beautiful seaside city is well-loved for its excellent beaches and outstanding culinary tradition. The Old Town features many historic buildings reconstructed in the 19th century after the city was nearly destroyed during the Napoleonic Wars. San Sebastian boasts also some of the best beaches in Europe with the most popular of these being Playa de la Concha, which offers sunbathing and water activities like swimming, kayaking and water skiing.

Spanish Islands: Spain has some of the most beautiful islands in Europe. The largest Spanish Islands are equally divided between the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. East of the Spanish mainland, the four chief Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca) maintain a character distinct from the rest of Spain and from each other. Mallorca is the largest and best-known Balearic Island while Ibiza is famous as a party destination. The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are located just off the southern coast of Morocco in the Atlantic. They are popular for their beautiful beaches, mild climate and important natural attractions, especially the Maspalomas Dunes in Gran Canaria and the Teide Volcano in Tenerife.

 

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