There is an array of things to see and do throughout the whole of Spain. It’s most certainly a country you can keep coming back to in order to experience each region’s unique charm. We have split the country into regions so you can choose which one you’d prefer to visit or combine on a tailor-made itinerary.
People have travelled from far and wide to this far corner of the country since the ninth century to reach the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela, the end of the road for pilgrims following the Camino de Santiago. The cathedral here, a magnificent Romanesque structure with gothic and baroque flourishes, houses the relics of St James the Apostle and is Europe’s second most important religious shrine. The town itself has a remarkable old town which has been designated a Unesco world heritage site.
Galicia also has an unspoilt coastline of rocky cliffs, wild beaches, capes and deep inlets, called ‘rias’, where a strong fishing industry has grown up. Important towns include Vigo, the largest town in Galicia and the most important fishing port in the country, and La Coruna. Both cities offer a mix of history, beaches and a taste of modern, cosmopolitan life, not to mention delicious Galician seafood.
Basque Country, Navarre & La Rioja
Situated at the foot of the western Pyrenees and on coast of the Bay of Biscay, the Basque country’s deep sea fishing remains a strong industry in the area and plays a large part in the superb local cuisine. If you like your food, make sure to visit San Sebastian and take a gastronomic tour of its numerous tapas bars. Bilbao, the largest Basque city offers a range of cultural and historical attractions, such as the Guggenheim Museum – the building itself is an exceptional piece of architecture.
The capital of Navarre, Pamplona, is home to the bull-running fiesta that takes place each year. South of Navarre is the small region of La Rioja, known for its vineyards that produce many of Spain’s finest wines.
Madrid and surrounds
As the country’s capital, Madrid stands as one of the most culturally rich on the continent. The city is split into two main area, offering a contrast of old and new: old Madrid, largely dominated by the royal palace, an impressive structure used by the royal family until 1931; and Bourbon Madrid, located on the eastern side of the city, known as Prado, and host to the Museo del Prado, one of the world’s greatest art galleries with staggering works by Velasquez, Goya, El Greco and Picasso.
Madrid is the perfect short break destination: internationally renowned art galleries and museums, a royal palace, fine restaurants, shopping in El Rastro flea market, and leisurely strolls in the Parque del Buen Retiro will keep all interests amused. There are also a number of day trips that can be taken from Madrid, including the medieval city of Toledo, the Roman city of Segovia with its impressive aqueduct, and the majestic palace and monastery of El Escorial.
If any region could be said to represent Spain, Andalucia would be it. Fiery flamenco dancing, bull fighting and beautifully dressed matadors, patios filled with the smell of flowers and the heady flavours of sherry all match the popular image of the intense Spanish character.
Exquisite Moorish-influenced architecture can be seen in the cities: in Cordoba visit the Mezquita, a mosque now converted into a church; in Granada the Alhambra, a huge complex of palaces and gardens, dominates the town; and in Seville admire the intricate designs of the Giralda bell tower, formerly a minaret, by the cathedral.