All of us deserve to treat ourselves every so often. Although there are countless destinations which all boast their fair share of amenities and attractions, Spain has been a popular vacation spot for decades and for good reason. Spaniards are as welcoming as the sunny weather, and the golden sands of the Mediterranean coast are just a few hours away by plane. What is essential to realise is that Spain has so many things to do and places to go, all without putting any undue strain on the wallet.
The Spanish capital has one of the most famous art galleries in the world. The Prado has an amazing collection of Spanish art from the 11th-18th Centuries with masterpieces from artists like El Greco and Goya as well as works by artist such as Van Dyck and Rembrandt.
There are also private museums like the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum which has a broader, but no less spectacular, collection. Dali, Cezanne, Degas and Canaletto adorn the walls and there are often exhibitions which focus on a particular artist, school, subject or style.
With so many buildings designed by Gaudi, Barcelona is a beautiful city to just walk around. The street scene is rich and vibrant, especially in the area around La Rambla, a tree line pedestrian mall. You could easily take a holiday just in this area of Barcelona alone as it is close to the Maritime Museum in the area which housed the medieval Royal Dockyards.
In the same area are a large number of attractions, like the aquarium, restaurants and an IMAX theatre if you want to get indoors for a bit.
The coastal city has more history than almost any other in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians around 3,000 years ago and as you can imagine the sea plays a large part in the life of Cadiz. Whether you relax on the beaches or spend your time sampling the incredible local (and very, very fresh) cuisine, you can have a wonderfully leisurely time.
The Doñana National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and you shouldn’t miss it if you are staying in the area.
Another Spanish city highlighted by UNESCO, this time with the entire city being labelled as a World Heritage Site, and for good reason. Salamanca University was the first University founded in Spain and the city is said to be the birthplace of the Castillian language.
It was attended by some of the most famous Spanish thinkers and writers and adventurers, like the Mathematician Pedro Nunes or Hernan Cortes, the Conquistador who destroyed the Aztec Empire. Sitting at the crossroads of the old Roman route that linked north and south Spain, Salamanca and the surrounding area is less traveled by many, but it’s history and scenery that make it a fantastic option.
By: Peter Graham.