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Top 10 Things to do in Spain


Our Top Ten things to do in Spain - Don't leave until you've experienced the best Spain has to offer

Spain is grand and majestic, a big country with a fiery heart where the summer temperature of Madrid often tops 40C. There’s a huge range of landscapes and activities to fill your time there. If you can, visit Andalusia, perhaps even going horse riding to see the area at its wildest. At the other end, the Pyrenees tower above the northern Spanish villages. European in the North, it has a distinctly African feel in the South.
1 Eat Free Tapas
Eat Free Tapas
In Spain tapas are a delicious accompaniment to a drink, unlike elsewhere I Europe where they can constitute a whole meal. If you steer clear of touristy bars and try the places the locals do, then you’ll find that your drinks will be accompanied by the traditional tapas. My favourite bar is the Hacienda in the old part of Madrid which is a traditional vermouth bar. A brass tap flows constantly with the delicious wine under which an unending supply of shot type glasses are passed before being slid along the counter accompanied by olives and pickles on cocktail sticks. The combination is delicious and the atmosphere one of true Spain.

2 See the Alhambra
See the Alhambra
Spain’s most famous building, the Alhambra means ‘the red one’ or ‘the red fortress’. Built as a Moorish castle and palace, it was added to in Christian times and is now one of Spain’s most popular attractions. Sometimes referred to as Europe’s Taj Mahal, the Alhambra has been celebrated in music, poetry and art. It fell into disrepair until it was renovated in the 19th century and is a must see for visitors to Granada.

3 Go to a Bullfight
Go to a Bullfight
OK, a lot of people will think that bullfighting is a cruel sport and should be shunned but for those of you who agree that it’s part of Spain’s cultural heritage it can be an exciting visit. The atmosphere inside the bull ring is electric. The matador comes in like a movie idol or a famous footballer and plays to the spectators. Music blares, the fans hold their breath as the bull gets close but much of it is for show. Sadly Toro rarely wins.

4 See Gaudi Architecture
See Gaudi Architecture
Unique to Spain and unique in itself, you could spend a whole holiday visiting Gaudi’s flamboyant architectural masterpieces which range from the colossal, stunning Sagrada Familia which has been under construction for over 120 years to the potentially mundane, but in real life, elegant apartment block he designed. The artistic flair of the architectural genius is never in doubt but you’ll wonder at how his designs ever work in practice.

5 Try Flamenco
Try Flamenco
Spain’s traditional dance. Full of passion and fire, either go to a traditional flamenco show where the locals go – don’t waste your time on hotel shows, they’re not a patch on the real thing. Some Flamenco clubs encourage dancers from the audience but if you’re not proficient enough to carry it off, many clubs offer lessons during the day. The dance has even taken off in Spain and spread elsewhere across Europe as an exercise such is the speed and stamina required to perform it.

6 See the Art Galleries of Madrid
See the Art Galleries of Madrid
Madrid is home to some of the most amazing art in the world and displayed in buildings that could themselves be considered as art. The Prado for one has a spectacular collection with many masterpieces which are instantly recognisable. The Reina Sofia is the other gallery you need to visit. Between these two you will have seen the wonderful paintings that have been collected over the centuries and which are now proudly available for all the public to see.

7 Eat Paella in Valencia
Eat Paella in Valencia
Spain’s version of risotto and I’m not sure which I like best, they’re both delicious! Massive frying pans filled with rice, wine, saffron, stock, seafood, chicken and chorizo, simmered gently for hours the served light and fluffy to be wolfed down with some white Rioja. Valencia is the home and it’s considered a traditional Valencian dish whereas Spain considers it to be the national dish! The Valencian version – a bit of an acquired taste includes rabbit, chicken, duck and snails!

8 Segovia
What a place! It’s my favourite in all of Spain for the unique features that make it such a popular destination. North of Madrid, it’s on the Camino de Santiago trail and has been an important city since Celtic times. Its famous buildings include the staggering Roman Viaduct which dominates the city. Also high on the list of places to visit is the Alcazar, the royal palace which also has beautiful gardens and Segovia cathedral, recognised as the finest Gothic Cathedral in Spain and called the Lady of Cathedrals. Capital of the historic Castile region the whole area is steeped in history.

9 Camino de Santiago
Camino de Santiago
Something completely unusual now. Forget planes or hire cars, plan your journey on the Camino de Santiago – The Way of St James – and step outside ready to begin your pilgrimage, like many thousands do each year from your home to Santiago de Compostela. You can start at accredited points along the way – most people start from France – but the whole point of the journey is to go through spiritual cleansing on the route. There are specific hostels which operate solely to accommodate pilgrims. If you want to do the journey of a lifetime, type Camino de Santiago into a search engine and begin your spiritual journey.

10 Visit Seville
Visit Seville
Probably most famous for the bitter oranges that make marmalade, Seville has so much more to offer the visitor. Famed for its carnivals at the start of Holy week and again two weeks later, Seville buzzes with activity. Take your place in the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes to watch the fun. The city has a strange motto NO8DO which is seen everywhere and which translates as Seville will not abandon you. It’s on the city coat of arms too!

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