A country which is renowned for its fiestas and its siestas has some exciting cities to visit and the following story will give a few ideas. The best way I travelled around Spain was either via the train or by hiring a car.
The capital of Spain is a cosmopolitan city which is mad about their football and cultural events. The parks are quite nice too. The city centre area comprises of Puerto Del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real and Plaza De Colon. If you can get a hotel or hostel in this area, you will be right in the thick of it and only a stone’s throw away from the action.
One of the easiest ways of travelling around the city is on the Metro De Madrid. An English version of the site can be found here. Your first stop should be Puerto Del Sol. This is the busiest area of the city and is a fantastic meeting place for friends.
Palacio Real is an impressive architectural building not only from the outside, but also the inside. It is known as one of the most beautiful buildings in Madrid and hosts tours daily for around 10 euro. Beside here is the Egyptian Temple named the Temple of Debod. The temple was dismantled in Egypt and brought to Madrid before it was re-erected. In Egypt, the building was saved in time before the construction of a dam. It was donated to Spain for it’s help saving other temples in the area.
One of the party capitals in Europe, Barcelona attracts people to its main street called ‘ Las Ramblas’. This street is famous for being packed with pedestrians, street performers and pick pocketers. No seriously, make sure you hold on to your wallet and purse, the street is notorious for thieves. Take a walk up the top of the Montjuic for a great view over the city and the entrance to the Olympic museum. The entry fee is 4.5 euro or discounted if you purchase online.
Hire a bicycle and ride through the streets, stopping off and admiring the architecture from Antonio Gaudi such as the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. If you are an art lover or hater you would have heard of Picasso. Well there is a museum located not far from Las Rambalas which showcases his life and some of his works. Find out more info here.
This little university town is located about an hour and a half outside Madrid. Once ruled by the Romans, a 4 story aqua duct weaves its way between two hills and the towns centre. Follow the pebbled streets up to the main plaza and Disneyworld like castle – Alcazar of Segovia. The entrance fee is 4.50 euro and is open from 10am until 7pm daily.
The capital of the Basque country offers a different side of Spain. The old and new city is situated right on the beaches with a headland splitting the two. It’s a popular place to learn how to surf and experience the great night life in which the old pubs will compliment your days at the beach. Do not forget to climb to the top of Mount Urgull to see the water sweep into the bay.
Located near Granada, Cuenca is a town that clings to the top of cliffs. As you drive up the valley and onto one side, you can take the St Pauls pedestrian bridge across to the other side and the hanging houses. The buildings which were once homes have been converted into tiny little shops, cafes and galleries. Be amazed to wonder how these houses were built and have lasted since the 15th century.
A seaside city which is close to beach escapes of Alicante and the British town of Benidorm. It is also a short journey from the town of Bunol. Bunol is famous for having the world’s largest Tomato food fight – La Tomatina. What once started out as a food fight between towns has now become a taxable government event. They are sold as tickets from here. Be prepared to be squished, have your shirt ripped off and to smell like tomatoes for about 3 days. The festival begins with a leg of ham attached to a 10 metre greasy poll and numerous testosterone filled shirtless men trying to climb to the top. You will hope the ham is reached quickly as the tomato trucks won’t come until it is down.
If you are feeling adventurous, head to the town of Requena the night before La Tomantia for the ‘Water and Wine Festival’. This had to be one of the highlights of my trip. We could not speak a word of Spanish and the locals could not speak a word of English, but we managed to order local food, drinks and attend the 4 am disco at the Train Station. That was all before getting the first train back to Bunol.
This area is home to the Flamenco Dance. Each night, local bars will have a Flamenco show which includes Spanish guitar, Flamenco singing and of course the Flamenco dancer. The entry fee is usually around 5 euro per person and you can order food and drinks. With your evening planned, now for the day time.
In the morning, head to the Cathedral of Seville. For around 12 euro, you can get an entrance ticket which will allow you to head to the top of the bell tower for panoramic views over the city. On the hour the bells will chime and will leave your ears ringing for a few minutes afterwards. After the cathedral, walk around the streets and stop off at a local café for an espresso and tapas.
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