Explore Spain

Enjoy opportunities of being in the right place at the right time

 

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Get out of a daily routine

Seek for peace and simple resting while introducing yourself to new horizons.

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Land Activities & Tours

Mijas

Mijas is the typical idyllic Andalusian village (or at least Mijas Pueblos, the old part of town, is). White-washed houses cluster against the side of a mountain range with a view of the Mediterranean. It's all white and blue and sparkling fresh. If you like golf, this place is for you - there's a myriad of courses. If you don't, you might find something to like in Mijas' history as a a Phoenician trading town, its old churches, its local honey or its donkey taxis. It may be a long way from authentic, but it's still plenty quaint. Mijas' greatest pleasure is probably just a walk to the steep heights of Mijas Pueblo, enjoying the contrast of white houses and bright bougainvillea.

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See different sceneries

See different sceneries worldwide

Discover a vast number of beautiful places in our planet that you may not even know about yet.

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Nature and Wildlife Tours

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Gardens & Parks

Casa de Campo

Madrid’s Casa de Campo is the city’s 1,722-hectare verdant heart, an urban park that originated as hunting grounds for the Spanish Royal Family, whose decorative Palacio Real lies just to the south on Plaza de la Armeria. Since 1931, the park has been open for all comers to enjoy, and a favorite weekend picnic destination for Madrileño families.Centered on a vast boating lake, this sprawling green oasis is a haven for walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters; for kids there’s a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel, water slides and rollercoasters, plus a zoo and aquarium. Free classical and rock concerts are held in the park in summer. Casa de Campo is linked by the Teleférico de Madrid cable car to the Paseo del Pintor Rosales; the cabins travel at a height of 40 meters (130 ft) above Madrid and the single 2.5-km (1.5k mile) journey takes 10 minutes, looking down on Plaza España and the Palacio Real en route, with far-reaching panoramas over the Manzanares River.

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Gardens & Parks

Cap de Creus

Cap de Creus is a peninsula in the far northeast of Catalonia, not far from the French border. Covering 73 square miles, it is the easternmost point of Spain and is now a protected national park. Salvador Dali, who was born in the nearby city of Figueres, painted the cape in “The Persistence of Memory” and built a home in Port Lligat. While Cap de Creus contains the largest uninhabited area in the Spanish Mediterranean, it does have a number of small towns, the most well-known of which is Cadaques.Cap de Creus is generally quite rocky and dry, but is also home to more than 800 species of plans, as well as rare species of sea birds that are close to extinction. Hikers will enjoy a variety of trekking routes around the cape and visitors should be sure to visit the Sant Pere de Rodes, an 11th century monastery with great views of Cap de Creus.

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Gardens & Parks

El Torcal del Antequera

With its peculiar stacked rocks and knobbly karst towers, the otherworldly landscape of El Torcal is one of Spain’s most unique natural landscapes, formed over 150 million years ago, by the movement of tectonic plates beneath the ocean. Now a protected nature reserve, El Torcal’s unusual terrain is celebrated both for its remarkable geology and its diverse wildlife, and the rocky landscape is home to around 700 different plant species and a colorful array of nesting and migratory birds.The starting point for most visitors is the El Torcal visitor center, but three color-coded walking trails also take in the park’s highlights – the 1.5km green route; the 2.5km yellow route, which climbs to the ‘Las Ventanillas’ (The Windows) lookout point at 1,200 meters; and the 4.5km red route, which reaches a height of over 1,300 meters.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Pyrenees Mountains

Between France and Spain lie the Pyrenees Mountains. This 305 mile (491km) mountain range stretching from the Bay of Biscay at Cap Higuer to the Mediterranean Sea at Cap de Creus forms a natural border between the two countries. The Pyrenees are well-loved for their lakes, hot springs, alpine-skiing, mountaineering, hiking, cross-country running and cycling. Challenging stages of the Tour de France pass through the Pyrenees. The mountains can be explored on a great day trip from Pamplona in the north or Barcelona in the south of Spain, or from Lourdes or Perpignan in France, or take a few days out to hike the Pyrenees and really explore.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Onyar River (Riu Onyar)

The Onyar River will likely be your first and most lasting impression of Girona, its rainbow-colored-building-lined waters a warm welcome and unforgettable sight. Their dazzling appearance invites you to journey to the other side of the bank — the eastern side — where you’ll discover more of the city’s treasures, held within its old town.But before you get there, you’ll likely cross one of the Onyar’s many bridges. Your eye will undoubtedly be drawn to its most peculiar and perhaps even familiar bridge, the Pont Eiffel. Indeed, this red, cage-like crossing is reminiscent of a more famous structure of the same name, the Eiffel Tower. This is, of course, because they share the same designer (the bridge was constructed in 1877, just before the tower). Once you arrive on the eastern bank, feed your river curiosity by visiting Casa Maso, the only waterside building open to the public, and once home to its namesake architect.

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Gardens & Parks

Sierra Nevada National Park (Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada)

Southern Spain is so much more than just sandy Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. Andalucia is in fact home to mountains – loads of them – many of which make up Sierra Nevada National Park, the largest of its kind in Spain. This nature-filled wonderland, also considered a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve given its flora and fauna, is home to more than 20 peaks that reach over 3,000 meters, and some 50 high-mountain lakes. Not surprisingly, it’s ripe with opportunities for outdoor activities, ranging from hiking to biking, bird watching and skiing (given that it is home to Europe’s southernmost ski resort). It’s not just about all things outdoorsy here: darling villages speckle the Sierra Nevada, and particularly in the region of La Alpujarra. This is where, amidst slithering mountain roads, you’ll happen upon the famous pueblos blancos, or white villages, a collection of idyllic towns whose architecture and style of flat roofs and tiny terraced streets harken back to Muslim times.

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Scenic Landmarks

Monte Igueldo

One of the two headlands that bookend the sweep of San Sebastian’s sandy La Concha Bay, Monte Igueldo stands to the west of the town and is the perfect vantage point for panoramic views over the rocky islet of Santa Clara toward the hump of Monte Urgull at the east end of the beach.Rearing up at the end of La Concha Bay, steep Monte Igueldo can be ascended by car or on foot along the winding Paseo del Faro; alternatively a funicular runs up the hill from Plaza del Funicular, 4. Once up there, there are viewing terraces and a small theme park but most people just visit for the panoramas, which are especially wonderful at sunset as the lights of the town twinkle below. Although the amusement park won’t impress hardened Disney veterans, it has a certain passé charm and enough to entertain families with toddlers for a couple of hours, from bumper cars to carousels and gentle roller coasters as well as themed rides in the Pirate Park.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Serra de Tramuntana

The unique cultural landscape of Serra de Tramontana landed it a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The craggy mountain range covers the northwest side of the island of Mallorca. Standing tall at 1,445 meters, the range’s principle peak Puig Major is the tallest in the Balearic Islands. The limestone mountains receive a higher amount of rainfall than the rest of the island, and often receive snowfall in the winter.Due to the biodiversity of plant and animal species - and to protect against urbanization - the area has been protected as a natural reserve. Historic villages with structures such as water mills, farms, agricultural and irrigation systems remain in place. Some methods have been in use since the Middle Ages, and demonstrate both Christian and Muslim cultural influence in this area.With ocean views of turquoise waters and pine-forested hillsides, it is a popular place to enjoy scenic hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.

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Learn while traveling

Educate yourself while traveling

Witness diverse culture of people and learn history on the go.

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Classes & Workshops

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Itálica

The 17th-century village of Santiponce lies nine km (5.5 miles) north of Seville and is the site of one of Andalusia’s most important historical remains: the Roman city of Itálica near the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Founded in 206 BC when the Romans were busily empire-building across Europe, Itálica was the first – and largest – Roman settlement in southern Spain; it rose to be of considerable military significance within the Empire and was the birthplace of several emperors, including Hadrian, who built the infamous wall across northern England. The city fell into disrepair with the crumbling of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, and for many years it was plundered for stone used in the building of the lovely city of Seville.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Toledo Alcázar (Alcázar de Toledo)

There is no silhouette more symbolic of Toledo than that of the Alcázar of Toledo. The commanding, square-shaped building - which is anchored by its four, sky-reaching corner towers - crowns the city, and has roots that reach back deeply into the ancient capital’s history.While structures on this site date back to Roman times, the version you see today was largely erected in the 16th century under Carlos V, and has since been through many fires, reconstructions, and additions. Though it once served as home to royals (among other purposes), it now houses the country’s Military Museum, which offers an in-depth look at the nation’s past, complete with an impressive viewing terrace that overlooks the city.

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Religious Architecture

El Tránsito Synagogue (Sinagoga del Tránsito)

Former Spanish capital Toledo was famously once home to three diverse and thriving cultures: the Catholics, the Muslims and the Jews. And there’s no better place to discover the rich history of the latter – the Jews – than by visiting the city’s El Tránsito Synagogue. It was constructed in the 14th century, and is now home to the Museo Sefardí (the Sephardic Museum) featuring Jewish art, objects and history.The synagogue was founded and financed by Sameul ha-Leví, after whom it was originally named. Following the expulsion of the Jews, however, it eventually served other purposes, such as a military barracks, and as an church called Nuestra Señora del Tránsito, hence the synagogue’s current name. What you’ll find here today is a splendid, albeit small example of Mudéjar-style architecture, and, beyond that, an educational and meaningful link to the city’s Jewish past.

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Religious Architecture

Sanctuary of Loyola (Santuario de Loyola)

In 1491, on the once much humbler site of this enormous and ornate Mudejár-style shrine that is the Sanctuary of Loyola, a family of minor nobility welcomed its 13th child, who would one day change the world. San Ignatius Lopéz de Loyola, a soldier turned to the priesthood by his strange visions, founded the Brotherhood of Jesus, or Jesuit order, whose radical interpretation of Catholicism left its mark on both the New and Old World.A place of pilgrimage and wonder for the devout and secular alike, San Ignatius' former home has been transformed with Chirriguerresque flair into a grand compound. In addition to the basilica and shrine, there is an art museum displaying a few of his belongings and writings, as well as religious objects collected over the centuries. Shrines to other Jesuit saints are also arranged around the grounds.The gardens and surrounding mountains make a fine backdrop to the scene, and you're welcome to stay on at their inexpensive hostel.

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Stadiums & Arenas

La Monumental Bullring (Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona)

Barcelona’s main bullring was built in the smart Eixample district of the city with a flamboyant Neo-Mudéjar and Byzantine façade by Catalan architect Domènec Sugrañes i Gras, a disciple of Gaudí. Embellished with typical Iberian white-and-blue tiles and towers topped with onion-shaped domes, the bullring was the largest in Barcelona and could seat 20,000, plus another 5,000 standing. The site was inaugurated in 1914, and over the decades, it has featured Spain’s top toreros (bullfighters) – who were nationwide pin-ups – in corridas (bullfights) that reached their height of popularity in the 1950s. However, bullfighting eventually grew increasingly unpopular in Catalan Spain, and it was eventually banned in January 2012, to the disappointment of many local aficionados.

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Buildings & Structure

Royal Tobacco Factory (Real Fábrica de Tabacos)

To look up - and up - at the Real Fábrica de Tabacos is to get a sense of the scale of Seville's tobacco industry in the 18th century. This is one of the largest buildings in Spain (only El Escorial tops it in terms of surface area). It's used as a university building now, but you can still walk around it.The reason most people visit is to get a vision of Bizet's doomed heroine, Carmen. This building is where she worked and these doors are where she lounged, fresh from rolling cigars on her thighs, to ensnare her lovers.Carmen's wraith may be compelling, but the wraiths of the real cigar workers - nearly all of them women - also clamor for attention, as do the colonially themed bas-reliefs on the outside of the building.

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Buildings & Structure

Casa Amatller

Though Passeig de Gràcia is most famously known for Gaudi-designed masterpieces La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, there’s another curious building to discover here: Casa Amatller. Constructed in the late 19th century, the former home was constructed for its namesake, chocolatier Antoni Amatller, and is just the place to go to see spectacular Modernisme architecture, and minus all the crowds.Like its neighboring buildings along Passeig de Gràcia’s famous Block of Discord, or Illa de la Discordia, Casa Amatller also mixes things up architecturally, featuring both Flemish and Catalan styles. A visit to its interior is equally impressive, promising exquisitely tiled walls and floors, colorful stained-glass detailing, and rooms decorated with the original furniture.

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Buildings & Structure

Catalan Regional Government Building (Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya)

Plaça de Sant Jaume’s Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya is much more than just a building with a pretty neoclassical façade: this is the seat of the Catalan government, from where 100 presidents have governed. Constructed between the 15th and 17th centuries, the building is a symbol of Catalan perseverance, having stood the test of time through many historic challenges.It’s not just special because of its history, either. Apart from the attractive dome-topped exterior, its interior is perhaps even more impressive. It features a Gothic chapel, elaborate ceremonial halls, loads of paintings and sculptures, and a sunlight-filled Courtyard of Orange Trees, or Pati dels Tarongers — among other Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance elements.

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Museums & Exhibitions

San Telmo Museum (STM)

San Telmo Museum is in the heart of the Old Town, housed in a 16th-century Renaissance convent structured around a lovely cloister. For the second half of the 19th century, the convent was used as a barracks and slowly fell into disrepair. It was rescued from dereliction and in 1932 became the city’s municipal museum. The year 2011 saw the addition of a new gallery coated in aluminum, creating a seamless blend of Renaissance and contemporary design.The museum examines the development of Basque culture from Neolithic times to present, helped along by the 11 murals in the chapel painted; these were painted by José María Sert in the 1930s and highlight the main events over the centuries. The fine-art collection contains lots of gloomy oil paintings, with a couple of standout masterpieces by El Greco as well as fine portraits by Spanish Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Punic Wall

Fans of distant history will relish in discovering Cartagena’s Punic wall, which dates back to the 3rd century BC. To explore its remains, head to the Punic Wall Interpretation Center, where you can not only see a portion of the salvaged structure (which is protected within the center) but also learn about its storied past.The wall, of which 30 meters have been excavated, served as a city-surrounding defensive fortification built by the Carthaginians. The goal was to protect against Roman attack during the Second Punic War (though it ultimately failed). Apart from viewing the wall, you can also get up close to a later crypt, and learn more about it all via the center’s informative video and display boards. While the museum and archeological remains are rather small in size, the history is big, making it an intriguing visit for those keen to learn more about these ancient times.

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Buildings & Structure

Barcelona City Hall (Casa de la Ciutat)

If you haven’t heard of Barcelona’s Plaça de Sant Jaume, then its City Hall — called the Casa de la Ciutat, in Catalan — should give you reason to pay this square a visit. The headquarters for local government, the building features a grand façade, which dates back to 1847, and an open-once-weekly interior that you’ll be keen to fit into your travel schedule.That’s because behind its commanding but relatively simple exterior, there are some pretty exquisite treasures discover, such as the building’s medieval-style 14th-century Saló de Cent, and its mural-covered Hall of Chronicles. The plaza itself is pretty noteworthy too, as this was once the site of the Roman forum, and is also home to the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya (the seat of Catalan government), whose dome-topped building sits just opposite City Hall.

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Religious Architecture

Buen Pastor Cathedral

The neo-Gothic cathedral of Buen Pastor (the Good Shepherd) was completed in 1897 at a time when San Sebastian was flourishing as an aristocratic seaside resort; it was promoted to cathedral in 1953. Buen Pastor is the largest religious construction in the city, made of sandstone harvested from Monte Igueldo and with a tapering spire that serves as a local landmark.The vast church was designed by Basque architect Manuel de Echave along elegant, slender Gothic lines; its needle-like spire is the tallest in the Basque country at 246 feet (75 meters). Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida created the ‘Cross of Peace’ that adorns the main façade. Based on the Latin cross, the cathedral has three naves and the interior is awash with light flooding in through the stained-glass windows by Juan Bautista Lázaro; vast chandeliers hang down from the vaulted roof and rose windows illuminate both ends of the transept.

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Buildings & Structure

Columbus Monument (Mirador de Colom)

Some shorelines have lighthouses; Barcelona has the Columbus Monument. Standing 197 feet tall — the top 24 feet of which make up the statue of Columbus himself — the tower is quite hard to miss, especially given its prominent position at the end of Las Ramblas, and along the marina.The monument of Columbus (Colom in Catalan, or Colón in Spanish) was erected in 1888 for the Universal Exposition and in honor of the famous explorer, who returned here after his first expedition to the Americas. Much discussion is made of where he is pointing: some have thought he points to the New World, while others say he points east to his supposed home of Genoa — in reality, however, it seems he points southeast and therefore to nothing in particular but the sea, where he was probably most at home. On your visit here, admire the grand statue from below, or get a look at Columbus’s bird’s-eye view by taking the elevator up to the lookout platform.

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Theatres & Cinemas

Casa de la Guitarra

If truly intimate, soul-grabbing flamenco is what you’re keen to experience while in Seville, then look no further than the Casa de la Guitarra. The cozy venue may be small in size and number of performers, but when it comes to spirit, talent, authenticity and value, it pretty much wins the prize every time.Casa de la Guitarra was founded by flamenco guitarist great José Luis Postigo. With a passion for guitars, he not only opened this space to feature truly authentic flamenco but also to host a museum dedicated to his beloved instrument. The exhibit is the first of its kind in Spain, and displays some 60 antique guitars from the last three centuries. Meanwhile, the show, which is an hour long, features three performers - a guitarist, a singer, and dancer - and is all about the soul rather than any sort of tourist-geared spectacle.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Dalí Theatre-Museum (Teatro-Museo Dalí)

The small coastal town of Figueres, just north of Barcelona, is known for only one thing - Salvador Dalí. Though the artisit's fame brought him to more glamorous parts of Spain, near the end of his career, Dalí returned to his hometown to began building his greatest masterpiece.The Dalí Theatre-Museum is the largest surrealistic object in the world, replacing the town's former Municipal Theatre which was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. Not only is the museum an artwork in itself, it's also home to many famous paintings by Dalí. The building holds the broadest range of the artist's works, including everything from his earliest pieces to his final paintings. Dalí also chose to include some pieces from his personal collection by other artists such as El Greco and Antoni Pitxot.Dalí himself is now a part of the Teatre-Museu as well - his crypt and grave are located, quite fittingly, in the center of the museum.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

El Born Cultural and Memorial Centre (El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria)

The elegant Mercat de Born in La Ribera was a complex iron-and-glass structure built by Josep Fontserè in 1876 on top of the 18th-century ruins of Barcelona’s former district of Vilanova de Mar. Closed nearly 45 years ago, the market has now been granted new life as the El Born Centre Cultural, a center curating exhibitions on Barcelona’s history and celebrating three centuries of Catalan identity.Inside the former market hall are excavations dating from the War of Spanish Succession between King Philip V of Spain and Archduke Charles of Austria. This took place in the early years of the 18th century and culminated in the year-long siege of Barcelona, which was won on Aug. 30, 1714, by Philip V and his Bourbon allies. The date is still celebrated today as the National Day of Catalonia.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Barcelona City History Museum (MUHBA)

From Roman times to the present day capital of Catalonia, the city of Barcelona has hundreds of years of history and many stories to tell. The Barcelona City History Museum preserves and communicates the historical heritage of the city for locals and visitors alike. There are multiple exhibitions throughout the city with present findings, as well as facilities for ongoing research.The museum conserves many of the Roman sites of Barcelona as archaeological sites — while others like the city's Palau Reial Major and the Jewish Quarter date back to the Middle Ages. There are also a fair number of sites related to more modern significances, including Franco and the Spanish Civil War or iconic architect Antoni Gaudi. The museum itself was inaugurated just after the end of the Spanish Civil War, in 1943. Its headquarters at Casa Padellas is a prime example of a Catalán gothic courtyard, and contains an entire preserved quarter of the ancient Roman city of Barcino.

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Religious Architecture

St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral

The striking Gothic façade of the St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral, (also known as Cathedral Santa Maria del Mar and Basilica Santa Maria del Maris) one of the most memorable sights of Barcelona’s La Ribera and El Born districts, dating back to the 12th century. Renowned as one of the country’s finest examples of Catalan Gothic architecture, the original cathedral was the work of architects Berenguer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig, whose efforts were partially damaged by a number of fires throughout the 14th and 19th century.Significant parts of the original cathedral still remain intact, including much of the imposing frontage, accompanied by a number of restorations and additions added throughout the 20th century. The cathedral interiors are far less imposing, with stained glass clerestory windows allowing light to stream into the aisles and a ribbed vault supported by dramatic slender columns.

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Museums & Exhibitions

National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya)

Housed in the Palau Nacional (National Palace of Montjuic), the National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya or MNAC) boasts one of the most spectacular locations in Barcelona, fronted by the dazzling Magic Fountain and overlooked by the towering Montjuic Mountain and Castle. The impressive Neo-Baroque building was designed by Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadalfach for the legendary 1929 International Exhibition and first hosted the National Art Museum in 1934. One of the city’s most iconic structures, the palace’s majestic façade, exquisite Modernista furnishings and glittering chandeliers are as breathtaking as the art displayed within and a popular tourist attraction in itself.Today, the MNAC is Catalonia’s largest museum with some 260,000 works and home to the world’s most important collection of Romanesque Art, alongside a wide selection of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces.

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Religious Architecture

Girona Cathedral (Catedral de Girona)

There are many reasons to fall in love with Girona, but if there’s one thing — one sight — that will make your jaw actually drop, it will probably be the city’s main cathedral. That’s because its Baroque façade stands gloriously atop a massive staircase of some 90 steps. What you’ll find beyond its grand entrance is an impressive Romanesque-meets-Gothic church that claims the widest Gothic nave in the world.Constructed between the 11th and 18th centuries, the cathedral sits upon the foundations of a former Roman temple. During your visit there, you can scope out its tranquil courtyard cloister, as well as the cathedral’s museum of religious artifacts, which includes noteworthy tapestries. Considering you’ve made it up this far, after the cathedral visit take advantage of your high altitude to go on a stroll along Girona’s ancient walls, which offer unparalleled views of the city.

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Places of Natural Beauty

L'Escolania de Montserrat

Add listening to the ethereal choir songs of one of Europe’s oldest boys choirs to your list of reasons to explore the craggy Montserrat mountainside not far from Barcelona. The boys choir, which dates back to the 13th or 14th century, is not only historic but also world famous, having recorded albums and toured to countries around the globe.The boys, who range from ages 9-14, go to school here at the monastery, and sing in the basilica, where the public can come to watch. The roughly 50 singers are carefully selected based on a handful of criteria, one of course being their musical ability. Lucky for Montserrat visitors, the choir usually performs twice daily, making a visit to the mountainside getaway just that much more magical.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Gaudí House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí)

The Gaudí House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí) was the home of architect Antoni Gaudí for the last 20 years of his life (1906-1926). It was opened to the public as a museum in 1952 to celebrate the centennial of his birth year.The house itself was built under Gaudí's direction, the pink exterior and dramatic spire reflecting the artist's unique style. Inside the house, the rooms have been maintained to look how they did while inhabited by Gaudí. Pieces of furniture the artist designed fill the house, and walls are covered with his drawings and other original artwork. There is also a quaint garden behind the house featuring sculptures and an archway by Gaudí.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas (Monasterio de la Cartuja de Santa María de las Cuevas)

Built in the 15th century, this honey-colored stone monastery was frequently visited by Christopher Columbus. In fact, he was buried here for a number of years. With a deep religious history, the site now houses the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, a center for local contemporary art.First a chapel and monastery, it evolved into barracks after a Napoleonic invasion and later became a ceramics factory before finally being established as a national monument and museum. The grounds include a dramatic entrance gate, expansive gardens, a lake, tower, and many outdoor patios. It was extensively restored in preparation for the Seville Expo in 1992, but historical remnants of each stage of its past can still be found. The art museum’s permanent collection includes works from artists such as Luis Gordillo, Candida Hofer, and Louise Bourgeois and focuses on Andalusian creativity. Various workshops, concerts, and temporary exhibitions are also held here year-round.

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Religious Architecture

Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de Barcelona)

Standing tall over a medieval square in the center of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, the Barcelona Cathedral (known formally as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, or La Seu) is the seat of the Archbishop of Spain and a major landmark of the city. With octagonal bell towers, five aisles and two chapel areas, the hall church has stood since the 13th century. It is dedicated to Saint Eulalia, a patron saint of Barcelona, whose body is entombed in the crypt. Large, colorful stained glass windows look over twenty eight total small chapels inside.The Cathedral is known for its 14th-century cloister full of palm trees and a lush garden, as well as a massive Gothic portico under which thirteen geese can be found wandering. Each goose represents a year of the life of the young Saint Eulalia. As for the exterior, it is carved in great Gothic style detail — and is particularly beautiful when illuminated at night.

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Buildings & Structure

Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos)

The twin-towered stone gates of the Torres de Serranos are all that remains of Valencia’s original city walls. The imposing 14th century gates were the city’s main exit to Barcelona and northern Spain.Today the gates are a popular photo stop, and you can climb to the top for great views of Valencia.Free guided tours take you through the battlements and walkways every day except Mondays.

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Experience fun and excitement

Have a good time

Travel long distances just for fun and explore places where being happy is a way of life.

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Buildings & Structure

Barcelona Pavilion (Pabellon Mies van der Rohe)

The Barcelona Pavilion was built for the city’s 1929 International Exposition by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and stands today as important building for both the city and the modern architecture movement. It once served as the official opening for the German section of the exhibition, and is now admired for its simple design and intelligent use of special materials. It was constructed in less than one year, following World War I, with materials such as travertine, Greek marble, steel, glass, and golden onyx. Its emphasis on simplistic structure and minimalism makes this a peaceful place to visit, and still a model of expert design.Perhaps the highlight of a visit to the Barcelona Pavilion is the prestigious and iconic Barcelona Chair, also designed by Mies van der Rohe. The Barcelona Chair was purposefully designed and keeps with the minimalistic style of the building. The Barcelona Pavilion continues to inspire modernist artists all over the world.

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Stadiums & Arenas

Saint Jordi Palace (Palau Sant Jordi)

There are many reasons to head up to Montjuïc hill’s Olympic Ring, and Palau Sant Jordi is certainly one of them. Designed for the 1992 Olympics, the indoor stadium played host to events including gymnastics, handball, volleyball, as well as various competitions during the Paralympics.On the outside the structure looks like a square spaceship of sorts, and on the inside it’s nothing but beautiful light that pours through the building’s famous window-checkered ceiling. Today the stadium — which can hold over 16,000 people — still hosts top sports competitions, as well as events, and high-profile concerts for artists ranging from U2 to Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna. Go there to see a show yourself, or simply to admire Palau Sant Jordi’s exterior as you explore the Olympic Ring and its other sights, including the Olympic Stadium and Esplanade.

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Stadiums & Arenas

Olympic Stadium

The 1992 Olympics were transformative for the city of Barcelona. With the arrival of the games, areas were restored and construction for new structures was initiated. As such, the city was updated and rejuvenated in many ways. One such structure, which remains a draw for visitors today, is the Olympic Stadium — which is now home to the city’s second futbol team, Espanyol. It was originally constructed in 1929 for the International Exposition, and was updated in preparation for the games. It can seat more than 65,000 people. A visit now offers a glimpse into sports history, as well as some great views of the city. It was the venue for both the opening and closing ceremonies of that year’s Olympics. Walking through the competitor’s tunnel, you can really get a feel for how athletes must have felt as they experienced the vastness of the grounds.

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Buildings & Structure

Magic Fountain (Font Màgica)

One of Barcelona’s most dazzling attractions, the Magic Fountain, or Font Montjuic, was built in 1929 for the city’s World Exhibition, taking 3000 people almost a year to complete, and later restored during the 1992 Olympic Games. Taking center stage in Plaça Espanya at the foot of Montjuic Mountain, the Fountain is celebrated for its spectacular illuminations display, set against the majestic backdrop of the Montjuic Palace. This is no ordinary lightshow – the Magic Fountain does its name justice with a kaleidoscope of shimmering fountains, syncing light, motion and music to dramatic effect. The breathtaking display is held throughout the year on weekend evenings (from Thursday to Sunday during summer), when the series of fountains spring to life each half-hour from 9.30pm until 11.30pm, for a vibrant 20-minute show.

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Go for a new adventure

Discover top adventure travel spots

Reward yourself with an opportunity to explore the nature in different and more radical way.

Top Activities

Nature and Wildlife Tours

Top Attractions

Water Activities & Tours

Cala Santanyí

Though now recognized as one of the most beautiful beach areas of Mallorca, Cala Santanyi was not part of the initial tourism boom on the island — in fact it hardly welcomed visitors until the 1960s. That quiet, relaxed atmosphere remains undisturbed, though a variety of outdoor activities both in and out of the beautiful water are offered. The long, white-sand beach here is scenically surrounded by rocky cliffs and forests filled with pine trees. Boat trips, as well as swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving all take place in the calm waters just off of the beach. Hiking in the nearby cliffs, or exploring the adjacent nature reserve are options to explore the Mediterranean landscape. There are also three main restaurants along the beach area with shaded lounge areas and local food and drink if you’d rather take the relaxed approach.

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Water Activities & Tours

Nova Icaria Beach (Platja de la Nova Icaria)

While the masses head to Barceloneta Beach, those in search of relatively quieter shores take their towels to Nova Icària Beach. Located between Bogatell and Barceloneta Beaches, Nova Icària offers a 400-meter stretch of sand, along with all the amenities, including showers, lifeguards, rentable umbrellas, and more. Its ideal location just adds to the appeal: walking southwest along its promenade will lead you to the nearby Port Olimpic and its many restaurants; meanwhile, head inland and you can explore the Poblenou neighborhood, known for its evolving blend of industry meets innovation. The beach is also a paradise of outdoor activity, including volleyball, ping pong, and water-related activities, such as kayak, paddleboard, windsurfing and more.

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Celebrate a special occasion

Go for a romance travel

Escape from home routine and find a romantic place to celebrate your special occasion.

Top Activities

Half-day Tours

City Tours

Full-day Tours

Top Attractions

Buildings & Structure

Atalaya Castle

This iconic castle known as the Watchtower in English has a long history of strength and resistance, since Muslim residents held off three different sieges by James I or Aragon. It wasn’t until 1240 that defeat was admitted and the picture-perfect castle was taken by the Kingdom of Castile.Today, travelers can visit this historic site and wander the interior courtyard framed by sky-high walls and wander the second floor where a reproduction of a khamsa—a well-known Muslim and North African image of an open hand—is on display.

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Theatres & Cinemas

Euskalduna Palace (Palacio Euskalduna)

The Guggenheim isn’t the only waterside architectural wonder in Bilbao; just up the river sits another impressive construction, the Euskalduna Palace. The building, which was inaugurated in 1999, features mosaic-style windows, and massive exterior walls of rusty looking corten steel. The inspiration behind the look: to stand symbolically as the last vessel built in the dry dock of the former Euskalduna Shipyard, which played an important role in the city’s growth and history. The architecturally acclaimed Euskalduna Palace houses over 50,000 square meters of space, and boasts both the largest and second largest stages in Spain. The multipurpose venue serves as an opera house, concert hall and conference center, and therefore hosts a range of events from cultural to corporate. Temporary exhibitions are held here as well.

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Buildings & Structure

Butrón Castle (Castillo de Butrón)

Like a fantasy castle straight out of Middle-earth, the pride of the Vizcaya looms above the Butrón River, marking the spot of a key fortification that kept the Butrón clan in control. The original structure of Castle of Butron probably dated to the 11th century, though the earliest verifiable records refer to a stone tower that existed by 1250 AD. The castle was expanded as regional wars raged, and the Basque's ruling families spilled much blood in its shadow. As peace fell across the beautiful countryside, the great families allowed their fortress to fall into utter disrepair. Finally, in 1878, new owners hired architect Francisco de Cuba to rebuild the ruins but this time with a romanticized silhouette for relaxing, rather than fighting. Today, the old Castle of Butrón seems something from a fairy tale, with turreted towers and Bavarian style that will have you wondering when the next dragon will arrive. The gardens make a fine spot for a picnic, or wander around inside.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Matadero Madrid

Once a large slaughterhouse and now a center for the arts, the Madrid Matadero was one of the most important architectural transformations for the city in the 20th century. It operates as a living laboratory for cross-disciplinary artistic forms, pushing the boundary of culture and creativity while honoring the structure of the past.The city has transformed one of its largest agricultural markets into a center for the arts. Ranging from music and drama to dance and theater, it encourages experimentation and alternative forms of expression and creation. Its facilities (stages rehearsal rooms, and classrooms) are open and available to all artists.Frequent exhibitions of the best in modern fashion, design, cinema and literature make this series of open and covered spaces one of the most fascinating cultural spots in Madrid. Some consider it to be one of the most important contemporary art centers in all of Europe.

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Theatres & Cinemas

Corral de la Morería

As one of Spain’s most famous tablaos (flamenco clubs), the Corral de la Morería in Madrid has been producing flamboyant and moving flamenco performances for nearly 60 years. Thanks to its reputation, the Corral de la Morería attracts its fair share of world-renowned dancers as well as the occasional A-List celebrity spotted among the audience.With seating around individual tables for a capacity of just 140, the club feels intimate and cozy, furnished in simple rustic style and with great views of the small stage from all sides. With two shows lasting over an hour every night, each featuring 11 performers, revered names from the world of flamenco who have danced their wild, passionate flamenco here include Blanca del Rey and Antonio Gades. The current artistic director, Blanca del Rey, has also received many awards for the stunning choreography of the flamenco shows.

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Buildings & Structure

Palace of San Telmo (Palacio de San Telmo)

Today’s it’s the seat of the Andalusian government, but once upon a time, this grand, rusty-red and golden-yellow building served as a royal palace. That wasn’t its original destiny, however: built in the late 1600s, it was meant to serve as a seminary school for the University of Navigators, and is thus named after the patron saint of navigators, San Telmo. Later it was purchased by the royals, after which Princess Maria Luisa donated much of its lands to the city of Seville, hence why the grand nearby park bears her name (she ultimately donated the entire palace to the church).Nowadays, the palatial building belongs to the government of Andalucia, and has ever since 1989. Its exterior alone is quite impressive, as it is noted for its elaborate baroque façade, and a stretch of statues featuring historical figures, which is situated along Avenida de Palos de Frontera.

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Theatres & Cinemas

Palace of Catalan Music (Palau de la Música Catalana)

One of Barcelona’s most impressive architectural feats, presiding over the streets of La Ribera, the Palau de la Música Catalana is one of the city’s most popular concert halls, renowned for its spectacularly ornate interiors. Built in 1908 to designs by Catalan modernista architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the concert hall was initially built to house the Orfeó Català choir and remains an important venue for a range of traditional Catalan folk music.Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the concert hall features décor by some of the era’s most prominent Catalan architects – a sumptuous museum including ceramic mosaics and relief busts by Eusebi Arnau, a stone arch by Pau Gargallo, vibrant mosaics by Lluís Bru and stained glasswork by Antoni Rigalt.Although the concert hall is not renowned for its acoustics, the Palau provides a suitably glittering backdrop to performances, making attending a concert at the venue a rich audio-visual experience.

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Buildings & Structure

Miramar Palace (Palacio de Miramar)

With formal gardens that tumble down to the beach edge at Ondarreta, the Miramar Palace was once the retreat of Queen Marie Christine Habsburg, the wealthy widow of King Alphonse XII of the Spanish ruling royal family; she was responsible for putting San Sebastian on the map as a popular seaside vacation resort in the late 19th century.The palace was the work of Basque architect José Goicoa, and was completed in 1893 in the English style. The influence of his design partner, English architect Seldon Wornum, can be seen in the mock-Tudor detailing in the patterned brickwork, gables, tall thin chimneys, and rounded towers. The gardens of Marie Christine’s summer palace are so extensive that a road runs underneath them, connecting San Sebastian’s beaches with the elegant suburb of El Antiguo. After much to-ing and fro-ing between the Spanish royal family and local government officials, the gardens now form an elegant public park.

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Buildings & Structure

Güell Palace (Palau Güell)

Before La Pedrera, before Parc Güell, and certainly before the still-under-construction La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi conjured up a mansion called Palau Güell. This palatial home was built in the 1880s for one of Gaudi’s main benefactors, Eusebi Güell. The goal was to accommodate the wealthy industrialist’s private and social life, and, after you explore the home, it’s not hard to imagine that Gaudi must have lived up to the task.Acclaimed for the innovative use of space and light, the Modernist palace is especially loved for its main hall, formed by a parabolic arch design, and which comes complete with a star-pricked ceiling (an illusion created by holes in the roof) and sneak-peek windows from which residents above spied on newly arrived guests below. Given its lower entrance fee (with included audio tour) — as compared to other Gaudi sights — and convenient old town location in El Raval, it makes a worthy addition to any Barcelona sightseeing itinerary.

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Try exciting meals

Experience a variety of food on the trip

Escape from ordinary everyday meals and reward yourself with delicious and special gourmet dishes.

Top Activities

Wine Tastings

Top Attractions

Market

La Boqueria Market (Mercat de la Boqueria)

Barcelona’s busiest market and arguably one of Europe’s most popular food markets, La Boqueria Market, or Mercat de La Boqueria, is a vibrant hub of Barcelonian culture. The market boasts a long history, with the spot being used as a meat market as far back as the 13th century, but today the market is held in the Mercat de Sant Josep market hall in La Rambla, a Modernist iron and glass canopy built in 1914. Whether you’re sourcing ingredients for the perfect paella or just soaking up the unique atmosphere, few experiences are as quintessentially Barcelonian as haggling for produce in the city’s liveliest market. Over 200 stalls stand in the market and weaving through the crowds of locals and tourists, there’s a myriad of produce on display. Piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, pails of glistening olives and huge slabs of cheese and foie gras line the stalls, alongside an array of local seafood and varying cuts of meat, including the odd pig head.

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Winery

Freixenet Winery (Celler Freixenet)

One of the region’s most renowned producers of Catalonian specialty Cava, the Freixenet Vineyards make a popular day trip for visitors from Barcelona. Built in 1922, Freixenet was started by the Ferras and the Salas, two well-regarded winemaking families whose history of wine production dates back to the 12th century. The Freixenet vineyards, located in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia in the legendary wine region of Altes Penedes, offer guests the chance to experience the production of the famous Freixenet cava with tours of the winery. Visitors can take a peek into the historic wine cellars, the production areas and bottling plants, where they can learn the traditional winemaking techniques that are still employed today. Most unique is the small passenger train that runs through the 20km of underground cava cellars, transporting guests to the tasting room.

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Winery

Oller del Mas

There are numerous options for wine tasting trips from Barcelona but few offer such a unique backdrop as Oller del Mas, a 10th century castle set in a scenic 1000-acre estate. A popular detour for those visiting the Benedictine Santa Maria de Montserrat abbey on the nearby Montserrat mountain, Oller del Mas offers an atmospheric setting for a wine tasting session, effortlessly combining Catalonian culture, history and gastronomy. Whether you stop by for a quick tasting session, take a half-day tour of the winery or couple your wines with a leisurely lunch of traditional cuisine, there’s something to please every type of wine lover at Oller del Mas. Those with a real enthusiasm for wine can learn the secrets winemaking from harvest to glass, strolling around the picturesque vineyards, the production plants and the wine cellars, and witnessing the winery’s popular Bernat Oller and Arnau Oller wines being produced.

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Winery

Penedes

A popular day trip from nearby Barcelona, the Penedes region produces some of the region’s best wines and cava, or sparkling wine. Penedes is home to more than 300 wineries, many with scenic mountain backdrops and some of which were built in the modernista style. The area’s proximity to the Mediterranean coast and protection by nearby mountain ranges, along with rich native soil, creates microclimates perfect for growing grapes and producing fine wines. A journey through Penedes means Spanish countryside dotted by farmhouses and small family vineyards. Perhaps the most famous product to come out of Penedes is cava — over 90% of the country’s sparkling wine is made there. Red, white, and rose wines are all produced in the region as well. Pair a glass or two with some local Catalan foods for a taste of Catalunya. Visiting Penedes is a chance to taste cava right at its source.

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Market

Valencia Central Market (Mercado Central de Valencia)

To experience a Valencia sight that will satisfy all of your travel senses, head straight to the city’s Central Market (Mercado Central in Spanish, or Mercat Central in Valencian). This is where, since 1928, hundreds of vendors have come together to sell their goods under one giant, beautiful roof. The market offers everything from fresh produce to meat and fish, and even specialty coffee — all making it a foodie’s dream, and the perfect place to get closer to the region’s culinary culture. The building alone is quite astonishing, too, featuring fancy iron and glass domes through which sunlight illuminates the entire 8,160-square-meter space. The market also has some pretty impressive neighbors beyond its doors, including the imposing Church of Los Santos Juanes, and the Lonja de la Seda, a divinely designed building that used to be home to the city’s silk exchange.

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Spain

25 Featured Attractions

Places of Natural Beauty

Playa de Muro

Playa de Muro is a beautiful six-kilometer-long sandy beach with turquoise water in northern Mallorca; it is one of the island’s newest resort destinations. It is a “Blue Flag” beach, meaning that it meets certain criteria in regards to the water quality, safety and services. Although quieter than neighbor beach Alcudia, Playa de Muro is less sheltered and can experience bigger waves during high winds. Playa de Muro is very popular with families thanks to its warm shallow waters; because of this, water-sport enthusiasts abound, be it for water-skiing, jet skiing, scuba diving, pedal boating or paragliding. There is also a wooden jetty for boats, and boat trips around the coast are offered.The westernmost portion of the beach, near Alcudia, is lined with resort hotels and holiday apartments, which all have premium access to the beach.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Itálica

The 17th-century village of Santiponce lies nine km (5.5 miles) north of Seville and is the site of one of Andalusia’s most important historical remains: the Roman city of Itálica near the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Founded in 206 BC when the Romans were busily empire-building across Europe, Itálica was the first – and largest – Roman settlement in southern Spain; it rose to be of considerable military significance within the Empire and was the birthplace of several emperors, including Hadrian, who built the infamous wall across northern England. The city fell into disrepair with the crumbling of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, and for many years it was plundered for stone used in the building of the lovely city of Seville.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Toledo Alcázar (Alcázar de Toledo)

There is no silhouette more symbolic of Toledo than that of the Alcázar of Toledo. The commanding, square-shaped building - which is anchored by its four, sky-reaching corner towers - crowns the city, and has roots that reach back deeply into the ancient capital’s history.While structures on this site date back to Roman times, the version you see today was largely erected in the 16th century under Carlos V, and has since been through many fires, reconstructions, and additions. Though it once served as home to royals (among other purposes), it now houses the country’s Military Museum, which offers an in-depth look at the nation’s past, complete with an impressive viewing terrace that overlooks the city.

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Buildings & Structure

Atalaya Castle

This iconic castle known as the Watchtower in English has a long history of strength and resistance, since Muslim residents held off three different sieges by James I or Aragon. It wasn’t until 1240 that defeat was admitted and the picture-perfect castle was taken by the Kingdom of Castile.Today, travelers can visit this historic site and wander the interior courtyard framed by sky-high walls and wander the second floor where a reproduction of a khamsa—a well-known Muslim and North African image of an open hand—is on display.

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Religious Architecture

El Tránsito Synagogue (Sinagoga del Tránsito)

Former Spanish capital Toledo was famously once home to three diverse and thriving cultures: the Catholics, the Muslims and the Jews. And there’s no better place to discover the rich history of the latter – the Jews – than by visiting the city’s El Tránsito Synagogue. It was constructed in the 14th century, and is now home to the Museo Sefardí (the Sephardic Museum) featuring Jewish art, objects and history.The synagogue was founded and financed by Sameul ha-Leví, after whom it was originally named. Following the expulsion of the Jews, however, it eventually served other purposes, such as a military barracks, and as an church called Nuestra Señora del Tránsito, hence the synagogue’s current name. What you’ll find here today is a splendid, albeit small example of Mudéjar-style architecture, and, beyond that, an educational and meaningful link to the city’s Jewish past.

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Land Activities & Tours

Mijas

Mijas is the typical idyllic Andalusian village (or at least Mijas Pueblos, the old part of town, is). White-washed houses cluster against the side of a mountain range with a view of the Mediterranean. It's all white and blue and sparkling fresh. If you like golf, this place is for you - there's a myriad of courses. If you don't, you might find something to like in Mijas' history as a a Phoenician trading town, its old churches, its local honey or its donkey taxis. It may be a long way from authentic, but it's still plenty quaint. Mijas' greatest pleasure is probably just a walk to the steep heights of Mijas Pueblo, enjoying the contrast of white houses and bright bougainvillea.

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Sights & Landmarks

San Sebastian Old Town (Parte Vieja Donostiarra)

Lying between El Muelle harbor and the River Urumea, San Sebastian’s Old Town has its origins in medieval times although it was largely rebuilt following the large-scale destruction of the city by fire in 1813.By day the Old Town is a maze of charismatic alleys and clusters of townhouses hosting the city’s chaotic daily Pescadería (fish market). The Municipal Museum San Telmo, the fine Gothic church of St Vincente and the Baroque basilica of Santa María del Coro are also found here, and much of the incessant action centers around the dynamic Plaza de la Constitución. This arcaded and balconied square was once a bullring and by night it buzzes with laughter and chatter from the numerous crowded bars and restaurants; this is the best place to sample pintxos, the famous Basque-country tapas of bite-size snacks on bread with typical toppings including peppers, tortilla, garlic prawns or cod.

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Sights & Landmarks

George Orwell Square (Plaça de George Orwell)

Tucked away among the countless alleyways and courtyards of Barcelona’s atmospheric Barrio Gotico (Gothic Quarter) east of Las Ramblas, triangular George Orwell Square is named after the English author whose novel Homage to Catalonia was published in 1938 after he had spent six months fighting for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. He lived in the square briefly and a small plaque marks his house. Formerly a grungy backwater of the Barrio, the square has been radically refurbished and cleaned up alongside much of Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella (Old City), and now has a lively, Bohemian atmosphere; it is surrounded by tall, narrow townhouses decorated with wrought-iron balconies and by cafés, bars and (many vegetarian) restaurants, whose tables spread out on to the square in sunny weather. Standing tall in the center of the square is a bizarre, swirling metal installation by Surrealist Catalan sculptor Leandre Cristòfol.

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Religious Architecture

Sanctuary of Loyola (Santuario de Loyola)

In 1491, on the once much humbler site of this enormous and ornate Mudejár-style shrine that is the Sanctuary of Loyola, a family of minor nobility welcomed its 13th child, who would one day change the world. San Ignatius Lopéz de Loyola, a soldier turned to the priesthood by his strange visions, founded the Brotherhood of Jesus, or Jesuit order, whose radical interpretation of Catholicism left its mark on both the New and Old World.A place of pilgrimage and wonder for the devout and secular alike, San Ignatius' former home has been transformed with Chirriguerresque flair into a grand compound. In addition to the basilica and shrine, there is an art museum displaying a few of his belongings and writings, as well as religious objects collected over the centuries. Shrines to other Jesuit saints are also arranged around the grounds.The gardens and surrounding mountains make a fine backdrop to the scene, and you're welcome to stay on at their inexpensive hostel.

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Gardens & Parks

Casa de Campo

Madrid’s Casa de Campo is the city’s 1,722-hectare verdant heart, an urban park that originated as hunting grounds for the Spanish Royal Family, whose decorative Palacio Real lies just to the south on Plaza de la Armeria. Since 1931, the park has been open for all comers to enjoy, and a favorite weekend picnic destination for Madrileño families.Centered on a vast boating lake, this sprawling green oasis is a haven for walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters; for kids there’s a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel, water slides and rollercoasters, plus a zoo and aquarium. Free classical and rock concerts are held in the park in summer. Casa de Campo is linked by the Teleférico de Madrid cable car to the Paseo del Pintor Rosales; the cabins travel at a height of 40 meters (130 ft) above Madrid and the single 2.5-km (1.5k mile) journey takes 10 minutes, looking down on Plaza España and the Palacio Real en route, with far-reaching panoramas over the Manzanares River.

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Sights & Landmarks

Lavapiés

Lavapiés is an area of Madrid outside of the old city walls that was once the Jewish and Moorish neighborhood. In 1492, the residents of the neighborhood were forced to either convert or leave. The neighborhood then became a working class area for hundreds of years and eventually fell into decay. This all changed in the 1980s and 1990s when immigrants and artists started moving into the abandoned buildings. It now has a bohemian and multicultural feel and is filled with galleries, bars, ethnic restaurants, and cafes. Popular activities in this district include going to an independent cinema to see an international film, enjoying flamenco, and wandering through the flea market on Sundays. El Rastro is supposedly the largest flea market in the world. Another way to soak up the atmosphere is to find a cafe with outdoor seating and relax with a coffee or a beer. You'll experience a less touristy side of Madrid in Lavapiés.

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Buildings & Structure

Barcelona Pavilion (Pabellon Mies van der Rohe)

The Barcelona Pavilion was built for the city’s 1929 International Exposition by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and stands today as important building for both the city and the modern architecture movement. It once served as the official opening for the German section of the exhibition, and is now admired for its simple design and intelligent use of special materials. It was constructed in less than one year, following World War I, with materials such as travertine, Greek marble, steel, glass, and golden onyx. Its emphasis on simplistic structure and minimalism makes this a peaceful place to visit, and still a model of expert design.Perhaps the highlight of a visit to the Barcelona Pavilion is the prestigious and iconic Barcelona Chair, also designed by Mies van der Rohe. The Barcelona Chair was purposefully designed and keeps with the minimalistic style of the building. The Barcelona Pavilion continues to inspire modernist artists all over the world.

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Sights & Landmarks

Biarritz

This fabulous seaside town of Biarritz has been the Pays Basque's hot spot for centuries, a status made official in the late 1800s when Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, declared "One must be able to dance well to be received here." This decree was amended in the 1950s, when the rolling waves crashing into the Gran Plage, the wide beach lined with bars and clubs where wine flows freely from dusk until dawn, attracted another sort of attention. Today, Biarritz is one of Europe's top surf destinations, with an International Surf Festival bringing in waveriders from around the world every July. The classic French-Basque setting, complete with elegant architecture, luxurious accommodation and other cultural treasures, makes a fine backdrop to the Basque's best fête destination.

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Sights & Landmarks

Besalú

This picturesque mountain town of Besalú is well known for its ancient Catholic monestaries and iconic Romanesque architecture, in particular a photogenic 12th century bridge that has become the symbol of the town. In the Middle Ages, it was a regional capital, overseeing this scenic section of Catalán.Subsequent centuries only added to its cultural mystique, from a symphony of Moorish arches reflected in the Fluvia and Capadella Rivers, to the Jewish ritual baths and ancient synagogue, hewn from the same gleaming stone. Besalú also makes a fine base for exploring the region's hiking and climbing opportunities, including la Zona Volcánica de la Garrocha, with more than 40 dormant volcanic cones surrounded by protected forests.

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Stadiums & Arenas

Saint Jordi Palace (Palau Sant Jordi)

There are many reasons to head up to Montjuïc hill’s Olympic Ring, and Palau Sant Jordi is certainly one of them. Designed for the 1992 Olympics, the indoor stadium played host to events including gymnastics, handball, volleyball, as well as various competitions during the Paralympics.On the outside the structure looks like a square spaceship of sorts, and on the inside it’s nothing but beautiful light that pours through the building’s famous window-checkered ceiling. Today the stadium — which can hold over 16,000 people — still hosts top sports competitions, as well as events, and high-profile concerts for artists ranging from U2 to Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna. Go there to see a show yourself, or simply to admire Palau Sant Jordi’s exterior as you explore the Olympic Ring and its other sights, including the Olympic Stadium and Esplanade.

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Theatres & Cinemas

Euskalduna Palace (Palacio Euskalduna)

The Guggenheim isn’t the only waterside architectural wonder in Bilbao; just up the river sits another impressive construction, the Euskalduna Palace. The building, which was inaugurated in 1999, features mosaic-style windows, and massive exterior walls of rusty looking corten steel. The inspiration behind the look: to stand symbolically as the last vessel built in the dry dock of the former Euskalduna Shipyard, which played an important role in the city’s growth and history. The architecturally acclaimed Euskalduna Palace houses over 50,000 square meters of space, and boasts both the largest and second largest stages in Spain. The multipurpose venue serves as an opera house, concert hall and conference center, and therefore hosts a range of events from cultural to corporate. Temporary exhibitions are held here as well.

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Stadiums & Arenas

La Monumental Bullring (Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona)

Barcelona’s main bullring was built in the smart Eixample district of the city with a flamboyant Neo-Mudéjar and Byzantine façade by Catalan architect Domènec Sugrañes i Gras, a disciple of Gaudí. Embellished with typical Iberian white-and-blue tiles and towers topped with onion-shaped domes, the bullring was the largest in Barcelona and could seat 20,000, plus another 5,000 standing. The site was inaugurated in 1914, and over the decades, it has featured Spain’s top toreros (bullfighters) – who were nationwide pin-ups – in corridas (bullfights) that reached their height of popularity in the 1950s. However, bullfighting eventually grew increasingly unpopular in Catalan Spain, and it was eventually banned in January 2012, to the disappointment of many local aficionados.

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Geological Formations

Es Pontàs

Along Mallorca’s southeastern coast you’ll find a collection of sweet coastal towns, idyllic beach coves, and one especially photo-beckoning sight, Es Pontàs. This natural rock arch loops high out of the clear, crystalline waters just off shore, where it lures everyone from sunrise seekers to picture takers and rock climbers.And its location near other ideal island destinations makes it an even more deserving trek. While in the area, claim a plot of sand on the nearby, cove-protected Cala Santanyi beach; explore the sweet, old-world streets of the more inland town of Santanyi; and wander the coastal trails of Mondrago Natural Park.

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Sights & Landmarks

Cala Figuera

Perched on the coastal cliffs of the island of Mallorca, Cala Figuera was once only a modest fishing village and small harbor. Today it is one of the most picturesque towns that has maintained its whitewashed homes and colorful boat houses, making it popular with visitors. There are no public beaches or easily accessible parts of the coast, so the village maintains its quiet feel.Views of the clear waters are particularly worth seeking, from coastal paths winding along the cliffs and hillside. Rock and sand formations, beaches, coves, a lighthouse, and of course, the turquoise sea are all visible from relatively flat walking paths. The main cove is dramatically surrounded by steep mountains. Still operating as a fishing town, the seafood is the specialty of the restaurants here. As evening approaches, you may even be able to watch the fishing boats coming into port with their daily catch.

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Buildings & Structure

Royal Tobacco Factory (Real Fábrica de Tabacos)

To look up - and up - at the Real Fábrica de Tabacos is to get a sense of the scale of Seville's tobacco industry in the 18th century. This is one of the largest buildings in Spain (only El Escorial tops it in terms of surface area). It's used as a university building now, but you can still walk around it.The reason most people visit is to get a vision of Bizet's doomed heroine, Carmen. This building is where she worked and these doors are where she lounged, fresh from rolling cigars on her thighs, to ensnare her lovers.Carmen's wraith may be compelling, but the wraiths of the real cigar workers - nearly all of them women - also clamor for attention, as do the colonially themed bas-reliefs on the outside of the building.

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Sights & Landmarks

Palafrugell

Built above 12 kilometers (8 miles) of beautiful beaches paved with soft, golden sand, the medieval town of Palafrugell has long been a port of some importance. Until recently, it was also the region's top producer of cork, for popping off fine Spanish wines.Today, the windy, winsome spot is a popular resort town, though it remains a real city beyond the quaint tourist quarter. Palafrugell is best known for its impressive coastline, which can be explored in yachts, kayaks, or on foot. But culture lovers and adventurous foodies will also enjoy the city's famed markets, selling fresh seafood (sea urchin is a local specialty), produce, and inexpensive eats made with the same - don't miss the famous night market. La Cuina de les Festes, the city's Spring Festival, is known for its gastronomic delights. There are several other festivals held here throughout the year, as well museums, botanical gardens, and other attractions to keep you busy between tanning sessions.

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Buildings & Structure

Casa Amatller

Though Passeig de Gràcia is most famously known for Gaudi-designed masterpieces La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, there’s another curious building to discover here: Casa Amatller. Constructed in the late 19th century, the former home was constructed for its namesake, chocolatier Antoni Amatller, and is just the place to go to see spectacular Modernisme architecture, and minus all the crowds.Like its neighboring buildings along Passeig de Gràcia’s famous Block of Discord, or Illa de la Discordia, Casa Amatller also mixes things up architecturally, featuring both Flemish and Catalan styles. A visit to its interior is equally impressive, promising exquisitely tiled walls and floors, colorful stained-glass detailing, and rooms decorated with the original furniture.

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Stadiums & Arenas

La Malagueta Bullring (Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta)

Málaga’s beautiful and Neo-Mudejar La Malagueta bullring was built in 1874 by Spanish architect Joaquín Rucoba and is today privately owned by wealthy entrepreneur and former president of Málaga Football Club, Fernando Puche Doña. The arcaded stadium has capacity for 14,000 spectators, stables and training grounds for the horses, corrals for the bulls and even a mini-hospital.The tiny but fascinating Museo Taurino Antonio Ordoñez – dedicated to one of Spain’s best-loved matadors, who was born in nearby Ronda – provides an insight into the history of bullfighting and displays some sparkly bullfighters’ costumes (traje de luces – literally ‘suit of lights’) and swishy red capes (muletas). A memorial to Ordoñez stands outside.There are daily bullfights during Semana Santa (Easter Week) and the Feria Taurina (Bullfighting Festival) throughout July and August.

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Buildings & Structure

Catalan Regional Government Building (Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya)

Plaça de Sant Jaume’s Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya is much more than just a building with a pretty neoclassical façade: this is the seat of the Catalan government, from where 100 presidents have governed. Constructed between the 15th and 17th centuries, the building is a symbol of Catalan perseverance, having stood the test of time through many historic challenges.It’s not just special because of its history, either. Apart from the attractive dome-topped exterior, its interior is perhaps even more impressive. It features a Gothic chapel, elaborate ceremonial halls, loads of paintings and sculptures, and a sunlight-filled Courtyard of Orange Trees, or Pati dels Tarongers — among other Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance elements.

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Gardens & Parks

La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Zona Volcánica de la Garrotxa)

The region of Girona offers so much more than just Catalan culture and historic towns; it’s also got a veritable nature wonderland called Garrotxa Volcanic Natural Park. And volcanic, indeed, as it is home to 40 (dormant) volcanic cones, and 20 basaltic lava flows, making it the most prized volcanic landscape on the Iberian Peninsula.You can explore Garrotxa’s park by setting off on one of its 28 different walking routes, many of which interconnect, and many that take you beyond the region to others. During your adventures, climb to the top of Santa Margarida volcano to spy the see-it-to-believe-it Roman chapel that sits within it; get lost in the beech tree-filled forests of La Fageda d'en Jordà; and make stops at some of the region’s most beloved villages, such as Olot and Besalu.

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