When North Americans talk about visiting Spain, Barcelona always seems to come up as the epicenter of cool, full of culture, creativity and amazing cuisine. But what about the rest of this incredibly diverse country? There’s a lot more to love than just one city, so here are five other alluring Spanish destinations worth checking out this summer.
Madrid – the City that Never Sleeps
The country’s capital—located smack dab in the middle of Spain—Madrid is probably the city most often sidestepped for its Barcelonian sister. But it has an atmosphere and energy all its own, with a legendary nightlife, making it a bustling metropolis on par with some of the biggest and best cities in Europe. The art scene is a huge draw, with The Prado Museum a must to see works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters, but there are also plenty of contemporary galleries and alternative art spaces concentrated in this surrounding area. For some retail therapy, make your way to the Barrio Salamanca to discover local independent designers, or get more acquainted with the new wave of natural Spanish wines in a city with one of the highest concentration of bars anywhere.
Andalucía – Flamenco Country
A region that basks in the Southern sun, Andalucía is famous for many things that have become synonymous with Spanish culture: matadors, bullfights, tapas and of course, flamenco. Under Moorish rule from the 8th to the 15th century, there is both Christian and Islamic influences that can be seen in it’s cities’s architecture, cuisine and many historic traditions. Seville, the romantic capital, is where to discover a fiery passion unlike anywhere else in the country and if you’re lucky, experience a moment of duende, an Andalucían notion that translates as a heightened emotion felt during an artistic experience. You never know, all it might take is a glass of really good sherry!
Where to stay in Andalucía
The Costas – Beach Towns Abound
These two Costas are the places to be for the ultimate beach vacations. Both Costa Brava and Costa del Sol are beautiful coastlines and offer visitors a real Spanish-style holiday experience. Costa Brava stretches along the Eastern coast all the way to the French border and is known for it’s more scenic, wild terrain. A popular tourist destination, there are still small, picturesque villages and quiet seaside towns to discover, as well some of the best diving spots in the country around the Illes Medes. Costa de Sol is on the sunny Southern coast known for long hot summers and short, mild winters. Although more developed than Costa Brava, some of its towns like Málaga and Marbella are worth a sojourn, if anything just to kick up your feet and enjoy your days on the beach and warm, breezy nights eating and drinking your way along the seashore.
Where to Stay in Costa Brava and Costa del Sol
Mallorca – Hike, Bike and More
This Mediterranean island is a true Spanish jewel. One of the most frequented holiday destinations in Europe, Mallorca has something for every traveller. From the rugged regions of the West—where hikers and bikers can explore the Serra de Tramuntana’s limestone landscapel—to the cliff side trails of the North, the less populated beaches of the East, with it’s many hidden coves to sun and swim, to the vibrant and colourful seaside towns and beaches of the South, this is truly a piece of paradise. Complete Mallorca’s tour de force with history, culture, amazingly fresh, seafood-based cuisine, local wines and olive, carob and almond groves, and you’ve got yourself the perfect trip.
Where to stay in Mallorca
Ibiza – Fun in the Sun
If Mallorca is the more mature, calmer and relaxed older sibling, Ibiza is the younger, rambunctious, slightly more reckless one. An island that literally transforms into an non-stop party for the summer season, if you’re looking to drink, dance and go to sleep with the sunrise, this is the place for you. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a quieter side of the islands, where branché bohemians lounge around hilltop villas, and seek out the quieter, sun drenched beaches on the more secluded North coast. From some of the biggest club acts around, to some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world, Ibiza is definitely a place for those who are seeking to unwind in style, but still want to have a really good time.
Where to stay in Ibiza