We’ve teamed up with the lovely Kiwi blogger Liz from Passport Packed to bring you this insightful wee blog about her favourite experiences in Spain! Make sure you follow her journeys over on her blog and social channels!
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Spain is an incredible country with an electric atmosphere and culture, that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. What makes it even more special is that each region in has it’s own distinctive culture and traditions, so no matter where you go you’re sure to see something notably different and amazing.
Compiled below is our list of my must see places in Spain
Barcelona Barcelona is the most touristic city in Spain, and for good reason. There is so much to see! The old town is right in the centre of the city, and its skinny streets intertwine all around hidden castles and churches. La Rambla is the main shopping stretch, which just buzzes with street vendors and performers. Gaudi architecture is apparent all through the city, with the Sagrada Familia as the pinnacle of this. There are just so many things to see, I’d recommend spending 4 days here at least!
San Sebastian This small seaside town is much quieter than Barcelona, though still a hot spot for tourists! The beaches on this coast are incredible, but it’s their pintxo culture that’s really worth experiencing! Pintxo’s are bites of food piled on small pieces of bread with a toothpick holding them altogether. They’re world famous in San Sebastian, as they get incredibly intricate and gourmet. Head here on an empty stomach! It’s also a short drive from San Sebastian to Bibao, where you can visit the Guggenheim Museum and enjoy some world-class art.
Granada In the southeast of Spain, Granada is a favourite of many visitors. The top tourist spot here is the Alhambra – an old Moorish fortress located a on hill overlooking the town. This place gets seriously busy, so book ahead to skip lines. After you’ve finished admiring these exquisite grounds, you can explore the old city – nestled on another hill, with all buildings painted that iconic Spanish white – a theme that flows throughout southern Spain. The other great thing about Granada is that they do tapas, like no other Spanish city – they supersize them. Meaning you can go to a bar, order a beer, and not only will you get a free snack – but it will probably be a full plate of food! The more drinks you order, the bigger the plate!
Seville Seville is a quintessential southern Spanish city. With whitewashed buildings, small brick lanes, orange trees lining the streets and a very proud Spanish culture evident. I’d recommend checking out all the key touristy places including the cathedral, Plaza de Espana and the Alcazar gardens. Then jump on a food tour, as Spanish food in the south has some quite distinctive flavors, with a North African influence finding it’s way into many dishes.
Madrid It’s just a really beautiful, well laid out city with stunning architecture, delicious food, great public transport and open-minded and friendly locals.
Admittedly I’m bias as I lived there for 2 years – but Madrid is incredible and totally worth a visit. As the capital of Spain, a lot of the buildings here super grand and impressive – there are a few that literally stopped me in my tracks the first time I saw them. While there are some great tourist spots in Madrid like Retiro Park, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and the Prado Muesum – my favourite thing in Madrid is just walking the streets, taking in the sites, and culture.
Madrid is made up of numerous neighborhoods or barrios, each with their own distinctive look and feel – you can venture into Malasana, the cool, tight-street hipster neighborhood with boutique stores and gin bars lining the streets, or cross over to Cheuca the cities gay barrio with some of the best shoe shops in the city. Lavapies is known for it’s international restaurants and food shops and contrasting Palacio is a bit fancy, but has some fabulous spots for tea and churros!
Take your time in Madrid!