Spain – Top 5 Things to See
Spain is an incredibly beautiful country, rich in heritage and tradition. Huge numbers of tourists flock here each year to take in the sights and soak up the culture, with Barcelona and Madrid being the top two cities that eager revellers visit. Spain boasts some of the most celebrated artists and architects from modern times and is seen as a hotbed of creativity within Europe. Lovers of the arts will not struggle to find points of interest in España, with each unique region of the country having its own styles and practices. And then there’s the food. Rustic, warming and delicious, the flavours of traditional tapas are hard to beat. But if you do manage to stray from the abundance of tasty restaurants on your visit, then be sure to visit the highly recommended places on this list.
The architect Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, which is still in the process of being posthumously completed. There are many stunning churches throughout Europe, however the Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most stunning, and unique. Gothic influences are clear to see on the façade of the building, yet the building also incorporates features of ‘modernisme’, the Catalonian equivalent of Art Nouveau. The result is an enticing mix of artistic styles.
Even if you are not an architecture buff, the Sagrada Familia is a remarkable sight. A visit to the Sagrada Familia comes as highly recommended, even for the aesthetics alone. If this is a topic which interests you, visiting Gaudi’s other works is a must. The sight of the Casa Batllo twinkling in the glorious Catalan sun is remarkable.
Museo del Prado
The Museo del Prado is in possession of one of the most celebrated collections of fine art in the world and has the industry’s leading collection of Spanish art. The museum contains works by such masters as Bosch, Raphael, Rubens and Rembrandt. Located in central Madrid, it is easily accessible for visitors of the city. For those concerned with statistics, the museum is home to 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, so a long visit is recommended. For those short on time, but who still want to check out the most important works, the museum website has itineraries for 1, 2 and 3 hour long visits.
Dali Theatre and Museum
Located in the Catalan town of Figueres, the Dali Theatre and Museum is the home to the largest and most wide ranging collection of work from the eccentric Surrealist. The museum is an hour long train journey from Barcelona, which may seem inconvenient when it is considered that Barcelona has so much to offer. However, those who partake the commute to Figueres are treated to an immersive world of intriguing art. The building is magnificent, with a complex geodesic dome atop its roof, which serves as a fitting example of the extravagance of the works contained inside. Also, a building displaying Dali’s lesser known works of jewelry can be found on the vicinity. If you are interested in Surrealism, or Dali in particular, then the Dali Theatre and Museum, which serves as the artist’s final place of rest, should be on your list of places to visit when in Spain.
Alcázar of Seville
Seville is the capital of the autonomous Andalusia region of Spain. Located in the south of Spain, the region has a fascinating Muslim heritage, historically being the home of Islam within the Iberian peninsula, due to its close location to Morocco. This has resulted in a mix of architectural influences, where Western styles meet Moorish. The Alcázar is an astonishing example of such architecture. Originally a Moorish fort, Alcázar serves as the only palace in Europe that is still inhabited by a royal family. The palace is home, internally, to exquisite art and stylings, with lush green gardens and sun-drenched courtyards to the outside of the building.
Festival of San Fermín
Spain is synonymous with fiestas, and fiestas do not come any bigger than this. It is estimated over 1,000,000 people visit the festival, which runs 6-14 July. The processions take place in Navarre, in honour of its patron saint, Saint Fermin. Festivities include consuming alcohol, dancing and fireworks, but the most well known act is ‘the running of the bulls’. This sees bulls released through the streets of Pamplona, climaxing in their slaughter. Due to animal rights issues, it is understandable why people choose to avoid San Fermin, however the festival is unrivaled in terms of events of Spanish culture and tradition.
This list contains a lot of attractions concerned with the arts and architecture; with heritage as rich as Spain’s, it is inescapable. Spain is a hotbed of artistic movements, which melds into a fascinating and varied heritage, which is as connected to Western Christianity, as it is African Islam in the south. However, this is not all Spain has to offer. For sports fans, Spain is home to two of Europe’s most formidable and highly decorated football teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Another great feature of Spanish tourism, which visitors adore, is the food. Wherever you are based, delicious, rustic tapas will be easy to come by, and should be experience in true Spanish tradition.