Things to Do in Spain
This content was last updated on 08.02.2024 23:14
Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is one of Europe's favorite countries with its rich history, magnificent architecture, vibrant nightlife, and unique flavors. Bordering France, Andorra, Portugal, and Gibraltar, Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe. With its coastline along the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, the country, along with its capital Madrid, welcomes millions of travelers every year with cities like Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Valencia, and Malaga. Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, and Tenerife are among the popular summer holiday destinations with their beautiful beaches, while San Sebastian is the first choice for gourmet enthusiasts who want to try the exquisite flavors of Basque cuisine. Spain is the birthplace of renowned painters such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francisco Goya, as well as Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. By adding Spain to your travel plans, you can create an enjoyable travel itinerary.
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When to Go to Spain
In the southern regions of Spain, the Mediterranean climate prevails, while inland areas such as Madrid experience a continental climate. In Barcelona, the winter and spring months are rainy, while temperatures rise above 35 degrees Celsius during the summer. In Madrid, the winter months are cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing in January and February. From April onwards, temperatures begin to rise, reaching 40 degrees Celsius in July and August. If your goal is to explore historical sites and museums, opting for spring and autumn months may allow you to enjoy your trip to Spain more. If you're planning a beach vacation with sun and sand, you can head to the south of Spain, where you can enjoy holidays from May to the end of October.
What to Eat and Drink in Spain
In terms of beverages, wine takes the top spot in Barcelona cuisine. However, there is another drink made with a mixture of wine. This cocktail, called Sangria, is prepared by mixing wine with vodka, orange juice, etc.
Since Barcelona is a coastal city, you can find a wide variety of delicious seafood dishes at affordable prices.
The rice dish enriched with seafood is called paella. It typically includes ingredients like shrimp, mussels, and other seafood. Paella has a slightly moist texture.
Potatoes lightly fried with added olives, onions, and tomato paste. Then eggs are cracked on top and cooked together.
Conil amb Cargols
If you're looking for a unique flavor specific to Barcelona and Catalan cuisine, you can try "Conil Amb Cargols." This dish consists of rabbit meat cooked with snails.
Tapas is a renowned type of appetizer in Barcelona cuisine. Tapas plates feature a wide variety of appetizers ranging from seafood to vegetable dishes. Tapas are served in almost every restaurant before the main meal.
Cava is a type of sparkling wine specific to Barcelona. It has become a traditional beverage and is widely available at affordable prices.
This famous soup, which has gained worldwide fame, has tomatoes as its main ingredient. Gazpacho also contains ingredients such as vinegar and olive oil.
Just like tapas, this flavor holds an important place in the country's culinary culture and is commonly known as the general term for appetizers enjoyed before meals, especially in the evening hours.
In the city, among the delicious fish and seafood, cod holds a special place. In Bilbao, also known as the "cod capital," you'll encounter many dishes made with this fish.
For those who love ham, there's also a fantastic option in Bilbao. Spain's famous ham, jamón, is widely available and will almost certainly be encountered at every turn.
The traditional Spanish omelette, tortilla, cooked with potatoes, is commonly served not just for breakfast but also for lunch and dinner. If you enjoy trying different egg-based dishes, you should definitely try tortilla during your visit to Bilbao.
Churros, known as a Spanish-style type of donut, are a unique and delicious dessert. The cooked dough is dipped in chocolate before being eaten. If you want to end your meal with a different and traditional dessert, churros would be one of the best choices for you.
Places to Visit in Spain
La Sagrada Familia Church
This church project, initially designed by Spanish architect Francisco de Paula del Villa, was later undertaken by Antoni Gaudi, who transformed it into one of the most captivating churches of all time. Known as the "Bible of architecture," the church, still under construction and slated for completion in 2026, is one of the symbols of Barcelona.
Barceloneta, among the world's most beautiful beaches, is not only the closest to the city compared to the other seven beaches but also the most popular with its 4.5 km-long coastline.
La Rambla Square
La Rambla, the city's liveliest and most famous street, is approximately 1.2 km long and is a must-visit for everyone coming to the city. Due to its central location, it serves as a meeting point for both locals and visitors alike. At the end of this bustling street, right by the sea, you can also see the Christopher Columbus statue.
Parc Guell, one of the symbols of Barcelona and one of Antoni Gaudi's most famous works, is a public park consisting of a magnificent combination of architecture and nature. It was originally designed with the concept of an English-style garden city. Located on a high place in the city, the park also offers its visitors a different city view. It is also ideal for romantic walks with its fairy-tale atmosphere. The buildings, sculptures and tile works in the park are worth seeing. Additionally, Gaudi's old house is open to visitors as a museum in the park.
One of the largest two buildings designed by the famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. The exterior of the building presents a appearance resembling skulls and bones. Skulls form the balconies, while bones make up the supporting columns. The building, architecturally unique, is worth visiting. It was designed by Gaudi for the wealthy aristocrat Josep Batllo. Batllo lived with his family on the first two floors of the building, while the upper floors were rented out.
Also known as Casa Mila, this building was constructed by Gaudi between 1906 and 1912. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Currently hosting various exhibitions, the building is used as a cultural center in Barcelona. Apart from its unique architecture, it is famous for being the last civil building designed by Gaudi before dedicating himself to the construction of La Sagrada Familia Church.
The Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village)
This settlement, consisting of 117 important buildings replicated in one-to-one scale from different parts of Spain, is like an open-air museum. With its streets, squares, and buildings, it gives a real village impression. Additionally, visitors can explore workshops of Spanish handicrafts (jewelry, glassware, masks, embroidery, puppets, leather goods, ceramics, etc.) and purchase local products. With workshop activities for children and fun family activities like "Treasure Hunt," it caters to all ages and is truly worth a visit!
Especially enjoyable for football fans to visit, this stadium is where the Spanish 1st League football team F.C. Barcelona plays their matches, and it's well-known for its size.
The museum showcasing the works of the renowned Spanish painter and sculptor Picasso opened in 1963.
This city, located 100 km north of Barcelona, bears traces of Catalan history. Its historical Roman, Jewish, Gothic, and Baroque walls, squares, churches, and buildings are still preserved in the center. Accessible by train or bus from Barcelona, this settlement can be easily explored on foot.
Located 200 km away from Barcelona, Andorra is a tiny country with a history of around 1000 years and a population of approximately 100,000 people. Known as a tax haven, this country is considered a duty-free zone, offering visitors the opportunity for affordable shopping. In addition to shopping, Andorra is famous for its winter sports facilities, spas, and typical mountain cuisine.
After a few hours of exploring Girona, you can continue along the same route to the city of Figueres. This city, where the famous and brilliant painter Salvador Dali was born, is located 136 km north of Barcelona. The Dali Museum, which houses many of the artist's works, offers a unique opportunity to get to know this painter who left his mark on the 20th century more closely.
You can start touring Bilbao by exploring the historic square, which can also be referred to as the heart of the city. There are many historical buildings surrounding the square. It's also the address for vibrant celebrations held in Bilbao.
Especially at night, the museum, with its illuminations, adds a completely different atmosphere to the city's silhouette and attracts art enthusiasts with its collection of artworks. Inspired by fish fins, the museum is a must-see attraction in the city.
Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts
The museum, welcoming its visitors with a courtyard fountain, is one of the main places to visit for art enthusiasts in Bilbao. Inspired by the renowned Prado Museum, this museum showcases prominent examples of Spanish and European art.
Another dazzling option is the Santiago Cathedral, known as the oldest architectural masterpiece in the city, with its magnificent structure. The seashell located in front of the cathedral is also one of the must-visit attractions for visitors to become a pilgrim in the city.
Casco Viejo, which translates to "Old Town" or "Old Quarter," is one of the most vibrant areas of the city, literally meaning "Seven Streets" in Spanish. Located along the riverbank, this area is home to some of the city's most important and oldest landmarks, such as the Santiago Cathedral.
This interesting bridge, constructed using glass in its flooring, is also known as the White Bridge. Walking across the bridge and observing the passing ships from below is a fantastic experience. However, one should be cautious during rainy weather as the surface can be slippery.
Basilica of Begona
Another must-see architectural marvel in the city is the Basilica of Begona, offering a closer look at the city's architectural character. Getting here involves ascending a staircase that can be quite steep and tiring, but both the exterior and interior of the basilica are worth seeing.
To swim in the sea or witness stunning views, you can visit Plentzia Beach in the city. Around the beach, there are also restaurants where you can taste mouthwatering tapas and other Spanish delicacies.
San Antonio, one of the bustling hubs on the island, is also one of the busiest places in Ibiza. In the area, you can find numerous cafes, restaurants, and hotels, and you can reach the surrounding islands by boats.
Es Vedra, a small island off the coast of Ibiza, is a place mentioned in Homer's famous epic poem "The Odyssey." You can reach here by boat tours and swim in the breathtakingly beautiful shores.
One of the most beautiful bays on the island is undoubtedly Atlantis. Moreover, reaching here is quite easy. You can quickly find yourself at the bay by using vehicles departing from the center.
Port of San Antonio
San Antonio Port, also known as Paseig de Ses Fonts, is one of the liveliest spots on the island, especially on summer evenings. Surrounded by palm trees, you can take a leisurely stroll around the port with your family and enjoy a meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area.
Ibiza Town, one of the oldest and largest settlements on the island, is divided into two parts: the Old Town and the New Town. The Old Town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the old cathedral and various monuments and statues. Make sure not to leave this area without seeing these historical landmarks.
This island is a fantastic destination for those who want to experience a tropical dream in the Mediterranean, where you can see all shades of blue. The sea along the island's shores is so clear and clean that you can easily enjoy swimming alongside fish.
One of the best places to experience the vibrant culture of Ibiza is at the market, where you can find old items, handmade souvenirs, and many other interesting pieces to purchase. One of the most famous markets is Punta Arabi, located in Es Cana, which is visited by tourists as well.
Cova de Can Marça
If you want to explore one of the largest natural formations in Ibiza, you should head to this destination. It's estimated that the stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave formed over more than 100,000 years.
Museu d'Art Contemporani
You might not expect to see a modern art museum in a holiday paradise like Ibiza. However, in this place, which was converted from an old ammunition depot to a museum, you can add a whole new dimension to your vacation by seeing interesting modern art pieces.
Construction of a palace located in the center of Madrid began in 1738. Nowadays, Spain's King Carlos and his family no longer reside in this palace, but it is still used by the royal family for official and important occasions. It is one of the best-preserved palaces in Europe. The furniture and tableware are worth seeing.
Plaza Mayor Square
Plaza Mayor is considered the heart of Madrid and is the city's most important square. It's a spacious square surrounded by mostly red-colored buildings with balconies. There are numerous cafes on the square, and people often sit at outdoor tables. The surrounding streets are also worth exploring. In the center of the square, there is a statue of King Philip III on horseback.
Puerto del Sol
Another important square in Madrid is Puerto del Sol. This place is bustling almost every hour of the day. Here, you can find the statue of El Oso y El Madroño, which is the symbol of Madrid. The post office building is also worth seeing. This square is where New Year's celebrations take place. Its name translates to "Gate of the Sun."
Plaza de Independencia (Independence Square)
Madrid'un meşhur giriş kapısına sahip olan meydan, şehrin fotoğraflarını süsler. Bu kapı, Kral III. Carlos tarafından yaptırılmıştır.
Continuing from the square, you can explore Retiro Park, one of the most important parks in Madrid. In addition to plants, the park is adorned with sculptures and ornamental fountains, which are also worth seeing.
If you want to see works by famous painters such as Botticelli, Rubens, Cerreno de Miranda, and Francisco de Goya, be sure to visit the Prado Museum. Not only are the works inside the museum impressive, but the building itself is also remarkable.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
If you're a football enthusiast, there's a place you must visit. You can't miss the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where one of the world's most famous football teams, Real Madrid, plays their matches. If you have the opportunity, try to catch a Real Madrid game as well.
The nightlife of Gran Via, Madrid's most important shopping area, is also famous. The street is bustling with theaters and entertainment venues, making it a lively area to explore at night.
While in Madrid, it's a must to watch a Flamenco show. You can inquire about good Flamenco venues from your hotel or tour guides, but be sure to experience it firsthand.
Reina Sofia Museum
In addition to the Prado Museum, another highly visited museum in Madrid is the Queen Sofia Museum. Alongside modern art pieces, works by renowned painters such as Picasso and Salvador Dali are also exhibited here.
Palau de l'Almudaina
This immense structure, one of the first historical landmarks to see in Palma de Mallorca, was used as the residence of Mallorca monarchs in ancient times.
Santa Maria Cathedral, commonly known as Palma Cathedral, is a very ancient structure built on the remains of a mosque in the region. The cathedral, restored by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudi, boasts stunning details in both its interior and exterior architecture.
Banys Arabs, or the Arab Baths, is one of the few surviving structures from the Arab period in the region that has endured to the present day. The baths, with palm and cactus plants in its courtyard, served as an important gathering and socializing area during ancient times.
Palma de Mallorca and its surrounding beaches are packed with tourists during the summer months. Palma Beach, comprised of individual small beaches like Pata Estanica, offers ample opportunities to sunbathe all day or cool off in the refreshing waters.
This museum, showcasing modern art pieces, has been a meeting point for numerous art enthusiasts since its establishment.
Palau March Museum
The museum located inside the palace, bearing the same name, features works by significant artists such as Moore and Rodin. To fully explore the museum, which hosts numerous sculptures and paintings, you should allocate a few hours.
Throughout history, this castle, which has been used for various purposes, has also hosted the royal family. With its unusual architecture and towers, you must see this stunning historical structure.
You can taste delicious tapas at the restaurants located in this charming square in the center, and you can sit with your friends and have a chat. The square, opening onto narrow streets, is one of the best places to buy souvenirs from small shops and experience the spirit of Palma de Mallorca to the fullest.
Passeig des Born
After a walk along the tree-lined avenue surrounded by lush greenery, you can take a break for a meal at cafes and restaurants or purchase small souvenirs. Passeig des Born, which becomes even livelier during the summer months, hosts various festivals and celebrations during this period.
This area, which is home to important historical landmarks like the Seville Cathedral, is known as the Jewish Quarter of the city. It can also be considered the most touristy part of the city.
This historical monument, which is the world's third-largest cathedral, also holds the title of the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. It was built on the site of an old mosque. The tomb of Christopher Columbus is also located here.
The Giralda, located right next to the Seville Cathedral, is a minaret dating back to the 12th century. It was originally part of the mosque that was replaced by the cathedral.
Located right next to the cathedral, the Alcazar is a palace with magnificent gardens. The Alcazar Palace was built in the 14th century during the Muslim rule of Seville. Its ornate ceilings, terraces, and magnificent gardens are preserved like a real treasure.
Maria Luisa Park
This park, stretching along the Guadalquivir River, is also a place where you can enjoy peaceful moments filled with bird songs next to the city's busiest neighborhood.
Casa de Pilatos
Located next to Plaza de Pilatos, this building was constructed in the 16th century for the Marquis of Tarifa, who traveled around Europe. It is considered a prototype of Andalusian palaces.
Seville's city hall, with its two different facades, is a beautiful structure. The Plaza Nueva facade of the building reflects traces of the Neolithic period, while the Plaza San Francisco facade exhibits characteristics of the Renaissance period. In fact, the Renaissance style was not fully completed as the architect who designed it died during construction.
Archivo General de las Indias
This building, which houses Christopher Columbus's personal diary and the papal decree dividing the world between Spain and Portugal, is also among the must-see places in Seville. Additionally, it hosts documentation about Spain's adventures in South America and the Philippines.
This museum, which houses all visuals related to Flamenco dances including costumes, is one of the most popular places in Seville.
Casa de la Memoria
This building, serving as a cultural center, is one of the most popular places for visitors due to its regularly scheduled Flamenco shows.
Museo de Bellas Artes
This is the fine arts museum of Seville. Built in the 17th century, this museum houses numerous artworks from the Gothic period to the present day.
Although it stands out with its historical and cultural values, Spain offers more entertainment options in terms of nightlife compared to many European countries. Ibiza, known for its wild parties, hosts music and dancing until the early hours of the morning, with famous DJ performances and shows attracting a young crowd. Madrid and Barcelona are also quite competitive in terms of nightlife. In Spain, where Flamenco dance comes to life, be sure to dedicate an evening to this show. Although it originated from the Andalusia region, today you can find Flamenco shows in many cities across Spain.
Shopping / What to Buy
Spain ranks among the top countries that satisfy shopping enthusiasts. Olive oil and wine, as well as Turron, known as Spanish nougat, can be delicious gift alternatives. Bull-shaped objects will always remind you of Spain, while magnets adorned with Gaudi's works can be added to your shopping list. Handmade espadrilles, unique with their colors and patterns, are typical Spanish items, and you can also purchase "abanico," or fans, which are another characteristic Spanish product.
In most cities in Spain, you can find extensive rail networks and buses that operate until late hours. There are widespread railway networks and sea vessels that operate between the mainland and the islands. In major cities, tourist buses are available for easy access to popular attractions. Another convenient option for urban transportation is taxis and car rentals, which are safe and reliable.
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