Spain is a country of rich history, beautiful architecture, museums, music, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and beaches. Whatever your interests, you can find something to enjoy in Spain. Getting around the country is relatively simple with convenient transportation systems. Major cities have efficient and affordable public transportation making exploring much easier. It is easy to fly into one major city such as Madrid and fly out of Barcelona relying on the high-speed train that connects the cities.
Madrid is one of Europe's beautiful capital cities filled with centuries of history, monuments, museums, shopping and great restaurants to keep one busy for days. Stay in the historic area and most sights are accessible on foot, metro or a taxi.
Activities: Prado Museum, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Real Jardin Botanico, Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, and Puerta del Sol.
The Hop on/Hop off tourist bus will allow you to see the most popular sights, getting off to take photos and or tours and complete the loop during the same day. It is a great way to orient to a new city.
After a few days in Madrid take the train to Barcelona, Spain's other great city located in the Catalan Region. The difference between Madrid and Barcelona is like San Francisco and Los Angeles. You may love them both but the cities have very different personalities.
Barcelona celebrates all things art, probably why Antoni Gaudi is so revered the world over for his innovative architecture synonymous with Barcelona. You can visit museums in the morning, take a siesta at the beach in the afternoon, and go dancing into the wee hours of the night. Enjoy tapas in the evening before a late dinner around midnight and a night on the town.
Activities: Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, Palau Guell, Montjuic Fountain and funicular, Tibaldabo Amusement Park, Picasso Museum, Olympics site, and La Rambla.
Valencia is a fascinating city and a more manageable size and scale than either Madrid or Barcelona. Arrive by train to enjoy the sights along the way and one of Europe’s most beautiful train stations, Estacion de Norte. Architecture dates back to the Romans with Gothic and Modernism also well represented. There are beaches accessible via a short metro ride to relax after a busy day of touring.
Activities: The Cathedral containing Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, don't miss the Holy Grail Chapel and the tower climb; Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava - each of the buildings has a unique modern form;, L'Amouna a museum constructed over Roman ruins; and the Museo De Bellas Artes containing works from El Greco, Murillo, Morales, Goya, Ribera, Ribalta, and Juan de Juanes.
For English speakers seek out an Irish Pub when you want to converse with fellow Westerners. In Valencia St. Martin, located in the Historic District is an excellent place for a bite to eat, a pint, or glass of wine, and the latest soccer match.
Ibiza isn't just for party goers, families come for sun and a beach holiday, although many come for the outrageous nightlife and discos. In Ibiza dinner doesn't start until after 11 p.m. with clubs getting busy after 2 a.m. There are theme nights at many clubs and if you are feeling adventurous experience one of the "foam parties." There are direct flights from Valencia and Barcelona or take the ferry for a scenic mode of transportation.
Activities: Rent a scooter to see the beautiful beaches and stunning white architecture for which the island is famous; Cafe Del Mar has their famous Sunset Sessions for a cool vibe; Clubs such as Pacha, Privilege, and Amnesia; historic churches; or stroll along the seaside esplanade.
Transatlantic flights can wreak havoc on getting sleep during long plane flights. Finally an improvement to the neck pillow, the Evolution Travel Pillow prevents neck bobbing so you can arrive at your destination refreshed.
Dry cabin air is hard on skin. Oxygen Pur has oxygenated skin serums to counteract the wear and tear of travel to your skin, leaving it refreshed rather than dry.
When traveling in Spain, try to speak some Spanish, it will help you receive better service.
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About the Author: Karla is the author of several travel columns covering cocktails, wine, food, horse racing, and exotic car events, as well as undiscovered travel locations. Discover more from over 400 travel articles of places to explore.
©Karla Erovick 2013 article, photos