If we play the game of close your eyes and say what comes to your mind..here the name is Spain, what hits your mind first?
My first word was ‘Party’!
My impression of Spain was a perennial party atmosphere, honey toned pretty gals, good looking blokes like Enrique, beaches, tomatoes (thanks to many movies featuring the La Tomatina), football, and yes some ancient architecture (not much that i knew of).
Quite a shame to just scratch the tip of a colonial mammoth; Espania.
Fourth largest country in Europe and five times larger than UK, Spain is a cornucopia of cultural crossovers which has set the base of a unique heritage which is spelled out in its architectural wonders like Alhambra, Cordoba Mosque, churches of Santiago de Compostella . Spain’s home grown architecture legend, Antonio Gaudi has given some unique and spell bounding monuments in Barcelona. Spain has some very envious islands and magnificent beach locations under its belt making it an ultimate holiday destination; Lanzarote, Majorca, Costa Brava and the very famous Ibiza.
Spain is a large country and you will need to meticulously draft your itinerary as the cities of tourist interests are spread across. So its advisable to decide based on your interest and then choose the routes and number of days.
Only advice is, Do not attempt to cover all of Spain in a short trip.
If a religious interest is primary, you should do the Way of St James, pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella where St James is buried. Further make a trip to Portugal to the Sanctuary of Fatima. If you are a die hard party animal, it would be criminal not to visit Ibiza. If you want to tick mark iconic cities, then obvious answers would be Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada or Bilbao. There are loads of architectural sites and again you need to choose based on the time you have at hand.
Spanish cities are large and unlike other smaller European countries, it may be difficult to walk and see the whole of it. So buy some hop on hop off tickets, local bus tickets or metros to go around. Between cities use buses or the world famous AVE super fast trains.
Safety! Well I can write a saga which i personally faced. I got robbed in Barcelona. I was travelling to Sagrada Familia in the metro. A man who was standing very close to me flicked my wallet. Apparently i had all my cards, some cash all was gone. I did not have any cash reserves anywhere else neither back in the hotel. It was really messy. While I was at the police station to lodge a complaint, I saw a large number of tourists who were sitting to file complaints of theft. It’s common especially in Barcelona and Madrid to be mugged. Be extremely careful. More tips to follow in my posts.
The most famous Spanish cuisine is ‘Paella‘, yes its a must have. However i am afraid there is a struggle to find an authentic joint. Further savor the Spanish wines, cold cuts, seafood and the sinful Spanish chocolates. Food is simply fabulous in Spain and it will need another gastronomical tour for me to write about it, however in my short stint I was totally impressed with the food quality and prices were reasonable.
Ready to explore?
Spain is a lively, beautiful and culturally rich country. And how can we forget its heart beat – Football!
Browse through this blog to check out some interesting write-ups and candid pictures from my various trips across Spain.