Few travel experiences rival Spain with its eclectic art and architecture, colorful fiestas, the plethora of traditional cuisine from paella to tapas, and stunning coastline. It’s little wonder most travelers end up following another tradition – joining the daily siesta. Regardless of where you go, the Spanish seem to have mastered the mix of delectable cuisine and vibrant cultural experiences so we’ve found the best places in some of Spain’s key cities to ensure you supercharge your senses while you’re on vacation here.
Stroll the extravagant palaces, parks, and museums (where you’ll see masterpieces like Pablo Picasso’s La Guernica) by day, and after dark watch Spain’s capital and largest city transform into a magical, culinary Mecca. Tapas bars line streets, markets burst with fresh food, music floats down the street, and nights will simply slip away.
You can try foods from every region of Spain at the Mercado de San Miguel market
To the market
Bring your appetite and a sense of culinary curiosity to experience the broad variety of authentic fare at the century-old Mercado de San Miguel, often referred to as one of the world’s best gastronomic markets. Visit any time from the afternoon until the wee hours of the morning. Sip cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and graze as you go among the lively atmosphere. If you plan ahead, you can also visit Casa Botin, said to be the oldest restaurant in the world. Founded in 1725, traditional Spanish suckling pig and Castilian roasted lamb are its specialities. Over the centuries, the restaurant has made its way into several works of literature including Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
The Museo Nacional del Prado is almost 200 years old with the largest holdings of Bosch, Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Velázquez & Goya
A walk of art
Paseo del Arte, known as the art walk, is little more than a half-mile stretch where you can casually stroll and soak up the incredible art scene of Spain’s past and present. Book a guided walk, or spend your day exploring solo. Whatever you do, don’t miss the world-leading Museo Nacional del Prado, a Spanish institution featuring works by Goya and Titian; Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum that features Van Gogh and Gauguin, and the Reina Sofía Museum that has one of the finest collections of contemporary art in the world with more than 20,000 pieces in every medium from paintings to video installations.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary (known as the Seville Cathedral) is the largest Gothic church in the world
There are literally hundreds of places to find tapas in Seville
Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of places to indulge in tapas in Seville. Head to the old town to Alameda, Macarena, Nervión, Los Remedios or Triana, where you’ll find everything from snails and marinated fish to sweet Spanish wines. Another perfect spot to heighten the senses is the Lonja del Barranco market. At the foot of Isabel II Bridge, overlooking the Guadalquivir River, you’ll find everything from pizza and pies to cocktails.
Cristina Heeren’s flamenco school aims to conserve and promote the cultural art form of flamenco
For the love of flamenco
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The interior of the Sagrada Família, one of Gaudí’s most famous works in Barcelona that remains unfinished to this day
A visit to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without spending time wandering along Las Rambla, the close to one-mile tree-lined pedestrian boulevard in the heart of the city. However, it’s also a place of beautiful beaches and incredible architecture, including works by the genius modernist Antoni Gaudi. But, it’s here you’ll also learn why Spain leads the world in olive oil production.
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Discover the secrets of producing a premium olive oil with a tasting at Hola Olive