Spain is the birthplace of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Antoni Gaudi, and Manolo Blahnik. Essentially, the region's beauty and vibrancy have been the source of inspiration for many artists, some of them even becoming some of the most influential artists in the world. It should come as no surprise, then, that many people prefer to go and spend their summers, or at least a part of it, in Spain. Traveling to Spain essentially means that you are going to experience a plethora of national treasures and cultures. Whether it be the matadors, the flamenco dancers, the ancient Roman ruins, the cast plains, and the high mountain peaks, you are guaranteed that you will find pleasant and aesthetic activities to take part in. You can even decide to dance till the wee hours of the night in the many nightclubs that make up Barcelona or sleep in a hilltop village in the region that is Andalucia. It is as clear as day that Spain has so much to offer, according to Go abroad.
Before we get into the nitty-gritties that constitute Spain's tourist attractions, it must be noted that there is a common misconception that the entirety of Spain has one climate; the Sunny Mediterranean climate. Granted, a huge part of it is sunny, but Spain, climatically speaking, is split into three distinct regions, according to Travel and Leisure. Ergo, when it comes to seeking the best time to visit the country, it will depend on the specific region or regions that you want to go to. Generally speaking, the best time to visit Spain in summer is early summer or the beginning of autumn. The south part of Spain, the coastal region, does enjoy the Mediterranean climate that is often associated with the country in general. It has mild and wet winters and dry and warm summers. The central plains in the country, where Madrid is located, have a more capricious climate, with colder winters and hotter summers. The county's mountain region is the one that gets the most rain. The Basque region that is located to the north of Spain has a more maritime climate and one that is a lot cooler and wetter.
Regions you should visit in Spain in the summer
Valencia is the country's third-largest city, behind Madrid and Barcelona. It goes without saying that when it comes to architecture, the city can hold its own with aesthetic greats in the entire world, let alone Spain. It is teeming with modernistic museums and miles and miles of beach space. The climate is the Mediterranean, as is the culture. Some of the places that you have to make sure you visit in the city include the City of Arts and Sciences, La Lonja, and the Oceanographic Aquarium, according to TT Madrid. While you are there, make sure that you take advantage of the free tour that the city offers visitors. The tour is approximately two and a half hours long. It comes with a friendly tour guide, and in it, you can take a look at all the historic and modern places in Valencia. Pella is one of the most famous dishes in Spain, and it is home in Valencia. So, while you are visiting Spain in summer, you have to make sure that you try the dish at least once. Another cuisine that you have to get a bite of includes the Horchata, a fresh drink, and Agua de Valencia, directly translating to 'Water of Valencia', which is similar to mimosa.
One of the largest cities in not only Spain but also Europe, Barcelona is a notorious tourist attraction, and for good reason, according to Spain.info. Thanks to Antonio Gaudi, the city has one of the most beautiful historical architectures and skylines in the world. While in Barcelona, you will not run out of places to go visit. However, there are some that you will have to take particular note of; the Sagrafa Familia and the Park Guell. If you are a football fan, or soccer as they call it in the US, then it goes without saying that you should go for a tour of Barcelona FC Museum. Barcelona is one of the most successful football clubs in the World, and if possible, attend a match or to in the iconic Nou Camp, Barcelona's home stadium, and the largest in Europe. You should also visit the Nation Museum of Art in Catalunya, as well as the Miro Museum and the Picasso Museum. Try taking a relaxing stroll in the Placa Reial. You should also give El Mercado de la Boquería a visit; it is considered by many to be a gastronomic temple and one that features some of the best local ingredients.
The small medieval town of Segovia is only an hour's drive away from Madrid, and you can take a bus from downtown Madrid to the region. The town, as mentioned, is fairly small, and thus you will want to wear some comfortable shoes to walk around in. While you are there, make sure you visit the Roman aqueduct, which is still the most significant and well-preserved ancient monument on the entire Iberian Peninsula. You can and should not miss the Alcazar of Segovia. Fun fact, the Alcazar of Segovia is one of the castles that served as inspiration when Walt Disney was creating the Sleeping Beauty castle, so you must go and take a look. After taking the long walk through town, you can sit down and enjoy a typical Segovian dish, such as the Cochinillo Asodo. Though it may be a bit pricey, you will enjoy it. For dessert, you can have the Ponche Segoviano.
Toledo is home to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities, and has a lot of ancient architecture through its streets. It is one of Spain's finest Gothic cathedrals, and only two Sephardic synagogues are found in Toledo. The town is fairly small, and you can cover its entirety on foot in one day. Therefore, be ready to walk about, and carry the necessary garments and shoes to do so. When it comes to cuisine, the town is known for is "Carcamusa", which is a pork and potato stew in tomato sauce. Additionally, the marzipan, which is made of almonds, egg yolks, and sugars, is also a very pleasant meal, and thus we recommend that you try it.
5. Alcala de Henares
While in Spain, you can and should not fail to visit the home of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. The town is home to a budding student community since one of the most prestigious universities in Spain, the University of Alcala, is here. The town has a great tapas culture, and there are a lot of terraces where you can enjoy your meal or drink in the sunshine. If you take 'The Cervantes Train', from Madrid to Alcala, a group of actors will perform the best episodes of Don Quixote.
Places you should visit in Spain in Summer
1. La Sagrada Família, Barcelona
The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, located in Barcelona, is considered by many to be a symbol of not only the city itself but also of Catholicism and Catalan Modernism. It was dreamt up by Antoni Gaudi, and it exemplifies his philosophy that nature is, essentially, the work of God. The Basilica is a combination of Christian Speeches and a plethora of Biblical allegories, and there is a myriad of complex natural symbols and geometrical shapes. The end result is one outstanding architectural, spiritual, and cultural masterpiece, so much so that in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI declared it a basilica.
2. The Alhambra, Grenada
In many ways, the Alhambra is Europe's love letter to Moorish culture. The fortified palace, which is set against the brooding Sierra Nevada peaks, initially was a walled citadel before the Nasrid emirs made it their opulent seat, according to Wikipedia. Their palaces, the Palacios Nazaríes, are some of the finest Islamic buildings in Europe. This, combined with the Generalife gardens, form what we know to be Alhambra's great headline act.
3. Real Alcazar, Catedral & Barrio de Santa Cruz
When Christian and Mudejar cultures combine, the result is stunning beauty; the Real Alcazar, according to Lonely Planet. Seville's royal palace is a complex work of art that is simply breathtaking. The site, which was developed in 913, has been revamped a myriad of times over its existence, with the most spectacular revamping coming in the 14th century, when King Pedro added the Palacio de Don Pedro, the Alcazar's crowning glory. Fun fact; the Real Alcazar featured in the hit TV series Game of Thrones.
4. Mezquita, Córdoba
When it comes to beauty and aesthetic appeal, there is no way you can overemphasize how stunning the Mezquita, Cordoba's great mosque, is. It is considered by many to be one of Islamic Architecture's most elegant works of art, and that oeuvre of work is not small.
5. Catedral & Giralda, Seville
Catedral & Giralda is Seville's showcase church and is awe-inspiring in its majesty and scale. Built between 1434 and 1517, it is the world's largest gothic church and was previously the city's main mosque. Some of the highlights include the mighty bell tower, the monumental tomb for Christopher Columbus, and the Capilla Mayor.
6. Museo del Prado, El Retiro & the Art Museums
Museo del Prado is one of the premier art galleries in the world. with more than 7000 paintings that span across every single artistic period, it is easy to see why. However, only about 1500 are on display. The collection includes royal paintings by Velázquez, the Pinturas Negras (Black Paintings) of Goya, and a plethora of other sophisticated paintings from the rest of Europe.
7. Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela
At the very heart of Santiago lies and soars the spires and sculpture that is the Catedral de Santiago. It takes time to build a masterpiece, and the Cathedral is a quintessence of this. Its construction took place over several centuries and this is a mix of both old Romanesque structures and later baroque and Gothic finishes. The tomb of Santiago is a magnet for one and all, and the cathedral's artistic high point is inside the west entrance, the Pórtico de la Gloria, and features over 200 masterly Romanesque sculptures.
8. The Park Güell, Gràcia & Park Güell
Park Güell is what Disney Land would look like if it was Spanish and located in Barcelona. It is, in fact, the city's favorite postcard. It is also a great summary of the Catalan Capital, the Mediterranean lifestyle, and the creative take on construction by the cosmopolitan city. It is thus no surprise, then, that the park was created by perhaps the most influential architect and artist not only in Spain and Europe but also in the entire world, Antoni Gaudi. The masterpiece comes with tree-shaped columns and undulating forms that combine in perfect harmony. The park is an ideal example of Catalan Modernism, and when in Barcelona, you should make sure that you visit it.
9. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
As part of the triumvirate that is the Golden Triangle of Art, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is one of Madrid's most famous art museums. It was once a privately owned art collection that was started by Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, and his son Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza later expanded it. It is home to over 1000 art pieces from some of the most celebrated artists and painters globally, like Degas, Dali, Renoir, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and van Eyck. It should be noted, though, that the museum, due to its compact size, visitors have a limited amount of time to move around and take in all the artistic excellence that the museum has to offer.
10. The Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
The Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is home to Picasso's Guernica, amongst a myriad of other paintings. It is Madrid's premier collection of artistic works. In addition to Pablo Picasso's works, the museum is also home to artists such as Joan Miro and Salvador Dali. There are also a couple of non-Spanish speaking artists who have their work there, like Francis Bacon, but most of the work is strictly peninsular.
Written by Liz Flynn
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