Choose one, or all, of these top spots for your Spanish break! Spain is a country bursting at the seams with sites and marvels to see. From magnificent buildings to historic museums we outline the attractions that should be at the top of your sightseeing list.
A feat of architectural splendour the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is simply stunning. Built upon the tomb of Saint James, the patron saint of Spain, after the tomb was discovered in 819 AD, this iconic landmark became the last stop on the pilgrims’ journey. Known as the Way of St. James or Camino de Santiago, medieval pilgrims walked for months to arrive and lay their hands on the pillar inside the doorway, a practice still performed today. Parts of the cathedral date to 1060 and it is one of the finest Romanesque churches in Spain with its Baroque façade adding to its grandeur.
Few cities can rival the sheer volume and quality of Madrid’s art scene, with iconic Spanish painters such as Picasso, Velázquez and Dalí, The Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia National Museum form the famous Art Triangle in Madrid and are located just a few metres from each other. Begin at the Museo del Prado, Madrid’s best-known attraction and premier art gallery home to more than 7000 paintings. For 20th-century art continue on to the Reina Sofia Museum and be amazed by the star attraction – Picasso’s “Guernica”. Conclude by exploring the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum’s eclectic collection ranging from medieval to modern.
Described as a ‘pearl set in emeralds’ by Moorish poets, the astounding UNESCO listed Alhambra, meaning ‘the red one’ in Arabic, is a beautiful testament to Moorish culture and design. Located strategically overlooking the whole of Granada the initial Alcazar fortress has expanded out over the centuries to be a complex of breath-taking and intricate buildings The Nasrid palaces are the jewels of the Alhambra. Built for royalty they possess incredibly ornate stucco walls, beautiful tiling and wooden ceilings engraved with Arabic inscriptions and symbolic patterns. One of the most magnificent Islamic buildings in all of Europe, a visit here is not optional.
If you’re after truly impressive architecture then look no further than La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. World-renowned architect Antoni Gaudi designed this extravagant church, which is still under construction after more than 100 years. Gaudi was famous for his dislike of straight lines, preferring to take influence from nature. Following his untimely death in 1926 the construction of the church was taken up by architect Francesco de Paula Villar, who seized the opportunity to express his religious and baroque characteristics. The elaborate and unique design has made La Sagrada Familia the most visited monument in all of Spain.