Must-See Attractions in Spain and How to Get Around
With a number of convenient and accessible transportation options, Spain is one of the easiest European countries to circumvent to make the most of your trip. Traverse the area by land, sea or air to spend a few days in each major city. Spain has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, containing everything from cave art to the historic quarters of modern towns, and everything in between- nature reserves, gardens and monuments. When you’ve had your fill of culture and customs, make your way to the neighboring Canary Islands for some rest and relaxation.
How to Get Around Spain
The Spanish National Railway Network connects all provincial capitals with Madrid and is operating more and more high speed AVE trains every day. Get to all Seville, Malaga, Barcelona and Valencia in a short trip from Madrid on a flexible schedule at a great cost.
The largest airports in Spain are Barajas in Madrid, and El Prat in Barcelona , which offer the greatest number of international flights daily. With recent expansions and revamps, they make traveling in and out a breeze. Terminal 4 in Madrid was a recent addition in 2006 and is the world’s largest terminal by area. Designed by Antonio Lamela and Richard Rogers and TPS Engineers, they collectively won a Stirling Prize and IStructE Award for their innovative and modern design utilizing glass panes instead of walls and domed ceilings to let natural light in, aimed to give travelers a stress-free journey. It’s also fairly easy to island hop between Gran Canaria, Tenerife Sur and Tenerife Norte in the Canary Islands via smaller regional carriers for a very reasonable fee.
You can also visit the Canary Islands by sea as Trasmediterranea and Balearia, two of the major tour operators run regular routes between Cadiz, Barcelona and Valencia and the smaller ports. Enjoy the wind in your hair as you embark via boat to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The larger cities of Barcelona, Valencia and Malaga are also accessible by harbor, making it easy and enjoyable to visit multiple cities in one visit. Barcelona Port is one of the busiest on the Mediterranean and offers scheduled ferry services to and from Majorca, Ibiza, Minorca and Italy, with the option of travelling with your car. It is also a departure and stopping point for many cruises. Valencia Port offers scheduled ferry services to Majorca, Ibiza and Minorca. The port of Málaga has much history as a Phoenician trading port and is now the second most important cruise terminal in Spain.
Marques de Riscal (La Rioja)
A five-star hotel located in the heart of Elciego village, the Marques de Riscal was designed by famed Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry, creator of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The revolutionary building with titanium exterior panels rises up from the ground as though it were a vine, fully integrated into the surrounding vineyards and countryside. The innovative hotel features Vinothérapie®, a wine therapy spa, a business centre and a museum.
Hotel Ritz (Madrid)
A baroque palace positioned at the heart of Madrid’s “Golden Triangle”, Hotel Ritz was constructed in 1910 according to the wishes of King Alfonso XIII. This iconic Orient-Express landmark has welcomed visiting aristocracy, dignitaries and high society ever since. Every Wednesday evening in the summer, enjoy live jazz performances while sipping champagne on the terrace.
Barrio Gótico (Barcelona)
Take a walking tour of Antoni Gaudi’s famed Art Nouveau pieces. Must-see constructions include Sagrada Familia, the worldwide symbol of Barcelona and a monumental church comprised of shapes, towers and curves. Park Guell is also a lovely place to spend the afternoon, a public square of interesting sculptures, houses and benches, Gaudi’s interpretation of a suburban city.
Palacio de Congresos y de la Música de Euskalduna
A 21st century depiction of Bilbao, this modern convention center was designed by architects Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios as a vessel permanently under construction that stands in a dock on the site of the former Euskalduna Shipyard. They received a 2001 Enric Miralles award at the 6th Biennial of Spanish Architecture for their innovative and futuristic design.