Things to Do in Spain

by  Melissa Klurman | Feb 14, 2020
Barcelona / Gatsi/iStock

Spain has a rhythm of its own, with a slower, more relaxed pace than the rest of Europe. The country still enjoys long “siesta” breaks in the afternoons, with lunches that extend over several hours. Then, it’s tapas time in the early evening; and dinner is often served around midnight.

During the day, you can view world-famous architecture at the Alhambra in Granada or at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Art lovers can explore modern wonders at the Guggenheim in Balboa, Picasso’s great works in Barcelona, or Goya’s Disasters of War at the Prado in Madrid (among the 7,000 works of art there). Flamenco and fado provide the background music for traditional bars and clubs; and there are gorgeous golden beaches along the Costa del Sol; fascinating Moorish influences in the south; and a modern infrastructure connecting it all with high-speed railways to zip passengers through the country.

What Currency Does Spain Use?

Spain is one of 28 nations that make up the European Union. As such, the country uses the Euro as currency. 

Things to Do in Seville, Spain

Seville, Spain / silverjohn/iStock

Seville (or “Sevilla” as the Spanish call it) is the capital of Andalusia. The city is filled with fascinating sights and attractions, all featuring a unique northern African flair. 

Real Alcázar: This Moorish palace looks like a movie set. Its regal architecture, stunning tile work, and fretted arches are complemented by flower-filled gardens where you can pet peacocks for a fanciful flourish. 

Torre del Oro: For another impressive Moorish site, head to Torre del Oro, a 13th-century tower that features sky-high views plus a maritime museum at the ground level.   

Catedral de Sevilla: Seville is also home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. It's also where you'll find the tomb of Christopher Columbus. 

Flamenco: While you’re here, don’t miss an evening of flamenco. The city is famed for its quick-paced “Sevillana” folk dances.

Things to Do in Valencia, Spain

Valencia, Spain / Rrrainbow/iStock

Valencia, located on the sunny southern Mediterranean coast, is the third-largest city in Spain. The city itself full of contrasts, with futuristic design at the City of Arts and Sciences, lovely palm-lined beaches along the coast, and notable architecture spanning from medieval to Art Deco, to modern. 

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias: Step into the future at the fantastical City of Arts and Culture, a series of humpbacked steel and glass structures designed by architect Santaigo Calatrava. The 90-acre educational complex is interwoven with lush gardens. Highlights include the Science Museum (complete with a planetarium and IMAX theater ) and the Oceanografic, the largest aquarium in Europe. 

Miguelete Tower: Climb the 207 steps up the winding spiral staircase to reach the top of this landmark bell tower. Your reward? Sweeping, 360-degree views of the entire city — including the expansive green scene of the Turia Gardens and the peaceful Albufera Lake.  

Miguelete Tower / chrisdorney/iStock

Mercados Centrals: Like almost every other building in Valencia, the historic Central Market is a work of art. The space dates back to the 1920s and features modernist glasswork, columns, and vaults. But, what’s inside is even better: A maze of more than 450 stalls offering authentic of Valencian cuisine.

Paella: Don’t leave Valencia without trying Spain’s best-known dish, the saffron-infused rice-based paella, which was invented here. You’ll often hear it called “paella Valenciana” in other parts of the world, but to sound like a local, simply refer to it as “arroz” rice. 

Things to Do in Barcelona

Barcelona is best know visually for its fantastical Modernist architectural masterpieces by Gaudí, with Park GüellCasa Milà, Casa Battló, Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Palau de la Música Catalan, and Hospital Sant Pau all on the must-visit list. 

Park Guell, Barcelona / MasterLu/iStock

Beyond the well-known landmarks, you’ll find fascinating and well-preserved medieval streets in Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter), not to mention a vibrant Catalan culture with its own unique language and cuisine. And, just steps away from all its hustle and bustle, there’s a string of beaches — all of which will make Barcelona a city you’ll want to return to repeatedly to explore and appreciate all of its nuances.  

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