Spain

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When it comes down to planning your day-to-day list of things to do, ShermansTravel experts have you covered. To make sure you get the most out of your vacation, we recommend the can't-miss museums and attractions, as well as the off-the-path activities and unique local experiences that will make your trip truly memorable.

Things to do in Spain

Doñana National Park

A unique system of marsh, grassland, and desert listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Center, this park covers almost 1,000 square miles and is one of Europe's largest nature reserves, home to dozens of species of birds and mammals.

near El Rocio, Carretera El Rocio-Doñana, s/n, 011-34-959-506162, www.parquenacionaldonana.com
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | outdoors | wildlife

Gran Hotel La Florida

This magnificent 70-room hotel, built in 1925 and reopened in 2003 after a 47-million-dollar renovation, sits high atop Mount Tibidabo with views over Barcelona and beyond. A heated indoor and outdoor infinity pool anchors the state-of-the-art spa.

Carretera Vallvidrera al Tibidabo, 83-93, 011-34-932-593000, www.hotellaflorida.com
Tags: luxury | expensive | editor pick | trendy | things to do

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

U.S. starchitect Frank Gehry created a sensation with his silvery, fish-scale skinned titanium and glass building housing the European outpost of the famed New York institution. Fortunately, the wonderful permanent collection and crowd-drawing temporary exhibitions are not overshadowed by the archit

Avenida Abandoibarra, 2, 011-34-944-359080, www.guggenheim-bilbao.es
Tags: editor pick | trendy | art | things to do | architecture

Jerez de la Frontera

In southern Spain, not far from the Straits of Gibraltar, lies Jerez de la Frontera, the home of sherry. The city of Jerez, the hub of the sherry trade near Spain’s southern coast, is steeped in Moorish culture and doubles as a center of flamenco. Sherry is a whole wine category unto itself of nearly infinite variety; seasoned drinkers and young bucks can all find something that works for them. The beguiling wine is made according to centuries-old traditions, and it comes in a huge variety of styles. Sherry’s distinctly nutty, earthy taste would be enough to interest many travelers in exploring its home turf – that is, if more people would try the stuff in the first place. This fortified wine offers styles from bone-dry (the fino style) to dessert in a glass (Pedro Ximinez, which is often poured over vanilla ice cream), with many types in between, such as the tangy, yet carmely Palo Cortado. Anyone who can’t find a bottle to suit may simply lack imagination.

So feel free to make a trip to this gracious, Arab-influenced city for, say, the annual horse fair in May. While you’re there, surely someone will serve you a copita of refreshing, pale gold fino. That could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. See more Smart Luxury Award winners. 2010 Smart Luxury Award winner

, 011-34-956-149-863, www.turismojerez.com
Tags: smart luxury winner | things to do | wine | wine region

La Rambla

Stroll along this tree-lined pedestrian boulevard running from Barcelona's Plaça de Catalunya down to the port for a taste of this lively city's eclectic atmosphere, with its bustling sidewalk cafes, engaging street performers, flower kiosks, and non-stop action.

La Rambla,
Tags: family | shopping | editor pick | things to do | culinary | walk

Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art

Spend a day visiting a trio of the world's greatest art museums - the Prado for classical painting, the Reina Sofia for modern works, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum for a comprehensive collection from the 13th to 20th centuries.

Paseo del Prado, s/n, 011-34-913-302800, www.museodelprado.es
Tags: family | editor pick | art | things to do | museum

Parador of Alarcón

Spend the night in this meticulously restored medieval fort, now a 14-room hotel operated by the famed state-run Parador chain and perched high on a promontory overlooking the Jucar River, 90 minutes southeast of Madrid.

Avenida Amigo de los Castillos, 3, www.parador.es
Tags: moderate | editor pick | historic | great value | things to do

Restaurante Arzak

Basque chefs are renowned for their innovation and skill, and the guru of them all is José Mari Arzak Etxabe, whose namesake three-Michelin-starred restaurant serves up a rotating tasting menu with dishes like lobster claw in an onion-vermouth sauce.

Avenida Alcalde Elosegui, 273, 011-34-943-278465, www.arzak.info
Tags: expensive | editor pick | smart splurge | trendy | things to do

Sailing in the Balearics

Spend the day fishing, enjoy a romantic sunset dinner cruise, or charter your own boat to explore hidden coves around the Mediterranean island of Majorca. Although the island has many charter services, Vita-Bel II is the best. Closed November through April.

Majorca, Cala d’Or Marina, Cala d’Or, 40 miles east of Palma, 011-34-649-18-95-95, www.vita-bel.com
Tags: sailing | expensive | editor pick | things to do | outdoors

The Alhambra

Overlooking the city of Granada, this Moorish palace and gardens evoke an Arabian Nights fantasy, with colorfully tiled royal halls and rooms, patios with fountains, and even a harem, all surrounded by crumbling battlements and towers.

Cuesta de Gomerez, 011-34-902-441221, www.alhambra-patronato.es
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | architecture | history

The City of Arts and Sciences

One of Europe's modern architectural marvels, this futuristic complex containing an aquarium, science museum, world-class concert hall, planetarium, and IMAX theater has made Valencia a must-go destination.

Avenida Autopista del Saler, 1-7, 011-34-902-100031, www.cac.es
Tags: family | editor pick | art | things to do | culture | aquarium | performing arts

The Mezquita

Built by Moorish ruler Abd ar-Rahman in the 8th century, this mammoth mosque, a maze of horseshoe-shaped, double-tiered arches built of red and white stone, is one of the highlights of Islamic architecture.

Calle Cardenal Herrero, 1, 011-34-957-470512, www.mezquitadecordoba.org
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | architecture | history

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