Spain offers travelers so much variety that it’s hard to know where to begin. So here is just a few of the most popular attractions (apart from the beaches) -
The Alhambra – Not just one of the top places to see in Granada and Spain, but one of the world’s most important sights for its history, architecture, art and cultural significance. Within the walls of this royal palace of Nasrid dynasty are buildings, courtyards, gardens and a mosque, intricately decorated in stone carving, mosaic, tiles, filigree and enamels.
Gaudi in Barcelona – Gaudi took Art Nouveau a step farther, creating fanciful – even outrageous – buildings that have become landmarks as well as the signature pieces of this Catalonian city.
Santiago de Compostella – In the magnificent cathedral repose the relics of Saint James, the goal of pilgrims since the Middle Ages. This entire city in Galicia, with its arcaded streets and pilgrims hospital, now a posada, exudes charm.
Seville's Cathedral – The largest cathedral in Spain and – depending on how it is measured – either the largest or the third largest in the world, the importance of this church is not just its size. The gold main altar stands several stories tall.
El Escorial – The monastery and palace set into the foothills near Madrid is also the pantheon for the kings of Spain, whose remains lie in an elaborate crypt under the basilica. The church, monastery and palace contain a number of works by major artists, and the vaulted and frescoed ceilings in the public parts of the monastery are well worth seeing.
The Guggenheim at Bilbao – You really have to see this building to believe it – no photograph has ever done justice to this symphony of shapes so alive that they seem ready to take wing. American architect Frank Gehry used blocks of limestone and undulating sheets of titanium to turn the notion of modern architecture on its ear.
Great Mosque of Cordoba - So large is this mosque, with its row on row of graceful arches and pillars, that an entire cathedral was built into its centre after the re conquest of Spain by the Catholic Kings, and almost goes un-noticed. A must-see.
Palacio Real -- The king’s residence from its completion in 1764 until 1931, Madrid's royal palace is on the site of the old Moorish Alcazar. The throne room, royal apartments and a gallery of paintings by such artists as Caravaggio, Goya and Velazquez are all open to the public.
Toledo – Mudejar (Moorish), Gothic and Renaissance architecture mingle and blend into a city that El Greco captured in one of his most famous paintings. The Gothic cathedral is splendid, its interior richly decorated, and a pair of synagogues are ornate in the Moorish style.