Kirilly: Spain

I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Spain 3 times over the last year and I have fallen in love with the destination.  So much diversity to the north & south that each trip has been just that little bit different.

In particular I love the Andalucía area – Seville my favourite spot to spend exploring the little alley ways, plazas and cobblestone streets.  Amazing food to try and the best ice-cream in the world… in my opinion!!  It has a stunning cathedral and Alcazar which cannot be missed.  From here you can also explore other surrounding cities such as Cordoba with its stunning alley ways & Mezquita, Granada – home to the famous Alhambra Palace (the most visited tourist attraction in Spain) or Jerez which has a beautiful quaint old Spanish town.  While you are down south you can also explore the beautiful coastal areas of the Costa de Sol and visit Marbella or Malaga which have some beautiful beaches to enjoy a sangria or two watching some amazing sunsets.

You cannot also go to Spain without experiencing Madrid – Spain’s capital and largest city.  There is so much to see and do there, it has excellent restaurants, bars and nightlife.  It is a perfect stop for any art lover with an array of choices to explore such as the Prado Museum or Reina Sofia. This is a great city to walk and explore and its ok to get a little lost along the way!  Madrid is a huge city and you can spend days here but also good to consider travelling outside the city itself too – Toledo is just an hour away by train which is a stunning medieval city full of such charm.  Another favourite of mine is Segovia, also about an hour by train from Madrid which is so beautiful.  The city is surrounded by a 2000 year old aqueduct and is home to a beautiful castle high on a hill which was used as the inspiration for the famous Walt Disney iconic castle.

Barcelona is such a different city to Madrid with its unique Catalan culture and distinctive architecture much influence by Gaudi.  It is home to the famous La Sagrada Familia, which is considered to be Gaudi’s masterpiece, still under construction.  It has an amazing Gothic Quarter to explore, one of Europe’s best preserved actually.  A stroll down Las Ramblas to experience more of Barcelona or even visit out to some of the beach areas.  Again this city is quite sprawled out but also easy to get around and see by foot, train and bus.  From Barcelona you can also visit  Montserrat which is home to the Benedictine Monastery which is truly stunning and some of the most spectacular mountain views of the Cataluña area.  You can do mountain walks here with breathtaking views.  Many people visit here also to see the Black Madonna and theSanta Maria de Montserrat Abbey.

I cannot forget about San Sebastian – many people come here for its beautiful beach.. which is usually packed with sunbathers during the summer months but also people that love food and drink!  It has winding streets full of bars & restaurants in the old town which are amazing and houses many Michelin Star restaurants.  The city specials in seafood and is huge on its pintos (tapas) culture which is said to be the best in Spain, San Sebastian actually frequently tops lists of the world’s best places to eat. Close by you also have Bilbao, home of the famous Guggenheim Museum, another city worth a visit.  I could talk about Spain for hours, there are many other cities I have seen and loved – another being Santiago de Compostela a famous pilgrimage site in north-west of Spain  it was destroyed by the Muslims at the end of the 10th century, it was completely rebuilt in the following century. With its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, the Old Town of Santiago is one of the world’s most beautiful urban areas to be found in Europe. It’s a fascinating place to be, just to sit and see the hundreds of people make this walk in to the city from far and wide.

Spain is amazing with so much to offer, places to explore, food to sample whether it is paella or a glass of sangria, it will not disappoint you!