As a notoriously flamboyant corner of what Europeans happily think of as 'sunbathing territory', Spain is home to a welcoming mix of Mediterranean culture and its own unique (and often clashing) ideals). As the impassioned nation home to flamenco and bull fighting in some corners, as well as spectacular seafood and potent alcoholic coffee, this is a country that’s every bit as enticing off the beaten track as on,so much so that an Englishman recently spent months sitting by a phone box in a 'social experiment'. We can't help thinking it was more for fun... Explore cosmopolitan Barcelona, bask on the beaches of Andalucía and clamber amongst the rocky peaks of the Pyrenees.
Absorbing the culture is an essential part of a Spanish trip; you’ll have to get used to lunchtime naps, olives with every meal, and a sense that getting anything done quickly really isn’t that important. You can delve deep into some of the annual events, like the running of the bull at Pamplona, where you’ll spend your day sprinting away from an angry beast, Barcelona’s human towers, or the iconic tomato festival, ‘La Tomatina’, in Bunyol.
Granada’s traces of Muslim rule, winding backstreets and phenomenal hilltop fort make the city an impressive draw, while the Basque city of San Sebastian has a different cultural outlook, and is best explored during the pulsating evenings. Valencia’s orange-lined streets and technicolored city-centre, the beautiful Alpujarran peaks and rustic villages of Sierra Nevada, and the super clubs, wild beach parties and pleasure island vibe of Ibiza are more than worth a trip, too.
I encourage you to visit the north of Spain (España Verde). This is completely different to the south where it is full of myths and legends. Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Basque Country ... These are green and wild lands, where nature shows its best, where high mountains meets the sea and high sea cliffs towering the coasts. The enigmatic Picos de Europa mountain range casts a rain shadow phenomenon that separates España Verde from arid south of the country. The stranger northern Spain, it has nothing similar to the south, it is a strange but beautiful world.
Last modified on 12/05/2015 - 18:00
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