One of the most exciting kingdoms in the whole of Europe, Spain is soaked in a varied history – one of the pivotal shapers and players in the western world. From the days of the Spanish Armada to the more recent era of world-class cuisine and wonderful holiday resorts, Spain remains one of Europe’s favourite holiday destinations.
This article expands on the glories of Spain’s offerings – from the extraordinary landscapes of the Pyrenees to the sun-splashed coastline that rustic and sepia-toned Spanish Riviera.
If you’re planning a honeymoon to the home of tapas and paella, this guide will give you the tips you need to make the very most of your trip.
Beaches and the Coastline
The Spanish Riviera is known to be classy, sassy and oh-so beautiful. Any honeymoon to Spain is certainly incomplete without your basing yourself on one of the many hundreds of beaches that line its coast – the simple task is to find which one suits your needs. Spain Holidays provide some excellent private villas, to a luxury standard, to help you relax and unwind after sweltering days – with attached pools to plunge into when the heat becomes too much.
You’ll also be able to explore the islands off Spain’s coastline, mirroring the expeditions undergone in Spain’s early naval age, when it conquered several smaller Mediterranean islands and converted them into the beautiful corners of paradise that they are today. For party-lovers, of course, there’s the huge pull of Ibiza to mention here – the foremost party destination in Europe, where top international DJs spin records through the night and well into the next day.
The Big Cities
Spain is one of those European countries that leaves the tourist absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to its thriving and culture-laden cities. Start off in Barcelona, a fiercely proud Catalan city, to see the Sagrada Familia – the as-yet unfinished cathedral inspired by the marvellously creative architect whose style is as surreal as that of fellow Spanish artists Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso – whose artworks you’ll be able to see displayed in Barcelona’s modern galleries.
Meanwhile, the seat of the royal family and the government is in the capital Madrid – home to two of the world’s finest football teams. It’s well worth catching a game if you can, in order to see the sheer passions with which Spain regards the beautiful game. Madrid itself is rich in historical buildings and artistic spots, and will certainly inspire you to stay a little longer – especially is the food and drink in this city is so delicious. Coastal cities, like Valencia, also have their charm, with added seafood delights tempting the palette.
Perhaps the most famous festival in the whole of Spain, is the ‘running of the bulls’ in Pamplona. This festival sees hundreds of brave runners dash in front of a herd of huge bulls on the city’s streets. It’s an incredible spectacle, and one that seems to sum up Spain’s brave and strong cultural tendencies. Meanwhile, there’s the festival of tomato throwing – something that kids and adults will delight in – and festivals during which teams compete to build the biggest human pyramid, many stories high.
In terms of the more traditional music festivals, Spain’s reliably wonderful weather has spawned several excellent yearly events, including SunSplash reggae festival, and Benicassim – both of which host internationally-acclaimed artists with the added benefits that the action takes place a short walk from the beach.
To Die For Cuisine
You might not go to Spain specifically for the food, but there’s no doubt that you’ll go home talking about it as one of the most exciting highlights of your trip. Where to start? Well, there’s paella, the large-pan rice and meat dish that takes expert cooking to get just right. Seafood dishes, making use of Spain’s long coastline, abound, while tapas dishes – the perfect assortment for light lunches or long dinners – are ubiquitous across the country.
Even the smaller parts of Spain’s cuisine make it something special. The olives are rich and scrumptious, the tomatoes are bursting with flavour, and you’re going to be washing all this down with some delicious beers and some utterly stunning wines. This is all not to mention the setting of so many of Spain’s restaurants – beach-side or street-side, the café culture in this Mediterranean country is going strong.
The Natural World
From the exceptionally beautiful rocky peaks of the Pyrenees in the north, to the tumbleweed near-desert regions in the south, and with everything in between, it’s not just cosmopolitan cities and beaches that Spain has to offer the tourist who wants to leave the country having sampled all of her treasures. No – to do that, you’re going to need to rent a car to drive to the country’s smaller villages and the countryside that surrounds them.
Off-the-beaten-track travel in Spain is its own reward – far away from the tourists in Malaga and Barcelona, here you’ll see what the rural people of this passionately individual country live like – and you might just find their laid-back, pleasant lifestyle seeping into your own.
Many people are unaware that, for a time in the first half of the last millennium, Spain was under Moorish rule after a successful invasion from North Africa. For decades, Spain was home to one of the earliest cosmopolitan societies in the world, with Christians, Jews and Muslims living happily side-by-side and trading with one another in a peaceful and prosperous nation. What this left behind, especially in the south of Spain, was a legacy of incredible and unique historical monuments.
You only have to look at photographs of the Alhambra online to appreciate the beauty of the architecture during this period – a stunning assemblage of different styles melded into something that’s sure to take your breath away. Spain also possesses its fair share of ancient ruins and intriguing historical oddities, making this a country for the culture buffs as well as the beach dwellers.
Holidays to Spain needn’t be one-dimensional beach trips – though those of course come with their own charm. This guide aims to open your eyes to the whole of Spain, inspiring you to search for the lesser-known wonders of this thrilling and passionate land.