Last year I spent few months in Spain with my boyfriend and we made an incredibly great road trip around the country. There are so many diversities! Every province is completely different, every place has its special magic. Here are my highlights – places you just must visit if you want to enjoy Spain to the maximum.
Yes. Of course. Everyone says it. But honestly, Barcelona, the main city of the province of Catalunya, is one of the best cities are I‘ve ever visited and if you miss it, you’ll definitely regret. Not only the classic tourist places that everyone recommends. Yes, you should definitely see Sagrada Familia, Park Güell or La Rambla.
But the thing that I really love about Barcelona is the spirit of the city. Just walk there, listen and enjoy. Really.
Take your time and walk from Plaza Catalunya to Rambla street. Admire live statues here and continue still down through the street. Then turn right and find the local market. Sure, be careful about the pocket thieves. But come on, you’re in the big city, this problem is everywhere… Buy a box of fresh fruits in the market and walk down to the sea. You can already smell it, right? The smell of the salty sea and fresh, warm wind. Now you can see the harbor. Walk through it and continue along the sea coast. You’re walking under the big palms, people are walking their dogs and skating… And in few minutes you can see Barceloneta beach. Just a few meters before the beach stop in the small fast food with the best french fries. Choose one of many sauces, buy a package for 3E and finally, get to the beach. Then you can just sit down to the warm sand, listen to waves and enjoy the moment. And that’s the real Barcelona I love so much.
If you have time to spend some time in Communidad Valenciana (province of Valencia), you should definitely visit the city itself. If you come there by train, you should get off at Estacio del Nord. From that train station, you can easily walk to the city center. Just beside the train station, there is Placa de Bous de Valencia, the big colosseum for bull fights. Yes, the only thing that I really don‘t like about Spain. Especially in Valencia bull fights are very very popular tradition and many local people can’t imagine living without it even if there are a lot of protests against this.
Nevermind, just go across the Carrer de Xativa and take Av. Del Marqéz de Sotelo. In few minutes you are on Placa d‘Ajuntment. There you just must take Carrer de Ribera and try the best ice cream I tasted in Spain. Definitely, try Dulce de Leche flavor there :)
From Placa d‘Ajuntment you can just follow most of the people and walk through the historic city, see the Saint Mary Cathedral and all the nice old buildings here. Near the cathedral, there is a big park that leads through all the city center. If you just walk down in the park, you will come to Cuidad de las Artes y las Ciencias – the pride of modern architecture in Valencia. Even if you don’t want to walk there, you should take a bus and visit this place, because it has absolutely positive vibes… You can guess what the buildings should represent, admire the mosaic walls around and relax. If you like big aquariums, there is Oceanographic Museum in one of the buildings which are also worthy to visit.
Granada and the Sierra Nevada
The province of Andalucia is completely different than her north sisters Catalunya and Comunidad Valenciana. There is a pretty hot and dry summer and temperature doesn’t decrease under 30°C very often. But Granda, the city that is surrounded by great Sierra Nevada mountains has a much more friendly climate. The city itself has a very special atmosphere that you’ll definitely love as much as I did. Walking the historic center was great for me also because there were way fewer tourists than in other Spanish cities. What you should definitely taste piononos de Santa Fe (a small village near Granada), the little sweet cakes full of chocolate.
The main spot of Granada is Alhambra palace. Be prepared and reserve the ticket to Alhambra before you come to the city because it’s normal that in the season people book it 6 days in advance. If you want to enjoy the best view, you should visit the Alabaicín quarter. There are many musicians and other artists on the street and you will totally enjoy sunset here. Just sit on the wall, watch Alhambra and Sierra Nevada mountains and feel the moment.
If you like mountains, you can visit the Sierra Nevada. In winter there are many ski resorts where you can enjoy winter sports and in the summer it’s a great place for a one day trip. When we were there, I had to work (yes, tough life of digital nomad 🙂 ), but my boyfriend climbed Pico del Veleta (3 396m) and really liked it.
Gibraltar and La Línea de la Concepcion
In the south of Spain, there is a well-known piece of Great Britain – Gibraltar. We visit this place as well and I have to say that it‘s one of my highlights. You come there from La Linea de la Concepcion, which is a city that has the border with Gibraltar. There you can just go through the border and get an English island in the middle of Spain.
What exactly Gibraltar is? Actually, it’s just a big rock. You can see the rock almost from the highway when you’re coming there which is very impressive. And if you cross the border, you are straight in Great Britain. Really! British buildings and language everywhere around you.
If you are in Gibraltar, you must go up to the rock. We walked there but you can also take a cabin or taxi. On the top of the rock, you’ll meet monkeys because Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where monkeys live in nature. But be aware of your bags! They are very friendly and curious :) From the top is also a great view of the Gibraltar gulf and if there are no clouds, you can see African coast as well.
Jabugo and Huelva region
Province of Huelva is just above the Andalucia. And again it‘s completely different world. This is the region of jamon. Do you know jamon, the big Spanish ham that is in every shop here? Yes, the best jamones are from Huelva region and especially from a village called Jabugo.
Jamon is a pork ham and in Jabugo and Huelva region is made differently than in other places, that’s also why it’s so special. The pigs live on large “orchards” with many of oak trees. During autumn acorns fell from the trees and pigs are eating them. And yes, then there is a sad story of killing them and making the best Spanish ham here. I know, it’s not such a nice story.
But what is really beautiful about the region is nature here. Really large farms with oak trees orchards are everywhere around you. We went on small ways and just enjoyed the beautiful views that this place offers.
So, this is my 5 highlights of Spain. Of course, there are many more places that are beautiful and that I would recommend to visit during your road trip as well! But if I should say what I loved the most in Spain, there it is. Do you agree? Or do you have some other favorite places in Spain?
Author: Barbora – Barbora’s way