Andalusia, which boasts a historic and artistic heritage unique in the world, is the birthplace of Flamenco and bullfighting.
The region has a very distinctive character. Muslims ruled for 8 centuries and have left their imprint on this region, which can be seen in the splendour of priceless architectural heritage and in its rich traditions.
Recommended Itineraries: 4 days: Seville, Cordoba, Granada - 6 days: Seville,Cordoba, Costa del Sol.Granada - 8 days or more: Seville, Cordoba, Ronda, White Villages, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Granada
Costa Del Sol
The Costa del Sol has incomparable climate for 326 days of the year. A holiday in this region of Spaii something for everyone. There's the recreation offered by its theme parks, the tremendous variety of sh centres and fine boutiques, loads of fun to be had while attempting beach sports, brushing upyour hanc one of the 60 golf courses, the impressive night life, and more.
Marbella and Puerto Banus
Get a taste of the luxury life, amid majestic mountains and awesome oceanscapes. Nightlife buzzes at Puerto Banus with a wide choice of alfresco bars, piano clubs and discos. The city is also a window-shopper's dream as several world-renowned fashion houses have set up shop here, in addition to small, interesting shops and boutiques.
This town is famous for its vibrant nightlife, Aquarium, and Cable Car ride to the summit of Mount Calamorro. For family fun, visit Tivoli World for its exciting rides, and Selwo Adventure Park - home to over 2,000 animals.
Wander through the narrow cobbled streets of this Andalusian village; don't miss the donkey rides, Spanish horse-riding exhibition and the bullfight.
Ronda is the birthplace of bullfighting and has one of the oldest bulling rings in Spain. Being surrounded by mountains, and its awesome architecture, like its famous bridge -Puente Nuevo makes the setting very magical.
Picasso the famous artist was born here, and you can visit the Picasso Museum to see his masterpieces. In Malaga, you can trace 3000 years of history, from the Roman period to the present time. It also has incredible shopping, and attractions in Alcazaba Fortress and Malaga Cathedral.
Picasso Museum: The famous artist was born here; and the museum exhibits over 200 of his masterpieces -paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and graphic works.
Alcazaba Fortress: This Moorish hilltop fortress offers a scenic view of the town and sea.
Malaga Cathedral: Standing right in the heart of the old town, it was built on the site of a mosque.
Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain; and is an interesting maze of old, winding streets with various churches, monuments and some old Jewish neighbourhoods. The River Guadalquivir, with its beautiful waterfront promenade, is the prime attraction. It's reputed to be the birthplace of Tapas'- small, scrumptious Spanish snacks made with a variety of ingredients.
Throughout the year, Seville holds many exciting, atmospheric festivals and events.This lively city is a real jewel of Europe.
The Cathedral: This is the third largest church in Europe with the world's largest altarpiece. Its bell tower, known as the Giralda Tower, is an old minaret of a mosque.
The Reales Alcazares: This impressive fortress-palace, with numerous courtyards, rooms and gardens, gives you a glimpse of the unsurpassed luxury and opulent lifestyle of the Arabic Culture.
Isla Magica: "Fun without limits" is the theme at this amusement centre that has rollercoasters, rides, and plenty of shows.
Barrio de Santa Cruz: A walk through the narrow shady lanes takes you back in time as you go past beautiful buildings, with their patios and courtyards, flowers and fragrances from the orange trees.
Flamenco Museum and Flamenco shows: Well-known Flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos gives you an overview of the history and presence of Flamenco dance in this museum. It also offers workshops, dance classes, dance performances and expositions.
Cordoba was the capital of the Caliphate when the Arabs ruled the region and its contribution by the Arabic culture and architecture clearly reflects the character it enjoyed in past ages. You'll see evidance of Roman and Moorish civilisations, and of Cordoba's 3 religions, which lived together in relative harmony at the height of the Caliphate of Cordoba.
The Great Mezquita (Mosque): This mosque, which was converted into a cathedral, is a impressive 22,000 sq.m structure with 850 columns, rows of double moorish arches and Byzantine mosaics. Explore its Court of Orange Trees.
The Jews Quarter: This area is evidence that the community thrived under the religious tolerance of the Caliphate, You will find hundreds of shops with charming souvenirs and Spanish handicrafts.
The Flowered Patios: Cordoba's patios capture the essence of Andalusia in a tiny space. The aroma of lemon blossoms, the exuberant vegetation and the cool trickle of a fountain make them tiny oases. is the city's most emblematic event of the year.
Granada was the last of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, situated at the foot of the impressive snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains. The sheer luxury and beauty of its palaces were a triumph of Islamic art and workmanship, unrivalled anywhere in the world.No other city will excite the romance in you as Granada does.
The Alhambra: gives you the feeling of having taken a magic carpet ride into theTales of the Arabian Nights. The Moorish fortified palace exhibits the country's most well-known Islamic architecture.
The Generalife: The beautiful gardens were a part of the King's country estate.
The Atbaicin Quarter: This World Heritage Site by UNESCO is a blend of the Moorish and Spanish cultures. From the Mirador de San Nicolas, the view of the Alhambra is awe-inspiring.
The Science Park: The exhibition halls takes you on a wonderful voyage of scientific discovery.
The Caves of Sacromonte Hill: They are home to the gypsies from where many of Spain's best flamenco guitarists, dancers and singers have emerged.
The white villages and towns or'pueblo blancos'of Andalusia can be found in the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga. These villages owe their name to the way residents scatter lime on the walls. Red-tiled roofs, narrow streets and maybe a castle typically mark these villages. A pleasant climate and lush green countryside mark the environs. Pastimes to indulge will be hiking, rock-climbing, cycling, horseback riding, or just strolling around.
From sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches, to places of artistic interest, historic buildings and landscapes, there is so much to see and explore in Catalonia.
As you travel around, you will discover high mountain scenery - the Pyrenean valleys surrounded by high summits with alpine meadows, fir forests and crystal-clear lakes. If you prefer more moderate altitudes, visit Montserrat, to see its fascinating geological formations and erratic, improbably shaped rocks. If you can't resist the call of the sea, then Catalonia offers a wide variety of coastal scenery. As you travel along the Costa Brava (the 'Rugged Coast'), you will be entranced by the rocks reaching out into the sea, and the secluded coves and islands.
Recommended Itineraries: - 4days:Barcelona,Montserrat,Wine Lands - 5 days: Barcelona,Montserrat, Wine Lands,Tarragona and Sitges - 7 days: Barcelona, Montserrat,Wine Lands.Tarragona, Costa Brava,Gerona and Figueres
Barcelona is the epitome of the Mediterranean cities; it's trendy and bustling, it's always alive wit! commercial and sports attractions:concerts,exhibitions,good restaurants, international fairs and art s also peaceful and tradition-loving. Barcelona is one of Europe's cities of style, and there are many outlets for the fashionistas. Barcelona is a place worth visiting and once you get to know it, you will re and time again.
Casa Batllo, Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia: are unique structures by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi, done in his own fairytale sculptural style.
Gothic Quarter: Traces of Medieval Barcelona can be found in the awe-inspiring Cathedral and the Church of Santa Maria del Mar. Picasso Museum is also located here.
The Port Vell L'Aquarium: Dedicated to Mediterranean undersea life, the highlight is its amazing 80m underwater tunnel.
Montjuic Hill: Ride up in the Cable Car and discover attractions like the Olympic sports facilities, Palaude Sant Jordi - an amusement park and 'Poble Espanola', featuring typical Spanish buildings.
Magical Fountain: a spectacular display of colour, light, motion, music and water acrobatics, is simply mesmerising.
Olympic Port: It has many clubs right next to the water with a great view. The nightlife in this area is great; tourists can go hopping from clubs to bars and dance all night long.
FC Barcelona Football Club : A tour of Camp Nou, Barca's stadium, and the Museum for a first-hand experience of Barcelona's legendary football club is a must. The tour will allow you access to the dressing rooms, press booths, and the pitch and benches, which have hosted some of the world's best players.
Shopping: Barcelona is certainly among Europe's cities of style, tt is a natural magnet for the fashion-conscious.
COSTA BRAVA This 'Rugged Coast' is a treasure trove, with secluded beaches, fishing villages and seaside resorts. Drive yourself to discover it, with stops at Lloret de Mar, Platia d'Aro, L'Escala, Castle of San Ferran and Cadaques.
GIRONA Girona, declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO, is a quiet city facing the Pyrenees Mountains. The street festivals, cultural activities, restaurants, tourist services and events will leave you awestruck. Attractions worth a visit:
Jewish Quarter with its fascinating cobbled streets, museums and antique shopping.
Pont de Pedra (Stone Bridge) from where the view of colourful house facades painted in ochre, dark blue and copper is mesmerising.
La Forca Vella, the impressive fortress-like enclosure that preserves the legendary Creation Tapestry.
FIGUERES Figueres is a town full of tourist attractions.The Dali Theatre-Museum is the highlight of the region. Designed by Salvador Dali himseif, it holds an important exhibition, which displays numerous surrealistic works.
TARRAGONA Declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO, it was the origin of the Roma nisat ion of the Iberian Peninsula. Later, it was an important medieval city. Its hot spots are:
Balcon del Mediterraneo: from where you can see the Mediterranean in all its splendour.
The Roman Amphitheatre of Tarragona: dating back to the 2nd century BC, it could accommodate 13,000 spectators.
The Cathedral of Tarragona: is home to the most important collection of tapestries in Europe, and a number of Gothic paintings.
Universal Mediterranea: is made up of the Port Aventura theme park and the Costa Caribe water park.
Aqualeon-Aquapark: At this park, more than 600 animals roam freely; there are incredible shows with marine animals, intelligent birds and reptiles. The water park has spectacular slides, a giant-wave pool, tubes, slides, river rapids, a children's pool and much more.
SITGES Sitges is a small Spanish town with narrow streets and beautiful buildings, many of which have an int history. During a trip to Sitges, you should definitely not miss visiting any of its 17 picturesque beac enjoying its active nightlife.
Museu Romantic: Housed in an 18th century building, discover its magnificient game room, ballroom and its wonderful collection of dolls.
Sitges Marina: You can sit at its many outdoor terraces and admire the yachts
Montserrat : This Monastery in the rugged'Teeth Mountains'is a major pilgrimage site. A 9-minute Funicular Ridetal to the peak Sant Joan, from where you can see the whole of Catalonia, the Pyrenees, as well as the isli Majorca and Ibiza. A highlight is to listen to the famous Basilica boy choir's performances of Gregorian chants.
WINE LAND Catalonia is home to an array of truly fabulous wine regions. Tour some of the best vineyards near Mo and visit their amazing underground cellars.
Madrid's activities and impressive cultural sights are unique. Loc centre, it is the cultural and entertainment hub of Spain. It is renowned for its stunning museums and monuments.and exciting activities for the entire family. Much of Madrid life is on the streets and the atmosphere is vibrant. It's highly recommended you wander around the streets, sit on its terraces, mingle with the local population, try some of the 'chocolate with churros' and go out at night to party till dawn.
There are many fun ways to see and experience Madrid - from the walking tour, to sightseeing from atop an open-roofed bus, to zipping through the streets on a revolutionary Segway, or even cycling through the main squares.
Recommended Itineraries: 4 days: Madrid, Toledo - 6 days: Madrid,Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial - 8 days or more: Madrid,Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, Guadarrama Mountains,Salamanca,G)enca,Avila, Aranjuez
Palacio Real: The old residence of the Royal Family, it has over 3000 rooms and rich collections of art, tapestry and furniture.
Three Museums: Prado: for the world's largest collection of 17th & 18th century art
Reina Sofia: showcases work of Picasso, Miro& Dali
Thyssen Bornemisza: for 17th -20th Century art
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium: The Real Madrid Trophy room is the most visited attraction in the city as Spanish football is world famous and if you are lucky, you could even enjoy a game during the season.
Madrid offers a wide range of activities t< families: amusement parks, natural spac the Planetarium, Flamenco Shows an designed exclusively for kids, are just a fe options not to miss.
Warner Bros Theme Park: There's far galore at its five themed areas: Cartoon Hollywood Boulevard, Old West Territ Super Heroes and Warner Brothers Studios.
Retiro Park: The most beautiful of I green spots, check out its rose garden: artists and the Crystal Palace.
EL ESCORIAL: Situated at the foothills of the Guadarrama Mountains, it is a charming town surrounded by natural beauty.The UNESCO World Heritage monastery built on a massive rock, which is the tallest in Spain, and the Basilica with 45 aitars that hold the secrets of Spanish history are its main attractions.
ARANJUEZ : Located south of Madrid, Aranjuez is a journey through 500 years of history where you will discover all the reasons for it being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape.
PalacioReal (Royal Palace) : It has over 300 rooms that display valuable tapestries, furniture, clocks, pictures and porcelain.
The Jardins (Gardens): Developed in the 16th century and spread over 300 hectares, these are considered the most romantic gardens in Spain.
Segovia is a World Heritage City, with unique monuments which alone make a visit worthwhile. Sightseeing is best done on foot as you will not only admire the architectural excellence of the Roman and Medieval period, but also marvel at its landscapes. Segovia is well known for its culinary specialties: roasted lamb or La Granja big beans.
The Aqueduct: Built by the Romans without using concrete or mortar in the lst&2nd century to carry water from the mountains into the city, it is a true masterpiece.
The Cathedral: This 14th century structure is well decorated with beautiful stained glass windows.
Alcazar Castle: This medieval fortress has been the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle.
TOLEDO: A UNESCO World Heritage Site,Toledo is the jewel of the crown among Spanish historical cities. It is called the City of the Three Cultures, as you can see the perfect blend of the arts and culture from the Moorish, Jewish and Christian religions. A tour of its narrow streets will reveal an incredible and living monumental site, the layout of which is still the same as it was in the Middle Ages.
The main attractions are the Alcazar, the Cathedral, the Church of Saint Tome, which house; the masterpiece of the famous painter El Greco, and the Jewish Quarters. Shopping here is unique, for its fine pottery, damascene work, legendary swords, fans and a myriad of exquisite Spanish handicrafts.
CUENCA : Listed amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is the most picturesque of Spain's old medieval t< nestling among mountains and pine forests, with a breath-taking location above the deep valleys of two r Its famous Casas Colgadas ('hanging houses over the ravine') can be admired from the bridge or the scenic road.
The St. Paul Bridge: Constructed over the River Huecar's gorge, it was built to connect the old town with St. Paul convent.
Hanging Houses: They were built on a rock along the Huecar River Gorge,
Monument devoted to the Holy Heart of Jesus: From its location on top of a hill, the view of the surroundings is spectacular.
Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City): Resembling a ruined city, this spectacular geological feature is hewn with a labyrinth of caves, lakes and waterfalls.
VALENCIA: The Mediterranean Valencia region of Spain is a land of orange groves, rice paaaies, tourism, and the birthplace of Paella. Visiting this region, you can combine the modern city of Valencia with Alicante, which is quiet and peaceful, or with the never-seen-to-be-sleeping Benidorm. Don't forget to spend some days in one of the famed Costa Bianca resort towns located in the southern part of the region.And haveyourfill of Paella,a must-try rice dish that you'll find similar to Indian Biryani or Pulao. Go for the vegetarian one or for the seafood variety.
Recommended Itineraries: 3 days: Valencia City, La Albufera - 4 days: Valencia City, La Albufera, Alicante (or Benidorm) - 6 days: Valencia City, La Albufera, Alicante, Benidorm, Denia.Moraira - 8 days or more: Valencia City, La Albufera, Alicante, Benidorm, Denia. Moraira, Pefii'scola, Morella
Valencia City : Spain's third largest city has all the culture, energy, sophistication, shopping and nightlife you'd expet major metropolis. It hosts Spain's most off-beat Fiestas - the tomato-hurling La Tomatina, the flower-p Battle of the Flowers, and Las Fallas - a riot of pyrotechnics, fireworks and blazing papier-mache towers.
City of Arts and Sciences: An impressive example of modern architecture, it includes El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia - an opera house and performing arts centre; L'Hemisferic - Imax Cinema, Planetarium and Laserium; and L'Umbracle - a Walkway / Garden, among others.
La Catedral, El Miguelete and Plaza de la Virgen: Amazing sights, including what is considered the Holy Grail, 'Miguel' - a 10-ton bell and the striking Turia Fountain, await you here.
Lladro - City of Porcelain: You will be amazed to see artisans create these world-famous figurines, as you go through the porcelain factory.
Kids' Attractions: These include Bo Gardens with 3000 plant species; Biopar orangutans, giraffes and exotic bird: interactive Principe Felipe Science Museu L'Oceanografic aquarium, and La Al Nature Park - a freshwater lagoon characteristic flora and fauna.
Beaches: The beaches and marinas wonderful experiences - from good resta to watersports - which are good for i relaxation.
Valencia Grand Prix: In June, during tf period, Fl fever hits the Valencia Street Circuit.
BENIDORM : Benidorm means Laughter and Merriment, and it is not the typical place you would go to visit museums or historical attractions. With its superb coastal location, the main attraction here is fun, sun and finding new thrills. It is hardly surprising that Benidorm features an array of popular watersport attractions, which are best enjoyed during the summer months. With its host of hotels, apartment blocks, bars and restaurants, and the amazing year-around nightlife, you just might think you were in Las Vegas or Miami instead of Spain.
Terra Mitica: The lost civilisations of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia and the Islands have been recreated here. There are heart-stopping rides, shows and innovative street entertainment too.
Aqualandia: This water park appeals to all ages, with its beautiful gardens against the magnificent mountain backdrop.
Mundomar: A marine and animal park which houses wonderful creatures like parrots, penguins and dolphins and many more.
ALICANTE : Alicante is at the heart of the Spanish region,on the Costa Blanca. Known for excellent weather, the city invites you to take a trip along the coast and spend a lazy day just soaking up the sun.The town will captivate you with its sun-drenched beaches,old plazas, parks and adventure activities. Alicante offers countless sightseeing attractions, from cathedrals to churches and more.
Casa de la Asegurada: It houses a collection by avant-garde artists and sculptors.
Museo de les Fogueres: Grand papier-mache effigies saved in the Fogueres fiestas, which are true works of art, are found here.
Playa San Juan: This beach is well-served by seafront restaurants, bars and cafes. There are enough sports to keep everyone happy - swimming, sailing, snorkelling, fishing, scuba diving, pedaloes, windsurfing, beach volleyball and much more.
Spanish Cuisine is recognised as one of the best and most exciting for its quality and variety, and has evidence of long-standing influences from Moorish and Arab settlers.
Tapas are a distinctively Spanish way of eating; it is a small portion of food that can be enjoyed and you can try several different kinds along with a glass of wine. Tapas are available in any of the 198,998 bars across Spain and are a very convenient way to have lunch or dinner. Usually had standing at the bar, it gives you a good opportunity to mingle and socialise with the local population.
Indians will be delighted with the fare, as there are many Spanish vegetarian dishes, flavourful and perfectly matched to the Indian palate. Paella, the saffron-infused rice dish with meat, seafood or vegetables is very similar to the Indian Biryani or Pulao. Indian food is available in all major cities of Spain as there are many Indian restaurants.
TIPS ON PLANNING YOUR TRIP :
While planning a holiday in Spain, we recommend you do not exceed more than two regions in a single holiday, giving each region 4 to 8 days.
Option 1: Madrid can be combined with any of the three regions as the high speed AVE train connects Madrid to Barcelona, Valencia and Seville in 2Vi hours. A visit to Madrid should include the World Heritage Cities of Aranjuez, Avila, Cuenca, Salamanca, Segovia and Toledo, which are nearby and connected by high speed trains.
Option 2: Valencia and Andalusia give you a combination of the modern cutting-edge city of Valencia with the unique culture and history of the Flamenco heritage, and both regions are connected by train. However, we recommend you take a road journey either by coach or self-drive. From Alicante, Granada is just a 4 to 5 hours'drive.
If you are looking for a winter destination for your holiday, choose this option as both these regions are blessed with good sunshine throughout the year, making the winter climate mild.
Option 3: Catalonia and Valencia combines two cities with modern architecture. Both are connected by train with a travel time of approximately 3 hours. Travel by road is interesting as it takes just about 4 hours. On the way, there are many interesting places to stop at, like Tarragona, Tortosa, Ebro River's Delta and Peniscola.
Option 4: Andalusia and Catalonia are two regions with dramatically different styles. They are connected by train that takes over 12 hours, and it's approximately the same time if you want to drive down. If you are short of time, we recommend you fly.
SAFETY : Spain is one of Europe's great tourist destinations and is very safe for the tourist. Serious crirr are the lowest in Europe. Women harassment does not exist in Spain and they can free)) without any concern for their safety. Spain is the perfect destination for women travelling on their own.
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