With its diverse regions, stunning beaches, and pulsating flamenco scene, Spain has something for everyone. Its UNESCO World Heritage sites range from medieval Toledo to the modern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, while its cuisine is reflected in dishes like paella and tapas. The country’s diverse geography includes arid Basque Country, rocky peaks in the Pyrenees, and mountainous Andalusia.
The country is also known for its vibrant art scenes. In Madrid, the Prado Museum houses an impressive collection of Spanish artwork. During your stay, you can take a stroll in the city’s historic neighborhoods and see a live flamenco performance at Casa del Flamenco.
A two-week road trip through southern Spain is another way to experience the best of the country. Start in the capital, touring landmarks like Madrid de los Austrias and the 81,000-seat Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (home to Real Madrid football club). Then head south, exploring a mix of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish history in Toledo. From there, drive to Cordoba for more religious fusion at the 14th-century Mezquita Mosque turned cathedral and the old Jewish Quarter. Finally, travel to Seville for its Moorish architecture and a night of tapas and live flamenco.
If you prefer to travel by train, you can hop aboard the Madrid–Barcelona route of Spain’s high-speed AVE network. The service offers comfortable reclining seats, free wifi on board, and affordable ticket prices. You can even purchase your tickets at the station on the day of departure. Bus service is also popular, especially with budget-conscious travelers. It’s cheaper than trains and provides access to smaller towns that don’t have rail connections.
While Spain’s economy is growing and its democratic institutions are stable, the government has recently faced criticism for blocking certain news outlets from presidential press conferences. It has since dropped some of these restrictions, but if you are concerned about freedom of the press, consider traveling during off-peak seasons to avoid heavy crowds.
Spain has a temperate climate, with hot temperatures toward the coast and colder ones inland and in the mountains. It’s a dry country overall, but can get humid in summer and rainy in the mountains.
Almost all recent elections in Spain were deemed free and fair by international observers. While the country is a democracy, its centralized political system can lead to an imbalance in power between different regions and social classes. In addition, many citizens from minority groups and women have experienced discrimination and violence in the past. If you’re concerned about these issues, chat with a local specialist who can help you navigate these complex issues. They can also recommend accommodations that are sensitive to your needs. They can tailor your itinerary to ensure you have a safe, culturally immersive vacation.