We typically visit specific locations for specific activities. You probably go to Florida to hit the beach or Colorado to hit the slopes. Sure, I might end up simply eating chocolate for one week straight, but I probably visited Switzerland specifically to hike the Alps. You typically aren’t going to visit Germany for the aquatic life or New Zealand for the architecture. Few places offer it all. But occasionally, there comes along an anomaly that changes the game. There are a few transcendent locations in this world that offer almost every experience you could desire within a few hours drive in any direction. Spain is one of these places. From golden beaches to gorgeous mountains, modern architecture to ancient towns, hurried nightlife to quiet rural existence, varied cuisine, world-famous pilgrimages, infinite tours, and so much more, Spain is a fascinating blend of every imaginable delight. And of course, nothing communicates quite like pictures, so here, have a few.
The City of Arts & Sciences
Located in Valencia, the “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias” is an architectural marvel and entertainment center, nestled majestically along the Turia River. Opened in 1998, the “city” is Valencia’s primary tourist destination.
The Castiello de Lobarre, or Loarre Castle, was built in the 11th Century when Sancho el Mayor reconquered the surrounding lands from the hands of Muslim invaders. Over the next two centuries, this fortress served as a strategic barrier on the battle line between Christian and Muslim armies. After centuries of wear, tear, and disrepair, major restorative efforts were implemented in the 1970’s, and travelers today can enjoy a spectacular view of this historic landmark. It is one of an astounding 2,500 castles that have survived in Spain to this day.
La Cachucha Beach
La Cachucha Beach is 500 meters of golden, fine-grain sand. The sand is among the finest grain you can find anywhere Earth, making this beach a popular tourist choice. Every day at low tide, the receding waters uncover large stretches of mud, on which visitors can view protected bird species and crabs feeding and scurrying about.
Baqueira-Beret Ski Resort
The Baqueira-Beret Ski Resort is easily the largest and most popular ski resort in Spain as well as the entire Iberian Peninsula. Located in the Aran Valley, the resort contains over 75 miles of skiable area. The expansive resort, founded 60 years ago, was built around 50 small, rural communities, made up of stone and wood houses and featuring old, Romanesque churches. In addition to skiing, visitors can enjoy hot tubs, restaurants and cafes, ice skating, and a full range of local flavor.
The Way of St. James
The most famous of walking tours in Spain, The Way of St. James, or El Camino De Santiago, is the most popular and historic pilgrimage in all of Europe. This 500 mile route features a deep social and spiritual experience and sees almost 300,000 travelers per year. Running through the beautiful mountains of Spain’s gorgeous Galician region, the route finishes in the historic town of Santiago, where the remains of St. James are rumored to be buried.
Madrid Music and Nightlife
The cities of Madrid and Barcelona are known for having some of Europe’s best music and nightlife venues. The National Auditorium of Music (pictured above) is Madrid’s primary venue for performances by world-famous symphonies and orchestras. On the nightlife side, Madrid is famous for 7-level nightclubs, flamenco theaters jazz lounges, tapas bars, and every variety of live music venue imaginable. Unlike many cities, Madrid is known for an usual style of nightlife that begins as late as 12:30 AM and doesn’t conclude until early in the morning, around 6:30 AM.