Spain is a vast country and whether it’s the first, second or tenth time of visiting there’s always something else to discover. Region by region, city by city or town by town, once you’ve bitten into what a Spanish holidayhas to offer it’s difficult not to keep going back.
The number of potentially different trips to Spain varies hugely, from getting a bit of rest and relaxation to exploring an interest in Moorish history. There’s no reason why only one type of holiday has to be chosen either, hit the road in the hire car and experience the relaxing beach with a bustling city stop or two. Whatever the reason this time, here are a few ways to vary your Spanish holidays.
A Historical Break
Spanish history is incredibly interesting and almost impossibly varied, and there are great examples of different periods in almost all of its cities. Granada is the home to fantastic examples of Moorish architecture, and displays the history between the Moors and the Christians perfectly through its different areas, the Albayzín, the Realejo and the Alhambra Palace complex. For something altogether older, there is a whole ruined Roman town just outside Seville called Italica and within Seville itself there is a large area excavated in the area called Soho. Further north, near Madrid, the university city of Salamanca is a beautiful 17th-century town with large plazas and grand buildings.
An Artistic Tour
Spain obviously has a long history of exceptional artists – with Goya, Velazquez, Dali and Picasso being but a few of the better known. Due to this heritage there are some great art galleries in Spain. Madrid has the Prado, Thyssen and the Reina Sofia (among others). With its extensive collection of grand masters, the Prado alone can take days to visit properly, while the modern art in the Thyssen and Reina Sofia is exceptional.
For more modern art, Malaga in southern Spain is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and so there’s a very intimate Picasso museum in the city. For a more accessible type of art, it’s well worth looking out for art markets held in the cities: in Seville on a Sunday there’s an open air art market outside the museum of Bellas Artes, while the Rastro in Madrid has a huge selection of antiques and objet.
A Bit of Rest and Relaxation
Mountain retreats in Andalucia can be the epitome of getting away from it all. Amongst the mountains are any number of pretty, small towns and villages with a butcher, a baker, a bar and a grocery store and whitewashed houses lining narrow streets that open out onto stunning views. This is slower, quieter and perfectly relaxing if all that’s needed is sun, a terrace, a great book and some good food and wine.
The Axarquia in Southern Spain has some lovely towns and villages which offer everything from charming budget accommodation to luxury hotels. If the beach is the order of the day but the idea of Spain in the summer conjures up ideas of overcrowding, then head to Cadiz Province where there are stretches of unspoilt, sandy white beaches.
Paul Collins works for a car hire firm based in Málaga called Espacar. He writes about all things Spanish related as he is passionate about the country and what it has to offer people on holiday.