Ávila is a Spanish town located not that far from Madrid, but in the community of Castile and Leon. It’s sometimes called the Town of Stones and Saints, and claims that it is one of the towns with the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita in Spain (source).
Ávila is well-known for having complete and prominent medieval town walls, which were built in the Romanesque style, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
At just under two hours on the train (and costing as little as €10 each way) it’s the perfect day trip from Madrid.
Located east of Madrid (an hour or two, depending on mode of transportation) is the town of Cuenca. According to Lonely Planet: Its old centre is a World Heritage stage-set of evocative medieval building, the most emblematic of which are the casas colgadas (hanging houses), which cling like swallows’ nests above the deep gorges that surround the town” (source).
Located in northwestern Spain, Salamanca is the capital of the Province of Salamanca, and is home to one of the most important universities in the country. Situated approx. 200 kilometers west of Madrid, and just 80km east of Spain’s border with Portugal, the old city of Salamanca is a feast for the eyes: University buildings, palaces, churches and so much more!
Taking the train from Madrid can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to just over three. Perhaps a little bit long of a journey for a day trip, but from what I’ve read, if you were to make it a weekend in Salamanca, it would definitely be worth it!
Or, Saragossa, as it’s known in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon Spain. Located almost mid-way between Madrid and Barcelona, Zaragoza is famous for many things, including it’s folklore and it’s landmarks, but what peaked my interest most was it’s gastronomy, because who doesn’t love to eat when on holidays!?
It seems that everywhere I look these days I see Valencia – whether it’s reading blogs or browsing travel websites, Valencia is all the rage right now. And, it’s easy to see why. From outstanding architecture, to cultural events (including the upcoming Fallas festival), to seaside gastronomy, there really is something for everyone!
Catching a Renfe AVE train from Madrid can get you to Valencia in just under two hours, which is amazing; however, it will cost you. Prices for the train can range anywhere from €22 to €57 (one-way) depending on when you want to go. Given that it’s Spain’s third largest city, it almost makes sense to make it a weekend!
San Sebastian is a coastal city located in the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain, and lies just 20km from the French boarder.
San Sebastian was named alongside Wrocław, Poland as the European Capital of Culture for 2016, and from the looks of it, it is definitely the place to visit once the weather warms. Lonely Planet described it perfectly: “It’s impossible to lay eyes on stunning San Sebastián (Basque: Donostia) and not fall madly in love. This city is cool and happening by night, charming and well mannered by day. It’s a city filled with people that love to indulge – and with Michelin stars apparently falling from the heavens onto its restaurants, not to mention pintxo (tapas) culture almost unmatched anywhere else in Spain, San Sebastián frequently tops lists of the world’s best places to eat.” (source)
Well, I’m sold.
Looking to the south of Spain now: Granada. The Province of Granada boasts Spain’s richest variety of climate and landscape, from the alpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada to the tropical coast.
The city itself is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the junction of four rivers: the Beiro, the Darro, the Genil and the Monachil. One of it’s most famous attractions it the Alhambra: a Moorish citadel and palace, and the most renowned building of Andalusian Islamic historical legacy (source).
Located 433km from Madrid, it’s a bit far for a day trip, but given all that it has to offer (and it’s proximity to the Mediterranean), spending a weekend in Granada would be just fine.
Continuing our tour of the south, one of the place I would like to visit is Seville (or Sevilla as it’s known throughout Spain). It is located on the plain of the River Guadalquivir and it’s old town is the third largest in all of Europe (and contains not one but THREE UNESCO World Heritage Sites). One of it’s most famous landmarks is the Plaza de España, which has been used in several Hollywood productions over the years, including: Lawrence of Arabia, and Star Wars Episode I & II (none of which I have seen).
Seville is the hottest major metropolitan area in Europe, with summer average temperatures of above 35, so perhaps we’ll try to time our visit to avoid overheating.
One of the places I am most keen to see is Cadiz (pronouced Ca-Dee-Th). At least once a week I can be found on Expedia or Skyscanner just trying to find a cheap flight/hotel combo – unfortunately, I just haven’t found the right one, yet.
Cadiz is a port city located on a peninsula in southwestern Spain. It holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in wester Europe (pretty neat!). These days Cadiz is considered by many to be paradise: a city filled with seafood, sandy beaches, and a plethora of monuments and museums to explore.
As a big fan of paradise, I’m really looking forward to the day when I finally come across that can’t-say-no deal.
More than just a party town, Palma de Majorca is the largest city of the Balearic Islands, located off the east coast of Spain and is often considered the star of the Mediterranean. Mallorca is one of Europe’s top vacation spots thanks to it’s stunning beaches, secluded mountains, and hillside towns.
It’s rumoured that the Spanish royal family summers in Mallorca. Good enough for King Felipe and Queen Letizia, more than good enough for me!
And, five more…
Had I made this list before we left for Spain, I would have most certainly included the following cities on my list. But, since I didn’t, and we’ve already explored them, and I’m a travel glut, I thought I would give their spots to a few others on the list (you can never yearn to visit too many places, amiright?!).
If you’re making your Spanish travel bucket list I would highly recommend you check out the following:
Las Palmas (Gran Canaria)
Have you visited Spain or are planning to visit? What cities would you include on your Spanish Travel Bucketlist?
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