Spain attractions … to many to count. San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometers northwest of Madrid, was the summer home of Spain’s kings, and in 1563, work was begun there on a huge complex, which would include a monastery, church, royal palace, mausoleum, library, and museum, all conceived as a monument to Philip II and his reign. The result is a staggering collection of attractions, built around 16 courtyards, its rooms and structures connected by 16 kilometers of corridors. At its core is the church, the highlight of which is Herrera’s 30 meter-high retablo, made of jasper and red marble and approached by a flight of 17 steps.
Along with the vaulted and frescoed ceilings by Tibaldi in the rooms off the lower cloister, highlights of the monastery are the Panteón de los Reyes (the Baroque burial vault of the Spanish kings) and the library, a grand room also decorated by Tibaldi frescoes. In the palace, be sure to see the Bourbon Suite, where the state apartments of Charles IV are decorated with rare furnishings and 338 tapestries. Beyond are the art-filled private apartments of Philip II. The Picture Gallery below has a large collection of fine paintings, including works by Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Velázquez, and El Greco.
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Madrid’s famous park began life as a royal garden, and was opened to the public at the end of the 19th century. A popular destination for locals, especially at the weekends, it is a great place for picnics, sport or just getting away from the hectic pace of city life.
Royal Palace, Madrid
The largest royal palace in Western Europe is a great example of baroque architecture and, unlike other European palaces, is not protected by a huge gate; you can walk right up to it. Nowadays, it is only used by the royal family for state occasions (they live in the more modest Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of Madrid), but it is open to the public.
Separating Spain from the rest of Europe, the mighty Pyrenees stretch nearly 500 kilometres (311 miles) from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea. A great place for hiking and other sporting activities, they are one of Spain’s most beautiful natural wonders.
Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor
One of Spain’s most beautiful squares, Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor is, like many other buildings in the city, constructed from sandstone. It is a good example of the city’s baroque architecture and is a popular meeting place, lined with cafes and restaurants.
Costa Brava is one of the perfect Spanish tourist attractions. If beaches, landscapes, and tranquil villages are your love, Costa Brava shouldn’t be missed. Come here any time of the year to enjoy the pleasing weather. With various activities and games to enjoy, you’ll never feel bored or lost at Costa Brava.
Famous for: Beaches, Shopping, Villages, Local Food
Key attractions: Art Museum, theatre museum
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Santiago De Compostela Cathedral’s breathtaking architecture, from the Roman era, offers an overwhelming pilgrim experience to the visitors. One of the top places to visit in Spain, St James Cathedral is known for its impressive facade and triple doorway. The Apostle’s wooden figure crafted inside the building is the focal point of the cathedral’s interior.
Famous for: St James relics
Key attractions: Triple doorway, wooden figure of Apostle from 13th century, 18th century facade, and the adorned Capilla Mayor
Madrid to do things:
The main tourist and shopping artery in the centre of the capital starts at C/Alcalá and runs 1.3 kilometres to its end at Plaza de España. Throughout its more than 100 years of history, Gran Vía has had various names depending on the incumbent government. During the Spanish Civil War it was popularly referred to as the Avenue of Mortars because of the shells that ended up on the pavements and buildings. It was in 1981 during the Spanish Transition when they changed and stayed with the name Gran Vía. The street housed the first department stores in the city, and for decades it has become a hub for the best entertainment in the city, thanks to its many cinemas, theatres, hotels and shops.