Best of Spain: From Madrid to Seville

Passionate, sophisticated and diverse, Spain has long been one of the most popular destinations for travelers and holiday goers. One just needs to observe its varied and staggeringly beautiful landscape from the soaring Pyrenees, to the wild cliffs of the Atlantic, to the sun-baked plains of Andalucia, to see the truth in this statement. We’ve written many adventurous articles sharing our favorite staysfestivals, food and destinations in España. We also talked about some of the local evocative myths, legends and folklore, which are still beloved and celebrated today. Spain is a huge experience!
Today, we want to highlight some of our favourite destinations in Spain, exploring this world, all the way from Madrid to Cordoba and everything in between.

Get Energised in Madrid

Madrid is an energising city even without the world-class museums and the buzzing nightlife. Here it is all about spontaneity and even the best prepared plans tend to get forgotten after a couple of days as you slip into the swing of the city, which means that you are now acting like a true Madrileño. To keep you moving through the sights of the city, be sure to visit this 18th century mansion, Palacio de Liria, that holds an impressive collection of art, period furniture and objets d’art.

The first historical record of Madrid dates back to the year 865, when Emir Muhammad I commissioned the construction of a fortress in the village of Mayrit. That’s right, the mighty and colourful Madrid was once a small village. The city came to prominence during the Arab occupation of the Iberian peninsula, but passed into Christian hands during the Reconquest of Spain by the Christians. The present location of Madrid was established in 1083 by King Alfonso I. All prevalent symbols of Muslim influence and rule were removed during this period. You can explore more at the National Archaeological Museum. What may surprise you is the wealth of magnificent items that predate the Roman period. The best of these Iberian
treasures and sculptures look almost new, despite being at least 2,500 years-old.

Spend a day or two wondering the streets of Madrid to really soak in the feel of it. Or take off to Toledo!

Experience True Diversity in Toledo

Just over an hour away from Madrid lays a historic city in Castilla La Mancha, sitting majestically above the Tagus River – Toledo. Here, you are not allowed to pick or collect anything off the street because the entire city is a monument. But don’t worry – there are plenty of souvenir shops.

Toledo is a Judaic, Christian, and Islamic melting pot with well-preserved synagogues, mosques, and cathedrals – it’s absolutely stunning here.

Many experts will tell you that Catedral Primada is the best example of High Gothic architecture in Spain. Like many Christian buildings in Toledo and across the country, Toledo’s Cathedral is built on a Mosque (which itself had been built on a 6th-century church!). There are several masses each day, so the Cathedral is open for visit from 10am to 6:30pm during the week and from 2pm to 6pm on Sundays. The tickets cost 11 euros.

When you think of Toledo you often imagine the stunning panoramic images with The Alcázar on the highest part of the city. Alcázar means fortress, and it was built on the city’s highest point for military and strategic benefits. Today, it is a museum with various exhibitions that center around the evolution of military strategy and weapons.

Step Back in Time in Granada

Just over 3 hours south from Toledo lays the home town to Alhambra – a huge and stunning palace and Islamic fortress in Granada, with numerous ruins, gardens, rooms and pools to explore. It isn’t the only grand building here. The Granada Cathedral’s harmonious blend of architectural styles makes it one of southern Spain’s greatest monuments. Though it took over 180 years to build, Granada’s magnificent Cathedral is still not finished. Nevertheless once you step inside, you will be amazed by all the intricate details Granada Cathedral has. In the Bañuelo you will see impressive Arab baths dating back to the 11th century, one of the most complete and preserved ancient Arab baths in Spain, at the foot of the Alhambra.

Dance Your Shoes off in Seville

Almost 4 hours to the West from Granada lays Seville – the Andalusia’s capital city rich with Moorish heritage. The Seville Cathedral here, with its 80 different chapels, is the largest cathedral in the world by volume and is a World Heritage site. There are also hints of the mosque that once stood on this spot, especially in the Court of the Orange trees on the north side, where Muslims once performed ablutions.

And of course, you absolutely must see Plaza de España – Seville’s most impressive building, after the cathedral, for its sheer scale and grandeur. Love it or hate it – fabulous or fussy, magnificent or overblown, depending on your point of view – you shouldn’t miss it when visiting the city. Along the entire perimeter of the plaza, there is a canal of 515 metres in length, which you can travel by boat, a truly romantic experience.

Seville is of course famous for its passionate flamenco performances. No one knows for sure where flamenco was born, but it was certainly in southern Spain, between Seville, Cadíz and Granada. Seville however is the most important pillar nowadays to see some of the best flamenco in the world. What follows are, in our opinion, the twelve best places to watch flamenco in Seville.

Slow Down in Cordoba

Almost 2 hours away from Seville lays Córdoba with its glorious Roman and Moorish past and the Mezquita, a splendid and remarkably well-preserved mosque that dates from AD 784. Take your time here exploring picturesque cobblestone streets that hold thousands of years of secrets and stories. And make your way to the Roman Bridge, where you can enjoy a full view of the mosque in all its glory.

Every May, the courtyards and patios of houses in the old quarter of Córdoba are opened to the public for the city’s Feria de los Patios, in which locals compete for the honour of having the prettiest space This is Córdoba’s most unique cultural offering and something you won’t see in any other Spanish city.

If you want help planning your Spanish holiday, just reach out to us on 1800 242 353 or chat live online.