GET's Top Six Sights of Spain @fontSize>
Spain is a traveler’s dream.
The country is rich with history, fascinating art and architecture, natural beauty, delicious food, and a passion for life. Experience la vida española with these six iconic sights and activities:
Overlooking the city of Granada, this staggering hilltop fortress was built by the Moors in the 13th century. The Christian Reconquista and the Napoleonic Wars brought changes to the complex—the Moorish citadel still stands, but the original mosque was replaced by a church, and new palaces were built in the 16th century. The spectacular blend of architectural styles, the Generalife palace and gardens, and the panoramic views are truly a sight to behold.
The Architecture of Antoni Gaudí
Gaudí’s eclectic, modernist buildings have become synonymous with Barcelona. The colorful mosaics, serpentine curves, and whimsical shapes of Park Güell would look at home in a fairy tale. The Sagrada Familia was Gaudí’s magnum opus: He worked on the project from 1883 until his death in 1926 and construction continues today. Visitors can take in the soaring spires and bask in the rainbow of colors produced by stained-glass windows. You have to see it to believe it.
Flamenco dancing developed over hundreds of years as the folk influences of the gypsies combined with the traditions of the Moors and Sephardic Jews. Dealing with love and loss, Flamenco songs and dance routines capture the romance of Spain. While the passionate, sensual dance style has spread throughout the world, nothing compares to seeing it performed live in its home country.
The Aqueduct of Segovia
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this massive Roman aqueduct dates back to around 50 A.D. and was used to transport water from the Frío River into Segovia. The structure was built without mortar, reaches nearly 100 feet in height, and stretches for over half a mile. While there are other Roman aqueducts in Europe, none are as large or well-preserved as this ancient feat of engineering.
The Prado Museum
Spain’s most renowned art museum, The Prado features works by the European greats of the 12th to 19th centuries, including Francisco Goya, El Greco, Diego Velázquez, Raphael, Titian, and Rembrandt. The original building was designed in 1785 and opened to the public in 1819 to display the royal art collection. Located in the heart of Madrid, the Prado is within walking distance of the Fountain of Neptune and Buen Retiro Park, which houses gardens, sculptures, and the Crystal Palace.
The City of Toledo
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Toledo changed hands many times—from Romans to Visigoths to Moors to Catholic monarchs. The mingling of ethnic and religious groups throughout the Middle Ages yielded a fascinating culture, and Toledo remains an important cross-section of Spanish history. A walk along its narrow, cobbled streets, past medieval castles, Gothic cathedrals, and ancient mosques and synagogues, will transport you back to the time of Don Quixote.