Madrid: eight things to do
With museums, markets and plenty of mouthwatering food on offer, it’s impossible to get bored in Madrid. Local writer Patricia Gosálvez picks eight things to do in the Spanish capital on a culture-rich city break.
In majestic Madrid, the Prado gallery houses haunting El Greco paintings, and 20th-century art fills Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao. It’s easy to pack your Barcelona visit with Gaudi’s eccentric mosaics, while in vibrant Seville the royal palace Alcazar drips with Moorish influence. Snorkel in the south coast’s warm Mediterranean waters. Or discover the Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Tenerife, with their sun-drenched sandy beaches and striking volcanic landscapes.
In majestic Madrid, the Prado gallery houses haunting El Greco paintings, and 20th-century art fills Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao. It’s easy to pack your Barcelona visit with Gaudi’s eccentric mosaics, while in vibrant Seville the royal palace Alcazar drips with Moorish influence. Snorkel in the south coast’s warm Mediterranean waters. Or discover the Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Tenerife, with their sun-drenched sandy beaches and striking volcanic landscapes.
It's a short walk from Barcelona’s centre to the urban beaches for seaside fun or a thrilling cable-car ride to Montserrat’s hilltop monastery. Paddle at the golden sands of Costa Brava’s resorts, and spot dolphins from glass-bottomed catamarans off Malaga’s coast. Or just down the coast from Barcelona, head to the fantastic Port Aventura where you’ll find rollercoasters, waterslides and fun for all the family. And during the winter, sporty families take to the ski slopes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
In Malaga, take a romantic walk to the craggy ramparts of Gibralfaro Castle for views of the sandy coastline. Wake up in your romantic restored townhouse hotel, to fall in love with hot, sensual Seville. Andalusian neighbour, Granada's Moorish Alhambra, is dotted with carved ceramics and Koranic inscriptions. For solace, it’s easy to lose yourselves exploring
Spain’s environments are wonderfully diverse, from mountainous regions to sunbaked deserts. Head to Alicante to play the beautiful Costa Blanca resorts, where year-round sun is almost guaranteed. The Costa del Sol, around Malaga, is great for stunning views of Africa, with a dry climate ideal for honing your skills. And of course, Tenerife has some spectacular courses surrounded by volcanic mountains and beautiful beaches.
Experience all that Spain has to offer on a holiday by our specialist villa provider, James Villas. Soak up the Spanish sun while reclining by your private pool. Or unwind on the stunning beaches of the Costa del Sol. Choose from handpicked Canary Island villas in the vibrant beach resorts of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Or discover the beautiful Balearics, where incredible scenery and family-friendly coastal spots await in destinations like Menorca and Ibiza.
Seven beautiful volcanic islands just off the coast of North Africa make up the Canary Islands, four of which you can fly to with British Airways. Learn about Gran Canaria’s brilliant hiking opportunities, head to Lanzarote for underwater safaris, make the most of the spectacular scenery in Tenerife, or try some action-packed water sports in Fuerteventura. The Canary Islands are ideally placed to have great weather all year round – sunny and warm throughout the seasons.
Most of the bigger resorts are in the Pyrenees, with many peaks above 3000 metres creating a snow-sure region for ski fans.
Sometimes considered the best resort in the world, Baqueira-Beret offers superb skiing, world-class lifts and some serious après ski. Unlike in France and Austria, you’ll find very few people on the first lifts, relatively quiet pistes and a late-night restaurant scene. Best suited for intermediate and skilled skiers, you’ll find some difficult long reds and even some narrow, steep blacks at Cap de Baqueira. The resort itself is purpose-built in the 60s, and as such is not as picturesque as certain other resorts, but it more than makes up for this with its superb skiing and laid-back atmosphere off the mountain.
f you're seeking charisma, Spain has it in spades. It's hot, mountainous, Moorish and delicious. It's home of adventurers, inventors and fascinating modern artists. The country's a joy to explore, so hop in a car and discover it for yourself with our guide to the best road trips.
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