- the alternative guide to Spain
Alcazar in Segovia
While Spain's top tourist attractions are
beyond the beaches, Spain has litterally thousands of heritage tourist
attractions, spread throughout the country. Some are well-known and
much visited, others - off the beaten track - are largely ignored by
tourists passing by.
These chapters of About-Spain.net present the most
in Spain, by category.
For information on the
tourist attractions of specific regions of Spain, see regional guides.
Spain has a cultural heritage that is unique
among the countries of western Europe in many ways, but most
significantly in so far as it is the only country of Western Europe
whose heritage has been significantly marked by the
art and architecture of the Islamic world.
is the result of the intertwining of three main threads, classic
European Christian culture, Islamic culture brought over from North
Africa, and Jewish culture. Over the centuries, Spanish art
architecture adopted exuberant styles, that can be seen in various
forms today, from the arabesques of Granadan art to the lavish baroque
and platresque styles of more recent centuries.
best tourist cities
These are the most visited tourist cities in Spain: but they
are just the icing on the cake. Some twenty Spanish cities contain or
are themselves listed as UNESCO world heritage sites; the four below
are on the tourist trail, other Spanish cities are less visited (see undiscovered
(Catalonia) : Seaside city on the north Mediterranean
coast. Famed for its bars and cafés, architecture and
(Region of Madrid) : Spain's capital, with a
wealth of museums,
palaces, monuments and other attractions
(Castilla la Mancha)
: less than an hour from Madrid -
amazing historic city full of historic monuments and museums.
: former capital of Moorish
Spain, a truly
unique city, with its historic sites.
best classical antiquities
Hispania was an important part of the Roman Empire, and
Roman remains are to be found in many parts of Spain. The most
important vestiges of Roman Spain can be found at.....
3. Spain's Moorish
Eight centuries of Moorish presence in Spain profoundly
Spanish culture, and gave Spain some of its most visited heritage
(Andalucia) : Granada's
Alhambra is the most visited
heritage site in Spain.
(Andalucia) : La Mezquita, or the old Mosque, is
over 1000 years old, and was once the second largest mosque of
► More details and more
Moorish sites in Spain
4. Best Spanish Museums
& Art Galleries
Spain has some of Europe's great museums and art galleries,
located in a number of cities across the country. While Madrid's Prado
museum is a clear "first" in any list of Spain's best museums, the
ordering of the runners-up is liable to be a matter of personal
Prado (Madrid) : Spain's national museum, and one of the
best in Europe.
de Santa Cruz (Toledo, Castilla la Mancha) : A fine
collection of classic Spanish art, including many works by Toledo's
most famous painter El Greco.
► More details and more Spanish museums and art galleries
Top Spanish castles and fortresses
Centuries of conflict between Christians and Muslims in
have left a heritage of litterally thousands of castles and fortresses
throughout Spain. Several of these are among Spain's major tourist
attractions, and among the most impressive in Europe.
(Segovia) : A fairytale castle built on the impregnable
base of a Moorish fortress
Mota (Medina del Campo, Castilla y Leon) : Massive
mediaeval stone and brick fortress dominating the plains of Castile
► More details and more Fortresses and castles in Spain
heritage - outdoor Spain
Most of Spain is sparsely populated; the dry climate of much
of the Meseta - the upland plateau that includes a large part of the
country - has ensured that Spain has to this day thousands of square
kilometers of unspoiled country - mountains, plateaux and plains. There
are amazing landscapes to discover and explore throughout Spain. Here
are some of the best areas - a small selection of some of the
best natural environments that Spain has to offer.
- The Sierra
Nevada and Alpujarras : Between Granada and the
Mediterranean, Spain's highest mountain range, and the warm valleys
between the Sierra and the coast. See Andalucia.
including part of the Gredos mountains, and vast expanses of prairie
and savannah, along with remarkable boulder landscapes towards the
Portuguese border. See Extremadura
- The Spanish
Pyrenees - in Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre. Dramatic and
fairly arid mountainscapes, with Alpine-style pastures and uplands in
the higher areas towards the French border.
- The Picos de
Europa Cantabria and Asturias. The mountain
range separating the north of the Spanish Meseta and the north coast.
Plenty of opportunity for hiking and other mountain activities.
Other tourist attractions
Just a couple of the hundreds more interesting and
varied attractions that Spain has to offer.
of Santo Domingo de Silos : Near Burgos, one of Europe's
most magnificent Romanesque cloisters, with fabulous mediaeval
Tinto Mining park, Huelva province western Andalucia :
amazing lunar landscapes, mining museum and tour, 12 km.
Railway Museum at Vilanova i la Geltru, between Barcelona
and Tarragona. See Trains in
- The Camino
del Rey - southern Andalucia. Hair-raising historic
walkway along the sheer vertical rockface of a narrow gorge. Recently
entirely renovated and reopened to modern safety standards after years
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