Asturias is a region of splendid beaches, unspoiled nature, dotted with rich architectural, industrial and cultural heritage. Apart from the region’s uncrowned beaches, there are lively inland cities and areas of great natural beauty. There are several major destinations in the Asturias region, including the cities of Oviedo, Gijon and Aviles, along with the scenic village of Ribadesella. Our guide includes tips and information concerning these four key Asturias locations.
A gateway between the two nations of the Iberian peninsula, Badajoz lies as close to Lisbon as it does to Madrid or Seville, and the city draws on influences from both sides of the border, as well as from centuries of tumultuous history, to form its distinctive character. Winding medieval alleys and a skyline dotted with palace towers make the historic town a sight to behold, while the remnants of the majestic Alcazaba watch over the city as they have for centuries, once an impenetrable fortress that protected the area from countless invasions.
Located in the arid but fertile expanse known as La Mancha, forever immortalized as the setting for Don Quixote's misadventures, lies the beautiful medieval city of Ciudad Real. Remnants of ancient city walls, churches galore and spectacular cuisine based primarily on cheese, cured meats and wine all make a visit well worth it, and now with high-speed rail connections to both Madrid and Sevilla, it has never been easier.
Catalonia's second city is many things: medieval stronghold, university city, party town, and modern urban centre. The Old Quarter, with its majestic cathedral, winding alleys and ancient city walls bring the Middle Ages to life, while the modern neighbourhoods across the River Onyar showcase Girona's cosmopolitan side with chic restaurants and cafes, superb shopping and vibrant nightlife. It is no wonder that for years running, Girona has been voted the best place to live in Spain.
The impressive, enchanting shadow of the Alhambra casts a magical spell upon all who pass through Granada. This is a city of legends created by gypsies and pirates, played out in the warren of the Albayzin, and in the inescapable presence of the ancient Moorish castle, the famous Alhambra. The Sierra Nevada Mountains provide an impressive backdrop and add to the enchanting feel of this miraculous place.
It is possible that the city that never sleeps has calmed down a little in recent years, but even if the bars close a bit earlier these days, you can still count on finding a party atmosphere at all times of the day and in all situations. And then, once you have had enough of socializing, you can take a few days out and enjoy the best kilometre of art to be found in Europe.
Santiago de Compostela has been a centre for culture and scholarship for centuries, most famous for being the end destination of a thousand-year-old pilgrimage: El Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James. Being the capital of the Galician region in north-western Spain, everyday life in Santiago is modern and chic. Awarded recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1985, Santiago de Compostela is a historical gem and one of the most impressive cities in Spain.
The charismatic city of Seville has a certain swagger that sets it apart from quainter Andalusian towns. It is a city with undeniable personality and a confidence that could only come from a place bathed in sunlight almost year-round. It boasts a fascinating history of Roman and Moorish invasions, followed by unparalleled Colonial prosperity, this mix of influences giving rise to Seville's cultural cornucopia of architecture, cuisine and the region's fiery dance, Flamenco. Tangled alley labyrinths, exquisite cathedrals and animated tapas bars line the Guadalquivir river which winds its way through the Andalusian capital as it wears its heart on its sleeve for visitors and sevillanos alike.
Valladolid breathes history from all of its ancient stones. This is the place where King Felipe II was born, the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabel were married, and Christopher Columbus died. This was once the capital of Spain, and although it has lost this title, it's still the principal city of Castilla y Leon, the land of castles from which the word ‘Castilian’ derives. Today, Valladolid is a bustling university city that thrives on its manufacturing industries. It is a down-to-earth, lively place that energetically blends old with new.