The best way to learn a language is to visit the country where it is spoken. Of course, that isn’t always possible and the alternative is to go to a language school and pick the language you want to learn. This can be pretty effective.
One of the most popular languages people want to learn worldwide is Spanish. Although it isn’t as influential as some other languages such as English, German or Chinese, Spanish is spoken worldwide and there’s something melodic and beautiful about speaking it.
So what better country to visit if you want to try your Spanish speaking skills than Spain? The country has a lot to offer to everyone who visits.
However, in this article, we will mention some famous tourist destinations, events, and festivals that you should check out when you arrive in this country! This will be a perfect opportunity for you to perfect your Spanish or simply be confident and relaxed despite the mistakes, which, according to iTutors is crucial in the learning process!
In the article you will be able to learn more about:
- Castles and Famous Buildings
- Popular Destinations in Nature
- Events and Festivals.
We will try to mention as many things as possible here, so bear with us. Keep on reading and find out the most popular destinations all across Spain!
Castles and Famous Buildings
First of all, Spain is full of popular castles, buildings and churches, dating from different periods of time. Just like anywhere else in the world, the first structures date back to the pre-historic period, but things really start to shape up with Romanesuqe era that lasted between 10th to 12th century.
After that, Christianity collided with Islam, spawning one of the most beautiful places – La Alhambra, that we will talk about more in detail. Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Neoclassical Architecture all have their representatives, but Eclecticism and Modernism took over all the elements of different styles, resulting in some of the most beautiful buildings.
Let’s check out some famous buildings and castles around Spain:
1. Sagrada Familia
Although it is still unfinished, Sagrada Familia is probably the most famous building in entire Spain. Barcelona, the home of Sagrada Familia, is famous for its unique architecture and wonderful parks so the whole city has a lot to offer to the tourists.
And yet Sagrada Familia is on a whole another level. Designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí who redesigned what was to be the typical neo-Gothic church into a masterpiece is now one of the most visited spots in entire Barcelonaand Spain on that matter.
The Islamic influence in Spain is widely visible in the southern parts of the country. The fortress was first created as a military spot but it became the central court during the Nasrid Kingdon. The word Alhambra is derived from the Arabic word al-Hamra (f.) which means the red one.
As the name suggests, Alhambra is the “red fortress” but over the years the color faded away. Nevertheless, it remains one of the wonders of Spain and definitely, a must-visit for everyone going there. It served as an inspiration to many intellectuals and artists and one of the most famous guitar compositions called “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” by Francisco Tarrega is named after it.
3. Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Barcelona is a true representative of modern and eclectic architecture and thanks to Gaudí, it has become one of the most popular cities in the world. We’ve mentioned Gaudí and his design of Sagrada Familia, but another, just as unique, yet lower in scale design is the Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera.
Stone is used as the primary material for Gaudí’s last project, which was completed in 1912. Although we perceive this as a work of art, La Pedrera wasn’t well accepted by the general public at the time. One of the most iconic aspects of this house is the chimneys and air vents that have a sculptural feel to them. Furthermore, you can see Sagrada Familia from the terrace of Casa Milà, which is quite cool.
4. Alcazar de Segovia
Are you familiar with Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World? It was modeled after Alcazar de Segovia. Although it looks very poetic, this is a major historic place for the Spaniards – it was first built for King Alfonso III in the 12th century, and later on Isabela I was crowned here in 1474.
The castle has a couple of sections with the most stunning ones called Torre de Juan, which is the tallest part of the castle, and Sala de Galera, from which you can overlook the valley below. The castle served as a royal residence for the most part of its history and it is now open to the public.
Popular Destinations in Nature
Next up is popular destinations that you can visit outside of the big cities’ hubs. Stepping out of Barcelona and Madrid will see how beautiful Spain is. And below, we offer some popular spots for adventurers.
5. Ebro River
Ebro River is the second-longest river in the entire Iberian Peninsula and this is a popular destination for fishermen all around the world. The river flows from Northern Spain, near Santander, and through La Rioja and Zaragoza to reach the sea between Barcelona and Valencia.
While some tourists visit the river just to travel the country and see all the gorgeous landscapes, others are looking for fish. And with the big river, comes a monster fish as well! Some of the popular catches include Catfish and Carp, which can weigh over 100 lbs. Other than these monsters, you can find Black Bass, Pike Trout, and Salmon in some parts of the river. If you are near the Ebro, in any part of Spain, make sure you check it out.
One of the most popular tourist hubs is the island called Mallorca and for a reason! Its capital is Palma and although this is an autonomous community of the Balearic islands, it is basically a part of Spain.
For everyone who loves spectacular beaches and beach bars, this is a place to go. You can rest here and speak Spanish with the locals without feeling any pressure at all. Furthermore, Mallorca is famous for its rich nightlife so you can have some fun as well!
Whether you are looking for peace and quiet or a place to go out, drink, and meet new people, you can find it all here.
7. The Canary Islands
Speaking of islands, on the coast of Morocco, there is a group of islands known as the Canary Islands or Canarias in Spanish. Although it is located right next to the African continent, the place is an autonomous part of Spain and it belongs to the EU. Culturally, this place belongs to Europe as well.
The Canary Islands are quite popular, but for first-time visitors, we recommend the mainland for a better understanding of the culture. However, if you are more of a beach-loving type we fully support your decision to visit this place!
8. Timanfaya National Park
The farthest location of the Canary Islands is called Lanzarote and the otherworldly beauty can be found there. The landscape at Lanzarote are second to none and one part of it is called Timanfaya National Park. If you’ve never been here, don’t worry, because there is a visitor center that is located in Mancha Blanca and they will let you know what the best tour around the place is.
Keep in mind that the park is open from 9 a.m. in the morning until 4.45 p.m, so you cannot come here any time you want.
You can check out the Mountains of Fire and here, it is quite enough to spend one hour, after which you can enjoy a camel ride! If none of these are for you, there is a walking tour as well, so one way or another, you will enjoy the park!
Events and Festivals
In Spain, various festivals are held throughout the year, ranging from more modern music festivals and film fests to traditional ones. Since we are talking about learning more about the culture of Spain, we will talk about the festivals which have more of a history and are held annually.
9. Castells (Human Castles/Towers)
Castells is a festival that takes place in Catalonia and the Valencian Community where teams called Castellers to build towers made of people! Yes, and they compete who can build the biggest and the most stable castle. The festival dates back to the 1700s and it originated in the Valencian Dance in Valls, a city near Tarragona. They are also popular in the Basque Country – the northern parts of Spain.
Nowadays, Castell is a part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and thousands of people gather each year to watch people build human towers!
10. La Tomatina
Annually, a large number of festivals take place all over Spain but we will mention some of the most famous ones only. La Tomatina is set in a town called Buñol, near Valencia and it takes place in the last week of August.
Basically, if you are up to a tomato fight, this is the right festival for you. The tomato battle lasts about an hour and there’s a huge mess after it but immediately, the city streets are washed and so are the participants. There are some rules that you need to adhere to if you want to participate in this festival.
Don’t throw anything else but tomatoes and squash them before throwing. That’s sound advice and people do follow it. Some other rules are existent as well, but you can find out once you go there.
11. San Juan
San Juan is maybe even more famous than La Tomatina. It happens during the summer – on the 23rd of July and people gather on the beaches and build fire camps and just have a good time. Furthermore, there is a thing people in Catalonia call Correfoc, which is the Night of the Witches. Similar to British Halloween, people dress up as demons, but instead of asking for candies, they are dancing with a fire flair and throw some fireworks.
While this is a famous holiday in Spain not many people who are visiting know about it. Therefore, for those of you coming during the summer, this is a nice occasion that will allow you to hang out with people and learn more about their culture.
There are various beliefs and superstitions related to the San Juan festival. For example, people believe that this is a magical night during which ancient pagan gods are closer to humans. However, these are just the beliefs and traditions that vary across the country.
Even though there are nuances to how the festival is celebrated, no matter where you are in Spain, there will be fire along with jumping and dancing. People believe that by doing this, they will strengthen the Sun and burn their problems away. Every year, bonfires are lit all across Spain and people just have a good time.
12. San Fermín
Another festival which is famous all across the world is called San Fermín and it lasts for 9 days. Location: Pamplona. There is a good reason to visit Pamplona during the festival. The jist of the event is for people to run with the bulls and also drink red wine.
This is in fact a deeply religious festival, in honor of the 3rd Century Christian Convert and the famed Encierro. Also, people are running with the bulls on the streets, which can become quite dangerous at times but that’s the risk one has to take if you want to run with the bulls in the narrow streets of Pamplona. Anyone who is brave enough can participate and the organizers will set up a few safe spots on the road in case you have nowhere to hide. The priority is to keep everyone safe after all. As for the wines, Spain is one of the best countries to try red and white wines, so, when you are not running away from the bulls, you can tickle your taste buds too.
In fact, tasting wine is the priority number one for most people because they are too afraid to join the chase, which is completely reasonable. In other words, you can visit the festival and enjoy yourself by just watching the bulls and trying out wines.
The festival lasts one week and it takes place in the middle of July.
Spain is a culturally diverse country with a large number of destinations from the mountains where people go to enjoy winter sports to beaches and luxury resorts where you can swim and surf. Also, the traditions are different all across the state, from Catalonia to central Spain, down to the Islamic-influenced south!
Don’t forget to practice your Spanish – speak freely and simply enjoy your experience there.