Madrid is the capital and the largest city in Spain. Madrid sits on the Manzanares River, just northeast of the center of the Iberian Peninsula. It is estimated that the origins of Madrid can be traced back to the 2nd century B.C. Madrid is home to the head of the Spanish government, the Spanish royal family and the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization. Madrid’s influence on politics, education, entertainment, fashion and culture make it one of the world’s major global cities.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, located in Madrid, Spain. Despite it being the official residence, the Royal Family do not live here; the site is only used for state ceremonies. The Royal Family instead lives in a more modest palace on the outskirts of Madrid. The palace is 1,450,000 square feet in size, contains 3,418 rooms, and is the largest palace in Europe by floor area. The palace dates back to the 9th century.
Toledo is a municipality located in central Spain, about 43 miles south of Madrid and is the capital of the Toledo province. The history of Toledo dates back to the Roman occupation circa 192 B.C. The old city of Toledo is located on a mountain surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River, and medieval walls on the fourth side. From the top of the mountain it features a 150 degree view of the rest of the city.
Cordoba is located in Andalucía, southern Spain, and is the capital of the province of Cordoba. This city has an interesting history full of many diverse cultures and was the capital of a Roman province, the capital of an Arab State and a form of an Islamic government. It has the second largest old town in Europe, featuring Roman architecture, including a Roman bridge, as well as several Islamic and Jewish mosques.
Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Seville is the top destination in the Andalusia region for travelers. Approximately 2,200 years old, the early origins of the city date back to the year 712. It is situated on the Guadalquivir River which splits the city into two halves. Seville is famous for being the birthplace of the Flamenco dance. It is also known for its culture, monuments, traditions and artistic heritage.
The heartbeat of Spain can be found in the houses of flamenco artists. A traditional flamenco show can be found in many of the small towns and cities scattered through the southern region of Spain, Andalusia. Flamenco is a style of dance encompassing the rhythm of lifestyle, personality and beauty of Spaniards. There is eminent beauty in every aspect of a Flamenco show from Andalusian décor, castanets, flamenco attire, polka dots, and the unforgettable strumming of the Spanish guitar. Flamenco is a type of Spanish folk music and dance originating in the region of Andalucía in southern Spain. It includes, singing, dancing, guitar playing and handclaps.
Granada is the capital of the province of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain and sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the intersection of four rivers. This city is only an hour from the Mediterranean Coast. Granada has been continuously inhabited by people for the past 2500 years, starting under Ancient Roman rule and features rich cultural elements, historic architecture, beautiful beaches and the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. The first palace on the site was built in the 11th century and in the 12th and 13th century a fortress-complex palace was built. It is a vast complex, comprised of many structures. The Alhambra is part fortress, part palace, part garden and part government city. Many visitors come to Grenada specifically just to visit and see the Alhambra.
Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia, Spain. It is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The city is located on the banks of the Turia River on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 B.C. Its historic center is one of the largest in Spain at 169 hectares in size. The region of Spain, specifically Valencia, is known for its paella: a rice dish native to the country of Spain.
Paella is a type of rice dish originating in the Valencian region on the east coast of Spain. The dish is widely regarded as Spain’s national dish, however most Spaniards consider it to be the regional dish of Valencia. Valencian paella is considered to be the original recipe, even though there are several different kinds of paella. The Valencian dish is comprised of white rice, green vegetables, meat, land snails, beans and seasoning.
Barcelona is an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture, fabled architecture and a world-class drinking and dining scene. Barcelona's architectural treasures span 2,000-plus years. Towering temple columns, ancient city walls and subterranean stone corridors provide a window into Roman-era Barcino. Fast forward a thousand years to the Middle Ages by taking a stroll through the shadowy lanes of the Gothic quarter, past tranquil plazas and soaring 14th-century cathedrals. In other parts of town bloom the sculptural masterpieces of Modernisme, a mix of ingenious and whimsical creations by Gaudí and his Catalan architectural contemporaries for which this city is so well known. Barcelona has also long-inspired artists, including the likes of Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, whose works are in bold display in the city's myriad museums.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, the Holy Family, is a church of the people, built by the people, with the money of the people. While it is not the cathedral of Barcelona, it is widely known due to its unique architecture and phenomenal design initiated by architect Antoni Gaudí. Works on the exploratory church began in 1882 and continue to this day but with modern technology and the rising number of visitors and donations, the church’s completion date has rapidly become closer. The facades of the church are breathtaking in their intricate and artistic details all of which were inspired by Gaudí. The church is divided into parts including the apse, chapels, cloister, crossing and transepts, crypt, glory façade, the nativity façade, the passion façade, the main nave and the sacristies.
Parc Guell is a park located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona, Spain. It is comprised of gardens and other architectural elements. The park was designed between 1900 and 1914, and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. Designed by famous architect Antoni Gaudí, Parc Guell is famous for its intricate stone structures, fascinating buildings and stunning tiling. The focal point of the park in the main terrace, which overlooks the city. This terrace features a long bench in the form of a sea serpent, and the wall of the back of the bench is made up of intricate tile work.
Experience Spain’s colorful pageant of art, history and culture. Set against a backdrop that spans sunny Mediterranean shores and grand mountain ranges, this stunning destination is dotted with white pueblos and groves of oranges and olives. Explore the priceless treasures of the Royal Palace, one of Europe’s largest palaces. Visit the exotic and expansive Alhambra palace, resplendent with Moorish regal flair. See the Cathedral of Seville, the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Enjoy reserved seating at a flamenco show and feel the passion of this famous dance. Explore Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba and Toledo. Become part of an authentic “paella experience,” and learn how this rice dish is made and where it originated. Choose between a walking tour featuring Valencia’s historic treasures or exploring Valencia’s “City of Arts & Sciences” followed by learning how precious Lladro figurines are made. View Antonio Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, including La Sagrada Familia. Spain beckons.