Spain is a land of sunny beaches and friendly people. But it also has much to offer in terms of leisure. In fact, the country attracts thousands of visitors every year due to its wide, natural, cultural and historical heritage. You can enjoy various parks, natural attractions, museums and monuments, and many other places of interest during your leisure time. You will definitely not get bored during your stay in the country.
History and culture
Spain has a multicultural population with a blend of traditions and modernism. You can discover these in most Spanish regions, often within historical neighbourhoods. Spanish people are very warm and welcoming and quite festive throughout the year. The major Spanish cities (namely Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, etc.) demonstrate the country's architectural heritage through historic buildings, mixing Gothic, contemporary and modern tendencies. You can enjoy the sights in major cities, with various monuments, churches, cathedrals and monasteries dotted throughout the country.
If you have settled in Madrid, you may explore the Prado historical museum. There is also the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and Gaudi's legacy in Barcelona, as well as various classical and contemporary art museums hosting famous artists' works, such as Picasso, Miro, Dali or Saura.
World heritage sites in Spain
Spain also has several places of interest which are classified as World Heritage sites by the UNESCO. Among these are Cordoba's historical centre, the Burgos Cathedral, the Avila and St. Jacques de Compostela, Caceres and Salamanca old towns, the Toledo historical city, and many others. The Hercules Tower, Vizcaya Bridge, Ubeda and Baeza monuments, Elche palm grove and the Atapuerca archaeological site are also very popular tourist sites.
Spanish natural parks
Nature lovers will not be disappointed. Spain has many natural reserves with sumptuous green landscapes, mountains, lakes, valleys and volcanoes where you can go hiking. In fact, Spain has more than 200 nature reserves consisting of rich ecosystems, including twelve national parks, islands, and swamps. There are also forests that contain rich fauna and flora, with both endangered species of plants and animals calling them home.
Hence, you can explore the Aiguestortes National Park and Saint Maurice Lake which are found in the Pyrenees, the Donana National Park, the Odiel marshes near the mouth of the Tinto River. The Picos de Europa, stretching over the Asturias, Cantabria and Castile-Leon, will also delight you with their mountainous landscapes giving superb views of the Costa Blanca.
You can also visit the Valporquero caves in Castile-Leon, the Del Drac caves in the Balearic Islands, the Boi Valley, the Anisclo Canyon, and Somport pass which is found at the French-Spanish border.
Good to know:
During the winter you can easily go skiing in the Pyrenees close to the French border, in the Sierra Nevada in the south of Spain or in the Madrid region. The mountains offer equally popular hiking opportunities during the rest of the year.
Beaches and islands
Spain also has many beautiful sandy beaches where you can walk, swim, or simply enjoy sunbathing when the weather is mild. These are also ideal places for sun and party lovers. Formentera Ses Illetes in the Balearic Islands, Las Catedrales in Galicia and Concha in San Sebastian are the country's most famous beaches. Del Silencio in Asturias, La Barrosa in Cadiz, and Nerja in Andalusia are also very popular both with the Spanish and with tourists. The Costa Brava to the north of Barcelona is famous for its breath-taking rocky bays.
The Balearic Isladns and Canary Islands are very popular holiday or weekend trip destinations among the Spanish.
Good to know:
Many of these regions offer great hiking trails during spring and autumn such as Majorca, Costa Brava (GR92) and the Pyrenees, or La Gomera (Canary Islands) in the winter.
Amusement parks in Spain
For family leisure activities, you can visit Spain's numerous amusement parks, namely 'Waterworld' in Lloret de Mar, 'Aqua Brava' in Roses and 'Aqualand' in Costa Adeje which consist of a water coaster, slides, waterfalls, tubing and many other thrill rides. Major Spanish cities such as Madrid, Seville and Cordoba, also host theme parks where you can enjoy roller coasters, carousels, karts, mini golf, swimming pools, and exotic animals.
On weekdays (as on weekends) you can also enjoy various Spanish restaurants, tapas bars and pubs in most cities. You will also find theatres, cinemas, shopping malls, food courts, etc. Some theatres regularly hold song and dance performances.
Nightlife lovers will be delighted with the number of dance clubs, bars and nightclubs which can be found in all cities. These are mostly located in the more touristic regions.
Note that most Spanish cities also have their own theatres and civic halls.
As a culturally and historically rich country, Spain also offers various festivals and cultural events all year round. Do not miss the famous Cabalgata de Reyes Magos, the Carnival of Madrid or the Carnival of Las Fallas in Valencia. San Fermin in Pamplona is famous for its Bull Run and Seville hosts Spain’s biggest celebrations for Semana Santa.