Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Spain’s cities: Barcelona, sure, but who’s the best of the rest?

Commercial Feature

The Prado museum is stuffed with important works


Many countries across Europe offer services with easyJet to Barcelona, and this has helped the glorious Spanish city develop into one of the most popular weekend break destinations in the world. A complementary mix of gothic buildings and modern cosmopolitanism combines easily with the wealth of gifts nature has bestowed on the area, meaning city breaks in Barcelona are rightly one of the most popular and versatile forms of holiday.

Unfortunately, Barcelona’s pre-eminence as a weekend break destination means that many other Spanish cities are perhaps not receiving the credit or attention they deserve. Listed below are five other cheap holidays Spain has to offer, in cities that provide an experience equally as thrilling and fulfilling as you will find in Catalonia.

1. Seville

It is hard to underestimate the importance Seville has played in the development of modern Spain. The city is over 2,000 years old and has absorbed a wealth of different cultures, tastes and styles over time. The result is a modern, cosmopolitan city that contains a wealth of outstanding museums and galleries set amid stunning architecture stemming back hundreds of years. The Alcazar, the Cathedral and the Archivo General de Indias are all UNESCO World Heritage sites. With so many things to see in and around the city and a year-long warm and temperate climate, there are few other intriguing cities to visit in Spain or Europe than Seville.

2. Madrid

The Spanish capital and long-time rival of Barcelona is well worth a visit in its own right. Indeed, it can be convincingly argued that the only thing Madrid lacks, compared to its Catalan rival, is being situated by the sea. The city is famous for many things: the fantastic nightlife, friendly locals, outstanding cuisine and magnificent architecture. It is equally well known for its love of art, culture and music, both classical and contemporary, not to mention its passion for sport. So grand is the scale of Madrid, so all encompassing its opulence, that one visit is never enough to appreciate the scale, wealth of attractions and sheer majesty it possesses.

3. Majorca

Although not technically a city, the island of Majorca and its beautiful bays around the cities of Alcudia and Palma are well worth considering for a holiday. If lazing in the sun amid beautiful surroundings with warm waters lapping at your feet against the backdrop of rocky coves is your cup of tea, then Majorca will not disappoint. The island, though, offers lots more for the visitor; its mountainous landscape offers a wealth of opportunities to explore and see the island in a different way, while the resorts of the south offer plenty of opportunities to hit the nightclubs and bars.

4. Valencia

The third largest city in Spain offers a wealth of riches for the visitor. Home of the European Grand Prix, the city boasts the La Lonja de la Seda, the UNESCO World Heritage Site silk market, while its Baroque, Gothic and Romanesque architecture gives the city a truly classical feel. The city also boasts the largest aquarium in Europe, the massive Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, a musical and opera palace and is also home to Valencia CF, Spain’s third most successful football team behind Barcelona and Real Madrid.

5. Malaga

Another gem of a city from Andalusia, Malaga is a city well worth visiting and exploring. In recent times, the city has become known as the gateway to the popular Costa regions in southern Spain and as such, many people have simply passed through without appreciating the many attractions it has to offer. From the educational Picasso Home Museum, the Aquarium of Malaga and the Bullfighting Museum to the majesty of Gibralfaro Castle, Malaga Cathedral and El Parque, there is so much more to Malaga than simply being a convenient way in and out of southern Spain.

So, if you are considering a Spanish city for a cheap holiday or weekend city break, then remember there is more to this glorious country than simply one city. There are plenty of other jewels to explore in the Spanish crown.



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