Once extending into parts of France, Corsica and Sardinia, Catalonia today is an autonomous region in northeastern Spain.
With its own language and vibrant personalities and traditions, it is an electric mix of styles making it the melting pot of the Iberian Peninsula. As a seafaring nation for centuries, Catalonia assimilates it all by superimposing the contributions of other ancient cultures. From the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean beaches of the Costa Brava and Costa Dorado, the region hides unexpected treasures in an area littered with medieval architecture, orchards, valleys of peaches and apricots, white wash fishing pueblos, religious refuges and more.
Here are the best places to visit in Catalonia.
Castilla y León are united to form Spain’s biggest region. The two ancient kingdoms were united in the early part of the 11th century.
This was the driving force behind the Reconquest and its leaders brought great wealth to the region. For lovers of monuments, art treasures and historic sights then this is the region to follow the “route of the castles”.
Soak up the real life history and folklore in a region saturated with a well preserved heritage from the days of the great empires of the Romans, Moors and Spanish.
Here are the best places to visit in Castilla y León.
La Mancha is a landlocked region of central Spain south of Madrid which is barren and wilderness-like. The name ‘La Mancha’ comes from the Arabic word ‘al-mansha’ meaning dry land.
The autonomous community is situated in central Spain encompassing of five provinces including Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo. Contemplate architectural marvels from various periods, tour archaeological sites and explore more than 1,200 square miles of protected natural areas.
Here are the best places to visit in Castile-La Mancha.
Verdant meadows, rolling hills and an extensive coastline make up Cantabria. Sometimes called La Montana, it is not dissimilar to its neighboring regions of the Austrias and Basque Country. It is easy for the visitor to write off the smaller towns and villages, yet they are the ones that posses the true flavor of a region.
Here are the best places to visit in Cantabria.
The Canary Islands add a very exotic touch to the repertoire of Spain. Located more than 500 miles from the European mainland and only 70 miles from the coast of north west Africa, legend has it that the Canary Islands are the summit of the tallest mountain of the lost city of Atlantis.
Each island in the Canary Islands offers their own flavor. Some of the most spectacular and diverse landscape in Spain is within its subtropical ambiance. A variety of volcanoes, cliffs and forests grace its fine sand beaches. Some islands are rugged and filled with craters that it is reminiscent of Mars rather than Earth, other islands are ever-so-lush with its high peaks covered in vegetation.
The seven volcanic islands have a climate so mild that it is a holiday destination haven for the snowbirds during the harshest winters elsewhere.
Here are the best places to visit in Canary Islands.
The autonomous community of Aragon stretches from the French border in the north to as far south as Valencia. The ancient kingdom of Aragon is little known by tourists and consists of three provinces: Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. This region has been a nucleus of population since conjuring up the romantic images of Roman legions, Moors, Christians, convents and castles.
The region still reminds one of its past that has been a decisive battleground by withstanding Napoleon’s troops. With an often desolate landscape hardly changed since Augustus conquered its capital of Zaragoza and added Spain to the Roman Empire. The Mudejar Architecture of Aragon is celebrated with its honor of being on UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
Here are the best places to visit in Aragon.
Andalusia is the most populous autonomous region in Spain with a land mass that is the second largest in size. It is situated in the southern part of the country and many deem it a Mediterranean picture painted with an Arabic brush.
The region was under Muslim rule between 711 and 1492. Its name is derived from the word ‘Al Andalus’ which means tolerance. There are hundreds of examples to explain what Andalusia was and why it was a crossroad of cultural and religious richness.
Here are the best places to visit in Andalucía.
Much of Spanish nature is still preserved as it was hundreds of years ago. There are many dazzling and “green” natural areas that are surprisingly all around the Iberian nations, even close to the top tourist destinations. Although images of Spain are pristine beaches, white-washed pueblos and cosmopolitan cities, the National Parks are still another portion of the wild side that is capable of captivating the visitor. Mother Nature´s inventiveness remains intact and is a reality to be discovered in Spain.
The following five regions of rural routes are just the icing of thousands more that Spain has to offer.
Lanzarote is one of the most privileged islands in Spain’s Canary Islands. It gives its thanks to the volcanoes that act as sentries guarding its lunar landscape. Situated along the northeast archipelago, over a thousand miles from mainland Spain, yet a mere 79 miles off the coast of Africa, the eruptions of 1730 had “Mother Nature” expand its original borders.
Lanzarote is diverse from the other Canary Islands, in regards to tourism, as there are no high-rise buildings. This alone gives the island a unique and unspoiled atmosphere, as if being transported back to the dawn of time.
For those in search of peace and solitude in contrast to the popular tourist spots of the other islands, Lanzarote provides that welcome sanctuary.
Join in the chocolate fest that’s not held for a day, week or month. This one is 365 days a year, and held in every pueblo and city. Spain was enjoying the pleasure of cacao long before the rest of Europe.
On his fourth voyage to the New World in 1502, Columbus landed in Central America’s Nicaragua. The natives used their cocoa beans as their currency. It had a dual purpose and was served as a beverage too. Columbus was focused on still discovering a new route to India and the beans held little interest to him.
However, Conquistador Hernando Cortez had more than an extreme interest in the cacao beans. Obsessed with finding gold in the name of the King and Queen, during his dominance over Mexico in 1519, he set up a cacao plantation. However, it was not as a commodity used for chocolates. He believed that the Aztecs were cultivating “money” since it was used as currency by them.