Explore some of the must-see cities with Smart Insiders.
Spring is rapidly approaching and with nice weather and days off we get the urge to splurge…on travel! Smart Insiders wants to share what we think are Spain’s must-visit cities in 2019.
Cádiz: The city of Carnival.
First, we are starting off with Cadíz which is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe and located in the souther region of Andalucía. If you’re into history you will love visiting here. The Romans settled here and built amazing structures, some of which are still standing today. Also, it was one of Europe’s most important ports, with trading links to America, and even though it’s on the smaller side there is a rich past to explore.
What is Carnival?
Most importantly, this city is most famous for hosting Carnival in the month of February. If you don’t know what Carnival is, it’s a celebration starting two weeks before Lent. Certainly there will be parades, dancing, costumes, and music which are a must when attending the biggest party on the mainland of Spain. As a result, Saturdays are when people arrive from all over and fill the streets ready to make merry.
Valencia: The city of fire.
Next, the 2,000-year-old city, one of Spain’s oldest, is the Mediterranean city of Valencia. Here there is a beautiful cathedral, renaissance churches, great beaches, and some of the most striking modern architecture in Europe. Above all, this city is known for their delicious seafood. It is home to Spain’s most famous dish, paella, because of the region’s rice.
What is Fallas?
Valencia celebrates the end of winter and the arrival of spring with a beautiful festival Las Fallas on March 14th to the 19th. Probably one of the longer festivals with 4 intense days of colors, flowers, and music, this is an event you don’t want to miss. What’s so special about it? Well, the most noteworthy part of the event is that giant wooden statues, called ninots, that are made specifically for this event will be set on fire. As a result, you will have a front row celebration for what the people call La Cremá.
Consequently, some of these figures can cost up to €20 million to build, so it’s an interesting concept to watch them being set on fire after paraded through the streets. Hence the reason this famous festival brings so many people to Valencia.
San Sebastian: The perfect beach town.
San Sebastián is a coastal town located in Basque Country, and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Europe. Why you ask? First of all, there are three beautiful beaches, the Concha, Ondarreta, and Zurriola, where many tourists come to relax during summer holidays. Most noteworthy is La Concha, which is voted the most beautiful urban beach in Europe, and is surrounded by gorgeous beachside mansions. Also, its boardwalk is lined by a white railing that has become a symbol of the city. Even more relaxed are the other two beaches, the Ondarreta and Zurriola. Certainly when you visit Zurriola you will spot many surfers. Finally, San Sebastián is known for its amazing cuisine. The city alone has 16 Michelin stars spread across 9 restaurants and the pinxtos are a must try.
Top Sightseeing Spots
Sevilla: The land of dance.
Next, Sevilla which is the capital of Andalucía. Probably the city that epitomizes traditional Spain the most, filled with flamenco, fiestas, and full of Arabian heritage and dramatic Roman history. While summer temperatures reach a whopping 35°C (95°F) and rain falls less than 80 days a year this makes for the perfect year round destination, but there’s more to this city than sunshine and pretty buildings. Another festival Feria de Abril (April Fair) and Semana Santa (Easter) are both famous parties that take place here. The streets come alive with processions to celebrate Easter, and then two weeks later the city hosts Feria de Abril. Maybe one of the most famous events in Spain, Feria is a week long spring fair with dancing, drinking, eating and socialising.
Top Sightseeing Spots
Salamanca: The college town.
Salamanca is located in the Castilla y León region and houses the oldest active university in Spain and is the fourth oldest university in the world. Because of that, this has contributed to the rapid growth and has become a cultural center for people around the world. Due to this, the University of Salamanca remains an esteemed school that attracts not only Spanish but also international students. Certainly there is so much to do and experience here including visiting popular cafes and lively bars. Also, this city is known for its many activities to take part in, whether you attend the university or not. The main attraction in Salamanca is the Plaza Mayor, and is easily one of the most beautiful plazas in all of Spain. Some might even say it’s the most beautiful plaza in Europe.
Top Sightseeing Spots
Cuenca: With the hanging houses.
Finally, we have Cuenca which is a beautiful city located right between Madrid and Valencia. Most noteworthy are the city’s location and scenery for being the top reasons to visit. Everywhere you turn you will stumble upon gorgeous views, after all, the word “cuenca” translates to “basin,” and the city earns that name with its many gorges, hills, and rocky cliffs. Also, the casas colgadas, or hanging houses, are what Cuenca is most famous for. These houses, which jut out over the Río Huécar gorge, were built to create more living space for Cuenca’s growing population in the Middle Ages. Consequently, people no longer live in these hanging houses, but you can visit a museum inside one.