Podcast conversation with Nigel Hack.
As expected, Nigel and I couldn’t possibly squeeze everything we wanted to talk about into the show. And similarly if you have just a week in Spain, you can’t fit in everything. My best recommendation is to carefully curate your trip to experience the places and people you will most enjoy. Read through below for some of the highlights and other recommendations.
There are so many delights. If you are a real foodie, you must go to San Sebastian and the Basque country for pinxchos (their version of tapas). Other ideas – taste Vermouth, olive oil, go on a tapas walk (one of the most popular places for this in Madrid – Calles Alta and Baja), visit authentic markets where Spaniards shop every day, learn to cook true paella from a Spanish cook, have a picnic in hills outside of Ronda, visit a winery and learn from a family with a rich and storied wine history, drive through Extremadura to see where jamon Iberico comes from.
Mountain or road biking, kayaking, fishing, golfing, horseback riding, surfing, kite surfing, walk a section (or all) of El Camino, take a coastal walk, hike the Sierra Nevadas or Pyrenees, play beach volleyball.
For adventurers, take a spin around the Ascari race track in Malaga, go white water rafting, canyoning, or scale a via ferrata or take “the most dangerous walk in the world” – El Camineto del Rey.
If you are with your family – make a visit to El Retiro – take out a rowboat, play tennis, bring a soccer ball or paddles and a ball (a very popular beach game in Spain), visit the peacocks (lots of peacocks!), pack a picnic.
If you have sports fans
Take in a Real Madrid or Barca game or if offseason take a tour of Santiago Bernabéu or Camp Nou. Better yet, go for a Eurocopa championship game. Or watch a polo match.
Whether you are on the north or south coast, chartering a boat is always a great way to explore from another vantage point.
If you are there in the winter, go skiing in the mountains. If you go to Sierra Nevada you may be able to ski and sun at the beach on the same day.
The art and architecture
In Madrid, my favorite museums are El Prado and Thyssen. El Prado has many Spanish masterpieces and one of my favorites, Las Meninas by Velasquez. Reina Sofia is also popular and is where Guernica is housed – Picasso’s illustration of the Nazi’s bombing practice on Guernica in Basque country during the Spanish civil war.
In Bilbao – visit the Guggenheim.
In Barcelona, most famous for Gaudi, see the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Parc Guell and the lesser known small Picasso museum that has 50+ of Picasso’s interpretations of Las Meninas.
Of course, there are many beautiful churches as well as a lot of Jewish history in places like Toledo.
And one of the most historic buildings, the Alhambra, where (if I have my history correct) Ferdinand and Isabella instructed Colombus to go off in search of the west.
Meet fascinating people
Learn from PhD historians and restoration experts. Visit an atelier shop to learn about their craft passed down through generations.
See a flamenco show and learn about the history and expertise of this very Spanish dance from the dancers themselves.
Visit a bull ring
The most beautiful may be in Ronda, but the biggest is in Madrid. There are only a handful of bullfights every year, so if that’s not your interest, I suggest visiting a ring, museum or farm to learn about this important part of the culture.
For more sites, Nigel and my personal favorite hidden gems and shopping recommendations and our favorite hotels stay tuned for the podcast page on truvaytravel.com/podcasts for more details.