Set in the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is one of the largest countries in Europe, with a rich history that’s reflected in its vibrant culture. A major part of the Roman Empire, before being occupied by the Moors, and then reconquered by European Christians, the country was eventually unified as Spain in the 15th Century. As a result of its storied history, Spain is a country of contrast and difference, which you can experience on our tours to Spain.
Spain holidays have something for everyone, from medieval villages to beach holidays overlooking the stunning Mediterranean, high mountains, and bustling cities like Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, and Madrid. The history of this varied country offers each region its own cultural identity, particularly in Catalonia. Spain is also famous for its cuisine - with national delicacies like paella and tapas washed sown with Rioja and Cava wines - and culture, such as the architecture of Gaudi and the paintings of Picasso.
Visiting Spain is an immersion in great food, fabulous wine, and even better culture, with a huge range of sights and sounds to explore.
There are so many places to visit in Spain, but Barcelona has to be top of most people’s lists, thanks to its incredible culture and architecture. Barcelona is one of the biggest cities in Europe, and is awash with astounding architecture and UNESCO World Heritage sites such as La Rambla, Gaudi’s basilica de la Sagrada Família and Casa Batlló, plus the amazing buildings in Barri Gòtic – or Gothic Quarter. Take a long walk in one of Barcelona’s 60 parks, or its seven beaches, and enjoy classic Catalonian cuisine like Escalivada and Crema Catalana. Our also takes in other stunning highlights of Catalonia, including the medieval city of Girona and the Cava vineyard.
Seville is set in the region of Andalusia, which has a rich culture and history. Seville has intriguing Moorish and Castilian influences in much of its architecture, and is the home of conquistadors, with the golden age of the city arising from its trade links with the New World in the 15th Century. A must-see feature in any Spain travel itinerary, Seville is a beautiful city that blends old and new. like the 15th Century Cathedral and the 13th Century Torre del Oro, as well as the city’s various museums and galleries. In the evening, immerse yourself in the city’s nightlife, particularly its music scene, with Seville known as the birthplace of flamenco.
Valencia is best known for its local traditions and festivals, including the Fallas, a bustling gathering that attracts thousands every year. Highlights include the famous Mascletà - an explosive display of firecrackers and fireworks – and the grand finale, La Cremà, a ceremonial burning of incredibly elaborate paper-mâché monuments. Valencia is also renowned for its cuisine, with the region being the traditional home of paella, as well as other local delicacies like the eel and potato stew All i pebre, and the sweet pumpkin fritters called Bunyols.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Plaza d'Espana, Seville
Fallas festival, Valencia
Widely acknowledged as the country’s most beautiful city, Salamanca is one of the most stunning places to visit in Spain. Home to the oldest university in the country, Universidad de Salamanca, which was founded in 1134, the city is host to some of the most awe-inspiring buildings in the world. , which are separated by hundreds of years of history, but joined together by shared construction, along with Salamanca’s various palaces and museums.
Visit the Royal Alcázar of Seville
Paying testament to the bloody history of the Christian conquest of Spain, The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace built for King Peter ‘the Cruel’ on the site of a former fortress erected during the Abbadid dynasty. The palace is one of the finest examples of Iberian architecture, which takes heavy influences from the Moors, and contains stunning features and engravings. The Alcázar is one of the most significant Spanish attractions thanks to its historical and contemporary importance, having been used as a filming location in Lawrence of Arabia and Game of Thrones.
Visit the Sagrada Família
Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Família, is one of the most famous Spanish landmarks, and one of the top things to do in Spain. The Basilica is renowned for its unique design and remaining unfinished, despite construction beginning in 1882, with Gaudi famously having remarked that “my client is not in a hurry”.
Spain is famous for its bold cuisine. The nation’s most famous dishes include paella, tapas and gazpacho – all bursting with flavour.
The regionality of Spain means that cuisine varies across the country, with a variety of local delicacies to try. Botifarra is a Catalonian sausage that features in many dishes and has numerous variations, while a visit to Andalucía should include a taste of the region’s Serrano ham.
For those with a sweet tooth, try two of the country’s famous Christmas desserts: turron - the famous nougat from Alicante – and Tortell, a Catalonian O-shaped pastry filled with marzipan or cream, which is traditionally eaten on the 12th day of Christmas.
You'll find an abundance of oranges is various regions throughout Spain, with Valencia often nicknamed 'The Orchard of Spain'. When in harvest season, which ranges from May to October, you'll see beuatiful orange trees growing everywhere, and many bars and restaurants will have a do-it-yourself machine to squeeze and taste the delicious juice.
Wine drinkers will be familiar with the country’s most famous tipples – sherry from the Andalucía region, and Rioja from the La Rioja province, as well as Cava and the fruity punch sangria.
My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip which was superbly organised and enhanced by the guides Inken and Dilip. Their love of India shone through and despite train strikes and road blockages they kept us informed, entertaine...
We have just returned from a great 2 weeks in the Deep South with Riviera. As usual, the overall organisation was excellent, from the staff in the head office to the tour manager, Sylvia, who was brilliant! Being a lovely Glaswegi...