From Barcelona and the beaches of the Costa del Sol to the far-flung Canary Islands, here’s the ultimate Spanish to-do list. Don’t forget the churros.
By Jad Davenport
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Cruise the Coast
The Iberian Peninsula fronts the cold North Atlantic, but Spain’s southern and eastern border face the warm Mediterranean Sea. Rugged sea cliffs and sandy beaches sweep from the Costa Brava in Catalonia to Costa del Sol where Africa meets Europe.
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Go Out for Tapas
Get a taste of Spain’s culinary traditions including the ever-popular tapas plates. These traditional small plates of local olives, cheeses and breads are served in most restaurants and bars.
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Drink Spanish Wine
The country’s continental climate, indigenous grapes and rich history of wine-making (viticulture here dates back to the Phoenicians) make Spain among the top five wine-producing countries in the world.
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Dance (Or Watch) the Flamenco
This 200-year-old traditional Andalusian art combines folkloric dance and music. The beautiful and emotional dance can be seen in theaters around southern Spain.
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Go Looking for Gaudi
It’s hard to miss Antoni Gaudi’s wild architectural creations in Barcelona. The Catalan architect is most famous for the Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family). Stand in line for an interior view, or simply enjoy the towers from the street.
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Explore Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
The 19th and 20th-century neighborhoods of the Gothic Quarter are less hectic than the rest of the city, making it an ideal area to linger (and Instagram).
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See Andalusian Horses
Spain’s love affair with all things equestrian is celebrated in the Andalusian Horse. A blend of Arabian and Iberian genes, this horse is known for its beauty and endurance. Visit a horse ranch – or finca – in Murcia to see the horses in training.
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Voyage to the Canary Islands
These island off the western coast of Africa belong to Spain, and their tortuous volcanic landscape beckons travelers searching for a bit of European desert. Timanfaya National Park on the island of Lanzarote has acres and acres of lunar landscape.
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Climb a Volcano
Yes, it’s true. Spain’s tallest peak, Mt. Teide, is a 12,000-foot volcano on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The volcano, which last erupted in 1909, is the highest point in Spain.
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Eat the National Dessert
Treat yourself to a Spanish dessert of churros con chocolate. Do what the Spaniards do and dip the sugar-dusted, deep-fried dough bits into the hot chocolate.
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Cruise with Jad Davenport to Spain!
Inspired to make your own journey to Spain’s magical coast? Join Jad Davenport and Coastal Living editors on the Coastal Living 20th Anniversary Cruise to Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy
aboard the Crystal Symphony. This one-time cruise will a custom itinerary with special cocktail parties and receptions, talks on design, travel, and style, and workshops on travel photography.