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Trip Report

Skip Madrid and head to these beautiful Spanish cities instead

See the major destinations of Spain

by etienneAbout Me:Hello ! I am French, I am 21 years old and I study Management and Marketing at the university in Toulouse. read more

EuropeSpain13 days / November 2017

Highs & Lows

Tapas, flamenco, and sangria!

Be warned - some places have distinct accents that can be hard to understand!

Itinerary Overview

We started our first stop in Spain in Barcelona, a coastal city with very cool vibes. Barcelona is located in the region of Catalonia, an area that includes parts of France which has its own unique culture. Barcelona itself is a big metropolitan city with plenty to do for visitors and residents alike.

While we were there, we:

  • Saw the multiple buildings built by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. This included Park Güell and the famous yet to be finished church, La Sagrada Familia.
  • Visited the Picasso Museum. While most of Pablo Picasso’s famous works are displayed in museums around the world, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona contains the largest permanent collection of his works. You can see the evolution of his art through the years.
  • Strolled through the Gothic neighborhood, which contains some beautiful baroque architecture.
  • Drank sangria the Barcelona way - with cava, or Spanish sparking wine! All accompanied with some delicious tapas.

Bilbao, located in Basque, is a world way from Barcelona in terms of culture. The Basque region, which includes other cities such as San Sebastian and even parts of France like Biarritz, is unique to Spain because it was the only part not conquered by the Romans during ancient times. Therefore, their language is not latin based, and they’ve developed their own unique culture.

Bilbao is more industrial than San Sebastian and Biarritz, where are coastal beachy towns. However, we loved our time there!

What we did during our time in Bilbao:

  • Visited the Guggenheim Museum: Built by world famous Frank Gehry with works from international artists, this museum is a marvel inside and out.
  • Sampled traditional food in various small pintxos bars: Pintxos, similar to tapas, are small bites usually are a piece of bread. They go wonderfully with a nice cana, or small little beer!
  • Meandered through Casco Viejo, or Bilbao’s old town: lots of interesting buildings, bars, as well as markets to check out here.

And finally, our last stop was Cordoba, located in Andalusia. Although most people come to Andalusia to visit Sevilla or Granada, we loved our stay in Cordoba. Most famous for La Mesquita, most people come as a day trip and leave at night. So for us, it was the perfect place to feel like we were in a regular Spanish city!

Cordoba is rich in history. Once the capital of Spain, it has a large Moorish influence before it was conquered by Los Reyes Catholicos. Today, it’s still a mix of different cultures and people, and a lovely place to visit!

When we were there, we:

  • Visited La Mesquita: Once a mosque before the reign of the Catholic Kings, the Bishop of Cordoba was too lazy to destroy it so instead there is a cathedral located in the middle of this old mosque. Super interesting to see!
  • Tried the gazpacho andaluz: A cold soup, usually made with bread and tomato, is an Andalusian specialty that we had to try.
  • Watched a flamenco show: Sevilla is known as the birth place of flamenco, but Cordoba has its share of small intimate shows.
  • 4 Nights: Barcelona
    Located next to the ocean, this is a wonderfully cool city
  • 4 Nights: Bilbao
    A cool industrial city in the Basque region
  • 5 Nights: Córdoba
    Once the capital of Spain, this location has now become a day trip that’s worth a longer visit

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    More time in each of the cities!

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    We weren’t prepared for the rain

  • How was the food?

    Try out all the smaller tapas bars

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Take your time here - each of the regions are so different

  • Packing tips?

    Boots look great with every outfit

  • Transportation Tips?

    Fly or bus anywhere in Spain