SPAIN

The largest country in southern Europe, Spain has several autonomous regions with distinct cultures and traditions ripe for exploring. It’s hard not to be seduced by this country’s passions, whether savoring a meal of tapas and wine or enjoying an evening of flamenco or guitar. After all, you can of course pair your Spanish fiesta with a well-earned siesta.
BASICS /// Flag: 🇪🇸 // Capital: Madrid // Currency: euro // Languages: Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician

ITINERARIES

The last stronghold of the Moors in western Europe, now a mix of modern cafe culture and medieval splendor.
EAT
Bodegas Castañeda: Traditional tapas bar which is inevitably busy but worth the chaos to get your hands on some fresh and simple bites.
Gran Cafe Bib Rambla: An over 100-year-old cafe on Plaza Bib Rambla; a perfect place to while away the day. Be sure to try the churros - they're a specialty.
LaSeda: Lovely bistro on Plaza Bib Rambla with fresh dishes and, if you sit inside, stylish interiors.
DO
Mirador San Nicolás: A viewpoint in Albaicín with spectacular views of the Alhambra complex across the way.
AlhambraStunning Moorish complex of palaces, gardens and ramparts. Make sure to plan your ticket-procuring strategy in advance!
SEE
Street art by El Niño de las Pinturas (aka Raúl Ruiz): Keep your eyes peeled around the city for murals by this famed graffiti artist; for one beautiful example, check out the exterior of Bar Izaro.
The capital of Andalucia, a vibrant city famed for flamenco.
SEE
Plaza de España: A fantastical fairy-tale plaza built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and currently housing government buildings.
EAT
Vinería San Telmo: Tapas bar with creative, delicious dishes.
DO
Hospital de los Venerables: A former hospice for priests, this Baroque building now houses a small collection of masterpieces, including an exquisite Velázquez.



CULTURE FILE

Gypsy Ballads by Federico García Lorca
Lyrical poems by Andalucia's famous poet/playwright which juxtapose the traditional ballad format with modern, vivid imagery.
A Heart So White by Javier Marías
A novel about family secrets which weaves together connected events.
Poetry by Vicente Aleixandre
Aleixandre won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1977 for, as they committee put it, "creative poetic writing which illuminates man's condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars." His writing is evocative and beautiful and melancholy all at once.
"All About My Mother"
A moving film focusing, as the director (Pedro Almodóvar) often does, on strong women and their relationships.
Andrés Segovia, "Andrés Segovia - the Art of Segovia" (album)
Listen to this for a taste of this incredibly gifted classical guitarist, who has influenced scores of classical guitarists today.
Pablo Picasso
Picasso co-founded the Cubist movement1and was incredibly prolific in many formats, including (other than painting) sculpture and ceramics.
El Greco
Though born in Greece, El Greco moved to Toledo and became a leading painter of the Spanish Renaissance. His dramatic style with expressive figures is often considered a precursor to Expressionist movements.2
Francisco Goya
A leading Romantic3painter who depicted many events of his era.
Salvador Dalí
A prominent Surrealist4painter whose fever dream works often incorporated symbolic elements.
Joan Miró
This Catalan artist created Surrealist works in a number of mediums, primarily painting, but also sculpture, tapestry, and ceramics. He eventually developed a language of symbols which reappear throughout his later work.
Diego Velázquez
A leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age,5Velazquez' portraits and depictions of the royal family influenced many realist painters, and even Cubist/Surrealist artists such as Picasso and Dali.
Paella
Saffron rice dish often served with a plethora of seafood and/or meats.
Gazpacho
Cold tomato soup - there's nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day. Salmorejo is a more creamy variant you might find in southern Spain.
Tortilla Española
Spanish omelette primarily composed of eggs and potatoes.
Patatas Bravas
Fried potatoes served with spicy tomato sauce and/or aioli.
Gambas al ajillo
A simple, aromatic dish of prawns with garlic.
Jamon iberico, jamon serrano, chorizo, salchichón
Cured meats and sausages made from pork/ham.