Cadiz is said to be the oldest city in western Europe, as it was founded by Phoenician sailors about 3.000 years ago. Everyone should visit the Cathedral in the old town and climb to the top of the North Tower for a nice view of the entire city. Do not miss Carnaval in Cadiz, one of the oldest and best in Spain, often cited as the third biggest Carnaval celebration in the world. Singing, dancing and costumes run for the whole week. Make your travel plans early as most accommodation gets booked months in advance and be prepared to spend almost double for the week of Carnaval. One way to experience Carnaval on the dime, and perhaps the preferred way of Andalusian locals, is to board an afternoon train heading to Cadiz, spend the night singing and dancing, then catch the first train back in the morning. Expect singing, dancing, costumes and drinking on all trains. Sleeping on the public beach is also another popular option, though be sure to bring a blanket or sleeping bag, both of which can be stored in lockers at the train station; expect company and use common sense
Granada is rich in both history and culture, it is arguably the single most worthwhile city in Spain for a tourist. In addition to a rich multicultural history, the Alhambra and other monuments, Granada offers a student-driven nightlife, skiing and trekking in the nearby Sierra Nevada. With much more cultural interest than other cities like Malaga, Granada is never overcrowded (although one should still book tickets to the Alhambra at least one day in advance). Do not miss the Albayzín (on a hill above the center of town and across from the Alhambra), an ancient Muslim neighborhood. Among its narrow, winding streets one will find beautiful white-washed old buildings, splendid Arabic shops and restaurants, scenic gardens, and marvelous views of Granada and the Alhambra. Today part of a UNESCO World Heritage site (along with the nearby neighborhood of Sacromonte).
The nightlife of Seville is fantastic; no other European city has so many bars per inhabitant than Seville. In summer go to Isla Cartuja and find out why the Spanish night doesn’t stop before 7AM
Feria de abril. To say this is a huge party is an understatement. Most if not all of Seville takes a weeks holiday and they plan for the Fair months in advance. The day is naturally split in two and between noon and 8PM the streets of the fair throng with horses as riders and carriages strut their stuff dressed in traditional Spanish robes. After 8 the streets are cleared and “Calle del Inferno” comes to life. The Fair is one of the best festivals in Spain and appeals to everything thats great about Spain: traditional dress, Flamenco, guitars, great tapas and people dancing, eat and drink the day and night away.
Valencia is famous for its Fallas Festival in March (see more info here), for being the birthplace of paella (To recognize “real” local paella from tourist junk, avoid any places with large paella pictures on the door step. This is a sure sign for frozen/microwaved paella.), for hosting the “2007 & 2010 America’s Cup”, and for the massive architectural project by Santiago Calatrava called The City of Arts and Sciences.Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Major monuments include Valencia Cathedral, the Torres de Serranos, the Torres de Quart, and the Llotja de la Seda (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996).
Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa e Levante o de la arenas are the most popular city beaches. El Saler is the nicest and best developed beach near Valencia. Devesa is undeveloped and has nice surroundings. At Devesa and Playa Pinedo there are nudist sections.
A great fest to not be missed is La Tomatina, hosted by nearby Buñol on the last Wednesday of August. A festival that involves thousands of participants throwing ripe tomatoes at each other.
Tarifa and Gibraltar
Ronda is set in and around a deep gorge spanned by an impressive bridge, the relaxing atmosphere here is a great break from some of the more tourist-ridden places on the south coast of Spain. The old city of Ronda, beyond the new bridge is full of twisting and narrow streets.
The large and incredible bridge over the gorge (el Tajo), finished in 1793. The height from top to bottom is about 100 m, like a 30 floor building. Inside the bridge there is a small museum
Festival in Spain:
ROTOTOM SUNSPLASH 2013 (Festival, Reggae) Benicàssim
LA TOMATINA 2013 (Food fight, Street event) Bunol (Valencia) 28/8/2013
LES FOGUERES DE SAN JUAN 2013 (Street event, Folk) Alicante, 20/6/2013 – 24/6/2013
SAN FIRMINO 2013 (Street event, Bizarre) Pamplona, 06/7/2013 – 14/7/2013
RUNNING OF THE NUDES 2013 (Bizarre, Street event) Pamplona, Spain
Bilbao Bkk Live (rock, alternative) Bilbao
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