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Spain Beyond the Traditional: A Helpful Themed Travel Guide to Make the Most of Your Visit

by Alberto G. Güitrón

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There’s more to Spain than tapas, flamenco and wine. Yes, these are wonderful and we’re certainly grateful to Spaniards for their contributions (especially for the wine), but you’ll be missing a lot if you solely focus on these typical attractions during your trip to Spain.

You could actually have an amazing Spanish experience combining all sorts of activities. A culinary vacation in Basque Country, a motorcycle adventure all over Andalusia, or a relaxing yoga retreat in Ibiza. Don’t they all sound better than the typical sightseeing tours?

Check out all the different things you can do to spice up your vacations and plan a truly unforgettable Spanish holiday!

 

Food & Wine

Explore Madrid and make your own paella

make your own paella

Want to try the best paella? Look no further than your own kitchen! A traveler like you wouldn’t be satisfied by just eating paella when you can actually learn how to make it yourself. This unique culinary tour in Madrid shows you how to cook several traditional dishes and gives you the secrets of delectable Spanish gastronomy.

And, the experience doesn’t stop there, you’ll be the one choosing fresh, organic ingredients in the local market Mercado de los Mostenses. Be creative when you buy them, ‘cause these will also help you make gazpacho, tapas, Spanish tortilla and even sangria.

But don’t you think you’ll spend all your time cooking. As part of this tour, you’ll go from Madrid to Toledo on a scenic trip among stunning centennial trees to see the process of creating olive oil; from planting to harvesting, to filtering and bottling. You’ll taste some different kinds of olive oil and, by the end of your vacations, you should be able to distinguish between the generic oils and the top-notch ones.

*Spoiler alert: Spain’s olive oil is arguably the best in the world. So, after this tasting, you probably won’t like the ones you find in most supermarkets.

 

Try the best wine in Basque Country

basque country wineries

Sure, paella is nice and all, but where’s the wine? – you might be asking. For that, let’s go to Basque Country and take a wine tour to see the very best wineries in the region. About 2 hours from Madrid, there’s Ribera del Duero, a nice area where you can visit three wineries and try their renowned full reds.

Very close to it, you can go to the medieval walled village of Laguardia and explore the Rioja wineries while tasting their fine wines. And, if you want to expand your knowledge and treat your palate, spend a few hours at the Dinastia Vivanco Wine Museum or try the refreshing white wines of Txacoli.

But let’s not forget there’s life beyond wine, and a trip to Basque Country mandates at least a short walk around Bilbao and Sebastian. Make sure you’re sober for the exciting sightings these cities have for you.

 

Immerse in the Spanish Culture

Live the history of the Spanish Pyrenees

spanish pyrenees tour

Spain has such a vast culture that it’d be impossible to absorb it all during one holiday, but this tour of the Spanish Pyrenees is a great step to get to know the rich history of the region and the country as a whole. Visit the medieval town of Ainsa, walk through the Ermita of San Urbez, take a 4x4 excursion, see the amazing wildlife of the Pyrenees and the impressive architecture of these historical places.

 

Absorb every detail in Barcelona

barcelona culture tour

No cultural trip to Spain would be complete without Barcelona. The Ramblas, Montjuic, Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia… there’s so much history in every corner of Barcelona that it might be worth having a guide who explains every detail around Gaudi’s shaped surreal city.

If you want to have everything planned for you, this authentic Spain tour offers a carefully designed itinerary that will take you to all the important historic sites on a walking tour, combined with a visit to Penedes and Priorat, with a few stops to see a couple of wineries and some taste the delicious food of Barcelona.

 

Feel like a local in Andalusia

alhambra tour spain andalusia

Moorish Spain is a big part of Spanish history, so you better not leave it out of your travels. The Alhambra in Granada is one of the most famous touristic attractions, and for a good reason, but you can feel like a local with this cultural tour in Andalusia. Get a glimpse at the life of Andalusians, see how they live, try their staple delicacies, discover their culture, learn the history and explore the hidden alleyways of Seville, Granada and Cordoba.

 

Stay Active among Nature

Walk the Camino de Santiago

camino de santiago

The Way of Saint James is on many people’s bucket list. You probably don’t have a whole month to walk the entire route, but you can still get a good sample with a tour of the Camino de Santiago’s last section. Starting from Sarria and walking through Galicia’s most astonishing green landscapes all the way until UNESCO’s World Heritage Site – Santiago de Compostela.

It would take you only 6 days, but you’d still earn your pilgrim certificate for walking the last 115 kilometers.

 

Learn to surf on the Canary Islands

surf canary islands

If you’ve decided to make the Canary Islands part of your trip to Spain, the best way to do so is on a surf camp. Lanzarote’s beautiful beaches are so provocative that seeing the waves from the shore won’t be enough, you’ll want to ride them! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never surfed before, there are holidays for all levels. Some are even tailored for beginners, where you’d learn the very basics of surfing.

Famara Beach is a good option for beginners and a fantastic place to relax after your sessions on the board. Have a picnic, make friends and rejoice in the incredible beauty of the Canary Islands.

And if you don’t want to travel all the way to the Canary Islands to do some surfing in Spain, Tarifa, Cantabria or Ibiza are good alternative options.

 

Explore the Balearic Islands by bike

mallorca cycling holiday

Few places in Spain are better to immerse in nature than the Balearic Islands. The views that the quiet bays offer are jaw-dropping and the impressive cliffs seem to whisper in your ear. The best way to experience it yourself is, of course, by bicycle! Take a cycling holiday on Majorca and ride along Playa de Palma, Porto Cristo, Can Picafort, Port de Soller and all the other Balearic wonders.

 

Wellness & Yoga

Relax and do some yoga in Ibiza

ibiza yoga vacations

Ibiza is not just a party capital, it is also one of the top yoga destinations in the world. The White Isle is a paradise for yogis; its lovely beaches, seaside villas and an emerging healthy lifestyle make the perfect combination for a yoga retreat.

Sure, there’s always time to experience the famous nightlife of Ibiza, but it’s a great idea to compensate it with a couple of restorative yoga sessions, a vegetarian meal and maybe a relaxing massage. Being so popular, there are hundreds of yoga holidays in Ibiza year-round that you can book any time.

 

Recharge and meditate in Malaga

malaga meditation retreat

Malaga is the birthplace of Picasso, and thus, a great place for a cultural trip to learn more about his work. That said, Costa del Sol is also a terrific location for a meditation retreat. The good news is that you can combine them both on this wellness holiday.

This refreshing meditation retreat is designed to rejuvenate your body and mind with organic meals, guided meditation practices, daily yoga sessions and plenty of free time to explore Malaga, walk in the gardens, swim, socialize and make like-minded new friends.

 

Adventure tours

Ride a motorcycle around the Sierra Nevada

motorcycle tour in spain

If you really want to take your tour around Spain to the next level, a motorcycle adventure might be what you’re looking for. And you don’t even have to break the bank, this short bike tour around Sierra Nevada is quite affordable. Ride along the Alpujarras mountains, the coastline and lakes, while you admire the majestic castles around Granada.

Don’t have equipment? Worry not! You’ll get a rented BMW motorbike, helmet and proper clothing. Just don’t forget your license and if possible apply for an International Driving Permit.

 

Last few ideas

Spain has so many things to do that a lifetime won’t be enough to discover it all. But a few more things you can add to your Spanish experience is attending a soccer game, learning to dance Flamenco, or sailing in the Mediterranean Sea!


Looking for more options to explore this colorful country in a creative way? Check out all themed holidays in Spain!

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