A weekend in Barcelona, Spain can only ever be a teaser of what this majestic beachside city has to offer, so here is a grab-bag of highlights. Spanning ancient and modern and packaged into a geographically convenient, walkable two-day tour, this is the ultimate list of things to do in Barcelona. #barcelona #spain #citybreak #weekend #travel
Madrid’s Las Salesas neighbourhood – named for the nearby Plaza de las Salesas – has sprung to life in recent years thanks to a new wave of pioneering business owners. Nestled between the iconic Gran Vía, party-loving Chueca and stately Colón, Las Salesas is especially well-known for its variety of independent shops. A quick detour through this central barrio (district) is perfect for picking up quirky and unusual souvenirs.
Sink your feet into unspoilt powder-white sands, then grab your kitesurfing kit and hit the Atlantic waves. Welcome to one of Spain’s favourite summer playgrounds, the wild, beautiful Costa de la Luz. This natural, undeveloped coastline sprinkled with glorious blonde beaches and attractive, authentically Andalucian towns stretches northwest from activity-mad Tarifa, on the southernmost tip of Spain, to the Spain–Portugal border.
Andalucía, Spain's southernmost region, is famous for sunshine, the Alhambra, flamenco, beaches and fiestas. Less well known is that it’s also a paradise for nature lovers. Beyond the cities and beach towns stretch high, rugged mountains, rolling green hills and deep river valleys, with a spectrum of wildlife from ibex and lynx to some of Europe's biggest birds.
Lonely Planet Local Esme Fox first fell in love with Barcelona over 10 years ago on a rail trip around Spain, and nowadays she's lucky enough to call the city her home. She particularly loves the way that Barcelona still surprises her, even after all this time. Every time you round a corner, there’s a chance you could happen upon a vibrant festival, an outdoor concert, a new piece of street art or a stunning architectural gem you’d never noticed before.
Lonely Planet Local Cassandra Gambill moved to Madrid in 2010 to make her millions teaching English. Instead, she discovered a golden city that is vibrant, good-humoured, and fast-paced yet leisurely; one in which you can just as easily while away your time sampling blood sausage in a traditional taberna as you can taking a boat out on the lake at Parque del Buen Retiro. For Cassandra, the combination of sunny weather and work-life balance makes Madrid a true gem.
For food, fun and festivals, Port of Spain, the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago, is your ideal Caribbean location. The country's complicated history connects indigenous, Spanish, English, French, African, Indian, Middle Eastern, Chinese and Portuguese cultures — and this wide array of influences is reflected throughout the city. There’s always something going on in 'Town' as Trinidadians call it.
As on most of the Canary Islands, once you get away from Gran Canaria’s built-up south-coast beach resorts, you’ll find an astonishing landscape that combines barren outcrops with cool pine forests, and sunken calderas with sky-skimming ocean views. There’s no better way to discover this outdoor wonderland than to strap on your boots and get walking.
Calle Ponzano, a street lined with tapas bars and cocktail spots in Madrid's Chamberí neighbourhood, has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. In fact, the term #ponzaning is on heavy rotation around social media, and refers to the mix of old-school roots, contemporary fare and lively atmosphere that have become Calle Ponzano's hallmarks.
When most people think of the Canary Islands, images of beachside resorts and party-going travellers spring to mind – but that’s because no one is thinking of La Gomera. This volcanic island, ringed with rugged cliff faces and carpeted in ancient forests and palm-flecked valleys, has an almost Jurassic Park feel to it.
For over 1,000 years, pilgrims have traipsed wearily across the plains and mountains of the Iberian peninsula to pay homage at the shrine of St James in Spain's northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela. The Camino de Santiago is one of the world’s most famous long-distance walks, and these days it’s still as popular as ever.