Spain’s busiest beaches and exciting cities have been hot tourist spots forever. Independent travellers and those looking for an adventure will revel once in these buzzing centres but will soon crave more unique experiences on the Spanish peninsula. How about a road trip through one or more of Spain’s distinct regions, sampling culture and cuisine and staying in historic Paradores hotels?
Whether Andalusia or Galicia, Catalonia or Castille La Mancha; planning a journey across the stunning and diverse Spanish landscape will be half the excitement. Spain has excellent bus links between large cities and smaller towns – and this is definitely the way to travel if you fancy putting your feet up, enjoying the scenery and getting to know some locals. The Paradores hotels will take you back in history and provide upmarket accommodation with serious charm – they are converted old historic buildings including churches, convents and castles, often with fantastic panoramic views and all the mod cons despite their ancient walls.
An ideal cultural round trip would be in Moorish Andalusia where the weather is good all year round. Buses run between cities almost hourly and for short day trips to caves and olive groves, hiring bicycles is perfect. The Andalusian cities ooze historic flair and incredible structures like the Alhambra in Granada and Cordoba’s mosque. Be swept back in time in the Paradores – Parador de Granada is the only hotel inside the Alhambra’s walls, with viewpoints of the city below. The perfect stopoff from Granada to Sevilla or the coast is the stunning town of Ronda, perched high up on a plateau and with an unbelievable gorge and bridge – overlooked by the Parador de Ronda housed in the beautiful old town hall. From here, you could easily continue to Cadiz (famous for its February carnival celebrations) or Seville, the true cultural heart of Andalusia. Here, the stunning architecture of the Plaza de Espana, cathedral and UNESCO old quarter will take you back to old world Spain and after a few copas in the evening, maybe you’ll be tempted to flex your flamenco skills…!