An hour outside of Barcelona is the impressive multi-peaked mountain range known as Montserrat. Within its dramatic, rocky mountain tops hides the Benedictine Monestir de Montserrat, a monastery popular with visitors from all over the world. Everyone from pilgrims and culture lovers to hikers and speleologists love the spot thanks to the gorgeous hiking terrain and beautiful abbey village built into the mountain and to top it all off, it is an easy day trip from Barcelona. Today, Montserrat is often used to refer to both Montserrat mountain and Montserrat Abbey.
Girona is Northern Catalonia's biggest city, an hour and a half's drive from Barcelona. A compact medieval fortress city with the best-preserved Jewish quarter in Europe, Girona offers a medley of galleries, churches, restaurants, museums and medieval architecture to explore.
An hour south of Madrid, sitting atop a gorge overlooking the Tagus River, is the magnificent city of Toledo. Often called 'Imperial City' because it was the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Spain, Toledo is a medieval town that has been heavily influenced by its mix of Christian, Jewish and Muslim inhabitants throughout the centuries. You will find monuments scattered throughout the city that reflect Toledo's 'three cultures' and many of the city's most visited attractions are religious. The historic city of Toledo was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 for being 'a repository of more than 2,000 years of history' and for its architectural masterpieces that hold such importance for Christians, Muslims and Jews.
On Catalonia’s Costa Brava, 45 minutes from Girona, lies the small town of Figueres, the birthplace of surrealist artist Salvador Dali and home to the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dali. Apart from the Dali museum, Figueres is a lively and vibrant town with great restaurants, local boutiques, interesting architecture and dreamy beaches only a short drive away.
The city of Zaragoza, the fifth-biggest city in Spain, lies in the region of Aragon in northern Spain and is easy to reach from both Madrid and Barcelona. Home to beautiful Moorish architecture, Roman ruins, two magnificent cathedrals and a rich collection of street art, Zaragoza is often underrated as a tourist destination despite having a lot to offer. As well as this, the city has an incredible food scene and visiting the city’s famous tapas bars is an amazing culinary experience and will give you a taste of Aragonese cuisine. Zaragoza is also the hometown of the artist Francisco Goya, considered to be the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and you can see his work throughout the city.
Just over an hour by train from Barcelona is the magnificent port city of Tarragona. Located on the Costa Daurada, Tarragona is home to sparkling beaches and a wealth of Roman ruins. Once a major Roman city, you can feel Tarragona’s history all throughout the city as you wander through the charming old town. Perched on the Mediterranean, you can also expect fantastic places to eat and delicious food. Romesco, a sauce usually made with dry peppers, garlic, oil and nuts, originated in Tarragona and you can find it at restaurants paired with fresh seafood and fish. The province is also known for its fine wine.
A charming seaside town just 35 km from Barcelona, Sitges, with its pristine beaches, array of art galleries and vibrant bars and clubs, Sitges has something for everyone. Sometimes referred to as the St. Tropez of Spain, the town’s pretty beaches and seafront promenade are framed by lush green mountains and despite its proximity to the big city (it takes around 40 minutes to get from Barcelona to Sitges), its serene shores can make you feel very far away from the hustle and bustle.
Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain’s southernmost region of Andalucia, Granada was the last stronghold of the Spanish Moors and the brilliance of Moorish spirit and culture endures in the city today. The Alhambra, the palace fortress of the Nasrid sultans, is the heart and soul of Granada and one of Spain’s most popular tourist attractions. With its magnificent palaces and gardens, the Alhambra is an unmissable sight but the city itself also has a lot on offer including buzzing cafes and restaurants, vibrant tapas bars, a bustling Jewish quarter and funky street art.
n the heart of Basque Country, 11km from the Bay of Biscay, you will find Bilbao, one of northern Spain’s greatest treasures. Renowned for its famous Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao’s architectural wonders are surrounded by a ring of rolling green hills and lies on the mouth of the Nervion River. Once an industrial city, it has been transformed into a design city, where sleek new buildings sit alongside Gothic cathedrals and art nouveau train stations. At the end of 2017, Bilbao was chosen the Best European City 2018 at The Urbanism Awards 2018 and it is not hard to see why, with a new rapid transit system, a tram line and the Azkuna Zentroa, a wine storage warehouse turned cultural centre. This Spanish city has it all: vibrant history and culture, modern architecture, beautiful scenery and spectacular regional cuisine.
Questions About Spain for senior travellers
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