Authored by Yolanda Solo in Europe
Published on 08-13-2009
Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe attracting visitors from all over the world. While the majority of visitors flock to the costas for the traditional beach holiday, those prepared to investigate a little further afield will find a country rich in culture and activities.
Here are just a handful of places you could visit in Spain that could make your holiday a little more interesting:
Doñana National Park (Huelva, Andalusia)
Doñana is a World Heritage Site covering over 50,000 hectares. Fiercely protected due to the important biodiversity of the park and the endangered lynx it is home to, entry to the park is strictly limited. There are 4×4 safari tours, a marine museum and it is a haven for bird enthusiasts.
Running Of The Bulls – July (Pamplona, Navarre)
The San Fermin festival in Pamplona is an excellent place to experience true Spanish culture and some might say madness. During the festival bulls are released through the streets while a brave few try to outrun them! The bull run is just one part of the festival with many days of singing and dancing as well as street carnivals.
Bear Sanctuary (Proaza, Asturias)
The mountains of Asturias are home to one of the few existing brown bear colonies in Spain. You can take a guided walking or cycling tour through the countryside hoping to catch a glimpse of a wild bear. Alternatively, visit the bear sanctuary in Proaza at the end of your journey.
Serra de Tramuntana Mountains (Mallorca, Balearic Islands)
Mountains are not the first image that spring to mind when you talk about the Balearic Islands but the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range runs along the north west coast of Mallorca. The ´Tren de Soller´ connects Palma de Mallorca with the mountains taking you the 27km to the town of Sollér and giving you a fantastic view of the beautiful landscape on the way.
Las Islas Cíes (Pontevedra, Galicia)
Located in the Ría de Vigo they are made up of various islands, the largest of which are Monteagudo, Montefaro and San Martiño. Access is by catamaran and there is a campsite should you wish to stay for a few days. It is said that the islands were long ago a pirate haunt and in places look like you are in the tropics. While the water may be less than warm, it is a stunning get-away for those who like their beaches a little more secluded.
As you can see Spain is not just about sunshine and beaches and many of the most interesting and authentic experiences are not to be found in tourist brochures or travel agent websites. It is well worth researching the different areas of Spain, as well as the activities and attractions available, to get a broader picture of everything that it has to offer.
Wherever you decide to go, ask the locals about places to visit as they are the best source of information on the real Spain – it will make your holiday much more enjoyable!