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A Mozarabic Beatus miniature from late 10th century Spain
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Top 10 Attractions in Spain

Spain is a crossroads of cultures and styles, where Romans, Jews, Moors and Christians left their mark, along with a rich trove of treasures for generations to enjoy. There are architectural wonders and eye-popping museums, both ancient and modern, and colorful market towns and islands in the sun. But among the best and most popular attractions in Spain, here are the top 10:

Gaudí’s Architecture in Barcelona

At the forefront of 19th-century Modernisme was Anton Gaudí, an architect who used the city of Barcelona as the medium for his creations. Start at the undulating Casa Mila, Gaudí’s former home and now a museum of his work. Follow the walking tour throughout Gaudí’s Barcelona, which includes the whimsical Parc Güell and the artist’s most famous work, the Sagrada Familia.

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The Alhambra of Granada

The Alhambra is Granada's crown jewel. In fact, no trip to Spain is complete without a trek to this Moorish marvel. An earthen-colored castle of palaces and gardens built under the Nazari Dynasty in the 14th century, the Alhambra was the site of the Moors’ final stand in 1492 when this, the last Arab city, fell to the Christians.

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Museo Guggenheim of Bilbao

Architect Frank Gehry’s daring and controversial titanium masterpiece straddles the Nervion River in the industrial city of Bilbao and is home to a revolving collection of notable 20th-century avant-garde art, including works by Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Cezanne, Picasso, Warhol and Pollock.

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Disco in Ibiza

Ibiza is Europe's party central. Uninhibited is the first word that comes to mind when contemplating a trip to this Balearic Island. In fact, there is a reason why E! and MTV have shot so many exploitative features on this place. However, the good times don’t come cheap.

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Museo Del Prado of Madrid

The Museo Del Prado is quite possibly Madrid's foremost attraction. For here is not only the undisputed repository of the rich horde of Spain's art treasures, but the largest art gallery in the world. There are well over 8,600 paintings and sculptures here, of which there is room to show only a fraction!

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El Greco’s Toledo

Formerly Spain’s capital during the rule of the Visigoths, many proclaim Toledo as El Greco’s city. His most famous paintings, Burial of the Count Orgaz and View and Plan of Toledo, pay homage to his adopted home. Few Spanish towns are so well preserved in their historical architecture.

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Flamenco Music in Andalucía

Avoid the touristy, staged flamenco shows and flamenco cafés that lack what the Spanish call duende. Real flamenco echoes throughout the cities of Andalucía in places, and at times, you would least expect it. The best opportunities to see good flamenco are in the caves of Granada and at flamenco festivals during the summer, as well as at fairs (ferias) held during the spring, summer and early fall. Or just follow the sounds of Spanish guitar, rhythmic clapping, and soulful melodies that ring in your ears around midnight.

Salvador Dalí’s Art in Figueres

Figueres is full of illusions and surprises, the legacy of its late native son, artist Salvador Dalí. Interpret his surrealistic art and maybe even lose your mind at The Dalí Theatre Museum, the self-proclaimed “largest surrealist object in the world."

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La Mezquita of Córdoba

All streets in Córdoba seem to converge on La Mezquita, an eighth-century Moorish mosque that, after several additions, now stands as one of the largest in the Islamic world.

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Arabic Baths

The centuries-old Baños Arabes just below the Alhambra in Granada are some of the last operating Arabic baths in Spain. Amidst mesmerizing Arabic melodies and spicy incense, tourists and Spaniards alike indulge their senses with warm mineral baths, chilling mountain pools and sedating massages. A typical treatment costs about 8 euros and could last as long as two hours.

Last updated October 20, 2011
Posted in   Spain  |  Best of Spain
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