Tapas, Flamenco, Sangria, y Paella: Ah, the memories of Spain. This southern European country that was once closed off from the rest of world under Franco’s rule, is now the perfect destination for your next adventure. Three destinations in this impressive country will hopefully only whet your appetite for Spanish travel.

Your first Spanish destination will bring you to Madrid.  The city offers a plethora of budget hotel options at all levels from the elegant Ritz Carlton to many budget friendly ‘pensiones’ throughout the city. Hotel Plaza Mayor is a favorite choice and comes highly recommended not only for it’s fabulous location but also for it’s reasonably priced newly renovated rooms. For a truly memorable view of the city, stay in their Palomar Suite located on the top floor of the hotel with a private rooftop terrace. Start your visit with a traditional Spanish lunch in Retiro Park. Then head to see some original pieces by Goya at the Prado Museum. Your day would not be complete without an evening full of tapas. Tapas can be found at all bars, however one fun spot to try are the ‘cuevas’ underneath the Plaza Mayor.

After leaving Madrid, head south to the historic city of Granada. Here you will see reminders of the Arabic influence that once controlled Spain through a visit to the Albaicin neighborhood, a tour of the impressive Alhambra, and a visit to the teterias or Arabic tea shops. The city is much smaller than Madrid, but it’s scenery and setting are picturesque. Here you can take a day trip up to the Sierra Nevada and ski. In the evening, see a Flamenco show while dining on the traditional seafood paella for the authentic Spanish experience.

After saying goodbye to Granada, head south towards the Mediterranean or “Costa del Sol”. As you drive along the coast you will see splatters of white buildings nestled in the hills overlooking the sea. These picturesque towns are all worth visiting however one of the best spots is the town of Nerja. Here you can visit the uniquely rocky beaches or enjoy breathtaking views of the sea while sipping sangria from the balcony of your holiday rental home.

At this point your Spanish vacation is nearing it’s end. Hopefully this trip just gave you enough Spanish flavor that you’ll already be planning your second visit before returning home from this vacation. Buen viaje.

What are your favorite places to visit in Spain?