Spain is a unique blend of cultures that cannot be seen in the rest of Europe. Occupied by the Moors for a large portion of its history, Spain has an interesting blend of Moorish and European traditions. No other indicator of this blend of cultures is the architecture you will explore throughout your journey here. Many of the iconic buildings in Spain have a brilliant mix of Islamic, renaissance, and colonial architecture, each having been added over a span of hundreds of years. To travel through Spain is to peel back the layers of history like an onion, as you begin to understand this meeting point of cultures.
One sight is reason enough to come to this city in Southern Spain. The Mezquita is a peculiar mix of Islamic and Christian architecture, but the endless series of arches can mesmerize you all day. In addition to the Mezquita, be sure to check out the Alcazar where Columbus received sponsorship from Ferdinand and Isabella to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, and enjoy the beautiful pedestrianized area in old town.
You can spend hours contemplating the Mesquita’s endless arches, pondering what this incredible space must have been like during times of prayer. Unfortunately, not all of the original columns exist today because there is now a Cathedral built smack in the middle of the place.
Inside the Alcazar in the city of Cordoba. The place where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella decided to fund Christopher Columbus’ voyages, forever changing the world as a result.
The architecture outside of the Mezquita is just as inspiring as the grand arches that are within the complex.
Walking around the pedestrian streets in the old quarter of Cordoba makes for a nice afternoon stroll after checking out the Mezquita.
While in Cordoba, cross the Roman bridge in the evening in order to get some great views of the city all lit up.
Another iconic city in the South of Spain Seville is an excellent example of the blending of cultures that had occurred in Spain’s past. In just one square you can see the remnants of three major time periods of Spanish history. The city is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, and hosts a plethora of other world class sights such as the Cathedral de Sevilla, the Royal Alcazar, and Plaza de Espana. It is also an excellent city to sample Andalusian cuisine. To learn more about Seville, check out our review of the city here.
Inside the Alcazar of Seville. This room made us feel like we were back in Morocco.
Looking up in this square is a fine example of Spain’s historical heritage. The bell tower was originally the minaret of a mosque built by the moors, but has since then been added on to, giving it a renaissance flare, while the lamp posts and buildings surrounding add a colonial vibe
Plaza de Espana is a great place to relax, take photographs, and simply watch the world go buy. It was built in 1928 for an expo, displaying the traditions of Seville.
Walking down the streets of Seville is one of the city’s pleasures. The bright colors and balconies create an energetic and carefree atmosphere that rubs off on the locals.
Plaza de Espana looks like something right out of Star Wars because it is. Scenes from Episode II were filmed here.
Everywhere you go in Seville offers stunning architecture. Spending 3 full days here is a minimum.
The bell tower of the Cathedral de Sevilla. Notice the tower uses Arabic numbers rather than Roman Numerals which is extremely rare for the time period. Why Arabic numbers? Because the Roman Numerals would not have fit!
When buying tickets for the Cathedral in Seville, pay the extra few euros to get access to a tour of the roof. It offers great views of the city and allows you to get a closer look at all of the details of this enormous church.
Outside the Cathedral de Sevilla. The final resting place of Christopher Columbus, and the finest Cathedral in Spain.
Warning, the variety of architecture found throughout the city will make other fantastic cities look rather bland.
Claire peeking out from a balcony found at the Royal Alcazar in Seville.
The heart and soul of Spain, this city literally lies in the center of the country while all roads seem to lead to it. The capital tends to be overlooked as many travelers opt for other destinations in Spain but this is a mistake. Most of the Spanish population lives in and around Madrid so in order to truly understand the country, one must pass through the city. Madrid offers guests with a lively atmosphere filled with bars, world class art museums, ornate squares, and an excellent assortment of Spanish cuisine. To learn more about Madrid, click here.
Walking the streets of central Madrid offers visitors an escape to the past. Most of the sights are within walking distance of each other making this a great destination for backpackers.
Just across from the royal place is this beautiful cathedral. Be sure to check it out!
Not only does Madrid host some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, it has some pretty cool street art too near Goya’s Church.
Another fine example of top notch architecture in Madrid. To truly experience the city, get an airbnb where you can sit out on one of these balconies and watch the city go by.
This city needs no introduction. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Barcelona offers visitors with quirky architecture, sunny beaches, and plenty of alcohol for endless nights. Click here for more photographs and information.
Our stay in Barcelona was during the protests between Spain and Catalonia. These homes are showing their support for independence and also protesting the use of violence by police to close polling stations.
Looking across at some of the many examples of the variety of architecture to be found in Barcelona.
Within one of the many squares in Barcelona, offering visitors some calm within the hustle and bustle of the city
While not a part of Spain, one must go through Spain to get to it. This tiny peninsula is actually British and it sure feels like it. The only thing that tells you that you are not in the UK is the weather. The city makes for a great trip as from here, you can see Europe, Africa, Morocco, and Spain all in the same view! To find out more, check out our post on Gibraltar here.
The permanent residents at the top of the rock of Gibraltar make for an amusing afternoon when you are not admiring the views. Seeming not to be bothered by people, each one gives off a unique personality. Be careful though, they will take every opportunity to take what is yours if you waive it around enough.
The views from the top of the rock are worth the trek up. From the top, you can view two continents at the same time!