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Spain see + do

The variety of the attractions in Spain means that itineraries can satisfy everyone from the beach bum to the gourmand, the history buff to the design fiend. Most visitors land first in Madrid, the buzzing capital, known for its nonstop nightlife and world-class art museums. From here, you can tour the ancient cities of central Spain like Toledo, Segovia, and Ávila. Or, zip down to Andalucía on the high-speed AVE train for the passionate flamenco and fascinating Moorish architecture of Seville and Córdoba.

Barcelona, Spain's most cosmopolitan city, is a must for lovers of contemporary art and design. The Catalan capital blends Mediterranean charm with looming Gothic steeples, cutting-edge style, and the fanciful architecture of Modernisme (the Catalan interpretation of Art Nouveau). Nearby, you can escape to the ruggedly beautiful coasts of the Costa Brava or the slate-roofed villages of the Pyrenees.

The northwestern swath of the country is "green" Spain, a region of lush mountains, small villages, and incredible coastal scenery that contrasts sharply with the better-known Spanish images of bullfighting and flamenco. Head north for hiking in the Picos de Europa national park or to explore the quiet towns along the Cantabrian coast. Turn your compass east to sample the vibrant Basque Country, where Bilbao's spectacular Guggenheim Museum and the delectable cuisine of San Sebastián await.

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Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao

Sharing a city with the Guggenheim means Bilbao's fine-arts museum doesn't always get the recognition it deserves. But its impressive collection—which...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla, Seville

This museum houses one of the world's best collections of Spanish art, particularly from the medieval and Renaissance eras. Highlights include stunning works by...more

see the Seville guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Museo de la Inquisición

This museum explores one of the darkest periods in Spain's—and Seville's—history: the Inquisition. The Castillo de San Jorge in Triana, of which...more

see the Seville guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Museo del Baile Flamenco

The Museum of Flamenco Dance was established by renowned local bailaora Cristina Hoyos, hailed as the Queen of Flamenco, and occupies a four-story 18th-century...more

see the Seville guide
Editors' Pick
Museo del Traje, Madrid

The new fashion and costume museum was, until 2004, the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Now there's an incredible range: from crinoline frames, doublets,...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

A spectacular triangular-roofed addition by French star architect Jean Nouvel has boosted what was already Spain's most important modern-art museum into the...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Museo Nacional de Cerámica y de las Artes Sunturias ""González Martí"", Valencia

The National Ceramics Museum is housed behind the elaborate marble facade of the 18th-century Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas. Valencia's history...more

see the Valencia guide
Editors' Pick
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

One of the world's greatest art museums—in Europe's top three, with Paris's Louvre and the Uffizi in Florence—El Prado is now bigger and better thanks...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The collection of old masters and major 19th- and 20th-century works amassed by the late Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza has graced Madrid since 1992. In...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona

When Richard Meier's cool, white, futuristic "ship" sailed into the heart of El Raval, it regenerated an area best known as the underbelly of Barcelona....more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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