Read more on "Top Vacation Destinations in Spain, 2017" »
The official slogan of Spain’s national tourism bureau TURESPAÑA is “Spain is what you want. Spain is what you need.” Enough said! We propose the following as the best sites to visit in this sunny, cheerful country:
Alhambra de Granada. Photo: stock.adobe.com
L’Alhambra – the Moorish citadel in Granada formed by a complex of palaces, gardens and forts – is a place where you can plunge into several different cultures simultaneously. When most Spanish territory was conquered by Islam in the early 13th century, Granada became its cultural center, and Muslims decided to build a “paradise on earth” here.
Perhaps the world’s most refined examples of Islamic art are in The Alhambra. The mysterious red palace of is not only the most popular tourist monument in Spain but also in all of Europe. To preserve its historical beauty, the number of visitors is limited, and you must buy tickets in advance.
Cathedral of La Sagrada Familia. Photo: stock.adobe.com
The Sagrada Familia
This amazing temple is one of the greatest attractions in Spain, the creation of Antonio Gaudi. It was built in the Spanish modernism style. This bizarre and magnificent temple of Barcelona has become a symbol of the city.
Antonio Gaudi gave 43 years of his life to this creation, but only one-third of the design was built in his lifetime. The building was designed in the form of a Latin cross, and only this makes The Sagrada Familia similar to usual Catalan churches.
The decoration of the building strikes the imagination with many details. At the same time it has modern, Gothic, and Christian traditions.
For the moment, temple construction continues; completion is expected by 2030.
Flamenco in Andalusia
The homeland of flamenco is Andalusia. This dance began its triumphal march through Barcelona in the 18th century.
A passion dance, a rhythmic guitar sound, girls in long beautiful frilly dresses, and real Spanish macho – all this is more than just a dance. It’s a virtuosic and unforgettable art combining different musical and dance styles. Flamenco performances are very colorful and stay in your memory for a long time.
Panorama of the Aragonese Pyrenees. Photo: stock.adobe.com
Walking through the Aragonese Pyrenees
Spain offers a pedestrian traveler a lot of places for walking. The Aragonese Pyrenees are especially famous for being an ideal place for hiking. The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is one of the most outstanding places in the Pyrenees. The highest point of this mountain chain is the peak of Monte Perdido (3348 meters). Here you can climb the majestic rocks and ice fields, where sometimes you can meet chamois.
You can get a royal overnight stay in the Spanish state network of paradores. This word means a former castle, palace or monastery – luxurious and always comfortable. There are 86 such paradores throughout the country. They constitute the golden fund of European real estate service, and many are also located on the territory of historical complexes (for example, the Alhambra). Prices are not jaw-dropping, especially if you book the room online in advance.
View of Mitjaneta beach, Menorca island, Spain. Photo: stock.adobe.com
The Beaches of Menorca
Menorca, which means “less” in Spanish, is the second largest island (after Mallorca – major) in the Balearic archipelago.
This island of Menorca is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and has a 216 kilometer coastline with many beaches that all deserve their own individual descriptions.
Menorca, despite its proximity to Mallorca, is a lot different. On the one hand, the island is considered one of the most expensive and luxurious resorts in Spain. On the other – you will not find any of the usual Mediterranean coast hotel complexes since construction of tall buildings is prohibited here. The regulations are that hotels should not be above three floors, their roofs must harmonize with the color of the soil, and the walls must always be painted white.
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Read more on "Meet Your Kids’ Favorite Characters at the World’s Best Amusement Parks" »
If sightseeing and excursions induce yawns and lying on the beach is boring – amusement parks might be perfect for you!
Dizzying rides, incredible heights, frantic speeds, along with superheroes walking around – sounds like you are 10 years old again and your dream has come true!
Half an hour drive from the capital of the Arab Emirates there is the artificial island of Yas, where the world’s largest indoor theme park “Ferrari World” is located. Its red corners and curves vaguely resemble a race car.
This giant structure with the emblem of a black horse on the roof is visible even from space.
Inside, in a glass tunnel, there are more than 20 training routes for race lovers. For example, Formula Rossa is a roller coaster that simulates a Formula 1race: accelerating at a rate of 100 km/h each second, to a main speed of 240 km per hour! Your photo is taken at the peak emotional moment.
Getting to ride in a real Ferrari is easy, too; you can also see models of all the cars designed in the Italian Maranello – the birthplace of the red car.
The world’s original Disneyland is located in the California city of Anaheim, part of Greater Los Angeles.
It was opened long ago in 1955, the only embodiment of Walt Disney’s vision of a large theme park to become reality during his lifetime. He had this idea in the 30s and 40s, but the Disney Company began creating it only in the 1950s.
Universal Studios, Singapore
This is an amusement park dedicated to the film industry. It opened on March 8, 2010 on Sentosa Island and became the first Universal Studio park in Southeast Asia. It is famous for the highest “American roller coaster” in Asia.
In the park there are seven themed attraction zones, each of which is dedicated to favorite well-known films and cartoons that were released by Universal Studios at different times.
* Hollywood. Here you can take pictures with Charlie Chaplin, Frankenstein and Marilyn Monroe; see the famous Walk of Fame and go to the Hollywood Pantages Theater, where they show a real American musical based on the movie “Monster Rock.”
* New York. Here you can feel the atmosphere of real New York City – the most famous city in America. Guests can also take part in the creation of cinematic effects in the pavilion Lights, Camera, Action! – with Steven Spielberg himself.
* Sci-Fi city. This zone is a futuristic city replete with the latest technological innovations. The thrill of visiting local attractions is guaranteed.
* Ancient Egypt. Here is one of the most interesting attractions of the park – “The Revenge of the Mummy.” The entrance is guarded by gods of Anubis statues. Visitors wait in line for a journey in a car that rushes at great speed in complete darkness through the labyrinths of the Underground Kingdom.
IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai
This is the biggest Indoor amusement park in Dubai. Its opening took place on August 31, 2016. It is not just an amusement park; it is a whole world of entertainment sprawled across an area equal to 28 football fields. Super-modern attractions revitalize your favorite heroes – from the Avengers to full-sized dinosaurs. Concentrated here are all kinds of extreme slides, carousels and other attractions for children and adults, decorated in the style of modern cartoons, as well as the universe of Marvel.
The Haunted Hotel attraction holds a special place for those visitors 15 years or older who want to tickle their nervous systems.
Lotte World, South Korea
This park was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest amusement park under a roof. In this case, the indoor complex is only the first section; the second one is located in the open air. In addition to attractions, there is an ice rink and a laser show. On attendance, it overtakes the majority of European and American parks, and in Asia, only Tokyo Disneyland is more popular.
Chime-Long Paradise, China
It is a modern amusement park which was built in 2006. More than 100 million yuan (about 14.8 million US dollars) were spent on its construction.
The park has a huge number of attractions: a roller coaster that is more than 40 meters high with the possibility of vertical free-fall, race tracks for motorcycles that can reach speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour in less than 3 seconds, huge water slides, a cloud of splashes, swings and carousels. In total, the park has collected more than 100 modern attractions that were specially brought from Europe.
Dream World, Thailand
This park is located outside Bangkok near the international airport on an area of 28 hectares. Opened in 1994, the park was made in European style and is divided into four zones: World Dream Square, Dream Garden, Fantasy Land, and Country of Adventures.
Dream Garden is a beautiful park where many different plants, including rare flowers, grow; among them are sheltered miniature copies of world famous sites – the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and others. In addition, there is a cable car that carries guests to Paradise Lake. Fantasy Land is a magical world with the castle of Sleeping Beauty, a house of gnomes, Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, and many other things that bring children and adults back to the worlds of their favorite fairy tales.
The largest of the Legolands and the first theme park with attractions and sights made of these play construction pieces. It was opened in 1968 next to the original LEGO factory in the Danish town of Billund. It took 45 million of the constructor blocks to create it.
Legoland theme zones in Denmark have become the basis for new parks around the world: in each Lego park you can find Miniland with Lego-copies of attractions; a game park “Duplo” for the youngest guests; 4D-attractions like “The World of Imagination,” “The Land of Pirates,” and “Kingdom of the Knights;” the universe of “Star Wars” and other attractions.
The theme park Tokyo Disneyland was created in 1983 on a territory of 115 acres, and became the first Disney entertainment park outside the United States. The entertainment complex Tokyo Disney Resort consists of two huge parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
A feature of this complex is that it is only partially owned by the Walt Disney Company. The complex has a classic Disneyland structure: the territory is divided into “countries” in animation styles.
From the entrance you walk into the World Bazaar – the main promenade, which includes Main Street and Center Street. On this street you will encounter not only pedestrians, but also stylized transport – omnibuses. Attractions are represented by arcade automata – Penny Arcade.
The second most popular amusement park in Europe after Disneyland Paris, Europa-Park is located near the city of Rust in southwestern Germany.
The park is interesting for its concept – the thematic zones are represented by several mini-copies of European states. In total, 11 countries are represented in Europa-park, and the eleventh one is entirely Scandinavia. Other countries are Germany, France, Holland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, England, Greece, and Russia.
The highest roller coaster in Europe, Silver Star, is in little France, and in Scandinavia there is a whole river for rafting among landscapes reminiscent of fjords. In Italy, you can admire the comedy del Arte, and in Greece – to ride on the water slide “Poseidon”. Germany has a park with vintage cars, and in Spain there is the remarkable “Columbus Boat” – which resembles a ship’s journey during a storm.
It is the most popular Spanish family recreation park and resort, visited by more than three million tourists from all over the world. The PortAventura complex was opened in 1995 and now covers an area of 117 hectares, with more than 40 attractions.
In addition to the amusement park itself, the complex includes a huge water park, Port Aventura Aquatic, several beach clubs and golf courses, four hotels, and a three hectare lake on its territory.
PortAventura is thematically divided into six zones – “countries” – on a geographic basis, which allows you to take a walk around the park as a round-the-world trip to visit the attractions. There are The Mediterranean, Wild West, Mexico, China, Polynesia, and the bright children’s country of Sesame. On the streets of the park and in theaters there are many colorful shows – about 90 performances per day.
The entertainment park “Linnanmäki” is a true pride of Helsinki. It has a 50-meter rotating platform Panoraama, which offers an excellent view of the Finnish capital. In addition to all kinds of attractions, the amusement park “Linnanmäki” is a whole city where there are cafes, restaurants, shops, 4D-cinema, toy libraries and lotteries. Today there are about 40 attractions and every year there is something new. Admission to the park “Linnanmäki” is free, albeit you must by tickets for the attractions.
The amusement park Tibidabo is rightfully one of the symbols of Barcelona. The park is located on the highest point of the city (about 500 meters above sea level), from where there is a magnificent view of the Catalan capital. Tibidabo Park is one of the oldest Spanish amusement parks; it was opened more than 100 years ago!
Tivoli is an amusement park in Copenhagen that opened in 1843, making it the second oldest park in the world. It is located on a territory of eight hectares and is one of the three most visited entertainment parks in Europe. The founder of the park was the Danish officer Georg Carstensen, who, according to legend, persuaded the Danish King Christian VIII to give the land to the park with the words: “When people have fun, they do not think about politics.”
From the very beginning, theatrical troupes worked in the park, areas for orchestras were organized, and restaurants and cafes were opened. The park has constantly evolved; as if recalling the words of its creator that “Tivoli will never be finished,” it has never changed that tradition. Today the park is known for several wonderful attractions.
The theme park Efteling, opened in distant 1952, is one of the most popular amusement parks in Europe. It is located in the Netherlands province of North Brabant near the city of Tilburg. Every year it attracts more than 4 million visitors.
Initially devoted to themes of old European fairy tales and their characters, over time Eftheling has become a full-fledged amusement park with attractions like roller coasters, but its style is still a priority.
Efteling is somewhat reminiscent of Disneyland – a full resort with a golf course, hotel, radio station, etc. By the way, the creators of the Parisian Disneyland even consulted with Efteling, asking how to better adapt the American park to European culture.
That Efteling is a European park can particularly be noted from the first thematic section “Fairy Forest” – based on folk tales of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault.
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Read more on "Wellness Focus in the Mediterranean" »
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On Mediterranean sailings aboard Seven Seas Voyager® treat yourself to a rejuvenating experience with Seven Seas Wellness. This ultimate luxury is available for only $299 per guest.
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To Book Your Trip Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768
Read more on "The Best Destinations for your Summer 2017 Trip to Europe" »
Best for: Solo travelers
Enjoy open-air movies and theater performances, rooftop terraces, beautiful parks and alleys, outdoor activities, dances, yoga classes, sport and music events. Although summer months are quite hot in Madrid, this is a time when the city never sleeps; there are plenty of national and international events and many guests (but not as many as in spring and autumn). You will surely have a lot of fun and make exciting acquaintances.
Advice: don’t forget to bring a hat, suntan lotion, and a water bottle – these things will make it easier to deal with the heat.
Best for: Couples
Mediterranean coast, turquoise seas, white-sand beach cafes, and amazing promenades .What could be more romantic than the stunning French Riviera in summer? Nice is a special city – a wonderful combination of Italian chic and Mediterranean maritime freshness. Here everything is full of romance.
Best for: Groups
Berlin is wonderful during the summer months. It is especially nice in August, when everyone is preparing for festivals. There are so many amazing places in Berlin! But only in summer can you visit the International Beer Festival and numerous outdoor activities that are not available in other seasons. Hang out at street cafes and restaurants, lounge in the parks and quaint alleyways, and generally enjoy the warm friendly atmosphere of the German capital.
Best for: the whole family
Bruges is one of the most exciting destinations in Europe. Its mysterious streets along with cozy ambiance, attractive squares, and lovely cafes make everyone fall in love with this amazing city. There is a stereotype that the best seasons to come to Bruges are spring and autumn. Whether it is true or not, you can check for yourself. However, our travel agents suggest you visit in July and August, and for good reason: the temperature is extremely comfortable (21C) and the city looks like a fairytale.
Best for: Honeymoon travelers
Greece is an incredible place for diverse travel. Whether you are searching for an opportunity to do all kinds of surfing, including wind and kite, or you would like to enjoy the beautiful streets of Corfu Island, its wonderful atmosphere, warm summer weather and romantic seaside. One of the best destinations for honeymooning couples, this Greek island is a truly magical, romantic and ideal place for your perfect summer trip.
To Book Your Trip Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, an archipelago and autonomous community which is part of Spain located in the Mediterranean Sea. As of the 2009 census, the population of the capital city of Palma proper was 401,270, and the population of the entire metropolitan area was 621,000, making it the twelfth largest urban area of Spain.
Nearly half the population of Majorca lives in Palma. The Cabrera Archipelago, though widely separated from Palma proper, is administratively considered part of the municipality. Its airport, Son Sant Joan, has more than 22 million passengers each year.
Majorca Valldemossa typical village with flower pots in facades at Spain. Photo: depositphotos.com
Some parts of Mallorca have multiple coastline resorts that are rather isolated and make perfect destinations for those who don’t like noisy parties and crowded areas. You can also visit stunning shores with vast surrounding territories of secluded white-sand beaches, turquois seas, and with an amazing number of activities. They are located mainly in the south of the city, where the tourist flow is not so huge. Private beaches of the Caribbean are perfect for those who search for amazing atmosphere and memorable nature! You will be able to choose from 200 beaches to find a place that suits you.
Sailing is an important part of holidays in Majorca
A series of international regattas is conducted annually, and top-ranked yachts can be seen along the entire coastline. Snow-white sails make the excellent view extremely romantic. Crystal clear waters and bright underwater beauty make this destination a favorite of divers, surfers and sailors. Boating excursions to various points around the island are also available for less experienced seamen — they last all afternoon or even the whole day.
Majorca is a place with a unique history where the atmosphere is just unbelievable
You can enjoy a set of delightful buildings forming the very special city architecture. Here in the capital of the island, Palma de Majorca, every street, stone and building tells the beautiful history of this wonderful port city. Here you can admire impressive architecture from the Middle Ages made before modernist creations. Palma is also a place of various nighttime entertainments, with high level restaurants and a collection of bars and night clubs.
The rich cultural history of the island has left a huge impression: here you will plunge into an atmosphere of incredible castles and palaces, monasteries and cathedrals, majestic manors and gardens, art galleries and museums. City visitors can enjoy beautiful aqua parks, adventures parks or farms where small children can safely play with domesticated animals. The resorts of Majorca are ideal for family vacations. Don’t forget special local festivals when children are able to participate.
Visiting these castles is a wonderful experience. It’s a great opportunity to explore the history of kings, and amazing stories of famous alliances and vendettas. Discover the ancient history of European regions and nations, brave conquests and cruel wars, and the tales of families who made and re-made Europe. Visit the most beautiful castles in Europe, and feel the history surrounding you in these ancient buildings.
Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria
Overlooking Austria’s Salzachtal Valley, surrounded by jagged peaks of the Berchtesgaden Alps, this castle was primarily a place where kings lived. Later, it was home to archbishops and even prisoners (the structure was a state prison for some period) for more than 900 years.
Today, Hohenwerfen Castle is where hundreds of tourists come from all over the world. It is also the site of Austria’s famous falconry center where hunting performances are held, and visitors can witness these extraordinary events.
The Palace of Pena, Portugal
This splendid castle is situated on a hilltop above the resort town of Sintra, located in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains. Being a royal sanctuary for a long time, the forested terrain is scattered with Clair villas and houses. The palace itself was originally created by King Ferdinand II and is arguably considered one of the greatest constructions of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal, with wonderful architecture and a magnificent interior.
The palace of Pena was created in such a way that it is easily visible from any point in the surrounding park. The verdant areas of the beautiful grounds around the castle are perfect places to feel the vibes of the past.
The Alcazar Castle, Spain
The Alcázar of Segovia (literally, Segovia Castle) is an impressive, ancient stone fortification and World Heritage Site located in Segovia, a historic city northwest of Madrid, Spain. The most famous Spanish castle, it was purportedly the inspiration behind Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World (though the information wasn’t confirmed by Disney). The castle looks beautiful and can be seen from long distances as it was built on top of a rocky crag and had no natural defensive advantage, which is typical for most castles.
Located near the confluence of two Spanish rivers, Eresma and Clamores, The Alcazar is unique due to Muslim influence. It was originally built by Islamic warriors called Moors (Muslims from North Africa) and is representative of wooden construction in that era. It was highly influenced by Islamic architectural trends and Early Modern Spanish building styles. The Alcázar not only has a beautiful exterior design, but also a magnificent interior.
Predjama Castle, Slovenia
Pedjama Castle is a marvelous place for all castle lovers to visit. It is a Renaissance-style castle located in the center of a historical region in south-central Slovenia. Constructed in an early Renaissance style, it was built into the mouth of a cave. It is eminently famous in Slovenia itself and in all Europe. It is a wonderful site – picturesque, audacious, and mysterious. Situated in the middle of a towering cliff, it is listed in Guinness World Records for being the largest cave castle in the world.