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Spain is a tried-and-tested holiday favourite, and for good reason – it offers everything a traveller could possibly want. Warm weather? Check. Vibrant culture? Check. Fantastic food and wine? Check and check.
Scratch the surface, however, and you’ll discover that no two Spanish cities are the same. Each has its own distinct personality, meaning there’s always something new to be discovered, no matter how many times you visit.
Here, we’ve chosen our top five sensational Spanish port destinations to tempt travellers of all types
Bilbao is the largest city in Spain’s beautiful Basque region. Once a working port city, its designation as a holiday hotspot was cemented with the opening of the ultra-modern Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in the late 1990s.
Art lovers should pay a visit to the Museo de Bellas Artes, which houses works dating from the 12th century through to pieces by Cézanne and Gauguin.
For a dose of history and architecture, stroll the narrow streets of the old quarter and admire such sites as the arcaded Plaza Nueva and the Gothic Catedral de Santiago.
From Bilbao, you can also take a day trip to nearby San Sebastian. Visit La Concha beach and promenade for Instagram-worthy snaps, and don’t miss sampling the city’s famous pintxos (the Basque version of tapas). Try the San Sebastian On Your Own shore experience to see the sights at your own pace.
La Coruña exudes understated charm – a delightful mix of old and new, with a hearty dose of natural beauty. Start with a visit to Maria Pita Square in the heart of the old town and explore the nearby shops, bars and restaurants.
The city isn’t shy of impressive cultural institutions, including House of Mankind, Aquarium Finisterrae and San Antón Archaeological Museum. And for unbeatable views, climb the 234 steps up Europe’s oldest working lighthouse, the Tower of Hercules.
La Coruña is the main Atlantic gateway to the scenic Galicia region, a land of lush valleys, rugged coastline, dense forest and towering mountain ranges. Any visit to the region would be incomplete without a trip to Santiago de Compostela and its inspiring Romanesque cathedral – see it on the Santiago de Compostela shore experience.
Though it might be best known as the Mediterranean’s capital of clubbing, there’s so much more to Ibiza than parties. The island’s bohemian beginnings are evident in its charming villages, artisan markets and secluded coves.
For a look at off-the-beaten-path Ibiza, try the Hidden Corners of Ibiza shore experience. This outing takes you to the charming village of Es Cubells, the beautiful Cala d’Hort beach and Ca’n Costa, where you’ll visit a 400-year-old country house and taste local produce and wine.
For those after a more traditional taste of this Balearic gem, explore Ibiza Town’s old quarter and the chic shops, restaurants, bars and cafés in the lower town. Beachgoers are spoilt for choice too, with a stretch of sand to suit every whim.
Vibrant Valencia is famous for food and fun, and it doesn’t disappoint on either front. Gastronomes are certainly in the right place – this is the home of paella and horchata, after all.
Be sure to visit the Mercado Central, a gorgeous Art Nouveau building where home cooks and professional chefs alike come to source the freshest produce. See it on the Flavours of Valencia shore experience and get a taste of the local cuisine.
Those looking for fun, meanwhile, can find it anywhere from the city’s beautiful beaches to the Turia Gardens to the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. Valencia also boasts plenty of lively festivals and celebrations, from the spectacular colours and lights of Las Fallas to the all-out revelry of La Tomatina in nearby Buñol.
The Catalonian capital of Barcelona is a feast for the senses. Get amongst the action in the labyrinthine Gothic Quarter, the buzzy Las Ramblas or in the 860 food stalls of one of Europe’s largest markets, Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria.
The city’s architecture ranges from ancient to modern, but it’s perhaps best known for the outlandish Art Nouveau architecture of Antoni Gaudí – the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell being prime examples. See these and other Modernist wonders on the Gaudí Tour shore experience.
Some cruises offer evenings in Barcelona, giving you a chance to discover the city’s exciting dining and nightlife scene. From family-run tapas joints to Michelin-starred restaurants and beachside chiringuitos to cava bars, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
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