Bienvenido a España

I have always wanted to visit Spain ever since I was interested in architecture as a child (I went through a period of being obsessed over flying buttresses, which flourished during the Gothic period). Spain is known for its myriad of pure Gothic cathedrals in the north and Islamic architecture in the south. Even in my 10th grade Spanish class, we learned about the history of Spain, about Catalunya, and Andalucía with its Islamic influence.

There really is a lot to learn about Spain – the various influences of cultures. Andalucía is historically and architecturally different from the northern half of the country due to the Arabic influences – you see a lot of Moroccan-style tea houses, gorgeous mosques, and the infamous Alhambra in Granada. I really wanted to split up the trip into two parts: two major cities, and then a few cities in the south of Spain.

We eventually organized the trip into the following:

JFK to MAD (Madrid)
BCN (Barcelona) to JFK
Cost: $493.36 roundtrip
Direct Flight

Note: I recommend downloading the Trainline EU app to purchase tickets because you get the best rates and it’s easy to book and store tickets. I would also purchase all museum tickets in advance to avoid long lines or tickets selling out.

There were other towns and cities that were on my list as well but with the time that we had, we could not fit them in, especially the islands!


  • Toledo
    • Perfect day trip from Madrid
  • San Sebastián
    • Located in the Basque Country, San Sebastián is known for its world-renown and Michelin-starred cuisine and vibrant pintxo bars
  • Ibiza
    • Party central – famous European DJs perform shows in Ibiza all the time and it is also known for its nightlife
  • Málaga
    • One of the oldest cities in the world, its history spans over 2,800 years
  • Salamanca
    • Also known as the “Golden City”
    • University town since 1218
    • Catedral Vieja
    • Casa de las Conchas
    • Plaza Major
  • Jerez de la Frontera
    • Famous for sherry and has a 3,000 year old history
    • Alcázar: A moorish fortress built in 1255 and has a mosque, Arab baths and picturesque gardens
    • Old Quarter
  • Burgos
    • European city of culture
    • Catedral de Burgos (Gothic)
    • Paseo de la Isla
    • Was capital of Castile region for 500 years
  • Santillana del Mar
    • Known for its well-preserved medieval Old Quarter
    • No sea, surrounded by land
    • Sandstone churches and ancestral homes
    • Rolling hills covered with farms and fields
    • Prehistoric Altamira caves
  • Setenil de las Bodegas in Province of Cadiz
    • Village of 3,000 souls with homes supporting a mountain
    • Home to one of Spain’s best olive oils
    • Good for day trip
    • Memorable walk

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