Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, is really 17 autonomous regions, each with its own geography and culture. The capital, Madrid, is home to the Royal Palace and singular Prado museum, housing works by European masters, and Segovia to the north has a fairy-tale medieval castle and Roman aqueduct.
Seville is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region and a hotbed for flamenco dance, especially in the Triana neighborhood. The city is known for its ornate Alcázar castle complex, built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty, and its 18th-century Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza bullring. The massive Gothic cathedral is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb.
Santander is the capital city of the Cantabria region on Spain’s north coast. The Palacio de la Magdalena, once the royal summer residence, lies at the mouth of the Bay of Santander on the rocky La Magdalena Peninsula. West, the city center is home to the Catedral de Santander, with its octagonal cupola and Gothic cloister. Nearby, the Paseo de Pereda promenade runs along one side of the Jardines de Pereda gardens.
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. It’s known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and the alleged burial site of the apostle St. James. His remains lie within the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, consecrated in 1211, whose elaborately carved stone facades open onto grand plazas within the medieval walls of the old town.
Basque Country, Spain
The Basque Country is an autonomous community in northern Spain with celebrated cuisine, strong cultural traditions and a distinct language that pre-dates the Romance languages. The vibrant riverside city of Bilbao is a hub of architecture and design, where gritty factories and shipyards give way to cutting-edge landmarks such as the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum along a revitalized waterfront.