After traveling through the Netherlands, Belgium and France, arriving in Spain was bittersweet. On one hand we were thrilled to be in a country where we speak the language, but on the other hand we knew Spain meant our adventure was nearing an end. We started our time in Spain in Barcelona which meant a lot of Antoni Gaudí architecture, FC Barcelona, and the beach.
The Sagrada Familia was my favorite of Gaudí’s work despite it being under construction. A majority of the outside is still being completed but the inside was absolutely incredible. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, it was breathtaking. Huge vaulted ceilings with gorgeous white pillars. Stained glass lined the walls letting in light of shades of blue, green, red, and orange. It was truly incredible and something not to be missed if you’re in Barcelona. The entire Sagrada Familia isn’t supposed to be completed for another 10-15 years so I’ll definitely be making a trip back when it’s complete. As a side note, we paid to go up into one of the towers and I would not suggest doing it! It wasn’t worth it- the top part of the Sagrada Familia is under construction so you can’t see hardly any of the building and you can get even better views of the city from Park Güell or Montjuïc, so I would suggest skipping the towers and getting your city views for free.
Another highlight of our time in Barcelona was touring the FC Barcelona stadium, Camp Nou. Sant and I are both big fútbol fans so we loved getting to see the locker room and stand on the sidelines of the field. The tour is an awesome portrayal of FC Barcelona as a club and all their success throughout the decades.
Our next stop in Spain was Zaragoza which is a seriously underrated city in Spain. It was beautiful and the Basilica of Pilar was absolutely incredible! A gorgeous church that was so bright and welcoming which was a nice change from all the gothic cathedrals we’ve been in lately that just seem very dark and gloomy. Zaragoza is often overlooked by travelers, but it’s definitely worthy of a visit.
Madrid was our next stop, which I won’t go into much detail on right now since I’ve written tons of posts about my time studying abroad in Madrid. You can read all my previous Spain posts here. Let’s just say Madrid consisted of a lot of Ópera Pizza, churros con chocolate at San Ginés, and sangria.
Córdoba was next on our list and was both of our first times being in southern Spain. Let me just start off by saying, WOW, it was really hot. It was quite a shock to go from mid 50s-60s in the Netherlands and Belgium to high 90s in Spain. Anyway, we only got to see a few things in Córdoba since we were there on a Monday and unfortunately Monday is their day of rest so most of the attractions and things we wanted to see were closed.. bummer! Nonetheless, we got to explore the Mosque-Cathedral which is one of the largest and most significant monuments in the Islamic west and it had some gorgeous architecture throughout!
We also got to explore the Alcázar of Córdoba which the gardens actually ended up being our favorite part of the Alcázar. They were gorgeous and full of beautiful flowers, fountains and ponds.
Since southern Spain is so hot during the summer, it’s typical for houses to have a patio in which they completely cover with flowers and plants so it gives them a cool place to relax in the hot southern sun. Seeing all the patios was one of my favorite parts of Córdoba because they were so beautiful and unique to southern Spain.
Our last stop in Spain was Seville which we were both really excited for since it’s the sister city to our hometown, Kansas City. Plaza de España was one of my favorite things in Seville since the architecture at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City is resembled after the architecture in the Plaza de España. It was really nice to get a little slice of home all they way in Spain.
One of the other things I loved in Seville was the amazing tapas we had at Dúo Tapas. I really can’t rave about them enough, they were so delicious! Our Airbnb hosts recommended this restaurant to us and I’m so glad they did. We ordered the patatas bravas, duck magret and beef tenderloin and everything was perfect! I highly recommend checking out Dúo Tapas for tasty, affordable, modern tapas in Seville. You won’t regret it!
Spain has been and continues to be one of my favorite countries in Europe. It’s the country I’ve explored the most, but yet there’s still so much left to see. We are sad to be saying goodbye to Spain, but we know we’ll be back (especially since we’re slightly obsessed with Ópera Pizza, haha). The next and final stop on our European backpacking adventure is London, so stay tuned for an inside look at our time touring the Warner Bros. Studio (Eeek! I’m so excited!).
I’ll be blogging for months after our trip is over about all the amazing things we experienced, saw, and tasted on our adventure. To continue following along, you can subscribe via email to receive notifications of new posts on the right sidebar. Also, you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for updates!