Thousands of football fans are set to swap the Spanish capital of Madrid this weekend as Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur play in the Champions League final.
All eyes will be on the city’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium, home to Atletico Madrid, on Saturday evening (June 1st) to see if it will be Jurgen Klopp’s or Mauricio Pochettino’s side lifting the famous trophy. However, if football isn’t your thing or you don’t like being surrounded by supporters all weekend, this could be the perfect time to escape Madrid.
Thankfully, Spain is home to plenty of cities that are perfect for a long weekend of sightseeing and sangria. Here are our pick of the best alternative city break destinations to the capital.
The Costa del Sol is often, somewhat unfairly, seen as just a package holiday destination but Malaga is ready to change your perceptions. This is a city of fine art, traditional gastronomy, awe-inspiring sights and a unique Bohemian atmosphere.
Move over Barcelona and Madrid because Malaga is ready to take on the Spanish city break scene. Walk up to the ancient Alcazaba, which dates back to the 11th century, and enjoy the breathtaking views over the city. Wander around the winding streets and follow in the footsteps in Malaga’s favourite son – Pablo Picasso.
You can see the works of one of the world’s most famous artists, and Malaga native, at the Picasso Museum. You can even partake in a drink in Pablo’s beloved bar the Bodega Bar El Pimpi for the full city experience.
If you could sum up Seville up in one word it would be ‘incredible’. This historical city has a distinct charm that seduces everyone that visits. Believed to be founded by Hercules, there is history at every turn with winding medieval streets and stunning Baroque churches.
Start your adventure at the beautiful Real Alcazar which can trace its history back to the 10th century. It has undergone several facelifts in the years since but its blend of Christian and Mudéjar architecture make it a spectacular sight and even featured on Game of Thrones. However, away from the historical sites, Seville really knows how to throw a party.
As the sun sets take your pick from the abundance of tapas, sample the locally produced wine and visit one of its legendary Flamenco clubs, a beloved tradition of the city and one the local sevillanos will implore you to try.
When you’re the neighbour of Barcelona, you can feel somewhat overshadowed but Girona offers a relaxed atmosphere with a gastronomic scene to make its fellow Catalans jealous. Like with many cities in the region Girona has swathes of museums, galleries and quaint churches.
In its early foundations, the city was one of Catalonia’s most important Jewish communities. At Museu d’Història dels Jueus, you can learn about the city’s heritage and even see a rare 11th century ritual bath. You can also see the works of artists such as Mela Mutter and Catalan architect Rafael Masó i Valentí among the over 8,000 pieces at the Museu d’Art de Girona.
However, the one thing you need to come to Girona for is the food. You won’t be able to move for the amount of Michelin-star restaurants serving traditional Catalan cuisine paired with some of the region’s best wines.
Get a taste for the Wild West in Almeria. Arguably the most unique destinations in Spain, it is one of Andalusia’s hidden gems with beautiful beaches, great food and a hint of the Wild West.
Thanks to the rugged, dusty landscape it has become a favourite for directors wanting to recreate that perfect scene for westerns. Sergio Leone chose Almeria to films such as Little Hollywood, Fort Bravo and Western Leone, all starring Clint Eastwood, close to the city. However, if you can tear yourself away from the film sets you can enjoy Almeria’s jaw-dropping beaches.
Naturally, Almeria is rich in history and culture with the Alcazaba, a Moorish fort dating back to the 10th century. Oh, and if Almeria couldn’t get any better, order a drink in one of its bars and you’ll receive a complimentary plate of tapas.
Did you really think we could leave Barcelona out of this list? While Madrid is swamped with football supporters, the inviting tapas bars of the Gothic Quarter are calling your name. The shops of La Rambla are inviting you in and the beaches of Barceloneta are still are appealing as ever.
As summer edges closer, Barcelona is the king of the city break scene. Here you can see world famous landmarks such as Sagrada Familia, one of artist Antoni Gaudi’s most revered creations and which is still to be finished. Gaudi’s influence is noted across the city with Park Guell seeing him turn his hand to landscape gardening to create an amazing oasis.
We need to talk about Barcelona’s nightlife. You are unlikely to experience anything like it anywhere else in the world where you can choose from the red hot rhythms of flamenco bars, laidback jazz clubs, sweaty indie basement venues and the traditional taverns. The party never stops in Barcelona.
Take in one of Spain’s intriguing cities with a short break from Sunmaster. We have a range of package holidays available for a long weekend. Take advantage of deposits from just £49pp and spread the cost with our flexible payment plans. Find out more at www.sunmaster.co.uk.