A cornerstone of Spanish cuisine, the tradition of eating tapas has become one of the country’s greatest cultural exports. It is a fun and easily adaptable way to dine, as it allows the eater to build each meal—from a light snack to a hearty supper—to suit his or her tastes and appetite. In recent decades, the mix-and-match small plates can be found across the globe—but of course, there is no better place to go to for authentic tapas than the great cities of Spain and Catalonia. The options vary from city to city, and from even from bar to bar. However, there are a few mainstays that can typically be found in virtually every tapas bar in Spain.
If there is a bar in Spain that only serves one tapa, that tapa is probably a dish of olives. Far and away the most popular snack in the country, it can be seen as Spain’s version of beer nuts. Sidle up to any bar frequented by Spaniards, and odds are that you will find aceitunas on the menu. Some of the many olive varieties available in Spain include empeltres, arbequinas, and the ever-popular manzanillas.
Catalan cuisine heavily features seafood of many kinds, but especially cod. The fish is commonly served in tapas form as bacalao, salty and usually atop slices of bread with tomatoes.
Boquerones en vinagre
You can tell the caliber of a tapas bar’s cuisine by the quality of the boquerones en vinagre (filleted anchovies in vinegar.) In a more upscale establishment, the tiny fish will be fresh from the sea. However, in a cheaper place, they may just be fresh from the tin.
Spanish calamares, or calamari, are battered and fried, crispy on the outside and chewy inside. The tasty circles of squid are sometimes served with a dipping sauce, but also simply divine with just a squeeze of lemon.
Chorizo al vino
Just as tapas have been embraced by eaters around the world, so has chorizo—that most delicious of cured sausages. A traditional tapa, chorizo al vino is just what its name implies—generous chunks of chorizo cooked in red wine. In some parts of Spain, the sausage is also served al sidra, or cooked in cider.
One thing you probably won’t find a lot of in classic tapas bars are fresh vegetables. In fact, ensaladilla rusa (“Russian salad”) is often one of the few vegetarian options available. It is also one of the most popular dishes among the locals, perhaps because it provides the perfect complement to all of that meat. The salad’s main components are potatoes, eggs and mayonnaise; common additions include chopped green beans, carrots and pickled cucumbers.
Pa amb tomaquet
So simple and easy to replicate at home, pa amb tomaquet is a staple of the Catalan diet—and one that many locals hold close to their hearts. The dish is comprised of rustic bread rubbed with tomatoes and sprinkled with salt, olive oil, and sometimes garlic. It can be served as a side dish, or topped with cod (bacalao) or ham to make a tapa.
Another starchy favorite is patatas bravas, fried cubes of potato in a spicy mayonnaise sauce. No, it’s not healthy—but it is most certainly delicious, and an essential component of a traditional tapas meal.
Pimientos del Padron
Pimiento peppers—yes, those little red peppers commonly found stuffed into green olives—take on an entirely new identity in this tapas dish. The thumb-sized fruits are fried in hot oil, salted, and served as pimientos del Padron (named for the region in Galicia where they come from.) While most are fairly mild, some pimiento peppers are quite spicy—so savor with caution!
The name pinchos or pintxo comes from the Spanish word for “spike.” The dish, typically Basque in origin, includes a small (ie. toothpick-sized) skewer of meat served on a slice of bread.
… Of course, that’s just the beginning! There are many other tasty tapas served in Spanish cities, from Madrid to Barcelona. To find the perfect hotel in Spain to pair with your food, be sure to check out Eurobookings.com—The European Hotel Specialist!
No architect has made such a strong impression on a city than has Antoni Gaudí on the city of Barcelona. This Spanish Catalan architect who lived from 1852 to 1926 has left his mark all over the city with some of the most memorable, most imaginative, most haunting pieces of work you’ll find anywhere. Though his buildings fall under the category of Catalan Modernism, their uniqueness is one major reason that so many people visit Barcelona, and you could spend days in the city just sampling his work. Here are some Gaudí works you won’t want to miss.
Palau Güell (1885-1889)
Decades before Gaudí’s relationship with his benefactor, Count Eusebi Güell produced the famous Parc Güell, this Catalan industrialist was commissioning Gaudí’s work. In fact, the two men met at the beginning of Gaudí’s career, and there are many Güell-financed Gaudí buildings to show for it. The Palau Güell, Güell’s family residence is the earliest example. Gaudí designed everything from the windows to the bathroom taps and though fairly sombre from the outside, the inside is vibrant and stunning. Look for Gaudí’s signature mosaics on the roof and the chimneys and consider them a prevue of coming attractions. Set close to La Rambla, there are many excellent accommodation choices nearby, but if you want to spread out and enjoy your own apartment practically next to the Palau Güell, you can check out the Las Ramblas Bacardi Apartments.
Parc Güell (1900-1914)
Arguably Gaudí’s greatest Güell-financed project, Parc Güell was originally planned as a housing development for the well-to-do. Inspired by English-style garden cities like Bourneville, the idea was to lay out the park while Güell sold plots of land inside for his fellow wealthy industrialists. The residential part of the plan didn’t do so well, but as you’ll see, the park, which was opened to the public in 1923, is an unparalleled work of art. Blending nature and his unique design, Gaudí has created a scene right out of a fairy tale. From the sweeping staircase flowing upwards around a water cascade and defended by a mosaic-covered dragon, to the breathtaking Hall of Columns, to the terraced walls and viaducts held in place with sculpted palm and pine trees, you will not soon forget a visit to Parc Güell. If you’re looking for nearby accommodation, the three-star Hotel Ronda Lesseps is a half-mile from the park.
Casa Batlló (1904-1906)
Casa Batlló is unique in that it was not originally built by Gaudí. Gaudí redesigned an 1877 house and made it his own masterpiece. No matter what angles of the house you’ve seen in photos, your jaw is guaranteed to drop the first time you see it in person. With the near total lack of straight lines, the house seems almost organic. In fact, the locals refer to it as the Casa del Ossos, which translates to the House of Bones, and after seeing its slightly-macabre appearance, you’ll understand why. If you’re lucky enough to see the house on a sunny day, you’ll be struck by the roof, whose shiny tiles shimmer in the sun like dragon scales. Though the Casa Batlló charges a fee to get inside (well worth it) there are two other Modernist buildings on the block, the Casa Lleó Morera, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and the Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, both of which are worth seeing, and both of which are open to the public, free of charge. If you want to experience five-star luxury in a classic Barcelona hotel, then the Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona is just a block away.
Casa Milà (1905-1910)
Almost opposite Casa Batlló on the Passeig de Grácia is Casa Milà, which is also known as La Pedrera, which means, the Quarry. Looking at Casas Batlló and Milà together shows what a wide range Gaudí had, as the two buildings look like they come from different planets. Where the pulsing, dragon-like Batlló looks like a living thing, Casa Milà looks like it was lovingly carved out of a giant stone. The structure is amazingly supported entirely by pillars rather than walls, and the various heights of each floor and ceiling means that each apartment has a totally unique layout. Be sure to head up to the roof to see the surrealist chimneys up close and personal. The strange warrior characters and swirling figures have become emblems of Barcelona. And if you feel like you just haven’t gotten enough, then a stay in the neighboring Suites Avenue Hotel will allow you to spend the entire night gazing at the building from your guest room window. Sagrada Familia (1883-present)
Speaking of emblems of Barcelona, if you’re reading this article you know about the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Known formally as the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s masterpiece has been under construction for 128 years now. This follows the tradition of many Medieval Cathedrals, which often took centuries to build. Starting in 1914, Gaudí dedicated his life to the project, sleeping in his workshop and taking on the appearance of a madman. In fact, when he was hit by a train in 1926, he wasn’t even recognized, and it took several days until he was found in a pauper’s hospital. After his death, other architects continued the project, following his plans. Incredibly, the unfinished church was almost torn down due to the anti-clerical sentiment during the Spanish Civil War. Presently plans are to finish it by 2026, which will be the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death. The three-star MH Apartments Sagrada Familia is about as close as you’ll get to sleeping in the Cathedral like Gaudí did.
It recently came to my attention that the Musée Picasso in Paris is closed for renovations until sometime in 2012. What’s a Picasso lover to do? Plenty. Because an artist as prolific as Pablo Picasso needs more than one museum to show his work. It seems that Picasso Museums are scattered all over Europe – though mostly in France and Spain. From his birthplace in Málaga to the French capital of Paris, wherever the artist painted, sculpted or glazed ceramics now has its own Picasso Museum, creating a whole new genre of “Picasso Tourism.” Here are five Picasso museums worth visiting.
Musée Picasso, Antibes, France
The Côte d’Azur city of Antibes has the distinction of being the first city to open a museum dedicated to Picasso, having beaten out both Málaga and Paris. They did not take this decision lightly, as they chose for the museum site the Château Grimaldi, a beautiful building enjoying both a wonderful location on the city’s ancient coastal ramparts and an important place in the city’s history. Belonging to the Grimaldi family since 1608, the Château was home to Picasso for six months in 1946. Much of the 245 works of art at the Musée Picasso was given to the museum by Picasso himself, with some extra exhibits were provided in 1990 by his second wife, Jacqueline Picasso. Here you can see such iconic works as “The Goat” and “La Joie de Vivre” and many other drawings, paintings, etchings and ceramics. When it’s time to bed down for the night, most of Antibes’s hotels are in the newer part of the city, but if you want to remain within the ancient city walls, you can stay at the Pierre et Vacances Antibes, which is only several blocks from the museum.
Musée National Picasso La Guerre et La Paix, Vallauris, France
Just 15 minutes from Antibes, nestled in a valley just inland from Golfe Juan is the sleepy village of Vallauris. Strolling through the tiny town square and gazing at the handful of shops, restaurants and bakeries, you may be surprised to learn that Pablo Picasso lived here from 1948 until 1955 and that one of his greatest works of art is only metres away. He also returned in 1961 to secretly marry Jacqueline in the town hall. The artist came here to learn how to make pottery, something the town has always been famous for. And the museum is full of them. But the main attraction in Vallauris is the nearby Chapel of Peace, where decided to decorate a small 12th-century chapel with a mural entitled War and Peace, which takes up the entire interior. Walking through the tunnel-like work of art is quite an experience. The closest hotels to Vallauris that are still on the water can be found in Golfe Juan.
Museu Picasso, Barcelona, Spain
Much earlier, in 1894, a 13 year-old Picasso arrived in Barcelona with his family. This is where the young artist completed his first major works, such as The First Communion (1896), and Science and Charity (1897), both of which are at the museum. In fact, the Museu Picasso has one of the most extensive Picasso collections on the planet. Even if Picasso isn’t your favorite artist, the five adjoining medieval palaces that make up the museum are worth seeing. Since opening in 1963 with 574 works, the museum has greatly expanded its collection and now includes over 3,500 pieces in its permanent collection alone, including school books, academic pieces and paintings from Picasso’s early Blue Period. Located in the neighborhood of La Ribera, the museum is close to many excellent Barcelona hotels.
Museo Picasso Málaga and the Museo Casa Natal, Málaga, Spain
As Picasso’s birthplace, Málaga has the distinction of being the only city to host two Pablo Picasso Museums, the Museo Picasso Málagaand the Museo Casa Natal. Though the Museo Picasso Málaga didn’t open until 2003, the idea of it began in 1953. The grand opening drew such luminaries as the King and Queen of Spain, and the museum has an impressive collection, much of which was donated by members of Picasso’s family. The collection ranges from early academic studies to cubism his late re-workings of Masters, and there’s also a library and archive including over 800 titles on Picasso, along with many interesting photographs. The museum is housed in the 16th century Palacio de Buenavista, which was built on the site of a Moorish Nasrid Palace, some of which can still be seen, making the museum a unique historical experience as well.
The Museo Casa Natal, literally “Birthplace Museum” also houses the Fundación Picasso. Set on the Plaza de la Merced, the Foundation is set up to promote the work of the artist – which seems like a pretty easy job. In addition to the Museo Casa Natal, facility includes a Picasso documentation center and many art collections. Of course Picasso’s work is well-represented and includes paintings, drawings and sculptures. But the museum also highlights the work of many other artists, including Pablo Palazuelo, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Christo, Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, Jaume Plensa, and many local artists as well. Málaga offers a wide variety of accommodations near both museums and near the city’s many other attractions and landmarks.
If you thought that high-end outlet malls were only to be found in the USA, then think again. Less than an hour from nine European cities are the nine shopping venues belonging to Chic Outlet Shopping, known collectively as “The Villages.” Each one is a destination in itself, an open-air shopping Mecca hosting between 50 and 140 European luxury brand outlet boutiques, from Abro to Zoo York. The shops range from European to international, with each also featuring shops representative of the host country. Each is easy to reach from its host city via a shuttle. The store directories and shuttle information can be found on the website for each village.
LONDON (Bicester Village)
Bicester Village offers over 130 outlet stores, all set in the village of Bicester in the heart of the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. The Village has its own Italian and French restaurants, and also provides the perfect excuse to explore all the attractions of Oxfordshire. London itself is only 60 minutes away, and the shops at the village provide you with up to 60% discounts on the recommended retail price. You can either make Bicester Village a daytrip from your London hotel or stay closer to the action in a Bicester hotel.
DUBLIN (Kildare Village)
Just an hour from Dublin, in the heart of County Kildare you’ll find many horse farms and horse-racing venues. You’ll also find Kildare Village, home to more than 55 luxury boutiques. Kildare Village specializes in providing you with a broad selection of the collections of the previous season in famous international names in both fashion and homeware. Discounts here also reach up to 60% of the retailers’ recommended price. The charming village of Kildare offers one hotel, and nearby villages like Newbridge offer other accommodations. Or you can always stay in the vibrant capital city of Dublin itself.
PARIS (La Vallée Village)
It should come as no surprise that the fashion capital of the planet for the last several centuries would play host to a luxury outlet mall. La Vallée Village is just 35 minutes from the City of Light. And if you need something to calm the kids down while you shop, you can promise them a trip to Disneyland Paris, which is just five minutes away in the neighboring city of Marne-la-Vallée. In the meantime, you can lose yourself among the 90 luxury outlet boutiques where you’ll find low prices on Paris’s finest. There are many Paris hotels, as well as closer hotels in the town of Bailly-Romainvilliers, which plays host to La Vallée Village, and neighboring towns like Magny-le-Hongre and Serris.
MADRID (Las Rozas Village)
Set right between the Spanish capital Madrid and the amazing El Escorial, the residence and final resting place of many Spanish kings and queens, Las Rozas Village offers up to 60% reductions in over 100 luxury outlet boutique shops. Many Spanish brands are represented, along with international stores. The Village is located in the Madrid suburb of Las Rozas de Madrid, which boasts some fine hotels. But if you’d rather enjoy the excitement of the capital city that never sleeps, many Madrid hotels are only 30 minutes away.
BARCELONA (La Roca Village)
Located in the heart of Catalonia, La Roca Village provides not only international designer brand outlet boutiques and not only their Spanish counterparts, but also the unique opportunity to buy from authentic Catalan designer shops. The stores at La Roca Village offer discounts of up to 60%, and the location is also excellent. Only 40 minutes from Barcelona’s vibrant city centre, La Roca Village puts you on the road to the beautiful Costa Brava, so you’d better be sure to buy a swim suit while you’re there. La Roca Village is located in the town of Granollers, which offers a selection of hotels. Or maybe you’d rather spend the night in a hotel or apartment in Barcelona itself.
MILAN (Fidenza Village)
Residents of Milan might take exception to the designation of Paris as the fashion capital of the world. And after a day in Fidenza Village, you might end up agreeing with them. While the shops of Milan itself are notoriously expensive, Fidenza Village offer up to 70% reductions in more than 100 luxury outlet boutiques. The world’s leading Italian and international fashion brands are available, and Fidenza Village is an hour away from both Milan and the exciting university city of Bologna. Milan offers a wide range of hotels that are convenient to the Village shuttle. Or you can stay in the Hotel Astoria or Hotel Fidenza in the town of Fidenza itself.
BRUSSELS (Maasmechelen Village)
Though known more for its chocolates and its beautifully preserved medieval core than for its fashion, the city of Brussels is just an hour’s drive (or shuttle ride) from the 95 luxury outlet boutiques of Maasmechelen Village. Here you can save from 30% to 60% off the recommended retail price on the previous season’s collections from leading Belgian and international names in fashion, homeware and home décor. Set at the beautiful green intersection of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, Maasmechelen Village can be combined with many international daytrips. You can use the B&B Basil in Maasmechelen as your homebase, or stay in one of the many luxurious Brussels hotels nearby.
FRANKFURT (Wertheim Village)
One of the business capitals of Europe now offers the opportunity to shop like crazy with the 110 luxury outlets of Wertheim Village 50 minutes away. Like some of the other Chic Outlet Shopping venues, Wertheim Village offers up to 60% off on the previous season’s collections, and like the other venues, you can get access to both international and German companies. Wertheim Village is also located right at the gateway to the famous Romantic Road, making it a convenient stop on your way out of Frankfurt or on your way back in. Wertheim hotels make a great Romantic Road homebase, while Frankfurt hotels put you in the middle of the action.
MUNICH (Ingolstadt Village)
And last but certainly not least are the 100 boutiques found at Ingolstadt Village, which is located just 50 minutes north of all the beer gardens, churches and Bavarian charm of the city of Munich. This lively city also has a thriving cultural scene with more art galleries and theatres than any other city in Germany. The easiest way to enjoy the 60% discounts at Ingolstadt Village is to stay at an Ingolstadt hotel, though the shuttle from central Munich makes it possible to stay in a hotel in Munich.
If you’re in Germany in October, it’s no mystery that the number one local event involves heading to a beer garden and drinking copious amounts of the foamy stuff. But what if you happen to be in Spain? If so, you can consider yourself lucky, because Spain rocks no matter what time of year you’re there, and in October especially, there’s a lot going on, no matter what part of the country you’re in.
Fiesta de la Exaltación del Marisco, October 1-12, O Grove
Starting at the top of the month and the top of the country, O Grove and the Galicia Region surrounding it are known for having some of the best seafood on the planet. If you’re lucky enough to be there during the first half of October, do not miss the Fiesta de la Exaltación del Marisco. Whether discovering the pleasure of the fish stew called caldeirada, eating clams from terracotta dishes or scraping out the pink meat of the local crab known as the nécora, you’re sure to go away satisfied. And what to do when you’ve had your fill? After a much-needed seafood nap, you can enjoy the traditional Galician-Portuguese folklore dancing and the sounds of the Celtic bagpipe unique to the region. And don’t miss the mussel and turbot contests at the port. The festival attracts upwards of 200,000 people, so be sure to book your O Grove hotel.
Bienal de Flamenco, September 15 – October 9, Sevilla.
Heading down to Andalucía, we find the birthplace of that Spanish-Arabic fusion dance known as Flamenco. Since 1930, the Bienal de Flamenco Festival has been held every two years, giving you a chance to see and hear the best artists in the world. Fantastic singing (cante), guitar (toque) and of course dancing (baile) are on display in a number of venues, both indoor and outdoor, including Paseo de Colon., Teatro Lope de Vega and Plaza de America. Past performers have included Diego Clavel, La Tobala, Nano de Jerez y Concha Vargas, the Canta Jerez with El Capullo and El Torta. When you want to take a break from all the excitement, you can slip into the city’s magnificent Cathedral, and for a real break, you can slip into your Sevilla hotel room.
Virgen del Pilar Festival, October 12, Zaragoza
The beautiful medieval city of Zaragoza takes its Patron Saint most seriously. Except for the week of October 12, when they cut loose and have fun, filling the streets with exciting activities, great music and great food. Witness thousands of locals dressed in regional costume as they offer flowers to the Virgin. When the sun goes down the spectacular Rosario de Cristal religious procession winds through the city’s ancient streets, and throughout the festival, you can browse the grand Aragonese market in the Plaza de los Sitios. In between all the concerts, street performances, fireworks and food, you can even try to get a little shuteye in your Zaragoza hotel.
Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, October 15-24, Barcelona.
Catalunya’s stunning capital city of Barcelona is known for presenting different points of view, and the Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival continues that tradition. Set at the city’s Filmoteca de Catalunya, the festival features a variety of full-length features, shorts and documentaries pertinent to the homosexual community. Once you’ve paid for your ticket to Barcelona, the rest is easy, as each screening costs only €2.70, with a pass for 10 screenings going for a ridiculously cheap €18. Between screenings you can explore famous streets full of Modernist buildings, Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces and the medieval streets and walkways of the Cuitat Vella. Many Barcelona hotels.
Fires de Sant Narcis, October 23-November 1, Girona
For something more traditional, head 85 kilometres to the city of Girona where you can experience a festival you won’t forget. For one week, the wide avenues of the Parc de la Devesa become a giant fairground, complete with rides and a Ferris wheel. Plaça Independencia loads up with stalls selling books and homemade food like cured meats, sausages, honey and cake. But the real party is on October 29, the day of the actual festival, when a huge party is thrown in honor of St Narcissus, Girona’s patron saint. That day the city comes alive with dancing, concerts and street parties. In La Copa, an area set at the north end of the park, a stage is set up for live music. But for a once-in-a-lifetime treat, head to the bottom of the Cathedral steps. There a human castle is formed of people standing atop one another’s shoulders, and then the whole “castle” walks up the steps! And don’t miss the Trobada de Gegants on the last day, where large papier mache figures are paraded through the streets. You can either visit the festival from Barcelona or choose from many Girona hotel rooms.
Sure, they’re obvious tourist attractions—and some draw the largest crowds in all of Barcelona. But their popularity does not make them any less special, and no trip to this Spanish city would be complete without them. We’re talking, of course, about Gaudi’s architecture.
It is easy to identify a work of art by Gaudi: fluid, organic forms inspired by nature and brilliant mosaic patterns are his fingerprints. The bold use of color and twisted iron sculptures further set his work apart from his contemporaries’. So book a room at one of the many central hotels in Barcelona (like the Olivia Plaza Hotel or Hotel 1898, both close to many attractions) and get ready to experience Gaudi’s Barcelona.
The single most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is hard to miss in the heart of the vibrant city. The strange, untamed structure is famous for having a unique texture that makes the giant temple look like it has been dipped in wax. The building is also widely known for its surrounding controversy: The Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882 and since Gaudi’s death in 1926, other artists have taken over. Some used more modern materials to finish what Gaudi started—and many say that this is an affront to the architect’s original vision. Whatever your stance on the subject, you are sure to be struck by the oddly beautiful masterpiece.
The world-famous Sagrada Familia
Commissioned by and named for Eusebi Güell, the Park Guell was built as a green haven for Spanish aristocracy. Today, it is thankfully open to the public. The lush park is home to some unique and lovely works of art. Be sure to see the colorful dragon fountain that guards the entrance, the panoramic walkway supported by twisting rock pillars, and the tiled terrace that showcases one of the best views of Barcelona. These and other monuments were designed by Gaudi while he lived in a small house on the premises that has since been converted into a museum. The park is so large and fascinating that you will want to dedicate at least half a day to it.
Located right on the busy Passeig de Gracia, Casa Batlló has a façade that can stop traffic. At first glance, the exterior looks like it has been made from skulls and bones; however, the “skulls” are actually balconies and the “bones” supporting pillars. Crafted using fluid shapes and colors inspired by marine life, the creative building was designed by Gaudi for Josep Batlló. Since the wealthy Spanish aristocrat’s passing, the building has been made open to the public. Along with unique architectural features like swinging chimneys and the famous Lightwell, the building houses a souvenir shop dedicated to Gaudi.
The facade of Casa Batlló
Also situated on the Passeig de Gracia is Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera (“The Quarry.”) Built by Gaudi from 1905 to 1912, the apartment complex shows many of the architect’s well-known signatures: fluid shapes, uneven textures, and one-of-a-kind details. One interesting fact is that since Gaudi wanted the apartments’ residents to get to know one another, he only installed a lift on every second floor—thus forcing tenants to communicate. Along with the other buildings described here, Casa Milà is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Works of Antoni Gaudi.”
Whether you consider yourself to be an art lover or not, you probably know that Spain has produced some of the world’s greatest masters. You may even know that the country is home to one of the most extraordinary art museums on earth, the Prado. However, that is not the only landmark in which to discover Spain’s amazing artistic legacy. Here, four of the country’s most legendary artists and the places to go to find their most celebrated works:
Probably one of the most famous painters in the entire world, Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881. He studied in Barcelona and Madrid before eventually moving to Paris at the turn of the century. Although France became his permanent home, the father of Cubism is always closely identified with Barcelona. Take a tour of the world-famous Museu de Picasso to see some of the painter’s early work, or head to the Museo Reina Sofia to see the Guernica. Great hotels in Barcelona include the Catalonia Ramblas and the Hotel Icaria Barcelona.
Picasso's most famous painting, "Guernica"
Francisco de Goya
Francisco de Goya was born in 1746 in Fuendetodos, but he spent much of his life in Madrid and Italy. Goya is often called the last of the “Old Master” painters, and his most famous works do stay true to that old-fashioned style. Many of the painter’s celebrated pieces are scattered across the globe, in popular art museums around Europe and beyond. However, his legendary The Third of May 1808 may be found in Madrid’s Prado Museum. Recommended hotels in Madrid include the Hotel Rex and the Husa Princesa.
This 17th-century painter was born in 1599 in Seville. Throughout his life, he accumulated an impressive body of work. However, Diego Velazquez is probably best known for his striking realism—especially within his portraits. Members of royalty and other important figures commissioned Velazquez to depict themselves and loved ones. His most famous painting, Las Meninas, is of one of the king’s young daughters and the staff who waited on her. It hangs in the Prado in Madrid to this day.
"Las Meninas" by Velazquez
Everyone knows the surrealist signature of Salvador Dali—his melting clocks and morphing figures are easy to identify. After being born in 1904 in Figueres, Dali went on to study Cubism and Dadaism in Madrid. His unique brand of modern art can be found all across the globe. In particular, his most famous painting (The Persistence of Memory, full of melting clocks) hangs in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Visitors to Spain should check out the Teatre-Museu Dali in Figueres, entirely dedicated to the legendary artist. And, of course, you know where to find excellent hotels in Figueres!