living for several years all around Spain and visiting every nook and cranny of
this unique, southern European nation, it didn’t take long for me to develop
favorite haunts and spots. Northern Spain in particular really tugged at my
heart and quickly became a favorite. Often overlooked by travelers trekking
along the traditional tourist spots on the coasts or in the south, northern
Spain has a charm and diversity that commands attention all on its own. If you
are looking to come to Spain, I wholeheartedly suggest taking a peek at the
north. Here are the five best cities from which to choose.
jewel of northern Spain, San Sebastián on the Basque Coast is world-famous for
its beautiful architecture, stunning beaches, and most importantly, its fine
dining. Tied neck-and-neck with the famous Catalan cuisine of the south, Basque
is home to some of the best restaurants in Spain. Not to mention there is
something for everyone to enjoy here. San Sebastián houses more pincho bars
than you can ever hope to visit; pinchos are the Basque form of the famous
Spanish tapa, a snack-sized portion of food served up with drinks, usually in
the evening. If you are a foodie in any sense of the word, San Sebastián can’t
be missed on a trip to Spain.
Santiago de Compostela
the most famous pilgrimage sites in the world, Santiago de Compostela is a
beautiful city located in the remote northwest corner of Spain. Home to the
bones of the Apostle St. James (Santiago in Spanish), its beautiful cathedral has
been one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites since the Middle
Ages. Traveling around northern Spain, it’s very common to see modern day
pilgrims hiking along the roads and trails, slowly gravitating towards
for a year, I can’t talk about northern Spain and leave out one of my all-time
favorite places - Logroño! Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry, most people
haven’t. The capital of the tiny wine-growing region of La Rioja, Logroño is
one of Spain’s best-kept secrets. Wine culture is everywhere here. From the
cafes to the pincho bars to the seemingly infinite number of wineries you can
pop in for a tour, visit and tasting, red wine is inescapable, not to mention
cheaper than water! The best time to visit is in October and November, when all
the leaves start to change and the annual wine harvest begins.
is a large city by Spanish standards but is also often overlooked by tourists
traveling between Madrid and Barcelona. Founded in ancient times by Augustus,
its name Zaragoza derives from Caesaraugusta, marking Zaragoza as an important
Roman city. Because of this there are plenty of Roman ruins and archaeological
sites to visit around town.
largest city in Basque country, Bilbao is a modern, artistic hub of the north.
Industrialized early on by Spainish standards, its port aided in Bilbao’s early
growth and wealth. Nowadays it’s home to the famous Guggenheim Museum, with the
whole city possessing a very young and modern air, making it both a unique and
fun city to visit in Spain.
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