Check out these places to stay in Spain with GuestToGuest

We continue our series of articles on the home exchange in Europe with Spain, a country full of wonders to discover or rediscover.

The Spanish community of GuestToGuest is the second largest in Europe after the French community. Why not profit from it and organize a home exchange in the name of history, art, culture, bullfighting, and stay for free in the beautiful scenery that Spain has to offer?

The Community of Madrid

 Plaza Mayor in MadridOne of the most beautiful squares in Spain: La Plaza Mayor
Let us start our tour of Spain from its capital, where the Royal family resides: Madrid. The royal city is an open-air museum; it is full of monuments, museums and places of incredible beauty. Do not miss the “Museo del Prado” where you can see “El Dos y el Tres de mayo” by Goya, the Museum Reina Sofia to see the famous Guernica by Pablo Picasso. Then take the direction of “Gran Vía”, the Commercial Street crossing Madrid, and stop at Puerta del Sol, the Royal Palace or at Plaza Mayor and then finish your day at San Miguel’s Market, where you can enjoy the Spanish life and taste various hams with a glass of Rioja (Spanish wine). There are still many beautiful places to visit, but I want to you to be surprised …

palacio_real_madrid_18 Exchange your home with the Royal Family ;)
Then we head to the town of Don Quixote and his creator, Miguel de Cervantes: Alcala de Henares. Located around thirty kilometers from the Spanish capital and listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, this town of 200,000 inhabitants has a lot to offer and will surprise you. Start by visiting the University of Alcala de Henares, known as one of the oldest in Spain and one of the most beautiful, located near the Plaza Cervantes where families come together on Sunday night to discuss and enjoy the weather. Then head over “Calle Mayor”, the main street of the historic district with porches all along both sides of the street where you can take a picture of the famous bench of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. This road leads directly to the Plaza de los Santos Niños, location of the Cathedral of Los Santos Justos y Pastor of Alcala de Henares.

fotos-madrid-alcala-henares-monumento-quijote-sancho-001A picture with Sancho Panza et Don Quixote
Tempted by the treasures of the community of Madrid? Come exchange your house in Madrid and take an appointment with history!

Catalonia

Catalonia, considered the first community of Spain for its economic success, is located just outside the community of Madrid. Catalonia has its own language (Catalan), an ancient history and a territory with many beautiful landscapes.

barcelonaThe Sagrada Familia, the symbol of Barcelona

We can only start our tour in Catalonia from its capital, the second Spanish giant: Barcelona. Stroll around “Las Ramblas”, the most famous street in Barcelona, ​​where all kinds of tourist activities are waiting for you. Visit the Picasso Museum and the Sagrada Familia, to incorporate some artistic creations and be sure to get lost in the Eixample district and the old fortified city (the Gothic Quarter). Finally, you can rest in Park Güell or one of Barcelona’s beaches after visiting the famous cave of FC Barcelone, Camp Nou.

la_rambla_2009-06-10Take a walk in Las Ramblas of Barcelona

From Barcelona, take the road to the north-west and stop in Montserrat about an hour and a half from Barcelona. Montserrat has been for centuries, a stopping point for thousands of pilgrims. If you are lucky and the weather is nice, you will be able to see Barcelona from the summit of Montserrat and even the island of Majorca if the sky is clear. Do not miss the incredible monastery, built over several centuries, and the Black Virgin, called “Moreneta.” If you like hiking, Montserrat is the right place to do so; you will find many hiking trails with unforgettable views of strange rock formations. Finally, finish your walk in the cellars of Freixenet, explore the production of Cava ( a Spanish sparkling wine) with a small train ride through the caves containing more than 100 million bottles, and end the tour with a small tasting of Cava (with moderation!).

barcelona-1A stroll in the mountains of Montserrat
12450_5 ...or choose a small tasting of Cava!Catalonia has so much to offer, so go ahead, log on GuestToGuest and share your home with a Catalan!

Andalusia

After visiting Catalonia, move towards the south of Spain, at the gates of Morocco, to Andalusia. For its past, Andalusia is one of the richest regions in Spain with five World Cultural Heritage listed sites.

 Plaza España in SevilleDiscover the Plaza España in Seville: a real beauty
Three days are not enough for you to visit the city of Seville! Take your time and stroll down the Avenue of the Constitution, a wide avenue where you can admire the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See or Seville Cathedral and the Archive of the Indies. You can also relax in many bars and restaurants colored in the shade of orange. You will see many landmarks like the Plaza España, the Golden Tower, the Arena (La Real Maestranza de Caballería) or the banks of Alfonso XIII channel. Seville will delight you!

tA walk on Constitution Avenue in Seville
Let’s drive though the Andalusian countryside and let’s stop in Cordoba, one of Andalusia’s treasures. The historic district, Heritage of Humanity, is an excellent starting point to visit Cordoba. Lose yourself in the narrow streets, the beautifully bleached courtyards of Cordoba and see the Mezquita where the jewels of Andalusia coexist with plants and fountains. Do not miss the Alcazar of the Christian Kings and its gardens that will mesmerize you. Finish your day with a sunset over the Great Mosque of Cordoba while crossing the famous Roman Bridge.

The Roman bridge and MezquitaSunset on the Great Mosque of Cordoba
We end our journey with my favorite place in Andalusia and even in Spain, where the Spanish “Reconquista” ended: Granada. Walking through this paradise, you will discover a city where the legacy of many traditions coexists; this makes Granada, a blend one of a kind. Feel free to stroll in the neighborhood of the Albaicin where the Muslim heritage dominates, or in the old town where Christian influences have emerged since 1492 with the capture of Granada. The best of Granada, UNESCO’s World Heritage Center, is the Alhambra, a magnificent complex, and one of the major monuments of Islamic architecture and the most majestic of the medieval acropolis in the Mediterranean world.

The view of the AlhambraOne of the wonders of Spain: The Alhambra
dscn5092A view of Granada from the Alhambra!

Feel free to walk around the Andalusian countryside before reaching its cities! And for your accomodation: a home exchange in Andalusia !

Castile and Léon

Let’s go back to Northern Spain and stop in the largest autonomous community in Spain that hides several sites as impressive as the others.

salamanca_-_bc_04View on the Cathedral of Salamanca
Our first stop in Castile and Leon is in the city of Salamanca. Known as one of the most student cities in Spain and for its student’s New Year’s Eve "La Nochevieja", Salamanca offers some nice surprises. Stroll around the streets of this city to discover the second oldest university in Spain: the University of Salamanca. Admire the beauty of the new Cathedral of the Virgin of the Assumption or the public library of the Casa de Las Conchas covered with over 300 Saint James’ scallops recalling the pilgrimage route of St. James of Compostela. Finish your day in the Plaza Mayor with an Ibérico ham sandwich and a beer to enjoy the beauty offered by this huge site.

plaza_mayor_at_night_salamanca_spainOn New Year’s eve come eat 12 grapes at the sound of the bells in the Plaza Mayor.
Impossible not to stop in Segovia while visiting the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. Segovia is one of the most famous cities in Spain for all its monuments that are impressive for their beauty, their size and their well maintenance. Marvel at the aqueduct composed by 166 arches and 122 columns in 2 levels in the city center, in the Plaza del Azoguejo where you can taste various dishes and traditional Spanish products. Stroll around the city to meet the Cathedral with its gothic-renaissance style or visit the famous Alcazar of Segovia from which you can admire the city of Segovia.

dscn4887The Aqueduct of Segovia and its 166 arches and 122 columns
dscn4948The view from the Alcazar of Segovia.
What are you waiting for? Find your house in Castile and Léon to visit these two beautiful cities …

The Basque Autonomous Community

We end our tour of Spain in the Basque autonomous community more commonly called the Basque Country. This land, located in Northern Spain, offers many surprises.

espagne-san-sebastien-concha02A swim in the bay of La Concha
During your stay in San Sebastian, you should not miss the inevitable attractions that this beautiful city in the Basque Country has to offer. Enjoy a nice walk on one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe in the Bay of La Concha, then head to the old town of San Sebastian to experience the life and the culture of the locals. Finish your day with a visit to Mount Igeldo, the ideal place to enjoy the best views of the city and the sea. Finally take a walk in the romantic area of ​​San Sebastian to see its belle époque style.

Romantic area of ​​San SebastienRelax on a bench in the romantic area
Not stopping in the city known worldwide for its fair and culture of the festivals would be a crime: Welcome to Pamplona or Iruña in Basque. Go take a walk and visit the monuments this city has to offer as the Cathedral of Saint Mary, the Church-fortress of Saint Nicholas or the magnificent Town Hall of Pamplona. Discover the Way of Saint James of Compostela, rejuvenate yourself in greenery and visit the old district of Pamplona. You can see the walls of the gate of “The Portal de Francia” and contemplate the small streets straight out of the middle Ages. Finally, if you visit Pamplona between 6 and 14 July, do not miss the festival of Saint Fermin. On this occasion, the bulls are let loose in the streets of the city before being fought and people wear white clothes adorned with a red scarf and a red belt.

25-hq_lpCome closer to enjoy the life of Pamplona
1614804_pampelune_800x400Experience the San Fermin festival in Pamplona
Find the home of your dreams in the Basque Country and enjoy the its good humor, pintxos, walks and history.

Our glimpse of Spain is over but there are still plenty of sites, landscapes to see in Spain that will amaze you! Now it’s up to you, what is your destination? Log on GuestToGuest and exchange your home with a spanish to discover the country of Cervantes.

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See you soon!
Tristan