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Two Awesome Places To Go To in Spain

Updated on July 9, 2019
Marma profile image

Marma has been a teacher for over seven years. She holds degrees from San Jose State, Santa Clara University, and Stanford University.

A map of Spain (Western Europe).
A map of Spain (Western Europe).

Where Should I Go?

There are so many wonderful and exciting places to explore in Spain, it can be hard to know where to begin! There is so much history and modern culture that it could take years of travel to cover it all. Would that even be that bad?

I couldn't give you a top five or top twenty places to visit because they still wouldn't cover all the awesome sites in Spain. But, you do need to start somewhere to make a trip worth your time. So I've narrowed it down to the top TWO places to START!

The Top Two Places to Start Traveling in Spain

#1: Santiago de Compostela.

You may have heard of Santiago de Compostela as it is a very popular tourist attraction. Santiago de Compostela is a city in northwest Spain, in the state of Galicia. If you look at the map above, it is located in the light purple region.

Many people from around the world travel here to see the famous cathedral or El Catedral de Compostela. Why is Santiago a big deal? It is believed that the remains of Saint James lie within the cathedral. Saint James was an apostle and follower of Jesus Christ. So for many Catholics and Christians, this cathedral has a great deal of religious and spiritual significance for them.

Many travelers decide to make a longer voyage to the cathedral by arriving there via the El Camino de Santiago. El Camino, which is Spanish for road, is a trail beginning in France that many travelers take by foot. The trail finishes at a large plaza containing El Catedral de Santiago in the city of Santiago de Compostela. Thus many spend days or weeks hiking and camping along the path of El Camino de Santiago. There are also various hostels open to travelers who prefer not to sleep outdoors.

Some use this trek as spiritual quest or journey, others are simply wish to enjoy the scenic route to their destination. However you decide to get to Santiago de Compostela, it is definitely makes for an interesting and inspiring opportunity to learn more about the city and the cathedral.

A front view of El Catedral de Compostela.
A front view of El Catedral de Compostela.

El Rastro

#2 El Rastro

If you want to get a taste of authentic daily life in Spain, check out Madrid's El Rastro. El Rastro is the name of the Sunday open air market held in the city of Madrid (Spain's capital).

From the morning until the early evening, several streets in Madrid are shut down so that vendors can set up their wares to sell. Items sold in El Rastro include clothes and accessories, purses and bags, art, furniture, antique trinkets and games, collector's items and more. People roam the market through out the day, browsing for objects of their interest. You may be able to find just about anything here! You can use this opportunity to bargain or regatear, if you see something you like and want to pay a lower price.

In addition to vendors' kiosks nearby bars, restaurants and cafes also open their doors in El Rastro. As a tourist, this can be an opportunity to sample authentic Spanish food and drink while doing your shopping. You can try Spanish, specialty coffees, beers or eat Spanish stew with bread, a Spanish tapa, or various seafood. Visiting El Rastro is a great way to participate in a bit of local culture, which is why it's number two on my list of places to start your travels!

Where does El Rastro come from?

El Rastro means trail or path. This flea market has an interesting history that goes back five hundred years when butchers would drag their butchered meat down the street to the tannery, leaving a long trail, or rastro, of blood in their wake. Gypsies and other travelers coming from Southern Spain (the region of Andalucía) also traveled to Madrid to sell their goods, giving rise to a centuries long tradition of this outdoor flea market. In fact, El Rastro is thought to be one of the oldest outdoor markets in Europe.

To learn more about places like this in Spain, please take a look at my Ebook on Spanish travel.



Wares being sold at Madrid's El Rastro.
Wares being sold at Madrid's El Rastro.
People walking through the narrow streets as they shop in El Rastro.
People walking through the narrow streets as they shop in El Rastro.

© 2019 Marma

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    • Marma profile imageAUTHOR

      Marma 

      4 weeks ago from United States

      Hello Liz,

      Thank you for your comment. Sevilla is a beautiful city with a lot of history, so I can see why it's one of your favorites.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 weeks ago from UK

      Just this week I was talking to a friend about her visit to Santiago de Compostela. It was a trip from a cruise she was on. I have not heard of El Rastro, but Madrid is on my list of places to visit. Our favourite place so far in Spain is Seville.

    • Marma profile imageAUTHOR

      Marma 

      4 weeks ago from United States

      Hello Bill,

      Thank you for reading! I appreciate your comment!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Marma and welcome to HubPages. Very nice look at 2 great destinations in Spain. I wish I had read these before we traveled there in 2018. We did not get to Santiago de Compostela, but perhaps someday. We very much enjoyed Madrid, although we lost a day there due to travel delays. Anyway, welcome to Hubpages. Look forward to reading about your travels.

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