Now that our final long break is over, we only have a few weekends left to travel. If you haven’t been doing a whole lot of sightseeing in Spain, here are a few places I recommend you visit before heading out for the summer.
The largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is known for its gorgeous beaches and amazing views. If you are only interested in the beach, you can stay in Palma for easy access, but if you want to see the rest of the island, definitely head over the mountains. On the other side, you’ll find rolling fields, terrace farms built into the mountain sides, and dozens of picturesque Spanish pueblos. I especially recommend heading to the northern side of the island if you want to do some oceanside hiking or swim in a less tourist – infested area. It’s also probably cheaper to find hostels or Airbnbs up north. On the down side, since Mallorca is known as a tourist destination for its beaches, program travel reimbursement does not apply.
This little town southeast of Madrid is famous for its “casas colgadas” aka hanging houses built on the side of a cliff. Before you head over expecting the whole town to be dangling off of a precipice, you should know that only three houses actually dangle over a cliff side. It’s still very cool to see and there’s a huge pedestrian bridge that goes over the ravine that you can walk on as well. If you find yourself with nothing to do after seeing the houses, you can go inside the houses to visit the contemporary art museum. They have a beautiful collection and you get to see the amazing view from the windows hanging off of the cliff side. If you want to see more art, you can head over to the cathedral which has art exhibits on display all-year-round. Ai Wei Wei had an installation in the church when I visited. The church itself also has incredibly unique stained glass which I definitely recommend seeing. The mentor trip is in Cuenca so go if you can!
Another small town, located northwest of Madrid known as the “coldest city in Spain”. I assume the cold has something to do with the chilly winds, and I assure you the town lives up to its name (but now that it’s considerably warmer out Ávila is probably more temperate). The town is also famous for its city wall that is one of the longest-standing, most-complete city walls in Spain. You can access the top of the wall and walk around the entirety of the old city. Should you choose to listen to the audio guide, Saint Teresa of Ávila and a generic audio guide man will explain the many wonders of the city at various checkpoints along the wall. The views are spectacular and entry for students is quite cheap. If you get bored of the wall, you can check out the cathedral, the monastery and the convent which are all within walking distance.