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Islamic Legacy

Cáceres, Córdoba y Granada

Seven centuries of Muslim presence in Spain (711-1492). A unique ingredient which was to give our culture its distinctive flavour. At the westernmost edge of the land of al-Andalus, Islam enjoyed its period of greatest cultural splendour. Cordoba had the largest population of any city in Europe at that time. The sumptuousness of the court of the Andalusí caliphate was legendary all over Christian Europe. Everything from its language to its art and literature, from its farming techniques to its crafts, its carpets and fabrics… the stamp of Islam would be handed down to us through the centuries to the present day.


After 1142, Cáceres became the main strategic point in Extremadura for the Almohads. Therefore, in the third part of the 12th century with the principal aim of defending the city, a rectangular-shaped wall was built, which was crenelated and had a surrounding walkway. The fortification has some crenelated towers, some that are attached to the wall and some detached ones, most of which have been preserved. The fortress’ water cistern has also been preserved and was classified as the first one in Spain to be built and the second one in the world, due to its preserved condition.


Córdoba, capital of Al-Andalus. In 756 the city gained independence from Damascus forming the Independent Emirate of Córdoba under the control of Abd al Rahman I. In 785 the emir made what would turn out to be an important decision for the historic legacy of the Omeyas, the construction of the Mezquita (mosque). It has been a World Heritage Site since 1984 and today it is the third largest mosque in the world. Muslim Córdoba’s greatest splendour was completed with the arrival of Abd-ar-Rahman III in the 10th century, making Córdoba the most thriving, cultured and populated city in Europe. He was also responsible for the building of the palatine Medina Azahara.


Listed under the World Heritage Sites list of the UNESCO, the Alhambra is indisputably the most well-known monument of the city and one of the most visited in Spain. It’s a beautiful complex of buildings and gardens. It has a defensive area, the Alcazaba citadel, as well as the Nasrid buildings and the Gardens of the Generalife. The courtyard of the Lions with its fountains is one of the most beautiful in the compound.

Modern and Contemporary Architecture

Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia.

Strolling around the streets of many cities in Spain you'll notice that innovation and design are to be found in more and more of its buildings. Famous architects such as Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster and Rafael Moneo have chosen Spain to build their latest works.


The Barcelona Agbar Tower, by French architect Jean Nouvel combines different architectural concepts, resulting in a striking structure built with reinforced concrete, covered with a façade of glass, with its window openings cut out of the structural concrete.


Bilbao attracted the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to construct a new gallery which opened in 1997. Designed by Frank Gehry in a deconstructivist manner, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao became world famous and raised the profile of Bilbao on the world stage. Such was the success of the museum that the construction of iconic architecture in towns aspiring to raise their international profile has become a recognised town planning strategy known as the "Bilbao effect"


One could hardly imagine a building without a façade, but as we approach the Barajas airport Terminal 4 all our eyes see is an undulating, metallic roof floating above a large plain. According to its renowned creator Richard Rogers "airports are the cathedrals of our time". Just like in cathedrals, the passages in this terminal are flooded with light.


The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is situated at the end of the former riverbed of the river Turia, which was turned into a picturesque sunken park. It’s an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex and the most important modern tourist destination in the city. Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project underwent the first stages of construction in 1996 and its last great component, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, was presented in 2005.

Sephardic Heritage

Ávila, Córdoba, Segovia Y Toledo

The word Sephardic derives from Sepharad, the name that the Jews of the past gave to the Spanish territory. After their expulsion by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, the diaspora of Sephardic Jews took them to far-flung parts of the world, but they never lost the memory of their country of origin. The synagogues and Jewish neighbourhoods, the mediaeval towns which were home to the Jewish peoples are the most important material remains that have been handed down to us today. Their intangible heritage includes particularly their intellectual curiosity, which was perfectly exemplified by the famous School of Translators of the time in Toledo.


The Jewish quarter is the most important enclave of its heritage. The Hebrews were the owners of a good part of the homes between the Grande and Chico markets, meaning that their shops were located on the Calles Don Jerónimo, Alemania and Reyes Católicos. On the Calle Reyes Católicos we find the old Belforad synagogue.


The synagogue of Córdoba is on the Calle Judíos. This is one of the most historic and attractive synagogues in the world and the only one in Andalusia. The Jewish quarter was created in the time of Arab control and it is characterised by its narrow, zigzagging and labyrinth streets.


There are two Jewish quarters. Both are comprised of narrow, uneven and steep streets. There is a stretch of the wall which has a walkway where you can pass along to see the magnificent views of the district. The five synagogues are evidence of how important the area became. To be able to understand the city’s Jewish history, you must visit the Centro Didáctico de la Judería (Jewish Quarter Education Centre).


The Jewish quarter in Toledo occupies a tenth of the fortified zone. Its medieval appearance has been preserved, with its walkways, small streets, arches and paved slopes. Toledo also stands out because of its synagogues, with over ten in the city at one point. The biggest one, presently known as Santa María la Blanca, was built in the 13th century and El Tránsito Synagogue is home to the Sephardic Museum.

Roman Hispania

Córdoba, Mérida, Segovia y Tarragona

The outbreak of the Second Punic War in 218 B.C. between Rome and Carthage was triggered by the destruction of Sagunto (near Valencia) at the hands of the Carthaginian general Hannibal. This same fact was responsible for the arrival of the Romans in the Iberian Peninsula, where they would remain for a further six centuries. Transformed into one of its most vigorous provinces, the Roman civilisation flourished in all its splendour in Hispania, as can be seen by the monumental and archaeological remains - specifically, the public works - of cities such as Itálica (near Seville), Emerita Augusta (today’s Mérida) and Tarraco (Tarragona), among many others.


Córdoba, under Augustus, became the capital of the province of Hispania Baetica, until the end of the 4th century A.D. It was a place of constant economic activity, which lead to the construction of important buildings. These included the Roman temple, the public forum, the Casa del Bailío, the Villa de Santa Rosa, the palace of Maximian, the mausoleum and the amphitheatre, whose remains can still be seen.


The Roman legacy of Mérida seems to appear in every corner of the city. It stands out because of its excellent condition and because all the important operational elements of the city converge. Mérida comprises an unforgettable archaeological collection, which includes forums; defensive structures like the city wall; leisure and competition facilities, like the circus, amphitheatre, theatre and thermal baths; infrastructural constructions like bridges, dams and aqueducts; and the streets, arcades, sewers, fountains and several monuments.


The presence of Rome in the province of Segovia can be traced back to the 2nd century B.C. At this time, construction began on the aqueduct of Segovia. This creation brought great prestige to the builders and to the town itself. Around the high part of this there were stately homes and thermal baths, whose remains can still be partially seen. The findings of the excavations of the last decades can be viewed in the Museum of Segovia.


Tarragona became the principal military base of Hispania. The city had been structured in the 2nd century, with a street network and the city wall. The wall was 3500 metres long and today you can still see a third part of it, as some of the sections and three towers have been well preserved. Other facilities were also built at this time in Tarraco, including the provincial forum, the temple of Augustus, the circus, the amphitheatre, thermal baths, the Centcelles Roman villa and the early-Christian necropolis

Christian Tourism

Ávila, León, Santiago de Compostela y Toledo

A time of cities, of guilds and merchants… and of cathedrals. The artistic expression known as the Gothic style evolved in the lower Middle Ages between the 12th and 15th centuries. The gradual disappearance of feudal bonds, the resurgence of the cities, an ever more prosperous commercial sector and the progressive humanisation of the Christian doctrine served as a fertile breeding ground for this art form. The city became the main centre of activity and took on the role of cultural repository which had hitherto been solely reserved to the monasteries. In Spain, this was the time of the great cathedrals which soared up towards the sky in search of divinity.


Ávila is perceived as a spiritual place and is the city of Saint Teresa of Jesus. She lived during the Ávila Golden Age, which is reflected in the city’s urban renovation, remodelling of the temples and in the new foundations, all of which was a result of the economic and social revival. There is a route of the places in relation to Teresa, such as the convents of Santa Teresa and San José, the monastery of La Encarnación and the Mysticism Interpretation Centre.


Located in northwest Spain along the Camino de Santiago, León Cathedral is a French-style Gothic cathedral built in the 13th century. Probably, it’s the finest Gothic building in Spain.

Intricately carved portals, glorious rose windows, one of the oldest choirs in the country and beautiful sculptures such as the Virgen de la Esperanza are just a few of the cathedral's many impressive features.

The Cathedral Museum (Museo Catedralicio Diocesano de León) houses many works of art, including 50 sculptures of the Virgin, a triptych by the School of Antwerp, a 10th-century Mozarabic Bible and numerous manuscripts.

Santiago de Compostela

After Jerusalem and Rome, Santiago de Compostela is considered the third holiest city in Christendom. Legend has it that the remains of the Apostle James lie in this city, which receives thousands of pilgrims from all over the world every year. The site of his shrine was transformed into the cathedral, which today looks over the Praza do Obradoiro. In the Middle Ages, several convents and monasteries of various religious orders were built around the El Apóstol basilica. These orders were responsible for the safekeeping of the tomb as well as the board and lodging of the pilgrims.


The extraordinary resemblance between Toledo and Jerusalem make the Spanish city a unique setting in Easter Week for remembering the events of over two thousand years ago. The celebration of Corpus Christi is equally impressive. The streets are transformed into an open-air church and decorated with lights, garlands, sixteenth-century tapestries and banners.


Girona, Valencia, Cádiz

If golf's your sport, then Spain's the place for you. Spain is the top European golf tourism destination. You're guaranteed a wonderful experience you'll want to repeat.

Spain is synonymous with golf. It is a top destination for lovers of the sport, whatever your level or handicap. Make a note, get your clubs ready, and come to Spain as soon as you can –this is the ideal place for playing your favourite sport.


Stadium Course. This spectacular and imposing course has been consistently ranked among the best ten golf courses in Europe since it was opened and was recently voted #88 in the world, #3 in continental Europe and #1 in Spain. As the venue for numerous PGA European Circuit tournaments, it is also routinely singled out for praise from the professional playing fraternity.


El Saler. One of the best courses in the world, with an exceptional location: the Dehesa de El Saler forest. The course respects the natural landscape keeping as many pine trees as possible and the sand dune that separates the pine forest from the sea. It was opened in 1968 and, since then, it has hosted national and international competitions in different categories, like the Open de España in 1984, 1989 and 2001 and the 2003 Seve Trophy.


Valderrama. This course is a prestige tourist resource for Andalusia and it’s claimed to be one of the best courses in Europe. It hosted the Ryder Cup in 1997, the American Express World Championship and it’s the usual venue for the Volvo Masters.

Sotogrande. It was the first course Robert Trent Jones designed in Europe and it’s perfectly integrated with the natural surroundings, enjoyable for players of any level. To recover the best possible quality for the course, works for a profound restoration will be carried out during 2014, to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Leisure Parks

Sevilla, Madrid, Tarragona

Everyone's guaranteed loads of fun at all Spain's attraction-packed leisure parks.

You'll fly through the air at supersonic speeds as you hurtle down incredibly high roller coasters. You'll feel like a film actor as you take part in spectacular shows. You'll explore exotic landscapes at the theme parks and you'll be thrilled at the fun of discovering them with the youngest members of the family.

Sevilla. Isla Mágica

Isla Mágica is a theme park located in Seville, based on the discovery of America. It features seven themed areas: Seville, Mayan World, Door of America, Amazonia, The Pirate’s Haunt, The Fountain of the Youth and El Dorado, with lots of attractions including roller coasters and various other types of rides as well as both live and cinematic shows.

Madrid. Parque Warner

Parque Warner Madrid is a theme park located 25 km southeast of Madrid and is one of the most avant-garde parks in Europe, because of many of its attractions, like the second tallest drop tower in the world. The park is divided into five themed areas: DC Super Heroes World (Batman, Superman), Cartoon Village (Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Warner Bros. Studios, Old West Territory and Hollywood Boulevard. There are many restaurants and shops, and since 2006 it’s considered Spain’s safest theme park.

Tarragona. Port Aventura

Universal Studios Port Aventura is located in the heart of Tarragona's Costa Daurada and is one of Europe's most outstanding theme parks. A fun journey featuring different themed areas –México, Far West, Mediterrania, Polynesia, China, and the SésamoAventura area for the whole family– where you'll find live shows and endless attractions, including the emblematic Dragon-Khan. The park has numerous restaurants and snack bars, and there are also excellent hotels equipped with all kinds of amenities and services.

Interesting Links

Route of the cathedrals in Castile-León

Majestic and monumental; the cathedrals of Castile-León are among the most emblematic structures in the region's cultural heritage. A tour of the eleven cathedrals to be found in this region is to discover art in a thousand different forms. This is a type of architecture which, as in the case of Burgos cathedral, amply merits the designation of World Heritage by UNESCO.

Burgos - León - Salamanca - Zamora

World Heritage Cities

Our cities’ declaration as UNESCO World Heritage Cities is an honour and an international distinction and, at the same time, a great responsibility that we have to assume in order to guarantee the protection and preservation of all these values for future generations.

Ávila - Cuenca - Segovia - Toledo

Route of the Caliphate

The splendour of al-Andalus ,this route links two of the towering works of the art and architecture of Al-Andalus: the great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra palace in Granada. These two magnificent monuments, declared World Heritage sites, are a testament to the cultural splendour of Arab Spain .

Córdoba - Granada - Málaga

Literary routes in Castile-La Mancha

We're off in search of adventure - do you want to come along? Our destination is the region of Castile-La Mancha, and literature will be our guide. Our path will take us through landscapes inhabited by knights errant, beautiful maidens, valiant soldiers and charming rogues. We'll discover the actual places which were transformed in fiction into settings for great works of literature.

Aranjuez - Almagro - Campo de Criptana - Albacete

Additional information

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