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MAP: the one attraction you have to visit in each province in Spain

What’s the one thing you have to do or see in each of Spain’s 50 provinces? 

MAP: the one attraction you have to visit in each province in Spain
Image: Musement, Paul Gilmore/Unsplash

With international travel restrictions – albeit eased – still making it hard to fly abroad in 2021, a holiday within Spain is a good alternative for many locals and foreign residents in the country this summer. 

Spain is after all an incredibly diverse country with a rich history and culture, wonderful nature, landmarks, leisure and more.

With so much on offer it can be difficult to decide what to choose between, but what attractions are must-dos and must-sees that you can’t miss out on?

An amazing new infographic by tourism and events website Musement has shed some light on this. 

To carry out the study, Musement took into consideration 4,500 points of interest throughout Spain, counting the number of Google reviews to ascertain which attractions were the most liked by travellers in each of Spain’s 50 provinces and two autonomous cities.  

Attractions that form part of different provinces were also included.

For travellers who prefer to escape the crowds and get away from it all, national parks in the northern Spain such as the Sil Canyon (Ourense), Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park (Huesca), or Montaña Palentina Natural Park (Palencia) are ideal options. 

cañon sil

Cañon Sil in Ourense province. Photo: Teo Romera/Flickr

Among Spain’s most popular tourist attractions is the Sagrada Familia (Barcelona), which accumulates more than 155,000 reviews on Google. But this is not the only religious landmark to earn its place on the map.

Here is a version of Musement’s map with all the attractions written in their original Spanish names. 

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral (La Coruña), the Burgos Cathedral (Burgos), the Sanctuary of Covadonga (Asturias) and the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar (Zaragoza) also draw many visitors. 

The plazas and public parks, a meeting point for both locals and tourists alike, are in many provinces the most emblematic and preferred spots in the whole province, such as Plaza de Espana (Seville), the Plaza Mayor (Salamanca), the Plaza del Torico (Teruel), El Retiro Park (Madrid) or the Alameda de Cervantes (Soria).

Plaza Mayor in Salamanca. Photo: Gabriel Fdez/Flickr

There is no lack of architectural gems in Spain either, such as the Hanging Houses (Cuenca) or the Hórreos de Combarro (Pontevedra), nor ancient ruins, such as the Roman theatres of Merida (Badajoz) or Cartagena (Murcia). 

For the thrill-seekers, there’s reaching 110km/h speeds on the famous Dragon Khan rollercoaster of PortAventura (Tarragona).

Photo: Jordi Payà Canals/Flickr

Artsy travellers can marvel at the great works of surrealism in the Dalí Theatre and Museum (Girona).

Photo: Julia Casado/Pixabay 

History buffs can discover the old home of the Catholic Monarchs in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Córdoba) or travel to the past and visit the Roman Walls of Lugo (Lugo).

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Photo: Herbert Frank/Flickr

How many of these memorable attractions have you visited? An which one is your favourite?

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TRAVEL

IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images

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