Gaudi’s Park Güell is one of the top sights in Barcelona, which means loads of tourists. It was built by industry mogul Güell, who hired Gaudi to design it. Original there should have been 60 houses, but the project was never completed. Today, there are only a few houses, 86 columns, some cave corridors, and of course the famous bench made of mosaic. Entrance tickets need to be bought (do it online to skip the queue) to get access to the rather small section of Gaudi's wicked constructions, but the rest of the park can be visited free of charge. Gaudi's work in Barcelona is enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most people come to Granada to see the magnificent Alhambra palace, but Granada is a bit of gem itself - especially the historic quarter Albayzín at the foot of Alhambra. Albayzín is enlisted alongside with Alhambra as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is easy to understand when getting lost in the narrow ascending streets. Here are Arabic (tourist) shops, small cafes, and beautiful traditional houses with courtyards. For lunch, aim at a restaurant at the top with views over the neighbourhood and Alhambra with snow covered Sierra Nevada as backdrop.
The highest point in Spain is actually not on the mainland, but on the island of Tenerife. Here the volcano Teide rises 3,718 m into the sky and is visible from all over the island - if the weather permits. Though Mt Teide last erupted in 1909, it's still active and minor earthquakes do happen. There are several roads leading up the volcano and it's possible to drive all the way up to 2,356 m, where a cable car can bring you further up to the upper station at 3,555 m (tickets can be prebooked online). The last 163 m you need to hike on foot (remember to book a hiking permit online). A large part of the volcano is a natural park and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offer some great hiking opportunities through the volcanic moonscape. Even if you don't want to hike, a road trip across the volcano will still give you amazing sights of the snow covered peak of Teide, along with other odd rock formations, in addition to panoramic views over the rest of Tenerife and the neighbouring Canary Islands.
Gaudi's half-finished gigant fairytale church is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Barcelona. From the outside the tall spires rise high above the scaffolding, which still cover some of the church. The interior on the other hand is almost finished, so it's well worth to buy the entrance ticket (do it online) to glance at the giant tainted glass and columns that are too tall to measure by eyesight. Even though Gaudi spend the last 43 years of his life on the church, it was only the facade and one spire that were finished when he died in 1926. It's expected that the church will be complete in 2028. Along with Gaudi's other work in Barcelona, it's enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Though Seville is a metropolis, it manages to have a distinct Andalusian feel. Its history is rich and the abundance of grand architecture is a testimony to that. Royal Alcázar (only second to Alhambra palace), Cathedral of Seville (third-largest church in the world), Archivo General de Indias (those three are joint enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Plaza de España, Parque de Maria Luisa, and Metropol Parasol (picture) are just some of the many must-see sights in Seville. However, wandering the winding cobbled streets in Santa Cruz, the former Jewish quarter, is what seems to enchant visitors the most - so expect lots of tour groups. But Santa Cruz - and Seville for that matter - is big enough for both locals and tourists, so it's easy to escape any crowds.
Karlskrona town is spread across 33 connected islands. The Naval Port is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the impressive 17th- and 18th-century naval architecture. Even to this day many of the fortresses and buildings are under the control of Sweden's only remaining naval base. Unfortunately, this means visiting some of the places (like Kungsholm Fortress and Drottningskär Citadel) is only possible on guided tours. Karlskrona's charm is best discovered from bicycling along the waterfront or kayaking among the whopping 1,650 islands, which make out Karlskrona Archipelago.
Sweden's second largest island is so beautiful that the Swedish royal family has their summer palace here. It's a landscape dominated by open plains, which are home to many rare flowers and birds - and many old wooden windmills (more than 350). Öland's rich history has also left many ancient monuments like Iron Age grave fields, viking fortress, rune stones and castles. And then there are the long white sandy beaches, which are a rarity elsewhere in Sweden. During the summer months Öland attracts crowds of Swedish sunseekers, but the rest of the year Öland is oldly deserted. The agricultural landscape on the southern part of the 140 km long island is enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can drive to Öland over the elegant bridge from Kalmar.
A landscape so imaginary and weird that it's hard to believe it's made by nature. The soft underlaying volcanic rock has been shaped by time, wind and water and left in the most fantastic formations with harder boulders balancing on top of tall rock chimneys. To add further magic to the place the mountain sides and underground have been dug out for housing, monasteries and even whole underground cities for thousands of years. It was in these multi levelled underground complexes where the Christians hide from the Romans to escape their prosecution. Some of the cities are more than 80 meters deep with eight floors and could accommodate more than 20.000 people. It's a truly unique place and you can even sleep in some of the many cave hotels in the area.
Nemrut is a mountain in eastern Turkey. So far nothing special, but in the first century B.C. king Antiochus build something mind blowing on the dusty summit. Huge statues of up to 9 meters tall of himself and a number of Greek, Armenian and Persian gods, and to top it of, an artificial peak of stone rubbles which is believed to be his tomb (but nobody knows). Today the statues are broken into pieces that are scattered on the mountain top, but the giant heads are still gazing proudly over the plateau below.
Underneath several gold-domed churches are two monastery caves, upper Lavra and lower Lavra. Each is an underground pathway with several niches where coffins and mummified monks are on display for public curiosity and worship. It is a strange religious tourist attraction where candle sellers also boast kitsch souvenirs like plastic icons. The passageways are pitch dark so you need to buy a candle to light your way, which can seem a bit dangerous when the tunnels get jam-packed with pilgrims. Though some visitors just come for the novelty factor, most consider it holy and a place for miracles. They cross themselves, kneel down for a short prayer and some might even kiss the glass cases containing a dressed corpse of a deceased monk. Photographing in the caves is not allowed, as you would have guessed from the above ground picture.