From the ferry to the Costa Blanca – my top 10 Spanish stopovers

Guggenheim with the distinctive La Salve bridge in the background
‘Las Sirgueras’: the women who hauled ships along the River Nervión in the 19th century. By sculptor Dora Salazar.
Zubizuri Bridge over the Nervión. The bridge originally had a see-through walkway, but it was so slippery in the rain that black matting was laid on top of the glass floor. It rather spoiled the see-through effect, but people at least stayed upright!
Check out the food at el Mercado de la Ribera at the edge of the Casco Viejo (old town)
Pinchos (pintxos), Mercado de la Ribera, Bilbao
Ferry passengers get a great view of the Centro Botín art gallery on Santander waterfront. To the right is the HQ of Banco Santander.
Looking across the estuary from beneath one of the Centro Botín’s twin pods.
Los Raqueros – bronze sculptures remembering the poor kids who dived for money in Santander port in the 19th and early 20th centuries
The royal summer palace of La Magdalena. Architecturally, it’s a bit of a muddle, but its location is beautiful.
The Casino on the Plaza de Italia – the height of elegance back in the day
Sunset over the glorious El Sardinero beach
El Cid Campeador in full charge!
The tomb of El Cid
The figure of El Papamoscas stares down from the vaulted ceiling – at the top of each hour, he moves his right arm to ring the bell!
El Arco de Santa Maria
Try a tapas crawl!
Another astonishing Frank Gehry creation. This one you can stay in – it’s a hotel (and a pricey one too!)
The Marques de Riscal winery among the vines
What it’s really all about….the wine!
The Calatrava-designed Ysios winery, about 25 mins up the road from Logroño. Pic credit: Art Anderson, CC BY-SA 3.0,
The River Ebro in Logroño
La Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar
The view from across the Rio Ebro
Stunning views across the city from the bell tower.
The Roman Theatre
El Niño Sentado (the sitting boy) in the Plaza San Felipe
Stand behind him to see an image of the long-demolished Torre Nueva – the leaning tower of Zaragoza – painted on the building in the corner.
Palacio Aljafería. Pic via Creative Commons
The famous casas colgadas, iconic symbol of Cuenca
La Torre de Mangana
Wonderful views over the Rio Júcar
The Cathedral facade, rebuilt in the 20th century after the Torre del Giraldillo collapsed.
The rather functional El Puente de San Pablo, with the parador (in the former Convento de San Pablo) behind
Looking up to the Cathedral and castle from the tiny Plaza Mayor
Walk up to the Torre del Andador for a panoramic view
Segovia’s amazing aqueduct!
Segovia Cathedral basking in winter sunshine
The remarkable Segovia Alcázar
Cochinillo, a Segovian speciality
Ávila city walls with the cathedral in the background
The monumental facade of the palace of El Escorial. Pic: CC BY-SA 3.0,
Toledo city from the Mirador del Valle across the River Tagus. The Alcázar is on the right, the Cathedral on the left.
Toledo Alcázar
Wonderfully ornate decoration over the altar

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