The Dalai Lama has been noted as saying that everyone should visit somewhere they’ve never been before at least once a year. This is sound advice, even if you don’t go in for Buddhist monasteries or volunteering for charitable endeavors on your vacation time. The logic behind his statement is that it will expand your perspectives, give you a space in which to know yourself in ways that are usually obscured by daily routines, and enhance your body of experiences. That sounds rather like what any vacation should offer, as well as time to unwind and refresh yourself. Spain has many of these alternatives for the serious traveler, many times forgotten among the huge number of offers of “sun and beach” packages.
Plan a Road Trip
Whether you choose one or more destinations for your journey, planning a road trip in and of itself can be an exciting undertaking. Making plans is good for you, and if you put your mind to it, you can find destinations that offer you exactly what you’re looking for in a vacation that are only a car ride away. The first thing you need to do is decide what sort of adventures you’re craving, or what interests you haven’t explored lately. Some great guiding themes for road trips can be: history museums; homes of famous artists, writers, or musicians of the past; natural wonders, of which there are more than you can imagine; and explorations of particular regions, such as wine country or dairy country. Plot out how you’ll go, where you’ll stop to dine or rest, and what sights you want to see. Spain is crowded with little villages (“pueblos”) with a beautiful history and landscapes.
Spain has many National Parks that offer an abundance of hiking, camping, and sightseeing opportunities. Pick one you want to visit and plan an extended camping trip. It can be as elaborate or as rugged as your experience level allows. You can even plan a vacation in one or several of the scenic townships that surround these parks and plot daily hiking adventures that allow you to return each night to hot food and indoor plumbing. The “Picos de Europa” (north Spain, in Cantabria and Asturias) or the Teide (Tenerife) are one of the many choices possible for nature lovers.
Plan a visit to a city you’ve never seen. It need not be one of the most common landmark urban areas, like Barcelona or Madrid. With a little research, you can find a city that offers to satisfy your enthusiasm on a particular subject with museums, amusement parks, or antique shops. Seville and Granada are examples of large Spanish cities that are worth a visit.
Stay in a resort
On the other hand, if you prefer the typical tourism which made Spain famous, you’ll surely find great deals of “sun and beach” that can be combined with alternative programs. A resort offers you the chance to enjoy the comfort of a good hotel on the beach, and at the same time to plan alternative routes. For example, in Tenerife there are excellent resorts where you’ll have the opportunity to visit the natural parks of the Canary Islands and the charms of its small cities within the same stay.
If you’re the type of person who puts off vacation time because you think it has to be an exotic locale or an important life event, you might take a moment to ponder a destination more ordinary. It might surprise you how much fun you’ll have, and you just might make a habit of it.