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Art & Architecture At Its Best - Tailor-made Holidays In Spain

Feb 14, 2008
Spain may conjure up pictures of sunloungers, sandcastles and beer, but arguably the best thing about the country is its incredible collection of art. Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Diego Velazquez were all born here, and a luxury holiday in Spain, tailor-made to explore the best of Spanish art, is the ideal way to explore this country's impressive galleries and remarkable architecture.

If you want to sample the best of Spanish art, you can't go wrong with a luxury holiday in Spain's capital, Madrid or a short break to Bilbao to take in its magnificent Guggenheim Museum. Alternatively you could take a tailor-made holiday to Spain's artistic and architectural mecca, Barcelona, perhaps incorporating a stay in a luxury Spanish villa.

Madrid

If you're looking for the right location for an absorbing luxury holiday in Spain, Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations for visiting galleries. The Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado, has three galleries within a few minutes' walk of each other.

First of all, there is the Prado Museum, with its unsurpassed collection of paintings by Baroque artists Velázquez and Goya. The Prado is the most famous of the three. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum, where Picasso's Guernica hangs. For anyone interested in modern art, a tailor-made holiday to Spain would be incomplete without a viewing of this dark masterpiece.

Barcelona

Luxury holidays in Spain's magical city of Barcelona are hugely popular, one of the main reasons being its extensive range of fabulous art galleries. Stay in a boutique hotel near to the famous Ramblas, or spread out in a luxury Spanish villa, and embark on a tour of all the best exhibitions.

Among the best of the modern art galleries are the Fundació Joan Miró, the Picasso Museum and the Fundació Antoni, and the Museu Picasso features many of Picasso's early works. The Dali Museum is a short train journey from Barcelona and an important addition to a tailor-made holiday in Spain.

But the most visible art to be seen in Barcelona is in the design of its buildings. The highly original and fabulous work of architect Antoni Gaudi can be seen and explored throughout the city., but Gaudi's best-known building is the immense but still unfinished church, the Sagrada Familia. This elaborate building, which looks like something out of a fairy tale, is a must see for any art holiday in Spain. Tailor-made itineraries should also include Gaudi's wonderful Park Guell and Casa Mila building.

Bilbao

Bilbao was not a traditional destination for holidays in Spain, luxury or otherwise, until what is now the most recognisable feature of Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum, opened in 1997. Built in shiny titanium, this fantastic building houses an unmatched collection of 20th century art, which rotates between Bilbao, Venice and New York.

US architect Frank Gehry based the design of the Guggenheim on the shapes of a fish and a boat, two important elements in the history of this former industrial city, whose chief activities were shipbuilding and fishing. The museum has injected new life into the city and tourists from all over the world are now flocking to take luxury holidays in Spain's new area of cultural interest, Bilbao.

As well as being home to the famous Guggenheim Museum, the city's Fine Arts Museum is recognised as one of the finest art galleries in Spain. A tailor-made holiday to Bilbao should include a visit to this highly prestigious gallery, which has over six thousand paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and objects from the 12th century to the present day.
About the Author
Kieron Sellens is the marketing manager of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AiTO). For autumn 2008, AiTO are offering a selection of unique tailor-made holidays in Spain, including a trip to explore the Art & Gastronomy of the Basque Country. The independent tour operators that AITO represent specialise in worldwide holidays tailored to their customers' requirements.
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