Part 2 of this article includes the final three places that are at the top of my 'to visit' list for the this year (2018). One of the most amazing things about living in Spain is that within relatively short time frames you can visit lots of different cities, all with their own history, architecture and charm. The combination of amazing food, warm people and stunning history makes Spain easy to love!
This picture alone makes me want to visit Zamora, a city close to the Portuguese border in Castile and León. Zamora has the impressive claim of having the most Romanesque churches of any city in Europe, with 24 main sites. The view in the photo above is looking at the city over the River Duero. The city was vital during the fighting between the Kingdom of Leon and several Berber attacker/settler groups in the 12th Century, and so like Caceres, it's a city with an unusual wealth of historical buildings that have survived fantastically well.
Like any good Spanish city, Leon is packed with churches, squares and history, and I can't wait to see it all. This city is the most northern on my wish list, and I have not ventured much into the North of Spain so far (mostly in the southern parts).
The city was very important for the Romans, for whom it was a central staging point for sending the gold they found in the province throughout the rest of the empire. The city also contains one of only three Gaudi buildings outside of Catalonia as well. I'm a huge fan of historical architecture, and so Leon I think will be a treasure trove, with medieval and Roman fortifications, a huge cathedral and royal tombs in the Basilica of San Isidoro.
This is the furthest from my home city of Caceres, and the only Mediterranean destination on my list for the year. Valencia has the biggest port in the Western Mediterranean and the second biggest in all of Spain, and gets a lots of visitors (almost two million annually). One of the main things that I'm looking forward to is definitely the sea - I have only been in the Mediterranean a few times and never on the Spanish coast, so I'm very ready for that.
I'm also excited to see the City of Arts and Sciences building, which is one of the most iconic sights of the city and one of the '12 Treasures of Spain' alongside the Guggenheim Museum, the Roman Theatre of Merida, the Alhambra and other stunning constructions. Although you can find paella almost anywhere in Spain, the home of this internationally loved dish is Valencia, and so a real, local paella is absolutely on my 'to do' list when I visit Valencia!
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