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Once in a Lifetime Experiences for Planning a Trip to Spain

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Diverse architecture, pristine beaches, excellent skiing, spicy tapas, vibrant dancing, and some of the world’s craziest festivals – Spain has it all! When you’re planning a trip to Spain, you need to know about all the main things you need to see. Gaudi is a given, sampling seafood is a must and taking a dance class is highly recommended. Spain is brimming with once in a lifetime experiences, and it would take a lifetime to tackle them all. The possibilities are endless, so we created a list of Spain’s most amazing once in a lifetime experiences! 

Popular itinerary in Spain:

La Tomatina

Essentially a city-wide food fight, the La Tomatina festival is held in Buñol on the outskirts of Valencia. The tradition began in 1945, when a street fight collided with a fruit and vegetable stand. The following year, the participants returned to the scene of the fight, manned with their own tomatoes. And thus, a very odd festival was born. One day a year, locals and visitors gather in the city center for a massive… tomato fight!

Valencia is also home to the incredible Las Fallas de Valencia. Every March, Valencia explodes into a five day street party to commemorate St. Joseph. The festival opens on the first day at 8:00 am with La Despertà (“the wake-up call”).   A massive parade begins, and non stop partying for five days and five nights ensues. With live music, parades, pyrotechnics and fireworks, art exhibits, and more, local residents show their Valencian pride and culture during this unforgettable festival.

When you’re in Valencia for the festivals, check out its gorgeous beaches, modern architecture, and awesome nightlife and culinary experiences. Fans of modern architecture flock to Valencia for its innovative, futuristic architectural gems and excellent museums, and are truly a must when planning a trip to Spain.

Old church with blue dome in the historic center of Bunol, Spain. planning a trip to Spain
The historic center, Buñol
Spain. Valencia, Peniscola. View of the sea from a height of Pope Luna's Castle. The medieval castle of the Knights Templar on the beach. Beautiful view of the sea and the bay. Mediterranean Sea.. planning a trip to Spain
View of the sea from a height of Pope Luna’s Castle, Valencia, Peniscola

Running of the bulls

This particular festival holds a lot of controversy. Typically, a few streets are closed off, and around six toro bravo bulls are sent running through the streets of the city. People run ahead of the bulls toward the bullring, and thousands of onlookers watch and cheer. This tradition takes place all over Spain, but is particularly popular in the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. Every morning for one week in July, the bulls are sent running through the streets of Pamplona. Later in the day, the bulls are killed by matadors in bull fights. Don’t forget to wear red and white, and to party all day and night, drinking Calimocho – red wine mixed with Coca Cola – and celebrating!

While you’re in Pamplona for the festival, make sure to explore this amazing city. Pamplona is home to some gorgeous historic architecture, including its iconic cathedral and 16th century city walls. Pamplona also attracts pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.

Pamplona Navarra in Spain plaza del Castillo square downtown. planning a trip to Spain
Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona


Barcelona itself counts as a once in a lifetime experience. When you think “Barcelona,” Gaudi should spring to your mind. From the Mila House, to the Sagrada Familia, the Batllo House, and Guell Park, the genius of Antoni Gaudi is felt throughout the city. Love him or hate him, his creativity is undeniable, and seeing his masterpieces in person is truly a once in a lifetime experience and must be included when planning a trip to Spain.While you’re in the city, make sure to take a flamenco class! Sip sangria, eat tapas, and dance the night away in this magical city.

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona. planning a trip to Spain
View of the city from Park Guell, Barcelona

El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Pathway)

This once in a lifetime experience can truly turn out to be once in a lifetime! Known as “the world’s most dangerous walkway,” the King’s Little Pathway snakes along the walls of a narrow gorge in El ChorroThe walkway offers stunning scenery, breathtaking views, and a truly thrilling experience. We do not recommend it if you are afraid of heights!

If you survive the El Caminito del Rey, make your way over to the…

Caminito del Ray walking trail and via ferrata through the canyon. Spain. planning a trip to Spain
El Caminito del Rey walking trail

Festival of Near Death Experiences – Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme

Every year the village of Las Nieves holds a very strange festival. Everyone who had a near-death experience that year gets carried through the streets of the town in coffins. Celebrate life by confronting death! The festival is named for Saint Marta de Ribarteme, the patron Saint of resurrection. The festival is followed by a firework display and partying into the night. Go to see this strange sight, and chat with the participants to hear how they faced death that year.

What will you include when planning a trip to Spain?

How many of these experiences will you make sure to include when planning a trip to Spain? How many have you been to? Let us know in the comments!

Beautiful Woman with flamenco dress. planning a trip to Spain


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