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Menorca playa
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Getaways in Spain you can take without leaving your sofa

Take advantage of the virtues of technology to travel beyond your window and enjoy a 360-degree holiday around Spain

By Noelia Santos and Vivian Herzog
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We’re all spending a lot more time in 2020 staying at home than we might have imagined. But thanks to the internet, that doesn’t mean we have to give up travelling completely. If you’re looking for a way to make your staycations more exciting, we’ve got seven virtual holidays around Spain lined up for you. And even better, there’s no packing, no hassle and no planning required. 

7 great virtual getaways around Spain

Palacio de Cristal Retiro Madrid
Palacio de Cristal Retiro Madrid
Photograph: Shutterstock

Madrid, Madrid, Madrid

Even for residents of Madrid, walking around the streets of the Spanish capital sounds like a dream trip right about now. And if you’re living abroad and it’s on your list as well, you’re in luck.

Even though we’re all staying inside for now, it’s never been easier to go sightseeing in Madrid. You can tour iconic spaces like El Retiro park and its spectacular Palacio de Cristal, or venture into others that you may not ever have heard of, like the crypt in the Almudena cathedral, where you can admire sculptural jewels that the cathedral keeps in its underground floors. Discover, explore and marvel at more than 20 unique spaces around Madrid in 360 degrees

Mezquita de Córdoba
Mezquita de Córdoba
Photograph: Shutterstock

Córdoba: The mosque

The Alhambra is on everyone’s must-see list with good reason, but what about the mosque in Córdoba? If the mountain doesn’t come to Muhammad… through this online tool you have the opportunity to stroll through this jewel of Islamic architecture.

The interactive tour includes explanations, infographics and photographs that show different stages of the mosques history, so you can learn about the ancient Visigothic basilica and the foundational mosque of Abderramán I (from which the mosques iconic columns come). After that, you can explore the extension of Alhakén II, the Mirhab, the Almanzor extension, the Royal Chapel, the sanctum chapel and the main chapel. More than just a website, this virtual world will give you a complete art history lesson.

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Las Médulas León
Las Médulas León
Photograph: Shutterstock

León: Las Médulas

Oh, to breathe fresh air again. If you had your heart set on an outdoor adventure for your next holiday, you should explore Las Médulas in Léon through your screen.

The area’s landscape of rust-coloured spires enveloped in verdant brush gives the site an otherworldly, nearly prehistoric appearance. Welcome to the largest open-pit gold mine under the Roman Empire. You won’t be able to feel the gentle breeze kissing your skin, but you might still be able to connect to a bit of the freedom that the great outdoors gives us all.

Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló
Photograph: Shutterstock

Barcelona: Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló is an icon of Catalan architecture, but these days this work of the great Antoni Gaudí, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and jewel of early-20th-century design, is added to the list of attractions that remain closed for the time being.

If you’re one of those who only knows its façade (including the story of Saint George and the dragon), visit the Casa Batlló website and prepare to discover its rich fantastical universe through its 360-degree virtual tour. Start being amazed in the underwater environment in the lobby and gradually make your way up to the roof to explore the chimneys and the dragon’s back, scales and all.

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Cueva de Covalanas Cantabria
Cueva de Covalanas Cantabria
Photograph: Turismo de Cantabria

Cantabria: Covalanas Cave

Altamira is the cave everyone wants to see in Cantabria, but it’s not the only cave in a region rich in subterranean spots. Ten of them have been declared World Heritage sites, including Covalanas, itself a witness to the prehistoric era and known as the cave of the red deer for its magnificent cave paintings – 18 deer in total – painted around 20,000 B.C.

The actual dimensions of the cave are quite tight, but anyone who wants to get close can explore the two galleries (claustrophobia-free) through the Covalanas website. Its not the same as actually experiencing the caves dark interior, but the graphics are so clear that you can imagine what it would have been like for those prehistoric inhabitants.

Salamanca Casa de las Conchas
Salamanca Casa de las Conchas
Photograph: Shutterstock

Salamanca: Old Town

Have you ever seen the little frog on the façade of the University of Salamanca? If you’ve never had the time to visit the city before, or maybe you have but you were too busy exploring other areas of interest, now you have all the time in the world, and you’ll have to find another excuse to avoid checking out Salamanca’s tourism website and searching for the elusive amphibian. If you happen to stumble upon the astronaut too, a round of applause for you!

The virtual tour doesnt end at the university. You can take a virtual stroll along some of the most iconic spots in town: the cathedrals (both inside and out), the Casa de las Conchas, the Plaza Mayor, the Nieves convent and the San Esteban well.

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Menorca playa
Menorca playa
Photograph: Shutterstock 

Menorca: Cove hopping

OK, we know this will never be the same as feeling the sand between your toes, the waves lapping at your ankles and the sea breeze on your face, but diving into the coves of this particular Balearic island without leaving your sofa isn’t too shabby.

From the Menorca Tour website, you can virtually tour beaches – from expansive sandy shores to hidden coves. You can take a look at Tamarells, a cove that only a select crowd is privy to; Rafelet cove, an unspoiled spot on the south-east side of the island in Sant Lluís; or Brut, an exceptional little sandless beach (because, hey, not everyone likes sandy feet), with artificial platforms, located just six kilometres from Ciutadella. The best part of this virtual adventure? No matter which corners you choose to explore, youll be the only one on the island.

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