Sign up to our newsletter

Live la buena vida in Spain’s coolest hot spots

From bustling Barcelona to the pine-clad party island of Ibiza, say Hola to summer fun discovering a plethora of Spanish delights with Virgin Voyages on Valiant Lady

Ah Spain. The Mediterranean hot spot with a fiery history that stirs up such passion it has given us flamenco, fiesta, Fabada and world-class football – while making living La Buena Vida a national pastime.

Home to some of the world’s greatest artists including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Antoni Gaudi – creator of the whimsical fairy-tale masterpiece La Sagrada Familia – this sophisticated country, with its soaring Pyrenees mountains stretching all the way to France and charming coastal coves hugging the Med, offers more than just guaranteed summer sunshine.

It has culture by the bucket and spade load, a world-class cuisine, fascinating past, and cities and islands that range from vibrant, pulsating metropolises to idyllic isles promising sun drenched beaches and fun-packed nights out which will inevitably end up on the dance floor.

From the Andalusian capital of Seville, where you can experience the thrill of a live flamenco show complete with the cacophony of castanets at a local tablao, through to the heady mix of contemporary and ancient in Barça, where three million tourists stroll along Las Ramblas each year, Spain has it all.

And the best way to see as much of this maravilloso country, from the mainland to the Iberian Peninsula and beyond, is on a cruise with Virgin Voyages on the gleaming Valiant Lady, which is based in Barcelona throughout the summer until the fall.

A boutique-hotel-style ship, with 20+ restaurants, yacht-style cabins, a nightclub, a festival line-up of entertainment, a spa, a tattoo parlour and Jennifer Lopez as the cruise line’s Chief Entertainment and Lifestyle Officer, Valiant Lady is the perfect way home away from home as you explore Spain.

Before embarking, discover Barcelona, where Gaudi’s fairy tale creations can be seen up close. Marvel at his fantasy basilica, the unfinished La Sagrada Familia, which has been the city’s emblem for 139 years and the vibrant Park Güell.

The other ‘temple’ in the Catalonia capital is, of course, Camp Nou where the football fans pay homage to FC Barcelona.

Away from the stadiums, shops, and stunning architecture, why not relax under the Iberian sun on Barceloneta Beach before heading to the port to embark Valiant Lady, a sanctuary at sea for the 18+traveler.

Check out performances in The Red Room or enjoy a glass of bubbly in Sip before dining in one of the speciality restaurants which are all included in your cruise.

Steaks and seafood come with spectacular ocean views in The Wake while Pink Agave offers contemporary Mexican in a Tom Dixon designed space with the wow factor and Gunbae serves up a side order of fun with the Korean table barbecue. 

Then it’s off to The Manor, the nightclub on board inspired by Richard Branson’s history in music and his first ever Virgin music studio of the same name. 

Next stop Mallorca, the star of the Med with its ravishing beaches, turquoise waters, traditional fincas and remote mountain backdrop. Check out the former Islamic fort turned Mallorcan monarchs’ residence Palau de l’Almudaina, Palma’s vast Gothic Catedral, or wander the medieval streets to discover markets, public squares, bars, galleries and cafes.

Gibraltar, The Rock, is the next port of call. This slice of Blighty poised 500 miles south of the UK, between Europe and Africa, offers fish and chips, red post boxes and Barbary macaques alongside duty-free bargains and that quintessential British store: Marks & Spencer.

More Spanish delights are ahead with the city that gave the world Picasso up next. Boasting a Roman amphitheatre, Pompidou Centre, a Moorish fortress and an art district called Soho, Malaga is brimming with culture. Head to the Museo Picasso Malaga to discover more about the master’s life and works or Alcazaba, the palace-fortress beside the Roman theatre for a slice of history.

No visit to Spain would be complete without exploring the boho hot spot of Ibiza, the Balearic Island, where you are just as likely to come across a secluded cove or hidden church on the pine-clad island as one of the party-hard clubs where you can get On the Floor.


Published 04.08.22