If you’re seeking excitement and flair in a holiday balanced with impressive culture, then Spain is one of the world’s hot spots. It’s dynamic and exciting, full of history, art and passion. Here are some reasons why a holiday in Spain should make it onto your bucket list:
Art, history and architecture
Travel provides a feast for the senses, and where better to find a visual smorgasbord than in Spain, the home of artistic giants such as Picasso, Dali, Goya, Miro and Gaudi, who each interpreted the world in their own unique way. See their work in Spain’s awesome art galleries, such as Madrid’s Prado and Reina Sofia, Bilbao’s Guggenheim, Barcelona’s Picasso Museum and Girona’s Salvadore Dali Theatre & Museum. Gaudi’s work can be seen just walking down Barcelona’s streets.
Many Spanish towns showcase the legacy of their conquerors, the Phoenicians, Romans, Goths and Moors, whose culture, architecture and cuisine have all influenced Spain and its people. From Roman fortresses, aqueducts, amphitheatres and roads to Moorish architecture and baths, turn many street corners and you will be engaged with history.
Spain showcases some of the world’s most impressive architecture, ranking third in the world for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with 45 in total. From Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to Alhambra in Granada, the architecture of Spain is awe-inspiring.
Few places throw a party quite like Spain, and they have lots of them. There’s no better escape from routine than to join in the festivities of one of Spain’s many festivals. Each Spanish town holds at least two of their own fiestas each year when locals get together, dress up, eat, drink and celebrate. Spain also holds some of the most famous festivals, some quite wild and wacky. From the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona to La Tomatina tomato throwing festival in Buñol, La Rioja’s annual wine drenching festival, Tarragona’s 10-storey human tower building competition during the Santa Tecla festival to Murcia’s Burial of the Sardine, check your calendar before you travel to take in a festival on your trip.
Natural beauty and climate
While Spain is renowned for its sun-drenched beaches, it’s a country of diverse landscapes, from the Pyrenees Mountains in the north, to Europe’s only desert. Each region is distinct in its beauty, yielding its own rewards. Due to its southern position in Europe, Spain also boasts 300 days of sunshine every year, making travel a pleasure.
Indulge in food and wine
Besides owning the world’s best restaurant for many years running (elBulli), Spain boasts a wide variety of gastronomic delights. Like many European countries, the regions of Spain produce some of the finest ingredients we find in our kitchens – Iberico ham, chorizo, Manchego cheese, olives and cava sparkling wine and sherry – so why not explore the regions where these products are produced?
At least once in your lifetime you need to experience real paella and tapas. Where else but Spain can you order a drink in a bar and receive free food? Spain is renowned for its abundant seafood dishes, cured meat, gazpacho, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Local food markets provide abundant artisan produce, a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Restaurants spread out along pavements and great cafés and bars line street corners, providing a gathering point for locals who celebrate meals and festivities with wine, beer or vermouth.
They say that there are two religions in Spain: Roman Catholicism and football. Spain is home to two of the world’s best soccer teams: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. A visit to Barcelona’s Camp Nou will convince you that the Spanish don’t just play football, they live it!
Walking down the street, visiting shops and cafés and interacting with locals, you’ll be convinced that the Spanish are some of the friendliest, most passionate people in the world. Whether it be in animated conversation about Catalan independence, walking arm in arm, dancing flamenco, talking about the greatness of their artists or cheering on their favourite team, Spaniards do it with passion. The Spanish are also happy to share this passion with their visitors, making them some of the world’s best hosts.
NOTE: This article has also been published in The Cove Magazine.