Bathed in the warm glow of the Iberian sun, Spain taps to the beat of an infectious vibe that travellers just can’t resist. One visit and you’re hooked; don’t say we didn’t warn you. Deeply passionate yet casually relaxed; gastronomically riveting and historically charming; colourful, modern and friendly. There are too many words to sum up Spain in one go. There are many reasons to go too – here are 11 to get you started, for but a taste of what’s to come.
Spain makes and pours some of the best wines in the world. A grape-growing centre since ancient Roman times, there’s plenty of great terroir and it makes for fabulous tasting as well as admirable beauty. La Rioja, Penedes and Ribera Del Duero are some of the most popular wine regions, but Catalonia, Malaga and Jerez also tout exceptional drops. The wines also make for a great base for the local speciality, sangria!
The Spanish people are incredibly warm, friendly and hospitable people who will instantly make you feel welcome. They are fun and vivacious yet relaxed in their approach. This good nature means they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a great sense of humour, which sets the tone for an uplifting and zesty atmosphere.
The swish of ruffled dresses. The stomping of feet. Flashy arms jarring to the twang of staccato hand-clapping and Spanish guitar. Flamenco is feverishly passionate. One of the most characteristic elements of Spanish culture and an art form cherished by Spaniards, while there’s also plenty of salsa dancing and the Paso Doble, there’s nothing quite like Flamenco.
Holidays are meant to be easy. In Spain, that comes naturally. Fabulous local infrastructure means getting from A to B is easy, cheap and frequent, and there is typically a choice of transportation forms available. Navigate the manageable trains, planes and buses or simply hire a car and have every inch of the nation at your ready, four-wheeled disposal.
Chorizo, paella, jamon... that’s just a taste of the Spanish way of eating. Delicious and varied cuisine means it’s a gastronomic affair wherever you go, with each region whipping its own flavour-packed culinary specialties out of the kitchens. Better yet, Spain’s long and winding coast means seafood plays a central role, accompanied by plenty of fresh cheese, home cured meats, rice, saffron, bread, olive oil and vegetables – especially tomatoes!
Who could resist joining in the sleepy afternoon tradition that is one of the most famous aspects of life in Spain: the siesta. While not absolutely everything shuts, you’ll definitely notice that many shops and businesses will flip the closed sign for a few hours to retreat for an afternoon nap. The siesta is taken very seriously here. Join in; you won’t have to feel guilty about missing out on anything while sneaking in a little siesta of your own. When in Spain!
The spires of magnificent cathedrals jut into the air across Spain. By far the most celebrated is Gaudi’s modern masterpiece – which is still in the works – La Sagrada Familia. Another highlight is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a place of international pilgrimage. But don’t stop there. Admire the intricacies of many varied styles, from Gothic and Spanish baroque to Neo-classical.
Joy, colour and celebration fill many days on Spain’s calendar. Festivals are an ingrained aspect of the local culture and some of the most colourful and unique festivals in the world play out here. There’s La Tomatina, The Valencia Fireworks Festival, The Moors and Christian Festival Alicante, the Bienal de Flamenco and of course, the running of the bulls as part of the San Fermin Festival. That’s just a start. Whether you simply watch in amusement or take part, it’s bound to be entertaining.
With five thousand miles of sun-drenched shores, wistful seaside-dreamin’ is never far away. Rocky coves and inlets, straight stretches of sandy bliss and everything from gentle warm waters to ripper surf means a sun-kissed beach break comes in every flavour. From surf-loving San Sebastian to cultural Valencia, great gems crops up around every cove and rocky outcropping.
The history of Spain is one of the most interesting in the world. The Carthaginians and Romans fought for it, the Arabs conquered it and then came the Catholic monarchs, who transformed it into what Spain resembles today. Still, there’s more to unravel. Discover pre-historic rock-art sites, ancient Roman ruins, medieval splendours, Moorish heritage, stellar palaces and castles, and so much more.
Spain is a land of incredible scope. Varied landscapes, towns, customs and even languages can lead you on a whimsical adventure that only Spain can deliver.
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