22 (More) Reasons You Should Be in Spain Right Now

Earlier this week Buzzfeed came out with an article entitled “25 Reasons You Should Be In Spain Right Now,” which is full of the kind of basic info I found when I was preparing for my move to Madrid. Yes, the things on the Buzzfeed list exist. However, they only scratch the surface of the country. How can you give a nod to El Bulli and Almodovar without also throwing in some tidbits about Spain’s people or history? Sure, bullfighting exists, but I would be hard-pressed to think of any friends or colleagues (Spanish or not) who have set foot in a bull ring in the past decade.

Most importantly, there is more to see than Madrid and Barcelona! As someone who has four years of Spanish livin’ under her belt, I decided to pose the question, “What would you tell friends and family to convince them to come to Spain?” The following are my reasons why you should load up the piggy bank for a Spanish vacation:

1) The Amazing Diversity

There is a huge variety between the regions, which makes exploring each area even more of an adventure. From the volcanic terrain in Olot to island beaches to the Castilian plain, there is a huge variety. Not only does the landscape change, but also the traditions, food, and language.

Lush Deià, on the island on Mallorca

The gorgeous Picos de Europa mountain range

Flat plains in Castilla-La Mancha

 

Peaceful sights in Comillas, Cantabria

2) The People

In general, the people are very open and friendly. If I had to choose one word to describe them, it would have to be “social.”

3) Castles

Almodóvar Castle in Andalucia

 Don’t tell me you don’t love a good castle. From the fairy tale spires of Segovia’s Alcázar to Sevilla’s sprawling Reales Alcázares, Spain is home to many picturesque castles. Ah, and did you know that the [Spanish] province of Jaén has the greatest concentration of fortresses and castles of any region in Europe!”? How’s that for royal?

4) The Language 

Seseo. Colorful expressions. Regional dialects. Heck, different languages! And if you’ve ever studied Spanish in school and were told that you’d never have to learn vosotros, you’re in for a rollickin’ ride.

5) The History

You can’t help but stand agape at the footprints left by Arabs, Romans, and other people who have called the Iberian Peninsula home over the years. And speaking of history, did you know that Spain is home to 44 different UNESCO World Heritage sites?

 Mérida’s amazing Roman amphitheater

Córdoba’s Mezquita, which has been both a mosque and a cathedral

6) The Weather

If you’re visiting Spain in the spring, summer, or early fall, the weather is awesome! As Lonely Planet states, “In general you can usually rely on pleasant or hot temperatures just about everywhere from April to early November.” Sign me up!

7) The Museums

There’s the Reina Sofia and and Prado art museums in Madrid, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the National Museum and Research Center of Altamira in Cantabria, and so much more!

Iconic Puppy at the Guggenheim in Bilbao

Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences

8) The Architecture

From Moorish architecture to modernist structures, Spain’s architecture doesn’t lack variety–or personality.

Gaudí’s whimsical Parc Güell in Barcelona

Granada’s Alhambra

Valencia’s Silk Exchange–click here to take a tour of Valencia’s architecture

9) The Markets

From the Valencia’s Mercat Central to Barcelona’s famous Boquería to odds and ends at Madrid’s Rastro, there are always tons of markets to explore. Small towns are no exception, either.

A picturesque plant vendor in front of the Valencian market

Madrid’s Sunday-morning market, the Rastro

10) Café Culture

There seem to be cafés on every corner, and it makes sense when you realize how much of daily life goes on there. Business meetings can be conducted over a drink, colleagues pause for a mid-day coffee break, and friends meet up at all hours of the day in the ever-present café. It’s a time to hit the pause button for a momment, and your mental health (and social life) will thank you for it.

Coffee at Madrid’s Gaudeamus café

11) Spanish Food

From market-fresh fruits and veggies to salmorejo (chilled tomato soup) to Galician octopus with paprika, there is something for everyone. Oh, and don’t forget olive oil, olives, cured meats and cheeses, fresh fish, croquetas…

Oranges ripe for the picking

Salmorejo, a tomato-based soup

Galician octopus

12) Pintxos

When in the Basque Country, do as the Basques do. That means plenty of pintxos and the fun of El Txikiteo.

13) Tapas-hopping

Going out for tapas in cities like León, Granada, Sevilla, or Alcalá de Henares is an adventure in itself!

14) The Spanish Love Affair With Ham

It’s almost humorous how much the Spanish adore ham. Once you try the different varieties, you may even be tempted to smuggle the stuff back home.

15) The Long Day (and Even Longer Night)

The Spanish are famous for their socialness, and for good reason. There is always something to do–morning, noon, and night.

Sevilla at Night

16) Plenty of Outdoor Activities

Like the beach? Skiing? Hiking? There is plenty of outdoor fun to be had.

Hiking to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Spectacular views on Mallorca

San Sebastián’s classy Playa de La Concha 

 

Hiking La Pedriza, outside of Madrid

17) …And Plenty of City Adventures, Too

Hanging out in Palma’s Plaça Major

Searching for street art in Madrid’s Conde Duque neighborhood

Museums, shopping, strolling thorugh the park, and enjoying cañas at a terrace bar: city life is also a treasure trove of options.

18) Vino, Vino, Vino 

On this account, the Buzzfeed article got it right–Spanish wine is awesome! However, it’s not just Ribera del Duero that should be mentioned, but also Albariño, Rioja, Rueda, Toro, Somantano (to name a few). It deserves to go on the list again–there’s so much wine to love!

Deciding which wine is our favorite at a Madrid Food Tour wine tasting

19) Dos Besos

It’s the best way to greet people–not to mention it has a hand in keeping you healthy!

20) The paseo tradition

The nightly stroll is a great excuse to go outside, stretch your legs, meet with friends, and people-watch. It’s not just an activity, it’s a tradition.

A little rain doesn’t stop locals from strolling around Zaragoza

21) Ease of Travel

Bus, train, subway, plane…it’s easy to travel around Spain!

22) Festivals

No matter what month it is, there is guaranteed to be a festival flooding the Spanish streets.

 

Bilbao’s Aste Nagusia Festival

Typical dress for Madrid’s San Antonio de la Florida celebration

A small-town fair in Uclés (Castilla-La Mancha)

Feria in Córdoba

 So, my dear friends–have I convinced you yet? The biggest question now should be deciding where to go first!

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25 Comments

  1. Oh, this is awesome! Gave me goosebumps. I can’t wait to go to Madrid 🙂

  2. Yes!! I was not impressed with the Buzzfeed list, but yours is spot on!

  3. All wonderful reasons! I’m especially pleased to see hiking on your list. Everyone always thinks about beaches when they think about Spain, but after Switzerland Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe. (Oh, and thanks for the backlinking to my entry on VLC architecture!)

    • Cassandra

      Thanks Zach–It’s true, there’s lots of great hiking to be had. If I had a car I’d do more of it!

  4. Chica, this is on point and made me miss Spain so much! Yesterday it finally got into the 50’s here (yay Minnesota!) and I was dying to walk to a little cafe and take a coffee outside, but it just wasn’t happening. Have one for me!

  5. Christine

    You nailed it! Much better list than Buzzfeed.

  6. What a great list (way better than Buzzfeed)! And thank you for the mentions. I could probably think of 22 more reasons too, which is why Spain is so awesome. Here’s to many more years discovering its beauty!

  7. Hey this is a really great, authentic list about Why Spain Is Awesome—and you have the personal blog posts to prove it! (Thanks for the link love about Jaén’s castles and Spain’s many languages ^_^ )

  8. That picture with the dinosaurs of Valencia’s Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias made me laugh! I never got around to visiting myself sadly, but I saw pictures of the dinosaur exhibit which looked really hilarious.

    Also have you ever visited the palace at La Granja de San Ildenfonso? It’s not easy to get to, you have to switch buses in Segovia and buses don’t run very frequently which is why I think my friends and I were the only English speaking tourists there. But that’s another great palace to go visit! And go in the spring/summer, the gardens are AMAZING. We spent all afternoon just wandering around, they are very extensive and reach back all the way into the mountains.

    • Cassandra

      I’m not familiar with La Granja de San Ildenfonso, I’ll have to look into it! That’s just one more reason I love Spain–there’s so much to see and everyone has their special corners 😉

  9. Fantastic list – most of what I love about Spain has come from what’s not obvious. When I have friends visit, I prefer to take them to a jazz club than a flamenco club, to skip the palaces to walk around the gritty parts of Triana. Can’t argue with the food, wine and beaches, but Spain is far more layered. Thanks for the link, too!

  10. Also, I love that even UCLÉS is on the list!

    • Cassandra

      But of course! I wouldn’t leave out Spain’s best–and most haunted–monastery 😀

  11. Great list! These are all things that I love about Spain and am looking forward to rediscovering when I move back to Spain in September!

    • Cassandra

      Thanks Mike, I’m glad that you will get to enjoy all of these again very soon!

  12. Yes! Thank you for doing this because that buzzfeed list was killing me. This has inspired me to drink more wine. Thank you!

    • Cassandra

      Haha, this list has served its purpose if it has inspired readers to drink more Spanish wine. Thank you for your comment, Chelsea!

  13. great list! i’m ready to go now 😉 Spanish wine will always work on me..

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