Spain is a country of great variety. Food, historical sights, landscapes and beaches. It’s basically impossible to enjoy it all, but if you’re going to spend some time here, try and do some of the following to truly get under the skin of this fascinating place:
1) Eat traditional dishes
Food here varies from north to south, and each region has its own traditional dishes, and each is tastier than the last, mmm…
- If you like seafood, you should go to A Coruña and get your hands on some of the delicious octopus dishes they have in the restaurant Pablo Gallego. You’ll love it!
- Heading south-east, you’ll reach the capital where you can lick your lips after a tasty cocido madrileño.
- Perhaps the best known Spanish dish is paella, and if you want to eat the best in Spain, head to Valencia, and if you want the best in Valencia, take a seat at La Pepica and you’ll never want to leave.
- If you carry on south, you’ll get to Andalucía where you should try the salmorejo and flamenquín at La Viuda in the food capital, Córdoba.
- But don’t forget the queen of Spanish food. The Spanish omelette or tortilla de patatas. This is available across the country, but if you want to save a little, there are many recipes so you can do it yourself. Enjoy!
2) See a Flamenco Show
FLAMENCO! The first thing that comes to mind when we think of Spain. Flamenco is a genre of music and dance which originates in 18th century Andalucía. Its origin is a combination of Andalusian music and dance with a sprinkle of Romany culture. The clapping, high-heels and singing forms the basis of this wonderful art.
3) Go to the fiestas
Spain is home to world-famous fiestas. Every July, millions flock to Pamplona chanting in Spanish “1st of January, 2nd of February, 3rd of March, 4th of April, 5th of May, 6th of June, 7th of July, San Fermín…” to celebrate this spectacle which is as fun as it is dangerous.
Spain is also home to the carnavales, the internationally-renowned ones being in Cádiz and Santa Cruz in Tenerife. Thousands take to the streets each year for over a week of celebration and dance.
One of Spain’s most ancient festivals is La Tomatina which has been taking place for over 60 years in a celebration that is expanding overseas.
Las Fallas de Valencia are noisy but spectacular. The city gets covered in ash to receive spring and over a million visitors, who, amidst the music of the bands and the uproar of the fireworks, dance around the giant monuments.
4) Go to the beaches
I’ve travelled many European countries, but nothing compares to Spain’s Mediterranean beaches. Not only are there beautiful beaches, but they also are also complimented by the area’s warm and sunny climate. No wonder the Spanish coast is what attracts tourists the most.
In Lanzarote, on the Canary Islands, you will find natural swimming pools formed by volcanic magma. Trust me, this is really worth it!
On the Cantabrian coast, in northern Spain, you can find magic little coves and a wild sea. It’s a hotspot for surfers and campers, but prepare yourself because the water is freeeezing.
Of course, in the south, Andalucía has beaches for all. Almería has the most crystal-clear water, which is ideal for diving and snorkelling, and they are more or less untouched given that they aren’t easily accessible, but that of course means that there won’t be a single person in sight. Cádiz has the finest and whitest of sands which you should experience whilst enjoying a cone of chipirones (baby squid).
Málaga, Valencia or Alicante are great for enjoying the “cuerpo de rey” beach, which is where you’ll find deckchairs and beach bars so you can relax and snack to your heart’s content.
Like many countries, Spain has a long list of important places to visit and sights to see. It’s hard to decide where to begin and what to see.
Andalucía is the meeting-point of 3 distinct cultures: Romans, Arabs and Jews. Implicitly it has many important ruins such as the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Córdoba, the Royal Alcázar in Seville, the Puente Nuevo in Ronda…
Indeed, there isn’t enough room here to mention every amazing sight that houses itself in Spain, but for me, it is essential to visit El viejo cauce del Turia in the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia; El Palacio de Oriente in Madrid; The Prado Museum in Madrid; The Aqueduct at Segovia; the Camino de Santiago; the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca; the Cueva de El Soplao in Cantabria; Costa de la Muerte in Galicia; the Roman Temple in Mérida; and Gaudi’s Barcelona.