Bull-fight, Flamenco, Football, Paella, Tapas and much more things that as soon you hear them, you think, “Spain”. Let’s go.
Passionate, sophisticated and devoted to living the good life, Spain is both a stereotype come to life and a country more diverse than you ever imagined.
Spain is a diverse country sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the country with the third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, after Italy and China.
Spain is the sunniest country in Europe and the climate has been described by the World Health Organisation as among the healthiest in the world.
Spain’s Mediterranean coastline, from the Costa Blanca to the Costa del Sol, enjoys an average of over 300 days sunshine each year. When northern Europe is being deluged or is frozen, you can almost guarantee that the south of Spain will be bathed in sunshine.
However, there’s a price to pay for all those warm days. Extremes are common with southern parts of Spain suffering drought and reservoir levels at an all-time low when at the same time, there may be widespread flooding affecting large areas in northern Spain.
When to go:
Spring and fall offer the best combination of good weather, light crowds, long days, and plenty of tourist and cultural activities. Spring is especially fun if you’re hoping to hit some of Spain’s biggest festivals.
July and August are the most humid, crowded, and expensive in the coastal areas, and less crowded but uncomfortably hot and dusty in the interior. If you want to witness the Running of the Bulls, you’ll need to be there in early July.
Famous and emblematic elements
Running of the bulls: is an event that involves running in front of a small group of cattle, typically six but sometimes ten or more, that have been let loose on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town’s streets.
Flamenco is a Spanish art form made up of three parts: guitarplaying, song , and dance. Flamenco originated in the southern regions of Spain, but it’s thought to be influenced by many world cultures, including Latin American, Cuban, and Jewish traditions.
Football is Spain’s national sport and easily the country’s most important participant and spectator sport. Spanish football fans are among the most dedicated and fervent in Europe and are matched in their fanaticism only by the Italians.
Tapas. Going for tapas is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Spain. But there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what exactly tapas means. It’s generally understood that a tapa is small, but after that, confusion abounds.
Where to go
Splendid beaches, delicious cuisine, vibrant nightlife and lively fiestas all make Spain one of Europe’s best getaways. Because Spain encompasses several autonomous regions and islands, the country boasts one of the most widely diverse cultures and landscapes on the continent. The most famous places are.
The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) of Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain although it is only used for state ceremonies.
Protected from strong winds by steep cliffs and islands, La Concha in San Sebastian is said by many to be one of the best city beaches in Europe, let alone Spain. Here you can go surfing, walk along the promenade in search of good restaurants and enjoy the beautiful views of the beach. Ibiza. Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Spain. The island is one of the most popular party destinations in all of Europe.
Mezquita of Cordoba
The Mezquita (Spanish for “Mosque”) of Cordoba is a fascinating building famous for the forest of pillars and arches inside the main hall. The site was originally a Roman temple, then a Visigothic church, before the Umayyad Moors built the Mezquita.
Situated between Madrid and Valencia, Cuenca is a marvelous example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain. The many “hanging houses” are built right up to the cliff edge, making Cuenca one of the most striking towns in Spain, a gem in the province of Castilla La Mancha. And there’s more left to see in Spain.
Located in northeastern Spain, Barcelona is one of the country’s top travel destinations because it offers everything tourists look for in a European city from historic architecture to lively shopping, vibrant culture and buzzing nightlife.
Most famous places here:
The casa batllo: is a renowned building located in the center of Barcelona and is one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces. The entire facade is tiled with a mosaic composed of pieces of glass and ceramic discs, giving an undulating surface.
Sagrada Familia Church: The Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, and one of Spain’s most visited tourist attractions. It’s a design by Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan architect who worked on this project for almost 40 years until his death in 1926. The construction of the basilica began in 1882 and still as yet not finished
Casa Milà. Also known as La Pedrera, as the front of the building looks a bit like the face of a quarry, Casa Milà was completed in 1912 and is another emblematic Gaudí building.
City Beaches. Barcelona’s beachfront boardwalk stretches for miles. It will take a good hour to get from Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar on foot, but it’s a walk that really helps you understand the city. Camp Nou. In the western Les Corts neighbourhood is the 99,000-seater stadium that has been the home ground of FC Barcelona since 1957. It’s one of Europe’s football cathedrals and even if you have no affinity for the team you have to visit Camp Nou to appreciate the dizzying scale of the arena.
Granada is the capital of the Granada province. Granada offers a perfect blend of traditional cultures, an animated nightlife and spectacular attractions including the world famous Alhambra, a pinnacle of Moorish art that encapsulates Andalusian history.
Places to visit in Granada:
Alhambra. This magnificent sight is hard to sum up with a few words: The Alhambra is a palace, castle, summer retreat and enclosed town all in one enchanting place.
Generalife. The sumptuous grounds of the Alhambra are so huge that you might even need another day to see them.
Albayzín. Head north up the hill from Plaza Nueva to get to Granada’s Arab quarter that is also part of Granada’s UNESCO site. After the reconquest this is where the Moorish population that wanted to remain in Granada settled and it’s impossible to ignore the influence on the architecture of this captivating part of the city.
Transport. Most of the major cities have excellent local transport. Madrid and Barcelona have extensive bus and metro systems, and other major cities also benefit from generally efficient public transport. You can find taxi ranks at train and bus stations, or you can telephone for radio taxis. In larger cities, taxi ranks are also scattered about the centre, and taxis will stop if you hail them in the street
Traditional Spanish specialties are mouthwatering. Whether it is time for breakfast or dinner, you are in for a tempting and filling delight. Tapas – Spanish appetizers – are a special attraction for tourists. In addition, there are a number of other unique dishes which make up the tasteful traditional Spanish cuisine.
Curious things about spanish food:
The Spanish main dishes contain: potatoes, rice, fish, meat, beans, chickpeas and fruit. Tapas is not a type of food but a way of eating it. Tapa means cover and was traditionally a slice of cheese or ham placed over a drink.
The original paella was not considered a seafood dish but had chicken, rabbit and pork (and sometimes snails). There is some debate over the origin of the word. Tortillas in Spain are omelettes! Spanish omelette is commonly known as Spanish tortilla
The essential thing to know, which, despite seeming obvious, it is better to point out, is that Spain’s currency is Euro. 1 US Dollar equals 0.86 Euros.
Save some money on your trip with these tips:
Don’t Eat on the Plaza. In order for restaurants to get those prime spots on plazas, they have to pay a hefty fee, and they pass that cost on to the customer. Go out for lunch–eat in for dinner. On weekdays in Spain, just about every restaurant you’ll find offers what they call a Menu del Día during the lunch hour. These are at minimum three course, prix fixe menus with a drink included for shockingly low costs.
The bus may be the most inexpensive way to travel, followed by the train. If you take the train, you may be able to get the discounts if you buy your tickets on the internet.
Some general tips
Don’t drive unless you have to. City driving can be stressful and parking can be problematic at certain times of the day and if staying in the Old Quarter of certain cities such as Seville. Don’t expect to be served the same type of tapas here that you order abroad. Tapas vary hugely from bar to bar and from region to region Remember, tipping is discretionary here. Do what you feel comfortable with – and if in doubt, just round up the loose change. Ask for help and advice when you need it. At your hotel. At a restaurant. At the tourist office. On the street. You’ll be surprised how helpful people will be.
Dont’s of Spain:
Don’t expect to get many options for vegetarian food in Spain. Spaniards love their share of pork and seafood.
Never forget to try some Spanish phrases. Spaniards really appreciate it when tourists try out some Spanish, and they are usually very kind and patient with learners. It’s also worth learning some key phrases.
Don’t complain about smoking – the Spaniards love to smoke! If you are watching the street entertainer for more than 5 minutes, don’t forget to pay some money to them.
Unusual things there
Prostitutes Need Safety Vests. While prostitution is widely legal in Spain, they have to wear the right equipment for the job in Catalonia. There was a law passed that prohibits any pedestrians next to highways that aren’t wearing clothing that’s extremely visible to traffic.
Can’t Ask For Time. Madrid probably has one of the weirdest laws in existence. Between the times of 3:29 PM and 6:47 PM, people cannot ask one another what time it is. The irony of somebody asking what time it is to avoid not breaking a rule of asking what time it is couldn’t be any more hilarious.
No Groceries In Convertibles. Don’t just loosely throw groceries in the backseat of any convertible. Doing so is against the law, perhaps just in case any of your meats and vegetables try to jump out and make a run for it.
Can’t Drive Wearing Sandals. Flip-flops and any other shoe that isn’t deemed “complete” are not accepted when driving any vehicle throughout the country.
Spain is a diverse and fascinating country filled with open and relaxed people. It’s hard not to love it once you get into the rhythm. Keep in mind these tips and knowledge! See you later.