Spain: A Tapestry of Passion, History, and Sun-Kissed Splendor

Spain, a land of boundless energy and boundless beauty, invites you to immerse yourself in its diverse landscapes and dynamic cities. From the majestic peaks of the Pyrenees to the sun-drenched beaches of Costa del Sol, Spain unfolds like a living canvas painted with the colors of a rich and multifaceted culture.

Savor the culinary delights of Spain, from the paella of Valencia to the pintxos of San Sebastián, the rich tapestry of flavors reflects the diversity of Spain’s regions. Indulge in the world-renowned wines of Rioja and the tantalizing aromas of Jamón ibérico, all while soaking in the lively atmosphere of local markets and tapas bars.

Where, What and How?

Accommodation – Spain has a plethora of hotels ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious. If you’re exploring the countryside or smaller towns, consider staying in a “casa rural,” which translates to rural house. For a unique and upscale experience, consider staying in a Parador. These are historic buildings such as castles, monasteries, and palaces that have been converted into luxury hotels.

Food – One of the most iconic Spanish food experiences is indulging in tapas. Some classic tapas include: Patatas Bravas, Croquetas, Gambas al Ajillo, or Pimientos de Padrón.

Transportation – Spain’s cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao or Valencia have good metro systems. Spain’s high-speed rail network, known as AVE, connects major cities. Also, Spain has well-maintained roads, and driving allows you to discover off-the-beaten-path destinations.

My favorites

Basque Country: This is my land, where I was born and raised, and of course my favorite. Situated on both sides of the Pyrenees (France and Spain), Basque Country has an unique and distinctive identity. Not only due to their language, the bask (Euskera, in bask) which is the only non-roman language in the Iberian peninsula, but also the whole culture. Astonishing landscapes and the best gastronomy of Europe (it is indeed the region with most Michelin stars per capita in the world) are waiting for you.

Andalusia: Warm temperatures, amazing history and affordable prices makes this Autonomous Region my second favorite. The cultural heritage that seven centuries of Muslim occupation left in Andalusia, makes it already worth it. Being by far the three most notorious attractions: The Alhambra, the Mosque of Cordoba and the Giralda. 

Galicia: Another culinary Mecca for anyone who considers him/herself a foodie. Galicia shares several features with Basque Country, such as incredible gastronomic products and beautiful green landscapes. If you like seafood, this part of Spain is a must. But if you think that traveling to any part of Spain guarantees you sunny weather, be aware that the green landscapes come with a price, here it rains quite often, even in the summer!

Catalonia: This land is well known for Barcelona city and Costa Brava, but it can offer much more than that. The province of Girona, has some of the most beautiful towns and villages of Catalonia. Also, the area of Costa Daurada (Golden Coast) can offer less crowded beaches than the northern part of Catalonian coast. 

Extremadura: This is a quite unknown region of Spain that has a well deserved place on my list. Besides having an area bigger than Belgium, most tourists who often travel to Spain have never heard about it. The landscapes of Caceres (the northern province) have nothing to envy of those of Tuscany. When I traveled for the first time through this province and I saw the Iberic pigs running in the dehesa, I was shocked. The forests of Cork Oaks, the saffron fields and towns like Plasencia or Trujillo make Caceres one of my favorite provinces of Spain. Also, if you like history, I really recommend you to visit the Roman ruins of Merida, in the southern province of Badajoz.

Canary Islands: These islands are perhaps the only place within the European Union that you have good weather the whole year. One of the incredible features of this group of volcanic islands is that each of them has a unique landscape, or in the case of the big ones like Tenerife and Gran Canarias, you have two well defined landscapes within the same island. If you are looking for arid and volcanic features, I recommend you to visit Lanzarote. If you prefer something more wild and green, you should go to the little known El Hierro. Remember also that the carnivals of Tenerife are one of the most famous in the world (apart from Rio and Venice, of course).

Asturias: Good food, incredible beaches and a lot of charming villages, makes this coastal province one of my favorites without doubt. The famous mountain range of Picos de Europa, gives this area the characteristic feature of having a huge mountain as background while you enjoy the sea. Also, if you like cheese, this is your place because it has more than three hundred varieties of cheese, the most famous being Cabrales (blue cheese). 

Balearic Islands: These well-known Mediterranean islands are sometimes underestimated by the tourists who want to discover something new during their holidays, and not just laying on the beach and drinking alcohol. This is because of the fact that the main three islands have been already classified as: Ibiza, the party island; Mallorca, full of Germans and Menorca, full of British. And it could be true till some point but these islands can offer you much more. You will find that Ibiza has a mountainous interior region with small towns. Mallorca has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. And Menorca, could have the best party atmosphere. On top of that, the island of Formentera (easy to reach from Ibiza by ferry) is the hidden gem of the group, having the most relaxing beaches that I have ever been to.

Money Saving Tips

Eat the Menu del Dia Many restaurants in Spain offer a 'Menu del Dia' (menu of the day) during lunchtime. This set menu often includes a starter, main course, dessert, bread, and a drink at a fixed price, which is usually more affordable than ordering a la carte.
Avoid Tourist Traps Be cautious of touristy areas where prices tend to be higher. Venture off the beaten path to discover authentic local spots that offer better value for money.
Tapas and Pintxos When dining out, consider having tapas or pinchos instead of a full meal. These small, flavorful dishes are often cheaper and allow you to sample a variety of local flavors without breaking the bank.
Use Public Transportation Spain has an excellent public transportation system with buses, metros, and trains connecting cities and towns. Using public transport is generally cheaper than renting a car or taking taxis, especially for longer distances.