Spain, the magical land of rituals, festivities, nightlife, folklore and scenic beauty; has become one of the most happening tourist destinations of recent time. Sightseeing in Spain gives you more opportunity to have a glimpse of roman wrecks, Celtic remaining, Moorish structures, modern buildings etc. Old charm with a touch of modern groove makes this country a distinct tourist attraction. Avila, Caceres, Cordoba, Cuenca, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia and Toledo are the heritage cities of Spain which attracts travellers for years. A well-planned tour is needed to ensure that one enjoys it to the fullest.
Spain has something in store for everyone. It has the best of beaches as well as mountains. Sunbathing or water surfing both are possible here.
Popular spots for water sports can be windsurfing at Tarifa in southern Spain, Fuerteventura and Tenerife at Canary Islands, Jandia peninsula and Medina, Scuba Diving at Medes Island on the Costa Brava coasts, Costa de Almeria, Costa Tropical and the Balearic Islands, coasts of the Canary Islands, water Skiing at Balearic Islands, eastern coasts of La Manga and the costs of CostaDoroda and Costa Brava, fishing at Pyrenees and Cantabria regions and the Canary Islands etc.
If mountains attract you more, then head for skiing, trekking, snowboarding or simply explore the place. Trekking through 3300m peak Los Tres Miles, 3481 peak Mulhacen and many more, similarly walking in Alpujarras, Cumbres Verdes range just south of Granada,the Lecrin valley area, the mountains of Huetor natural park and deserts of Tabernas are among the most magical walking trails of Spain. Mountaineering or climbing at Camino Del Rey, is one of the scariest paths in the world.
What to celebrate?
Spain has its own reason to rejoice. Some are celebrated due to their ancient religious and traditional roots. But the sole purpose of every festival remains same, i.e. merrymaking. You will never feel like an outsider whenever you become a part of Spanish celebrations.
Top festivals of Spain:
The 'Tomatina' -Tomato Fight
Celebrated in Valencia town of Bunol in the month of August, it is one of the most exciting food celebrations of Spain. Nearly30, 000 people participate to throw 240, 000 pounds of tomatoes at each other!
Tamborrada de San Sebastian
It is a festival of March where a group of drummers parade through the city on the first day. The next morning is for celebrating "Tamborrada Infantil" (Child Drummer's Ceremony).
It is performed as a sign of purification of Virgin Mary popularly known as La Candelaria on 2nd and to honor “san Blas” on the 3rd of February. Young village guys disguise themselves as devils wearing bright designer pants, jackets and cowbells tied to their waists with multi-coloured paper hats. This carnival dance happens at the entrance of and inside Churches.
Feria de Abril
It takes place in temporary tarp city set up near the Rio Guadalquivir in April.
Festival de los Patios Cordobeses
One of the oldest festivals of Spain celebrated in the first half of May. At Cordoba, hundreds of house owners compete with their neighbours for the best floral display which is open to the public. Even they are also rewarded with different traditional and modern prizes. At night they rejuvenate themselves with concerts of dancing and singing.
Hogueras de San Juan
This festival is celebrated on the shortest night of the year as the symbol of victory of light over darkness.
San Fermin, running of the bulls
One of the most famous and dangerous ceremony for Spanish people, which takes place at Pamplona where thousands of daring people run with ragging bulls on the street. It became more popular after the novel of Ernest Hemingway called “The Sun Also Rises” was published in 1926. It’s a seven day fest which is celebrated from July 7th-14th.
What for the shoppers?
One will get everything here, starting from clothing to furniture. However, bargain can earn the best deal. Shop leather (piel) at Andalusia, Lace (encaje) and textiles (textile) at Catalonia, toys (juegetes) and shoes (zapatos) at Alicante, handmade jewelry (joyas artesanas) at Cordoba, pottery (alfareria) at Fajalauza, antique (antiguidades) near plaza Santa Ana at some great galleries in Madrid, rugs and carpets (alfombras) at Cáceres, Granada and Murcia, tiles (azulejos) at Triana made by gypsy people and furniture (muebles) at Valencia which is famous for its international furniture fair.
What’s there to Dine?
The Spanish people are foodies and their cuisine is mainly influenced by Roman and Mediterranean cooking.
Make sure when you visit Spain you must taste Tapas. Tapas can be anything starting from a piece of cheese to a piece of meat served in a miniature clay dish. Tapas are available all around Spain but to enjoy free tapas visit Granada.
5 famous foods of Spain
• Cochinillo (Suckling Pig)
Where to have it: in restaurants at Segovia
• Pulpo (Octopus)
Where to have it: either in a city like Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña or at any beautiful village
• Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Prawns)
Where to have it: Madrid
• Jamon (Ham) & Chorizo
Where to have it: at Salamanca, Huelva or the Alpujarras region near Granada
Where to have it: at Valencia the village of El Palmar, the inventor of paella
Some famous drinks:
• Tinto de verano
Perfect for a summer evenings which is a mixture of red wine and lemonade usually served in a tall glass over ice.
• Rioja wine
The northern region of Spain is famous for wines. The best known wines from Rioja are reds. Other than that there are also some light fresh white wines which are worth trying.
• Cava Wine
Cava wine is light wine widely used in Catalan culture and cookery. Catalonia, in the north-east of Spain is the main brewer of cava wine. Among the 200 cava producer Freixenet is the most famous one.
• Licor Cuarenta y Tres ( Licor 43)
Made from 43 different ingredients including citrus, a fruit, herbs, spices and vanilla this drink has smooth warming and slightly sweet flavor. Normally an after-dinner drink served over ice.
Some famous dine outs:
La Dorada, Madrid, Las Rejas Las Pedroñeras, Reads, Mallorca and Juanito (Baeza, Jaén).
When to go?
Though most of the parts of Spain can be visited all around the year, best time would be May-June and December -February. Try to avoid Spain during July and August as they are the hottest months.