It’s probably no secret to anyone who knows me that I love Spain. It is currently the place I call home and has given me so many amazing opportunities to travel and learn. I believe this country has an abundance of things to offer to any adventurer.
Spain’s culture and history are so different from the United States, making it a wonderful place to see and gain a new perspective of the world. I’ve even managed to pick up some additional language skills, both in English (while teaching) and Spanish.
I have countless reasons to love Spain and be thankful for my time here, but for the sake of this post, I’ll keep it at ten. I hope you enjoy and find some reasons to give Spain a try!
1. Diverse Climate
Even though Spain is a relatively small country (compared to the United States), it has many different regions that are diverse in both culture and climate.
In Madrid, the center of the country, the climate is quite dry and desert-like. The summers are unbearably hot with no rain and the winters are relatively mild. This winter was a nice change from living in the northeast of the States.
In northern Spain, you’ll find very green areas that receive lots of rain and humidity, like the community of Galicia or the wine region of La Rioja. On the other end, southern Spain is warm and dry all year long, although on the coasts it is more temperate. Basically, whatever type of climate you prefer, you can have that in Spain.
2. Use of Public Transportation
Unlike some other countries where people primarily drive to get from place to place, in Spain, the culture is centered around walking or using public transportation. I really love this aspect of Spanish culture as someone who loves walking to get around and reducing my carbon footprint.
If you live in a big city like Madrid, you are most likely going to use the underground metro or busses as your primary means for travel. Even in smaller towns, people live closer to the town center and walk to where they need to go. Not many people own cars in the city, and even if you do, there are many perks to using the public transport.
For example, they have very good deals on monthly transport cards. For all individuals under 26 years old, you pay 20 Euros/month for full access to the metro, busses and trains in every zone of Madrid. Also, as someone who has been to many different European cities, I think Madrid’s transport system is very efficient and easy to use. There are also some restrictions for cars when driving in the city, another incentive for people to use public transportation.
Many people also walk because even though Madrid is large, it is still very easy to walk most places in the city. Unlike the United States, most areas of Madrid have been designed for pedestrian convenience, rather than cars.
This is a topic that I could go on and on about and will probably have to make a full post dedicated to it in the future. For now, I will give a condensed version describing why I love everything about food in Spain.
The first reason is because food here is extremely affordable. I don’t want to say cheap because that implies that it is lacking in quality, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I would estimate that we probably spend two thirds of what we used to spend on groceries every week in the States. Mind you, we live in the largest city in the country, where things tend to be a bit more expensive.
The food is always fresh as that is part of the culture and lifestyle here. We can get all of our produce at a corner stand or market by our apartment and every single thing we’ve gotten has been delicious.
Of course, I couldn’t talk about Spanish food without mentioning tapas. If you aren’t familiar, tapas are traditionally a small plate of food, typically some kind of bread and meat, that are served for free with your drink at a bar. Although, most places no longer serve them complementary. People love them so much that now, there are many restaurants that just serve tapas, so you can order a bunch and try them all!
4. Sangria and Wine
Since I just talked about food, I have to mention the natural partner of food in Spain, wine! Like Spanish food, wine is also very inexpensive. Most kinds you find at the store or a restaurant here are made in Spain and cost very little (like one euro for a bottle). I was never much of a wine drinker until moving to Spain. I’ll also admit that my palate for wine was very immature, only reaching for whatever was the sweetest. Now, I have a new appreciation and love trying all kinds of wine.
Another delicious Spanish drink is sangria. We’ve all enjoyed a yummy glass of fruity sangria in the summertime. You can also get this at any restaurant for a fraction of the price in the US. Another Spanish favorite is called tinto de verano. Very similar to sangria, it is made of red wine and sparkling water, also very popular in Spain in the summer.
Spain is known for having a plethora of beautiful shorelines and beaches. With over 5,000 miles of coastline, Spain is the perfect place for a wonderful beach vacation. Every summer, thousands of Europeans flock to Spain’s coasts.
There is a general understanding in Madrid that it becomes a ghost town during the summer months. Everyone who can, leaves Madrid and heads to the beach to spend the summer, not returning until the fall. Due to the extreme heat and lack of air conditioning in most apartment buildings, the beach is a much better option.
It is common to see businesses shut down with signs reading “Closed for the summer. Back in September.” It’s tradition for families in Spain to spend their summers this way.
The beaches in Spain are gorgeous and known for being natural and mostly unaltered. If you want to take a beach vacation in Spain, plan ahead and decide what time of year you want to go.
If you are choosing to go in the summer, I recommend heading to the northern coast as the temperatures will still be very warm but not scorching. If you want to go any other time of year, southern Spain, such as the community of Andalusia, will be beautiful.
6. Spanish Fiestas
If there’s one thing that’s true about Spanish people, it’s that they definitely know how to party. They hold many fiestas in every town throughout the year, celebrating holidays or even just for an excuse to close everything down and have fun in the streets.
Some famous fiestas in Spain are Running of the Bulls, a festival in Pamplona which includes an activity where people sign up to run through the streets with bulls, and La Tomatina, an annual event near Valencia consisting of a townwide tomato fight. Each of these fiestas are similar to most others in Spain in that they are purely for fun and entertainment.
Fiestas are a very popular way for Spaniards to celebrate their rich cultural history. During these times, most stores and businesses close and the whole town comes to participate in the festivities. This is very complementary to Spain’s more laid back atmosphere. The people really value their traditions and take any excuse to step away from the stress of their work lives to enjoy time with friends and family.
7. Love of Fútbol (Soccer)
Many people know that I have had a serious passion for soccer my entire life. I began playing when I was four years old and have continued to play in some form ever since. People in Spain are very similar to me in this aspect. Everyone lives and breathes the sport.
Everywhere you go, you see jerseys of La Liga (Spain’s soccer league) teams or little kids playing soccer in the streets. Every bar or restaurant will have the game on. Believe it or not, it’s even more popular than American Football is in the States. Especially here, in the home of Real Madrid, one of the world’s most successful clubs. People are very proud of their fútbol clubs and especially the intense rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Being someone who loves soccer and comes from a country that doesn’t really value it in the same way, I feel extremely at home amongst the sports culture here. I’ve even been able to find a mixed group of foreigners and Spaniards to play pickup soccer games with. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this part of Spanish life.
Flamenco is very dear to Spanish people as part of their culture and history. It is a traditional style of music and dance that originated in the southern regions of Andalusia and Murcia. It is considered a living form of art, usually consisting of an acoustic guitar player, a singer, and a dancer.
The music can range between upbeat and light to very emotional for expressing different moods. Typically, everyone in the performance will accompany the music with clapping and foot stomping, while the dancer is tapping and twirling very dramatically in the center of the stage.
I’m sure you’ve seen images of Spanish flamenco dancers in the vibrant dresses with all the frills, using a large hand fan as a prop for a dance. Now, it is a popular tourist activity to see a flamenco show while in Spain. I have seen multiple shows during my time here and it is something I highly recommend everyone experience at least once.
Spain is known for having some very beautiful and unique architecture. Most buildings that line the narrow streets in Spain are adorned with terra cotta tiles on the roofs and cute little balconies filled with flowers on every window. This is the typical, old-fashioned style in Spain.
Barcelona is regarded as a famous city for architecture, thanks to their world renowned architect Antoni Gaudi. His most famous piece of work is a large Roman Catholic basilica called La Sagrada Família in Barcelona. We were able to see this amazing work of art on our trip to Barcelona last year. Gaudi also designed many other buildings in the city, leaving a lasting touch of his unique style on his beloved hometown.
Viewing the different styles of architecture is one of my favorite parts of traveling. I love walking through the streets and just knowing I am in a different or new place simply by the looks of the buildings and roads. If this is something you also love, Spain is an excellent destination to make you feel like you’re in a beautiful foreign land.
10. Relaxed Lifestyle
We mentioned Spanish fiestas, now let’s talk about Spanish siestas. It’s a real thing, by the way!
I think the lifestyle is what makes Spain so special because many of the other wonderful aspects of Spanish culture have come from it. Spaniards put the biggest emphasis on quality of life and family over everything else. They believe that you should work to live and be able to enjoy that life as much as possible.
It is because of this lifestyle that Spain has so many wonderful fiestas and a culture that believes in the importance of coming together over food and drinks. A typical Saturday for Spaniards is to go out with friends around noon to the local cafes and stay out drinking all day. They will hop around to different bars and spend their entire day enjoying the company of their loved ones.
In addition, Sunday is strictly a day of rest for everyone. Most grocery stores and markets are closed after the morning and you won’t see many people out in the streets. Saturday is seen as a fun day out with friends and Sunday is a day for going to church and being with family. Sounds like a perfect weekend to me!
Spanish traditions are very unique and family oriented. They are somewhat old fashioned but, in the good kind of way in that they value time spent around a table together over scarfing down their meals on the way to the next meeting. Life surely slows down a bit here, even in a big city like Madrid.
So there you have it, my ten reasons to love Spain and why I think everyone should plan a trip here at least once in their lives. Although, I have a feeling that once you get here, you won’t want to leave. Between the food, laid back lifestyle and how much there is to do and see, I know you will have the time of your life in Spain.
Comment below and tell me what you thought of my ten reasons! If you’ve been to Spain, what are your favorite things? If not, what do you think you’d love the most? Thanks for reading!