Spain is one of the most visited destinations in the world – and for good reason. However, it’s also one of the most underexplored, in that many visitors head to the east coast or a party island and drink their week away. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can make the most out of your Spain trip.
You really get to see a country when walking around it. It’s a chance to meet people, stumble on hidden gems that weren’t on the map, and at a slow enough pace to really take it all in unlike whizzing by in a car.
Camino de Santiago Organized walking routes are a good way to avoid having to do the planning. You’ll meet like-minded folk and stick to the historical pilgrimage paths. But, of course, simply walking around any town on your own can be just as gratifying.
Don’t just stick to the coasts
Valencia, Gibraltar, Marbella, Palma, Barcelona, Benidorm, and many more sun-laden hotspots are great ways to enjoy the beach and nightlife. But, there’s a lot of Spain you’re missing out on by not heading inland. The likes of Seville, Granada, Bilbao, Madrid, and Ronda are all options that are hugely varying in their environments.
From quaint, sleepy villages to world-class city architecture, you’ll get an authentic experience at a much lower cost if you try navigating the inland mountains. Plus, you can head to small villages in the centre of islands like Mallorca for the best of both worlds, as the beach is a short drive (or bike ride) away from the stunning mountainous villages.
Try the regional dishes
The culinary history of Spain is a colourful one, and there’s no better way to explore it by having regional dishes. For example, did you know that tapas originated in Andalucia? And that because of this, most bars in Granada will provide free tapa with each drink?
Here are some tidbits, but it’s best to do your own research on the region you’re looking to visit. Cataluña revision is where you will find lots of casseroles, while central Spain favours roast meats and stews. Eastern regions, like Valencia, traditionally have rice dishes like Paella, whilst Andalucia is where you’ll find the best fried fish. Northern Spain is where you might find the best seafood, but anywhere on the East coast should have fresh fish.
Research the local festivities
Again, a country with such a rich culture and history is bound to have some great celebrations, and you should join in with those. La Tamborrada is a drum festival in January, whilst La Tomatina is a huge tomato fight in the streets of Bunol at the end of August. There are many local traditions, from bull runs to wine festivals, too.
Spain also does great festivals, like Primavera in Barcelona and Mad Cool in Madrid, which get some of the largest acts in the world. Benicassim festival in Valencia is an indie festival which is much loved around the world.