You hear the name and think of sunshine, sea and startling cities, of wild creativity and classic style, from Gaudi and Picasso to Balenciaga and Zara. Late nights and loud conversations, flamenco and fiestas, passion for life and all the good things it brings. From hip, throbbing capital city Madrid to the sun-soaked Andalusian coast, from the lush Basque country to the Moorish arches of the Alhambra, there is nowhere like it. This is Spain.
A few things are consistent throughout this diverse country. Great food and wine, enjoyed with family and friends, are at the heart of Spanish culture. The fine restaurants of San Sebastian and Barcelona have accolades thrown at them but superb flavours can be found sitting on bars across the country. In some cities, such as Granada, the tapas are free. And the wine flows freely… forget the Sangria that literally sells in bucketloads on the Costas and discover why La Rioja and Ribera del Duero are considered among the top wine regions in the world. The food and wine act as lubricants for the impassioned socialising that is the other great constant in Spanish life.
From Galicia to Catalonia, Asturias to Andalucía, this is a country that likes to party. At the famous Pamplona Bull Run, the infamous La Tomatina tomato fight in Buñol or the cutting-edge nightclubs of the Balearic Islands, the Spanish know how to let their hair down. Even if you took tourists out of the equation, the bars and cafés would be full every night. Everyone joins in the conversation, so be prepared to use your Spanish skills often. And don’t worry if you end up gesturing wildly with your hands as you explain what you mean… you won’t be the only one!