Delicious food, friendly local people, outstanding natural landscapes and a fascinating culture rich in tradition. These are just some of the reasons why Spain is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe.
Known worldwide for it’s gorgeous weather, fiery flamenco dancing, incredible fiestas and an enviable laid-back lifestyle, there’s many things we can learn about life from a trip to Spain.
Still need more convincing? Well, luckily for you, we’ve put together the top 17 reasons why you need to visit Spain in 2021.
Top Reasons to Visit Spain in 2021
Embracing the outdoors is healthy
The Spaniards like to spend most of their time outdoors, with the indoors only often being used for cooking and sleeping. Thanks to it’s fantastic weather (most of the time!) it’s possible to enjoy being outdoors for most of the day and this really works wonders for your mind and body.
Embracing the outdoors more will keep your mood lifted and getting regular exercise will keep your body feeling young and revitalized. Waking up early and going out for a morning walk, jog or swim is a brilliant way to get yourself feeling prepared for the rest of the day.
Spending time in the sun is great, but in the warmer months, be mindful of the hottest part of the day and find some shade. Always use sun cream and wear sunglasses to avoid the damage that strong sunlight can cause to your skin and eyes.
It's affordable and great value
One of the main draws of holidaying in Spain is that your money goes a long way. The small things like drinks, snacks and fuel are all at competitive rates when compared with the rest of Europe.
Sure, there are many Michelin starred restaurants offering fine dining, and boutique hotels, but if you’re looking to have a great time without breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with Spain.
What’s great about the affordability is that you can experience some of the very best of what’s on offer and still stay for a lengthy amount of time.
Accommodation can be found at good prices if you avoid resorts and highly-touristic locations, and when you venture into lesser-known parts of Spain, the prices often become even more affordable.
The food is delicious and interesting
It’s no secret that Spanish cuisine is world-class and unique. There are so many delights for you to try and love, you might struggle to find the space to try everything you like the look of.
The way the Spanish approach meals is also interesting. With small plates of scrumptious delicacies in the form of tapas served throughout the day, lunch being the main meal of the day, and dinner being served as late as midnight, you’ll never miss an opportunity to eat some incredibly appetizing food.
Order several tapas and eat them either alone or with friends over a cup of rich coffee, or a glass of local wine to keep your appetite at bay, and your body ready for more exploring.
Lunch is served until late in the afternoon. When the evening arrives and you’re looking for a restaurant to eat dinner, don’t expect to sit down and order until at least 8:30pm
Music, dance and festivals are world-class
It’s no secret that the people of Spain are very open about expressing themselves vividly through their art, music and dance scenes. With Flamenco being one of the most well-known examples of this, live performances in Spain are exciting and unforgettable.
From the explosive Festival Internacional de Benicàssim to WOMAD (World of Music and Dance), there’s a great calendar of live performance events to spice up your visit to Spain.
Each city is bursting with things to see and do
For city-lovers, night owls and those that thrive among the hustle-and-bustle, Spain has a fantastic selection of cities – both inland and along the coast. Each city has their own claims to fame, and they all present their own reasons to be explored and enjoyed.
Of course, the most well-known cities are Madrid, home to possibly the best food in the country and Barcelona, home to some of the most impressive architecture with the ambitious works of architects like Antoni Gaudi drawing in millions of visitors every year.
But for a more authentic and unpredictable representation of Spanish city life, we suggest you visit one of the lesser-known cities. These cities have considerably less tourists to get in your way and as a result, less tourist traps and ridiculous queues.
Zaragoza, Cordoba, Burgos and Oviedo are all fantastic examples of cities in Spain where you can find new and exciting things to do day and night.
Life is centered around family and friends
One aspect of Spanish culture as a whole that’s particularly admirable is the importance that is put on spending time with family and friends.
Instead of weekends being spent enjoying free time alone, the Spanish prefer to use this time to catch up with family and friends, often with large meals together. On almost every occasion to see or do something outside, the family are together.
As a result, most activities in Spain are very family-friendly and mean that if you’re travelling with family, you don’t have to be too selective of what activities you can actually do together. Children are everywhere and for the little ones this means they can have just as much fun exploring and making new friends as you can!
Spain is a land of natural beauty
From the people, to the architecture to the natural scenery, Spain is beautiful in every way possible. As nature lovers, we are blown away time and time again with the variety of landscapes that you could mistake for many other places in the world.
Geographically, Spain offers a diverse range of landscapes and climates. Even though there are mountains, lakes and forests all over the country, each region has it’s own unique surroundings to keep nature lovers entertained.
Some of the stunning places you can explore include Europe’s only desert, the Tabernas, where you can journey on horseback and live out your wildest cowboy or cowgirl fantasies. The surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range offers breathtaking backdrops for any outdoor activity. For mountaineers, why not tackle the tallest peak in continental Spain, Mulhacén, with its snowy peak reaching a staggering 3,478m.
If you’re not such a fan of the heat, why not head north and explore the expansive Picos de Europa National Park, or the Spanish Pyrenees for an enchanting experience of traditional mountain life and pristine alpine scenery.
For those that like to get the sand in their toes, you’ll be pleased to know that Spain has almost 5,000km of coastline, with sparkling beaches and ancient towns everywhere offering the absolute freshest seafood for you to sink your teeth into.
The local people are friendly and welcoming
Being social face-to-face is an integral part of Spain’s culture, even to the reaches of getting to know the person in your regular gas station, market or newsagents.
People acknowledge each other and it’s not unusual to be greeted by someone passing by you on the street that you don’t know. It feels great to be greeted in the street and as you enter shops, cafes and restaurants.
Learn your greetings and return the favour, a little politeness goes a long way!
There's no need to hurry or stress
With pleasant weather and an endless selection of varied landscapes to get lost inm Spain is the ultimate destination for relaxing and allowing yourself to unwind. The long lifespan of the Spanish can possibly be attributed to their healthy diet and the importance they put on learning to enjoy everything, without the need to rush or stress.
It’s true, some things do take longer to get done in Spain, but there’s definitely no point in letting that stress you out.
Do as the Spanish do and enjoy life at a calmer pace. When the day comes to rest for a siesta, follow suit, and when everything springs back into life, be prepared for it.
Plan your days around the afternoon break and you’ll find that you can actually do quite a lot in a day if you choose the most suitable times do so.
Fiestas are wild and unforgettable
Almost every town and city in Spain holds their own annual street party or fiesta. Often lasting a weekend or more, this is a fantastic opportunity to see how exciting and talented local communities are when they come together.
These events are free to enter, you just have to show up and be prepared for a great time. Expect to see markets, fairs, exhibitions, food (which is often free) and live music and performance from local acts.
Other festivals in Spain are held in different cities throughout the year and have gained much recognition due to their bizarre nature and exciting atmosphere. They are a great reason to visit Spain because they only occur once a year and can’t be experienced anywhere else.
Some fantastic festivals include “Encierro” (running of the bulls) in Pamplona, Navarre, “La Tomatina” (the tomato throwing festival) in Buñol, Valencia, and La Batalla de Vino (The Wine Battle) in Haro, La Rioja.
Learning about Spain's history will surprise you
Spain has one of the most extensive, and colourful histories in all of Europe. A country that has undergone many changes throughout the ages, including 800 years of occupation by Muslim empires has left the land with a wealth of different cultural influences, traditions and architectural masterpieces. It’s only when you begin to learn about Spain’s history (before it became the Spain we know today) that you start to notice many influences and connections with how the country stands today.
You will uncover new creativity and inspiration
Spanish people are known to be passionate, expressive and open-minded. On almost every city street and village square you will see evidence of this. Even the street lamps and fountains are works of art.
Discover mosaics, statues, paintings and sculptures that all have roots in a time where much more devotion was put into the aesthetics of design.
Lovers of the arts will find an endless supply of creative inspiration in Spain, perhaps that’s why so many artists and writers have lived in Spain before creating some of their greatest works.
Take a camera, or a sketchbook with you, and get lost in the galaxy of wonderful works of art and culture stretching from city to city.
Each region has their own signature dishes
That’s right! Each autonomous community/region in Spain has their own cuisine that it’s known for. Being clued up on what the locals love to eat in these destinations will ensure you don’t miss out on any delicacies that are too tasty for you to miss out on.
Everyone knows about paella, a saffron-infused rice dish, full of seafood and a signature yellow rice, as bright as the stripe on the flag itself. Paella originates from Valencia but due to it’s popularity with tourists has found its way all over the country. Sadly that means much of the magic has been lost, with many resort towns offering low-grade paella that gives the fantastic dish a bad-name, and often isn’t even worthy of the name whatsoever.
Some outstanding traditional dishes to go in search of are: Fabada (a rich, hearty bean stew made with chorizo, pork belly and vegetables), Albondigas (delicious meatballs made from beef, pork or squid, cooked in a tomato and pea sauce) and Merluza a la Plancha (Pan grilled Hake). These are sure to get your taste buds excited and your stomach wishing it had space to eat more.
There are 48 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore
Spain is home to an impressive 48 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which allow you delve into the mysteries of a turbulent past. 42 sites are classified as cultural, 4 are natural and the remaining 2 are considered a combination of the two.
From the ancient Roman aqueducts in Segovia, to the historic walled town of Cuenca, these sites offer an eye-opening glimpse into the many interesting eras of Spain’s past.
The Islamic Architecture is magnificent
Why not explore some of the more unique and remarkable Islamic architecture around Spain?
Grand palaces, mosques, castles and fortresses are located around most of the country and will truly make you feel like you are on another continent, far, far away.
Many of these structures have been used as filming locations in movies and television series, more recently Game of Thrones, because of the sheer beauty and scale of them. Why not use these locations to form the base for your very own tour of the country?
They really aren’t to be missed and offer a very different perspective on Spain as you would otherwise expect.
Learning to speak some Spanish is incredibly useful
Spanish is not only a beautiful language to listen to being spoken, but it’s also really fun to learn to speak!
Considered one of the easier languages to learn in Europe, along with French and Portuguese, basic Spanish can be picked up quite quickly. Knowing some Spanish will not only make your trip more enjoyable, it could spark an interest in you that you never knew you had, perhaps leading you to continue learning the language long after you return home.
Being able to speak some Spanish will also allow you to explore the country at a deeper level. Giving you the confidence and ability to head deep into the provinces and connect with local people that otherwise you wouldn’t have the joy of interacting with. The people of Spain are always elated to hear a foreigner trying to speak Spanish and this can lead to you making some friends on your trip!
With some basic Spanish under your belt, it also opens up the possibilities of where else you can travel and use this new skill to your advantage. From South America all the way over to the Philippines, Spanish is one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world. Give it a try!
The beaches are of course, stunning
Who could forget about this one? Nobody of course!
Spain wouldn’t be famous for it’s huge selection of gorgeous beaches if they weren’t truly something to behold. There’s honestly so much diversity in the type of beaches you can spend your time on day and night, too! Some beaches are blessed with unusual volcanic rock formations, others have lighthouses in the distance, and some even castles for you to admire while topping up on your tan!
If you’re not a fan of busy beaches beside resort towns and cities, you can discover small, nearly private beaches that can be found along the many miles of coastal walking paths that follow the coastline. Chances are, with a little exploring, you can find a small, secluded beach with no one on it that can be your little secret!