Best Spanish Experiences to Indulge With
Spain is home to countless festivals and fairs. Plan your visit such that you can be a part of one of these jolly festivals. Nobody can celebrate the way the Spanish do, except maybe for the Italians. Solemn processions, pageants, historical reenactments, street carnivals, and fireworks of all kinds fill up the Spanish festivity calendar.
The Feria de Abril (April Fair) in Seville is probably the most well-known fair. Dressed in traditional flamenco costumes, the hot senoritas dance as the society’s cream parades through in carriages drawn by handsome horses.
In terms of costumes and revelry, the pre-Lenten Carnaval of Spain is only second to Rio. The Carnaval means serious partying. Santa Cruz de Tenerife of the Canary Islands is fabulous when it indulges in dressing up, dancing, and drinking – an outrageous celebration.
Sitges and Cadiz are home to celebrations that linger on for more than a week. Festa de Sant Jordi is a festival held in Barcelona to honour the city’s patron St. George; tradition requires that the senores buy a rose for their true love, and that the senoritas buy a book for their handsome beau. The festival is held on 23rd April when impromptu flower and book stalls fill up the city streets.
Semana Santa is a holy week that is held between March-April. Sophisticated processions of gowned and hooded brotherhoods carry elaborate floats to the cathedrals throughout Spain; if you are up for a spiritual experience, join in. The most remarkable of these are the ones that take place in Cartagena, Malaga, and Seville.
Around 19th March, the festival of Las Fallas de San Jose continues for a week with amazing displays of rockets, pinwheels, traditional costume processions, and firecrackers. On the Night of the Fire, bundles of massive papier-mâché figures race off in an amazing finale.
Dance till you drop
A major portion of the Spanish experience involves getting active when the sun sets. When night falls, Spain bursts up with an increased amount of energy. If you want to know how to party, party with the Spaniards. Nightlife is an important part of Spanish life. Head out to Ibiza in the summer to truly experience a dazzling party time. However, the big cities of Spain also provide ultimate fun.
Visiting the market
If you want a taste of the scrumptious Spanish cuisine, head to the mercados. They are a representation of an essential part of life. The Spanish mercados are not affected by competitive hypermarkets and supermarkets; their secret lies in their simplicity. Fabulous seasonal produce is sold; ripe purple eggplants, radiant orange cantaloupes, plenty of olives and mushrooms, deep red peppers, and fresh figs. You will want to dive right in – guaranteed. Large towns and cities host fruit and veggie mercados daily from Monday-Saturday.
The capital, however, is probably the best for browsers. The famous Boqueria of Barcelona, as well as the smaller markets that set up in fabulously restored buildings, are truly a delight. Get acquainted with the local cuisine, and get a class in culinary education. However, be careful; the vendors prefer to sell food rather than education, and might get cranky.
The Spanish Outdoors
With mountain ranges crisscrossing its landscape, Spain is ideal for mountain biking, backpacking, walking, and even fishing, thanks to its mountain streams. If freshly caught salmon and trout tantalize your taste-buds, then head to the streams with your fishing rods.
Exploration of the Spanish outdoors brings you closer to some excellent Iberian cuisine and architecture. The Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido in Pyrenees covers a space of 57,000 acres. It is the Grand Canyon’s Spanish version – with meadows, forests, caves, waterfalls, and much more exciting features, it is sure to give you a remarkable experience.
The Sierra de Gredos is a popular trekking and climbing destination. The interior of Spain, such as the Alpujarras Mountains, and the Picos de Europa, provide excellent opportunities for hiking. El Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage road, which has drawn adventurers and devotees since a thousand years. With beaches, marshes, wetlands, 150 species of exotic birds, abundance of wildlife, and sand dunes, the Donana National Park is among the continent’s last remaining spaces of utter wilderness.
Spain is among the biggest wine producers of the world. Local specialties can be found in almost every region of the country. If you fancy a taste of the famous wines, sip the sparkling wines of Penedes; sample the oak-aged red wines of La Rioja; sip Castile-Leon’s Ribera del Duero, and compare with La Rioja’s reds; drink up the different kinds of sherry in Andalusia. A little off the wine track are the sherries of Cordoba, the less-known red and white wines of Murcia, and the Galician wines of white albarino. Please your taste-buds with some tantalizing drinks on your lovely Spanish holiday.
Paradores are hotels run by the Spanish government. Spending a day or two is an archetypal experience for tourists. With unique settings dating back to the 12th-18th centuries, they are sure to please you. Moorish citadels, ducal palaces, restored castles, and monasteries are designed in the regional style. Every paradore houses a restaurant with local specialties on the menu. The paradores are an attraction for natives and foreigners alike.
Soak up some sun
Spain is practically surrounded by oceans, straits, gulfs, seas, and bays, which makes it a haven for beach lovers, water sports fanatics, and a popular tourist destination. The country’s most valuable hospitality asset it is 8000 kilometres of oceanfront. Sun lovers can choose from tiny patches of sand nestled away in rocky inlets to long stretches of sandy beaches. There are twelve coastal regions along the Mediterranean Sea, and seven along the Atlantic Ocean. The best thing about Spanish beaches is that some of them are just an extension of the cities; so you can retire to the museums of art and history after basking in the sun. A lovely finale to your day will be an evening of delicious Spanish cuisine and music. La Concha, Playa de los Peligros, El Cabanyal, and Playa de la Victoria are among some of the excellent city beaches.