The reasons to visit Spain are infinite—but because we have to limit ourselves somehow, we’ve narrowed our list down to our top five. Whether you’re after the food, the culture or simply the scenery, these enticing examples just scratch the surface of Spain’s endless cultural opportunities.
1. The incredible food
One of the main reasons to visit Spain is for it's incredible cuisine. First created in the coastal city of Valencia, there is perhaps no dish more synonymous with Spanish cuisine than paella. The famous yellow rice gets its hue from the addition of saffron, which happens to be the world’s most expensive spice. Paella is typically served in a large pan large enough for two to four people to share, and you can find seafood or meat varieties on offer depending on the region. Spain is also famous for tapas, small plates of food served at the bar with your drink. It’s typical for Spaniards to go out for tapas after work, before a late dinner around 9 or 10pm.
2. …and equally incredible wine
Spain is perhaps most famous for the red wine produced in La Rioja region, but there are a number of other wine regions that deserve equal recognition. For example, cava is a sparkling white wine similar to champagne that’s produced mostly in the northern regions. In Andalusia, try the tinto de verano (“summer wine,” made with red wine and lemon soda), a refreshing twist on the traditional sangria.
Explore Spain's wine region on our Food & Wine tour of Spain
3. The Alhambra
This imposing structure represents the last Moorish stronghold in all of Spain before the Reconquista. The Alhambra was formerly the royal palace of Yusuf I, the Sultan of Granada, and its rooms feature intricate carvings, bright mosaic tiles, reflecting pools and lush green courtyards.
4. The white sand beaches of Costa del Sol
Spanish for the “Sun Coast,” this long stretch of beaches along Southern Spain boasts some of the most beautiful sand and crystal-clear waters. Formerly a fishing community, the Costa del Sol is now a popular travel destination due to the beautiful location and pleasant Mediterranean climate.
5. The Gothic architecture of Antoni Gaudí
Barcelona is a treasure trove of brightly colored and uniquely shaped structures of architect Antoni Gaudí. Stroll through Parc Güell, visit Casa Batlló and witness his most famous masterpiece: the Sagrada Familia, a towering cathedral that was started in 1882 and remains under construction to this day.