The long list of things Spain is famous for is a collection of niches forming one national identity that reaches across the globe. Indeed, every year, Spain’s tourism industry, one of the world’s best, welcomes millions of tourists who descend on the Mediterranean country to sample all things Spanish.
Some things are bizarre. Others have captured activist attention while food products make its national cuisine a tasty and hearty experience. Whether shopping for souvenirs or just eager to know more about the culture, Spain’s national identity will not disappoint and we are sure, once you visit for the first time, repeat visits will be in your diary. So, let us look at what Spain is best known for.
British people love the Costas and since the 1970s have holidayed there. Costa means coast, and this refers to Spain’s long line of coastline boasting of some of Europe’s best beaches. It is also known for its high concentration of blue flag beaches, a worthy award to be proud of. The most famous Costas, on the south and east coasts makeup Spain’s most popular tourist districts and where many people who buy property end up. They include Costa Del Sol, Blanca, Brava and Calida.
Mention you are going on holiday and most people will mention the robust drink that is a deep red colour. Made from fruit, soda water, fruit juice and red wine, its origins are unclear. Yet, Spaniards rarely drink Sangria. Most locals choose a glass of wine over sangria every time. This makes sense because Spain is the world’s 3rd biggest wine producer. So, while you are lying beachside, don’t feel you must indulge in sangria to do as the locals do.
Stemming from Spain’s Andalusia region, the passionate Flamenco dance is nothing short of heart-warming. Professional dancers train for many years to perfect the moves, and alongside the guitar music, it is an integral part of Spain’s culture dating from the 19th century. Maybe just as marvellous is the vibrant costumes and castanets noise as they click together. Many say Flamenco is much more than just a dance and is instead, an art form.
We’ve all gone for a drink and ended up feeling peckish, and this is where the Spanish solve the problem by serving Tapas. These small snacks, fending off alcohol hunger pains come in a variety of tastes and includes ingredients like ham, cheese olives, chorizo sausage, prawns, and potatoes. Introduced as something to nibble on until dinner time, the tapas culture has now emerged to become a food ritual.
Originating from Spain’s Valencia region, there is nothing tastier and heartier to tuck into than a huge pot of paella. Made with rice, spices and either meat or seafood, the yellow rice colour comes from delicate saffron seasoning. For tourists, the most recognisable version is seafood of which most is cooked in their shells. The word paella means pan and is an apt reflection of how locals cook at family get togethers.
Made famous by the 18 to 30s holidays, Ibiza’s party reputation spans the globe, as huge dance nightclubs cater to thousands of partygoers every night. DJs who get a spot in the many clubs make their name in Ibiza, the third largest Balearic island. Such was its party reputation, the local council tried to promote it as a family-friendly destination instead, but that went nowhere, and it is now, Europe's number one place to party.
If there is one thing, the Spanish do well, its festivals. The more, the better and they take every opportunity to celebrate special events or even food products. La Tomatina that happens in Valencia’s Bunol city is a messy food fight. Religious festivals to celebrate saints are frequent, and another famous event to animal lovers dismay is Pamplona bull-running.
For some foreigners, the matador profession is not an honourable one since this involves fighting a bull to death. Despite its being a part of Spanish culture that stems back centuries, excessive criticism during the 21st century has put the practice on radars of animal activists. The season runs from March to October, has Spain divided whether this cultural practice should be forgotten.
Spain has its fair share of famous people, but one whose named is engrained in its history, is Picasso, the iconic 20th century painter. Born in Malaga, he also dabbled in sculpture and kick-started cubism painting styles.
Oh, we all like to have siestas, an integral part of Spanish culture. Lasting between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Spanish people then carry on late into the night instead, which is more refreshing and devoid of scorching temperatures from the midday sun. Additional reasons for taking a siesta include a nap after a heavy lunch. The good news is you do not have to be there to practise siestas, just one of many things Spain is famous for. You can do it in your own home!
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Things to Know When Visiting Spain: Whether planning a city break getaway or a two-week family holiday, our things to know will help you settle straight away.