Spain’s allure is undeniable, securing its place as the second most visited country in the world, hosting a massive 71.7 million tourists in 2022. But what makes the country so desirable for travelers—it entices all of us with its rich history, diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, delectable cuisine, warm hospitality, and wealth of cultural experiences.
There is something special about Spain. After two years away from Europe, once secured our flights, we quickly realized it would be easy to spend all 90 of our allotted Schengen days exploring this magnificent country.
Considered one of the world’s most reflective travelers, Anthony Bourdain describes his experience:
Any reasonable, sentient person who looks at Spain, comes to Spain, eats in Spain, drinks in Spain—they’re going to fall in love. Otherwise, there’s something deeply wrong with you. This is the dream of all the world. – Anthony Bourdain
Spain’s Travel Allure
Spain holds a magnetic allure for various groups of people, drawing in travelers seeking vibrant cities, historic sites, and beautiful beaches. Retirees are enticed by the country’s favorable climate, high-quality healthcare, and a relaxed pace of life.
Costa del Sol, particularly in the province of Málaga, is known for having one of the largest expatriate communities in Spain. Cities and towns along the Costa del Sol, such as Marbella, Fuengirola, and Estepona, have attracted a significant number of ex-pats, including retirees, digital nomads, and individuals seeking a sunny and relaxed lifestyle.
How We Afford It!
Let’s discover 25 compelling reasons why Spain stands as the epitome of travel perfection, but first, let’s look at how we afford to travel through Spain. One way, we make it look so affordable is that we use WayAway+.
For those that don’t know, booking.com recently teamed up with WayAway, listing tons of hotels and short-term vacation rental units. We just started using WayAway+ and are saving tons of money, and using Airbnb less and less. Check out how we use WayAway+ to save a ton of money on hotels and vacation rental (Airbnb) listings.
Use Wayaway+ To Get Lower Pricing Than Airbnb and More! 🤑
With the WayAway+ membership plan, you get discounted rates AND will receive cashback on flights, hotels, vacation rentals (the same ones listed on Airbnb) car rentals, and you’re automatically bumped up to Genius Level 3. Meaning, that in many cases, the cleaning fee for vacation rentals is waived when using WayAway+, and you get 20% off stays, complimentary room upgrades and breakfast for select stays, and 10% off car rentals.
When using WayAway+ you get an additional 10% cashback on stays, and 5% cashback on flights. Here’s an example of a recent reservation we made and the savings we received from only one stay.
Here’s another example of the savings you will receive as a WayAway+ member.
Even if you’re only taking a one-week vacation, the amount of savings from purchasing the $99 WayAway+ one-year subscription far outweighs the cost, in many situations. For us, we’re constantly traveling so we’re expecting to save several hundred dollars, if not well over a thousand dollars over the year.
We encourage you to check it out and see if it works for you. 👇
25 Reasons Why Spain is Travel Bliss!
Spain captivates with vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality, creating an immersive travel experience filled with blissful moments. Here are 25 reasons why, for us, Spain is travel bliss!
1. Quality of Life
Spain holds the 8th position globally in life expectancy, averaging 84 years for both genders.
2. Urban Living
Forbes recently unveiled its list of the World’s Best Cities to Live, where Spain dominated with four cities in the top 10. Málaga, Alicante, and Valencia claimed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd spots, respectively.
3. Charming Towns
Adjacent to every city lies a charming town worth exploring, often undiscovered by many. For example, Tarragona’s Old Town is a maze of narrow, winding streets filled with historic buildings, shops, and cafes. Exploring these charming streets allows visitors to soak in the local atmosphere and discover hidden gems.
4. Culinary Delights
Spain leads in representation on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants list, securing six spots, including the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th positions. Some of the creative tasting menus are extraordinary like at Disfrutar in Barcelona and DiverXO in Madrid. Additionally, Madrid hosts the world’s oldest restaurant, Botín.
5. Drinking Culture
Spain boasts the highest number of bars per capita globally, coupled with a remarkably low alcoholism rate of 1.5% across both genders. Moreover, Sips in Barcelona is also recognized as the #1 bar in the World’s 50 Best Bars.
6. Abundant Sunshine
Six out of Europe’s top 10 sunniest cities are in Spain, with Alicante claiming the title of the sunniest city in Europe. Other cities include Murcia, Málaga, Valencia, Las Palmas, and Granada.
7. Natural Beauty
Spain boasts 53 biosphere reserves, the highest number globally, and its natural beauty remains one of the country’s underrated attributes.
From Jamón Ibérico to paella, Spain’s culinary dishes are rooted in meats, cheeses, seafood, olives, and fresh bread. As an American, you can’t help but observe that the Spanish are lean, with little to no obesity.
9. Great Wine and Cafe Culture
Spain boasts the largest vineyard acreage globally (961,000 hectares) and ranks as the third-largest wine producer, contributing 13.82 percent of the world’s total production. Additionally, similar to Argentina and Chile, Spain offers quality, drinkable wine for as little as €2 to €3. It’s easy to enjoy a glass of house wine at a tapas restaurant or a local cafe bar for just a few euros.
10. Olive Oil Excellence
As the leading producer of olive oil, Spain proudly houses the best Olive Oil of 2023 from the Almazaras de la Subbetica cooperative in Andalucía.
11. Beach Paradise
Spain is home to the most Blue-Flag beaches globally, totaling 627 across all its coasts. In addition to the clean, sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, Mallorca, Ibiza, Tenerife, and La Palma are just a few of Spain’s magical getaways.
12. Cultural and Historical Treasures
With 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Spain ranks fourth globally, and it hosts the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage walked by 350,000 people annually.
13. Vibrant Festivals
From the tomato fight in Buñol to the bull run in Pamplona, Spain boasts a plethora of captivating and unique festivals. Ernest Hemingway, the renowned American author, featured Pamplona prominently in his novel “The Sun Also Rises,” published in 1926.
Hemingway’s experiences in Pamplona during the San Fermín festival had a significant impact on his writing and contributed to popularizing the festival internationally. His portrayal of the event has become intertwined with the image of Pamplona and the running of the bulls.
14. Efficient Public Transport
Spain’s extensive high-speed rail network stretches nearly 4,000km, making it the longest in Europe. Traveling by train is our favorite mode of transportation. Furthermore, train travel is roomy, smooth, and comfortable.
15. Rich History
Spain’s history is marked by ancient cities like Cádiz, surpassing Rome, Athens, and Cairo in continuous habitation. The Basque language, Euskera, stands as one of the oldest in Europe, and the Valencia Water Council is recognized as the world’s oldest standing democratic body.
16. Artistic Legacy
Spain has produced artistic geniuses like Picasso, Dalí, Goya, Velázquez, Sorolla, and Gaudí, along with literary greats such as Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the first modern novel, Don Quixote. In Barcelona, the Park Güell combines art and nature to be enjoyed by families and admirers of Antoni Gaudí.
17. Art Appreciation
The Museo del Prado in Madrid houses masterpieces like Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” “Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez, and my personal favorite “The Cardinal” by famous Italian Recinessance artist Raphael.
18. Football Glory
Among the eight World Cup winners, Spain and Real Madrid, with 14 Champions League titles, stand out in the football world.
19. Walking Lifestyle
Even in larger cities, Spain encourages a walking culture. Outdoor living and increased movement naturally contribute to its high life expectancy.
20. Regional Diversity
Spain’s regions vary in landscape, weather, food, architecture, history, tradition, and culture, creating an impossible choice for a favorite. This makes the country a popular choice for retirees and expatriate communities. Coastal areas, such as the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, as well as major cities like Barcelona and Madrid, often attract a significant number of expats.
21. Architectural Marvels
From Prehistoric to Modern, Spain’s architecture is diverse and awe-inspiring. Each city holds an architectural marvel from the archaeological site of Ullastret in Catalonia to Barcelona’s Sagrada Família. Personally, “looking up” is one of our favorite pastimes while touring Spain.
22. Cultural Traditions
Among Spain’s rich traditions, Flamenco stands out for its devastating beauty and enduring captivation.
23. Language Legacy
Spanish is widely spoken globally, with 20 countries considering it their native tongue. Surprisingly, many locals don’t speak English, especially in high-traffic environments like train stations, grocery stores, and metro stops. It helps to have some knowledge of Spanish or to use a translation app like Google Translate.
24. Relaxed Pace
The Spanish way of life emphasizes a relaxed approach, where it’s about working to live rather than living to work.
25. Warm Hospitality
George Orwell said, “I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain!” An interesting observation is that all of our local Spanish accommodation hosts have been generous and welcoming.
Alternatively, all of our stays in properties owned by non-Spanish hosts have been our least favorite stays. Spanish hospitality does seem to rise above other countries in Western Europe.
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