Photo Courtesy of Francesco Lastrucci

A proud people, Spaniards celebrate a history that is long and full of lore. Monuments to Christopher Columbus (here called Colón), the royal families, and conquerors are plentiful and adorn the streets. Food, art, wine, and nightlife are the essence of Spain. Be prepared to stay out a little later than normal, as the country really comes alive after dark. Soccer (fútbol) is very nearly a religion in Spain, with the favorites being Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atlético Madrid. If you’re walking down a street and car horns are blaring, people are screaming, and flags are waving—don’t worry, it’s likely just the scoring of a goal.

Spain loves to party! Any excuse for a long weekend is taken, and many of these fall in the spring or during Christmastime. Holy Week (Semana Santa) and Three Kings Day are major national festivals, while many communities celebrate their own traditions such as the infamous Running of the Bulls, Las Fallas, and San Isidro festivals.