12 Reasons We Love Spain

What does the pulse of Spain feel like? Hurried, alive, and throbbing in your chest like a flamenco dance. Then it slows, melodically enchanting you with a steady, calm rhythm—like the lapping of the Mediterranean. Spain is a vast, varied, and complex country, but one thing is certain: from the deserts of Navarre to the winding roads of Andalucía, and from early morning at La Plaça de la Catedral to vermouth with tapas while the sun goes down, it ranks among the best.

Andalusia, Spain
Andalucia, Spain, is located in the southern Iberian peninsula. The vast area consists of eight provinces. Among them are Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, and Seville. I sampled the hams, paellas, wines, and olive oils and enjoyed the tastes and smells of the Andalucian menus. The region is rich in culture and history. The flamenco and bullfights are favorite attractions here. Much of the Moorish-influenced architecture dates to the days of Muslim rule. Muslims ruled Andalucia from 711 when Tariq, an Islamic Berber, conquered the area and called it Al-Andalus. He established it as the Islamic Empire. Al-Andalus was a huge cultural center of vast beauty. In 1492, the fall of Granada put an end to Muslim rule when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Muslims from Spain. Andalucia was born and it has been Spanish ever since. Driving through the countryside, I saw beauty around every curve in the road like the rows of olive and oak trees, and fields of grain. I laughed when I saw the huge Osborne Sherry Company’s black bull on the hilltops. These large boards were erected all over Spain to advertise their Brandy de Jerez. I found them charming and so very Spanish. I saw this region of Spain as vast and very beautiful with its mountains, dry plains, and lush forest areas. So many different types of landscapes within the region. I recommend a good guidebook and an up-to-date Michelin map. When renting a car, do so in the States when you book your trip. Happy traveling!
Praza do Obradoiro, s/n, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
After mysterious lights led a 9th-century hermit to St. James’s remains, King Alfonso II ordered that a chapel be built on the site. Since the Middle Ages, the magnificent cathedral has been the destination of pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. Stand outside to watch the peregrinos, exhausted at the end of their 800-kilometer hike, step briefly on a scallop shell embedded in the pavement, then enter the cathedral to visit the saint’s tomb and touch the foot of a statue of him.
Carretera de Yé S/N HARÍA, 35541 Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Spain
Lanzarote – a Spanish delight, a volcanic wonderland, a hidden gem. The most easterly of the seven islands in the Spanish archipelago known as Canary Islands, is a relatively undiscovered island. Many who visit this beautiful place spend their days lying on the beach and relaxing by the pools of their seaside resorts. They don’t realise what they are missing. One of the many experiences that Lanzarote has to offer is a spectacular sunset. It’s a sight to behold, to cherish for years to come. Since Lanzarote is a tiny island, the sunset can be seen from many locations, but nothing comes close to watching the sun go down from Mirador Del Rio – a vantage point up on a hill in the northern part of the island. It is a sensory experience. On one side you have fields of bluebells, and on the other, a breath-taking view of the tiny island called La Graciosa, and the sun changing its colours across the ocean. On your way to Mirador Del Rio, take a pit stop in a village called Haria. Savour a Bocadillo (just like a Baguette) and a Barraquito (a liqueur-based coffee very popular amongst the locals). The meal will put you in a good mood, ready to experience the best sunset of your life. There is a visitor centre at Mirador. However, you don’t need to go inside the centre to enjoy the views – just park your car outside and walk in the opposite direction. Pack a picnic, find yourself a nice spot, and enjoy the view.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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