Top four destinations to experience culture in Spain
Spain consists of beautiful landscapes and many vibrant cultures that make it a unique place to live. Despite what you may know about this country, not all of Spain is alike. Although you are likely to find paella and fiestas throughout the whole of Spain, the major cities can differ massively from the life on the islands.
From active volcanoes to glorious architecture there is so much to experience in Spain. So, it’s no surprise that Spain is at the top of people’s list when considering a move abroad.
Take a look at the top four places in Spain to experience Spaniard and Catalonian culture, both past and present.
Costa del Sol
It only takes a visit to the Costa del Sol to see why so many Britons decide to relocate there. Not only is it blessed with warm weather – enjoying approximately 3,000 hours of sunshine year round – it also has a host of sights to see and activities to experience.
The curious types may enjoy exploring the underground caves of Nerja in Malaga. The caves are home to the world´s largest stalagmite and some awe-inspiring inner chambers that are sure to impress even the fussiest members of the family.
You can’t truly experience the culture of a different country without sampling the cuisine, and the Mediterranean cuisine has been noted as one of the healthiest diets in the world. Living near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Costa del Sol offers the freshest seafood. Catches of the day brought in by local fisherman can include boquerones (anchovies), cazon (dogfish), and sardinas (sardines). The fish is then fried in a light coating of flour before meeting a skillet of hot olive oil and served in many Costa del Sol restaurants, named on the menu as Pescaito Frito.
You can also take the opportunity to experience real Ir de Tapas, which literally translates as a tour of bars and eating snacks, which is an important social activity for the locals throughout Spain, a true chance to live life as a Spaniard.
So while living here you can take advantage of this weather and relax on the beach whenever you like, you could choose to purchase your new home close to all the sights and sounds that make the region so vibrant.
Ibiza is widely known to be the party capital of Spain, with many people from all over the globe flocking to the island to enjoy some of the best nightclubs the world has to offer. It has also become a desirable place for DJs and bands to perform, particularly at the Ibiza Rocks festival that takes place in San Antonio from Mid-June to Mid-September.
Unlike many party islands such as Magaluf and Zante that attract a younger crowd, Ibiza’s nightlife is generally of a higher calibre with some clubs costing up to €50 for entry alone. The island’s government are trying to encourage a more refined and cultured tourism scene, one way of achieving this is by requiring all new hotels on the island to be 5-star which, if approved, will attract a wealthier, mixture of visitors.
Even though Ibiza has been dubbed a party island there is another, quieter face of Ibiza. Far from the foam parties and UV paint there is beautiful countryside and ancient hilltop villages to be enjoyed, as well as beaches away from the strip.
If you are looking for a real taste of history on this island, at the highest and oldest part of Ibiza town, the capital of the island Dalt Vila, there are strong renaissance fortifications that were built by Charles V in the 16th century. These were built in order to fend off the threat of pirates as well as sovereign forces such as the French. In 1999 the fort was declared a UNESCO world heritage site, making it a must-see.
The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are made up of seven main islands, with Tenerife being the largest. These islands have become a popular destination to buy property in, particularly for British citizens, due to the subtropical climate and stretches of beaches. However, if you are not a fan of relaxing on the beach there is plenty to see and do on all of the varying islands.
The adventurers can explore Mount Teide national park, located on Tenerife, a UNESCO world heritage site and the country’s highest peak, standing at 7500m above the ocean floor. Mount Teide is, in fact, an active volcano but the most recent eruption occurred in 1909. You can view in wonderment petrified lava, huge craters and even lava flows. Those in a good physical condition can enjoy a challenging climb to the summit, however, those less able can still make it to the top by using the Teide cable car, giving everyone the chance to stand on an active volcano and the third tallest volcanic structure in the world.
A sight that shouldn’t be missed is the Morro Velosa Statues. These are two king figures that overlook the mountains of Fuerteventura, the second biggest island of the Canaries. It is recommended that people visit this attraction at night when the sky is free from light pollution as the Milky Way can be observed in all its splendour.
Barcelona is the capital city of the Catalan region, a region that was not always part of the Spain many of us know today. The Catalans had their own rich history and identity, heavy references to which, although now merged with modern Spain, can still be found throughout Barcelona today. An example of this can be seen simply by looking at the street signs in Barcelona. The Catalan’s have their own language which can be seen written alongside Spanish throughout the city. To many Catalans their heritage is an important part of their culture which is why it still remains in Barcelona.
Living here you can immerse yourself in the Catalan culture and discover more about its history by visiting the Museu Nacional D’Art De Catalunya, the museum of Catalan visual art. You can see the best collection of Romanesque mural painting in the world as well as work from Catalan artists such as Casas.
Barcelona is also known for its architecture, particularly the work of Antoni Gaudi, he was the main architect behind La Sagrada Familia. This famous building actually functions as a Catholic church but is still being built despite construction starting back in 1882. It has taken over 100 years to build, and it is not due to be finished until 2046. Even though it is incomplete, you are still able to go inside and witness what has been described by many as strange and beautiful.
If you are looking for a taste of modern life in Spain then buying an apartment overlooking the famous Las Ramblas. Along the 1.2km stretch, you will find a range of shops, bars, eateries, hotels, human statues and live performances. It is a vibrant promenade synonymous with the city and sitting on Las Ramblas with a glass of Sangria watching the street performers is an experience that should be coveted by everybody.
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Photo: Maciek Lulko