Here in the U.S. we celebrate Columbus Day on the second Monday in October. You may not know that on October 12, Spain celebrates the National Day of Spain, or Fiesta Nacional de España, also in honor of Columbus stepping onto American soil in 1492. So in honor of our shared history we invite you consider some of the amazing places on the Spain map.
From its historic architectural jewels to its cutting edge food scene, Spain is much more than just the sunny summer playground for the rest of Europe. Presently inhabiting a sizeable portion of the Iberian peninsula and overhanging the picturesque Mediterranean, Spain was a major player in European power and politics from the Middle Ages and until the collapse of the empire in the 19th century. The period known as El Siglo de Oro, or the Golden Age of Spain, produced amazing art from Goya and the very prolific Velázquez, the construction of El Escorial (the residence of the King) and impressive cathedrals, hundreds of plays by Lope de Vega and what is thought to be the first novel in Western literature, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quijote, the beginnings of Flamenco, and numerous other musical and cultural contributions.
Besides the beauty of the natural landscape, the sun-drenched beaches of the southern coast, and the Balearic Islands, Spain also boasts impressive feats of architecture, the town squares replicated in hundreds of colonial outposts around the world, the Moorish influence in places like Granada, and Gaudí in Barcelona. Spain’s museums are not to be missed, nor is the cuisine which blends traditional ingredients and innovative techniques and is now at the forefront of world gastronomy. Itching to go? Here are 20 reasons you’ll fall in love if you travel to Spain.
1. Tapas Before you even think about places to visit in Spain, think tapas. You can spend the whole day hopping from bar to xampañería (bars featuring cava, Spain’s answer to champagne), snacking on delicious morsels of tasty, local—and often umami—fare.