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I vividly remember my first time in Spain. I was in my early-twenties and Spain was very high on my bucket list. Together with a friend, I planned an 18-day road-trip from Barcelona to Madrid; a trip which turned out to be the start of my love affair with Spain which continues till this day!

We started with a few days in the city of Gaudí and Míro, taking in all the major sights before heading for the Pyrenees mountains. We spent a few days criss-crossing this majestic mountain range before heading south to the Rioja region. From here, we went further south to the historic city of Segovia, and continued west to Mérida in the Extremadura region which borders Portugal. After several days here, we headed east to Toledo before ending our pretty epic road-trip in Madrid. Our list of experiences was long and varied, encompassing culinary, historical, natural and cultural highlights. Now, more than twenty trips later, I’m still deeply in love with Spain! Here’s why…

Reasons I love Spain in 45 photos

The colours!

Spain is such an incredibly colourful country: from the vivid colours of Míro’s creations to picturesque villages, the bright blue of the Mediterranean Sea, festivals and the food… The colours are simply captivating!

An artist painting the charming village of Calella de Palafrugell, north of Barcelona.
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Art by Joan Míro in Barcelona.
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Ladies in colourful traditional costumes in Valencia.

Read about things to do in Valencia.

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Even the ice-cream is colourful! This one’s from the famous Rocambolesc in Girona.
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The bright blue of the Mediterranean in Mallorca.
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Colourful Cudillero in Asturias in northern Spain.

Read about things to do in Asturias.

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Girona’s colourful riverfront.

Read about a stroll around Girona.

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A street in Toledo.
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The colourful splendor of Salvador Dalí! He painted this on the ceiling at the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres.

Read about Salvador Dali museums in Costa Brava.

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The colourful volcanic landscape of Lanzarote.

Read about things to do in Lanzarote.

Tantalising markets

Markets are always one of my favourite places to visit whenever I travel and especially so in Spain!

Seafood stall at the La Boqueria market in Barcelona.
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Central Market in Valencia.
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One of my favourite stops at any Spanish market!
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Seafood tapas at Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid.

Read about my visit to Mercado de San Miguel and other things to do in Madrid.

Gorgeous towns and villages

There are countless towns and villages in Spain worth exploring. Many feature quaint alleys and lively squares whilst some have magnificent cathedrals, fortresses and other historic monuments.

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A quaint street in Peratallada.
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The walled town of Morella.

Read more about Morella.

The seaside fortress town of Peniscola.

Read about my visit to Peniscola.

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Calella de Palafrugell
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Besalú at the foothills of the Pyrenees in Catalonia.

Read about the medieval towns and gastronomy in Costa Brava, Catalonia.

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Toledo, south of Madrid.
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Haria in the Valley of a Thousand Palms in Lanzarote.
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Castellfollit de la Roca

Food, food… glorious food!

Haha, you were probably wondering when I was going to mention food! Well, yes, the amazing variety and quality of the food is one of the biggest reasons I love Spain! From the pintxos bars in the Basque Country to the freshest seafood in the smallest coastal villages, and from the buzzing tapas bars in Seville to Michelin heaven in El Celler de Can Roca, Spain is a true culinary paradise!

Pintxos bar
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A busy pintxos bar in San Sebastian, one of Spain’s great culinary capitals.
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Squid starters at El Celler de Can Roca, constantly voted as one of the world’s best restaurants, in Girona.
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I’ve had the privilege of meeting the Roca brothers on various occasions and I’m always in awe of their culinary genius! This is Joan, the master chef at Celler de Can Roca.
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Another culinary genius I’ve had the privilege of meeting is Ferran Adria. Considered a culinary god by many around the world, Ferran Adria, with his unconventional approach to food, is a true inspiration.
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One of the first things I order on any trip to Spain!
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A gorgeous seafood platter at another Michelin-stared establishment: Vertical in Valencia.
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When you’re done with picking up your seafood with tweezers, you can dig into this seafood paella!

Bewildering architecture

Another great reason why I love Spain! The diverse architectural styles, from medieval monuments to Gothic greatness, the romance of the Renaissance and futuristic creations… Spain has loads to offer in terms of architecture!

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The Plaza de España in Seville.

Read about the historic architecture in Seville.

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The arches and tilework inside the Alcazar palace in Seville.

Read about things to do in Seville.

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City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia.
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The City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia by night.

Read more about the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia.

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Laboral Cultural centre in Gijón, Asturias.
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Toledo Cathedral

Read about things to do in Toledo.

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The Centro Niemeyer in Aviles, Asturias.

Read about the Centro Niemeyer.

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The Madrid Airport is another architectural gem.
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The breathtaking Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

Extraordinary experiences

I’ve had so many extraordinary experiences in Spain, including many firsts, like sky-diving, taking part in a medieval festival and enjoying an exquisite dinner in an artist’s studio.

My first and only skydive! At Empurias Bravas in Costa Brava.

Read about my hilarious skydive.

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The best roast suckling pig I’ve ever had! At El Celler de Can Roca.

Read about my meal at El Celler de Can Roca.

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The Count & Countess arrive for the dinner at the Terra de Trobadors medieval festival.
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My medieval outfit at the Terra de Trobadors medieval festival.

Read about the Terra de Trobadors medieval festival.

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Dining at the extraordinary studio of Quim Hereu in Banyoles.

Read about my extraordinary dinner with Quim Hereu.

And finally, I love Spain because of its fabulous BEACHES!

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Tamariu, a lovely beach town in Costa Brava, north of Barcelona.

 

Note: this post was brought to you in partnership with the Spain National Tourist Office. All views mentioned above, including my unbridled enthusiasm, are mine.

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