1. Spain has one of the best culinary scenes anywhere. There are simple and delicious “peasant” dishes and loads of Michelin restaurants with innovative fare, unique regional cuisines, and don’t forget the tapas.  Why is Spain so good with gastronomy? I believe it stems from the fact that Spanish people love socializing and practice it with passion while dining. The tapeo or tapas walk is just as much about meeting friends as it is about the food. Another reason is the Spanish agricultural sector has always been a huge part of the nation’s economy and is entwined in the daily life of the people. For example, the Spanish have the largest food fights in the world. At a festival in Bunol they have a great time taking tons of tomatoes and making salsa and ketchup by chucking and grinding the red fruit all over anyone in sight. Tip: If you go, don’t go formal.

2. Since we brought up the great cuisine we have to brag about Spanish wine. Some of it is perhaps the best that you can find, anywhere, period. Toro, La Rioja, La Ribera, and Priorat regional wines are among many that are outstanding. The level of viticulture is on par with the best and in some cases showing the world how it’s done. And did you know they don’t always export their best stuff. They keep it to themselves! Imagine. And speaking of food fights there’s, you guessed it, a wine festival in Haro every June where they have drinking contests and a Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine) I guess since Spain is the largest producer of wine in Europe they have enough for this messy purple affair. Tip: If you go, don’t go formal.

3. Spain is old. Really old. While the Roman and Greek ruins in Spain are evidence of oldness the finding of human remains at Atapuerca near Burgos have them beat by quite a few years. That is roughly 1.2 million years give or take a millennia or two. The human bones found at Atapuerca are in fact the oldest discovered in Europe. I wonder if they ate auroch tail tapas? Tip: If its on the menu, I wouldn’t try it. Its probably fake.

4. Spain has the one of the best climates in Europe. There’s usually plenty of sun and if you schedule your trip right and with a little help from mother nature you can enjoy pleasant conditions just about any time of the year. I mean sure Andalusia is baking hot in the summer but what are you doing there in the summer in the first place?  Go to Basque country or sailing along Galicia on our St James Way by the Sea tour. And don’t forget there’s a reason the siesta was invented and the Spanish dine late in the evening. Its too hot in the middle of the day especially in the peak of summer. Tip: Siesta when you can, bring sun block and drink water.

5. Spanish people are notoriously friendly and gregarious and have a zest for life that is charming and contagious. So if you really don’t like those qualities then perhaps Spain is not for you. I mean who wants to be around warm engaging people when you’re crabby and grouchy? You might get happy and have a good time. To top it off the Spanish are the longest lived people of Europe and “scientists” from the University of Vermont have judged that Spanish is the most positive sounding lingo on the planet. Tip: Get happy and break out your Spanish phrasebook.