In Spain there is a wide variety of climates depending on the area and the season of the year. In some regions there are around 300 sunny days per year, that is why it is one of the warmest countries in Europe. Climate could be also one important reason to study in Spain.
In general, we can classify the climate in three categories:
- The Continental Mediterranean climate typical from the inland like Madrid, Valladolid and Zaragoza. It is distinguished by cold winters with temperatures between 0ºC and 3ºC, and warm summers with temperatures between 25ºC and 35ºC. Precipitations are not often and appear mostly in Spring and Autumn.
- The Mediterranean climate typical in the cities like Barcelona and Valencia. Winters are light with temperature between 15ºC and 18ºC and in summer it can reach up to 30ºC. Precipitations are abundant in Autumn and light in Spring. The Mediterranean climate is considered one of the most pleasant in Spain because of the light temperatures, the limited precipitations and the big amount of sunny days.
- The ocean climate is typical in the regions like País Vasco or Galicia. In those regions close to the seaside, the temperatures during the winter vary between 12ºC and 15ºC, and during the summer are between 20ºC and 25ºC. Thanks to the rainy climate, the landscape is very green during the whole year.
If you decide to study in Spain you should know that Spain has a very rich cultural and historical heritage due to the different civilizations that lived in Spain like Celts, Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Muslims. According to UNESCO, Spain is the third country with more places declared World Heritage Site.
In Spain due to the civilizations mentioned before, there is a wide range of different monuments like palaces, castles, fortified walls, medieval cities and cathedrals.
We can find Muslim monuments like Alhambra in Granada,
or many Roman traces like Acueducto de Segovia in the north of the capital,
or the Andalusian city Ronda.
There are also modern monuments like La Sagrada Familia or the unique park Güell, (designed by Antonio Gaudí). Nowadays it is one of the symbols of Barcelona.
In Spain very well known artists like Goya, Picasso, Velázquez or Dali were born, therefore you can find their work in museums like Museo del Prado or Museo Reina Sofía, both of them in Madrid.
In the field of literature there are much standing writers like Miguel de Cervantes, (who wrote Don Quijote de la Mancha) Lope de Vega, Federico García Lorca, Francisco de Quevedo or Gustavo Adolfo Béquer.
In addition, in Spain there are also very popular actors, actresses and cinema directors. Among them the most popular Spanish directors are Pedro Almodóvar and Alejandro Amenábar, the actors Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas.
Regarding Spanish music, it is very important the folk music and the legacy left in the history by different cultures. Therefore nowadays there is a rich heritage of different music styles and popular dances like la Sardana from Cataluña, la Muñeira from Galicia, la Jota from Aragón or el Chotis from Madrid.
Two of the most famous Spanish music and dance styles are Flamenco and Sevillanas. The origin of those styles is located in the southern regions called Andalucía, Extremadura and Murcia . The most outstanding flamenco guitarist in the world is Paco de Lucía.
Currently there are many popular national and international music styles in Spain, like pop, rock, electro or techno.
Regarding national celebrations, the following ones are the most outstanding:
Bullfighting on the one hand is one of the most popular traditions, but on the other hand it is also very controversial because a part of the population disagrees with this kind of celebrations and probably in the future it will disappear. The most famous celebration related to bulls is San Fermín (in Pamplona, Navarra).
Las fallas from Valencia is a very touristic attraction in which big dolls are fulfilled with fireworks and afterwards burned.
Feria de Abril takes place in Seville. It is one of the most popular events in Andalucía. Relatives and friends eat and drink typical food while singing and dancing.
Carnivals from Cádiz and TenerifeThe population takes the streets dressed up beautifully for this celebration.
La tomatina in Buñol (a village in Valencia). Participants throw tomatoes to each other and the streets become in a big tomatoes battle field.
Finally, we have to mention sports as a part of the Spanish culture. The most popular sports are football, basketball and tennis. In those sports there are internationally well known athletes like Pau Gasol, Rafael Nadal or Iker Casillas.
To sum up, culture could also be an important reason to study in Spain.
If you study in Spain you will definitely enjoy Spanish gastronomy because it is very rich and vary due to the influence of many civilizations during the history and the diversity of climates in Spain. That is why there are many differences between northern, centered, southern and coastal regions.
In addition, Mediterranean cuisine is declared as World´s Cultural and Immaterial Heritage by UNESCO and it is considered one of the healthiest in the world. Spanish cuisine is based on vegetables, olive oil and seasonal products.
Some of the most original and popular dishes of various regions are called “tapas“. It is very typical in Madrid, Granada, San Sebastián, Zaragoza and Valladolid.
Tapas are for free when a drink is ordered. Can be a snack of any kind of Spanish product like ham, Spanish omelette, croquettes...
All over Spain there are many traditional dishes, but each region has its own specific traditional cuisine:
In this area there are many mountains and the climate is rainy and humid, that is why the traditional cuisine is based on satiating dishes and stews with fish and meat.
“Fabada” is a traditional dish from Asturias with white beans, bacon and some other pork products.
In País Vasco the traditional dish is called Pinchos, primarily in San Sebastián and Bilbao.
In Galicia the typical dishes are octopus and seafood. This region is very well known for the high quality of their products.
Finally in La Rioja we can enjoy “Vino tinto” , it is a very famous region because of their wines with certificate of origin.
The cuisine is influenced by the continental climate in this area, characterized by cold and dry winters. The main products used are meat, specially pork, and legumes.
Regions like Madrid, Castilla y León, Extremadura and Castilla al Mancha are the most important in this zone.
The most traditional dishes are:
In the northern part of this zone there is a city called Segovia, where the traditional dishes are pork and lamb cooked in the wooden stove.
Castilla La Mancha is very popular for the cheese called Quesos Manchegos.
In Extremadura the most famous product is Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (ham), incredibly tasty and very known.
Cocido fromMadrid It is like a soup composed of chickpeas, meat and vegetables, especially recommended for cold days in winter.
Mediterranean cuisine is very typical in many Spanish families, especially in cities like Barcelona, Valencia, Murcia and Islas Baleares.
It is based on cereals, vegetables, legumes, fruits, olive oil and regular consumption of wine, these products are combined with local fish, meat and seafood.
In Barcelona we can find several traditional dishes like “Calcots”, (onions baked on the grill), “Pantumaca” (a toast with oil and tomato) and Crema Catalana (a tasty dessert).
In Valencia the most traditional dish is called “Paella”, which can be cooked in many different ways. For example, Paella can be cooked with black rice and squid´s ink or “Fideua style” cooked with pasta instead of rice.
In Murcia there are plenty of vegetables, therefore traditional dishes contain lots of them. Moje is a traditional local dish made from salad, tomatoes, onions, boiled eggs and cods.
Andalucia´s cuisine is influenced by the Mediterranean cuisine, where lots of vegetables are being used, olive oil and legumes. However as in all the coastal areas, fish and seafood is widely used.
Those are the main traditional Andalucian dishes:
Gazpacho Andaluz is a traditional dish in the whole region prepared mostly in summer when it is warm because is served cold. It is made from tomatoes, olive oil, cucumbers and vinegar.
Las tapas in Granada are very famous because they are cheap and plentiful. If a drink is ordered, a “tapa” will be provided for free and probably will be enough to feel satiated.
In Cadiz traditional dishes are Pescaito (small fried fishes like anchovies or sardines) and red tuna.
At last in Huelva the traditional product is La Gamba Blanca (shrimps cooked on the grill or boiled).
Therefore gastronomy could be quite a good reason to study in Spain.
Spain is a country with a wide diversity of landscapes and incredible vegetation, where you can disconnect form the busy cities, do sports, go trekking or just enjoy the nature.
Thanks to the variety of climates and the mountain chain, we can find many natural reserves, biosphere reserves, volcanoes, lakes, rivers and delightful beaches all around the country. Nature could also be an important reason to study in Spain.
The following pictures show some of the natural miracles you can find in Spain:
Islas Cíes in Galicia, in the north of Spain
Picos de Europa, in the north of Spain
The volcano Timanfaya in Lanzarote, Islas Canarias
National park Monfragüe in Extremadura, in the west of Spain
Cala in Menorca, Islas Baleares
Hoces del Duratón in Segovia, near Madrid
Las Médulas in León
Playa de las Catedrales, in Asturias, in the north of Spain
Los Pirineos, in the north of Spain
Cuevas de Nerja, Málaga