Thinking about studying abroad in Spain? There’s no shortage of reasons why Spain is an amazing place to study abroad, but the friendly people, laid-back culture and lifestyle, warm weather, low cost of living and studying, vibrant nightlife and stunning landscapes are just a few! Not convinced yet? No worries. We’ve got 7 reasons why you should choose Spain for your study abroad trip!
1. Live in one of Spain’s most popular cities.
Spain is home to a variety of study abroad programs, many taught in English, that are spread throughout the country. But because every city in Spain is beautiful and filled with tons of culture and history, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all your options. Wondering where in Spain to go? Here are some of our favorite cities:
If you are looking for a large, vibrant city with a unique flair, look no further than the heart of Catalonia. Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in Spain for study abroad students! The Spanish language here is slightly different than the rest of the country, but the parks, beaches, nightlife, and all-around vibrant energy more than make up for it.
The capital of Andalucia, Sevilla is the perfect blend of traditional Spanish culture with some modern flares. Between the ornate plazas and palaces and stunning parks and rivers, you’ll have no problem making yourself at home in this beautiful and historic city. Plus, it’s famous for its flamenco dancing, which means Sevilla also knows how to have a good time!
It’s a stunning port city, but Valencia is good for way more than just sunbathing (although the beaches are pretty amazing). It’s known for its state-of-the-art Science and Art Park as well as it’s 15th-century Old Town. Want to experience some of the best of both modern and traditional Spain? Valencia is where it’s at.
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is often known as the “New York of Spain” due to its size and range of neighborhoods. An elegant and sprawling city, it’s a great place to immerse yourself in the culture and history of Spain, with plenty of museums, palaces and history to keep you busy for way longer than just a semester.
Seriously a hidden gem of Spain! Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Spain, and the dramatic backdrop is offset by ancient palaces and medieval architecture. Enjoy a small-town feel hand-in-hand with beautiful castles and ornate city streets.
This city is home to one of the oldest universities found in Europe and has everything you’d want from a city with a smaller-town feel. It’s been an intellectual hub in Spain since the 15th century and the large international student population means it’ll be super easy for you to meet new people and make friends.
2. Tapas, tapas, tapas.
You can’t go to Spain without sitting down for some grade-A tapas. Tapas are smaller appetizer-sized dishes with prices typically ranging from 4 to 8 euros. Get a bunch for the table to share or get a few different plates for yourself! Better yet, find streets filled with restaurants and make a day out of tapas-hopping.
You can also hit up a pincho bar where the plates are super small and typically cost just €1 or €2! Possibly the most delicious way to fill up for just €10. Most bars in Granada will also serve complimentary tapas with your drinks—score! El Tigre in Madrid is also known for serving top-notch tapas with each drink. Here’s to hoping you luck out and get the paella!
3 . Travel easily within Spain.
Studying abroad in Spain provides a unique opportunity to explore the rest of the country (which could keep you busy all semester!) Spain is one of those countries where you can ski and surf on the same day. Composed of beautiful beaches, vineyards, cities and mountains as well as historical sites—Spain is one large territory to explore! Regions range from Catalonia to Andalucia to Basque country, each with their own local cultures, accents, foods and more.
4. Immerse yourself in Spanish history & culture.
Looking for somewhere to study abroad where you can soak up some culture and history? Spain is a good go-to. There’s an abundance of museums, palaces, castles and churches. From history dating back thousands of years to intricate architecture and design to breathtaking views, there are almost too many places to get a real feel of how rich in history the Spanish culture is. Need the short list? Here are a few of our top picks in each category:
- El Prado (Madrid)
- Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid)
- The Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao)
- Valencia Modern Art Institute (Valencia)
- Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (Valencia)
- Dali Theatre-Museum (Girona)
- Museo Picasso (Barcelona)
Palaces & Castles:
- Royal Palace of Madrid
- Alhambra (Granada)
- Royal Alcazar & Gardens (Sevilla)
- Alcazar de Segovia (Segovia)
- Castillo de Colomares (Malaga)
- La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)
- Mosque of Cordoba (Cordoba)
- Seville Cathedral (Sevilla)
- Burgos Cathedral
- Toledo Cathedral (Toledo)
- El Escorial (San Lorenzo)
- Cathedral de la Almudena (Madrid)
5. Marvel at the unique landscapes & nature.
If you take the chance to head outside of the major cities while you study abroad (which you definitely should), you’ll find one-of-a-kind beauty in Spain’s nature and natural parks. Between the beaches, mountains, countryside and parks, there’s plenty of day-trips you can take to refresh from city life. Feast your eyes (and fill up your Insta) on this array of must-see places, from beaches to ancient towns and landscapes:
- Old City of Toledo
- Park Guell, Barcelona
- La Plaza de Espana, Sevilla
- Puente Nuevo, Ronda (best as a day trip)
- Beaches of Costa del Sol
- La Ruta de Cares (near Bilbao)
- The White Towns of Andalucia
- Montserrat National Park (near Barcelona)
6. Celebrate with Spain’s fiesta attitude.
The Spanish attitude is the fiesta attitude! There are many festivals throughout the year, making life all the richer and merrier for everyone. If you study abroad in Spain, you’re definitely going to learn how to celebrate! In fact, Spain has the most bars per capita of any country in the EU—approximately 1 for every 132 people. FYI: bars in Spain typically sell a lot more than you think, serving up coffee and pastries earlier in the day.
Not to worry, though—after going through the roller-coaster of partying and celebrations, the amazing Spanish cuisine will clear out all the buzz left behind. Want to hang with the most adventurous fiesta fans? Stay up to catch the sunrise and grab some coffee or churros y chocolate.
7. Take advantage of afternoon siestas.
Work hard, nap harder. Spain is known for having a long lunch break in the middle of the day during peak heat. Since many restaurants shut off their kitchens for 3 to 4 hours, families often use this time for a long, relaxed meal with time to bond and chat.
While the idea that everyone actually naps during siesta is a myth, it’s certainly a great way to take advantage of this down time! As a student, this time could also be used for getting school work out of the way, having meetings, enjoying a walk around a park or heading to your local cafe with a friend.
Where is your dream study abroad destination?