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Five reasons why people like Spain so much

According to recent surveys about Spain’s image, foreigners award the country top marks, while Spaniards give it only a ‘pass’. Why is Spain perceived better abroad than at home? The recently published book 1785 motivos por los que hasta un noruego querría ser español (1,785 Reasons Why Even a Norwegian Would Want to be Spanish) is aimed at improving the way Spaniards see themselves and their lifestyle. Here are five of those 1,785 reasons why – according to José María Moya, coordinator of the book and of the Proyecto 1785 project – Spain is such an appealing tourist destination.

  1. 1 Because Spain is a world leader in heritage sites

    Spain has 48 Unesco-recognised biosphere reserves. These include islands such as La Palma and La Gomera, glacier valleys such as Somiedo and Redes in Asturias, desert landscapes such as the Cabo de Gata in Almería, and gulfs and rias such as the Ebro Delta. All of them are part of Spain’s extensive natural heritage, which also includes the country’s 15 national parks.

    The Bardenas Reales in Navarra
  2. 2 Because Spain is in the top five countries with Michelin stars

    Spain boasts a total of 195 Michelin-starred restaurants: 11 have three stars, the maximum number a restaurant may be awarded. Of the remaining establishments, 25 have two stars and 159 have one star. Among all the regions, San Sebastián – home to restaurants such as Akelarre and Arzak – is known for being the city with the most Michelin stars per square metre in the world. The recognition of Designations of Origin such as Ribera del Duero or Rioja has boosted wine tourism, and increasing numbers of visitors are drawn to the nation’s wine industry.

    San Sebastian, the city with the most Michelin stars per square metre in the world
  3. 3 Because of its unique cultural heritage

    Spain’s cultural heritage is a reflection of centuries of coexistence among multiple civilisations embodied in disciplines such as painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music. Moreover, Spain is number three globally in the number of Unesco World Heritage Sites, and this an irresistible asset for people who come to discover the country.

    Prado Museum, which has one of the world's finest collections of European art
  4. 4 Because of the quality of its beaches

    While everyone knows about the quality of Spain’s beaches, what they may not know is that Spain is the country with the most blue flags, an award presented by the European Foundation for Environmental Education to the beaches and marinas that meet a number of facility and environmental conditions such as water quality, general services and safety. Spain currently has a total of 684 of these flags. One of every six blue flags flying worldwide is Spanish.

    Costa Brava beaches
  5. 5 Because visitors who come, come back

    The number of tourists that visit Spain is growing exponentially. According to data from Exceltur, it‘s estimated that this year Spain broke the barrier of 75 million visitors. And that’s because they keep coming back. Lots of tourists say they’ve already been to Spain and that they’ve come back ready to explore other parts of the country: in figures, 80 per cent of visitors who come to Spain, come back. The sun is just one of many features that appeal to visitors. Security is another factor that makes Spain a desirable destination: it happens to be the eighteenth safest country in the world, according to the World Economic Forum.

    El 80% de quienes visitan España, repiten