The dystopian novels Animal Farm and 1984 suggest that Orwell was no optimist. However, his Spanish Civil War-era quote holds true today. Spain is a country with a big heart, a big thirst for wine, a big appetite for great food and a big affinity for art, music and sports.
Unbeknownst to most, Spain is the third-most visited country in the world in number of tourists, trailing only France and the United States. Major cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia have become magnets for global travelers seeking both Old and New World experiences.
Meanwhile, secondary cities like San Sebastián and Segovia have blossomed into culinary meccas, while dynamic wine regions ranging from Rioja and Ribera del Duero to Rías Baixas draw throngs of visitors eager to walk the vineyards and taste some of the world’s greatest wines.
“I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain.” —George Orwell, from Homage to Catalonia, 1938
Traveling to Spain is something we’ve both been doing—and thoroughly enjoying—for years. The country with the most acreage under vine has long attracted us. In fact, writing this recalls the pleasures of eating grilled turbot and sipping a mature Rioja blanco in Getaria, or indulging in a sumptuous rice dish served with a crisp Cava along the beach in Sitges, or nibbling on ibérico ham in any number of spots, a fine Tempranillo to the side.
When you add in the country’s long and rich history, maybe a bullfight (if that’s your thing), a night of flamenco or a gripping soccer match, it’s clear that Spain offers something for everybody.
It’s precisely why we’ve dedicated a special issue to all that is Spain. From Galicia across to Catalonia, and from Andalucía to the Canary Islands and back to the arid plains of central Spain, this issue is packed. You’ll find articles on Spain’s major wine regions, top wineries and winemakers, travel destinations and its most accomplished chefs, athletes, singers, architects and fashion designers, all of whom profess love for their nation’s terrific wines and delicious food.
We hope you enjoy reading our all-encompassing take on Spain.