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There are certain things in life that are best enjoyed when you’re young. From all-night raves and festivals to life-changing spiritual journeys, here are seven things to enjoy when you’re experiencing Spain in your twenties.
The parties on Ibiza are legendary. Home to some of the largest nightclubs in the world – Privilege can hold 10,000 people – and attracting some of the biggest DJs of the electro, house and trans scene, Ibiza is the ultimate party island. Each year, it seems, the music gets louder, the nights get longer and the atmosphere gets wilder. A long weekend is more than likely to be enough to give you a good taste of what partying on Ibiza means; any longer is likely to take its toll on your health.
The Camino de Santiago – sometimes known as Saint James’ Way in English – is one of the oldest pilgrimage routes in Europe. It’s a network of routes that end at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The Spanish part begins in the Pyrenees mountains and takes you across the whole northwest of Spain. An impressive feat for even the hardiest of walkers, the camino is also a spiritual journey, not just in religious terms, but as a moment of contemplation and removal from modern life.
Taking place in the small town of Buñol in Valencia, La Tomatina involves a large-scale tomato-throwing fight, and results in some pretty impressive sights. Buckets and buckets of extra-ripe tomatoes are brought to the town for the celebration, which has taken place since 1945 and today attracts tourists from far and wide.
One of the leading electronic music festivals in the world, Sónar Music festival is one of the most highly anticipated events to take place in the city. Divided in two parts – Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night – for a whole week, the party never seems to end. Local nightclubs and bars host their own events, known as the Off Sónar, and the line-up at the festival and elsewhere features some of the biggest names on the electronic music scene.
Growing only at a particular time of the year, generally between January and April, calçots are a type of sweet spring onion which are considered a delicacy in Spain. The traditional way to eat them is called a calçotada and involves a day-long barbecue feast. The onions are charred until the outside layer goes black; the skin is peeled off to reveal a beautifully tender inside. Grab it whole and dip it into a rich nutty sauce called romesco before dangling it straight into your mouth. It always gets messy, but fortunately you are customarily also given a large bib.
You don’t need to be a sports fan to be able to appreciate the atmosphere at an El Clásico match. Barcelona and Madrid have a long history of rivalry and in terms of football, FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid is one of the most important matches of the season. Pick your side carefully and make sure you’re sitting in the right section.
In 2005 La Patum de Bergà was recognised as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. A five-day-long celebration of Corpus Christi, La Patum features processions, dances and – most remarkably – a lot of pyrotechnics. The open-air ball known as Els Plens sees crowds gather on the main square, usually dressed up as devils and mystical creatures, to dance in the dark while fireworks and sparklers are let off all around then. Hard to describe, you really need to see it to believe it, but La Patum is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.