It’s always easy to find a reason to visit Spain. Topping many travelers’ lists are tapas, aka the world’s best bar food, miles of sandy beaches (many of them along the mild waters of the Mediterranean), and of course, some of the world’s best wine.
On top of that list, you can add friendly locals, beautiful architecture, natural scenery, and more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than you can possibly experience on any one trip. And if you need any extra convincing, just compare prices in Spain to other popular destinations in Europe, and you’ve got a can’t-miss vacation that’s easy on your pocketbook.
Still need more reasons? Here are 10 more reasons to visit Spain in 2017.
1. The favorable Dollar to Euro exchange rate
Spain has always been a budget traveler’s paradise. The country’s inexpensive wine, food, and public transportation are even more wallet-friendly when the Euro takes a nose-dive, and since 2016, it’s started a downward trend that looks like it’ll last well into 2017.
At the time of writing, $1 buys €0.96, which means you can now estimate prices at a 1 to 1 ratio. Score!
2. Cheaper flights to Spain courtesy of new providers
Now you can fly to Spain from the US cheaper than ever with Norwegian Air. Starting in June 2017, the budget air carrier is adding flights from the U.S. cities of Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Newark Liberty, and Oakland to Barcelona with fares starting at $179 each way.
Related: 10 Tips for flying Norwegian to Europe
And if you can’t wait until June, you can always grab a budget fare to another European hub city and add a Spanish city to your European itinerary with bargain fares from low-cost airlines like Vueling, RyanAir, easyJet, and Air Berlin. For the cheapest fares, book as far in advance as possible (or gamble on a last-minute fare days before departure) between two major destinations – think London and Barcelona, Paris and Madrid, etc.
3. Competitively priced air travel within Spain
While the increased competition in transatlantic flights is bound to lower the price of fares to Spain from abroad, it’s also important to note that the growing number of low-cost providers flying between Spain’s regional airports have made it cheaper than ever to fly inside the country.
Flying from Madrid or Barcelona to amazing cities in Spain like Granada, Santiago, and Malaga would cost you a pretty penny before this year. For the most part, you were limited to full-service airlines like Iberia, however, now budget carriers Ryanair and Vueling offer bargain fares booked year-round by savvy locals and travelers alike.
Start planning your 2017 trip! Search for budget flights in Europe.
4. World-famous musicians in Barcelona and Madrid
Who says you can’t build your trip to the Iberian Peninsula around a musical event? Beyond major music festivals like Primavera Sound in Barcelona (May 31- June 4) and the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid (July 6-8), concert halls in Spain’s two largest cities will host quite a few world-famous acts for 2017.
Related: Affordable hotels in Barcelona near top attractions
Barcelona will feature Lana Del Rey on February 1, Sting on March 21, Macy Gray April 1, and Suzanne Vega on June 10.
Madrid: Beginning in April and continuing through early summer, some big names in music will stop in Madrid: Bruno Mars (April 3rd), Guns N’ Roses (June 4), Aerosmith (June 29), Food Fighters with Belle and Sebastian (July 6th), Green Day (July 7th), and Kings of Leon with Wilco (July 8th).
To find more musical events, search by city and genre of music, and for discounted concert tickets, try atrapalo.com.
5. Midsummer festivities in Alicante
Every year in Spain, locals and visitors alike welcome warm weather with St. John’s Eve celebrations. The most famous of these take place in Alicante, a beautiful port city located on the Costa Blanca, where locals combine the more widespread midsummer tradition of bonfires with the burning of large-scale sculptures and effigies like those used in Valencia’s renowned Las Fallas festival.
Related: Find a budget hotel in Alicante
Beyond the wild festivities, there are street parties with live music as well as traditional dancing, parades, and beauty contests. Of course, you’ll also find very affordable food and drink on every corner of the city.
6. New Year’s and Three Kings celebrations in Barcelona
New Year’s (December 31 – January 1) in Barcelona is a fun affair for visitors of all ages. Beyond the widespread Spanish custom of eating 12 grapes, one with each chime at the stroke of midnight for good luck, the locals have some interesting New Year’s traditions of their own.
Come New Year’s Eve day, l’home dels nassos, or the “nose-man”, a character that has as many noses as days are left in the year, that children are encouraged to spot for good luck every year on December 31st (the only day of the year that he looks like everyone else). Closer to midnight, you can take in fireworks and the colorful waters of Montjuïc’s magic fountain dancing to holiday music.
After ringing in the New Year like a local, you’d be best advised to stay in the city until at least January 5th and see the always entertaining menagerie of performers and whimsical floats in the Three Kings Parade through the city center.
7. Carnival in Sitges
While Venice’s masquerades and the Canary Island’s Brazilian-style celebrations get most of the hype in Europe, the Carnival parades and events in Sitges, known as “Carnestoltes“, are a generous dose of fun to add to your European itinerary.
Related: A Budget guide to visiting Sitges, Spain
The 2017 festivities kick off on Fat Thursday (February 23rd) with the arrival of King Carnestoltes and the presentation of his queen. The fun continues through Ash Wednesday (March 1st) when a sardine is paraded around town with plenty of mock seriousness and then “laid to rest” in a surprisingly cheerful ceremony symbolic of burying the past in the hopes of creating a better future.
Looking for an affordable place to stay? Search over 300 hotels in Sitges, Spain.
8. The Wine-Throwing Festival in Rioja
Another good reason to come to Spain in 2017? For the famous San Vino Wine Festival in Haro in La Rioja on June 28-30. Hike up a mountain with thirsty locals for the epic Wine Battle on St. Peter’s Feast Day.
On the mountaintop, there are water trucks and buckets full of wine that you can make use of to douse anyone and everyone around you before heading back down the mountain to Haro for a night of dancing and wine drinking. Just be sure to pack a set of clothes you don’t care about much for this event. A pair of (wine) goggles wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
Related: See our list of 12 hotels in Haro, Spain
9. A Jubilee Pilgrimage on the Lebaniego Way
This lesser-known pilgrimage route in Cantabria (northern Spain) is always an interesting and less-crowded alternative to the more popular St. James Way. With a length of 72 km, the Lebaniego Way is also a great starter’s route — the whole route can be walked in three days.
2017 is an especially attractive year to follow the red arrow that signals the route. Starting on April 16, Santo Toribio Monastery (where the route ends) enters a jubilee year. Even if you’re not particularly interested in viewing the largest surviving fragment of the cross, known as the Lignum Crucis at the way’s end, the spectacular scenery and the special religious and cultural events to celebrate the jubilee year will make all that walking worth your while.
Cheapo tip: Besides, all things considered, walking is way cheaper than renting a car, and you won’t have to worry about finding budget accommodations with a gym to keep up with your workout schedule.
10. The Barcelona Marathon
Whether you’re a regular runner or just need a fitness goal to look forward to, why not make a resolution to start running and sign up for Barcelona’s 2017 marathon on March 12th, sponsored by Zurich Insurance Group.
You’ll have to register before March 6th, and the sooner the better, as the price goes up with the number of participants. That said, even at the max price of €84, it’s a bargain compared to some other big-name marathons stateside such as the Boston Marathon ($150) and the New York Marathon ($255). Besides, it’s the perfect excuse for an early spring escape to the Catalan capital.
And remember, whatever your reasons are for visiting Spain in 2017, be sure to book ahead for the best deals, especially if you plan to arrange your visit around a popular event or fiesta. Book those hotels, cars, flights and train tickets as early as possible for the best rates.