What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear of Spain? Well, for me, it was merely football or as the Americans call it ‘soccer’, the famous party island of Ibiza and of course the very famous sangria. I was in for a rude shock I must say, but one thing that I have learnt from visiting España, is not to underestimate what small cities have to offer, the small cities matter.

A lot of people when travelling isolate themselves to being in the big cities and metropolis in the hope of experiencing the culture of the people. For instance, a lot of people prefer to go to Madrid and Barcelona which are the two biggest cities in Spain which have gained immense popularity from the football background.

I spent most of my time in Granada, Seville and Malaga which are in the Andalucian province. Well known for its amazing weather and tangerines grown to perfection, these two small cities have a lot to offer. The beaches in Malaga are popular year-round and I’m still trying to come around the fact that sand from the beach can be dark brown as opposed to the our all white sandy beaches. In Granada and Seville, some of the most beautiful historic architecture can be found there, which is not a surprise that Game of Thrones has some of its filming locations in these two cities. Last but not least, The Alhamra. This is one iconic palace constructed in 889 AD that I would recommend to be on your bucket list.

Another memorable thing about the Spaniards is the exquisite cuisines; tapas and paella being my all-time favourite. I even managed to hear a few Andalucians and Valencians engage in debates about which region makes the best paella (I still think the Andalucian paella is better). Of course everyone loves sangria, and what’s not to love about it. However, I discovered there’s a famous drink known as tinto de verano. Trust me; sangria won’t be as fascinating after drinking this!

Lastly, despite what small cities have to offer, the other intriguing thing is the cost of living. Things tend to be cheaper with the possibility of getting accommodation for as low as €15 per night. Let’s go to small cities and let’s see the world!

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—Ivy Shiechelo

For #FEATUREDFRIDAY , Ivy Shiechelo‘s number one life’s lesson is, see the world!