• Spain's news in English
Ten resolutions to make the most of life in Spain in 2016
Photo: Toni Blay / Flickr Creative Commons.

Ten resolutions to make the most of life in Spain in 2016

The Local · 31 Dec 2015, 12:22

Published: 31 Dec 2015 12:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 31 Dec 2015 12:22 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

1. Improve your Spanish (or Catalan or Basque etc)

Photo: The LEAF project/Flickr

If you’ve decided your Spanish is already good enough, or that the language is just too hard, now is the time to get out of your comfort zone. Buy a book, get an intercambio (language exchange partner), takes classes, or just watch more Spanish television: whatever you do, stop putting it off and take the next step .

If you're looking to learn some offbeat vocabulary a class might not teach you, perhaps start with our list of Spanish words the English language should adopt.

And if you want to work on sounding a bit more local when you speak, try these outrageous, rude expressions.

2. Take up the sport of padel: 

You've probably spotted them around Spain — strange half-sized tennis courts with wire mesh fences. Welcome to the wonderful world of padel. Part-tennis, part-squash, this is a great, fun game. Why not join a club, improve your fitness and meet some Spaniards at the same time?

Spaniards love this racket sport, so much so that they organized that largest ever padel tournament in October of last year, attracting nearly 700 players and making it into the Guinness World Records.

3. Cook up a storm: 

Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP

Make 2016 a culinary watershed by learning how to make a new Spanish dish every month of the year. Set yourself the target of making a sublime salmorejo, a terrific tortilla and perfect pincho. Then invite your friends over and amaze them with your cooking prowess.

You may not be able to compete with some of the world's top chefs who reside in Spain, but at least there is plenty of inspiration. And while it's still chilly, cold weather tapas could be a good place to start on your culinary education.

4. Volunteer: 

Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

One of the few positives to come out of Spain's economic crisis is a renewed passion among Spaniards for volunteering, or giving back something to the community. You could try working at a local soup kitchen or a food bank. Or you might want to volunteer with Age Concern España which helps older English-speaking people living in Spain.

And there are also many opportunities to get involved in helping newly arrived refugees in the country through donations, volunteering and more.

5. Walk (or cycle) the Camino de Santiago:

Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

Say Camino de Santiago and most people think of the 800km 'French Way' from southern France to the city of Santiago de Compostela. But you can start the route from pretty much everywhere in Spain, with major routes linking Seville, Madrid and Barcelona with the pilgrimage city. You can decide to do just part of the trail too. So whether your motives are religious, spiritual, or just sightseeing, this is a great way to experience Spain.

6. Learn to do something typically Spanish:

Photo: Arnaud Guillaume/AFP

Make 2016 your year for learning something unique to Spain. This could be anything from getting to grips with the fine art of slicing jamón to learning how to pour cider the way they do in Asturias. Or maybe you want to try flamenco dance or guitar. Take a course and get a whole new perspective on Spain.

7. Head to a crazy Spanish festival:

Photo: Rafa Rivas/Flickr

You’ve seen all the pictures and you've heard the stories, but you’ve never quite managed to get there. So why not take the plunge in 2016? With everything on offer from getting splattered with tomatoes at the Tomatina festival to watching people swing from the necks of dead ducks in in the Basque fishing town of Lekeito, there is a wacky Spanish fiesta for everyone.

But remember to stay safe - last summer was one of the deadliest for bull-running fests.

Story continues below…

8. Read Don Quixote:

Photo: Davidd/Flickr

Yes, Cervantes' classic novel about the The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is hundreds of pages long. Yes, it’s a serious piece of literature. And yes, most Spaniards have never actually read it.
But the story of this genius/fool on a personal crusade to bring back chivalry is also seriously fun. One hundred of the world’s top authors have also called it the best book of all time. So whether you read it in English or Spanish, just read it.

9. Get off the beaten track:

Photo: the secret valley/Wikimedia Commons

Think you've been everywhere in Spain? Think again. Why not use 2016 to start exploring some of Spain's lesser known regions. Take a trip to the wetlands of the Ebro Delta or visit the stunning castle of Gormaz in lonely Soria province. Or you could check out some of the places dubbed the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain in a ranking this year.

We also recommend stopping by small, undiscovered villages, or perhaps some quaint seaside ports. And don't forget about Spain's 44 different Unesco World Heritage sites.

10. Join a political group

Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP.

After the elections on December 20th, maybe you'll be feeling extra political. So why not get active? Organizations like Greenpeace and Amnesty International always need volunteers while there are hundreds of single issue groups too. Or you could join a political party and get an insider's view of the nuts and bolts of the country's political machinery.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain’s Socialists lift veto on conservatives
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available