SURVEYS on popular travel review site TripAdvisor have led to Spain’s earning an average of 4.16 out of 5, or 83.2%, as a destination – although some regions score even higher.
Overall, the Canary Islands earned 4.3, or 86%, rising from 4.26 (85.2%) in 2018, followed by Andalucía and the land-locked northern wine region of La Rioja, joint second with 4.27, or 85.4%.
The northern coastal region of Asturias came next with 4.24 (84.8%) and the inland western region bordering Portugal, Extremadura, is fifth with 4.23 (84.6%).
Spain as a whole has gone up from 4.14 (82.8%) in 2018 to 4.16 in 2019.
Travellers were asked to rate hotels, restaurants and sites of general interest, and results were given for each section and region as well as overall.
Spain soars to 4.39 (87.8%) for tourist attractions, rising from 4.38 (87.6%) the previous year, with 4.08 (81.6%) for accommodation – up from 4.02, or 80.4%, in 2018 -. with restaurants keeping their last year’s ranking of 4.03, or 80.6%.
The best accommodation was found in Madrid (4.2, or 84%), the Balearic Islands (4.19, or 83.8%), and Asturias, La Rioja and the Basque Country (4.18, or 83.6%).
For restaurants, the Canary Islands was at the top with an average ranking of 4.29 (85.8%), followed by the Balearic Islands (4.21, or 84.2%), Andalucía (4.15, or 83%), and Catalunya (4.12, or 82.4%).
Tourist attractions broke the 90% barrier in three regions – they were the highest-ranked in La Rioja, at 4.56 (91.2%), Extremadura (4.53, or 90.6%) and Asturias (4.5, or 90%) – and just short of nine out of 10 in Andalucía, at 4.49 (89.8%).
The inclusion of non-typical tourist destinations in all three categories, such as Asturias, La Rioja, the Basque Country and Extremadura – and Madrid which, although in fact accounts for the highest holidaymaker numbers in Spain, is at least a three-hour drive from the nearest beach – shows that visitors are not necessarily only seeking sunshine, swimming pools, sea and sand, but are drawn to Spain for its other attractions such as unique historical sites, breathtaking countryside, mountains, and excellent cuisine which is arguably better in the country than outside it, something that is not always guaranteed.
In most cases, tourists can seek all these in the same place – such as in Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, which is right on the coast, in the heart of some of the nation’s most stunning mountain ranges and marshes, and replete with historic and modern buildings.
Published The Local 14 February 2020