Spain Tourism | Spain Map
Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco. Furthermore, the town of Llívia is a Spanish exclave situated inside French territory. With an area of 504,030 square kilometres (194,610 sq mi), it is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union after France, and the fourth largest country in Europe after Russia, Ukraine and France.
Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a developed country with the twelfth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP, and very high living standards, including the tenth-highest quality of life index rating in the world, as of 2005. It is a member of the United Nations, European Union, NATO, OECD, and WTO.
Geography of Spain:
The Spanish mainland is bordered to the south and east almost entirely by the Mediterranean Sea (except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar); to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France) and with an average altitude of 650 m, the second highest country in Europe (behind Switzerland).
Due to its historical and geographical diversity, Spanish architecture has drawn from a host of influences. An important provincial city founded by the Romans and with an extensive Roman era infrastructure, Córdoba became the cultural capital, including fine Arabic style architecture, during the time of the Islamic Umayyad dynasty. Later Arab style architecture continued to be developed under successive Islamic dynasties, ending with the Nasrid, which built its famed palace complex in Granada.
Simultaneously, the Christian kingdoms gradually emerged and developed their own styles; developing a pre-Romanesque style when for a while isolated from contemporary mainstream European architectural influences during the earlier Middle Ages, they later integrated the Romanesque and Gothic streams. There was then an extraordinary flowering of the gothic style that resulted in numerous instances being built throughout the entire territory. The Mudéjar style, from the 12th to 17th centuries, was developed by introducing Arab style motifs, patterns and elements into European architecture.
Music of Spain:
Spanish music is often considered abroad to be synonymous with flamenco, an Andalusian musical genre, which, contrary to popular belief, is not widespread outside that region. Various regional styles of folk music abound in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Castile, the Basque Country, Galicia and Asturias. Pop, rock, hip hop and heavy metal are also popular.
The most popular traditional musical instrument is the guitar, which originated in Spain. Also typically traditional is the bagpipe (gaita) in the northern regions, especially in Asturias and Galicia.
Spanish cuisine consists of a great variety of dishes which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country's deep Mediterranean roots. Spain's extensive history with many cultural influences has led to a unique cuisine. In particular, three main divisions are easily identified:
Inner Spain – Castile: hot, thick soups such as the bread and garlic-based Castilian soup, along with substantious stews such as cocido madrileño. Food is traditionally conserved by salting, like Spanish ham, or immersed in olive oil, like Manchego cheese.
Atlantic Spain – the whole Northern coast, including Asturian, Basque, Cantabrian and Galician cuisine: vegetable and fish-based stews like pote gallego and marmitako. Also, the lightly cured lacón ham. The most known North countries cuisine often rely on the captures from close or distant seas, like the Basque-style cod, albacore or anchovy or the Galician octopus-based polbo á feira and shellfish dishes.
Spain Tourist Attractions:
In the 1950s, the Costa Brava was identified by the Spanish government and local entrepreneurs as being suitable for substantial development as a holiday destination, mainly for package holiday tourists from Northern Europe and especially, the United Kingdom and France. The combination of a very good summer climate, nature, excellent beaches and a favourable foreign exchange rate was exploited by the construction of large numbers of hotels and apartments in such seaside resorts as Blanes, Tossa de Mar, and Lloret de Mar. Tourism rapidly took over from fishing as the principal business of the area.
It is integrated into an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar. Its main festival, the Falles, is known worldwide, while the traditional dish, paella, originated in the Valencian Community.
The city contains a dense monumental heritage, including the Llotja de la Seda (World Heritage Site since 1996), but its landmark is undoubtedly the City of Arts and Sciences, an avant-garde and futuristic museum complex.
Madrid urban agglomeration has the 3rd largest GDP in the European Union and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of Southern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies. Madrid is the most touristic city of Spain, the fourth-most touristic of the continent, and is the 10th most livable city in the world according to Monocle magazine, in its 2010 index. Madrid also ranks among the 12 greenest European cities in 2010. Madrid is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The Alhambra's Moorish palaces were built for the last Muslim Emirs in Spain and its court, of the Nasrid dynasty. After the Reconquista (reconquest) by the Reyes Católicos ("Catholic Monarchs") in 1492, some portions were used by the Christian rulers. The Palace of Charles V, built by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1527, was inserted in the Alhambra within the Nasrid fortifications. After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was "discovered" in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers, with restorations commencing. It is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country's most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the inspiration for many songs and stories.
Costa del Sol:
The Costa del Sol is a popular tourist region that welcomes millions of people annually, who mostly arrive at International Malaga airport and head to one of the many resorts located along this stretch of coastline from Manilva in the west to Nerja in the east.
Costa de Almería:
The name "Costa de Almería" is a term established for purposes of promoting tourism within the region. Beginning on 16 February 1928, tourism promoter Rodolfo Lussnigg began promoting the area under the name Costa del Sol; however, that name, originally referring specifically to the city of Almería, has since become attached to the coast of the province of Málaga.
Running of the Bulls:
The purpose of this event was in origin to transport the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night, to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado.
At around 10 AM, festivities begin with the first event of the Tomatina. It is the "palo jabón", similar to the greasy pole. The goal is to climb a greased pole with a ham on top. As this happens, the crowd work into a frenzy of singing and dancing while being showered in water from hoses. Once someone is able to drop the ham off the pole, the start signal for the tomato fight is given by firing the water shot in the air and trucks make their entry. The signal for the onset is at about 11 when a loud shot rings out, and the chaos begins. Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste. For the participants the use of goggles and gloves are recommended. The tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown so as to reduce the risk of injury. The estimated no. of tomatoes used are around 150,000 i.e. over 90,000 pounds. After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is colored red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely.
The city is famous for its folklore, a renowned local gastronomy, and landmarks such as the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the The Aljafería Palace. Together with La Seo and the Aljaferia, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fiestas del Pilar are among the most celebrated festivals in Spain.
For the most part, the main crest forms a massive divider between France and Spain, with the tiny country of Andorra sandwiched in between. Catalonia and Navarre have historically extended on both sides of the mountain range, with small northern portions now in France and much larger southern parts now in Spain.
It is a popular tourist destination, as its high peaks make skiing possible in one of Europe's most southerly ski resorts, in an area along the Mediterranean Sea predominantly known for its warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. At its foothills is found the city of Granada and, a little further, Almería and Málaga.
Parts of the range have been included in the Sierra Nevada National Park. The range has also been declared a biosphere reserve. The Sierra Nevada Observatory is located on the northern slopes at an elevation of 2800 m (9186 ft.).
The valley's east–west orientation, unusual in the Pyrenees, opens it to influence from the Atlantic Ocean and gives it a moderate climate. It has one of Europe's largest populations of the Pyrenean Chamois and is well known for its waterfalls and wildlife.
Monte Perdido (3,355 m) is the third highest mountain in the Pyrenees and together with Cilindro de Marboré (3,328 m) and Soum de Ramond (3,263 m) can be seen at the north-east end of the valley. The name Monte Perdido (lost mountain) was given because the peak could not be seen from the French side of the range.
Access to the mountain is easier from Spain than from France. The route starts near the village of Torla, Aragon, at the Ordesa Valley and ascends the Cirque de Soaso towards the Refuge of Góriz before the stiff climb to the summit. It is a dangerous climb with snow.
Picos de Europa National Park:
It was the first of the National Parks of Spain along with Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in the Pyrenees. When it was created 22 July 1918 it covered the western part of today's national park, centered on the Lakes of Covadonga. The Parque Nacional de la Montaña de Covadonga, as it then was called, had an area of 169.25 km². On May 30, 1995 the park was extended to include its current total area of 646.60 km².
Hotels in Spain:
5Star Hotels in Spain:
Alfonso XIII Hotel
AC Santo Mauro Hotel
Hacienda Benazuza Hotel
Rey Juan Carlos I
Hotel Derby Villa Real
Hotel Husa Princesa
Orient-Express Ritz Hotel
Melia Madrid Princesa
Melia Colon Hotel
Budget Hotels in Spain:
Adelino Hotel Ibiza
Marco Polo ll
Club La Sirena Hotel Ibiza
Formentera I & II Hotel Ibiza
Club Maritim Apartments Ibiza
Cantabrico Hostal Madrid
Maribel Apartamentos Ciutadella
Corbeta Hotel Lanzarote
Hotel Medium Abalon