Spain is a beautiful, passionate, hot, and diverse country. Every guest finds here something special and unique. The Moorish architecture of Cordoba, the picturesque Pyrenees, extraordinary landscapes of Galicia and Aragon, hundreds of beaches labeled with a Blue Flag, — Spain combines all the charms and delights of the Mediterranean countries. It’s one of the most visited and mysterious places in the world.
No matter how many times you visit Spain, it’s impossible to visit all its attractions. There are 17 regions in the country where each city and province has its cultural traditions and peculiarities. Culture and spirituality of three religions that dominated in terms have historically intertwined in Spain: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Each of them left its mark on the Spanish land in the form of fabulous architectural monuments. The most renowned of them include the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba and the Alhambra palace in Granada, hundreds of cathedrals and royal castles.
Spain gave the world the famous artists of the Renaissance epoch: Diego Rodríguez, El Greco, Francisco Goya. Works of these renowned painters are displayed in the Prado Museum in Madrid. Fans of Pablo Picasso’s creations can visit his museum in Barcelona. Those people who are fond of surrealism by Salvador Dali should definitely head to Figueres. The theatre and museums devoted to the life and creative work of this unsurpassed artist is located there.
Add Spain to your must-visit places. There is no better country to feel the freedom and the zest for life!
Spain is located in the south-west of Europe and occupies the largest part of the Iberian Peninsula. It borders upon Portugal in the west, and with France and Andorra in the north. The country is washed by the Mediterranean Sea in the east, by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by the Bay of Biscay in the north, and the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea in the south. Spain also possesses several groups of islands. The most renowned of them are the Canary and Balearic Islands.
Regions of Spain
Spain has a governmental form of constitutional monarchy. It offers quite wide powers to its regions. There are 17 regions (autonomous communities) in Spain. Each of them has its government and parliament. Autonomous communities are divided into 50 provinces.
One should start his acquaintance with Spain from Catalonia with one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Barcelona. Catalonia is diverse! It has plenty of lakes, woods, valleys, the Pyrenees mountain range, and, of course, several hundred kilometers of perfect beaches.
Don’t forget to include the region of Andalusia in your route while you are in Spain. The most beautiful cities are located here: Granada, Malaga, Cordoba, and Seville. The most popular attractions and historical architectural masterpieces can be found here. This region also attracts tourists with its warm sea, fashionable resorts, extraordinary traditions, festivals, holidays, Spanish cuisine, and the cordiality of local citizens.
Aragon allures travelers with its natural diversity of landscapes, the healthiness of thermal springs and crystal clear mountain air. Mountain climbers love coming to this region of Spain as it is surrounded by the Pyrenees, Cantabrian, Catalonia Mountains, and the Iberian System. Canoeists, fans of rafting and mountain biking also love coming to this area. And it’s not surprising! Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park (Parque Nacional Ordesa) is the oldest national park in Span and occupies the territory of 15600 hectares.
The Balearic Islands are another significant tourist zone in Spain. Such famous resorts as Mallorca (Majorca) and Ibiza are parts of this archipelago. They tempt travelers with their unbelievable beauty of nature, fabulous sandy beaches, incredible bays, crystal air, and mind-blowing parties. Fans of historical attractions will also find something to their likings here.
The famous Canary Islands deserve to be called “the tropical heaven” with “the Martian landscape”. Tenerife alone is already a paradise! It’s the largest island of the Canary Islands, located nearby the coast of Africa. This place is the most popular among tourists and is included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The island is famous not only for its extraordinary nature, beaches and healing volcanic sand. Many people come here to see the second in size and beauty (after the Brazilian festival) carnival that is held every February.
Every region has its unique characteristic features. Your choice depends on your traveling preferences.
Where to go and what to see
Madrid, the capital of Spain is an absolute must-see place! The city is located in the very heart of the country and is the center of the autonomous community and province of the same name. Museums, palaces, temples, enormous squares, and ancient narrow streets, — everything can be found here. Don’t miss the Prado Museum that displays real art masterpieces starting from the Middle Ages. Fans of antiquities will love the exhibition of the National Archaeological Museum of Spain. If Modern art appeals to you more, we highly recommend you to purchase a ticket to the Queen Sofía Museum. After you have explored the cultural heritage, head to the Buen Retiro Park. It’s a perfect place for leisurely strolls. Madrid is also famous for its vivid nightlife.
Barcelona — splendid, magnificent, magnetic — is a city worth an endless number of beautiful epithets. Barcelona is included in the top-20 most popular tourist destinations in the world. Start your exploration of the city with the charming Gothic Quarter with its temples, museums, and palaces. If you want to see the iconic creation of Gaudi — La Sagrada Familia — head to the western part of Barcelona. Other works of this author arouse the admiration of tourists: Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, the Palau Güell and Park Güell, Casa Vicens. All these masterpieces are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can admire the beauty of the capital of Catalonia from the top of Montjuïc Hill. You can find the Montjuïc Communications Tower, the Magic Fountain, the fortress, the architectural museum in the open air, and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya are located in the same area.
Valencia is the third in the number of population city in Spain. That’s the place where you can successfully combine a beach and cultural holiday. Gorgeous beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, architectural monuments, and contemporary buildings, — the city impresses with its exceptional atmosphere. Start your tour with the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and then head to the Catedral de Santa María de Valencia that was built in the XV century. After that, explore the Church of San Nicolás which is often called the Spanish Sistine Chapel. You can continue your cultural trip and go to the Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia or Museo Fallero devoted to the festival called Las Fallas. You can’t miss the City of Arts and Sciences. It’s a modern architectural complex that comprises a scientific museum, open-air oceanographic park, opera house, gallery, planetarium, and an IMAX cinema.
Seville is a beautiful southern city, a large tourist and economic center of Andalusia. This place has a feel of bonhomie and liberty. Tourists come here to feast their eyes upon the famous Royal Alcázars of Seville. It’s a royal palace that was built in the XIV century in the Moorish architectural style. Travelers want to enjoy the beauty of the baroque churches, walk in the shade of the Parque de María Luisa, admire the majesty and beauty of the largest in Europe Gothic Cathedral de Santa María de la Sede. Travelers with children will be delighted to visit the Isla Magica themed park. In Seville, you can just wander around its beautiful streets all day long and enjoy the moment.
Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia, hides the city of Granada. It’s one of the most picturesque cities not only in Spain but in Europe as well. The city is famous for the extant architectural monuments of the Moorish epoch. The Alhambra is one of the brightest examples. This magnificent and vast architectural complex surrounded by valla, with towers, palaces, columns, fountains, irrigation canals, and splendid gardens is the crowning achievement of the Moorish art in Western Europe. It’s included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visit the Cathedral that was built in the XVI century and explore the roofed Alcaicería market where you can purchase some great souvenirs. Moreover, Granada has a fascinating interactive museum, Science Park where tourists can learn about the development of various sciences. It’s an interesting place for both children and adults.
Opportunities for active pastime in Spain
If you dream of surfing in Spain, head to the northern part of the country. Mundaka beach located in the region of Basque Country is the perfect choice for this activity. Here you can catch the tubular waves that are 400 m in length and 2 m in height. Beaches of Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia, and the Canary Islands also offer excellent surfing conditions.
The Canary Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean and are the autonomous community of Spain. They are of volcanic origin and every island strikingly differs from another one in its landscape. If you are still looking for a place on Earth with a perfect climate, then the Canary Islands are just for you. Pay special attention to Tenerife that is also called “the island of eternal spring”.
Travelers who are looking for parties and vivid holidays should consider visiting the Balearic Islands: Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca. In high seasons, the mind-blowing nightlife won’t let you sleep! Moreover, you can easily recover after a loud party at one of the gorgeous beaches. There are hundreds of them here and every 7th is labeled with a Blue Flag.
Spain can offer you not only beaches and sightseeing but also skiing resorts. The most popular destinations for skiers and snowboarders are located in the Pyrenees: the Catalan Mediterranean System and Aragon Mountains. They will amaze you with their incredible landscapes with mountain lakes and rivers. The most famous resorts include Port del Comte, La Molina, Baqueira/Beret (that’s the place where the president of Spain and members of the royal family prefer to ski). The mountains in Aragon are famous for the national parks and plenty of thermal springs. Boi Taull, Astun, and Candanchú are the most popular resorts in this region. The Sierra Nevada is considered to be the highest skiing resort in Spain, located in the south of the country.
The Iberian System is located in the province of Сараго́са. Here you can find the largest resort in the country called Formigal. There are also skiing resorts in the suburbs of Barcelona (Espot Esquí) and Madrid (Valdesquí, La Pinilla, Navacerrada). Although the season here is short, there are plenty of entertainments.
National peculiarities of citizens
- The Spaniards are hot-tempered and hazardous. You can observe this in their love for football, corrida, gambling, and dancing flamenco.
- Citizens of the Iberian Peninsula cherish comfort and satisfaction above everything. If any action doesn’t bring them joy, it’s meaningless. Therefore, the Spaniards assign all resources to find some fun. As far as work is concerned, no one is in a hurry here. Siesta and lunch are sacred rituals.
- As you might have already guessed, it’s hard to label Spaniards as workaholics. They do not aspire to earn all the money in the world. They simply work to have enough for the essentials.
- The Spaniards adore jokes about Catalans who in return joke about Aragonese citizens. Laughter and jokes are often connected here with disregard to danger. Frequently, you can hear stories that someone has almost died but everything turned out all right. The story is always accompanied by bright, slightly exaggerated details.
- Spain is a country of fabulous festivals and carnivals. Las Fallas festival (the holiday of fire) is the most fascinating one. It is held annually in March, on Saint Joseph's Day in the Valencian Community. For several days, people walk down the streets in carnival costumes, blow firecrackers and fireworks.
Cities in Spain
Even those people who have never been to Spain can name at least 4-5 attractions that are located in this country. It offers its guests the masterpieces by Antoni Gaudi, museums of great artists (Picasso and Dali), unique objects of the Moorish architecture, and many other fascinating destinations.