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Spain



Spain Travel Guide


flights to Spain

Where else in Europe could you ski down a snow-capped mountain, cycle through a lush green valley, traverse arid desert lands and relax on a golden sandy beach all in the same twenty four hours. Spain is over a quarter of a million square miles of enormous diversity – climate, terrain, culture, art, religion, and history, even language all vary widely throughout this vast country. With over 60 million visitors every year, tourism is the major money-spinner, but the climate means there is a thriving agricultural and fishing industry. Engineering too plays a large part in the economy and there are large vehicle, steel and shipbuilding industries as well as textiles and chemicals. The main business centres are Madrid and Barcelona, each of which have their own stock exchanges whilst Valencia and Bilbao are also both important cities of industry. Over the past decade Spain has become a favourite destination for businessmen and women with corporate trips and conferences playing no small part in bolstering the already thriving tourist trade.

Split into three distinct climatic regions this exciting and varied continent is a veritable gold mine for outdoor enthusiasts. The inhabitant's inherent festive spirit ensures ample opportunity for party animals to really push the boat out whilst the magnificent countryside and rich culture make the perfect destination for the incurable romantic.

The country offers a wealth of sporting and outdoor opportunities for the more active and adventurous visitor. To the north you’ll discover the spectacular Pyrenees, home to several increasingly popular and very modern ski resorts, the biggest of which is Baqeria-Beret in the Vall d’Aran. Below the snow capped peaks sit lush green hills dotted with small friendly villages, a favourite amongst trekkers. Thanks to the brilliant success of such international figures as Severiano Ballesteros, golf has enjoyed a tremendous rise in popularity over recent years and in Spain there are now 102 courses located around the country mostly located in Madrid, on the Mediterranean coast and on the islands. The coast and islands probably offer the widest choice of sporting activities; amongst the most popular are windsurfing at Tarifa in the Bay of Vadequeros, scuba diving along the coast of Minorca and some of the best sea fishing in the world around the Canary Islands.

Away from the beaches and countryside, Spain’s magnificent cities hold myriad treasures for the cultured traveller. The diversity of Spanish architecture is a history lesson in itself. Witness the Gothic splendour of the Cathedrals at Burgos and Toledo, the extravagance of the baroque altarpiece in the Convento de San Esteban in Salamanca, the awe inspiring Arabian Palace of Alharamba in Granada and the labyrinth of narrow winding streets in Barcelona’s Bari Gotic. A superb example of Spain’s continued love affair with extraordinary pioneering architecture is the fantastical structure that is the US$100 million Museo Guggenheim de Arte Contemporaneo at Bilbao. Home to works by Warhol, Liechtenstein and Richard Serra, the building itself is considered by most to be even more remarkable than it's contents.

Spain, has been home to many of the true greats of the art world and there are abundant opportunities to see, first hand, the works of the Spanish masters Picasso, Dali and Miro. The impressive Museu Picasso is the most visited museum in Barcelona containing an impressive collection of the artist’s early work as well as fine examples of his Blue and Pink periods. Also in Barcelona there is a chance to walk on a genuine Miro, where the pavement in front of the Mercat de Boqueria is actually a mosaic, signed by the artist himself. The artist, who probably best represents Spain’s flamboyant style and eccentricities is Dali, and a must for true fans is a visit to the wonderful Castel De Pubal near Gironahis - his one time home, (and very nearly his crematorium). Extensively remodelled and refurbished by Dali himself, it is not to be missed.

In many ways Dali’s unique audacious qualities and artistic bravura reflect the spirit of the Spanish people themselves. They are a vibrantly individual people for whom enjoyment is virtually an art form in itself. This, after all, is the land of festivals. Visit the city centre of Seville in April and chances are you will find it deserted, abandoned by the entire population for one of the biggest festivals in the world at the fairground and it's city of tents. Barcelona’s Feste de la Merce is a fantastical affair with it's famous harbour swimming race, Dances of Giants and firework spitting dragons and devils. The country also has an international reputation for some of the best nightlife in the world and no area enjoys that honour more than Ibiza in the Balearic Islands. A virtual Mecca for committed hedonists the world over, the summer months blur into one continuous orgy of dancing and over indulgence.

As the old advertising hook line said, Spain really is different. The experience of a lifetime that can take a lifetime to experience… and then some!

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