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Spain Travel Guide, Viva Espana!!!

April 5, 2015

Spain

Spain is one of the world’s favorite tourist destinations, known officially as the Kingdom of Spain and one of the most attractive places to spend your vacation in the Old Continent.

Spain is located in the south west of the European Union in the Iberian Peninsula. It has a population of 46 million people and a land surface of 504,000 square kilometers. Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the east and south, on the northeast and north by Andorra, France and the Bay of Biscay and on the northwest/western border by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.

Dating back to the former empire, Spain also owns the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, paradisiacal places to say the least, along with many other smaller enclaves in the continental Africa. All these territories make Spain the second largest country in the EU and the sixth in terms of population numbers.

Spain is regarded as an exotic country, populated by very kind and friendly people, with a chill out lifestyle, cities vibrant with nightlife and an awesome cuisine. Oh, and corridas, don’t forget the bull fights!

Boasting with beautiful beaches, an intense nightlife and lots of historical places imbibed with culture, Spain makes for a very diverse country and a big surprise for the clueless tourists, but that we’ll try to remedy with this article.

corrida

What to see, what to do in Spain

 It’s hard to begin, because Spain is home for world class museums, delicious cuisine, flamboyant fiestas and modern art galleries, a scenic countryside , beautiful sunny beaches, green islands, a myriad of attractions are waiting for you here, believe me folks.

Its main cities are Madrid-also the capital, Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and the list goes on and on.

St James Way is an ancient pilgrimage route that will lead you to Galicia, a province in northern Spain where you can admire St James Cathedral, in Santiago de Compostela.

Strange as it may seem, skiing is an interesting option in Spain, especially on its world class winter resorts in the Cantabrian/Pyrenean regions.

Avila is on the UNESCO’s world heritage sites and it’s famous for its 11th century architecture and also for being the birthplace for St Teresa, a 16th century mystic.

avila-spain

Bullfighting is the trademark of Spain’s culture, a highly controversial tradition that still lives in the big cities like Madrid, go see a corrida before you die!

Barcelona is a place where you can immerse yourself in culture and beauty. To mention just a few popular destinations, let me tell you about the Gothic Quarter, Rambla, the old Barceloneta, Sagrada Familia, the old cathedral, the Palau de la Generalitat, the Episcopal Palace, the list is huge.

barcelona-spain

Bilbao is the city that hosts the marvels inside the Guggenheim Museum, making this place a world renowned tourist destination and for a good reason.

Cordoba is a melting place of Moorish and Spaniard culture, an ancient place filled with culture and history, the former capital of the 10th century Caliphate, when Spain was conquered by Moors and a World Heritage Site.

If you are passionate about dance, go visit a Flamenco club in Sevilla or Andalucia.

Roman-Bridge-Cordoba-Spain

Madrid, Spain’s capital and the main city can be described as the Mecca of art lovers, boasting with its Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, which harbors modern art masterpieces including some of Picasso’s work. Don’t miss Madrid’s royal palace, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayor.

madrid

The Northern Province of Asturias is famous for its picturesque green valleys and fishing villages, having old Celtic roots and a strong cider drinking culture.

There are lots of old monasteries in Spain, both Gothic and Romanesque, especially in the northern part of the country, like San Juan de la Pena, San Juan Duero or Santo Domingo de Silos.

The ancient university from Salamanca features superb pieces of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, like Plaza Mayor, majestic cathedrals and fascinating art collections in the Museo Art Nouveau y Art Deco.

Salamanca

Sevilla is a hedonistic place and the capital of the historical province of Andalusia, the city that lives through Flamenco, Don Juan and Carmen.

Alhambra is an impressive fortress built by the Moors and Spain’s most important piece of Islamic architecture. Toledo is the old capital of Spain and boasts with its magnificent cathedral that harbors paintings by El Greco and also with Alcazar.

alhambra3

Food and Drink in Spain

Spain has a strong culture of eating and drinking, Mediterranean style, and Spaniards are taking their food and wine very seriously.  Specialties include paella, rice dishes, all kinds of stews of beans with meat, tortillas (potato omelette), gazpacho (a type of tomato based soup), pork products of all sorts, seafood and fresh vegetables. As per drinks, you’ll enjoy Spanish cerveza (beer), brandy, wine is the national drink and various sweet sherries.

Visa Requirements

Spain is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re an EU citizen, you’ll not require a passport for entering Spain, just an ID. For USA/Canadian tourists, a passport is required (no Visa though).

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