Spain


A Visitor’s Guide To Spain

Spain stands as one of the most important and influential countries in Europe, and is also one of the most popular tourist destinations there both for the beaches and resorts on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, along with the large number of historic sites in the country. While the country once held a large portion of the world under its colonial banner, Spain has been reduced to its mainland and a series of islands in the Mediterranean, and two small cities on the north African coast. Another reason that Spain is popular as a destination is that it actually has the highest number of bars in the European Union, meaning a cool beer or a glass of sangria is never too far away.

The US State Department does advise visitors to Spain to be cautious of any terrorist attack, as the country has historically suffered at the hands of ETA, a Basque separatist organization, and is also within easy reach of North Africa, which could make it a target for Muslim terrorists.

Top Places To Visit In Spain

Barcelona – The bold and artistic capital of the Catalonia region of Spain, Barcelona is popular for the stunning architecture of Gaudi, including his unfinished masterpiece the Sagrada Familia cathedral, while the city is also famous for its wonderful seafront and the excellent cuisine there.

Costa Blanca – With charming towns, long stretches of beautiful white sand beaches and vibrant night life during the summer months, this coastline around the city of Alicante is among the most popular in the country for visitors looking for sun, sea and sand.

The Cathedral of Seville – Not only is this stunning Gothic building the third largest church in the world, it is also one of the most beautiful and ornate, taking over a century to build in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and has spectacular decoration both inside and on the exterior.

The Historic Center Of Cordoba – The old center of Cordoba is among the oldest and largest in Europe, and the stunning highlight is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, which served as the city’s mosque for over three centuries before being converted into a cathedral in the thirteenth century.

Sierra Nevada Mountains – Located in the south of the country in the Andalusia region, the Sierra Nevada rise to high altitude with several mountains over three thousand meters in height, offering visitors great hiking, climbing and skiing opportunities.

Madrid – The capital of the country is also one of its main attractions, with a wonderful architecture including the superb Royal Palace of Madrid, while it also enjoys a wonderful night life and is home to the Museo del Prado which has an amazing collection of Spanish and European art.

Santiago De Compostela – Located in north west Spain this city has been an important site of pilgrimage for centuries, with a lovely old town located around the spectacular cathedral, while this is also the destination for a wonderful long distance hiking route known as the Way of St James.

Tenerife – This lovely island in the Mediterranean has a great climate throughout the year, with pleasant beaches and a range of hotels catering to tourists, while the spectacular Mount Teide is the highest mountain in Spain.

The Guggenheim Museum – Located in the Basque city of Bilbao, this museum is housed in a spectacular building designed by Frank Gehry on the banks of the Nervion River, and is home to a great collection of Basque Art along with some of the most impressive modern art in the world.

Ibiza – Another of Spain’s islands in the Mediterranean, Ibiza has developed a reputation for being a real party island during the summer, with major nightclubs drawing DJs and acts from around the world, with festivities centered on Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni.

Where To Stay In Spain

Madrid

Husa Princesa Hotel – One of the important aspects of the design of the hotel is that there are artworks throughout the hotel, both in the luxurious rooms and the grand lobby, while guests enjoy a great location and access to an indoor pool, sauna and steam room.

Abba Castilla Plaza Hotel – Located in the pleasant district of Tetuan, this hotel offers comfortable and attractive rooms with nice city views and lovely bathrooms, while modern facilities include wall mounted flat screen televisions and fast wireless internet access.

Barcelona

Silken Gran Havana Hotel – This stylish and beautifully designed hotel features a stunning lobby with a central stairway stretching up to the glass dome roof, and offers luxurious modern rooms and access to a lovely rooftop swimming pool and sauna.

Hotel Solvasa Barcelona – Just a short journey on the metro from the city center, this hotel offers well priced accommodation with modern attractive rooms and facilities including an indoor swimming pool and fitness center.

Tenerife

Iberostar Bouganville Playa – A spectacular resort offering a wealth of leisure facilities including a soccer pitch, outdoor swimming pool and a nearby golf course, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with balconies, and a lovely terrace area that is wonderful in the evenings.

Apartamentos Florida Plaza – This is a pleasant hotel that offers self catering apartments at a competitive price, with the simple accommodation enjoying nice bathrooms and access to an outdoor pool with sun loungers, with a location within easy reach of the seafront.

Seville

Los Casas de la Juderia Sevilla – Offering wonderful accommodation in a rustic style, the spacious rooms and lovely bathrooms with deep baths are truly luxurious, with a rooftop swimming pool and a charming spa, while the location is ideal for exploring this stunning city.

Hotel Dona Manuela Casa Modesto – This nice hotel is a good choice for those looking to spend time in Seville on a budget, with tastefully furnished rooms, some of which have balconies, and grand communal areas with a good location near the city center.

Spanish Cuisine

Spanish cuisine is famous as one of the best in Europe, and has a large emphasis on using local meat and the wonderful range of fresh produce that is grown in the area. One of the most popular and well known Spanish dishes that can be found particularly in the area around Valencia is paella, which is a rice based dish that is most well known for the seafood versions, although it is also possible to find a meat paella, or a paella combining seafood and meat. Another regional dish originating from the Cantabria region of northern Spain is Cocido Montanes, which is a lovely hearty stew with bacon, pork ribs and black pudding, combined with white beans and collard greens.

Dessert also plays an important role in Spanish cuisine, and one of the most famous originates from Catalonia, where Crema Catalana is a lovely thick custard dessert which is prepared with the zest of citrus fruit and cinnamon, and has a crispy crust.

Currency And Visa

Spain joined with many other major European countries when they left the Peseta to join the Euro in 2002, and those traveling to the country from the United States will find they will have to pay around 1.37 US Dollars for every Euro. Spain is also a member of the Schengen Agreement, which allows for free movement between twenty three European countries, and allows visitors from the United States to stay for up to ninety days without having to arrange a visa in advance.

Further Reading

Spain is a country that has a wealth of attractions and events, and one of the most popular and dangerous events is the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, and this article looks at the experience of one attendee. This article looks at the experience of spending Christmas in the sun, with the charming differences that makes the island of Tenerife such a great place to experience the holiday season. Food also plays a big role in the country’s culture, and you can find more information about tapas here, while this article looks at the way Spanish cuisine changes during the winter, offering more seasonal dishes.