Spain is located in the southwestern part of Europe, is bordered by France and Andorra to the north, Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and northwest and, finally, by the Mediterranean Sea to the southeast.
Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers, and mild, rainy winters, Spain can be visited practically year-round, although, July and August are typically the busiest months for international travelers. Like all members of the European Union, the sole currency used and exchanged in Spain is the Euro. Spanish is its official language, although many regional languages are heard throughout Spain’s autonomous communities, albeit without official recognition. One exception is Catalan, the co-official language spoken in Barcelona.
A study in contrasts, Spain is at once a dynamic and fast-paced urban centre with an enduring old-world charm and sophistication. A breathtaking marriage of two worlds, Spain’s Western influences are tempered by its Latin heritage: Spain’s travel guides will highlight – and visitors will marvel at – the juxtaposition of narrow, cobbled streets, old building and medieval castles, with bursts of provocative modern, architecture.
Spain’s capital, Madrid, is the largest and most heavily populated city, and is host to a wide array of attractions, interesting landmarks and monuments just waiting to be discovered. Known for its beautiful architecture and cosmopolitan flair, Madrid never fails to impress: Art lovers will delight in the impressive collections found at the Museo del Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art, and the Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Center – the 3 largest museums in Spain. Travel guides will emphasize Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and Puerta del Sol as must-see tourist attractions. And, foodies will salivate over Madrid’s world-renowned and mouth-watering cuisine, found in countless restaurants scattered throughout the city. Bursting with culture, entertainment, and a lively nightlife, Madrid is a city that never sleeps or, as they say in Spanish, “Madrid nunca Duerme.”
Similar to Madrid, Barcelona is also home to many great attractions, and boasts several points of interest: “La Sagrada Familia,” the word famous church by Antoni Gaudí, the “Boqueria,” Barcelona’s largest and most animated market, and Las Ramblas, a vibrant place to take a stroll or enjoy a coffee. Along with its stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, the centre of Barcelona’s old city, known as “Barri Gotic” (Gothic Quarter)), and the Museum of Natural History, La Rambla, with its famed beaches, are all sources of pride for Spain’s second largest city.
Together, Madrid and Barcelona form Spain’s top tourist destinations. However, Spain offers many more destinations to its visitors: travelers can see the Costa del Sol, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the charming, historic villages of Basque Country in northern Spain. And there are several smaller cities – Ibiza, Seville, Málaga, Pamplona, and Valencia (the birthplace of paella) – which receive a fare share of tourist activity. With thirteen of its cities having been declared UNESCO World Heritage cities – Avila, Cordoba, Salamanca, Oviedo, and San Sebastian to name a few – it is no wonder that Spanish tourism is the second largest in the world.
Whether traveling for business of pleasure, in a group or alone, given Spain’s vastness and the plethora of things to do, see, and discover, Spain is your ticket to an extraordinary vacation!