Spain attracts 45 million visitors a year and each of its 17 regions offers something different, geographically, climatically and even in personality. Those who intend to come just for a beach holiday or a tour of the major cities, will find there is lot more to their Spanish holiday: celebration of some local fiesta, the amazing nightlife in Madrid, Moorish monuments of Andalucia, Basque cooking or the wild landscapes and birds of prey of Extremadura.
The Spanish cities are compellingly individual: Barcelona for Gaudi's splendid modernista architecture, the lively promenade of Las Ramblas and designer clubs par excellence; Madrid, Spanish capital, although not as pretty, the city and its people, immortalized in the movies of Pedro Almodovar, have a vibrancy and style that is revealed in a thousand bars and summer terrazas with three of the world's finest art museums; Sevilla, home of flamenco and all the cliches of southern Spain; Valencia, the vibrant Levantine city with an arts scene and nightlife to equal any European rival; and Bilbao, a new entry on Spain's cultural circuit, due to Frank Gehry's astonishing Guggenheim museum.
Landscapes are tremendously varied, with five big mountain ranges across the country, while some landscape is almost desert-like, others green and fertile, and of course there are the long coasts, in the east along Mediterranean Sea from Pyrenees to Gibraltar, and in the west along the Atlantic Ocean and Cantabrian Sea.
Spain is a center of modern and futuristical architecture. The oldest works of architecture in Spain go back to the megalythical culture, approximately 3000 BC. Spain offers a overwhelming choice of architectural styles: from Roman monuments as an aqueduct of Segovia and the amphitheatre of Mérida; famous Moorish Great Mosque of Cordoba and Ganada's Alhambra: Visigoth and Romanesque styles of "Camino de Santiago"; Gothic styles of the cathedrals of Burgos, Toledo and Leon; Spanish Renaissance Plateresque style of the University of Salamanca; Baroque style of Monastery "El Escorial", Churrigueraused, and Baroco Compostelano with Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. In Modernism Spain played again a highly important role with outstanding works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, as his great cathedral "Sagrada Familia".
Spain has astonishingly rich history from the oldest historical findings in Spain that date of about 30000 to 50000 BC, to the creation of the Iberian population, arrival of Celtic tribes by 1200 BC, and Phoenicians by 1100 BC, founding of Greek colonies in southern Spain and along the Mediterranean coast, invasion of Carthaginians, then, Romans creating the Roman empire whose culture is still very evident in Spanish language, Gothic tribes in 419 until 711, when Muslim armies defeated Goths. Decadence started in 11th century, and the Christian kingdoms in the north started then the reconquest of Spain and Muslims rapidly lost territory, until they were expelled loosing their last remaining stronghold, Granada, in 1492. Isabel and Ferdinand united Spain. After the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 tons of gold and silver were brought in from the new continent, making Spain one of the most powerful nations of this epoch, the Golden Age. The history line then follows Spain prospering thanks to the trade with its American colonies, its disastrous defeat of the "Invincible Armada" in 1588, French Revolution, Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the War of Seven Years, creation of the First Republic in 1868&
Last century marks the economical crisis of the early 1920s, Spanish Civil War (1936-39), dictature by Franco that lasted until 1975 when Franco died and a constitutional monarchy was established. Spain became member of the NATO in 1985 and entered the European Community in 1986. In 1992 it appeared impressively at the world stage: Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games, Seville the world exposition EXPO'92, and Madrid was declared European Cultural Capital.
Best known among Spain's traditions are certainly Flamenco, musical tradition in the country's south, in particular in Andalusia, and bullfights, throughout the country, the most popular perhaps being the "Running of Bulls" during the Sanfermines in Pamplona. Famous Fiestas are "Las Fallas de San José" in Valencia, in March, La Tamburrada in San Sebastian in February, "San Isidro", in May in Madrid. Carnival is popular in all the country, the best one is Santa Cruz de Tenerife.... Book a short break to Madrid, Barcelona Barcelona and Other Spanish Destinations