Friday, January 21, 2022

Things To See in Spain

EuropeSpainThings To See in Spain

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The most popular beaches are on the Mediterranean coast and on the Canary Islands. For hiking, the Sierra Nevada mountains in the south, the Central Cordillera and the northern Pyrenees are best.

Historic Cities

Historically, Spain has been an important crossroads: between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, between North Africa and Europe, and between Europe and the Americas at a time when Europe was beginning to colonise the New World. As such, the country is fortunate to have a fantastic collection of historical monuments – indeed, it has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the largest number of World Heritage Cities of any nation in the world.

Located in the south of Spain, Andalusia holds many memories of ancient Spain. Cadiz is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, with remains of the Roman colony that once stood there. Nearby is Ronda, a beautiful city perched on steep cliffs and known for its bridge over the gorge and the oldest bullring in Spain. Cordoba and Granada are home to some of the most spectacular remains of the country’s Muslim past, with the red and white striped arches of the Mezquita de Cordoba and the amazing Alhambra Palace perched on a hill overlooking Granada. Seville, the cultural centre of Andalusia, has a dazzling collection of monuments built in the days when the city was the main port for goods from the Americas; the largest is the city’s cathedral, the largest in the country.

Heading north across the plains of La Mancha towards the centre of Spain, picturesque Toledo is perhaps the historic centre of the nation, a beautiful hilltop medieval city that served as the capital of Spain before Madrid was built. North of Madrid and a day’s drive from the capital are El Escorial, which was the centre of the Spanish Empire at the time of the Inquisition, and Segovia, famous for its spectacular Roman aqueduct that spans one of the city’s squares.

Further north, in Castile and Leon, lies Salamanca, known for its famous university and the richness of its historic architecture. Galicia, in north-west Spain, is home to Santiago de Compostela, the arrival point of the ancient Way of St James and the reputed burial place of Santiago, with perhaps the most beautiful cathedral in all of Spain at the heart of its charming old town. Northeastern Spain has some remarkable historical centres: Zaragoza, with its Roman, Moorish, medieval and Renaissance buildings dating back up to two thousand years, and Barcelona, with its pseudo-medieval Barri Gòtic district.

Art museums

Spain has played a key role in Western art, heavily influenced by French and Italian artists, but very much on its own, due to the nation’s history of Muslim influence, the climate of the Counter-Reformation and later the difficulties associated with the decline of the Spanish Empire, which produced such famous artists as El Greco, Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya. In the last century, Spain’s unique position in Europe produced some of the most important artists of the modernist and surrealist movements, including the famous Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

Today, Spain’s two largest cities account for the lion’s share of its most famous works of art. In Madrid’s museum triangle is the Museo del Prado, Spain’s largest art museum, which displays many of the most famous works by El Greco, Velázquez and Goya, as well as some notable works by Italian, Flemish, Dutch and German masters. Nearby is the Reina Sofía, where Picasso’s Guernica can be seen alongside other works by Dalí and other modernist, surrealist and abstract painters.

Barcelona is famous for its amazing collection of modern and contemporary art and architecture. Here you will find the Picasso Museum, which covers the beginnings of the artist’s career very well, and Antoni Gaudi‘s architectural marvels, which are a delight with their twisted organic shapes.

Apart from Madrid and Barcelona, art museums are rapidly diminishing in size and importance, although there are some notable mentions that should not be overlooked. Many of El Greco’s most famous works can be found in Toledo, a day’s journey from Madrid. The Naked Christ, perhaps El Greco’s most famous work, is in the cathedral, but you can also find works by El Greco in one of the city’s small art museums. Bilbao, located in the Basque Country in northern Spain, is home to the spectacular Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, which has helped make the city famous. A day’s drive from Barcelona is the city of Figueres, famous for its Salvador Dali Museum, designed by the surrealist himself.

Archaeological sites

  • Ampurias, excavations of a Greek and Roman city, Roman basilica, temple of Asclepius and Serapis, (between Girona and Figueras, Catalonia).
  • The dolmens of Antequetera, La Menga and Viera,
  • Calatrava la Nueva, a well-preserved medieval castle,
  • Calatrava la Vieja, remains of the Arab town, castle of the Order of Calatrava,
  • Clunia, Roman town with forum, shops, temple, public baths and Roman villa,
  • Fraga, Roman villa, Bronze Age settlements,
  • Gormaz, Arab castle,
  • Italica, Roman city with amphitheatre, walls, House of Exedra, Peacock House, Baths of the Moorish Queen, House of Hylas, temple complex (near Seville),
  • Merida, Roman city, Roman bridge, amphitheatre, hippodrome, amphitheatre house, Mithraeum house with mosaics, aqueducts, museum
  • San Juan de los Banos, Visigothic church (between Burgos and Valladolid),
  • San Pedro de la Nave, Visigothic church (near Zamora),
  • Santa Maria de Melque, Visigothic church,
  • Segobriga (Cabeza del Griego), Roman town, Visigothic church, museum (between Madrid and Albacete).
  • Tarragona, Roman city with “Cyclopean Wall”, amphitheatre, hippodrome, form and triumphal arch,

Sport

Football

Spain’s La Liga is one of the strongest in the world, with world-class teams like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona playing to sell-out crowds every week. The Spanish national team is also one of the strongest in the world, capable of bringing in world-class players from their league.

Cycling

Spain hosts one of the three grand tours of the international cycling calendar, the Vuelta aEspaña.

How To Travel To Spain

By planeThe national airline of Spain is Iberia, although there are many airlines flying to most European countries, Africa, America and Asia. Virtually all European low-cost carriers offer frequent connections to Spain, including: Monarch, Thomson, Vueling, EasyJet, Ryanair and Jet2.com.The busiest airports are Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and...

How To Travel Around Spain

By trainRenfe is the national railway company of Spain. Long-distance trains always run on time, but be aware that short-distance trains (called cercanías) can have significant delays of ten to twenty minutes, especially in the Barcelona area, where delays of up to thirty minutes are not uncommon. To be...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Spain

Spain is a member of the Schengen Agreement.There are normally no border controls between the countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most countries of the European Union and a few other countries.Before boarding an international flight or ship, there is usually an identity check. Sometimes...

Destinations in Spain

Regions in SpainSpain is a diverse country, with contrasting regions that have different languages and unique historical, political and cultural traditions. Therefore, Spain is divided into 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas) and two autonomous cities. Some of these autonomous communities - especially those with other official languages besides Spanish...

Weather & Climate in Spain

Spain is a sunny country with about 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. Temperatures are mild, but there are always differences depending on the season and the region of the country. The mildest temperatures are in spring and autumn, which means you can spend almost all day outside. The...

Accommodation & Hotels in Spain

There are many types of tourist accommodation, from hotels, guesthouses and rented villas to camping and even monasteries."7% VAT not included" is a common indication for guesthouses and mid-range hotels: always check the small print when choosing where to stay. VAT is called IVA in Spanish.Small villagesApart from the...

Things To Do in Spain

FestivalsSpain has many local festivals that are worth a visit.Benicàssim MABE: The MABE Benicassim art exhibition takes place in the month of October.Holy Week (Easter) in Málaga - a must. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, there are numerous processions.Córdoba en Mayo (Cordoba in May) - an ideal month...

Food & Drinks in Spain

Food in SpainThe Spanish are very passionate about their food and wine and Spanish cuisine. Spanish cuisine can be described as quite light, with lots of vegetables and a wide variety of meat and fish. Spanish cuisine does not use many spices; it relies solely on the use of...

Money & Shopping in Spain

MoneySpain uses the euro. It is one of the many European countries that use this common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in all countries.One euro is divided into 100 cents.The official symbol of the euro is € and its ISO code is EUR. There is...

Festivals & Holidays in Spain

The public holidays celebrated in Spain are a mixture of religious (Roman Catholic), national and regional holidays. Each municipality is allowed to declare a maximum of 14 public holidays per year, of which a maximum of nine are set by the national government and a minimum of two at...

Traditions & Customs in Spain

Culture and identitySpaniards are generally very patriotic, both towards their country and the region in which they live. Avoid arguments about whether people from Catalonia or the Basque Country are Spanish or not. Security is usually not an issue in the event of an argument, but you will be...

Internet & Communications in Spain

Wi-FiWi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available to guests, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection to their guests in the common areas.Be safety conscious when using a laptop outdoors.Mobile phones and SIM cardsCheap mobile phones (under 50 euros) with some prepaid minutes are sold at FNAC (Plaza Callao...

Language & Phrasebook in Spain

The official and universal language in Spain is Spanish (español), which belongs to the Romance language family (the other languages are Portuguese, Catalan, Italian, French and Romanian). Many people, especially outside Castile, prefer to call it Castilian (castellano).However, there are a number of languages (Catalan, Basque, Galician, Asturian, etc.)...

Culture Of Spain

Culturally, Spain is a western country. Almost every aspect of Spanish life is steeped in its Roman heritage, making Spain one of the first Latin countries in Europe. Spanish culture is historically strongly linked to Catholicism, which played a key role in the country's emergence and later identity. Spanish...

History Of Spain

It is interesting to note that some of the oldest known Homo remains in Europe were found in Spain. It is also believed that Spain was the last refuge of the Neanderthals and one of the few places that were inhabited and populated during the ice ages.Ancient Spain and...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Spain

Stay safe in SpainIn Spain, pickpockets are not imprisoned if they steal less than 400 euros. After their arrest, they are automatically released on bail to continue pickpocketing, so they can easily pay their 200 euro fine when they go to court. Many of them have been through the...

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