Spain Travel Guide

 

Spain Travel Guide

Spain Travel Guide

Spain Travel Guide –  an insight into one of the worlds most popular holiday destinations.

This is all about Spain travel and tourism, Spain is the preferred holiday destination of millions of tourists and visitors each year. Its fantastic climate is the envy of the rest of Europe and offers more than 5,000 miles of beautiful coastline; most of this is adorned by equally beautiful beaches.

Some of these rank among the best in the world. By definition, a great beach is one that gets you hooked and makes you hate the idea of leaving when your holiday is over the kind of beach that elicits constant dreams and makes you plan to revisit even before the holiday tan is gone.

Festivals in Spain

Festivals in Spain

Huge selection of affordable accommodation

As far as accommodation goes Spain offers a vast array of options from super 5 star luxury hotels, romantic holiday hotspots, amazing family resorts budget friendly hostels and an incredible selection of self catering apartments and villas for rent.

Rooms at the Hotel Arts Barcelona

Hotel Arts Barcelona

Be sure to check our holiday deals to Spain which are update daily to include a selection of personally selected holiday offers, last minute deals and special coupon codes to get even more discount  on last minute promotional offers.

Remember these deals come and go pretty quickly and are not always easy to find. We deal directly with hundreds of the top travel companies to ensure those offers are available to you as soon as they are published by the travel operators.

Why is Spain such a popular holiday destination

Since the love affair with Spanish holidays started back in the 60’s Spain has been the preferred destination of millions of holidaymakers and visitors alike each and every year. People visit this country for many reasons, the obvious main one is to enjoy family holidays on one of the famous resorts dotted all along its now famous Costas,  each one offering something slightly different and unique to the other.

The others include the famous Spanish Festivals, the incredible weather and even the amazing skiing possibilities. From the Costa del Sol in southern Spain to the rugged northern coastline of Galicia to the pristine untouched beaches of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands there is a place in Spain to suit everyone’s holidays tastes.

Map of the Provinces of Spain

Map of the Provinces of Spain

The country

Spain is a country located in south-western Europe, bordered by France to the north-east, Portugal to the west, and the small British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar towards the southern tip. Its area is just over 505,000 square kilometres, positioning it as 52nd largest country in the world, and second in the European Union, which Spain forms part of. The country’s government system is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with a democratic approach to leadership. The Spanish capital city is Madrid, located in the exact centre of the country.

The territory of Spain is comprised of its mainland ( around a fith of the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands archipelago, located in the Mediterranean Sea off the mainland’s east coast; the Canary Islands archipelago, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of southern Morocco; and the seaside enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, located in northern Morocco.

The country has a population of about 55 million, concentrated mainly in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville. The coastal regions of Malaga, Alicante Valencia and Catalonia also have a higher density of population per square kilometre.

Politically Spain is divided into autonomous communities, which are further divided into provinces, the smaller regional areas known as comarcas and finally municipalities, which are the individual villages, towns and cities. In total, there are 17 communities plus Ceuta and Melilla, and 50 provinces.

Majorca Beach

Majorca Beach

Amazing Beaches

Spain is home to some of the best beaches in the world which are located all around the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. The mainland coastal regions run from Galicia in the north west to Santander being bathed by the Atlantic waters. The Mediterranean  coastline runs from Catalonia in the north east down to the Costa del Sol. The Atlantic coast is again present in the most southern part of Spain running from Tarifa to Huelva next to the Portuguese border.

 The varied and formidable coastlines of the Balearic and Canary Islands offer hundreds of miles of a coastal areas where you will find many of the most highly rates beaches in Europe. In fact Spain boasts around 5,000 kilometres of coastline  so you will never be far away from a beach haven to enjoy your holidays in Spain. Spain has made good use of their prized assets and the huge tourism industry has been built largely around its top class beaches, the most well known being the Costa del Sol, the Costa Blanca and the Costa Adeje in the south of Tenerife.

Spanish Food Store

Divers gastronomy

Spain is well know for its Mediterranean diet of fresh vegetables, salads, fish, rice dishes and the wide use of quality extra virgin olive oil. One of the greatest pleasure you can enjoy when visiting Spain is the wide and varied cuisine on offer from the smallest tapas bar located in the back streets of a typical coastal fishing village to the large number of Michelin starred restaurants dotted around Catalonia, and San Sebastian. Foods of note from Spain include, black foot cured ham, olives, fresh fish, garlic, vegetables, fish and meet stews.

The most popular dish consumed by holiday makers is Paella a rice dish that comes in many forms and was first eaten in Valencia. And of course Spain is know throughout the world for its delicious Tapas dishes, small plates of food which include just about every type of food on offer.

Each region of Spain has its own take of tapas so well worth trying them in as many towns and cities as you can.  Spain is of course also producer of many fine wines from sherry from Jerez in southern Spain to the world renowned Rioja varieties from the central northern region.

Enviable Location

Spain is situated between latitudes 26º and 44º north, and longitudes 5º east and 19º west. As a whole, the country is quite mountainous, hosting several great mountain ranges (from north to south): the Pyrenees, which form the natural border between Spain and France, the Cordillera Cantabrica, the Sistema Iberico, the Sistema central, Sierra Morena and the Sistema Penibetico. This averages Spain as the second highest country in Europe, after Switzerland. Inland Spain is dominated by a high central plateau. The tallest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula is the Mulhacen, in Sierra Nevada in Andalusia (the site of Europe’s southernmost ski resort). The highest peak in Spain is the Teide at 3,718 meters, a dormant volcano located in the Canary Island of Tenerife

Its Rivers

Spain is home to hundreds of rivers and notable streams, the longest and largest of which runs over 1,000 kilometres, and are (in order): the Tajus, the Ebro, the Duero, the Guadiana, and the Guadalquivir.

All but one of these flow westward from the Spanish highlands into Portugal, and drain into the Atlantic Ocean; the exception is the Ebro, which flows eastwards, draining into the Mediterranean Sea.

The most voluminous river is the Ebro, located in north-eastern Spain. The Guadalquivir, located in the southerly community of Andalusia, is the only river navigable by larger cargo ships; this makes Seville, the largest city on its banks and fourth in Spain, the country’s only inland river port. The western coast of Galicia is peppered with many large and little rias, sea inlets similar to river estuaries or fjords.

The city of Girona in Catalonia in North East Spain

The city of Girona in Catalonia in North East Spain

The Weather and Climate

The weather in Spain varies depending mainly on location and altitude. The mountainous regions named before all experience alpine climates, with considerable snow in winter and little to no snow in summer (except for the Pyrenees, which remains more densely snowed all year round).

The northern coastal provinces of Galicia, Cantabria, Asturias, Pais Vasco (Basque Country), Navarra, as well as eastern Catalonia, northern Aragon and north-western Castilla y Leon, all experience an oceanic climate due to their close or adjacent proximity to the Atlantic Ocean; this is characterised by mild winters and cool summers, with high rainfall all year round; this area is sometimes called Green Spain.

The northern inland regions of Castilla y Leon, La Rioja, southern Aragon, Madrid, and northern Castilla-La Mancha all have a continental Mediterranean climate, featuring cold, usually snowy winters, and hot, dry summers. The southern inland regions of Extremadura, southern Castilla-La Mancha and northernmost Andalusia have a very similar climate, with cold to cool winters with no or very little snow, and scorching dry summers.

The Mediterranean region of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, as well as the south-western part of Andalusia, have a climate characterised by mild winters with moderate rainfall, and warm to slightly hot, dry summers. The eastern and south-eastern Mediterranean regions of Comunidad Valenciana, Murcia and eastern Andalucia have a semi-arid climate, featuring mild to warm winters and very hot summers, and very little rainfall throughout the year. Southern Andalusia has a Mediterranean subtropical climate, very similar to the one described above, only with a little more rainfall.

Finally, the special climate of the Canary Islands, which is an oceanic subtropical climate, with very warm winters and slightly hot, but never scorching, summers, and little to moderate rainfall all year round. This is probably the best and most comforting climate in the whole of Spain.

The Dialects

Spain has a variety of regional dialects and different languages. Those of notable significance are Castilian Spanish (the most commonly used language in Spain and spoken throughout the entire country), Basque (originating in the Basque Country), Catalan (originating in Catalonia and also spoken in the Comunidad Valenciana and the Balearic Islands), Aragonese (originating in Aragon) and Gallego (originating in Galicia).

Iberia Aircraft Spain

Iberia Aircraft Spain

The Transport

Spain is renowned for its excellent, world-class transport facilities and links so getting around Spain these days is very easy. The Spanish highway system is the fourth longest in the world at 15,152 kilometres, only behind the huge countries of USA, China and Canada. Madrid has six motorways radiating out to each of the corners of the country, and many other toll roads and freeways connect the main cities and towns in the country.

They are always maintained in prime condition and operate with strict standards; many of the newer highways receive very little use and, as a whole, they rarely experience traffic incidents and overcrowding. Highways in Spain are denoted by the letter A (for autopista or autovia). Their speed limit is usually set at 120 km/h. In addition, there are hundreds of second degree national roads, the longest one, the N-340, running over 1,000 kilometres from Girona to Cadiz. Spain has invested heavily in a high speed train network which is run by the national train service carrier Renfe.

The now famous Ave high speed train service has cut the travel times significantly between the major cities around mainland Spain travelling at speeds of of over 300 kilometres an hour. You can now travel in comfort and style from Madrid to Barcelona in just over 2 hours and 30 minutes or from Madrid to Malaga on the Costa del Sol in under 3 hours.