Quick Travel Guide

Quick Travel Guide: Spain

Visitors to Spanish cities can find architecture, history, Toledo, flamenco, beaches, sun, sangria, paella, Serrano ham, The Pyreness, Cervantes & more.

Location: Spain is on the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal. It borders Portugal, Gibraltar, France and Andorra. And, if you’re being picky, it also borders Morocco when you take into account the two African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

Capital city: The capital of Spain is Madrid, and it manages to combine modern energy with beautiful architecture and a sense of history. It’s smack bang in the middle of the country. Curiously, it isn’t officially a city, as no-one has ever got round to redesignating what used to be a tiny backwater town. It was decided to make the capital there in a bid to take some power away from the seat of the Catholic Church in nearby Toledo.

Other major cities: Other cities that can be visited in Spain include the wonderful Catalan capital, Barcelona, and the southern home of flamenco and bullfighting, Seville. Valencia is also emerging as one of Europe’s most exciting destinations, whilst Bilbao in the north has recently undergone a dramatic transformation. To see examples of properties in these areas, visit: www.javea.properties.

Population: Around 43 million people live in Spain.

Languages spoken: Spanish is spoken across the country, but other languages – such as Basque, Catalan and Galician – have equal status in their particular region.

What we know it for: Most people’s experience of Spain is a two week package holiday on one of the famous Costas (Brava, Blanca or Del Sol). Spain has been attracted mass tourism since the 1960s, and sometimes you can be forgiven for thinking that the entire population of Northern Europe has migrated to the beach. But there is more to Spain than its sun, sea, sand and sangria, and the country has made plenty of other contributions to the world. First up is the food and wine – the likes of paella, Serrano ham, Rioja and sherry all originated in Spain. Then there’s also the country’s contribution to the world of film. Some of the best non-Hollywood films come from Spain, such as those of director Pedro Aldomovar, while the legendary spaghetti westerns were filmed near Almeria.

Why you should go: Spain has an astonishing diversity. It manages to mix high culture from the likes of Cervantes and Picasso with cheap and cheerful bucket and spade fun. Andalucia in the south has arguably Europe’s best weather, while in the Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees, you’ve also got some of the greatest mountains on the continent. Add to that the sheer energy of the big cities, and there is something that should excite everyone.

Great places to visit: Even if you’ve trawled through Europe, phenomenally bored by seeing a new cathedral every day, you can’t failed to be impressed by the Mezquita in Córdoba or the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

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