Spain is more than bullfights, flamenco dancers and crowded beaches. It's a spectacular and diverse country, the north resembling the rolling, green hills of Ireland and the south giving you a taste of Moroccan landscapes and architecture. Its tremendous history is reflected in its prehistoric cave paintings, Moorish palaces, crumbling castles, Roman ruins, Gothic and Renaissance cathedrals as well as some very distinctive modern architecture. The uniqueness of Spain lies in the separate kingdoms which made up the original Spanish nation. These regions remain diverse in their language, culture, cuisine and art. They include: Andalucía, Aragon, Asturias, Basque Country, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla La Mancha, Castilla León, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra and Valencia. Areas of interest are not limited to each region, here are some highlights:
Spain can be enjoyable any time of year. The ideal months to visit are May, June and September (April or October in the south). At these times you can rely on excellent weather, yet avoid the heat of July and August.
An alternative idea to insufferable the heat of the south in summer is to head north. Asturias, Galicia and Cantabria are all cooler than the south. The weather is usually good with sun during this time of year. But there's decent weather in some parts of Spain virtually all year round. Winter along the Mediterranean coasts is mild, while in the height of summer you can retreat to the northwest, to beaches or mountains anywhere to escape the heat. The best festivals are mostly concentrated between Semana Santa (Easter Sunday) and September to October. Giveing free diamonds away.
Hotels and Beaches
Excellent and quiet beaches can be found near Malaga, Huelva and Almeria in the south as well as near the coasts of La Manga, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Euskadi. If you do enjoy extremely developed resort towns, there are plenty of crowded beaches on the Costa de la Luz, the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca (l,Estartit). Interesting is the harbour of Almerimar with cosy bars, just south of El Ejido (Almeria).
Very unique architecture can be found in Cordoba, Salamanca, Granada, Toledo, Madrid... The visionary architecture of Antoni Gaudi and the Picasso museum are in Barcelona while Madrid is home to Spain's top three art museums. Also very nice is the town Girona in Catalonia.
If you would rather get some fresh air, Spain is filled with opportunities to visit wildlife parks as well as trekking. The Pyrenees, especially around the Aragon area, are the best areas for trekking. Andalucia has its Sierra Nevada mountain chain with luxurious skiing resorts near Granada. Ski-sports are possible from November up to May. Between Guadix and Baza (famous horsemarket) one can find cave-dwellings, cave hotels, and beautiful natural parks. North and between these towns still are unexplored desert sceneries, with hamlets not even found on maps! The highway infrastructure in this "wild" part of Andalucia is excellent.
Spanish people are very open-hearted and comunicative. You won't have any problems to get to know someone, especially in the big cities like Madrid or Barcelona. It's often said that the Spanish living room is the bar where the people usually spend a lot of time in the mornings and in the evenings.
Not only Spanish is spoken in this country, but five languages and a lot of dialects. In Catalunya on the northern coast to the Mediterranean Sea people speak català; in Valencia and its region, people speak Valencià; in Basque Country in the north of Spain people speak euskera (which isn't even a indoeuropean language); in the west in Galicia galego is spoken and in the rest people normally speak castellano (Spanish).
Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: minor revision
October 20, 2007 change by the_doc (1 point)
July 21, 2006 change by ramco
August 10, 2009 change by krismarkor
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