Golden Mediterranean beaches, a vibrant culture, great cusine and impressive architecture - in terms of tourism Spain is maybe the most attractive country in Europe. Spaniards take pride in their rich historical heritage, embracing the Golden Age of Discovery or the period of Muslim rule over the Iberian Peninsula. Corrida, Pablo Picasso, tapas, flamenco, Malaga wine and Don Quixote - it all comes from Sapin. What's more, Spain is really a number of various provinces, such as Andalucia, Catalonia or Valencia, each of these 17 provinces are all different, all unique.
A trip to Spain is likely to start in Madrid, its capital and biggest city. Few European cities have more to offer – a vibrant atmosphere, an excellent climate and many interesting monuments and attractions. Two landmarks here are the royal monastery of San Lorenzo and the Royal Palace. It may no longer be a residence, but it is fascinating nonetheless, featuring some amazing architecture and the beautiful Sabattini and del Moro gardens. It displays works by some of the most famous artists in the world, such as El Greco, Goya and Rubens. This city has recovered from the Franco's dictatorship and today is a modern and cosmopolitan centre of art and culture . It is one of the most prosperous cities in the region of south Europe. Furthermore, it serves as a main link between the EU, of which Spain is a member, and Latin America. An exceptional cultural venue is the Opera, Teatro Real, just behind the Royal Palace.
An important Spanish cultural venue and landmark is the Prado Museum. Located in Madrid, it is the biggest art museum in the world, featuring vast, diverse art collections. The Prado exhibits 2000 paintings with another 8600 in storage owing to lack of space. Some of the works displayed are by famous artists like Raphael, Rubens and Goya. Raphael's The Maids of Honour, completed circa 1656, can be seen here among others. Highlights include The Knight and the Holy Family by Goya, as well as Rubens' Three Graces. A little known fact is that the artist's wife was one of the models.
Another “must -see” in Spain is Barcelona. You should be aware that Barcelona is not to be associated solely with the football team. Many magnificent buildings designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi are located here, and seven of them are on Unesco's list of World Heritage sites. In fact, he is a major part of Barcelona's cultural heritage. You will enjoy a visit to the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Palau Guell and the Colonia Guell crypt. The first is no less than Gaudi's masterpiece, left unfinished. Upon completion it will be the tallest church in the entire world. Palau Guell is a magnificent palace, the centre of which is formed by an airy, luminous banquet hall. Original parabolic arches, Gaudi's signature, form the design basis of the front gates.
Spain has a lot of other splendid sights and attractions that await exploration. The Gothic Cathedral of Burgos, a Unesco site, the Alambhra – a magnificent world of Moorish architecture, the Aqueduct of Segovia, the unsual Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao are some of the most impressive attractions to visit. Spain is also known as a strongly Roman-Catholic country attracting thousands of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. A site of St James' cult, it is one of the world's holiest places, visited by pilgrims since the Middle Ages.
You will certainly enjoy a visit to Andalusia, a historic and administrative region of Spain. Remarkable ruins of Arabian buildings can be found here, dating back to the age of Arab rule in Spain. Important remnants are the Mezquita and the Tower of the Gold. There are entertainments and activities for everyone here, including skiing, water sports, extreme sports, cave exploring, art galleries and historical landmarks. Andalusia is simply heaven on earth, with an extremely diverse wildlife and a pleasant mild climate, thick forests and beautiful natural scenery.
Apart from its historical heritage, Spain is fabulous in the summer. The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, sandy beaches of Costa del Sol, Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza, and an excellent overall climate make it a perfect summer holiday destination. If you are in search for something hotter and more exotic, visit the Canary Islands, the autonomous territory of Spain near the coast of Africa.
Spain is even more that one can dream of – if you doubt it, check it out yourself. Barcelona, Madrid, Palma Mallorca, Ibiza, Malaga, Bilbao, Sevilla, Valencia and many more Spanish cities provides air connection with many other cities in Europe and worldwide. Come and explore the grandeur of architecture and the finest masterpieces of art, enjoy delicious sellfish paella or gazpacho and Rioja wine, discover the sunny seaside or the magnificence of the Pyrenees – Spain welcomes you!