In summer Spain becomes a huge open-air stage. Mérida, Almagro and el Grec, in Barcelona, are some of the most important theatre festivals held during the year.
There are many magnificent beaches to choose from with excellent complementary facilities. Discover the Spanish coast and you will see why it is the world's second most popular tourist destination.
Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims from the French-Spanish border to Santiago de Compostela along the World heritage-listed Way of Saint James. Explore the mountains, valleys and plains on the Silver Route, and experience an adventure of the spirit from Córdoba to Granada on the Route of Caliphate.
Spain by Moonlight
When night falls it is one of the best times to discover Spain’s monuments and cities. Illuminated by night they take on an almost magical appearance. In summer, don’t miss the chance to go on nocturnal guided tours that are organized at each destination. They are a unique way to discover Spain’s heritage.
A World of Wine
Visit a winery, find out how wine is made, stay in the beautiful wine-growing countryside, enjoy your first tastings, and discover the delights of matching food and wine. Find experiences that will awaken your senses to all the joys that Spain and the wonderful world of wine have to offer.
Health and Beauty
Relax and revitalize at a Spa Club or enjoy a sensational sea water treatment. Rest and find serenity in a vitality-giving environment and experience a soothing massage or thermal treatment. In Spain, you will find novel beauty techniques and treatments to suit all your needs in beautiful surroundings.
If you visit in the summer, you can enjoy some of the most famous festivals in Europe. Castles, palaces and places of great historic value become elegant stages for internationally renowned musicians.
Enjoy a concert in a majestic natural setting, attend a recital in a Renaissance palace, see a show in an emblematic place like the Alhambra in Granada, take master classes with musicians expert in their disciplines, or enjoy an improvisation session in a night club: these are only a few of the options available at the different music festivals held in many places in Spain during the summer.
These are prestigious, established events with an international reputation. They encompass a variety of styles and attract not only a huge audience eager to listen to the best music, but also the most representative artists from the international scene. While the musical performances are the focal point at these events, the programs usually include other parallel activities in which those in attendance become active participants: from practical workshops to lectures, conferences, seminars and thematic courses.
Hiking, trekking, climbing, caving, canyoning, biking, horse-riding and quad-biking routes, kayaking, mountaineering, fishing, orienteering… All adapted to meet your needs, with the guarantee that comes with professional supervision, and with the utmost respect for the local environment and surroundings.
Experience a different kind of nightlife in Spain, and make the most of everything there is on offer. You won’t find anywhere else where you can party all night long, because in Spain the nightlife is guaranteed to go on until after the sun has come up. One way to start the evening is with dinner and a few drinks in a music bar… or else you could go to a musical or the theatre. Then adjourn to a bar or disco with friends to carry on partying until well into the night. And if you want to prolong the fun until the next day, you can go dancing in all night discos or drop into an after-hours club.
Spanish art constitutes one of the most important cultural heritages of the world.
The first artistic samples date back to the Superior Paleolithic age and feature cave paintings from the Altamira cave and the Mediterranean arch.
The Phoenician and Greek influence is evident in the gold work and sculpturing. Hispanic Roman art reached its zenith in the Imperial era (1st century A.D.). Important vestiges including the walls of Lugo, the theatres of Sagunto and Merida, the aqueduct of Segovia, Italica in Seville and the several displays of this art in Tarragona, amongst others.
Early Christian art began in the 3rd century and was followed by Visigoth art from the 5th century onward. Important remnants from these periods such as the Constantinian necropolis of Centcelles (Tarragona), the Church of San Juan de Baños (Palencia), the early Christian sarcophagus and the Visigoth gold work have remained.
The Hispanic-Muslim art period extended from the 8th century through to the 15th in various phases: the Cordoba mosque stems from the Caliphal period; beautifully decorated palaces remain from the period in which small Spanish kingdoms reigned after the disintegration of the Caliphate of Cordoba in 1031 (Aljafería, Zaragoza); the Giralda de Seville is conserved from the period of Almoravid art; and the impressive Alhambra of Granada remains from the Nazarite period.
In the North of Spain, various artistic examples such as Mozarab art (San Millán de la Cogolla, La Rioja), the Asturian pre-Romanesque (Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo) and Catalan pre-Romanesque art (Churches of Terrassa) were developed during these centuries.
From the 11th century onward, Romanesque art began to dominate in Christian Spain, where it played an important role in the construction of monasteries (Sant Pere de Rodes, San Martín de Frómista).
From the 13th century onward, a new style began to become prominent: Gothic art, extended throughout Europe thanks to the Cistercian Order. There are important examples in Spain, such as the monasteries of Poblet and Santes Creus (Catalonia), and the Cathedrals of Leon, Burgos and Toledo. Painting and sculpture reached a peak during the Gothic age; particularly prominent were the monumental doorways and tempera painted altarpieces.
Parallel to the Romanesque and Gothic period, a peculiar artistic style emerged in Spain: the Mudejar, a combination of Christian and Muslim styles. The best examples thereof can be found in Toledo and Teruel.
At the end of the 15th century, Renaissance art, imported from Italy, began to dominate. The most important examples of architecture are the Charles V Palace (Granada) and the El Escorial monastery (Madrid); the works of Alonso Berruguete and Juan de Juni are fundamental in the area of sculpture; with regard to painting important pieces include the work of Juan de Juanes, Pedro Berruguete and above all, the figure of El Greco.
The Baroque period in Spain extended throughout the 17th century and the first half of the 18th. Ornamental architecture became more pronounced (Cathedral of Murcia, Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas in Valencia); religious imagery proliferated, in particular the works of Gregorio Fernández and Juan de Mesa; and this was the best period in the history of art painting in Spain, during which time artists such as Ribera, Zurbarán, Murillo and above all the master Velázquez stood out.
In the middle of the 18th century, neoclassicism began to prevail; this is evident in the architecture of the Prado Museum, the return to the classic canons in sculpture, and painting which was strongly dominated by Goya. The arts known as minor arts gained great importance thanks to royal protection, embodied by the Royal Factories such as the Tapestries Factory, founded by Phillip V, and the Buen Retiro Porcelain Factory, founded by Charles III.
Romanticism broke with the Neoclassic style in the 19th century. The National Library and the paintings of Mariano Fortuny and Pérez Villaamil stand out from this period.
Modernism was particularly triumphant in Catalonia; its most important representative being Gaudí, designer of the Sagrada Familia and Casa Milá, amongst others.
The 20th century was influenced by diverse styles: contact with the Parisian ambience at the beginning of the century, international isolation following the civil war and the opening up to new trends from the fifties onward. Twentieth century Spanish painting reached great levels of international recognition, thanks to painters such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí.
In present day art, artists such as Bofill, Moneo and Calatrava (architecture), Chillida (sculpture) and Tàpies and Barceló (painting) are of great importance.
Every year the Costa Brava, with its exceptional leisure and hotel infrastructure, attracts thousands of tourists. Places like Lloret de Mar offer the ideal place to spend a few days of sun and sand. The quality of its waters and coastline, with protected nature reserves, unspoiled coves, wide open beaches and paradise dive sites such as the Medes islands in L'Estartit, or the Formigues Islands in Palafrugell are a must for nature and water-sports lovers.
Amid the long, crystal-clear beaches that make up Costa Daurada is this important tourist center, where you can combine water sports with all kinds of leisure activities and accommodations. Scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing, golf, bike riding and trekking are just a few of the many possibilities that can be enjoyed at the different facilities that make up this resort. They must add to the charm of towns like Cambrils, with a long seafaring tradition and a delicious cuisine of well-deserved fame, or Salou, the most active city in Costa Daurada.
Located in the Marina Baixa region in Alicante, Benidorm Beach is one of the top tourist destinations on the Costa Blanca, thanks to its excellent beaches and its wide range of accommodation, restaurants and leisure activities. Its historic center stands on a promontory, and contrasts with the broad avenues lined with buildings, shops and outdoor cafés which extend five kilometers along the coastline.Calpe Beach offers refreshment kiosks and equipment-hiring stands that offer windsurfing boards and jet-skis are located all along the beaches of La Fossa and Arenal, which have a beautiful promenade and offer all kinds of services. Jávea beach offers visitors twenty kilometers of beaches and coves, ideal to enjoy the sun, the sea and water sports. The beach of El Arenal is one of the most emblematic on the coast of Jávea. In this place, next to the Fontana Canal, sits the Parador de Turismo “Costa Blanca” (Inn), at a privileged location only a few meters away from the beach. San Juan Beach is a beach with lots of facilities: there are showers, volleyball nets, beach bars, pedal boat hire, parking, children's playground, etc. There are dozens of restaurants all along the promenade. The beach is enormous and the sand is good.
Costa del Sol
The perfect setting for leisure and relaxation where you can enjoy wide open beaches with warm waters, modern hotel facilities and exclusive golf courses, not forgetting the passion for life to be found in its towns and in its people. Forget your daily routine and spend a few magical days in one of the world’s most prized tourist destinations. Visit towns like Torremolinos, Marbella, Estepona and Fuengirola to enjoy some on the relaxing and beautiful beaches.
Costa de la Luz
The infinite beaches of Costa de la Luz, lined by pine groves, form an arch from Ayamonte to Tarifa, from the mouth of the Guadiana River to the Strait of Gibraltar. Enjoy beaches and towns including Chiclana, Chipiona, Mazagón, Punta Umbría, Zahara de los Atunas and Tarifa.
Costa de la Luz comprises sun and sand; the rivers flow in channels before reaching the sea; water and earth combine in the swamps, estuaries and salt mines. Its name comes from a bright, vivid light that highlights the comeliness of its streets, the whitewash of its walls, the golden hue of the dunes and the reflection of the silver sea, the only greyish tint in this land of color.
Silgar Beach is probably one of the most tourist places in Galicia. It is the biggest beach of Sanxenxo. There is a long wall all the way along the beach with a promenade that ends at the Yacht Club. It has been awarded the blue flag.Ribadesella Beach is a big stretch of sand that runs alongside the town. The Sella River flows out onto this beach and every year hundreds of people participate in a competition canoeing down the Sella. The beach is surrounded by a promenade and by pretty villas and estates, formerly the summer residences of Ribadesella and also locals that live there all year round. A large mountain covered in vegetation closes the beach into a shell shape at one end and at the other the point of Caballo closes the beach even more. Opposite El Sardinero Beach is the lighthouse of the Mauro Island, to the right Concha Beach and Magadelana Peninsula, and behind is the famous stadium of Racing de Santander: El Sardinero. Equipped with all types of services and facilities, it also has a wide promenade that runs the length of the beaches in the area. There is a wide selection of hotels and gastronomy to choose from. A big park lies between this beach and the Concha. La Concha Beach is the beach of the provincial capital. It is a fantastic urban beach which has all the necessary services and infrastructures. For the little one, platforms have been set up in the sea with small aquatic attractions. Its pleasant, well-known promenade is always popular as is the bicycle lane which follows the same route. It extends along the whole length of the bay, travelling along the beaches of Ondarreta and La Concha. This beach has lovely views of Monte Igeldo and Santa Clara Island.
The archipelago has become a tourist emporium and the top tourist destination in the western Mediterranean. It hosts an excellent combination of elegant summer resorts, coves and beaches, without detracting from the beautiful spots hidden inland on each of the islands. The Balearic Islands include Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, plus numerous isles like the ones that form the La Cabrera Archipelago, declared a Marine-Land National Park.
Its beaches are its most outstanding attractions, and are perfect for relaxing in the sun or enjoying water sports such as windsurfing and scuba diving. In the interior you'll find amazing landscapes which are ideal for hiking, cycle touring, climbing and even caving. Some of the most spectacular include the volcanic scenery of Lanzarote, El Hierro, the beaches of Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Gran Canaria with their sand dunes, or the green forests of La Palma and La Gomera.
Spanish culture is extremely rich and touches upon all forms of artistic expression. From literature to painting, music to architecture, and theatre to sumptuary arts. In each of these aspects, at some time in history or other, Spanish culture has reached the highest artistic heights: from bygone times (with outstanding examples of cave art) until present day (a time in which Spanish architecture is universally avant-garde), culture and art in Spain are prominent features of the country.
Current Spanish culture is enjoying good health, as can be seen, for example, in a prosperous editorial industry that produces over 90,000 volumes per year. Cultural tourism is becoming an alternative to sun and beach tourism, as a result of the wealth and quality of the museums, monuments, fiestas and traditions, not to mention the expositions and various cultural displays.
Just to give an example, Spain boasts one of the greatest collections of historical and architectural monuments in the world, as demonstrated by the fact that it is the country with the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage designations. An approximate inventory of the monuments in Spain would reveal over 20,000 important pieces. Spanish theatre and cinema is becoming a reference point in Europe, thanks to events such as the Theatre Festivals of Mérida, Sagunto and Almagro and the San Sebastian and Valladolid cinema festivals. Spanish universities play a very important role in the diffusion of the national culture, and their summer courses, held in universities such as El Escorial, Salamanca, Santander and the International University of Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP), with seats in Santander, Barcelona, Cuenca, Galicia, the Pyrenees, Seville, Tenerife and Valencia are of particular relevance. Scientific and cultural research is carried out by the state-dependent Superior Council of Scientific Research.
Spain has a very extensive network of libraries and museums throughout the Spanish territory where some of the most valuable cultural and world art treasures are held.
The most important library is the National Library in Madrid, inaugurated in 1712.
There are 25 million items in its collection, of which many are unique, singular, ancient and incunabular books. It also holds an extraordinary collection of recordings and manuscripts.
Other libraries of great importance are the library of the Complutense University, the library of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial and the Archivo de Indias.
The network of public libraries is extensive and admission is generally free, or almost free of charge. They offer numerous facilities to students and researchers who wish to consult books that are not available to the general public.
This also applies to the museums. In Spain there are over 1.400 museums and graphic museum collections. The most famous museum of all is the Museo del Prado, although there are many more that offer immeasurable heritage value.
Admission to many museums in Spain is free and those that charge entrance fees offer discounts for students, old age pensioners and citizens of the European Union.
Lodging in Paradors
Would you like to visit cities with stunning cultural heritage and sleep in fantasy settings? Go and make this dream come true, staying at Parador Hotels in Spain's World Heritage Cities. It is an irresistible idea, a unique form of accommodation that will awaken all your senses. Imposing castles, quiet convents, elegant palaces, typical houses, modern buildings... all converted into comfortable hotels. Explore thirteen unique destinations and let their monuments take your breath away.
Every year there are a range of international film festivals held in Spain where you can enjoy the best new films before they go on general release. Some, like the San Sebastián Festival, are amongst Europe's most prestigious. You can really get involved in these events, which feature active audience participation.
For fans and mythomaniacs, the best is to opt for presentation passes - these generally feature the attendance of stars and film teams.
In Barcelona you’ll be able to experience some unforgettable sporting moments, ranging from once-in-a-lifetime football matches to thrilling motor races. Barcelona is home to one of football's greatest teams, the FC Barcelona. Their game is a guarantee of a fantastic spectacle, and the team is a fixture at all the great competitions. You can also visit the largest stadium in Spain, and you’ll have the chance to get a close-up view of the club’s trophies in the museum.
Come and enjoy the biggest fixture in the Spanish football league: FC Barcelona – Real Madrid. Passion, entertainment and the continent's best players. Don’t miss it!
Valencia is in pole position for international motor racing with a spectacular new urban racetrack, the Valencia Street Circuit, which is the venue for the Formula 1 European Grand Prix. A total of 24 cars will race around the port area of Valencia at speeds of over 200 kilometers per hour. This is a unique opportunity to discover this avant-garde city and see this event, which will be followed on television by 500 million viewers.
The first World Championship Motorcycle Racing event in the Spanish calendar is the Spanish Grand Prix. It’s one of the most popular races in the whole championship and takes place on a legendary track: the Jerez Circuit, in the province of Cadiz. Up to 200,000 spectators come together over the course of the three competition days, although the main event is, without doubt, the Sunday race, which often sees over 120,000 fans fill the stands. This is a unique weekend, where you can savor true passion for motorbikes.
The Catalonia Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of the Region of Valencia and the Aragon Grand Prix are the three other events not to be missed in the Spanish world championship. The first is held at the Catalonia racetrack, in Montmeló, some 30 kilometers outside Barcelona. Don’t miss the chance to discover the cultural heritage and lively atmosphere of this cosmopolitan city. The second Grand Prix is the event which closes the world championship in the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in the Region of Valencia in Cheste. Take the chance to discover Valencia, just 28 kilometers away, a beautiful coastal city on the shores of the Mediterranean. Finally the Aragon Grand Prix is held in Alcañiz (Aragón), at the Ciudad del Motor racetrack, and has been part of the international circuit since 2010.
Attend spectacular bullfights where you can discover the farms where these animals are raised, go on themed routes, and take part in enjoyable traditional fiestas.
In Spain, bullfighting is not just attending the impressive bullrings for the fights. It is also a key element of many fiestas in towns and villages. In some places you can take part in bull-running or just watch. At these events, crowds of people run with the bulls through the streets to the bullring. However, they always have some prior preparation and there are experts along the way who guide the bulls between the route's barriers.
Wine Harvest Festival
Take part in the numerous proposals included in the Wine Routes and feel like a wine expert for a few days as you help collect and tread grapes, or enjoy delicious tasting sessions.
The grape harvest is one of the most important moments in the production of a good wine. This is when the raw materials are gathered to prepare the wines of the year. It is a major celebration on all the Wine Routes to be found around Spain.
September and October mark the arrival of autumn, and also the period when grapes are picked. Every year, the harvest signals the end of the grape-growing season, and after the work is done, it's time to celebrate the good crop in style. The grape harvest festivals that are held in many places in Spain offer a sample of what the world of wine is like, and of its typical popular customs. You are sure to have a good time during these festivities, because the mood of merriment that prevails is contagious. You will also have the chance to see first-hand some of the tasks involved in the winemaking process. Enjoy many different wine harvest festivals in places such as La Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Albariño.
Music and entertainment to the rhythm of the best international artists, with the greatest following among the young. Plenty of decibels of the best music in all styles let you dance non-stop.
Rock, pop, electronic music, ethnic music, dance, singer-songwriters... Beaches, major cities, desert... Music during the day and at night under the stars... There are sounds for all ears and for all tastes in June, July and August throughout Spain.
Open-Air Theatre Festivals
In Spain, towns, gardens and historic locations undergo a summer transformation. They are decked out to host their annual theatre festivals, including some of Europe's most important programs. This is the chance to enjoy the great classics in an unusual way: outdoors and in very special settings.
Cervantes, Shakespeare, Homer, Sophocles… Spain's good weather means you can see their plays as they were staged originally. Summer festivals mean that Roman amphitheaters, cloisters and old theatres, now historic monuments, recover their original functions to bring all the magic of classical theatre to the public. You will see for yourself: when night falls on these unique stages, the most universal characters of theatre gain a special degree of life and intensity under the stars. Palaces, castles and squares are other places where you can see the adventures of heroes, heroines and gods.
The Terra Mítica theme park is in the town of Benidorm in Alicante, and offers a magical journey through the cultures of the Mediterranean.
It is divided into five areas inspired on the five civilizations of the Mediterranean: Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia and The Islands. Stroll through the port of Alexandria at the time of Cleopatra or attend the Games in Olympia. These are just a few of the options available in the different themed areas, not to mention spectacular attractions such as "The Rescue of Ulysses" and the "Magnus Colossus" giant roller coaster. There are also some 300 actors and specialist staff who entertain visitors with more than twenty live shows. Inside the park you'll find an ample array of cafés, bars and restaurants offering all kinds of food.
Close to the center of the city of Teruel you'll find Dinópolis, a theme park where children and adults alike can have fun discovering all the secrets of the exciting world of dinosaurs.
Dinópolis was conceived as a park with an educational slant, and its various attractions offer a panoramic view of the giants who once walked the earth: the dinosaurs. The heart of the park is without a doubt the Teruel Paleontological Museum, whose modern facilities are home to one of the world's best collections of dinosaurs. There are several fun attractions based around the museum. After a first contact with the world of dinosaurs in “Territorio Dinópolis”, you can take a fascinating journey back in time until the period of the dinosaurs, and discover in the 3D cinema what life was like for these animals, or even see the dreaded T-Rex in action. Not to mention the numerous play areas with activities for the younger visitors, and zones with restaurants and snack bars where you can recharge your batteries.
As well as the main park located in the capital city of Teruel, there are another four centers at different points around the province: Legendpark in Galve, Inhóspitak in Peñarroya de Tastavins, Región Ambarina in Rubielos de Mora and Bosque Pétreo, in Castellote.
This wonderful tropical theme park is located in the village of La Lajita on the island of Fuerteventura, and also has the distinction of being the largest camel reserve in Europe.
Oasis Park is a spectacular open space where the whole family can have fun marveling at the wide array of exotic animals and animals such as giraffes, chimpanzees, zebras, hippopotamuses and crocodiles, to name just a few of the species to be found there. The Botanical Garden is another of the areas which will delight visitors. There is also a very diverse collection of tropical plants and native flora, with over 2,000 specimens. One of the main attractions is the camel rides around the savannah route in the park. There is also guaranteed fun for children and adults with a range of different animal displays, featuring birds of prey and parrots, reptiles and crocodiles, as well as a sea-lion show, where they perform their amazing tricks. Not to mention the Children's Park where children can play and come into direct contact with numerous domestic animals.
Water, sun and fun. How would you like to enjoy this unbeatable combination with your family? Come to one of the many water parks in Spain and take the opportunity to share a wonderful day of fun with your children, packed with laughter, thrills and games.
Port Aventura Park
Universal Studios Port Aventura is located in the heart of Tarragona's Costa Daurada and is unquestionably one of Europe's most outstanding theme parks.
As well as spectacular beaches of fine golden sand, the Costa Daurada also offers all the facilities of the Port Aventura adventure park. A fun- and adventure-packed journey featuring different themed areas –México, Far West, Mediterranean, Polynesia, China, and the SésamoAventura area for the whole family– where you'll find live shows and endless attractions, including the emblematic Dragon-Khan. Port Aventura also offers refreshing fun in the Costa Caribe complex, with a range of water attractions, children's areas and recreational zones. And when you need to recharge your batteries, the park has numerous restaurants and snack bars, and there are also excellent hotels equipped with all kinds of amenities and services.
Spain, a crossroads where peoples and races meet, a melting pot of cultures, is a place whose gastronomy constitutes one of the richest manifestations of its historical legacy. Rich because of the many civilizations that have left their mark in the Spanish art of cooking and eating, with their traditional flavors and techniques; and also because of the climatic diversity, which makes possible the great variety of products that are the basis of their diet, one of the healthiest in the world according to nutrition experts. Certainly, Spain does have a privileged gastronomy.
Specialties in Spain
Vegetables and Fruits
In Spain it is possible to have fresh fruits and vegetables all year round, which can reach tables only a few hours after they have been harvested. A privilege because in Spain they grow olive trees, which give the most natural oil, the healthiest and most flavorful, the only one that can be obtained by pressing alone, and which permeates, with its taste, many of their dishes. A privilege because, in Spain, vines thrive and wine is produced, and according to Leonardo da Vinci, it is only in places like this that happiness can really be attained.
A Fish and Seafood Paradise
The advantage of having both Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, and of being near the main migratory routes of fish, allows the Spanish to have such a great number of species that they are the envy of the fish-eaters of the rest of the world. All kinds of tuna, magnificent hake, delicious red bream, delicate sea-bass and gilt-head seabream, juicy sardine and anchovy, bold mackerel, tasty turbot, excellent sole, anglerfish, hake, snapper, white seabream, parrot fish, dentex, swordfish and many, many more. All of them can be grilled, cooked in a variety of sauces, baked, or fried like nowhere else in the world, it being possible to eat fish every day of the year without ever having the same dish twice. They add fresh water species as well.
A World of Roast Meats
Acorn-fed Iberian Cured Ham
Unique in the world, the Iberian pig breed provides the best meat to make salted and cured products. Acorn-fed Iberian cured ham is an authentic culinary work of art, the most delicious and aromatic, which is able to fill your mouth with unforgettable sensations, very unlike those obtained from any other ham.
Exceptional Game Meats
In Spain there are numerous game species, the best ones from the gastronomic point of view. In addition, they cook their meat using select ancestral recipes, which are famous in European gastronomy, such as the recipes described to be "a la mode d'Alcantara" and the ones used to prepare other innovative dishes, which will surprise those who try them for the first time.
Popular cuisine has artfully managed to bring out the best of the local ingredients, making up a cuisine in which simple yet succulent dishes are the rule, all with excellent nutritional content, like cocido (meat, potato and chickpea stew), fabada (Asturian bean stew), and paella (Spanish rice dish), as well as all the different dishes that take their names from the pots they are cooked in, like marmitas, potes, pucheros and peroles and others like Spanish omelette and gazpacho (a cold vegetable soup), which in spite of their simplicity are true gems of world cuisine.
Paella, the best known of all Spanish recipes, is different from other rice dishes because to make it all the ingredients are cooked together, allowing the rice to absorb every flavor, so that each grain contains the essence of the dish.
Gazpacho is a specialty that combines the carbohydrates from bread, the fat from olive oil and the vitamins and minerals from the different vegetables that it contains. The result from this mix is an excellent thirst-quenching drink, very healthy and particularly refreshing. There are many different kinds of gazpacho.
A Paradise of Cheeses
In the map of Spanish cheeses, which is very complete, you will see twenty kinds that are labeled with a Designation of Origin. They can be made with cow, sheep or goat milk, and can be either fresh (un-ripened) like the Burgos variety; half-ripened, like Pasiego; blue like Cabrales; plus ninety-six more that will satisfy the most demanding tastes.
Bread and confectionery are often made in the same bakeries, filling the air with delicious smells that are quite frequent all across Spain. It is very easy to find breads and sweets that are fresh out of the oven, a sublime treat that is usually impossible to forget. In many of these products you can recognize the legacy of Arab or Jewish traditions. They have delicious pastries made with almonds, oil, flour, milk, eggs and sugar, sometimes with aromatic seeds that add that special hint, like sesame seed, fennel seed, aniseed, poppy seed, etc.
Say "Cheers" with Some of the Finest Wines in the World
Spain is the country that devotes the most farming surface to vineyards. There are vineyards in the north, south and center of the country; at sea-level and up in extreme heights; and on eastern and western mountain slopes. Most of them consist of native varieties, and when they are foreign, they are picked from the worlds finest. Some sixty Designations of Origin for Wine are at your disposal to choose from. To round it off, it is recommended that you have a little glass of liqueur. In Spain, an enormous variety of liqueurs is produced, of very diverse origin and very pleasant taste. Traditionally, liqueurs are considered to be an effective aid to digestion, so there is really no better way to end a good meal.
Its cuisine is one of the main tourist attractions of Galicia: the exquisite delicacies of this region are based on the high quality and variety of the local products used in the preparation of dishes. Country, farm and sea products are unique in their characteristics and quality. Galician chefs are found world-wide.
The typical Asturian is friendly and open, always willing to receive outsiders who wish to get to know their land. Its cuisine is based on cider, fabada (bean stew) and cheese, together with shellfish and fish.
With regard to food, the Basque Country is probably the most important tourist destination in Spain. It is a coastal and border region whose varied culinary delights are due to the mixture of sea and mountain cultures with modern top-quality cooking.
The Region of Cantabria is very rich in history, art and natural areas: the sea, valleys with mild and warm micro-climates and fertile pastures. The varied cuisine cleverly combines the products from the sea with those from the pastures and market gardens.
It is said that taste is found in variety and of all Spanish regions, the Autonomous Region of Navarre has the most varied landscape. The products which are used change from zone to zone, depending whether the traveler is in the Pyrenees, near a river or in the center of the region, which is characterized by pastureland and green valleys. However, one thing never changes: Navarre boasts generous landscapes and products, a fact reflected in the character of its people, regardless of the area.
It is a land of travelers and exchange, where relationships are formed and culture and customs interchanged. All this is reflected in its gastronomy which, apart from providing the traveler with the opportunity to taste top quality wines, has also been very much influenced by its neighboring regions, adapting the dishes with a touch of exquisite simplicity so typical of this area.
Traditions of huge historical and artistic richness which are gastronomically reflected, together with Extremadura and Castilla la Mancha, in its nickname "España del Asado" (Spain of the Roast). Without a doubt, Castilla-Leon is best known for its roast suckling pig and lamb.
It knows how to exploit its local products and today its cuisine is described as classical. Aragonese cuisine is based on popular stews which vary in accordance with the area where they are prepared. The Aragonese market garden offers a great variety of fruit, vegetables and pulses, including the thistle and borage which, due to their increasing popularity, are often seen on the menus of top restaurants. Other offerings include haricot beans, onions from Fuentes, asparagus from the banks of the River Ebro, and the oils from Lower Aragon, whose excellent quality is due to the olive used in their preparation. The fruit grown in Aragon is admired throughout the rest of mainland Spain: pears, apples, cherries, plums, peaches and recently cultivated strawberries, which are as good as the best wild specimens.
Although ultimately Mediterranean, Catalonia has been influenced by various cultures over the centuries: the Greeks, Romans, the Italians, and the French have all left their mark on this complex cuisine. Catalonia has absorbed the best of each country and created a culinary package which forms part of the popular wisdom of the region.
Whether due to the fascination for the Court or the quest for work, this region has become a melting pot of people, cultures and gastronomies. Madrid accepts all types of influences from all types of cooking. It does have its own dishes which, although they did not originate in this area, have become "madrileño" over time.
One of its main influences over the centuries has been the convents, which surprised illustrious visitors seeking rest, peace and good food in the monasteries and abbeys with many culinary delights. Yuste, Guadalupe, Alcántara and other refuges gave hospitality to high-ranking noblemen, serving them delicacies which satisfied even the very demanding taste of the emperor Carlos V.
The cuisine of this region is comprised of a great variety of traditional, hearty yet simple dishes which are prepared using elementary ingredients such as bread, meat, and vegetables and are accompanied by a wide range of wine, sheep's cheese and desserts, transporting the diner back to the era of Don Quixote and his faithful Sancho.
Its traditional recipes are prepared using natural ingredients such as oil, vegetables, spices, fruit, fresh meat or fish and have come to be known as "the Mediterranean Diet." The incredible variety of rice dishes and desserts is outstanding. All this accompanies the great variety of fruit which the Region of Valencia produces in abundance. Its traditional soft drinks have also become well-known, such as tiger nut milk ("horchata de chufa"). Its long wine-growing tradition has given rise to a delicious range of wines with their Denominations of Origin, which when added to the local soups comprise some of the most exquisite recipes of Valencian cooking.
The gastronomy from Majorca, Menorca, Eivissa, Ibiza and Formentera is comprised of many delectable and pleasurable dishes. The cuisine takes full advantage of the islands' resources and the many cultures which have passed through the archipelago over the years have left their mark, including many different civilizations such as Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, French and English.
The Region of Murcia serves authentic Mediterranean cooking: cereals, vegetables and olive oil are the base of this cuisine, which finds its source of inspiration in the market garden - natural, authentic, tasty and with a character all of its own. The roasts, salted fish, fish and shellfish from the Mar Menor are equally appreciated. However, the Region of Murcia is also well-known for its rice, sausages, preserved foods, nuts, aromatic plants, fruit and confectionery.
The Romans taught the Andalusians how to cultivate wheat and vines and used the fish from the seas to produce the best "garum" in the empire. The Arabs taught the Andalusians how to grow fruit and vegetables. They used irrigation systems and improved the cultivation of olive trees and the production of oil.
It would be most appropriate to call the visitor to these islands "fortunate"; not only because he can enjoy the sun, sea and environment, but also because he has been presented with the opportunity to taste their culinary delights.
Fish are used to make delicious dishes that will please the most discriminating gourmets. These species include the lazy turbot, which inhabits deep, sandy waters; silver anchovies like those from Málaga, and cephalopods, especially the delicious squids. Juicy Mediterranean lobsters and crayfish are also abundant. In the Atlantic, we find the magnificent red mullet and the white, almost transparent prawns that are known as "Nadas de Padrón." Also from the ocean are the excellent sole, sea bass, John Dory, grouper, magnificent tunas, bonito, sword fish from the Strait of Gibraltar and the delicious mackerel.
Old Rusadir of the Phoenicians, a trading center which was Spanish before Navarre had joined the Crown of Castille - one and a half centuries before Rosellon became French and almost three centuries before the United States of America existed - is a cosmopolitan city which was conquered by the Catholic Kings after taking Granada, in order to establish bases on the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar to serve as sentries against any possible invasions from the North African coast.
Spain's architectural and artistic heritage is one of the most important in the world. Cathedrals, monasteries, castles, palaces and more. The Alhambra in Granada, the Great Mosque in Cordoba, the Aqueduct in Segovia, Gaudí's Sagrada Familia Cathedral, the Altamira caves, Mudejar architecture are all great monuments to visit.
Ávila City Walls
The walled enclosure dates back to the Middle Ages. The wall controlled the entrance of provisions and merchandise, and also isolated the city, guarding it against the potential outbreak of a plague or epidemic, in addition to its obvious defensive function. It is shaped like an irregular rectangle, with crenellated towers and round turrets. It has nine gates that provided access to the city, of which the most spectacular is the Gate of the Fortress. It was declared a National Monument in 1884.
Alhambra in Granada
The Alhambra is a beautiful complex of buildings and gardens. Its leafy tree-lined walkways provide pleasant shade and coolness, enhanced by the abundance of water that flows in its streams.
It was the largest political and aristocratic center of the Moslem West. The Palace premises are made up of beautiful rectangular courtyards and numerous fountains, as well as the Nasrid buildings that served as living quarters for the monarchs and their servants. The oldest building is the Alcazaba (citadel). One of the most important structures is the La Vela tower, which offers one of the loveliest views of the Alhambra. The courtyard of the Lions with its fountains is one of the most beautiful in the compound.
The Great Mosque of Cordoba
In the heart of Andalusia, in the historic old town of Cordoba, the "Mezquita", or Great Mosque, stands majestically, proud of its history. Discover this incredible monument. It is not just the symbol of a city, but also a designated World Heritage Site. Its beauty, nobility and perfection make this one of the most impressive works of art in the world.
Look inside the Great Mosque for a unique, exciting experience. Its atmosphere will surround you in magic; take you back to times of past splendor and call to mind scenes of sultans and princesses from The Thousand and One Nights. Be sure to visit the house of prayer where numerous architectural and artistic styles come together in a unique way. Above all, discover its more than five hundred columns supporting rows of arches that make up a forest of strange red and black perspectives, light and form - an unprecedented, fascinating labyrinth. On your visit you will be amazed by sumptuous doorways, domes, rooms with stunning decoration, carved marble pieces that are real works of art, mosaics, tiles, pictures... This host of delightful details makes the Great Mosque an extraordinary gem, dazzling all who visit.
This cathedral is outstanding for the elegance and harmony of its architecture, and it is the only one in Spain which, for its cathedral building alone, has received the UNESCO World Heritage designation.
Although it is predominantly Gothic, the cathedral also displays other artistic styles, given that it was built over a period lasting from 1221 to 1795. Its main façade is the Puerta del Perdón, with a starred rose-window and a gallery of statues of the Castile monarchs. On either side are its 84-metre towers, crowned by magnificent 15th century spires with open stonework traceries. Its most beautiful group of sculptures, however, is to be found on the Puerta del Sarmental façade, with the image of a Pantocrator surrounded by the apostles and evangelists. Inside, special mention should be made of the dome of the main nave, topped with a beautiful Mudejar vault. Beneath it lie the remains of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as “El Cid Campeador”, and his wife, Doña Jimena. Close by you will find the beautiful Escalera Dorada (golden staircase) by Diego de Siloé, built in the 16th century and inspired in the Italian Renaissance. In the side-naves of the cathedral there are 19 chapels, with the Condestable and Santa Tecla chapels standing out especially. There are also valuable works of art to be enjoyed: a unique collection that includes altarpieces, paintings, choir stalls, tombs and sculptures, amongst other objects.
Soaring, vertical, stylized... it defies the heights. This is how the Sagrada Familia rises up towards the sky. It is Barcelona's most visited building, a symbol of the Catalonian capital and the finest work of modernist architect Antoni Gaudí.
To see the Sagrada Familia in all its glory and appreciate its details close-to, the best thing is to go up to its highest point (either by lift or climbing a long spiral staircase) - one hundred meters above ground. This is the only way to see Antoni Gaudí's creative conception, in this, his finest work. The architect leaves nothing to chance. His genius shines through in a huge building whose thousands of different elements come together in perfect harmony.
The Segovia Aqueduct is huge, crossing the city from one side to the other. For almost 2,000 years it has defied the passing of time, bringing water and beauty to Segovia. It is situated just one hour from Madrid, and when you admire its array of perfect arches, you will understand why this legacy of ancient Rome is a must-see for hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Witness the passage of age-old cultures, the Aqueduct towers majestically above the streets and monuments of Segovia, standing out amongst all of them for its sheer size and simplicity of style. This extraordinary work of engineering brings together beauty and utility, and is also known as the “Puente de Diablo” or Devil’s Bridge.
There are over 1,400 museums in Spain where you can see masterpieces by great artists famous all over the world, from all periods, and in a whole range of different styles. No visitor can afford to miss a visit to the Prado Museum, home to one of the most important art collections in the world. But there's more to see than just paintings. There are also science museums, archaeological museums, and maritime museums.
Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) in Madrid
The well-known Paseo del Arte is made up of three remarkable museums, situated very close to one another: the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, and the Queen Sofía National Art Centre Museum. The Prado Museum is considered by many experts to be the best art gallery of the world, as it has the most complete and impressive collection of sixteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth century art, with the best works from the Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools. It is in the Prado Museum where artists of the stature of Hieronymus Bosch, Rubens, Goya, Velázquez, Murillo, Fra Angélico, Botticelli, Titian, Rafael, Watteau, Tintorretto, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, and very many others, can be admired, along with a magnificent collection of classical sculptures. The Prado Museum offers private guided tours to groups outside normal hours, providing an unforgettable encounter with art.
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum keeps a private collection, finally donated to the capital in 1993 that has been classified as the most important for having the widest variety of periods and styles, from primitive 13th century paintings to the avant-garde movements of the 20th century. Dürer, Tintoretto, Degas, Kandinsky, Goya, Cezanne, Matisse, Dalí, Miró, Picasso, and Renoir, are just a few of the artists whose work forms part of this collection.
The Paseo del Arte ends at the Queen Sofía National Art Centre Museum, very famous for having Picasso's Guernika in its collection, and for its collection of contemporary paintings, mainly Spanish ones.
The Picasso Museum in Malaga
This museum answers to a wish of Pablo Picasso himself: that his work be represented in the city of his birth.
The Picasso Museum in Malaga is located in Buenavista Palace, a building representative of Renaissance civil architecture in Andalusia. The permanent exhibition comprises a selection of pieces from the private collections of two relatives, Christine Ruiz-Picasso and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso. More than 200 works cover the different styles, materials and techniques used by the brilliant artist. There are also temporary exhibitions, as well as educational and cultural activities, held on Picasso-related topics.
Guggenheim in Bilbao
Designed by the American architect Frank O. Gehry, this avant-garde building is a magnificent place to display masterpieces of modern and contemporary art.
Since its opening in 1997, the Guggenheim Bilbao and Puppy - a floral sculpture of a dog by Jeff Koons, located outside the museum - have become the most internationally-known symbols of Bilbao. They form part of the collection of works by great figures in the world of art: David Salle, Chillida, Jeff Koons, Louis Bourgeois and Robert Rauschenberg are just a few examples. The Guggenheim also offers a series of activities for visitors who wish to broaden their knowledge of art.
Dalí Museumin Figueres
This museum evokes the life and work of Salvador Dalí, a genius of Surrealism.
The Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, described as “the world's largest Surrealist object”, showcases all the various aspects of Dalí's art. It includes some of the painter’s greatest masterpieces as well as pieces which range from his first artistic creations through to his last works. A visit to the museum is a real experience, a journey into the unique, captivating world of Salvador Dalí.
College of San Gregorio National Museum
This exhibition showcases the quality of Spanish sculpture from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century. The museum is housed in the Villena Palace which was built in the 18th century. Its collection includes a range of sculptures (altarpieces, choir stalls, funerary monuments, processional statues...) and materials (wood, bronze, stone, clay and ivory). The collection highlights the evolution of religious imagery which reached its highest point in Spain with the use of polychromed wood, and featured highly realistic pieces capable of conveying truly authentic sensations. Three of the Spanish Baroque's most important sculptors, Juan de Juni, Alonso Berruguete and Gregorio Fernández have their own dedicated areas. The most outstanding works include the 16th century main altarpiece of San Benito by Alonso Berruguete, and the 15th century altarpiece depicting Christ's descent from the Cross, anonymous.
Parque Nacional de las Islas Atlánticas
Located in the province of Pontevedra, the National Park of the Atlantic islands includes the Cíes Islands and Ons, Cortegada and Sálvora all in the Rías Baixas (southern coast of Galicia). It is an ecosystem sea-land with an interesting and important colony of sea birds.
The park has four groups of islands that are distributed between the estuaries of Vigo, Pontevedra and Arousa. It is home and shelter to one of the most numerous colonies of seagulls on the Spanish coast and other species such as the shag, cormorant, the common shag, etc.
Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa is the first Spanish National Park to receive this classification. Its origin dates back to 1918, when Don Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa, helped establish the law to create Montaña de Covadonga National Park. Since May 30, 1935, it has been called Picos de Europa National Park.
The Picos de Europa consists of three important massifs that go by the names of the Eastern Massif or Andara, Central Massif or Urrielles and Western Massif or Cornión. The climate is characterized by humidity and constant rainfall, a fact that is determined by its proximity to the sea (barely 20 kilometers).
Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido
This National Park is characterized by high peaks and steep slopes, in which the peak of Monte Perdido stands (3,335 m), topped by its glacier, rising up over the entire site.
It forms a stunning landscape ensemble dominated by high peaks. It possesses a wide variety of ecosystems, with both Atlantic and Mediterranean influences, translating as a rich and diverse flora and fauna. The massif of Monte Perdido (3,355 m) presides over its orography, with the summits of Tres Sorores, from where the valleys of Ordesa, Pineta, Añisclo and Escuaín come from. A sharply contrasting landscape: the extreme aridity of the high ground, where the rainwater and thaw filter through cracks and holes, contrasts with the green valleys covered in forests and meadows, where the water forms waterfalls and travels along canyons and ravines.
Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici
Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park has the characteristics of Pyrenean areas of high mountain, which gives it its main distinguishing feature: water.
This park's setting is characterized by crystal-clear waters that run through the numerous lakes and rivers that enrich this Pyrenean landscape. Next to the torrents and waterfalls stand leafy forests which, when its snows, are stunning. However, not only is the landscape noteworthy, its biological treasures are extraordinary. It is a true paradise for nature lovers: lakes, torrents, waterfall, peat bogs, rocky ground, rugged peaks and leafy forests of hooked pine, fir, wild pine, birch and beech, are home to interesting alpine or northern plants and animals.
Parque Nacional de Monfragüe
In the province of Cáceres there are varied ecosystems of great environmental value, like Mediterranean forests, rocky lands and meadows. In addition, rivers and reservoirs irrigate the river side in the Monfragüe National Park.
Parque Nacional de las Tablas de Daimiel
The Park forms an exceptional and unique wetland ecosystem formed by the overflows of the rivers in their middle sections that cause great pools. Its great ecological worth is the bird life that uses this area in winter and for nesting, thereby creating a whole area of water birds.
Tablas de Daimiel formed as the result of overflows at the confluence of the rivers Guadiana and Cigüela, a fact favored by the slight slope of the land. The Wetlands are strategically located on the migratory routes of many species of birds that use the area to rest, and even spend the winter. The water birds are the absolute protagonists of the Park. They include the great crested grebe, the common grebe, black-necked grebe, herons, egrets, and all kinds of Iberian ducks. In the Wetlands, numerous aquatic flowers grow. Some grow underwater (like the horwart or musk grass), float (such as pondweed) and emerging (cladium mariscum, reed and rush).
Parque Nacional de Cabañeros
Cabañeros National Park is noted for its rich fauna, which includes a considerable number of endemic species.
The lush pastures, mountain ranges and massifs covered in forests and Mediterranean scrub, make this landscape particularly beautiful. It is also the habitat of very important fauna, mainly consisting of birds (black vulture, Iberian eagle, and golden eagle). Cabañeros is also a land of large mammals (45 species). It is easy to spot the red deer, wild boar or roe deer.
Parque Nacional del Archipiélago de Cabrera
Just over an hour's sailing from Majorca stands this spot that boasts a considerable wealth of nature.
In this group of islands and calcareous rocky isles, its marine ecosystem is particularly noteworthy, with the presence of meadows of Neptunegrass, enabling the proliferation of marine fauna. This marine area is one of the best preserved on Spain’s coastlines. There are several exceptional botanical endemisms, as well as large colonies of birds. This is why it was named National Marine and Land Park in 1991.
Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada
This park combines beauty and ecological wealth, not forgetting that the highest peaks on the mainland are to found here.
It is situated to the south-east of Granada and extends to the eastern end of Almería. It combines smooth areas with other very rugged ones. Mulhacén and Veleta, the highest peaks on the mainland, are situated here. It is an extraordinary landscape site with morphology of glacial origin, forests and different areas of natural vegetation. The presence of several local endemisms is important. Its landscape is rich in mineral-medicinal waters. Fifteen of its summits exceed 3,000 meters in altitude. The most characteristic species in the park is the mountain goat.
Parque Nacional de Doñana
The National Park's biodiversity is the result of the conjunction of different ecosystems.
The Park is noted for its extreme flatness. There, you can see a transition from the undulating topography of the 'cotos' to the marshes, which are the most noteworthy seeing as they provide a refuge for many migratory birds. The vegetation is also determined by the different ecosystems (dunes, sandy ground, fresh water and lakes). With respect to the fauna, Doñana is home to a large number of species which, apart from the outstanding presence of the birds, includes the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardina), which has become an emblem of the Park, since it is a carnivore endemic to the Iberian Peninsula.
Parque Nacional de Timanfaya
The impressive fields of solidified lava that make up this island convert Timanfaya into the land of the volcanoes.
Different volcanic eruptions and magma activity throughout its history make this land what it is today. From the nature viewpoint of Montaña Rajada you can admire a vast sea of lava that reaches the coastline. Particularly impressive are the undulations, strident forms created by the lava. Since then its inhabitants have learned to live alongside this unusual and pretty landscape, and have even dry farmed melons, onions, tomatoes and also vines in La Geria.
Parque Nacional del Teide
Teide National Park is the biggest and oldest of the Canary Islands' parks. Its landscape is shaped around the biggest volcano in Spain: Teide, whose last eruption took place in 1798. The volcanic cones and the lava runs form an extraordinary group of colors and shapes, in which thrives a diverse flora of great biological importance.
In 1954, Teide National Park was founded in order to protect a landscape of impressive beauty and great ecological importance which extended around the colossal volcano. Teide is a volcanic formation situated on an old and gigantic crater-like sunken area, shaped by two semi craters, separated by Roques de García. In the shelter of Teide live plants and animal species that are unique in the world. The diversity of plants is astounding: Teide broom, towers of jewels, echium virescens, bencomia stipulata, descurainia bourgaena, pterocephalus lasiospermus and silver thistle. The most important species in the park are the invertebrates. More than 700 species of insects are listed, 50% of which are endemic to the area. There are several species of reptiles (such as the tizon lizard) and birds (Egyptian vulture, sparrow hawk, kestrel, red kite). Mammals are scarce, but there are mouflons, rabbits and 5 species of bats.
Parque Nacional de Garajonay
This National Park contrasts with the rest of the Canary Islands. Here the volcanic landscape is not so dominant, but there are laurel forests almost permanently enveloped in fog.
Walking through Garajonay is like returning to the past, since its countryside is truly unspoiled. It is the meeting point between clouds and ground, which brings with it constant humidity and the so-called horizontal rain that translates as a leafy, dense forest. The forest landscapes are a leading feature in the Park, since the different plant formations can be seen, from the above-mentioned laurel to white heather, visnea mocanera or the strawberry tree. Numerous species of birds, two species of reptile, the Gomeran lizard and the Gomeran skink, as well as a species of amphibian, the green frog live inside the park.
Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente
The steep landscape of Caldera de Taburiente is crossed by a multitude of streams. The steep landscape, a result of the vertical drop, is the National Park's top attraction. It is crossed by streams and waterfalls. The presence of endemic plant species such as the Canary Island pine stands out and extends throughout its territory forming important masses. Caldera de Taburiente is a vast sunken area caused by erosion. It is one of the world's biggest and is surrounded by a circle of summits 8 km in diameter, in which the greatest heights on the island can be found: El Roque de los Muchachos, Pico de la Cruz, Piedra Llana, Pico de la Nieve, Punta de los Roques, etc. From these heights, the relief slumps inwards inside the Crater in almost vertical escarpments of no less than 800m, until reaching the summit 430 m above sea level in its lowest part, which involves drops of about 2,000 m.
Top international brands and designers; trendy, creative, traditional and deluxe fashions; exclusive brands, major chains and the latest in cool design can all be found in Spain.
Enjoy your favorite fashions to the full with a day’s shopping in Spain. You will discover that there are many cities here with famous designer shops, major shopping areas and modern, attractive options. There are so many alternatives available that you will feel short of time to see them all. Don’t worry – in Spain these temples of fashion close very late.
Madrid, the shop window with a thousand styles, where fans of glamour and alternative fashions come in equal parts. The so-called “golden mile” (Salamanca neighborhood with Serrano and Ortega y Gasset streets) is home to the most prestigious Spanish brands, alongside world names in luxury fashion. Prefer the latest trends? Then visit Calle Fuencarral and time will fly as you explore its varied clothes shops and the authentic trends in Fuencarral Market. Is it Sunday? Then don’t forget to visit the “Rastro”, a street market in the center of the city.
Barcelona, a more exclusive and bohemian fashion showcase running for five kilometers on the city’s most emblematic streets. These include the Ensanche area around Avenida Diagonal and Paseo de Gracia, home to the most prestigious boutiques. The most innovative, avant-garde trends can be found in the Gótico and El Born areas.
Santiago de Compostela, design and tradition to be found mainly between the Ensanche area and the old town, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation and is also home to a host of crafts from the Galicia Region. After a day’s shopping, you will see that it is no accident that many of the biggest names in Spanish contemporary fashion come from Galicia.
Bilbao, shop surrounded by avant-garde architecture in the area around the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. Find exactly what you are looking for in the streets of the Ensanche area and the Gran Vía. To get your strength back afterwards, nothing better than sampling the traditional “pintxos”.
Valencia, a fashionable city where it is easy to find the latest trends. The Colón area and the streets around it bring together famous designers, but we would also recommend a stroll through the streets surrounding the City Hall and the Cathedral - here you will find shops with traditional flavor and the famous ceramics of Valencia.
Seville, to dress in joy. This is the capital of Andalusia and a day’s shopping in the streets of this city is reason to bring out your smile. The old town is full of traditional shops where you can purchase craft items and typical clothing such as shawls and flamenco mantillas. Shopping centers, major franchises and exclusive brands await you in the Nervión area.
Shopping with sea views while you enjoy sun and sand. You can do this, for example, in the Canary Islands, renowned for their beach fashions, in the Balearic Islands or on the Costa del Sol, where special mention should be made of Puerto Banús (Marbella) with its exclusive brands.
Fashion in Spain and its major brands. If you want to get a good overview first hand, then we would recommend you experience Cibeles – Madrid Fashion Week (held every year in the months of February and September). To get your hands on the latest fashions directly, then nothing better than visiting Spain’s most prestigious designers, such as Custo Barcelona, Roberto Verino, Victorio y Lucchino, Manolo Blahnik and Davidelfín, amongst others.
Mountains with the promise of adventure, golf courses overlooking the sea, and thrilling competitive events can all be found in Spain.
In Spain you'll be able to enjoy the thrills of sport in all its forms. There are almost 400 golf courses where you can practice your swing all year round. In winter you can glide over the snow in the sunshine. You'll be able to see the world's best athletes and sportsmen in action. And you can experience that rush of adrenaline in a range of adventure sports… And that's only the beginning.
If skiing is your thing, you should already be thinking about Spain as a destination for next season. There are loads of reasons to go to one of the many ski resorts to be found all over Spain.
Quality snow and plenty of winter sun, along with first-rate facilities and a broad range of complementary activities are bringing more and more people to Spanish slopes every year.
Spain is Europe's second most mountainous country, with a long skiing tradition, and provides all the necessary facilities for you to practice the sport. They have 35 ski resorts spread all around the country.
Sierra Nevada: Skiing for all, beneath the Andalusian sun, with views of the coast. This could well sum up what it is like to ski at Sierra Nevada, in the stunning mountains of Granada. The privileged location of this Andalusian ski resort guarantees a high proportion of sunny days, even in mid-winter. This is not all, however. There are also a host of inviting activities to enjoy after a wonderful day's skiing.
Pyrenees Ski Resorts: Huesca (in the Region of Aragón) is an area in the Pyrenees ideal for rest, relaxation and entertainment. There are various spas, two of which are outstanding because they are located close to famous ski resorts. The first is the Baños de Benasque Spa Resort (in Benasque). It is located in the heart of the valley, surrounded by black pine and birch forest. Its facilities include a thermal pool, hydromassage, along with simple and Scottish water jets. Best of all, after enjoying the center you can head for the Llanos del Hospital Nordic Ski Resort, also in Benasque, or for Cerler, just six kilometers away, with the highest peaks in this part of the range.
East of Aragón, the Pyrenees continue in the province of Lleida, in Catalonia. There you will find three more wonderful resorts. One is Sant Vicenç (in Els Banys de Sant Viçens). You will love it, not only because it is 20 kilometers from the Lles Ski Resort, but also because you can forget about stress and dedicate time to beauty with its treatments of paraffin, mud, clay and algae wraps, and shiatsu massage. Also, stop by "the pearl of the Pyrenees", Bequeira Beret to enjoy winter sports or romantic getaways.
If golf is your thing, then Spain is your destination. Spain is the leading European golf tourism location. Every year thousands of people choose Spain to play the sport.
Spain is synonymous with golf. It is a top destination for lovers of the sport, whatever your level or handicap. Take note, get your clubs ready, and go to Spain as soon as you can - it is the ideal place for you to play your favorite sport for many different reasons.
In the south there is the Mediterranean coast of Andalusia. In the provinces of Almería and Granada you will find courses practically right on the beach, such as those in Mojácar, Roquetas de Mar and Motril. Nevertheless, the top golfing area is Malaga province, the real “Costa del Golf”, with more than 40 courses at your disposal. There are famous names such as Marbella and Estepona; you will also find several clubs in towns like Mijas, Benalmádena and Casares. Special mention should be made of the San Roque area, on the Mediterranean coast of Cadiz province, where there are highly prestigious courses such as Real Club de Sotogrande and Valderrama, setting for the Ryder Cup.
In the Valencia region you will have the advantage of being able to practise your swing very close to the cities. This is the case with Valencia, the capital, Alicante and Castellón de la Plana. The first has up to four clubs within half an hour. They are the El Bosque Golf Club (in Chiva), the Manises Golf Club (in Manises), Foressos Golf (in Picassent), and the El Saler Golf Course (in El Saler).
A paradise for hikers searching for landscape diversity and calm, Spain offers a pleasant climate almost all year round. Whether you are looking for the unique and universal Long Distance paths, such as the Way of Saint James or old, small nature filled paths, you will find them either in the Spanish peninsula or its islands.
Are you dreaming of crossing medieval bridges, Roman roads, and magic valleys, walking along stone pathways on the banks of rivers, seeing castles or walking through vineyards? That’s no problem; Spain offers all this and much more.
You don’t need to be a sports expert, hiking doesn’t require very much preparation and you can always choose from the various modalities (Long Distance, Short Distance, Local Paths, Urban Paths, Green Ways…) and difficulties available. Dare to combine sports, nature and culture.
Ecotourism in Spain
Go and discover Spain’s natural spaces in an original way, but with the utmost respect for the environment. Spain proposes a visit to the sites accredited with the European Card for Sustainable Tourism (CETS) sponsored by the European Commission. These are nature areas where you’ll find various companies offering tourist activities, which undertake to protect the environment.
You’ll be able to enjoy some of the most valuable nature areas in Europe thanks to their outstanding scenic beauty (including national parks and biosphere reserves), and you can make the most of your visit while conserving the ecological and scenic values of each destination.
Would you like to enjoy the sea in a fun and different way? Do you fancy spending a few activity-packed days in touch with nature, trying your hand at a whole range of exciting water sports?
It couldn’t be easier; just head for any of Spain’s 30 Marine Resorts. They’ll come up with a made-to-measure holiday just for you, with water sports as the main attraction.
Visit the coasts of Andalusia and Catalonia, and from the Balearic and Canary Islands, to the coasts of Galicia, Asturias, Murcia and the Region of Valencia. There you’ll find Spain’s Marine Resorts, designed so you can make the most of your holiday by the sea all year round.