Situated in South-western Europe along the Iberian Peninsula, Spain stands pride of place as one of Europe’s most culturally diverse countries. Conjuring up images of paella, sangria, flamenco and bullfighting, Spain is bursting with Latin passion and Mediterranean flavour. An expansive country taking in the Baleares and Canary Islands and bordering Gibraltar, Portugal, Andorra, Morocco and France; Spain boasts diverse terrains of rolling hills, blossoming bougainvillea and rocky mountains. With a turbulent historical and political past, traces of Iberian, Latin, Catholic and Islamic influences can be felt throughout the entire country. From cultural Barcelona to Spain’s cosmopolitan capital of Madrid, there is a lot more on offer than just a balmy climate and Mediterranean coastline.
Flourishing in art and architecture, Spain is home to many iconic monuments, historic buildings and interesting sights. With Roman ruins in Seville, Moorish castles in Granada and Arabic architecture in Córdoba, Spain is resplendent in its historical past. Originally a Roman empire known as Hispana, Spain has undergone many resurgences of power including German and Arabic rule. It was not until 1987, after a devastating civil war, that this country regained its political independence forming a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Unashamed of this eclectic history, Spain proudly extols its cultural diversity. From the Alcázar, Seville’s royal palace, to Gaudi’s iconic buildings in Barcelona, Spain’s historic sights are intrinsically bound to each region’s individual identity. Intertwined with the arts, music also forms an important part of Spain’s cultural identity. From Andalucían flamenco to the Celtic music of Galicia, Spain is alive with thriving traditions.
At the heart of Spain’s easy living lies traditional gastronomy. Rich in Mediterranean flavour, Spanish cuisine is more than just food it is a way of life. Delving into local delicacies such as Gazpacho, a cold tomato soup from Andalucía, and Paella, a rice dish from Valencia, Spanish families unite to share in this healthy and delicious food. From modest tapas bars serving light Spanish snacks to gourmet restaurants, the dining and nightlife in Spain is as diverse as the country itself. Dining in Mallorca could involve a leisurely stroll along the cobbled streets, exploring the local cafes whereas a trip to Ibiza or Marbella could a lively night on the town. From sedate cafes to buzzing bars and pulsating nightclubs, Spain has a rich array of evening entertainment.
Sports and leisure are in abundance in Spain, with the Mediterranean coast and warm climate providing an idyllic setting. Along the southern coast, beach activities, water-sports and scuba diving are particularly prominent. While La Manga, in the Murca region of Costa Blanca, is one of the most famous golf courses, it is the Costa del Sol’s verdant courses that have put golf on the map as a popular sport in Spain. With Real Madrid and Barcelona taking football by storm and Rafael Nadal championing Wimbledon, Spanish sports are at the top of their game. With varied accommodation as well as thriving cultural traditions, delicious gastronomy and exciting leisure, Spain remains one of the most popular holiday destinations throughout the whole of Europe.