Located in the southwestern part of Europe, the Iberian Peninsula is only 14 kilometers away from the African continent. The geographical position between 36° and 43° north latitude determines a mild oceanic climate in the north, continental Mediterranean in the center, Mediterranean in the east and south. Tourism in Spain occupies a prevalent activity in the country, most of its Spanish territory is located on the Iberian Peninsula, to which we must add about 12,500 square kilometers relating to the islands Balearic and Canary Islands as well as the 32 square kilometers of the cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the coasts of Africa.
Administered by a constitutional monarchy, overall Spain occupies an area of approximately 505,950 sq km, its capital is Madrid Following the Treaty of Shenghen, as regards tourism and holidays in Spain, European citizens can move throughout the Spanish territory without being subjected to identity checks, except in special cases, however it is advisable to have a document of valid recognition for registration in hotels and during check-in at airports.
The residence permit for Tourism in Spain is necessary for stays longer than three months, while citizens of other nationalities must inquire at the consulates of origin to know the required documents. Given the continuous legislative updates in this regard, it is advisable to ask for confirmation and further information from the Spanish Tourist Board.
The places most visited by tourists in Spain are Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Andalusia, while national tourism prefers Andalusia, Catalonia and the Valencian Community. According to UNESCO data and statistics, Spain is the second country in the world after Italy with considerable resources of artistic, cultural and historical heritage. As for the cities of Tourism Spain, the capital, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela where many walk the famous route, the Andalusian cities of art such as Seville, Cordoba, Granada, or Castilian cities such as Toledo, Segovia are particularly popular. Finally, the Castilian city of Salamanca is famous as a destination for those who want to learn the Spanish language, as it is home to the oldest still existing university in the nation and numerous schools for foreigners. It must be remembered that in Spain both foreign and national tourism is mostly due to summer holidays by the sea, its main destination is the coasts and beaches, especially the Mediterranean, we mention in this regard among the latter which are particularly popular, the Costa Brava , the Costa Dorada, the Costa del Azahar, the Costa Blanca, the Costa del Sol, the beaches of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
The territory does not have a uniform climate, consequently the Spanish surface can be divided into at least six main climatic regions: the Mediterranean coast, the plateau and the interior regions, Galicia and the Cantabrian regions bordering the Atlantic as Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country, the elevated areas of the internal cordilleras such as the Cantabrian Cordillera, the Iberian System, and the Betic Cordillera, the Pyrenees and the highest altitudes of the Canaries, and finally the Canaries.
In general, the climate that prevails in Spain is the mild Mediterranean one, which favors dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures. In Spain, you will enjoy more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year which make this area one of the hottest in Europe. We remind for Tourism in Spain that the particular location facing the African coast of the Canary Islands favors a characteristic climate for light temperatures with an annual average of 22ºC on the coasts, without great seasonal differences between day and night. If, on the other hand, you have to go north, to the Cantabrian border, you will find a humid and temperate climate, which will allow you to enjoy mild winters and summers that rarely exceed 25ºC. In the highest areas of the country, the climate becomes harsh and the presence of snow is frequent from the first days of winter until the end of spring. These are the Pyrenees, the Sierra Nevada, the Central and Iberian Systems and the Cantabrian Mountains, among others.
Several airlines offer numerous scheduled or charter flights for Turismo Spain with departures from the main European airports. From Genoa in Italy, you can use the ships or the ferries departing for Barcelona, for those who prefer the train, the Eurocity "Salvador Dalí" on the Milan - Turin route P.S. - Figueres - Girona, arrives in Barcelona Sants. As far as internal transport is concerned, air connections are present throughout the national territory, the Iberia Flag Company also carries out numerous flights with Italy. Among the other international companies that offer flights within the country we mention: AIR EUROPA, SPANAIR and BINTERCANARIAS, the latter for connections between the Canary Islands. The Spanish Railways with the AVE or Alta Velocidad trains, in addition to the concessions of the Grandes Lineas, allow for international tickets for holders of Eurodomino, Eurailpass and Tarjeta Turistica cards, special prices for transit travelers with a plane ticket. On REGIONALES or Regional trains there are various types of season tickets: monthly, for six or ten round trips. On CERCANIAS or Local trains, the Tarjeta Tour offer is interesting, available only if you have a tourist package, which allows you to travel for five consecutive days without restrictions of any kind an affordable cost.
The major islands for tourism and holidays in Spain are grouped into two archipelagos, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. The Balearics are located in the Mediterranean, not far from the coasts of the Valencian Community and are made up of four main islands, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The Canaries, on the other hand, are located in the Atlantic, off southern Morocco and over 1000 km southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Geographically they belong to the African continent. They are Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and finally El Hierro. Still other minor islands to consider, much smaller, such as the Cies Islands.
The official language spoken in the state is Castilian, also known as Spanish. In some autonomous communities Catalan-Valencian as in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, the Valencian Community, Galician in Galicia and Basque in Euskadi and Navarre. For Spain Tourism we remind you that the Spanish State and the peripheral administrations protect and encourage the use, in the local context, of some languages and spoken languages which however do not enjoy the status of co-official status such as Asturian, Leonese, the dialect of Extremadura , the Aragonese. In the Aran Valley it is officially recognized, next to Castilian and Catalan, also Aranese, variety of Gascon of the Occitan linguistic group.
The hotel establishments for Tourism in Spain include the categories Hotel, Residence-Hotel, Apartment-Hotel, Motel and Boarding Houses, each of them must display a plaque located at the entrance, the official category of the establishment which can vary from one to five stars. At the reception and inside each single room the official prices are indicated to the public with the various services provided, bed and breakfast, or full board.
The typical dishes in the various places in Spain are based on fish, combined with vegetables, fruit, legumes, meat and rice. In the tourist facilities, however, international cuisine is served. Among the specialties of the gastronomy, we remember the famous 'paella', a dish based on fresh vegetables, rice, fish and pork, seafood, chicken, followed by the Gazpacho vegetable soup to be eaten cold, the butifarra, spicy sausage Catalana to be served with beans and Zarzuela, caciucco with fish and slices of toasted bread. The local dishes are of Catalan origin in the Balearic Islands, traditional are the tapas, samples to be enjoyed during the dinner aperitif. For those who go to Menorca during their holidays in Spain, we recommend the famous Caldereta de Langosta, a lobster soup which, to enhance the flavor of the crustacean, is prepared the day before. Among the drinks we remember the Sangria, based on fresh fruit and wine.
Restaurants are usually open from 13:00 to 15:30. Dinner is from 8.30pm to 11pm. Many bars and cafés remain open continuously, in many of which it is possible to take samples (tapas), prepared dishes (platos combinados), sandwiches (bocadillos) and portions (raciones).
During the winter, visits to the Mediterranean area, along the Costa del Sol and the Canary Islands are recommended for their pleasant climate throughout the year. In the central regions of Castile, Andalusia, the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands, it is advisable to go during the spring when the climate is mild and the rains are occasional, while the summer period is recommended for tourist itineraries and excursions to the north, on the coast Cantabrian, from Hondarribia to La Guardia. In autumn it is possible to visit the whole country with excellent weather.
During stays for holidays in Spain, in the summer period we recommend sporting clothing with light clothing, hats and sunglasses and comfortable shoes for excursions. Formal dresses for evenings in hotels, restaurants, hotels, discos and casinos. Warmer clothing for the winter months with mid-season garments along the coast.
During the summer season in the tourist resorts there is a non-stop timetable with shop openings also on public holidays. As for local shopping, among the handicraft products, the embroideries and laces of Talavera, Los Santos de Maimona, Almagro and Moral de Calatrava are characteristic. In addition to the typical souvenirs of the country such as fans and castanets, each region has its own handicrafts. In Aragón and Catalonia, terracotta prevails, with ancient shapes and beautiful colours, in Valencia, fans, glass from Olieria and worked wicker, while Seville and Granada they are famous for their pottery.
The electricity used has 220 volts for domestic use.
Spain is divided into seventeen autonomous regions governed by a special statute and fifty provinces. The average altitude is about 660 meters, the highest peaks are the Teide with 3718 m. in the island of Tenerife, the Mulhacén 3478 m in Granada and the Aneto 3404 m in the Pyrenees. The coasts have very varied characteristics because they belong to different climatic systems and are washed by different seas and oceans. In the center, a large plateau called the Castilian Meseta divided into two sub-mesetas to the north and south it is interrupted by the Central and Toledo mountain systems. Furthermore, in the most peripheral part, the plateau is surrounded by other mountainous structures: the Galaico massif, the Cantabrian cordillera, the Iberian system and the Sierra Morena. Three external systems complete the mountainous structure of the peninsula: they are the Pyrenean, Betic and Catalan cordilleras. While the Canary Islands are the region with the greatest extension of coasts approximately 1540 kilometers in length and their territory rises on volcanic territories. The Balearic Islands, on the other hand, have a varied system of reliefs among which the Sierra di Tramuntana of Mallorca stand out, the lowlands of the island of Menorca which do not exceed 300 meters in altitude, except El Toro with 357 meters and the less pronounced reliefs of Ibiza which reach their maximum heights with Sa Talaiassa 475 m. and the Puig Gros 415 m.
In the past, the Iberian Peninsula was definitively formed due to an Alpine-Himalayan tectonic movement that occurred in the Tertiary era. All Iberian morphology was defined during the Tertiary era. The Pyrenees, the Baetic, Cantabrian, Iberian and Sierra Morena cordilleras, the Ebro and Guadalquivir sedimentary basins were formed, the Galaic massif was raised by means of faults and the Central system and the Toledo Mountains were defined with the consequent difference in height existing between the two plateaus. The results of these tectonic movements have practically persisted to the present day.
Religion and population
Spain is a secular country and its Constitution enshrines freedom of religion. However, the majority of Spaniards practice the Catholic religion, which enjoys strong social roots. Overall, the Spanish population exceeds 46 million inhabitants, with an average density of 89.5 inhabitants per square kilometre, i.e. one of the lowest in the European Union. The urban population corresponds to over 77% of the total population. The major metropolitan areas are Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Bilbao, etc. In terms of Autonomous Community, the highest population density is recorded in Madrid, followed by the Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Catalonia and the Valencian Community.
Currently, the Kingdom of Spain is a democratic state, a member of the European Union, organized in the form of a parliamentary monarchy. Together with Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar it forms the Iberian peninsula. To the northeast it borders, separated by the Pyrenees, with France and Andorra, while to the south with Gibraltar, a colony of the United Kingdom. On the African continent, through the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, it borders Morocco. It has disputes with Portugal for the town of Olivenza and for the Savage Islands which are located between Madeira and the Canary Islands, with the United Kingdom for Gibraltar and with Morocco for Ceuta and Melilla. Finally, the exclave of Llívia belongs to Spain, as well as the island of Pheasants in the Bidasoa river in a condominium with France.
The term of España derives from the Latin Hispania, it was used by the Romans since the 3rd century BC, to indicate the entire Iberian peninsula and the set of provinces, constituted by them, which will subsequently conform to it. This term was gradually imposed on the Greek one of Iberia. However, since the word Hispania has no root that could be linked to ancient Latin or Indo-European, there has been much speculation about its possible origins, which have given rise to numerous interpretation hypothesis.
The current Spanish flag was commissioned by King Charles III in 1785. It consists of 2 red horizontal stripes and a large yellow one, colors that are easily identifiable at sea. Inside are the national coat of arms, formed by the addition of the coats of arms of Castile, a golden castle on a red background, Leòn a rampant purple lion, Aragon with 4 red vertical stripes on a gold background, Navarra the golden chains on a red background and Granada a pomegranate with green leaves, under a royal crown and between the two Pillars of Hercules representing the Strait of Gibraltar with the Plus Ultra badge, in reference to Spanish imperial expansion.