As a southern European country, Spain borders the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal, Gibraltar and the British dominions. It also includes two island provinces, the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands as well as two enclaves situated in Moroccan territory, the towns of Ceuta and Melilla. At a size of 505 990 m2, Spain is the fourth largest country in Europe in terms of geographical size. The country has no less than four official languages: Catalan, Basque, Castilian and Galician. The capital of Spain is the city of Madrid.
The biggest cities in Spain
The biggest cities in Spain, in order of importance are Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Malaga. When visiting Madrid start your visit with a trip to the famous Prado Museum opened in 1819 as it is classed as one of the richest museums in the world. The museum is above all known for its collections of paintings from the Spanish school of art. A visit to the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum is equally recommended as well as the Cathedral of San Isidro. Del Buen Retiro Park, with its beautiful lake, the royal palace and the Chueca neighbourhood always attract visitors in the Spanish capital.
Above all, do not miss the Madrid nightlife which is one of the most famous in all of Europe. In Catalonia, Barcelona, and ports to the Mediterranean are the cities of art as evidenced by the Dali Museum, Picasso Museum, the Miro Foundation and the Catalan Music Palace. In Seville and Andalusia you must visit the Alcazar, an ancient fortress in the Arab-Andalusian architectural form and its splendid shaded gardens. See also the caves of Aracena situated close to the city. A special mention is due in particular to Malaga, in the south of the country, as the birthplace of Picasso.
The coast of southern Spain attracts millions of tourists each year for its sun, its endless beaches, and gigantic hotels that can welcome more and more tourists in the inimitable spirit of celebration that many visitors seek.
Where to stay
Accommodation in Spain is one the biggest in Europe in terms of capacity, as it must be remembered that this country is the third most visited in the world after France and the United States. After the great hotels in the major cities of the southern coast you have the choice of staying in cottages and bed & breakfasts of which there are many to choose from.
For hotels, the choice ranges from Inns (Fondas) to luxury hotels located within castles (Paradores) and going through to hotels from 1 to 5 stars. The Inns equate to guesthouse. These places have affordable prices that can even be negotiated and offer the required minimum about of comfort. As for the Paradores, they are exceptional hotels located in mansion, in castles or ancient renovated buildings. The rooms are very comfortable, the staff are hand picked and the service is impeccable, fully justifying the higher prices.
For typical hotels, the prices vary according to the season and hotel category. According to your budget and your destination (Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Costa del Sol, etc…) you are sure to find an appropriate place.
Many tour operators offer an all-inclusive packaging of hotel accommodation and airfares being comprised into the one tour price. The rates are very accessible and Spanish hotels can lower their prices in view of the influx of the always growing number of tourists and offer a plethora of available accommodation. Still yet there is strong real estate pressure for the construction of holiday villas and new hotels in Spain that knows no pause.