Beaches of Spain
If your idea of the perfect holiday is lounging around on one of hundreds of Spain`s beautiful beaches , then Spain is most definitely the country for you,
and with over 4000 kilometres of coastline to choose from you are as they say....spoilt for choice. If you decide to plan a beach holiday
then the following guide will be of great help to you. It was to be called the top 10 beaches in Spain, then I thought well for lots of reasons
i.e location, privacy, cleanliness, type of activities offered etc etc everyone has an opinion, so here are the beaches ......you decide.
The Spanish Costas
90% of all visitors to Spain will holiday on one of Spain fanous costas which stretch from Cataluna in the North East to Huelva in the South West and from Galicia to Santander in the North.
A truly amazonf offer and variety, the Costas are the life blood of Spainish tourism.
Explore the Spanish Costas:
Costa de la Luz
Tapas from Spain
Spain is famous for its Tapas ( Small Dishes ) and probably have been tried in one form or other by most visitors. TAPAS comes from the word
Tapar which means to cover which originated in Seville where the locals would cover there drink with a small pieces of bread
with perhaps some meat or fish on it to basically protect the drink from and unwanted flying amigos !!.
The Alhambra, Granada
If you see only one town in Spain it must be GRANADA . For here, extraordinarily well preserved and in a tremendous natural setting, stands the Alhambra - the most exciting, sensual and romantic of all European monuments. It was the palace-fortress of the Nasrid sultans, rulers of the last Spanish Moorish kingdom, and in its construction Moorish art reached a spectacular and serene climax. But the building seems to go further than this, revealing something of the whole brilliance and spirit of Moorish life and culture. There's a haunting passage in Jan Morris's book, Spain , which the palace embodies: "Life itself, which was seen elsewhere in Europe as a kind of probationary preparation for death, was interpreted [by the Moors] as something glorious in itself, to be ennobled by learning and enlivened by every kind of pleasure."
See our blog article on the Alhambra Palace - Granada
Google Map of Granada
Barcelona has boomed since the early 1990s, when preparations for the Olympic Games wrenched it into modernity, and today it remains well in the vanguard of other Spanish cities (with the possible exception of Madrid) in terms of prosperity, stability and cultural activity. It's a confident, progressive city, looking towards the rest of Europe for its inspiration and its innovations - the classic tourist images of Spain seem firmly out of place in Barcelona's bustling central boulevards and stylish modern streets. And style is what brings many visitors here, attracted by enthusiastic newspaper and magazine articles which make much of the outrageous architecture, user-friendly city design, agreeable climate and frenetic nightlife. Even the medieval Gothic quarter and its once-notorious red-light area have been swept up by the citywide renovation programme, which is still running at full tilt. As the new millennium starts Barcelona has continued to blossom from provincial city to putative European capital.
Being the number one city tourist destination in the world Barcelona really does offer accommodation to suit absolutely every ones needs from a vast array of modest low budget hostels and hotels to some of the most luxurious accommodation you will find anywhere in Spain. Top travel companies such as travelnow and booking.com also offer quality and low budget accommodation in Barcelona.
See related blog articles on
Google Map of Barcelona
Spains famous capital - Madrid
Madrid is the capital city of Spain in all its magnificence, and the architectural, economic, social, political and cultural hub of the country; a truly amazing city. Madrid is situated in the absolute centre of Spain; it was designated capital city of Spain due to this, for Felipe II desired a seat of government that had the best of access to every corner of the country, unifying it through its position. With a total population of just over 6.5 million, Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union, behind London and Paris.
Madrid attracts tourists from the world over, who come to visit the city's innumerable attractions and experience its food, culture and incredible nightlife; within Spain, Madrid is the most visited city, and fourth in Europe. Coming to Madrid is a real treat for everyone – the perfect place to see what Spain is all about, and the chance to blend in with local, national traditions in this remarkable cosmopolitan metropolis. As a general guide, the northern area of Cuatro Torres (the four majestic skyscrapers; Madrid's ultimate achievement in the modern era), Chamartin, and the upper Paseo de la Castellana is the financial and business area of Madrid, perfect for visiting during the daytime, but goes relatively quiet at night. On the other hand, the southern part is the cultural, traditional and historic part of Madrid, the hub for its nightlife and its most artistic landmarks.... Read More
Google Map of Madrid
The Mezquita, Córdoba
CORDOBA lies upstream from Sevilla beside a loop of the Guadalquivir, which was once navigable as far as here. It is today a minor provincial capital, prosperous in a modest sort of way. Once, however, it was the largest city of Roman Spain, and for three centuries it formed the heart of the western Islamic empire, the great medieval caliphate of the Moors. It is from this era that the city's major monument dates: the Mezquita , the grandest and most beautiful mosque ever constructed by the Moors in Spain. It stands right in the centre of the city, surrounded by the old Jewish and Moorish quarters, and is a building of extraordinary mystical and aesthetic power. Make for it on arrival and keep returning as long as you stay; you'll find its beauty and power increase with each visit, as of course is proper, since the mosque was intended for daily attendance. The Mezquita apart, Córdoba itself is a place of considerable charm. It has few grand squares or mansions, tending instead to introverted architecture, calling your attention to the tremendous and often wildly extravagant patios . These have long been acclaimed, and they are actively encouraged and maintained by the local council, which runs a "Festival of the Patios" in May. Just 7km outside the town more Moorish splendours are to be seen among the ruins of the extravagant palace complex of Medina Azahara which is undergoing fascinating reconstruction.
Google Map of Cordoba
Having lived in Spain for the last 25 years one of my great pleasures is sitting down at one of my favourite tapas bars or local restaurants
with a plate of fine black foot cured ham ( Pata Negra ) a small plate ( media racion ) of manchego cheese, extra cured and of course
slowly washed down with one of Spain's finest red wines . Most people have heard of the great wines of the Rioja, Valdepeñas or Peñedes regions,
however there are so many more wine growing regions which produce excellent quality red white and rose wines, such as Cataluña, Jerez, Castellon,
Jumilla, La Mancha, Montilla, Rias Baixas, Ribeiro. There are companies in Spain which organize trips to the well known vineyards and well worth
Our Guide to Spanish Wines
The Aqueduct of Segovia is the most magnificent and perfectly-preserved ancient Roman monument in Spain and, indeed, the Iberian Peninsula. It is located in the north-western provincial capital of Segovia, in the community of Castilla y Leon, and about 65 kilometres north-west of Madrid. The then small town of Segovia was blessed with this incredible aqueduct to solve its urban water shortages. The aqueduct of Segovia is a majestic feat of ancient architecture and a true testament to the power and influence of the Roman Empire.
Since its source along the Fuente Fria river in the nearby Sierra de Guadarrama, the aqueduct stretches an impressive 16 kilometres to reach the city's most central areas. Its date of construction is unknown due to a lack of recorded evidence or inscription on the actual monument, but researchers and historians seem to agree with the period between 50 and 150 AD. The aqueduct has been traced to its source, uncovering more sites of ruins and extraordinary little pockets of antiquity. In total, it has over 500 arches. Some parts along its trajectory have been re-built after partial destruction by weather over the centuries and Moorish attack throughout their 800-year reign of mid-southern Spain.
In the city itself, the aqueduct rises high above the streets in a bridge-style with a double layer of arches, the upper one comprising shorter and narrower pillars than the lower one. Traffic was prohibited to pass underneath the aqueduct due to fears that the high noise levels may eventually result in its collapse – although science has proven otherwise. It really is an inspiring monument. Come and visit the Aqueduct of Segovia for a journey back in time to one of history's proudest eras.
MALAGA seems at first an uninviting place. It's the second city of the south (after Sevilla), with a population of half a million, and is also one of the poorest: official unemployment figures for the area estimate the jobless at one in four of the workforce. Yet though many people get no further than the train or bus stations, and though the clusters of high-rises look pretty grim as you approach, it has its attractions. The elegant central zone has a number of interesting churches and museums, not to mention the birthplace of Picasso and the new Picasso Museum , housing an important collection of works by Málaga's most famous son.
The Picasso Museum - Malaga
Online Picasso Project
Google Map of Malaga
Coto de Doñana
Donana's unique habitats enable this vast national park to host a myriad of birds and other wildlife, including the Iberian lynx.
The Parque Nacional de Doñana is one of Europe's most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds. It is an immense area; the parque itself and surrounding parque natural or Entorno de Doñana (a protected buffer zone) amount to over 1,300 sq km in the provinces of Huelva, Sevilla and Cádiz. It is internationally for recognised for its great ecological wealth. Doñana has become a key centre in the world of conservationism.
Doñana is well known for its enormous variety of bird species, either permanent residents, winter visitors from north and central Europe or summer visitors from Africa, like its numerous types of geese and colourful colonies of flamingo. It has one of the world's largest colonies of Spanish imperial eagles. The park as a whole comprises three distinct kinds of ecosystem: the marismas, the Mediterranean scrublands and the coastal mobile dunes with their beaches.
Google Map of Doñana
The region of mountain villages known as Las Alpujarras clings to the southern flanks of the Sierra Nevada, cloven by deep, sheltered valleys and gorges which run down towards the Mediterranean. The Alpujarra, as it is popularly known, in the singular, is famous throughout Spain because of its unique mini-ecology. Its terraced farmlands are constantly watered by the melting snow from above, constituting a high-altitude oasis of greenery which stands in dramatic contrast to the arid foothills below. This is ideal hiking terrain for adventurous travellers, provided you take along a tent and well-padded sleeping bags - the average altitude is 4,000 feet above sea level.
The cultural interest of the region lies in its fifty-odd villages, which were the last stronghold of the Spanish Muslims, or Moors. Soon after the Castillians took Granada in 1492, all the city´s Moors were forced to convert to Christianity. Those who refused took to the hills, settling in this remote, inaccessible area. Constant pressure from the Christians led to a bloody uprising, the Morisco Rebellion of 1568, which was ruthlessly crushed out, with the public execution of the leader, Ben Humeya, in the main square of Granada. Soon followed a royal decree expelling from the Kingdom of Granada all people of Arab descent, since the "new Christians", as the converts were called, were all suspected of being ¨crypto-Muslims¨ in secret...
Andalucia.Com - Las Alpujarras
Google Map of the Sierra Nevada
TOLEDO has the status of a National Monument and UNESCO Patrimony of Mankind. The setting is breathtaking, and if you're an El Greco fan, you'd be mad to miss this city. In a landscape of abrasive desolation, Toledo sits on a rocky mound isolated on three sides by a looping gorge of the Río Tajo. Every available inch of this outcrop has been built upon: churches, synagogues, mosques and houses are heaped upon one another in a haphazard spiral which the cobbled lanes infiltrate as best they can. To see Toledo at its best, you'll need to stay at least a night: a day-trip will leave you hard pressed to see everything. More importantly, in the evening with the crowds gone and the city lit up by floodlights - resembling one of El Greco's moonlit paintings - Toledo is a different place entirely.
Toledo also hosts one of the most extravagant celebrations of Corpus Christi in the country, with street processions and all the works. Other local festivals take place on May 25 and August 15 and 20.
Google Map of the Toledo
Royal Monastery of El Escorial
The Royal Monastery of El Escorial is another one Spain's must see treasures.Located some 50 kms from the capital ( Madrid ) in the town of Escorial de Arriba or San Lorenzo from which this immense and impressive Royal Monastery gets its name – San Lorenzo de Escorial. It was completed in 1584 and was built as a summer retreat for King Phillip II, and some retreat !!.
It was the work of Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera being built to commemorate the victory over the French in 1557. The interior was completed at the beginning of the 17th Century and the shear size of the place was meant to measure the importance of the Spanish empire of the time whilst humbling visitors at the same time, which of course it does to this day.
For visitors the El Escorial Monastery is an historic monument that really delivers on all fronts as it offers so much. It is simply awash with fantastic sculptures, tapestries and paintings not to mention the stunning royal mausoleum which houses the tombs of the Spanish Monarchs, quite amazing to think that all the kings since Charles I of the last 500 years are buried here, except Phillip V and Ferdinand VI.
Google Map of El Escorial