Spain Travel GuideSpain is a country of 41 million people living on 504.880 square km making it the second largest country in Europe.
It is a country of great diversity and not just as far as the climate and landscape is concerned. In the northern part you have a mild but sometimes rainy climate while in the south you have high temperatures and a dry climate.
Its history and culture was greatly influenced mostly by the Romans, Muslims and Christians so when you travel through the country you can see the differences among the regions, that is if you have enough time.
The regions are: Andalucía, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, La Rioja and Valencian Community.
Andalusia is the southern part of Spain where the Moorish influence is the most evident and the architectural style is the one that is noticed the first. The Alhambra palace is the best example of Moorish architecture and you must include it in your itinerary. In Cordoba Mezquita is another attraction just as important. Muslims consider it very important and it is a major prayer site.
Catalunya is another region very different from the others even in its language which is Catalan(but you don’t have to worry everybody understands and speak Castilian Spanish). This region is the most cosmopolitan of all due to its intense international commerce. The region’s capital is Barcelona, a very popular city with tourists, but the beaches in Costa Brava are also a great attraction.
Balearic Islands - is one of the most sought regions, a paradise with 300 days of sun per year. Tourists flock here from all over the world to savor what Palma de Mallorca has to offer, sheer pleasure on some of the best beaches in the world.
Its economy is based on services, fishing, constructions and tourism making it one of the most visited countries on earth.
Visitors from the UE need only a valid ID while Americans, Canadians, Australians and people from New Zeeland and South Africa need a passport.
Shopping - just like in Italy shops in general have a morning and an afternoon schedule with a break in the middle when the Spanish have their siesta. It is a very healthy habit to have a longer break during the day when you have a proper lunch and a nice rest that recharges your batteries for the rest of the day. Because of the high possibility of theft, tourists should never take out too much money to be seen and should mind their pockets and bags, better still to leave their valuables in the hotel safe. If you are robbed, call 091.
But this is nothing unusual as everywhere where there is a great flux of tourists, pickpockets are on site.
Travelling - if you travel by car you don’t necessarily need an international license. Speed limit in cities is of 60 km/h. You can also travel by train. There are more types of trains like Talgo, T200, Alaris, Euromed which are fast trains but the AVE is the one that offers the best services. If you want to travel long distances during the day you should go for Diurnos, while for night travel there is Estrellas which are less luxurious than Trenhotel. Busses are a good choice and you pay the driver about 1 euro when you get on the bus. You can also buy tickets from the kiosks. You get on through the front door and get off at the back door.
When visiting churches or religious sites you need to be dressed accordingly that is no short skirts and naked shoulders.
Spain has a lot to offer to the tourists, great views, excellent beaches, water sports, good food, mountains, cultural diversity, a rich history, all in all - variety. No matter what your interest or budget is Spain is accessible to everyone and you will surely love it. Start with the major attractions though like Madrid, Barcelona or Palma de Mallorca and you will definitely want to see more.
When you are in a foreign country knowing where the nearest consulate is may prove to be very useful. So here is a list of the US consulates which can be found in the major cities of this country:
- Barcelona (address: Reina Elisenda de Montcada 23, phone: 34 93 280 2227)
- Madrid (Embassy, link: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/spain2.htm)
- Palma de Mallorca (Consulate, link: http://www.usis.com.ba/)
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