Let your memory be your travel bag.
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 1918 - 2008




Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. The government continues to battle the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization, but its major focus for the immediate future will be on measures to reverse the severe economic recession that started in mid-2008.


Spain (Spanish: España) is a diverse country sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the country with the second-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, after Italy, and the largest number of World Heritage Cities.

Spain is considered an exotic country in Europe due to its friendly inhabitants, relaxed lifestyle, its cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and world-famous folklore and festivities. Among many places worth visiting are Spain's thriving capital Madrid, the vibrant coastal city of Barcelona, the famous "Running of the Bulls" at Pamplona, major Andalucian cities with Moorish architecture, like Seville, Granada and Córdoba, the Way of St. James and the idyllic Balearic and Canary Islands.

Read more about Spain in our Spain travel guide »

Featured journals from


Intercambio a Madrid 2013

by terapeckova

Nuestra clase en el fin del septiembre viajamos a Madrid. Alli estabamos divididos y cada persona, con algunas exepciones, vivia solo en una familia espanola. Cada dia nos reunemos en el Colegio y visitabamos uno o mas lugares interesantes de Madrid.

Sep 2013  »  Spain

Culet culet!!!!!

by Robert__Bcn

Un viaje a Japon

Mar 2013  »  Germany | Spain | Japan

Alberto's Holiday Diary: Bavaria (Bayern)

by albertoalbavaliente

This is my first trip to another country. I want to share my experience with you. I hope you like it.

Jun 2013 - Jul 2013  »  Germany | Spain | Austria

Spain, 2016 North American Cultural Ambassador

by bryandamtz

August 17th, 2016

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016  »  United States | Spain

Gibraltar Holidays

by seanmiller

Gibraltar is approximately a 45 minutes drive from the Marbella area and it is well worth a visit

Jul 2010 - Sep 2010  »  Gibraltar | Spain | Netherlands | Germany


by Jordi

Apr 2010 - May 2010  »  Spain | Indonesia

Camino de Santiago

by Senderismo

Paso a paso haciendo el camino desde santiago de compostelas hasta Muxia

Jun 2013  »  Spain

Iberia and Beyond

by TheLiliens

Are We Getting Too Old to Do These Unstructured Trips? Gosh, We Hope Not! We start this adventure with a brief visit to Madrid, escorting 40 high schoolers who are participating in a language exchange programme. Once our escorting duties have been fulfilled, we will travel to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, which are located in the Atlantic off the coasts of Africa and Spain. From there, we are uncertain, but likely will re-visit Morocco, and hopefully spend an extended time in Portugal. All this may change as the trip progresses. The only thing we know for certain is that we'll be home on March 19th, and that we will undoubtedly have an adventure along the way. Thanks for joining us on the journey.

Feb 2018 - Mar 2018  »  Canada | Spain | Morocco

Spin the globe....summer 2018

by madjeanne

Temperature hit 100, gotta go!

May 2018 - Jul 2018  »  United States | Italy | Croatia | Montenegro | Greece | Turkey | Malta | Spain | France | Monaco

Arbury's on tour!

by Arburys

Road trip from UK to visit France and Spain.

Dec 2017  »  France | Spain

Featured hotels in


SpainME by Melia Barcelona 

Diagonal/ Pere IV 272-286
Barcelona 08005

Price (US$): $165 - $446 / night

Check rates »

Location. ME by Melia Barcelona is located near the beach in Barcelona's Sant Marti neighborhood and close to Torre Agbar, Park Guell, and Sagrada Familia. Nearby points of interest also include Arc de Triomf and Palau de la Musica Catalana. Hotel Features. ME by Melia Barcelona features a poolside bar and a bar/lounge. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational amenities include a health club, a sauna, and a steam room.… more »

SpainHotel Puente Romano 

Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe,
Marbella 29602

Price (US$): $305 - $734 / night

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Location. Hotel Puente Romano is located on the beach in Marbella, close to La Dama de Noche Golf Course, Fontanilla Beach, and Puerto Banus. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Marbella Marina and Orange Square. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hotel Puente Romano include 5 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a children's pool, a health club, a sauna, a steam room, and… more »

SpainPrecise Golf Resort El Rompido The Hotel 

Carretera Cartaya- El Rompido, Km 7
El Rompido
Cartaya 21459

Price (US$): $101 - $204 / night

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Location. Precise Golf Resort El Rompido The Hotel is located near the beach in Cartaya's El Rompido neighborhood and local attractions include Varadero Shopping Centre and Islantilla Shopping Centre. Regional points of interest also include Isla Cristina Beach and Nuevo Colombino Stadium. Hotel Features. Precise Golf Resort El Rompido The Hotel features a poolside bar, a bar/lounge, and a snack bar/deli. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts in the… more »

SpainGran Hotel Son Net 

C/ Castillo de Sonnet s/n
Puigpunyent 07194

Price (US$): $250 - $318 / night

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Location. Gran Hotel Son Net is located in Puigpunyent's Serra de Tramuntana neighborhood and local attractions include Son Vida Golf Course, Iberostar Stadium, and Real Golf Bendinat. Regional points of interest also include Bellver Castle and Mallorca Cathedral. Hotel Features. Gran Hotel Son Net's restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. Recreational… more »

SpainABaC Restaurant & Hotel 

Avinguda del Tibidabo, 1
Barcelona 08022

Price (US$): $286 - $505 / night

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Location. Connected to the airport, ABaC Restaurant & Hotel is located in Barcelona's Sarria Sant Gervasi neighborhood and close to Park Guell, Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, and Parliament of Catalonia. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Sagrada Familia and Monestir de Pedralbes. Hotel Features. ABaC Restaurant & Hotel features a coffee shop/cafĂ© and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves cooked to order breakfasts each morning… more »

Browse more hotels in Spain »


Full name
Kingdom of Spain

Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France

Geographic coordinates

40 00 N, 4 00 W

Area comparative

slightly more than twice the size of Oregon

Border countries

Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km


4,964 km


temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast


large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m

Natural resources

coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land


46,505,963 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types


Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%


Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally

Government type

parliamentary monarchy


1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain

National holiday

National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas

Chief of state

King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968

Head of government

President of the Government (Prime Minister equivalent) Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO (since 17 April 2004); First Vice President (and Minister of the Interior) Alfredo Perez RUBALCABA (since 20 October 2010), Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Elena SALGADO Mendez (since 8 April 2009), and Third Vice President (and Minister of Regional Affairs) Manuel CHAVES Gonzalez (since 8 April 2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

28.119 million (2009)


154 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Huelva, Tarragona, Valencia (Spain); Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Other countries in the region