Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going.
— Paul Theroux, 1941 -
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Spain

Background

Spain

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.

About

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

Spain

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

Indonesia

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

Spain

SpainHotel Los Monteros 

Carretera De Cadiz Km 187
Marbella 29600
Spain

Price (US$): $134 - $257 / night

Check rates »

Location. Hotel Los Monteros is located on the beach in Marbella, close to Santa Clara Golf Course, Marbella Beach, and Marina La Bajadilla. Other points of interest are Bajadilla Beach and Orange Square. Hotel Features. In addition to 2 restaurants, Hotel Los Monteros offers a snack bar/deli and a coffee shop/café. 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 and a health club. Spa amenities… more »

SpainDolce Sitges 

Av. Cami De Miralpeix, 12
Sitges 08870
Spain

Price (US$): $164 - $261 / night

Check rates »

Location. Dolce Sitges is a family friendly hotel located in Sitges's Penedes Wine Region neighborhood, close to Terramar Golf Club, Sitges Beach, and Vilanova I La Getru Beach. Additional points of interest include Romantic Museum and Cau Ferrat Museum. Hotel Features. In addition to 3 restaurants, Dolce Sitges offers a snack bar/deli and a coffee shop/café. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts… more »

SpainVilla Real Hotel 

Plaza de las Cortes 10
Madrid 28014
Spain

Price (US$): $316 - $329 / night

Check rates »

Location. Villa Real Hotel is located in Madrid's Madrid City Centre neighborhood, close to Congress of Deputies, Prado Museum, and Plaza Mayor. Nearby points of interest also include Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and Puerta del Sol. Hotel Features. Villa Real Hotel's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a health club and a steam room. This 5 star property has a business center… more »

SpainHotel La Moraleja 

Calle El Encinar s/n, Cala San Vicente
Pollensa 07469
Spain

Price (US$): $258 - $259 / night

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Location. Hotel La Moraleja is located near the beach in Pollensa's Cala San Vicente neighborhood and close to Pollensa Port. Regional points of interest also include Alcudia Port and Formentor Cape Lighthouse. Hotel Features. Recreational amenities include a health club and a sauna. Spa amenities include massage/treatment rooms, body treatments, and beauty services. Wireless Internet access (surcharge) is available in public areas. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available… more »

SpainHotel Maria Cristina 

Paseo Republica Argentina, 4
San Sebastian 20004
Spain

Price (US$): $300 - $420 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in central San Sebastian, Hotel Maria Cristina is a business friendly hotel within walking distance of Victoria Eugenia Theater, San Sebastian City Hall, and Plaza de La Constitucion. Additional points of interest include Concha Beach and Monte Urgull. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hotel Maria Cristina include 2 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. This 5 star property has a business center and offers small meeting… more »

Browse more hotels in Spain »

Spain

Full name
Kingdom of Spain
Capital
Madrid
Location

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

Coastline

4,964 km

Climate

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

Terrain

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

Population

46,505,963 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types

Religions

Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

Languages

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

Government type

parliamentary monarchy

Independence

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

.es

Internet users

28.119 million (2009)

Airports

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