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Madrid Spain
Madrid
Madrid  Spain  Cityzens: 3,223,334
CityKm2: 801  Religion: Katolik  Region: Madrid
  Larger City Madrid
Main Airport: Madrid
Currency: EURO
Madrid belongs to: Spain
Countrycode: ES  Continent: Europe

Madrid
The capital of Spain since 1562, is located at the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula.

Because of its central location and high altitude, the climate of Madrid is characterized by warm dry summers and cool winters.

Madrid is a city of great monuments. Among its highlights are the medieval center dating back to the Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum.

Local Language

Castilla-La Mancha

CASTILLA-LA MANCHA

Capital: Toledo
Provinces: Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo

Castilla-La Mancha, located at the very center of the Iberian peninsula, is dominated by an extense tableland, although there are mountainous landscapes too.

Of major interest to the visitor are of course the monumental cities and towns of great historical importance, like Toledo, the enchanting Cuenca and Albacete, but one should take as well several interesting alternative routes into consideration, among them: Ruta de los Pueblos Negros ("Route of the Black Villages"), having their name from the use of slate in their traditional architecture, the "Route of the Saffron Fields", "Route of the Castles", and the "Route of Don Quijote", named after Cervante's legendary "Man from La Mancha". Still today you will see many of those characteristical windmills Don Quijote was fighting with in all the land.

Traditional gastronomy is simple but tasteful, with stews, game, sausages and the famous Manchego cheese. The region's excellent wines are a perfect match.

CASTILLA-LA MANCHA Region

Artisany is varied, from ceramics and embroiderings to the famous Swords of Toledo and Knives of Albacete.


The Cities: 

Toledo
The former capital of Spain is certainly one of the country's architectonical treasures, with magnificent monuments specially from Moorish, Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance periods. Toledo was also the hometown of the great painter El Greco.

Cuenca
This enchanting medieval city, declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO, is surrounded by landscapes of incredible beauty. Among the town's most remarkable sights are the famous "Hanging Houses", the Gothic cathedral and the Museum of Abstract Art. In its surroundings there are several fantastic natural preserves, among them Ciudad Encantada, the "enchanted city", where erosion has created most bizarre forms.

Guadalajara
Major attractions are the Mudejar style church Santa Maria la Mayor, the 15th century palace Duque del Infantado, the Moorish town-walls and bridge over Henares river, from 10th century. In the province of Guadalajara the medieval town Siguenza, with its great fortress and cathedral, is worth a visit.

Ciudad Real
This city is marked by the history of Don Quijote who is said to have fought against the windmills at the nearby Campo de Criptana. The nearby Lagunas de Ruidera, consisting of 17 lagoons, offer splendid landscapes.

Albacete
A modern and functional city, located at the typical plains of La Mancha. It is known for its knife-making industry.

Local Language

Andalucia

Andalusia

 

Capital: Seville
Provinces: Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga and Seville.

Andalusia is the Spanish Autonomous Community with the greatest number of inhabitants and the second in surface. Its varied landscapes, the benignancy of its climate and the friendly character of its population have turned it into one of the most attractive regions.

Andalusia

3000 hours of sun per year, many kilometers of golden sand beaches and those beautiful natural ports made it a safe refuge already for Phoenician navigators, around 1000 years before Christ.

The coast of Huelva and Cadiz (Costa de la Luz) corresponds to the Atlantic Ocean and is characterized by fine sand. The Mediterranean coast, from the Strait of Gibraltar to Almeria, (Costa del Sol, Costa Tropical and Costa de Almeria) on the other hand offers smoother climate with less wind and higher water temperatures.

Andalusia

Andalusia is crossed by Guadalquivir river, the "father" of old civilizations who have left along its borders an impressive monumental track, as well as the high mountain ranges of Sierra Morena and Sistemas Beticos.

The offer for visitors is extremely varied, from golden beaches to those beautiful mountain ranges with their highly interesting fauna, and the famous "white villages" with their richdom in folklore and artisany. There are great possibilities for most different sports as well, from skiing in the Sierra Nevada to surfing in Tarifa, at the coast of Cadiz, where you will find ideal conditions as nowhere else in Europe.

Andalusia is the "mother" of the Spanish folklore which is probably best known abroad: here you will live the magic of Flamenco and bullfighting in their most authentic style, and myths like Don Juan and Carmen were born here. A land of great traditions, which has understood as well to assimilate the progress.

Local Language

Visit Galicia

Galicia 

Capital: Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña)
Provinces: A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra

Galicia is known in Spain as the "land of the 1000 rivers". Those rivers cross all the region from the mountainous inland to the coast, where they form the characteristical "Rias". The coast itself offers great contrasts, from the smooth beaches of As Mariñas to the dangerous cliffs of Costa de la Muerte, the "coast of death".

The climate of Galicia is tempered, and specially in winter, with minimal temperatures of about 5 degC, quite rainy. During the summer season, maximum temperatures are around 20 degC. Galicia's richdom in water and its Rias are characteristical for its nature. At the area of Rias Altas you will find magnific beaches, impressive towns and beautiful fishing villages. Rías Baixas are worth a visit for their natural preserves and balnearies, as A Toxa. The inland shows green landscapes and romantic villages.

The first cultures which left their tracks in Galicia were Celtic, while Romans left as a legacy the walls of Lugo, the bridge of Ourense, and the Tower of Hercules. Middle Ages were marked by the discovery of the tomb of the Apostle Santiago (Saint James). Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the cathedral of the newly founded town Santiago de Compostela, and the world-famous Way of Saint James (Tip! ) which is flanked with numerous churches, monasteries and chapels of high historical-artistical value, was formed.

Galicia's folklore clearly shows its Celtic and Gaelic origins, and the most characteristical musical instrument is the Gaita (bagpipe). Regional gastronomy is of great reputation for its excellent fish, Empanada Gallega (a typical pie of fish or meat), traditional sweets prepared in some monasteries (where the recipes are kept in secret jalously), and the Ribeiro wine.

galicia region

Major attractions:

Santiago de Compostela
The capital of Galicia and final destination of the famous pilgimage way is certainly among Spain's most beautiful cities.

A Coruña
This city, of high economical importance, is located at a peninsula. Major attractions include the Romanesque churches, the synagogue and the old quarter which offers an interesting contrast between almost fragile buildings and massive stone palaces.

Vigo
Galicia's most populated city, with the most important port. The historic quarter is very charming and well preserved.

Lugo
Lugo is surrounded by Roman walls which are perfectly preserved, and has a beautiful Romanesque cathedral.

Ourense
Located inland, also has a beautiful Romanesque cathedral.

Pontevedra
This province is said to be one of the most beautiful of Spain, thanks to the marvelous landscapes of Rías Baixas. The city itself offers an outstanding monumental center.

Local Language

Visit Catalonia

CATALONIA

Capital: Barcelona
Provinces: Barcelona, Girona (Gerona), Lleida (Lerida) and Tarragona.

Best known Catalonia apart from the capital, Barcelona, is of course the Mediterranean coast, Costa Brava an Costa Dorada, with ample beaches and mild climate, doubtlessly a first rate touristical attraction.

One shouldn't forget anyhow that Catalonia offers as well high mountain ranges, the Pyrenees in the north, the curious formations of Montserrat, the inactive volcans of Garrotxa, and a wide plain area in the region's center.

Katalonia

Catalonia has a very marked culture of its own, most evidently of Mediterranean tradition, and is distinguished of most other Spanish regions in several aspects, not at least by its language, Catalonian (although everybody speaks and understands Castilian Spanish perfectly). Certainly it is one of the most cosmopolitan places in Spain, thanks to its long tradition of international commerce.

The coast offers ideal facilities for all sorts of water sports, but everywhere you will realize about that special talent to combine the beauty of nature or monuments with modern attractions, a main reason why Catalonia developed into one of the preferred touristical destinations.

Catalonia's excellent gastronomy is characterized by seafood, rice dishes, wines of great international reputation and traditional desserts like the famous "Catalonian Cream".


Major attractions:

Barcelona
Catalonia's capital, located at the Mediterranean Sea, offers the structures of a true metropole. Among its most outstanding sights are the Gothic Quarter and the works of architect Antoni Gaudi.

Costa Brava
Certainly one of the most famous Spanish coasts, stretching from the north of Barcelona over the province of Girona. It is of great natural beauty, with steep cliffs and romantic small coves.

Girona
A beautiful historic city with the old Jewish Quarter among its major sights.

Figueres
The birthplace of great painter Salvador Dali. Its main attraction is of course the museum Foto dedicated to the artist, showing a collection of some of his finest works Foto.

Costa Dorada
The Golden Coast, stretching from south of Costa del Garraf to Costa del Azahar, offers apart from its great beaches and beautiful landscapes towns of outstanding beauty.

Tarragona
An important city of the Roman empire, still preserving outstanding monuments: the aquaeductus, an amphitheater and the Tomb of the Scipios, located at the seaside. Close to Tarragona there are the monasteries Santes Creus and Santa Maria de Poblet, both of high historic-artistic interest.

Lleida (Lerida)
Located inland in a mountainous area. Most interesting is its cathedral, "Seo", built between 12th and 15th century.

Local Language

Visit Asturias

Asturias

Capital: Oviedo
Provinces: Asturias

The Principality of Asturias is constituted of a single province and its capital is Oviedo. It is limited by high mountain ranges, Cordillera Cantabrica, where you find some outstanding natural preserves such as the national parks Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa and Parque Natural de Somiedo.

Asturias is well known for its green landscapes, and just at a few kilometers from high mountain peaks there is the Cantabric coast with great beaches and colorful fishing villages.

Major attractions are the Way of Saint James with its numberless pre-romanic monuments, which leads through Asturias and the Ruta de la Plata, "silver route", which starts in Asturias.

Asturias too is the home of ancient rites and beliefs, and this region's popular customs are among the most interesting of Spain. Artisany and gastronomy are of high reputation, you may try excellent sea-food along the coast and, in the mountains, typical dishes such as Fabada, made of a special sort of beans, blood sausage and various cheese specialities, together with a glass of cider.

Andalusia

The Cities:

Oviedo
The region's capital, located more or less at its geographical center, is specially remarkable for its pre-romanic monuments and its great cathedral.

Gijon
This historic city, founded already by Romans, is today one of the most important sea-ports and offers active cultural life.

Aviles
Aviles, one of the oldest settlements of the Cantabric area, is of high economical importance too, but conserves as well its traditional style.

In Asturias there are several important buildings from the pre-romanic epoch, such as the churches Santa Maria del Naranco , San Miguel de Lillo and San Julian de los Prados . These monuments, in their entirety, have been declared "Patrimony of the Humanity" by the UNESCO. 
This province is said to be one of the most beautiful of Spain, thanks to the marvelous landscapes of Rías Baixas. The city itself offers an outstanding monumental center.

Local Language

Visit Cantabria

Cantabria

Capital: Santander
Provinces: Cantabria

With a surface of 5.300 square kilometers Cantabria offers extremely varied landscapes and climates. In its mountain ranges, Picos de Europa and the natural preserve of Saja, still live bears, wolves and eagles, and the rivers are full of salmons and trouts. Pico de tres Mares ("peak of the three seas") is a real curiosity: a drop of water that falls here may equally arrive to Atlantic Ocean, by Duero river, the Cantabric Sea, by Nansa river, or the Mediterranean Sea by Ebro river.

In total contrast is the Coast of Cantabria with beautiful bays and romantic fishing villages. Inbetween you will find green valleys and hills.

Cantabria

The capital, Santander, is located at a beautiful bay. It is an economically extremely active city with an important port. There is an ample cultural offer, specially remarkable are the Menendez y Pelayo International Summer University, and the International Festival. Santander's great sports facilities make it an ideal place for leisure.

At a few kilometers from the capital there is the medieval town Santillana del Mar, and the highly interesting prehistorical Cave of Altamira . Some other attractions in the surroundings of Santander are the church of Santa Maria de Valverde, or the natural park of Cabarceno, where you will find animals from the five continents in an outstanding and singular landscape.

Finally, Cantabria's colorful popular customs, its artisany and gastronomy make it a holiday destination which certainly will not disappoint.

Local Language

Visit BASQUE COUNTRY

BASQUE COUNTRY

Capital: Vitoria-Gasteiz
Provinces: Alava (capital: Vitoria-Gasteiz), Guipúzcoa (capital: San Sebastian) and Vizcaya (capital: Bilbao)

Baskland is of particular interest for its completely autoctonous culture, including a language of its own (Euskera) of quite mysterious origins. Its folklore is autotoctonous too, and you may even watch particular sports like the so-called Basqueball ("pelota vasca").

Today it is one of the most industrialized regions of Spain. Despite of that there are still many areas of almost untouched nature, notably the natural parks of Valderejo, Urkiola, Urdaibai and the magical landscapes along Guernica river. It is a great region for hiking, riding, golf and all sorts of mountain sports. Another atttraction is the steep Basque Coast, but don't forget to bring your raincoat to protect yourself of the "txirimiri", the typical very fine rain.

BASQUE COUNTRY

The Cities:

San Sebastian (basque: Donostia)
The famous aristocratic beach resort of great reputation during the 19th century conserves its exclusive and cosmopolitan ambience. Its beautiful buildings and excellent beaches (with somewhat cool water temperatures, though) make it also today a privileged holiday destination.

Bilbao
Although the region's largest city is specially recognized as an important industrial and economic center, it conserves a beautiful historic quarter with the Gothic cathedral among its major attractions. Bilbao's greatest sight however is the Guggenheim Museum, built in 1997. This spectacular building with a facade of glass, titanium and lime stone was designed by american architect Frank O. Gehry and is one of the most outstanding examples of the avantgarde architecture of the 20th century.

Vitoria-Gasteiz
The capital of Euskadi is worth a visit due to its well-preserved historical center and its active cultural life with several festivals of international importance.

Local Language

This wonderful group of islands is divided into Gimnesias (M

BALEARIC ISLANDS: Mediterranean Paradise

This wonderful group of islands is divided into Gimnesias (Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera) in the North, and Pitiusas (Ibiza and Formentera) in the South-West.

Balearic Islands

Their excellent climate with some 300 days of sun per year, wonderful beaches, a rich cultural offer and the unusual hospitality of their inhabitants make Balearic Islands one of the preferred holiday destinations in Spain. There are more passengers at the airport of Palma de Mallorca than at the airport of any other Spanish city.

Hardly anybody who has spent holidays here didn't wish to return, in fact, many visitors have made the islands their permanent home. Each of the islands has a strong personality all of its own, and each of them offers much more but the possibility to spend nice holidays at the beach ...

Palma was founded as a Roman camp upon the remains of a Talaiotic settlement. The city was subjected to several Vandal raids during the fall of the Western Roman Empire, then reconquered by the Byzantine Empire, then colonised by the Moors (who called it Medina Mayurqa) and, in the 13th century, by James I of Aragon.

Andalusia

The four largest islands are Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. Many minor islands and islets are close to the larger islands, including Cabrera, Dragonera, and S'Espalmador. The islands have a Mediterranean climate, and the four major islands are all popular tourist destinations. Ibiza, in particular, is known as an international party destination, attracting many of the world's most popular DJs to its nightclubs.[7] The islands' culture and cuisine are similar to those of the rest of Spain but have their own distinctive features.

The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, with Palma de Mallorca as the capital. The 2007 Statute of Autonomy declares the Balearic Islands as one nationality of Spain. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Spanish.

Balearic Islands Menorca

MENORCA: The Windy Island

Legend tells that the winds of Menorca modify the personality of people. Maybe that is the reason why those who came here once as tourists mostly return ...

Menorca certainly has a very strong personality, and a very different one to the rest of the islands. Menorca, the "minor" island, as it was called by Romans, has an almost virginal interior (compared for instance to the "major" island, Mallorca) and shows interesting remains of its old history.

On the other hand, there are beaches and lonely bays around it at a length of 216 kilometers. An ideal resort for all those who are looking for true relaxation.


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