Review of Spain
Tourist industry in Spain
In first half of the 1900's Spain was one of the most underdeveloped countries in Europe. But Spain has made a remarkable industrial and economic recovery especially over the past twenty years. Today's Spanish economy is vibrant and quite diversified off its original agricultural base. It is now the seventh largest economy in the world. Motor vehicles & car parts are now the biggest export earners for Spain although the food industry is still very important.
As official per capita income is still bellow the EU average the economy benefits from very large EU "convergence funding". This is basically a transfer of EU funds to enable Spain to grow faster than other EU countries and therefore gradually reach the EU average. Much convergence funding has gone into infrastructure developments. Over 2500 Kms of motorways have been opened in the last three years a new high speed train line built to Seville new airports built at Barcelona and all the major tourist centres and new ports constructed.
Extremadura too seeks to improve its economy and increase her trade and tourist industry.
Spain is the second tourism destination in the World after France. They welcome 52 million tourists per year.
Tourism in Spain includes The two largest cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Very interesting places are Cordoba Sevilla Granada (cultural places) and Malaga Huelva Cadiz Almeria (beaches) in Andalusia. Santiago de Compostela Salamanca Toledo Segovia are beautiful places in the rest of the country. Important touristics places (with incredibles beaches) are Salou Benidorm Mallorca Ibiza (Balearic islands) Canary Islands Valencia Catalonia and The Cantabrico (north of Spain).
Review of Spain
The familiar images of Spain is flamenco dancing bullfighting tapas bars and solemn Easter processions. However these do no more than hint at the diversity of this country. Spain has four official languages two major cities of almost equal importance and a greater range of landscapes than any other European country.
These contrasts make Spain an endlessly fascinating place to visit.
Separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees Spain reaches south to the coast of North Africa and has both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. The country's climate and scenery vary dramatically from the snowcapped peaks of the Pyrenees through the green meadows of Galicia and the orange groves of Valencia to the dry barren regions in the south.
Madrid Spain's capital lies geographically in the center of the country. The city's inhabitants have an individualistic spirit and a sardonic sense of humor that set them apart from other Spaniards. Madrid may be the nominal capital but it is rivaled in commerce sport and the arts by Barcelona the main city of Catalonia.
After the death of the dictator General Franco in 1975 Spain became a constitutional monarchy under King Juan Carlos I. Spain's entry to the European Community in 1986 triggered a spectacular increase in the country's prosperity.
The Spanish are known for their natural sociability and zest for living. They commonly put as much energy into enjoying life as they do into their work. Many people fit their work around the demands of their social life rather than be ruled by the clock. Eating out is an important social activity with friends and family often meeting up in a pavement cafe or restaurant for a chat and a meal.
ALTHOUGH MANY VISITORS to Spain come for the beaches alone increasingly tourists are drawn by the country's rich cultural heritage. The most popular destinations are Madrid and Barcelona which boast world-class museums and a wealth of medieval and modern architecture For those with time to travel further afield Seville Granada and Cordoba in the far south are the best places to see relics of Spain's Moorish past. Spain is Europe's third largest country so getting around can be time-consuming. However there is a reliable network of trains as well as good highways and bus services.
Much of Spain's vast central plateau is covered with wheat fields or dry dusty plains but there are many attractive places to explore. Spain's largest region Castilla y Leon has a rich history. It boasts some of the country's most splendid architecture from Segovia's famous Roman aqueduct to the Gothic cathedrals of Burgos and Leon and the Renaissance grandeur of Salamanca's monuments.
Avila's medieval city walls are a legacy of the long struggles between the Christians and the Moors. Dotted with windmills and medieval castles Castilla-La Mancha is home to the historic town of Toledo another popular destination.
Madrid is Spain's capital a city of over three million people is situated close to the geographical center of the country at the hub of both road and rail networks. The origins of the city date back to AD 852 when the Moors built a fortress near the Manzanares river and a small community grew up around it. It was not until 1561 however that the city became the capital of a newly formed nation state. In the following centuries under the Habsburgs and then the Bourbons the city acquired some of its most notable landmarks including the splendid Plaza Mayor and the Palacio Real. At the same time the blossoming city attracted some of Spain's most outstanding artists such as court painters Velizquez and Goya whose works can be admired in the world-famous Museo del Prado.
Northern Spain encompasses a variety of landscapes and cultures. In the far northwest of the peninsula the Galicians are fiercely proud of their customs and language.
Spain's greenest region Galicia boasts some of the most attractive stretches of Atlantic coast as well as the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela. Popular with hikers and naturalists the spectacular Picos de Europa massif sits astride the border between Asturias and Cantabria.
The Basque Country is a unique part of Spain whose main attractions include superb cuisine fashionable seaside resorts and the cultural center of Bilbao with its famous Guggenheim Museum.
Basque culture is possibly Europe's oldest race the Basque's are thought to be descended from Cro-Magnon people who lived in the Pyrenees 40 000 years ago. Long isolated in their mountain villages the Basques preserved their unique language (Euskera) myths and art for millennia almost untouched by other influences. Many families still live in the stone buildings or farmhouses built by their forefathers. The fueros or ancient Basque laws were suppressed under General Franco but since 1975 the Basque region (Euskadi) has had its own parliament. Nevertheless there is still a strong separatist movement seeking to sever links with the government in Madrid.
Bilbao is the center of Basque industry and Spain's leading commercial port yet it has many cultural attractions worth visiting. In the city s medieval quarter the Casco Viejo the Museo Arqueologico Etnografico e Historico Vasco displays Basque art and folk artifacts.
In the newer town the Museo de Bellas Artes is one of Spain's best art museums. The jewel in Bilbao's cultural crown however is the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao which has a superb collection of Modern and contemporary art. The building that houses the museum is just one of the city's many pieces of modern architecture which also includes the striking Palacio de la Musica y Congresos Euskalduna.
A nation within a nation Catalonia has its own semi autonomous regional government. It has its own language spoken by more than eight million people. Catalan has supplanted Castilian Spanish as the first language of the region and is used on road signs and in place names everywhere.
Barcelona is the regions capital rivaling Madrid in economic and cultural importance Catalonia offers a variety of attractions. The flower-filled valley of the Pyrenees offer a paradise for naturalist and walkers while inland are medieval towns Roman ruins and spectacular monasteries such as Montserrat .
Barcelona one of the Mediterranean's busiest ports is more than the capital of Catalonia. In culture commerce and sport it rivals not only Madrid but also many of Europe's greatest cities. The success of the 1992 Olympic Games staged in the Parc de Montjuic confirmed this to the world.
Although there are many historical monuments in the Old Town the city is best known for the scores of superb buildings left behind by the artistic explosion of Modernism in the decades around 1900.
Today Barcelona still sizzles with creativity its bars and public parks speak more of bold contemporary design than of tradition.
Eastern Spain and the Balearic Islands
¥Eastern Spain covers an extraordinary range of climates and landscapes from the snowbound peaks of the Pyrenees in Aragon to the beaches of the Costa Blanca. The region has many historical sights including the striking Mudejar churches of Zaragoza and the great cathedral of Valencia.
The coastal resorts of Eastern Spain are a popular destination as are the Balearic Islands. Mallorca is the most culturally rich of the islands while Menorca is dotted with prehistoric sites. Ibiza is chiefly known for its exuberant nightlife. Formentera remains largely unspoiled. A dialect of the Catalan language brought by 13th-century settlers is still widely spoken on the islands.
Mallorca and the Balearic Islands
The largest of the Balearic Islands is Mallorca. Mallorca has a varied landscape and a rich cultural heritage A massive Gothic cathedral is poised high on the sea wall of Palma its capital. Completed in 1587 and known locally as Sa Seu the cathedral is one of Spain's most breathtaking buildings. The interior was remodeled by Antoni Gaudi and a highlight is the Baldachino his bizarre wrought-iron canopy above the altar.
Also worth visiting in Palma are the Basilica de Sant Francesc the Moorish Palau de l'Almudaina and the Fundacio Pilar I loan Miro. Which is a stunning modern building housing Miro's studio and a collection of the artist's work.
Around the island Andratx is a chic and affluent town with yachts moored along it's harbor while Pollenta is a popular tourist resort which has remained relatively unspoiled.
The Monasteri de Uluc in the remote mountain village of the same name incorporates a guesthouse a museum and a church.
Menorca's capital Mao has one of the finest harbors in the Mediterranean an l8th century Carmelite church and a museum the Collection of Henandez Mora housing Menorcan art and antiques.
The town of Ciutadella boasts an impressive main square and a delightful Art Nouveau market.
Ibiza and Formentera
Ibiza and Formentera are popular package-tour destinations.
Ibiza has some of the wildest nightclubs in Europe.
An hour's boat ride from Ibisa harbour are the tranquil shores of Formentera. The capital Sant Francesc has a pretty l8th-century church and a folk museum.
The Costa Blanca occupies a prime stretch of Spain's Mediterranean coastline. The main city Alicante has an 18th-century Baroque town hall and a 16th-century castle the Castillo de Santa Barbara. The nearest beach to the city center is the popular Postiguet slightly farther a field are the vast beaches of Alhufereta and Sant Joan.
The massive rocky outcrop of the Penyal d'Ifach towers over Calp harbor and is one of the Costa Blanca's most dramatic sights. Its summit offers spectacular views.
A short drive inland Guadalest is a pretty mountain village with castle ruins and a distinctive belfry perched precariously on top of a rock.
Also worth visiting are the whitewashed hilltop town of Altea Denia which has good snorkeling and the cliffs and coves around Xabia South of Alicante.
Guardamar del Segura has a quiet beach bordered by aromatic pine woods while Torrevieja is a highly developed resort wid sweeping sandy shores.
One large region called (Andalusia) extends across the south of Spain. It was here that the Moors lingered longest and left their greatest monuments in the cities of Granada Cordoba Malaga and Seville.
The eight southern provinces span a wide range of landscapes with deserts in the east sandy beaches along the Costa del Sol and sherry-producing vineyards around Jerez.
From flamingoes in the wetland Dofiana National Park to flamenco this uniquely Andalusian art form. The region has something to interest every visitor.
Costa del Sol
With its all year-round sunshine and varied coastline the Costa del Sol attracts crowds of tourists every year and has half a million foreign residents. Its most stylish resort is Marbella frequented by royalty and film stars who spend their summers here in the smart villas or luxury hotels overlooking the area's 28 beaches. Puerto Banus is its ostentatious marina.
In winter the major attraction is golf. 30 of Europe's finest golf courses lie just inland.
The ancient city of Granada founded by the Iberians and was for 250 years the capital of a Moorish kingdom The Nasrid dynasty who ruled from 1238 until 1492 when Granada fell to the Catholic Monarchs. They left some outstanding examples of Moorish architecture here. The greatest legacy of their rule is the spectacular palace complex of the Alhambra. Under the Nasrids the city enjoyed a golden age acquiring an international reputation as a major cultural center. Later under Christian rule the city became a focus for the Renaissance.
Malaga is the second largest city in Andalusia. Malaga was a thriving port under Phoenician Roman and Moorish rule. It also flourished during the 19th century when sweet Malaga wine was one of Europe's most popular drinks and this was one of Europe's most popular seaside resorts that continues today.
Cordoba with its glorious mosque and pretty Moorish patios Cordoba is northern Andalusia's star attraction. Its name may derive from Kartuba Phoenician for "rich and precious city". In the 10th century the city enjoyed a golden age as the western capital of the Islamic empire.
Cordoba's most impressive Moorish monument is the mighty Mezquita.
Spain the land of sun sand and sangria is much more than a beach. Experience the rich diversity of Spanish culture and the majestic sites that Spain has to offer the adventurous Tourist.Tourist industry in Spain
Tourism is Spain’s largest industry. It accounts for 10.1%