By Susanne Pacher
Spain is a country with a long proud history including settlement by the Ancient Romans and many centuries of domination by the Moors. It is a country of great diversity, with mountain ranges in the North East, beautiful beaches in the South and a luscious green coastline in the north. Spain is great for lovers of the outdoor, whether you enjoy hiking, biking or other outdoor pursuits.
The center of Spain is characterized by an arid plateau and Madrid is right in the heartland of this fascinating country. In the Spanish capital you'll find many places to visit: the Prado, one of the world's bests art museums, the Palacio Real (the Royal Palace), and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia featuring masterpieces by Salvador Dali and Juan Mir.For more lighthearted entertainment visit the Rastro, Madrid's biggest flea market.
Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain and known world-wide for the architectural creations of Jos Antonio Gaudi, with the still unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral topping the list. When in Barcelona don't forget a visit to the Barri G tic and take a walk on las Ramblas, one of the most beautiful streets in the world, a tree-lined boulevard where you can delight in the talents of street performers.
Further south, the region of Andalusia awaits you with Moorish treasures such as Seville, Cordoba and Granada, where a visit to the Alhambra is a must. A visit to a bull fight, a Flamenco show or a sherry-tasting are authentic Spanish experiences that should not be missed. Food lovers enjoy Spanish cuisine such as paella and tapas with its typical Mediterranean ingredients. Festivals such as the Semana Santa and the running of the bulls in Pamplona manage to spice up the traveller's experience in Spain.
The Costa del Sol from Malaga westwards down to Marbella and Gibraltar is of course known for its excellent climate and beautiful beaches, (and to some degree, its overdevelopment). Further east you will find other well-known coastal stretches, such as the Costa Blanca, south of Valencia and the rugged Costa Brava, northeast of Barcelona.
Northern Spain including the provinces of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country is referred to as "green Spain", it's a region that receives a lot more rainfall than the arid south and offers beautiful coastlines and lush green mountains. San Sebastian is one of the major cities in the north, located on a beautiful bay. Further west, Santiago de Compostela is a world-famous pilgrimage site and the end point of the Camino de Santiago.
And let's not forget the charm and beauty of the Balearic Islands, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca as well as the Canary Islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro). Spain is one of my favourite destinations, its history, mystery and charm are unique.
About The Author
Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions (http://www.travelandtransitions.com). Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the t-ransitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys.
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The story with photos is published at Travel and Transitions - Travel Stories (http://www.travelandtransitions.com/stories_photos/hello_ibiza_1.htm).