Photo: On the Mediterranean Coast, Catalan
The capital of Spain is Madrid. The art galleries in the city are amongst Europe’s best and visitors will also enjoy some of the continent’s best architecture.
Originally inhabited by Iberians, Basques and Celts, the peninsula, originally referred to as the Iberian Peninsula, was conquered by the Romans. Taken by the Visigoths in the Sixth Century, almost all of the Iberian peninsula was later captured by the Muslims from the north of Africa in the Eighth Century.
This Iberian Caliphate, with Córdoba as its capital, it was multi-cultural to a degree, controlled by Muslim Moors. Christians and Jews were allowed to practice their religion by paying a special tax. Trade flourished, learning was encouraged and the city grew into one of the most sophisticated cities in Europe.
Eventually Christian forces began to recapture parts of the peninsula. The wars continued till 1492, the same year Columbus discovered the Americas. With the influx of wealth from their conquests in places like South America, the Phillipines and even parts of Europe, the Spanish Empire thrived.
This diverse background has given Spain a truly unique culture. With a population today of more than 47 million, its heritage, great food, music, sun and many beaches make it a favourite Europe attraction.
Central Spain has much to explore. Toledo, above the Tagus River, the longest in Spain was originally a fort built by the Romans.
The landscape of Central Spain is dominated by flat plains with wheat fields and olive groves.
In the south, there are also stunning beaches with a more warmer climate coming off the Mediterreanean Sea. The coast offers year round sunshine that attracts many visitors to its shores throughout the year. Although the summer months and particularly August are extremely busy, the cooler months has plenty for those wanting to explore.
Spanish cuisine, for this writer at least, is to die for. One the great ways to try the local cuisine is to visit a tapas bar. They serve an outstanding variety of local and scrumptious dishes for usually very reasonable prices.
Travel between the different parts of Spain is not difficult, although during holiday seasons both rail and roads can be crowded at times. The high speed train system serves much of the country. Travel from the rest of Europe is also easy, whether by plane, boat or car.
If you wish to drive here, you will need your drivers license, car registration papers and insurance documentation for your car. Vehicle rental companies, of course, provide the last two for car rentals, keep them with you.
You can find choices in accommodation in Britain and the rest of the UK from resort hotels to bed & breakfasts.
Photo: On the Mediterranean Coast,
Photo: Dali Theatre and Museum at his home town of Figueres, Catalan, Spain