Spain is one of the most popular tourists’ destinations in Europe. Tourists from many countries often choose Spain for its summer vacations. Most popular Spain is with tourists from Britain, Italy, France, the countries of central Europe and Scandinavia. Spain is the fourth most popular (most visited) country in the world after France, USA and China (2010). In 2010, Spain was visited by more than 50 million people.
The most popular among foreign tourists are holidays on the resorts of Spain. Best places for summer vacation are located on Mediterranean coast and Balearic Islands. Famous Canary Islands are part of Spain and one of the best places in the world.
Spain (España), the Kingdom of Spain is a state in south-west Europe. It occupies a large part of the Iberian Peninsula. Spain covers an area 504 645 km2, being the fourth largest country in Europe after Russia, Ukraine and France. Spain borders Portugal to the west, the British territory of Gibraltar and Morocco to the south, France and Andorra to the north. Spain is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, as well as the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east. The largest cities of Spain are Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malaga. The population of Spain is about 46 million people.
Spain is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. Plateaus and mountains cover about 90 percent of the country. A large part of Spain is located at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level. This is the second highest country in Europe after Switzerland. The only large plain of Spain (Andalusia Lowland) is located in the south part of country. Spain capital city Madrid is the “highest” capital of Europe.
The international airport of Madrid (Barajas) is one of the busiest airports in the world. Barcelona El Prat Airport also serves a large number of aircraft. Major airports are also situated in Gran Canaria, Malaga, Valencia, Seville, Mallorca, Alicante and Bilbao.
Spain is one of the warmest countries in Europe. There are about 260-285 days of sunshine a year on average in Spain. The average annual temperature on the Mediterranean coast is 20 degrees. In winter the temperature drops below zero degrees only in the central and northern parts of the country. Summer in Spain can be very hot; the temperature rises to 40 degrees and above. On the northern coast the temperature is usually not as high - about 25 degrees.
Spain has a rich history. The first people settled here about 35 thousand years ago. A lot of people from different nationalities, cultures and religions had impact to development of this country. Monuments of history of different cultures and nations have survived in Spain. It will be interesting to see the historical sights of Spain for history lovers.
The most famous museum in Spain is Prado Museum. It is located in Madrid. The museum has a large number of pictures. It is impossible to place all the exhibits in one building and look for one day. Many other Spain museums are worldwide known: Picasso Museum and the National Art Museum of Catalonia located in Barcelona. The National Museum of Sculpture is in Valladolid. El Greco Museum is in Toledo. The Guggenheim Museum is in Bilbao. The Museum of Abstract Art is in Cuenca.
Holidays by the sea, on Spain resort coasts are popular with residents of many counties. This kind of tourism is the most lucrative for the Spanish economy at present. The mild climate throughout the year and the vast sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Canary and Balearic Islands attract tourists from many European countries. Most countries in Europe not have such warm sea and comfortable climate. Tourists from northern and central Europe countries tend to spend their vacations in warmer places, including the Spain. Spain has long been a favorite holidaymaker for British residents, and it remains their number one holiday destination. Summer resorts are popular among the Spain residents themselves too.
There are more than two thousand beaches on the coast in Spain. The most famous and popular places in Spain are: Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, Costa del Assar, Costa de Almeria, Costa Blanca, Mar Menor, Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz, Rias -Bahasa, Rias Altas, Costa Cantabrica, Canary and Balearic Islands.
Traditionally, for many people, the best place for holiday is warm sea coast.
Costa Brava, Costa Dorada and the Costa del Maresme resort areas are located in the autonomous region of Catalonia. Here are located popular cities and resorts. Barcelona is most popular tourists’ destination in Catalonia. Salou village is popular seaside resort. It is located about 10 km from Tarragona city, on the “Costa Dorada” (Gold Coast). These places are popular with tourists from France and the Spanish themselves.
“Costa del Azahar”, “Costa de Valencia”, “Costa Blanca” resort coasts are located in Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Resorts are popular with tourists from the UK and Germany. One of the most popular cities in the coast is Benidorm. Most popular beaches of region are “Playa de Levante” and “Playa de Poniente”. Here is situated a “Terra Mitica” amusement park.
“Costa Calida” (Warm Coast) is situated in the region of Murcia. One of the most famous places here is “Mar Menor” (Small Sea). It is a is salty lagoon, separated from the Mediterranean sea by “La Manga”, a sandbar 22 kilometers length and with a variable width from 100 to 1200 meters. There are large sandy beaches and special microclimate. Here held some interesting festivals in the year. Murcia is a city (and the Region) in south-eastern Spain.
“Costa de Almeria”, “Costa Tropical”, “Costa, Costa del Sol” and “Costa de la Luz” resort coasts are located in the Spain region Andalusia (Mediterranean coast). There are recreational facilities and destinations for medical tourism. Located here Malaga city is also one of the largest ports in Spain.
Spain also includes two island territories: the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. These islands are also a popular holiday destinations.
Spain suggests not only rest on the beaches on the sea resorts. There are many historical attractions and cultural, sporting and business events. The best-known Spain cities are Madrid and Barcelona. Both cities offer plenty of interesting sights and events. But this is only a small part of interesting places for tourists in this country. Thirteen Spanish cities included in the list UNESCO World Heritage sites list: Alcala de Henares, Ávila, Cáceres, Córdoba, Cuenca, Ibiza, Salamanca, San Cristobal de la Laguna, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, Toledo and Tarragona. A total amount is 42 such significant objects in Spain. By the number of UNESCO World Heritage Site Spain is the second in the world after Italy (45 historically significant sites).
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