Stretching sun-drenched and untamed to the south of the wild and majestic Pyrenees, this passionate nation works a mysterious magic. Spain is littered with hundreds of glittering beaches; flamenco bailaors (dancers) swirl in flounces of colour; and toreros (bullfighters) strut their stuff in the bullrings. Summer holidaymakers gather around great pans of steaming paella (at its tasty best in Valencia) and pitchers of sangria…
Beyond these clichéd images, a vast, unexpected panorama unfolds before you. Emerald green mountains seem to slide into the wild blue Atlantic in the north. Proud, solitary castles and medieval towns are strewn across the interior. White villages glitter in inland Andalucía. Rugged mountain ranges such as the Sierra Nevada (Europe’s most southerly ski resort) are draped across the country. The Celtic music of Cantabria, Asturias & Galicia reminds one of the misty lands of Brittany, Scotland and Ireland.
From its Roman relics to Muslim palaces, from baroque cathedrals and Modernista constructions, the country is a treasure chest of artistic and architectural marvels across a matchless cultural palette. More than 30 years of democracy and rapid economic development have spurred Spain’s cities to bedeck themselves with sparkling new ornaments. An army of local and international architects has left a slew of daring signature buildings in Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid, to name a few.
Up and down the country, a zest for life creates an intense, hedonistic vibe in its effervescent cities. Indeed, if there is one thing Spaniards love, it is to eat, drink and be merry, whether gobbling up tapas over fine wine in Madrid and the south, or its elaborate Basque Country equivalent, pintxos, over cider in the north.