Spain  Travel Guide : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach

You can find about travel advice such as public places & services, best restaurants, activities, sightseen and other key facts of the Spain .

Spain is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of territory in Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar and offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula and Its territory also includes two archipelagos: the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Penon de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have continental African territories. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean, respectively.With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second-largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth-largest country by area on the European continent. With a population exceeding 47.3 million, Spain is the sixth-most populous country in Europe, and the fourth-most populous country in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Málaga, Murcia, Palma, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Bilbao.

Anatomically modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 42,000 years ago.The first cultures and peoples that developed in current Spanish territory were Pre-Roman peoples such as the ancient Iberians, Celts, Celtiberians, Vascones, Turdetani and Occitans. Later, foreign Mediterranean peoples such as the Phoenicians and ancient Greeks developed coastal trading colonies, and the Carthaginians controlled part of the Spanish Mediterranean coastline. From the year 218 BC, with the taking of the city of Ampurias, the Roman colonization of Hispania began and, with the exception of the Atlantic cornice, they quickly controlled the territory of present-day Spain. The Romans had driven the Carthaginians out of the Iberian peninsula by 206 BC, and divided it into two administrative provinces, Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Citerior. The Romans laid the foundations for modern Spanish culture and identity, and was the birthplace of important Roman emperors such as Trajan, Hadrian or Theodosius I.

Spain remained under Roman rule until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth century, which ushered in Germanic tribal confederations from Central and Northern Europe. During this period, present-day Spain was divided between different Germanic powers, including the Suevi, Alans, Vandals and Visigoths, the latter maintaining an alliance with Rome via foedus, while part of Southern Spain belonged to the Byzantine Empire. Eventually, the Visigoths emerged as the dominant faction by the fifth century, with the Visigothic Kingdom spanning the vast majority of the Iberian Peninsula, and established its capital in the actual city of Toledo. The creation of the code of laws Liber Iudiciorum by the King Recceswinth during the Visigothic period deeply influenced the structural and legal bases of Spain and the survival of Roman Law after the fall of the Roman Empire.

In the early eighth century, the Visigothic Kingdom was invaded by the Umayyad Caliphate, ushering in over 700 years of Muslim rule in Southern Iberia. During this period, Al-Andalus became a major economic and intellectual center, with the city of Cordoba being among the largest and richest in Europe. Several Christian kingdoms emerged in the northern periphery of Iberia, chief among them León, Castile, Aragón, Portugal, and Navarre. Over the next seven centuries, an intermittent southward expansion of these kingdoms—metahistorically framed as a reconquest, or Reconquista—culminated with the Christian seizure of the last Muslim polity, the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, and the control of all Iberia by the Christian kingdoms in 1492. That same year, Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World on behalf of the Catholic Monarchs, whose dynastic union of the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon is usually considered the emergent Spain as a unified country. During the centuries after the Reconquista, the Christian kings of Spain persecuted and expelled ethnic and religious minorities such as Jews and Muslims through the Spanish Inquisition.From the 16th until the early 19th century, Spain ruled one of the largest empires in history, which was among the first global empires; its immense cultural and linguistic legacy includes over 570 million Hispanophones,making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Foods in Spain :
(1) Croquetas : 

We start our list with the ultimate tapas bar classic – croquetas. Many countries do their own version of croquettes, but the Spanish have them down to a fine art. The best ones combine some unforgettable Iberian flavors, whether jamón (cured ham), morcilla (blood sausage) or bacalao (fresh cod) blended with béchamel sauce. These are then breaded and fried and served up with a sauce of your choice. If you don’t fancy cooking, most local bars will serve their own variety, with the best usually found in the scrubbed-down neighborhood haunts where you are least expecting it.

(2) Tortilla Espanola : 

Another tapas bar favorite is tortilla Española – or Spanish omelette as it’s known around the world. However, it’s not just a tapas treat. Tortilla can also be eaten as a main dish, a break time snack, or even in a sandwich, which is popular with kids. To create your own tortilla, you’ll need to slowly fry up onions and potatoes in olive oil before adding the egg. This will caramelize the onions and give your omelette that extra sweetness. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, why not try adding chorizo and spinach? But be warned, as delicious as this new combination is, the locals won’t let you call it a tortilla!

(3) Gazpacho : 

What better way to cool down during a hot Spanish summer than with a cool bowl of gazpacho? Usually served as an appetizer, this chilled tomato soup definitely packs a punch. To make it, simply blend up some fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, garlic, and herbs, and serve it with toasted bread for a low-calorie dish crammed full of vitamins. The idea of eating cold tomato soup might sound a little odd to some foreigners, but once you’ve enjoyed a traditionally made gazpacho on a hot summer’s day you’ll be hooked! For a twist, add some bread to create the Andalusian favorite, salmorejo.

(4) Pisto : 

Think ratatouille is something you’d only ever get served in a French restaurant? Think again. Okay, so it’s not technically ratatouille, but pisto is often called the Spanish version of the classic French dish. The recipe sees tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onions, and garlic sliced up and roasted with a lot of olive oil to give it that classic Mediterranean flavor. Hailing from the plains of the La Mancha region, pisto can be a side dish, appetizer, or even a main course. Serve it with some fresh salad, bread, and of course, some local red wine for the ultimate Spanish experience.

(5)  Pulpo a la gallega : 

Octopus is a big deal in Spanish cuisine, whether it’s deep-fried and served as tapas or transformed into something a little more sophisticated. One of the more elaborate dishes is the popular pulpo a la gallega, which sees paprika, rock salt, and olive oil combined to bring out the very best flavors from the octopus. This is usually served on sliced potatoes for a light yet warming meal. The dish hails from the north-western region of Galicia, which is definitely something to note for seafood-lovers. After all, the region is well-known around Spain for it’s unique, seafood-heavy cuisine.

Weather & geography in Spain   :
Its climate is mild oceanic, with relatively mild and rainy winters, and cool and quite sunny summers. There can be occasional heatwaves in summer and the wind blows frequently throughout the year. Snowfall occurs largely in the interior mountainous areas and rarely along the coast, although fog is quite common.

Making up the majority of the Iberian peninsula in south-west Europe, Spain is neighboured by France and Andorra in the north-east and Portugal in the west.  The country also boasts two impressive coastlines, with the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the north and the Mediterranean in the south and east.  The small British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar is also at Spain’s southernmost tip.  It is the second largest country in Western Europe, after France.

The country is largely characterised by hilly highlands divided by a number of mountain ranges, as well as a mix of plateaus and rivers.  Other parts are lowlands with fertile terrain as well as sandy beaches along the coasts with parts of rugged cliffs.  The major lowland regions are the Andalusian Plain in the southwest, the Ebro Basin in the northeast, and the coastal plains.  The variety and number of mountain ranges, can be quite something to wrap your head around, however there are some key areas necessary to note.  The Meseta Central, a vast plateau in the very centre of Spain is rimmed by mountains and gently slopes to the West where rivers become parts of natural borders with Portugal.  With Madrid, the capital city at its centre, the northern and southern parts of the plateau are divided by a range of mountains, the Sistema Central, which also make the north a slightly higher altitude.  The mountain regions that rim the Meseta Central are the Sierra Morena, the Cordillera Cantábrica, and the Sistema Ibérico.  The name Sierra Morena has a strong legendary reputation in Spanish culture and tradition, with myths about bandits, a giant snake and a child brought up by wolves.  The Cordillera Cantábrica make a sharp divide between “Green Spain” to the north, and the dry central plateau and is composed of a haphazard series of mountain ranges, massifs, plateaus and depressions.

Other mountains in the country include the looming Pyrenees in the northeast near the borders with France and Andorra, the Sierra de Cuenca in the east, and the Montes de Toledo and the Serrania de Cuenca in the south. Even further south are the Cordillera Betica and the Sierra Nevada, the latter of which is home to the highest point in mainland Spain, Mulhacén, at about 3 500 m.  Interestingly, the last glaciers disappeared in Sierra Nevada in 1913.  The other highest point is located in the Canary Islands at 3 718m.

The climate, like the geography of the country, is complex and diverse and the weather varies widely depending on the area.  In fact, Spain is the most climatically diverse country in Europe.  For the most part, the climate is temperate with hot summers and cold winters inland and cloudy, mild summers and cool winters along the coast.  However, there are also largely five climatic zones which can be distinguished; a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, an oceanic climate, a semi-arid climate and a warm-summer continental climate.  Madrid, located inland in the centre of the country, has an average winter low temperature of 3˚C and a summer average high of 31˚C.  To the north and south of the cities at higher altitudes, the temperatures are usually slightly warmer, though it is definitely an unpredictable climate.

Per day Cost in Spain :

How much money will you need for your trip to Spain? You should plan to spend around €119 ($141) per day on your vacation in Spain, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, €32 ($38) on meals for one day and €22 ($26) on local transportation.

History of  Spain :

The history of Spain dates back to the Antiquity when the pre-Roman peoples of the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula made contact with the Greeks and Phoenicians and the first writing systems known as Paleohispanic scripts were developed. In 1516, Habsburg Spain unified a number of disparate predecessor kingdoms; its modern form of a constitutional monarchy was introduced in 1813, and the current democratic constitution dates to 1978. After the completion of the Reconquista, the Crown of Castile began to explore across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, expanding into the New World and marking the beginning of the Golden Age under the Spanish Empire. The kingdoms of Spain were united under Habsburg rule in 1516, that unified the Crown of Castile, the Crown of Aragon and smaller kingdoms under the same rule. Until the 1650s, Habsburg Spain was the most powerful state in Europe. Spain remained among the most powerful states until the early 19th century.During this period, Spain was involved in all major European wars, including the Italian Wars, the Eighty Years' War, and the Thirty Years' War. Spanish power declined in the latter part of the 17th century.

In the early part of the 19th century, most of the former Spanish Empire overseas disintegrated with the Spanish American wars of independence. Only Cuba and the Philippines and a number of small islands left; they revolted near the end of what had been a century of great instability for Spain, and the United States acquired ownership (or control, in the case of Cuba) after the Spanish–American War of 1898. A tenuous balance between liberal and conservative forces was struck in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Spain during the Borbonic restoration; this period began in 1874 and ended in 1931. The Liberal Party and Conservative Party ( fought for and won short-lived control without any being sufficiently strong to bring about lasting stability. They were alternately in power. The Restoration began with Alfonso XII and the Regency of Maria Christina (1874–1898). Alfonso XII died aged 27 in 1885, and was succeeded by his unborn son, who became Alfonso XIII (1902-1923). Then came the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera (1923-1930). Opposition to his regime was so great that Alfonso XIII stopped supporting him and forced him to resign in January 1930. In 1931, following a victory by the left, the Popular Front, in municipal elections, Alfonso XIII left Spain and the democratic republic was proclaimed in Spain. The Conservative Party disappeared shortly after the proclamation of the Republic in 1931. Five years later the country descended into the Spanish Civil War between the Republican and the Nationalist factions.

The nationalist victory in the conflict installed a dictatorship, led by Francisco Franco, that lasted until 1975. The country experienced rapid economic growth in the 1960s and early 1970s. With the death of Franco in November 1975 Spain returned to the monarchy, this time headed by Juan Carlos I, and to democracy. With a fresh Constitution voted in 1978, Spain entered the European Economic Community in 1986 (transformed into the European Union with the Maastricht Treaty of 1992), and the Eurozone in 1998.

Language in Spain :
The dialect spoken by most Spanish speakers is basically Castilian, and indeed Castellano is still the name used for the language in several American countries. The other languages spoken in Spain include Aragonese, Asturian, Basque, Caló, Catalan-Valencian-Balear, Extremaduran, Fala, and Galician.

Culture of  Spain :

The culture of Spain is based on a variety of historical influences, primarily based on the culture of ancient Rome, Spain being a prominent part of the Greco-Roman world for centuries, the very name of Spain comes from the name that the Romans gave to the country, Hispania. Other ancient peoples such as Greeks, Tartessians, Celts, Iberians, Celtiberians, Phoenicians and Carthaginians also had some influence. In the areas of language and also religion, the Ancient Romans left a lasting legacy in the Spanish culture because Rome created Hispania as a political, legal and administrative unit. The subsequent course of Spanish history added other elements to the country's culture and traditions.The Visigothic Kingdom left a united Christian Hispania that was going to be welded in the Reconquista. The Visigoths kept the Roman legacy in Spain between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Early Middle Ages.Muslim influences remained during the Middle Ages in the areas conquered by the Umayyads, however, these influences had not been completely assimilated into the Spanish culture. Spanish culture before and after the arrival of the Muslims was based heavily on Roman heritage and the primary religion practised was Catholicism.

A comparison can be drawn with the North African nations, who also lived under the Roman Empire before Muslim rule. However, there is scarce reminder of the Roman presence in North Africa as the predominant culture is Arabic nowadays.Around 75% of modern Spanish language is derived from Latin. Ancient Greek has also contributed substantially to Spanish vocabulary, especially through Latin, where it had a great impact. Spanish vocabulary has been in contact from an early date with Arabic, having developed during the Al-Andalus era in the Iberian Peninsula with around 8% of its vocabulary being Arabic in origin and minor influences but not least from other languages including Basque, Celtic and Gothic.After the defeat of the Muslims during the Christian Reconquista ("Reconquest") period between 718 and 1492, Spain became an entirely Roman Catholic country. In addition, the nation's history and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played a significant role in shaping its culture, and also in shaping other cultures, such as the culture of Latin America through the colonization of the Americas.Spain has the third highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, after Italy and China, with a total of 47.

Place to visit in Spain :
(1)  Merida

(2) Bilbao

(3) Salamanca

(4) Cuenca

(5) Ibiza

(6) Segovia

(7) Ronda

Hotel in Spain :
(1) Barcelona

(2) Riu Plaza España

(3) Only YOU Hotel Atocha

(4) Hotel Madrid Alameda Aeropuerto, Affiliated by Melia 

How to reach in Spain :
The most convenient and the easiest way to reach Spain is by air. International airports of Madrid, Barcelona, and Malaga are well connected to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. A flight from Delhi to Madrid takes less than 10 hours while that from Mumbai to Barcelona takes about 12 hours.

Travel Guide for Spain : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach. – Published by The Beyond News (Travelling).