Introduction to Spain
Welcome amigos, to a playground in the southwest of Europe unrivalled in cultural vitality. A diverse landscape, mixture of neighbours and colourful history help make Spain the cultural mecca it is today.
Europe’s fifth-largest country is located on the Iberian Peninsula, with the mainland bordering both the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east and the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal to the west and northwest. Spain also meets France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay to the north. Even though it has a rich rural economy, most of Spain’s 47 million-strong population live in urban centres.
Spain’s centre is a hot and dry plateau and features mountain ranges to the north and south. In the centre, you’ll find Madrid, the cosmopolitan capital since King Phillip II made it so in 1561. Back then, Spain was one of the greatest powers in Europe with colonies in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Asia. Today, with over 3 million inhabitants, Madrid remains the largest city in the country and a multicultural hub for food, art and all kinds of fiestas. Spain also boasts a massive 3,000 kilometres of coastline that has been divided into 6 main sections, the most popular with tourists being the Costa del Sol. The country’s second-largest city, Barcelona, is also on the coast and renowned for its sun, culture and fun kind of atmosphere.
Similar to the geography, the people in Spain differ widely in temperament, culture and even language. Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galican are all spoken here depending on what region you’re in. History and architecture aficionados can learn more about Spain’s past by exploring a plethora of medieval towns and charming historic city centres spread across the country’s 52 unique provinces. Don’t forget that food and wine also form part of the culture and varies from region to region, like paella in Valencia and tapas in the Mediterranean. Head to Spain for sun and sangria, pinxtos and flamenco, art and history and everything in between.