Spain is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the World. Two sayings that are historically used in conjunction with one another when describing Spain are "Africa begins at the Pyrenees,"and “Spain is different.” The first is attributed to Alexander Dumas, and the second, to the Spanish tourist board. Both ring true.
Spain is different. Spain is special. Summing up a country as geographically and culturally diverse as Spain is near enough impossible. This uniqueness is what makes Spain so special. It’s what keeps millions and millions of people coming back year after year. Spain is consistently in the World’s top four tourist destinations. It is not hard to understand why. A melting pot of cultures, history and natural beauty. Spain captivates all who see it.
Spain is the fourth largest country in Europe and covers some 504,782 km2. Consisting of the Spanish mainland, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic. Spain occupies 84% of the Iberian Peninsula, with extensive Coastal borders stretching along both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
One interesting fact that often comes as a surprise, is Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland. This geographical diversity offers a wide variety of activity holidays. Most commonly associated with beaches holidays, sun and sangria, Spain has a lot more to offer.
The National Parks are second to none and the country prides itself on their protection. Indeed, 9.1% of Spain’s surface area is protected, with 42% of the Canary Islands, 21.5% of Catalonia and almost 19% of Andalusia.
Andalusia being the second largest autonomous region in Spain actually accounts for 36% of Spain’s total protected area. These protected areas provide a wonderful habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna.
San Sebastian in Guipúzcoa, Spain
Spain was occupied by the Moors for over 700 years. They left a rich heritage of building and agricultural advances, some of the terracing and irrigation channels seen on present day landscapes are a legacy of those times.
The Reconquest and the colonization of the Americas with its endless supplies of gold and silver was a time of huge expansion. Many were able to build magnificent Churches and Palaces to show off their new found wealth even in the most unexpected places.
The large cities of Madrid and Barcelona are well known city break destinations but so many other cities are worth a visit. Seville, Burgos, Valencia, Malaga, San Sebastian, Granada, Cordoba to name but a few...and every village will have something of interest to discover.
The country is very much divided into regions with their own different cultures, cuisines and in some cases different languages.
The Spanish are very distinct. With their vibrancy, their zest for life, Spanish people often bear little resemblance to their European neighbors. With a population of just under 45 million, of whom 74% speak Castilian Spanish, 17% Catalan, 7% Galician and 2% Basque. Each region has its own particular identity.
Approximately 11% of Spain’s population are foreign nationals. 96% of Spain’s population is Roman Catholic with the remaining 4% mainly Christian or Muslim.
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