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 semi-exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera making 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 Córdoba 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.

Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state. It is a highly developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the sixteenth-largest by PPP. Spain has one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Spain is a member of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Eurozone, the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes it a de facto member of the group.

Foods in Spain :

(1) Croquetas : 

The Spanish version of croquettes is croquetas. And this classic tapas dish is made with several different fillings. The most popular filling for this Spanish delight is jamón (ham).They’re found in almost every restaurant or bar in Spain. But each establishment presents them in their own style.Croquetas are made with the main ingredient of choice which could vary from ham, fish, cheese, vegetables, ground meat, potatoes, and more.The main ingredient mixes with béchamel, white bread, egg, onion, and any other type of filling and spices. The ingredients used varies on who is making it.But no matter what’s used, everything’s rounded together in the shape of a disk and deep fried into perfection.Because there are so many options and ways to make croquetas, there’s no telling how one might differ from the other without tasting them yourself.And whether they’re made with ham or vegetables only, one thing remains true: they’re delicious!

(2) Rabo De Toro : 

Traditionally created and served after the bullfights, rabo de toro is bull’s tail stew or stewed bull’s tail!If while visiting Spain you happen to ask for or mention stew, you’ll most likely be directed towards rabo de toro. It’s one of Spain’s most popular stews.The bull’s tail is braised until it reaches a tenderness perfection. It’s a Spanish meal that’s filled with history. And it can’t be missed!

(3) Pisto : 

Pisto is a Spanish ratatouille dish. Usually eaten as a tapa, appetizer, or side dish, this Spanish meal can also be served as a main dish when paired with chorizo or a fried egg.It’s filled with many different vegetables springing with a variety of garden flavors. Veggies like tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, garlic, eggplant and more are paired together with olive oil to create a wonderful dish.It’s usually served warm. And it’s a great starter to any meal. But if you want to add even more flavor to this dish, then try grilling the vegetables! Use vegetables that are favorites in your home.And don’t feel obligated to stick to a recipe precisely. You can spice it up or cool it down depending on what types of spices and herbs you want to use in this wonderful Spanish tapas dish.

(4) Paella : 

Paella is the one Spanish food that practically everyone is familiar with.It is a flavorsome Spanish rice dish served with vegetables and meats. It can be made with chicken, rabbit, or both.Or, sometimes seafood is used in the dish such as fish, muscles, calamari, and others!It simply depends on what you like or where you order it from. Vegetables can also vary. But white and green beans are usually present.It’s one of the most colorful and traditional Spanish meals, especially when topped with vibrant prawns.But for an even more unique flare, some places offer paella with arroz negro (black rice). It’s stained with octopus ink to get it’s color and produces a rich taste.

(5) Carrillada : 

Made with beef cheek or pork cheek, carrillada is a mouthwatering Spanish delight that melts in your mouth.The meat in carrillada is usually braised in a  mixture of popular Spanish sauces. Because the meat is so tender, it resembles a pot roast texture.The sauces that the dish is prepared in often times relies on the type of meat that is used. When using pork cheek, it’s best to use garlic, tomatoes, and port wine or white wine with onions and carrots.When using beef cheek, it’s best to use red wines with onion or a mushroom sauce mixed with wine and tomatoes.Either meat can be braised in a variety of sauces and still taste yummy. But these suggestions are sure to give the dish an extra spark!

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.Spain is a country located in southwestern Europe occupying most (about 82 percent) of the Iberian Peninsula. It also includes a small exclave inside France called Llívia, as well as the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean 108 km (67 mi) off northwest Africa, and five places of sovereignty (plazas de soberanía) on and off the coast of North Africa: Ceuta, Melilla, Islas Chafarinas, Peñón de Alhucemas, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera.The Spanish mainland is bordered to the south and east almost entirely by the Mediterranean Sea (except for the small British territory of Gibraltar); to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal. With a land area of 504,782 square kilometres (194,897 sq mi) in the Iberian peninsula. Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France), and the fourth largest country in the European continent (behind Russia, Ukraine, and France). It has an average altitude of 650 m.

Its total area including Spanish island territories is 505,370 km2 (195,124 sq mi) of which 499,542 km2 (192,874 sq mi) is land and 5,240 km2 (2,023 sq mi) is water. It has the 30th largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,039,233 km2 (401,250 sq mi). Spain lies between latitudes 27° and 44° N, and longitudes 19° W and 5° E. Its Atlantic coast is 710 km (441 mi) long. The Pyrenees mountain range extends 435 km (270 mi) from the Mediterranean to the Bay of Biscay. In the extreme south of Spain's mainland lie the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate the Iberian peninsula and the rest of Europe from Ceuta and Morocco in North Africa.

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 (Práxedes Mateo Sagasta) and Conservative Party (Antonio Cánovas del Castillo) 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) The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada

(2) Barcelona's Sagrada Familia and Gaudi Sites

(3) The Great Mosque of Cordoba (Mezquita)

(4)  San Lorenzo de El Escorial

(5) The Prado and Paseo del Artes, Madrid

(6) Seville Cathedral and Alcazar

(7) Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

(8) Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

(9) Plaza Mayor, Madrid

Hotel in Spain :
(1) Hotel Vistabella

(2) Meliá Cala Galdana

(3) Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian

(4) Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

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).