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Spain is one of the most diverse and visually stunning nations of Europe. The misty evergreen hills of Asturias and Galicia could hardly be more different to the sun-baked plains of Castile. The vibrant, cosmopolitan cities contrast with sleepy villages, lost in time. In fact, spend a little time here and you’ll discover that Spain is more an amalgam of fiercely independent regions, each with their own culture, gastronomy, folklore and language. As the people from Bilbao or Barcelona will attest; they are Basque and Catalonian respectively, not Spanish.
Spain’s Costa Brava is one of the most dramatic coastlines in the Mediterranean, 125 miles of rugged cliffs, secluded coves and hidden villages. The lively port city of Barcelona bursts with cutting edge creativity from its impressive old town to the daring architecture from the Modernist period (1890-1920). Further south witness magnificent Moorish architecture which reached its zenith with Granada’s Alhambra Palace. Seville, the breathtakingly romantic regional capital of Andalucia, is an enchanting city filled with chic, whitewashed houses and scenic landscapes painted with orange trees. Memories of Spain’s days of Empire live on at El Escorial, the Palacio Real and Toledo’s glorious Cathedral. Head north for undiscovered Spain - you’ll find lush green landscapes, beautiful beaches, charming towns, castles and Romanesque churches.
Flamenco is a tradition that gets close to the heart of Spain, with its throbbing guitars, stamping heels and proud passionate gestures. Try a dance class, or watch experienced dancers.
Go mad for art in Spain! And you can’t get madder than Miró, Gaudi, Dali, Goya, Picasso, Valazquez and El Greco (even though he was Greek). Also, remember, the Spanish love a good fiesta. The fervid processions during Holy Week and the running of the bulls in Pamplona are well-known, but stranger ones range from parades of devils to full-blown battles with water or even tomatoes!
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When to go: May-October for the best temperatures across the country; November-December for a great festive scene.
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