Visiting Spain

 

 

Most travellers would certainly have Spain in their bucket list as one of their major destinations. From the boundless architectural wonders to the majestic beaches, Spain is a must in every global tourist’s itinerary. 

Spain’s tourism industry, a major contributor to the economy, accounts for 6.4% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2007, Spain ranked second in the list of the most visited countries in the world with 60 million foreign visitors. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) ranked France as the world’s most visited country among 156 member states. In 2010, visitors to Spain slightly declined due to the eurozone debt crisis. The country fell to 4th place in the UNWTO ranking, overtaken by the US and China. Most of Spain’s visitors come from the British Isles, Portugal, France, Central Europe, and the Scandinavian region.

Spain is located in the southwestern part of Europe and lies in the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra. It is known for its large geographical diversity, including meadows, green valleys, hills and snowy mountains. The climate varies across country from dry summers and wet winters in the Iberian Peninsula to warm summers and moderate winters in Galicia.

Spain’s rich culture offers a wide array of travel destinations to visitors. There are several holy places in the country which have important contributions to Catholicism, Islam and Judaism. The city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia was named the world’s third holiest place, after the Masjid al-Haram in Saudi Arabia and the Vatican. The city’s cathedral, the shrine of St. James the Great, has been a leading Catholic pilgrimage route since the 9th century.

The Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona are considered two of the leading cities in Europe. The capital city of Madrid houses the country’s seat of power and several international organizations including the UNWTO, and the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI).

Madrid is considered one of the world’s major global cities for its influence in politics, education, science, entertainment, media, fashion, culture and the arts. The famous Golden Triangle of Art is located at the Paseo del Prado at the centre of the city. It is made up of three important museums: the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain after Madrid, it’s the 16th most-visited city in the world. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, which accounts for 20% of the country’s GDP. Barcelona is well-known for its beaches and water sports, the art of Architect Gaudi, several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Summer resorts and beaches can be found anywhere in Spain. Some of the most visited by Spaniards and foreign visitors are Costa Brava, Costa Daurada and the Costa Del Maresme. The Costa Blanca is one of the most developed coastal areas in Spain and is popular among British and German visitors.