The mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea, except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. The country is bordered to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay. In the northwest Spain meets the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.
Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla.
The three biggest cities are Madrid (capital), Barcelona and Valencia.
Climate and Geography
With an area of 504,030 square kilometres (194,610 square miles), Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union.
Mainland Spain is mountainous and dominated by high plateaus and mountain chains. After the Pyrenees, the second largest main mountain range is Cordillera Cantábrica. The highest mountain on the Spanish mainland is the 3,478 meter high Mulhacén, located in Sierra Nevada. While the highest point in Spanish territory is the Teide, a 3,718 meter high active volcano in the Canary Islands.
There are several major rivers in Spain such as the Tagus, the Ebro, the Duero, the Guadiana and the Guadalquivir.
There are three main climatic zones in Spain: the Mediterranean climate with dry and warm summers which is present in most of the country, the semiarid climate located in the south eastern quarter of the country and the oceanic climate.
During the last four decades the Spanish tourism industry has grown to become one of the biggest in the world, worth approximately 40 billion Euros and about 5% of Gross Domestic Product and is generally better than the rest of Europe. You can be assured the staff is trained from the top hospitality management schools and look forward to serving your needs. Spain has a wealth of historical and cultural monuments which draw in over 53 million people every year. Its geographic position together with its facilities has allowed tourism to become one of Spain’s main national industries and a large source of stable employment and development.
The Spanish hotel star rating system has requirements which are much more demanding than other European countries, so the accommodation is generally better than the rest of Europe.
Spain is one of the world’s leading lights in the development and production of renewable energy. It also boasts the most extensive high-speed rail network in Europe, and the second most extensive in the world after China.
There are several semi-official languages in Spain. Spanish is spoken all over the country and therefore is the only official language in the country. There are a number of regional languages which have been recognised by the Spanish government, these are: Basque, Catalan, Valencian and Galician.
Activities and places to see
The Alhambra Palace Tours in Granada
Frank Gehry’s architecture
Skiing in the Sierra Navada Mountains
Dance the Flamenco
See views at Ronda
Run with the Bulls
Test your golfing skills at Valderrama
On a Budget
Have a look at holidays to Spain from Dealchecker, type in the dates you want and see the cheapest provider for hotels, flights and anything else you might need to plan a holiday.
Obviously travelling to Madrid is more expensive than anywhere else, so plan accordingly.
The cheap way to visit Spain and its main cities is to book in advance in Catalonia for example Barcelona apartments for rent.
The Lonely Planet should always be the first point of call for a budding traveller, with great ideas and travel advice.
The Wiki Travel Guide to Spain is another great resource.
For winter sports have a look at Metro Snow for the latest reports and stories.