More than 50 million foreigners visit Spain each year to experience its Mediterranean beaches, beautiful scenery and landscapes, charming elegant towns, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, crumbling castles and palaces, raucous bullfights, delicious sangrias and paellas, colorful fiestas, and thumping discos.
Spain is separated from France by the snow-capped Pyrenees, which means the north offers opportunities for skiing in such resorts like La Molina and Panticosa. In the backdrop of the Pyrenees are natural rivers, forests and green rolling hills. Southern Spain, on the other hand, presents a completely different experience – one painted by sandy beaches, resort islands like the Balearic, and the remnants of Moorish-influences.
While Spain offers museums, galleries, medieval castles, Moorish palaces, Baroque churches, prehistoric caves, flamenco, opera, and bullfighting for a great cultural and historical experience, it is most famous for its nightlife. Spaniards party like there is no tomorrow – “live for tomorrow we die”. Besides hopping from bar to bar and dancing the night away at discos, there are many local festivals when public squares are filled with people drinking, having fun, and tuning to night music. Carnival and Las Cruces, which takes place in the first week of May are prime examples.
The top destinations in Spain are Barcelona, Bilbao, Cadiz, Córdoba, and Granada. Other destinations like Madrid, Seville, and Valencia are also popular. For great beach destinations, Malaga, Huelva, and Almería top the list in the south. There are also great beaches near the coasts such as at La Manga, Galicia, Cantabria, Asturias, and Euskadi. Travelers who are more interested in art should visit Antoni Gaudí and the Picasso museum in Barcelona. There are a few world-class art museums in Madrid as well. Unique architecture, on the other hand, can be found in Córdoba, Madrid, Salamanca, Granada, and Toledo. For nature-lovers, there are wildlife parks and opportunities for trekking in the Pyrenees and Aragón area. Great skiing can be found in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the Andalucía near Granada. There are also archaeological caves and natural parks between Baza and Guadix.