Tours & Excursions
Why tourists vist Spain
By Paul Franklin
Jun 23, 2006, 08:29

Spain receives more than 50 million visitors from across the globe each year. With such a large volume of tourists there must be something in Spain worth visiting: so what do they come to see?

Well of course there are beaches: lots of them and good ones at that. From the westernmost point of the region of Andalusia in southern Spain right around to the northeastern Mediterranean region of Catalonia there are dozens of fine sandy beaches having something for everyone. Also within the Spanish realm are the Balearic and Canary Islands; both famous destinations for holidaymakers. The northern regions too have some stunning coastal areas and good beaches but are traditionally less frequented by those wanting a suntan (Mediterranean Spain is generally warmer).

Many of us will only ever have visited Spain for the type of beach holiday that these locations offer, but this part of the world has a great deal more to give the visitor.

There are many mountainous areas particularly suited to those who enjoy the outdoor experience. The border between Spain and France is marked by the Pyrenees. In northern Spain there are the Cantabrian Mountains and the Picos de Europa National Park. In the south there are the Sierra Morena and Sierra Nevada. These areas offer a variety of activities including walking, climbing and skiing.

The Kingdom of Spain has a very interesting history which has resulted in many sites of archeological importance. Throughout Spain, but particularly in the southern regions, there are many fine examples of Moorish architecture as a result of the Arabic conquest of Spain between the 8th - 15th centuries. Good examples of Moorish building styles can be found in Seville (the Giralda) and Cordoba (the Mezquita). Without doubt though, the best and most lauded Arabic remains are located in Granada (the Alhambra).

Spain is a country comprised of a number of diverse regional cultures. There are 17 regions, known as the Autonomous Communities, which have varying degrees of self government.

Did you know that Spain has four officially recognized languages which are distinct from each other? Alongside Castillian Spanish, the Basque, Catalan and Galician languages all have co-official status. Most of the other regions also have dialects of Spanish, though the users of such forms will tell you they are languages in their own right! Added to this, every region in Spain has its own set of customs, traditions and gastronomical fare all of which they are fiercely proud of.

The Spanish contribution to the world of arts includes many important figures. In terms of the visual arts Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró are perhaps the more famous contemporary names. Their works, along with those of other masters, can be found in the various major art galleries throughout Spain: the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemisza Museums (Madrid), the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao) and Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (Barcelona) house many important examples from all periods.

Perhaps the best reasons to visit Spain are the people themselves. No matter which region you visit, you will generally be welcomed with opened arms. If you can make the effort to learn a few words and phrases in Spanish, people will warm to you even more.

So the next time you're heading Spain wards, it would be well worth considering a venture inland from the particular coastal area in which you are planning to stay. If you want to experience some of the more culturally important areas, why not book a stay in one of the major Spanish cities to experience a different type of Spanish holiday?

Paul Franklin writes for a number of Spain related websites and weblogs, including

© Copyright 2006 by & Paul Franklin