The kingdom of Spain
monarchy of Spain in the Iberian Peninsula is a popular holiday destination for many tourists. With its borders to both the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Portugal in the west and France in the north, Spain has a varied climate. Most Swedes have shown the greatest interest in the warmer parts of the Spanish-speaking country. The capital, with its hot summers, Madrid, is situated in the inner land and is an attractive city. Some of the most popular destinations in Spain are the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
The Balearic Islands are located in the Mediterranean Sea on the east coast, while the Canary Islands lie on the African continental shelf in the Atlantic. Quite to the south, Spain borders with Morocco, only separated by the Strait of Gibraltar. In North Africa there are two Spanish cities, Ceuta and Melilla, which also connect Spain to the African continent.
Across Spain, including the islands, there are just over 40 million inhabitants; the currency is the Euro after the change from pesetas in 2002. Spain has four languages, Castilian is the official one. Moreover Catalan, Galician and Basque are spoken.
The climate in Spain is somewhat variable and can be divided into three; continental climate inland, coastal climate in the north and Mediterranean climate along the southern and eastern coast. Along the coast in the north, the climate is colder than what we would otherwise associate with Spain, an Atlantic climate. This area is not one of the most typical destinations in Spain since the summers are cool and winters are mild. On the mainland plateau a so-called continental climate prevails, ie, hot summers and cold winters. Catalonia is one of Spain's regions where the continental Mediterranean climate prevails in the hinterland. In Catalonia's coast a Mediterranean climate prevails, for example in Barcelona.
In areas of southern and east coast the Mediterranean climate prevails with dry, hot summers and mild winters. On Majorca, off the Spanish coast, it is hot all summer, while the temperature drops in winter. The holiday paradise looks best in summer and most people who travel to the Balearic Islands do it between April and October. Because the temperature stays around summery degrees even in winter in some places, the Swedes, so much in need to see the sun, come over here throughout the year. In the Atlantic basin, where the Canary Islands are, the climate is consistently warm almost all year round, seen by the Swedish eyes anyway.
Even if it is hot, the humidity is low and it is not sickishly. In other words, the climate is very pleasant and it is not strange that the Canary Islands with their islands, such as Gran Canaria and Lanzarote are popular destinations.
Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Majorca, Alicante and Ibiza. The sound of those names rings a bell - and not without a reason. Since January 1955, Scandinavian tourists have travelled to the road called "South". The first tour, which was added to the Canary Islands, was arranged by a Swedish air carrier. Since then, the "South" has been the symbol of holidays with sun, beach and umbrella drinks. Spain's major cities are also popular destinations. The capital, Madrid and Barcelona tempt, including a vibrant night life, restaurants, churches and cathedrals, museums, markets and flamenco.
The main tourist destinations are Majorca, the Canary Islands, Madrid and the Mediterranean coast.
In a study of the WTO Spain ended in second place behind France, while Spain came in seventh place as being the world's most attractive destination in the world's largest travel exhibition. It is thus said that Spain is a popular holiday destination for tourists.
The tourism industry accounts for over 10% of the country's gross domestic product, but Spain also has a lot of agriculture and industries. Cotton, tobacco, grapes, olives, citrus fruits and flour are grown.
The industrial output is large, including textiles, shoes, weapons, metal, iron and steel. When Spain joined the EU in 1986 the economy grew incredibly fast. In accordance with CostaBlancaSpain.org, this growth has made Spain the fifth biggest economy in Europe and it accounts today for 9% of the EU economy. Nevertheless, Spain's economy has gone down recently. The reasons include high oil prices and the property market crisis, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website.
Places to visit
One of the most famous cities in Spain is of course the capital Madrid, which is a commercial and cultural centre. For those craving culture the capital can offer an awful lot, museums, parks, churches and the bullring Plaza del Toros, which seats all 14 000 spectators. Madrid may offer a wealth of collective choice, a modern underground system and many buses, so it's easier to move around on a sightseeing. If you are interested in decorating, home made gifts and a swirling Spanish life, you can take the trip to El Rastro Market. Barcelona is located on Spain's east coast, in the Catalonia region. You will also find there a lot of industrial activity and culture. If you take a tour in Barcelona's city centre, you will discover narrow roads, but also the broad and long La Rambla boulevard. The boulevard is consisted of, among other things, stalls, restaurants and shops. Are you more interested in ancient culture, there are also innumerable churches, monasteries and museums, such as the Picasso Museum. Furthermore beaches, affordable hotels and theatres contribute to making Barcelona a full-fledged city.
One of the islands in the Balearic Islands is Majorca, whose capital is Palma de Majorca. On Majorca, like many of the other islands, you can have everything and more. There is something for every taste, whether it is barhopping or mountain climbing. If you are tempted by beaches and a small dip, you can obviously find it anywhere along the coast. If you prefer family places you can go to, among other places, Alcudia on the north coast. Since the distances are not big you can get everything together in the space of one single holiday.
Spain had a turbulent history, with many owners and just as many religions. Spain was a Roman province 200 years before Christ, before the Germans invaded the area about 700 years later. About 200 years later, it was the Arabs, or the Maurers' turn to obtain land. It did not take hundreds of years before the outbreak of a war between the Christians in the north and the Maurers. Granada was the last area that was conquered by the Arabs in 1400. A century later, the Spaniards travelled over to Latin America and conquered Peru first and several other areas later. In 1931 Spain became a republic, but General Francisco Franco rebelled against the ruling government in 1936. This began the Spanish Civil War which lasted for three years and ended with the fascists winning. Franco sat as a dictator until he died in 1975. The current king, Juan Carlos 1, was appointed the same year. Spain became a NATO member in 1982 and an EC one in 1986.