Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María form a triangle of generous land where the vine has reigned from time immemorial. The Sherry Triangle is situated in southwestern Andalucia and is best known for its sherry, of course! This region is the place to sip and buy authentic Spanish sherry; you can get other sherry-related gifts such as vinegar here as well. There's so much more to this region than just sherry, however: Jerez is well-known for its dancing horses and flamenco dancing; Sanlúcar is renowned for its horse racing on the beach; and Santa María boasts some of the most delicious seafood dishes you'll try in Spain.
Andalucia comprises much of southwestern and southern Spain, making it the second-largest autonomous community in the country. Since it is such a large region, it is incredibly geographically diverse, running the entire spectrum of breathtaking landscapes, from coastal marshes to beautiful beaches with gleaming skyscrapers, to historic mountain villages, and of course to the large, bustling cities, many of which were once key Moorish strongholds.
Central Spain contains some of the last great unexplored areas, as well as some of its most glorious architectural and historic treasures. Mile upon mile of empty roads lead you from one to another of the great cities and forgotten villages. This Spanish heartland is a mountainous region where wildlife flourishes and the mid-summer sun bakes the land.
The Costa Blanca is over 125 miles of Mediterranean coastline in Alicante province, Spain. It features a coastline with calm waters and fine white sand beaches with mountains that loom over fruit and palm groves as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Many of the beaches of the Costa Blanca are very famous, such as Levante and Poniente beaches in Benidorm.
Stretching north of Barcelona to the French border, the Costa Brava is about sun, beaches, coves surrounded by nature, refreshing dips in crystal-clear water, strolls along coastal footpaths, and charming fishing villages. Gloriously wild in parts and tastefully manicured in others, the Costa has some of the finest sandy beaches in Europe.
The Green Coast, or Green Spain, is the beautifully lush area in the extreme north of Spain, consisting of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, and the northern part of the Basque Country, all of which receive more rain than the rest of the country. Verdant and forested mountains contrast with the nearby coastline and its blue-green waters.
Lively, energetic, and vibrant, you won`t find any other place in the world like Madrid. Capital of Spain since 1562, Madrid's museums host, among others, works by Dali, Miro, and Picasso`s Guernica. Madrid boasts art galleries, large open lush gardens, streets lined with Spain`s best tapas bars and a city atmosphere that never dwindles no matter the time of day!
Barcelona, Spain`s second city, is on the cutting edge of fashion, architecture, food, style, and good times. Its most powerful monuments are the intricately carved edifices of the Gothic Quarter; the Catalan Art Nouveau modernism that inspired Antoni Gaudí's Basilica de la Sagrada Familia; and the seminal surrealist works of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro.
Valencia, Spain`s third-largest city and capital of the Valencian Community, can boast a very rich history, one that has spanned two full millennia. Twice the former capital of Spain, Valencia`s rich history is evident in the Ciutat Vella (Old Town), one of the largest old towns in Europe, which houses buildings that date back to the Moorish invasion and Roman-era plazas.
Situated just off the southwestern coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands have been popular vacation destinations for decades. The Canary Islands offer breathtaking landscapes, beautiful beaches, lots of shopping and entertainment opportunities, and of course over 600 years of Spanish architectural influence and history.
The Spanish Empire dates from 1492, and by 1516, the Kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and others were united under the Spanish crown. This is in addition to other storied kingdoms which existed pre-1516 in Spain`s current borders, such as Galicia, Leon, and the Almohad Caliphate. The cities in these regions are filled with thousands of years of history.
Spanish cuisine is very flavorful, and is a quintessential Mediterranean diet, befitting the world`s largest olive oil producer. Spain`s former colonies all over the world influenced the cuisine at home, in everything from tomato sauce to saffron. Today, the various regional staple delicacies represent history and tradition.
Tens of millions of people visit Spain each year, and many combine its picturesque cities, such as Madrid, with some of the most popular and beautiful beaches in the world. Whether you`re sunning yourself on the Mediterranean Costas, the Bay of Biscay shoreline, or on one of Spain`s gorgeous islands, you will find a vacation best suited to your needs.
Gibraltar, a slice of Britain located due east of Algeciras, is synonymous with the mammoth limestone Rock of Gibraltar, jutting 1,400 feet skyward. Gibraltar has been referred to as `the Key to the Mediterranean` for centuries. Despite its small size (just 2.6 square miles), Gibraltar is home to six beaches, a vibrant city center, and great shopping opportunities.
The Algarve region of southern Portugal may be best known for its glorious beaches, some of the most popular in Europe in fact. In the east, centered around Faro, a calmer way of life unfolds and quiet towns and unpopulated beaches define the area. The west side, where Albufeira is the largest city, is well-known for its nightlife, where the party doesn`t stop until dawn.
The Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) offer warm weather year-round. Collectively they are the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, if not the world. Mallorca, with its fine white-sand beaches, and Ibiza, with 130 miles of coastline, are the most popular islands, known for arguably the world`s best nightlife.