Spain / Kingdom of Spain

Ronda. Spain

Spain is a diverse country with contrasting regions that have different languages and unique historical, political and cultural traditions. Some of the autonomous communities—notably the ones which have other official languages alongside Spanish—have been recognised as “historical nationalities” that have a unique historical identity. These include the Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia, the Valencian region, Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, Aragon and the Canary Islands.

A country of large geographic and cultural diversity, Spain may come as a surprise to those who only know of its reputation for great beach holidays and almost endless sunshine. In 2019, Spain was the second most visited country in the world. The World Tourism Organization has its headquarters in Madrid.

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As a crossroads of several civilizations, Spain offers a number of historical cities and towns. Major destinations include Spain’s two largest cities: Madrid and Barcelona, which stand as two of the leading city destinations in Europe.

Fifteen Spanish cities have been declared World Heritage Cities by the UNESCO: *Alcalá de Henares (map), Ávila (map), *Baeza (map), *Cáceres (map), *Córdoba (map), *Cuenca (map), *Ibiza (map), Mérida (map), Salamanca (map), *San Cristóbal de La Laguna (map), Santiago de Compostela (map), *Segovia (map), Tarragona (map), *Toledo (map) and *Ubeda (map).

Other first-class destinations are Seville (map), Granada (map), *Santander (map), *Oviedo (map), *Gijón (map), *Bilbao (map) and San Sebastián (map). All of them with historical landmarks and a lively cultural agenda.

The most popular Spanish mainland coasts are on its Mediterranean side, and include, from north to south clockwise:

Spain’s two archipelagoes, the Balearic Islands (map) off the mainland coast in the Mediterranean and the volcanic *Canary Islands (map) in the Atlantic, are also both very popular destinations.

Sierra Nevada in Spain is a popular tourist destination, as its high peaks make skiing possible in one of Europe’s most southerly ski resorts. At its foothills is found the city of Granada and, a little further, Almería and Málaga.

To date, Spain has a total of 15 National Parks, of which 10 are on the mainland, 1 in the Balearic Islands and 4 in the Canary Islands. Spain’s most visited National Park is the *Teide National Park (map) in the Canary Islands. (*List of national parks of Spain)

Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums (*List of museums in Madrid). Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art:

Regions & Cities

Map of Spain
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Historically, Spain has been an important crossroads: between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, between North Africa and Europe, and as Europe began colonizing the New World, between Europe and the Americas. The country thus is blessed with a fantastic collection of historical landmarks — in fact, it has the second largest number of UNESCO Heritage Sites and the largest number of World Heritage Cities of any nation in the world.

Public transport

Getting around Spain (

Always check whether the bus or the train is more convenient. The least expensive way to get around most parts of Spain is by bus.

 BUS >   Virtually all companies operating Intercity buses in France including Ouibus and even German players Flixbus offer buses to/from Spanish destinations. ALSAGrupo AvanzaSocibus and Secorbus. You can also see what is all available on

 RAIL >   The main train operator is RENFE, including AVE (Spanish high speed train) or Talgo intercity services. (*Rail travel in Europe)

 AIRPORTS >   Information about Spanish airports >

 WATERWAYS >   Baleària • Grimaldi LinesTrasmediterranea. Spain’s main sea connections (