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2024 July 09 - Weekly Travelogue - Spain - header


By Tom Kirvan

A journey through the heart of Iberia

Spain, a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, beckons travelers from all corners of the globe. Located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, it is a land of contrasts, from sun-soaked beaches to snow-capped mountains, bustling cities to tranquil villages. 

Spain is the fourth largest country in Europe, and borders France, Portugal, Andorra, Morocco, and Gibraltar. As of 2024, Spain's population is estimated to be around 49 million people. The country boasts a diverse geography that includes the vast Meseta Central plateau, the Pyrenees mountain range in the north, the Sierra Nevada in the south, and an extensive coastline along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is located in the heart of the country. It is a metropolis known for its rich cultural heritage, world-class museums, and lively nightlife. Madrid is home to the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, and the Prado Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of European art. The city's busy streets, elegant boulevards, and historic plazas make it a must-visit destination.

Spain's highest point of elevation is Mount Teide, a dormant volcano located on the Canary Island of Tenerife. Standing at 12,198 feet, Mount Teide is the highest peak in Spain and the third-highest volcano in the world when measured from its base on the ocean floor. The Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers visitors stunning landscapes, unique flora and fauna, and panoramic views of the island.

Top 5 Must-See Tourist Destinations

  • Barcelona: This cosmopolitan city on the Mediterranean coast is famous for its unique architecture, vibrant culture, and lively atmosphere. The works of Antoni Gaudí, including the iconic Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, are must-see attractions. The Sagrada Familia, a Catholic church, has been under construction since 1882 and is scheduled for completion in 2026. It annually attracts more than 3 million visitors. Barcelona's iconic La Rambla street and the historic Gothic Quarter are also popular with tourists. Barcelona was the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics, widely regarded as the most successful modern Olympics in bringing together more than 9,300 athletes from 169 countries.
  • Seville: Known for its flamenco music and dance, Seville is the capital of the Andalusia region. The city boasts magnificent landmarks such as the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and the Alcázar of Seville, a stunning royal palace with lush, beautiful gardens.
2024 July 09 - Weekly Travelogue - Spain - Flag


2024 July 09 - Weekly Travelogue - Spain - World Map


Fast Facts

Capital: Madrid
Population: 49 million
Language: Spanish
Religion: Christianity, predominantly Catholicism
Must-see Attraction: Sagrada Familia

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  • Granada: Nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is home to the Alhambra, a breathtaking palace and fortress complex showcasing the splendor of Moorish architecture. The city's charming Albaicín district offers narrow, winding streets and spectacular views of the Alhambra.
  • Valencia: This coastal city is known for its futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, a complex of stunning modern architecture that includes an opera house, a science museum, and an oceanographic park. Valencia is also famous for its annual Fallas festival, a popular five-day celebration with spectacular fireworks and elaborate sculptures.
  • Madrid: In addition to being the capital city, Madrid offers a wealth of attractions. The Prado Museum, the Royal Palace, and the Puerta del Sol square are just a few highlights. Madrid's lively markets, tapas bars, and cultural events make it a dynamic and exciting destination.

Spain's history is a product of diverse influences, from ancient Iberian and Roman civilizations to Visigothic, Moorish, and Christian cultures. One of the most significant periods in Spanish history was the Reconquista, the centuries-long struggle by Christian kingdoms to reclaim territory from the Moors. This era culminated in 1492 with the fall of Granada, marking the end of Muslim rule in Spain.

Another pivotal era in Spain's history was the rise of the Spanish Empire, which emerged as one of the most powerful empires in the world during the Age of Exploration (late 15th century to the 17th century). Spain's explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, played a crucial role in the discovery of the New World, leading to vast territorial acquisitions in the Americas.