Fiestas, flamenco and bull fighting – these are often the clichés associated with Spain and yet there is so much more to this exciting country. Of course there are lots of celebrations going on and bull fighting is still something that is performed for the crowds but it is not the be all and end all of Spain.
Spain has always been a popular destination with Brits and other Europeans due to its diversity, great climate and fantastic beaches. Flights are forever landing all over Spain, bringing tourists to this sunny country, which is flanked by the Atlantic one side and the Mediterranean on the other.
If you had visited Spain 50 years ago, you would not recognise it as the country it is today. Spain has completely transformed itself in a generation, clawing its way up from being a poor, rural country with only 37 percent of the population living in the cities, to thriving communities where by the 1990s, 65 percent of the population were ensconced in towns.
Much of this change to Spain is due to its natural beauties. With miles of coastline, balmy weather and amazing interior landscapes, it is a real hotspot for tourists. Luckily the people in the know saw this opportunity and capitalised on that. Now Spain is a natural choice for a holiday - for the beaches but also the rich cultural heritage and stunning countryside.
There are few countries in Western Europe that can boast volcanic landscapes, stunning mountains like the Pyrenees, unspoiled wetland areas, and island clusters of the Canaries and Balearics, which if you look beyond the nightclubs are host to rare seabirds, reptiles and plants.
On Mallorca, which has an incredible range of scenery for its size, are some fascinating caves. The best caves in Spain are at Coves del Drac, and are reached by a steep flight of steps. With wonderful names such as The Theatre of the Fairies and The Enchanted City plus music playing as you stare in awe, you will not want to miss this spectacle of Spain.
Visiting Spain would not be complete without seeing or taking part in one of the many festivals that happen throughout the year. There is not a town or village in Spain that does not honour its patron saint or the changing of the seasons, and this normally means fireworks, bull running, processions or re-enactments of battles.
There are certainly some unusual traditions. For example, in Denia on the east coast, at the Bous a la Mar fiesta in July, sporting types dodge rampaging bulls until one or the other falls in the harbour with a resounding splash.
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