Spain as the worlds number one tourist destination
A recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) report puts Spain at the top when it comes to international tourist destinations. There is no denying that the figures speak for themselves, and with more than 59 million foreign visitors per year, there are not many arguments against this statement. The get to a level of tourism, implies that there are numerous factors that make the country such a magnet, and without digging too deeply, some of the important ones are:
Without a doubt, the weather in Spain means that throughout the year, depending on where you are, there will be so many various activities available. You can find sun and beach holidays in the middle of winter but also snow. Whether you are in Santander or Seville, you will experience the same season in a different way.
If you break down Spain's tourism into cities and beach resorts, you are pretty much looking in the right areas to identify where this incredible success in attracting overseas visitors, is coming from.
Top Spanish cities for tourism
From the bustle of Barcelona to the majesty of Madrid and the sun of Seville, Spain's top cities are some of the most visited places on the planet. However, apart from the obvious big names, the country has an abundance of 'second tier' cities, which also draw visitors. The diverse landscape in this country gives every city its own ambience and beauty.
For tourists visiting Spain's capital Madrid, Spain, the biggest problem is time. There is such a variety of things to do and see that getting around everything is a difficult task. On offer here are huge museums packed with heritage, traditional restaurants, and bars, and of course, the numerous attractions. Here are some of the wonders that can be found in this fast moving city. Some of the best attractions include:
Stunning architecture from medieval mansions to royal palaces
Art in abundance, which few other cities can come close to
The evolution of cuisine to become one of the most fascinating culinary capitals anywhere
Legendary nightlife, with probably more bars per square mile
than any other city on the planet. This is the city of the 'happy
crowd,'' that will dance, drink and have fun until dawn
For such a bustling city, it 's unbelievable how much green there is. A recommended tour is to take a look at the city's parks. The biggest is the Casa de Campo which unbelievably is five times larger than Central Park in New York. Included here is a zoo and a fun park so that tourists can make a day of it.
For first time visitors to Madrid, Spain there are three essential attractions to take in before you leave. The Plaza Mayor is a place to relax, take coffee, and drink in that atmosphere. The Puerta de Alcalá is the ancient neoclassical-style gateway to Madrid and is best seen in the evening with the lights illuminating the arches. Keep the best until last and get to see the Royal Palace, which is next to the stunning Catedral de la Almudena.
Madrid, Spain, is more than just the capital of Spain; it is the essential heart of the country and is rich in culture, and art. In the Prado Museum, for instance, there are paintings by Velázquez, Goya, and other Spanish masters.
Barcelona, Spain, is the throbbing cosmopolitan principle city in Spain's Catalonia region. It is world famous for its art and architecture and the magical Sagrada Família Church. For tourists, there are many things to do and see not only in the city but also in the surrounding area. Some places worth a look are:
La Catedral, Barcelona
Museu Picasso, Barcelona
La Rambla, Barcelona
Museu d'Història de Barcelona, Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain has enough attractions to keep even the most active culture vulture happy for weeks, but the best thing about Barcelona, Spain is that if all those restaurant and bar bills mount up, there are many free activities. It is also possible to save cash on transport by investing in a city travel card, which is exceedingly cost-effective. Some of the museums are free on a Sunday, and if you visit in September off-peak, there is the exciting Festes de la Mercè, which is a five-day event of concerts, dancing, and fireworks. And let's not forget that Barcelona has some gorgeous beaches to relax on when the sightseeing gets too much.
Seville, Spain is the principle city in the Andalusia region, which has one of the broadest mixtures of culture in Europe. It is world famous for flamenco dancing, paella, and some of the top landmarks and attractions in the world. Some of the most noteworthy include:
The Alcázar castle complex
The Gothic Seville Cathedral, which is where the Tomb of Christopher Columbus is
The 18th-century Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring.
For many famous cities, it is very rare that you get one that combines beauty with a personality. The sevillanos get both, and this has to be because Seville is flamboyant, charismatic and visitor friendly. There are barely any days here without sun, and like great cities such as Rome and Venice, Seville has layers of history that the visitor can browse their way through. There are traces of Moorish culture, Roman culture, and medieval, yet the city is modern and very experienced in catering to the international tourist trade. Here you will find top class hotels, well-connected transport, and a wealth of restaurants, bars, shops and a broad array of festivals. Seville is also the home of the churros, which is a local delicacy of a deep fried pastry dipped in chocolate.
Beach and Sun, Spain
No other country in Europe has the diversity of a Spanish beach holiday. Whether you want something for the family or an all night clubbing holiday, not only has Spain got the locations, it has them in abundance.
The Balearics, Spain
These islands make up one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean, and there is a reason for this. Whether you want terrific sunsets, enchanting coves, and a relaxing atmosphere, or partying until dawn, the islands have it.
Minorca and Formentera, Spain are just two quiet corners that are peaceful and relaxed. They are ideal for a family or romantic holiday. The two large islands of Majorca and Ibiza are famous as beach holiday destinations, with Ibiza, proclaimed as the party-going capital of the world.
If you are looking for some of the best beaches in Europe, the coastline of Asturias is hard to beat. This area attracts a buzzing surf culture and has affordable accommodation and cheap food and drink. In this region you are guaranteed sunshine, and the beaches are family friendly.
Playa del Inglés, Gran Canaria, Spain
Playa del Inglés, Gran Canaria, Spain has been attracting 'sun worshippers' since the 1960s, and there is a good reason why. With seven miles of beach this huge resort has something for everybody. It is the biggest in Gran Canaria. You can find all types of tourism here, from LGBT travellers, families with children, honeymooners, naturalists, singles and groups. There is a place for everybody here, and sun all year around.
Costa Calma, Fuerteventura, Spain
Fuerteventura means windy island and has become a terrific destination for families, who come here because of the never ending beaches. In this location, it is possible not only to relax but also take advantage of the facilities for Kiteboarding, windsurfing, and surfing. There is also cycling and scuba diving available
Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain
In Marbella, there is a stretch of sand to suit everybody. Marbella is the bustling high-class jewel of the Costa del Sol and offers every type od activity, from glitzy 'beach club' experience to the family 'laid back' vibe. As a backdrop to 27 kilometres of sandy beach, there are the Sierra Blanca Mountains. Marbella is not only picturesque but is also the place in Spain to come and play golf, bring your luxury Yacht or go clubbing on the town's 'Golden Mile.' With boutiques, bars, top class restaurants, and discos, Marbella has come to represent the epitome of what a chic holiday resort is all about
Cala Llenya, Ibiza, Spain
Although Ibiza has a reputation as a party island, it says a lot for Spain as a tourist destination that one of the country's top family oriented beaches is here. Cala Llenya is a big sandy beach, which is entirely family friendly and safe for swimming and snorkelling. As well as taking it easy on the sand, there are some good walks in the pine woods that surround the area. This is a location that even at the height of the season, never feels too crowded. Visitors hire boats and canoes, go cycling, and enjoy some of the local fish, that is barbequed beneath the pine trees at the weekend.
Costa del la Luz, Spain
The Costa del la Luz gets around 3000 hours of sun per year, so it attracts visitors who are looking to top up their tan. The best place to go on this stretch of coast is the Playa de Magazon, which has calm seas and white sand like the Caribbean. This beach is between Matalascanas and Huelva, and like many in Spain is backed by sweet smelling pine forests. Even though this beach is famous because of its nudist area, most people just strip off to their swimming gear.
Torremolinos, Costa Del Sol, Spain
Torremolinos, Spain, which sprang to fame as a family destination almost half a century ago, has reinvented itself. It demonstrates how well-developed tourism is in Spain. Torremolinos was one of the first ever destinations to be offered to British people in a package deal. The town is once again back in vogue and attracting visitors in their thousands. A lot of time has been spent to beautify the famous promenade, and with all year round fiestas, this is a 'must visit' destination among many that Spain can provide.
La Concha, San Sebastian, Spain
La Concha has laid its claim to be the best city beach in Spain, and it takes some beating. This is one of the most stunning urban beaches in Europe, and if you are here, then you are only about 15 kilometres from France. The beach is awash with the chic clothes and hip bars. La Concha, which is situated on the infamous Bay of Biscay, is massively popular not only with foreign tourism but also with the Spanish.
La Barrosa, Cadiz, Spain
This beach has frequently been voted as the best in Spain by the Spanish. It has white sand and is more than five miles long, so space is not a problem. Flying the EU blue flag for cleanliness, the area is always patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months, meaning that it is perfect for family holidays. The beach works well on two touristic levels. Around the promenade, there are lots of young holidaymakers who enjoy the liveliness and the seafood tapas. Further down at the other end of La Barossa, there is a peaceful and undeveloped feel for older people and families to read books or build sandcastles in complete safety.
With world class beaches and such a brilliant climate, it is no wonder that it is popular with people that want nothing more than to relax on a sun lounger and soak up the ambience. But there is considerably more to Spain than just beaches, and the vast range of diverse cities demonstrate that this country has an attraction for every type of visitor, with infinite numbers of interests. Spain has enough cultural multiplicity in its regions to keep visitors coming back each year. The 17 regions boast four official languages and varied cuisine and heritage.
There is more to Spain than sun, sea, and sangria, and the pull to tourists has never been stronger.