Spain & Tourism
By 2015 Spain was the third most visited country in the world, recording 68.1 million tourists which marked the third consecutive year of record-beating numbers.
If you consider population and size of the top three most visited countries (France, US and Spain) , Spain is the most visited country per capita and size by far.
The World Tourism Organization has its headquarters in Madrid.
According to The Economist 2005 year list, Spain has the world's 10th highest quality of life.
Tradition, modernity, culture, gastronomy, nature, fun, shopping ... the best country to visit
Spain is a country with great attractions and much to offer visitors. In fact, it is the second country in the world and the first in Europe in revenues from tourism.
The three thousands of sunlight enjoyed in Spain make our country one of the warmest in Europe. However, there are differences between the south, warmer and drier, and the north, more humid and rainy. Even in the Canary Islands, we can enjoy a sub-tropical weather. If you are going to visit our country, do not forget to check the weather forecast through the website of the State Meteorology Agency (AEMET).
Spaniards and visitors enjoy a safe environment Spain is, according to UN data, the sixth safest country in the world and the fourth in the European Union. Spaniards have a respectful and friendly character that makes foreigners integrate quickly and easily.
Spain is among the ten countries in the world with highest quality in its infrastructure network, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 of the World Economic Forum. Our country ranks first in terms of number of freeways and highways, remarkable for its high quality.
It is the second country in the world and the first in Europe in High Speed and it has the most modern and technologically advanced fleet of trains in the continent. Furthermore, it is the third country in air traffic passengers in Europe. It also has an excellent port infrastructure network, with 46 ports on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and 3 ports in the top 15 in Europe: Valencia, Algeciras and Barcelona.
Artistic and cultural heritage
Spain has a unique cultural heritage, resulting from the coexistence of different civilisations during centuries, expressed in disciplines such as painting, sculpture, architecture, literature or music. Furthermore, it is the third country with greater number of declarations of UNESCO World Heritage. One of them is the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route to the Holy Sepulchre of the Apostle Santiago, which annually attracts about 250,000 people worldwide.
Cervantes, Velazquez, Goya, Lope de Vega, Gaudi, Picasso, Miro, de Lucia or Morente, are some of the Spanish artists who have crossed borders, displaying the Spanish artistic heritage around the world.
Spain has also a wonderful museums network to admire the works of Spanish and universal artists.
The Garajonay National Park, the Doñana Marshes, the Pyrenees or the Teide National Park are some examples of our rich natural heritage. Furthermore, Spain is the country of the European Union with greatest biodiversity, with 45 biosphere reserves recognized by UNESCO.
To take care of natural treasures, Spain has a wide network of protected areas. The Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) ensures, among other things, that the sustainability of our environment is maintained.
Celebrations and traditions
Due to our cheerful and passionate character, celebrations are an important part in our life. Spain has a wide range of traditions and celebrations, that every village, every town get back every year. Learn about them: Celebrations in Spain.
Spain is one of the world referents of fine cuisine and one of the European countries with more Michelin stars. Juan Mari Arzak, Ferran Adria, Carme Ruscalleda, David Muñoz or the Roca brothers are some of the great Spanish chefs internationally recognized.
Spain is a real shopping paradise. Clothing, shoes and accessories of national and international designers, haute couture, from large chains, of top brands or from small boutiques. You can also take craftwork, our delicatessen, visit our flea markets, markets and street markets.
In Spain football occupies an important position, but there are dozens of sporting disciplines that have many fans. Except in summer, football matches are held every week, but if your sport is other, check the calendar of sport events.
Visiting beBee's headquarters
But the most important thing ... beBee ! :)
beBee was born in Spain but beBee is yours. beBee would be nothing without you, and we - the founders and the team - are willing to meet you in Madrid !
You will get a picture like this one :)
Some of the most Beautiful towns in Spain
From bustling Barcelona to majestic Madrid and sunny Seville, Spain’s best-known cities are among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, but the country also boasts a broad array of beautiful cities and towns that most travelers never see. While Spain’s diverse landscapes lend each city its own picturesque ambience, it’s the country’s long history that differentiates one town from another. Cities that had their heyday during the Spanish Renaissance are distinctly different from those occupied for centuries by the Moors or Visigoths. A tour of Spain’s less-visited cities gives travelers a unique look at Spain’s long and glorious past and offers a wide range of memorable travel experiences.
Located in central Spain, Salamanca owes its breathtaking beauty to the nearby sandstone quarries from which many of the city’s buildings were constructed. The glowing light that emanates from the stone at sunset has earned Salamanca the nickname “The Golden City.” A university town since 1218, Salamanca is still home to one of Europe’s finest universities. The city is filled with historic architecture, including the 12th-century Catedral Vieja and Casa de las Conchas, a 15th-century structure ornamented with hundreds of sandstone shells. Visits to Salamanca often begin at the Plaza Major, a Baroque square where students gather at all hours to eat, drink and sing. Their enthusiasm and confidence offer assurance that Salamanca’s future will be as bright as its golden past.
Nestled at the foot of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada city is the provincial capital of Granada in Spain’s Andalucia region. Home to the fabled citadel and palace of Alhambra, the city offers visitors an intriguing glimpse of Spain’s Moorish history, which effectively ended when Ferdinand and Isabella marched through the city gate of Puerta de Elvira in 1492. With its exquisite ornamental architecture, bubbling fountains and lush gardens, the 13th-century Alhambra is a must-see attraction. An afternoon spent rambling among the white-washed buildings of the city’s old Muslim quarter is worthwhile as well. Sunset draws visitors to the Mirador de San Nicolás, a paved lookout where crowds gather each evening to watch the Alhambra glow red under the reflected light of the setting sun.
At first glance, Spain’s biggest port city appears to have little to offer, but visitors who take the time to peer underneath Bilbao’s industrial façade will find much to explore. The city’s standout attraction is the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, one of architect Frank Gehry’s most spectacular achievements. The curvaceous titanium-clad building is home to more than 100 exhibitions of modern art. A short walk from the museum over the futuristic Zubizuri footbridge leads visitors to the historic Old Quarter, which has several important churches. The restored Santiago Cathedral dates back to the 1300s and exemplifies the Gothic Revival architectural style. The nearby 16th-century Basilica de Begoña features multiple large-scale paintings by the Italian Baroque artist Luca Giordano.
In stark difference from other Spanish cities, Bilbao stands out for its modern architecture. This old port city’s claim to fame is the Guggenheim Museum, which is a colossal titanium structure that houses some spectacular modern art. Don’t forget to try a plate of pintxos with your drink while you are in Bilbao.
Logroño ( La Rioja )
The northern city of Logroño was once a fortified medieval town, and the city’s Old Quarter is still its greatest attraction. The Casco Antiguo has long served as a stop for pilgrims on their trek to visit the tomb of Saint James at Santiago de Compostela. With its magnificent carvings and statues, the Gothic-style Santa Maria de Palacio is well worth a visit, as is the beautifully sculpted Romanesque front of Church of Saint Bartholomew. As the trade center for wine in the La Rioja region, Logroño is known for its world-class Spanish wines and dining scene as well. Lined with historic gardens, pretty Paseo del Espolón is the best place to join locals for the early evening stroll known as the paseo.
If like me, you have no wish to go running with the bulls, then you’ll find that Pamplona has plenty to offer the rest of the year. The city has a lovely old quarter complete with historical churches and a pretty park. It also has a superb museum, the Museum of Navarra, which houses a great collection of Roman artifacts, murals from the 13th century, Renaissance paintings and the famous Goya portrait of the Marques de San Adrian.
By the way it’s during the fiesta of San Fermin, which is from the 6th to 14th July, that the city has its famous running of the bulls. So for some this will be the best time to come, but for others it will be when to avoid Pamplona like the plague.
The capital of the Navarra region, Pamplona is known the world over as the site of the annual “Running of the Bulls” held during the Fiesta de San Fermín. For visitors not interested in risking life and limb dodging bulls through crowded streets, however, it’s best to avoid the city during the week-long festival in early July. Pamplona has plenty to offer visitors the other 51 weeks of the year. In addition to the city’s Old Quarter with its pretty park and historic churches, the Museum of Navarra is a can’t-miss attraction. Housed in a 16th-century hospital, the museum boasts an impressive collection of Roman artifacts and mosaics as well as 13th-century murals, Renaissance paintings and Goya’s portrait of the Marqués de San Adrián.
Jerez de la Frontera
Ourense is considered to be the spa capital of Galicia, with both semi-enclosed and outdoor hot bath areas, which the locals have used for centuries. The city of Ourense has three distinctive parts to it; which are its modern perimeter, the area which was expanded during the 19th century, and its medieval historic quarter. If you don’t know about the medieval part, it’s easy to pass by on the road that connects Madrid to Vigo, and not bother to visit Ourense’s pretty old quarter. This area had become quite dilapidated at one point, however renovation work has been carried out over the years.
As is often the case in some of these fine Spanish cities, the Cathedral is considered to be the highlight. Although it was originally founded in 572, the Cathedral of San Martino that you can see today was re-built between the 12th and 13th centuries. It’s the second oldest cathedral in Galicia, and the clock tower that is attached to it seems to stand over the old quarter.
Part of the charm of the city, is how its appearance has been determined by the River Miño which crosses the city. The old bridge, which can be dated back to Roman times, connects the banks of the river. The old quarter has a lovely main square, which has been the heart of life in the city for centuries. Other buildings of interest are the Episcopal Palace, the City Hall, the church of Santa Maria Madre, and the Archaeological Museum.
You may know of Burgos as the home, as well as burial place of El Cid, or maybe because of its famous blood sausages. However this city was the capital of the Castille-Leon kingdom for five centuries, so it was of great importance in its day. Today Burgos preserves its fair share of evidence of its medieval splendour. The Cathedral of Burgos was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its old quarter is wonderful, and is delicately embraced by green zones. As you may expect from another important stopping place for pilgrims, Burgos also has plenty of delicious cuisine on offer. Wander by the rivers Arlanza and Duero, to enjoy the atmosphere and discovering great eateries.
Santillana del Mar
Santiago de Compostela
Even if you haven’t heard of Cordoba, you may have seen photos of it without realising. Cordoba, in Andalusia, pops up frequently in photos where you see pictures of patios and courtyards, filled with lush vegetation and flowers. Patio decoration originally started for practical reasons – to keep the patio and home cooler in a dry, hot climate. However creativity kicked in and ever since 1921 the city has run its Patio Contest. Each year, in May, the doors are opened and visitors are invited in to see the wonders of the residents’ patios. The event is a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity, and runs from around 5th May for 12 days. The dates for 2015 are scheduled to be confirmed in January.
If for some reason you can’t make it in May, don’t worry as the historic centre of Cordoba is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the Mezquita, wander around the Jewish quarter, or admire the Alcazar. These are just a few of the top sights in Cordoba.
San Sebastián - Donostia
The city has a special atmosphere, and is filled with beautiful sights. The Old Quarter is especially charming, in the city that is Andalusia’s heart and soul. In the heart of the old quarter, are the Giralda tower and Cathedral, and close by you’ll find the Alcazar.
People from Seville are flamboyant and dramatic. If you visualise a person in typical Flamenco dress, on top of an almost magical looking horse, you have the image of the idyllic Sevillano. If you want to really immerse yourself in this type of atmosphere, go to Seville for the Feria de Abril, which takes place 2 weeks after Easter Week. No matter what time of year you visit Seville, its romance, beauty and bohemian free-spiritedness are hard to resist!
Spanish Islands: Balearic and Canary Islands
Known as the Eagle’s Nest, this city is home to Spain’s first Gothic Cathedral. As the name Eagle’s Nest may hint, Cuenca is a very memorable city, which was made a Royal town in the 12th century. In 1996 its historic walled town became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cuenca city towers over the surrounding magnificent countryside. Its “casas colgadas” (hanging houses) are a sight to behold, as they perch precariously on the cliffs, which overlook the River Huécar. As if the view isn’t impressive enough in daylight, you should see it all lit up at night.
If you happen to be travelling during the third week of September, from the 21st is a 4 day fiesta in the city. People drink and eat on the streets for all 4 days, and on the opening day the different groups (peñas) make their way on foot to the main square, as older people on their balconies threw water down over them!
A city that produces chemicals, iron and steel may not at first glance seem like a lovely Spanish city destination….but think again! Gijon was once a Roman settlement, which developed further from the 16th century onwards, partially thanks to the Catholic monarchs, who decided to install a port in the city. These days Gijon is an interesting blend of its maritime, historical and modern elements.
It’s a buzzing city, with a lively beach and nightlife scene. There’s no shortage of cultural attractions, good food and drink, and seafront walks. As part of its facelift, the city now has plenty of pedestrianised streets and green areas. You’ll naturally gravitate towards the headland, Cimadevilla, which is the ancient heart of the city. On the land bound side of this, lies a web of small squares and lanes, known as Plaza de Jovellanos. Also try to get to the Villa Romana de Veranes, which is the Roman town that lies around 12km south west of Gijon.
I’m sorry if you’re getting bored of hearing about gorgeous old quarters and UNESCO World Heritage sites, but in Leon you’re going to find more of the same. Leon is home to Spain’s answer to the Sistine Chapel – the Pulshcra Leonina, which is the city’s Cathedral, also known as the House of Light. This stunning cathedral is one of the most beautiful in Spain. However Leon’s architecture doesn’t stop there. Head into the narrow streets and squares of the pretty old quarter, and explore.
The city is another important stopping point for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, but it’s also a city buzzing with a vibrant student population. Night time is party time in Leon, whereas days are to enjoy being a culture vulture.
Perhaps best known as being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga is overlooked by many visitors to the Costa del Sol, in favour of less cultured beach resorts. This is a shame, as it has great beaches, heaps to see and do, and an excellent marina. In 2003, however, the Picasso Museum opened and that triggered a cultural rebirth of this fine seaside city. So within the last decade or so, a city that was almost forgotten by foreign tourista, is now flocked to by them.
Malaga has a number of other fascinating museums, in addition to the famous Picasso Museum. The city has its fair share of superb architecture, plus a buzzing bohemian arty district, known as SOHO. The centre is pedestrianised these days, with plenty of trendy eateries and rooftop terraces to choose from. Try to make time to visit the Alcazaba, the Moorish fortress which can be traced back to 1065, as well as the Baroque Cathedral and Roman Theatre. For a slightly different experience and wonderful views, you could stay at the Malaga Parador*, in the Gibralfar Castle, on the hill above Malaga city.
Merida has an absolute abundance of Roman remains. In fact back in 1993 the Archaeological Ensemble of Merida became a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was originally founded in 25BC, by Augustus, and was then named Emerita Augusta. These days you can feel the influence of its neighbour Portugal, who once ruled the city, as did the Moors and the Christians. All of the influences can be spotted in the architecture. Apart from enjoying the feel, sights and tastes of this city, you can also visit the rather unique National Museum of Roman Art, which actually has a Roman street running through it. Another bonus about Merida is that you can wander around it in 3 days or so on foot, and take in its main highlights. If you decide to travel during the summer months of July and August, there are shows put on in the Roman amphitheatre and theatre.
Since 1998, the monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias, have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These can be linked to the 9th century, at which time it was in the tiny Kingdom of the Asturias, where the flame of Christianity was being kept alive, in what was then the Iberian Peninsula.
The city’s history has left a strong medieval flavour, which you can thoroughly enjoy today in its pedestrianised historic quarter. As you walk through, it has a special atmosphere and the area is littered with statues to mark sites of historical importance. Walk from the Cathedral to the University, and to the Palace. Don’t worry about getting tired, because there are lots of lovely squares which are also generously endowed with cider bars – known as chigres. On top of this, the city and the region of Asturias, has an excellent gastronomic culture.
A typical fishermen’s village, Llastres is nested along the rocky Atlantic coast in Spain’s Asturias region. About a 30-minute drive east of Gijon, the largest city of Asturias, Llastres has a population of around 1,000 inhabitants and a long-standing fishing tradition. From the San Roque lookout point, you’ll get some stunning panoramic views of the town built on the hanging cliffs, with the Sueve Mountains as a backdrop. The old town is filled with historic buildings from Palacio de los Vallados to the famous Clock Tower built on a 15th-century lookout spot. Unmissable is the fish auction at the fish market, down by the seaside. Asturias is a rather rainy region, so the best months to see Llastres are from June to September.
San Vicente de la Barquera, Cantabria
An elegant city, with a beautiful old quarter, Santander was a well known tourist haunt during the 19th century for Spanish politicians. Set on the northern side of the lovely Bay of Santander, this is another city that blends the old with the new. Unfortunately there was a huge fire that destroyed quite a bit back in 1941, which means that the modern part of the city is not as appealing as it might have been. However it is buzzing, with plenty of great shopping streets, and a thriving bar and foodie scene
The main beach, El Sardinero, is quite famous and opposite it you can stroll along one of Spain’s prettiest promenades and enjoy spectacular Belle Epoque architecture, such as the Gran Casino. Between El Sardinero beach and the old quarter, is the peninsula. This is where you can find the beautiful Royal Palace and the La Magdalena Park. Out of the city, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Altamira Caves.
A little north of Madrid, is the very pretty, historic city of Segovia, which is often overlooked by the average tourist. You’d wonder why, when you hear some of the myths ….some say that Segovia was founded by either the son of Noah or Hercules himself! Walt Disney apparently modelled the Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle on the Alcazar of Segovia.
The city is home to one of Spain’s best preserved Roman aqueducts, which has absolutely no mortar, and is held together purely by the weight of gravity. It’s 2950 feet in length and has 167 arches. Both the aqueduct and the old town of Segovia have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1985. These are perched on high ground that lies between the Clamores and Eresma Rivers. In the same magical landscape there are also some Romanesque churches, a fortress and a Cathedral. The city also has its own Jewish Quarter. By the way, if you are a fan of roast suckling pig, then you’ve come to the right city. This is Segovia’s traditional dish, and if you fancy tasting it, the Parador Hotel is a good choice.
It would be kind of rude not to end this feature with a city that didn’t have some UNESCO Architecture, wouldn’t it? Zaragoza lies midway between Barcelona and Madrid, and is well known for its stunning UNESCO buildings, folklore, cuisine and friendliness. On the banks of the River Ebro, this city has a stunning historic legacy of over 2000 years, that is evident in some of the architecture. It’s a perfect city to stroll around, romantically hand in hand, or just in exploration mode., through the pedestrianised streets and avenues.
It’s a city with a great nightlife also, regardless of what time of year you visit. If you happen to be able to in October, then around the 12th for a week, you’ll be in for a treat during the Fiesta del Pilar, which is in honour of the city’s patron saint, and is packed full of all sorts of fun! That said it is a city that has quite a number of festivities.
There are tones of great places in Spain, if we list them, we don't finish ! I will be happy to add anyone you want me to suggest , I love them all :-)
and .... this is mi city, where I was born...
Miranda de Ebro (Burgos)
The earliest mention of the name of Miranda de Ebro is in the Codex Vigilanus, which describes the famous expedition that Alfonso I of Asturias undertook in 757. This codex discusses destroyed localities, one of which was Miranda.
After the assassination of Sancho Garcés IV of Navarre, Vizcaya, Álava, La Rioja and the royal family, Alfonso VI of Castile and Leon was recognized as king. This event passed Miranda de Ebro into the hands of the Kingdom of Castile in 1076. To consolidate his power, Alfonso VI granted the fuero of Miranda de Ebro in 1099.
In 1254, Alfonso X of Castile granted the May fair, consolidating commerce, and in 1332 Alfonso XI of Castile granted the March fair. The possession of a bridge over the Ebro since at least the 10th century, together with the concession of the fuero, have made Miranda de Ebro a great commercial center in the region since ancient times. During the 14th and 15th centuries, and after the disputes between Peter of Castile and Henry of Trastámara, the town of Miranda would pass from hand to hand, first to the domain of Burgos, then to the Álava Hermandad and ultimately once again to Burgos in 1493, where it has remained to the present day.
The arrival of the railway in 1862 marked the beginning of the industrial revolution in the city. The junction of the lines from Madrid to Irun and Castejón to Bilbao was at Miranda railway station, making it the most important rail junction in northern Spain.
In 1907, King Alfonso XIII granted city status to Miranda.
During the Civil War and World War II, the city was the location of a Nationalist concentration camp that remained active until 1947, and was the last camp to close down. During its existence, it held more than 65,000 prisoners, both Spanish and foreign.
Sagrados Corazones - Miranda de Ebro , my school :-)