Spain

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  • 10 out of 10

    The service is good and quick. They had no diesel cars left, but we could choose from several gasoline cars. The only minus - too many scratches on all doors, roof ...

    2013-11-26
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    It was a little unclear at first after coming through passport control in the arrival hall, but found the rental place very quickly, bus service ok. Service was excellent, very friendly person, taking the time to explain the contract. I knew about the full tank of petrol, which I don't like, but have to accept. Also the insurance was explained. The car hire was very cheap so I wasn't expecting too much, the car had a few marks on it, but was in perfect working order. Tires could do with a renewal soon. The car was clean, radio working,so all in all I was happy.

    2013-11-26
    Marijke Phillips
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    Very good service.

    2013-11-27
    Frank Hemsworth
  • 10 out of 10

    Yes everything was good

    2013-11-27
    Susan O

A Quick Guide to... Spain

History Spain

Evidence of human presence on the Iberian Peninsula dates back over a million years. In 200 BC, Roman occupation took control over Spain following the Second Punic War. The conquest of the Romans to take over the Iberian Peninsula lasted almost two centuries. African Muslims invaded in the 8th Century. The Moors took control over most the Iberian Peninsula. The period of 756 to the mid 1000s saw a major growth in agriculture and education. The Jewish and Muslim influences at this time gave the Iberian Peninsula a unique culture.

The Muslim power fell in the 12th Century, as Christian Spain began to take form. After this time, the only Muslim areas of Spain were found in Granada. The growth in power (from the Crown of Aragon) and education (universities Salamanca and Palencia) was marred by the spread of the Black Death over 1348-1349. Isabella I of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon were married in 1469. In 1492 came the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition, which forced all Jewish people to convert to Catholicism or be exiled (this also extended to Muslims in the years to follow), and the expedition of Christopher Columbus that resulted in the discovery of the New World.The beginning of the Spanish Empire began with the reign of Charles the first. Empire warred with Italy, France, and the Ottomans during the 16th and 17th Centuries. During the sieges of Napoleon, Spain fell under French invasion through a supposed plan to attack Portugal, though the actual target was Spain, herself. The brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte, was given the throne. This time was hard on the Spanish economy, and the country was poverty stricken and politically divided by the beginning of the 19th Century. This century also saw the Spanish-American War over Cuban and Philippine independence.

Spain saw war, still, in the 10th Century. The Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 cost the nation around one million people, either from the war or because the people fled the country. General Franco takes power over Spain in 1939 and holds this role well past the time of economic growth in the 1960. Franco was succeeded by Juan Carlos in 1975 as the last King of Spain as the nation turned to democracy.

When to go Spain

Spain is a large country with diverse geographical and climate regions. Culturally, the many autonomous regions of Spain have so much variance, as well. With such a diverse country, there is no bad time to visit Spain. Whether you choose to centre your holiday around tourist seasons, family birthdays or special occasions, school or work breaks, or seasons, you will find a part of Spain quite prime for your visit. Spanish winters are great when looking for a lighter tourist season, which may mean deeper discounts on hotels and lodging. There are many events in winter to enjoy. November is a calm period in most parts of Spain as the tourist season winds down. As Christmas season nears in December, celebrations pop up in nearly every city and town across Spain. Three Kings Day in January is a popular celebration. February brings the carnival to Catalonia. Weather in most parts of Spain are mild to cold in the winters, with extra sunshine in the south.

Summer travel is popular with holiday visitors. This may come as a surprise, considering the weather is quite hot nearly everywhere at this time. Many locals go out of town during the summers to escape the heat. May brings the San Isidro festival to Madrid. In June, travellers visit Barcelona to see the Sonar Festival and the Grec Performance Arts Festival. July is hot in most parts, but many city's make up for it with festivals such as the Pamplona Bull Run and San Fermin festivals that celebrate the national holiday. In August, as the summer winds down, the Tomatina Tomato Fight in Andalusia brings joy to many.

Weather Spain

Spain covers an impressive 504,030 kilometres squared of land on the Iberian Peninsula. With an area so large, there is some variance in the climate of the country. To be sure, there are three main climactic zones set out in Spain, each one with a unique weather personality. The northernmost parts of Spain have an oceanic climate system. Basque, Asturias, Cantabria, and a portion of Galicia are included in this region. One main highlight of the oceanic climate of Spain is the lack of a draught season. Although the summers may typically be warm, there is no dry season. The weather in this area is highly influenced by the temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean.

The very south-eastern sliver of Spain, which includes Murcia and the Ebro Valley, is known as a Semiarid climate. Unlike the north of Spain, these southern regions experience marked periods of draught, especially centred around the summer with dry months such as July and August having average precipitation levels of 0.4 millimetres or less. Winters are considered to be mild, with temperatures hovering around 16? C during the day.

The largest climate zone in Spain is the located in the centre of the country and includes Madrid, Salamanca, and Valencia, among the majority of the centre of the land. This climate is widely called a Mediterranean climate, though it can be narrowed down further to be called a Warm-Summer Mediterranean climate. Temperatures in this region are comfortable in the summers, at around 21C average daily. In areas such as the southern part of Galicia, the drier summers of the Mediterranean climate pose a forest fire threat, though this is not extremely common and in most of the regions, the summers do have a decent amount of rain.


Getting Spain

The national airline of Spain, Iberia, flies to most airports in the country. Major airports on the mainland include Barcelona International Airport, Madrid (Barajas) International Airport, Bilbao Airport, and Malaga Airport. There are also international airports on the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. Most airports offer an on-site car hire option to help make your holiday more comfortable. You can use an online search to check prices and find a good deal on car hire before you book your travel. Driving in Spain usually requires the use of a map, so it is best to consider bringing or renting a GPS system for your car hire vehicle to ensure the smoothest of holidays.

Getting into and around Spain by rail is also convenient. Most major Spanish cities have a rail station that links to other destinations. The majority of lines lead in spokes out from the city of Madrid, so travelling between Madrid and all the other cities is generally easy. Cities that are not serviced by the rail can be reached by bus. Bus is one of the most popular and easy ways to get about Spain. Buses are budget friendly, as well. Buses around Spain are all run by separate private companies, so be aware that each agency sells its own tickets and follows a schedule. Travelling by bus is mostly pleasant. The coaches are generally clean, comfortable and efficient because they are privately owned.

Best locations Spain

There is so much to see and do in Spain. A culture-rich nation, Spain is full of historic sights and modern attractions to appeal to any type of visitor. Whether you are looking for a casual, fun holiday with friends, a romantic weekend with your sweetheart, or a fun-filled family trip, you are sure to find something wonderful to do in Spain.Big and small cities, alike offer museums to peruse. Barcelona houses multiple museums, such as the Picasso Museum, while nearby Figueres is home to the Salvador Dali Museum, which not only houses the world of the surrealist artist but was also designed by Dali, himself. In Madrid, the Museo del Prado is of world fame. This is Spain's largest art museum and has pieces by national artists Goya, El Greco, and more. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is also worth a visit.

If ancient ruins and architecture are your thing, there is much to love about Spain. Located in Barcelona, Antoni Gaudi's architecture is quite an eye-opening experience, and in Granada, you can take in the Cathedral of Granada, which towers over the city and was built in 1492. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is also of note. Located in the city for which it is named, this ancient structure's began formation in 1075. There really is so much to see and do in Spain, and this list could go on forever. The final must do is attend a local festival. You can celebrate Malaga's August Fair, toast the Cata del Vino wine tasting in Montilla-Moriles, and celebrate San Fermin in most cities. While the nation is widely focused upon religious holidays such as Easter/Holy Week and Christmas, take a step from tradition and enjoy Carnival in many of the cities, including Cadiz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Disable visitors Spain

Aeropuertos Espanoles y Navehacion Aerea (AENA) is the entity that runs most of Spain's airports. Aena has set forth a considerable amount of money and efforts to ensure that persons with reduced mobility have a pleasant visit. These airports include Madrid Barajas Airport, Barcelona Airport, Palma de Mallorca Airport, Malaga Airport, Valencia Airport, and Bilbao Airport, among many more. Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona Airport, and Madrid Airport have all received awards as the Best Airport in Europe, which is awarded by European ACI. The Aena standard is followed throughout these facilities. The main points of service offered by Aena to persons with reduced mobility are: proper toilets, lower-height telephones, handrails, Braille and audible instructions on lifts and other important areas, specialised security lines for persons with mobility issues, suitable check-in counters, and special seating.

Persons with mobility issues are encouraged to let airport officials know that they will be visiting. The airports offer call points near the entrances and car parks for persons of reduced mobility to announce their arrival. For the most comprehensive amount of service, alert your airline of your special needs, as well. It is suggested that you give at least 48-hours advance notice prior to your flight to allow the airline to make accommodations to suit you or your fellow passenger with reduced mobility.

People Spain

Spanish citizens generally speak one of four languages. Spanish is the most commonly spoken language and is spoken all over the country. Catalan is spoken by roughly 17% of the population, the bulk of which live in the Catalonian and Valencia regions. Just to the west of northern Catalonia/Valencia regions, Basque is spoken by 2% of the natives, while Galician is spoken by 7% in the north western corner of Spain. Outside of the four main official and co-official languages are the unofficial and recognised languages.

The Roman Catholic Church has the largest influence in Spain. Approximately 70% of all Spanish nationals consider themselves to be Catholic. This is reflected in the culture, as seen by the festivals and celebrations held throughout the year. Although, Catholicism is no longer official as the national religion, the schools in Spain have the choice of teaching either ethics or teaching religion. As Catholicism is the only religion taught in said schools, a large portion of the general population of students is brought up in the Catholic tradition. The emigration of Spanish throughout the world, especially in Latin America, has led to people of Spanish ancestry living all over the world. It is estimated that about 89% of Cuban nationals are of Spanish descent, 80% of Puerto Ricans have Spanish roots, and that half of the population of Colombia comes from Spanish ancestry.

Red tape visas Spain

Spain is part of the Schengen, a group of 25 nations that forego border checks between other Schengen nations. This has been in place since 2000. All European Union nations, excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom, are included in Schengen. The Schengen creates an easier travel situation for Schengen nations as well as less strict rules for travellers from countries such as United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Switzerland, and Japan. For visits up to six months, travellers from Norway, Iceland, and most European Union (EU), excepting Ireland and the UK, nations may enter Spain with just an identity card. Short stays (fewer than 90 days) by nationals of Japan, Israel, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States require only a passport. However, the visit must be solely for holiday purposes and not for commerce or education. In those cases, a work visa or student visa is required. British nationals will also need a passport, due to the fact Britain is not a member of the EU.

Longer visits will require additional steps. European Union, New Zealand, Iceland, Switzerland, Japan, Israel, and Norway nationals will need to apply for an EU residency permit, which is valid for up to one year. After one year, travellers seeking longer clearance may apply for an extension of up to five years.