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Spain is the second largest country in Europe. It comprises the spanish mainlaind, Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. A huge plateau (Meseta Central) surrounded by mountain ranges forms most of the interior of the mainland. Other mountain ranges of note include the Pyrenees, which seperate Spain from France in the north east, and the Sierra Nevada in the south east near Granada. The coastal areas are mainly lowlands with the largest being the Andalucian Plain in the south west and the Ebro Basin in the north east. Most of Spain is covered in shrubs with most woodlands being found on the mountain slopes especially in the north west.
Tourism is mainly centred around the coastal areas which have an abundance of good sandy beaches and rocky coves. The hot dry climate makes it a popular summer destination for sun seeking holiday makers while the mild winters in the south of the country attract winter visitors escaping the colder climate of northern Euurope. In particularly the Canary Islands, being further south, are a popular Christmas destination. The Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza are also a popular summer destination offering fine beaches and rocky coves. Mallorca is the most developed while Menorca is the greenest and the 24 hour life style of Ibiza make it a popular destination for the young.
Spain is also a popular city break destination, with Madrid, Barcelona and Granada being of particular interest.
While Spain is most well-known for its costas, there is also an abundance of scenery inland. In particular, the north is greener and more hilly than the centre and the south, with skiing available in the Pyrenees mountains. Even in the south, it does not take long to get away from the coast and into picturesque rural areas.
For places to stay, choose from villas (or casas) to rent by the sea with fantastic ocean views, or spend your holidays in self catering apartments, flats, bungalows and cabins to let on the coast. Inland are fincas (originally farmhouses although the term is somewhat more widely used now), country houses, lodges, cabins and chalets. Cave houses in the south provide something unusual and different. For those on a budget, Spain still represents great value compared to much of Western Europe and cheap studio lettings are available, although some of those luxury penthouses are not to be missed either! For short stays or a more Spanish experience, B&Bs and guesthouses are also available.
For more information see our Visitors Guide