For many visitors to Spain, their goal will be to see the miles and miles of beaches and for a subset of them, to dine on all day British breakfasts. With year-round sunshine, out door living, gorgeous islands, mountains, Moorish castles and some of the most delicious food in the world, Spain will have something for everyone and it's no surprise that Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.
Most visitors know about the golden beaches, but volcanic landscapes and lush forests are also on offer, with the Canary Islands offering diverse landscapes and famous black sand.
For myself, Spain was my first holiday destination without parents and for many holidays after, Spain is the destination that I would return to. Majorca, L'Estartit and Tenerife were badly behaved, booze sozzled jaunts. Ibiza and Salou a little less. Barcelona has been visited many times, with a couple of those times just been for a night out as it's only a short flight from the UK.
History of Spain
The history of Spain is long and complex. The country has been ruled by a variety of different peoples, and it has experienced periods of great prosperity and periods of great turmoil.
Over the centuries, Spain has been ruled by a variety of different peoples, including the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, and the Habsburgs. Spain also played a major role in the Age of Exploration, with the Genovese explorer Christopher Columbus sailing from Spain to the Americas in 1492.
The first humans to arrive in the Iberian Peninsula were hunter-gatherers who came from Africa over 35,000 years ago. By the time of the Roman conquest, the Iberian Peninsula was home to a variety of different cultures, including the Iberians, the Celts, and the colonies from Greece, Phoenicia and Carthage.
The Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the 3rd century BC, pushing out Carthage. The Romans brought with them their language, their culture, and their technology. They also built roads, bridges, and aqueducts, which helped to unify the region. The Roman Empire ruled Spain for over 500 years, and during this time, the Iberian Peninsula became one of the most prosperous and important provinces in the empire.
With the end of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, the Germanic Visigoths took control of the Iberian Peninsula and ruled for over 200 years, but in 711 the Moors (Arabs and Berbers), a Muslim people from North Africa, invaded and conquered most of the region.
The Moors ruled Spain for over 700 years, bringing with them their own language, culture, and religion. The Moors built many beautiful mosques and palaces, the Alhambra in Grenada standing as the most beautiful. The Moorish period was a time of great cultural and economic prosperity.
In the 11th century, the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain began to push back against the Moors. This period of conflict, known as the Reconquista, lasted for over 500 years. In 1492, the last Moorish kingdom in Spain, the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, fell to the Christians bringing an end to Muslim rule in Spain and the beginning of a new era in Spanish history.
In the 16th century, Spain became a major power in Europe. This was due in part to the discovery of the Americas in 1492. Spain quickly colonised the Americas and established a vast empire that stretched from the Americas to the Philippines. The Spanish Empire was one of the first global empires, and it played a major role in the development of the modern world.
The Spanish Empire began to decline in the 17th century. This was due to a number of factors, including economic problems, political instability, and wars with other European powers. By the end of the 18th century, the Spanish Empire was in a state of collapse.
Spain regained its independence from Napoleonic France in 1814. In the 19th century, Spain underwent a period of political and social upheaval. The country experienced a number of revolutions and civil wars. In 1931, Spain became a republic. However, the republic was short-lived. In 1936, a civil war broke out in Spain. The war lasted for three years and ended with the victory of General Francisco Franco. Franco ruled Spain as a dictator until his death in 1975.
Since the death of Franco, Spain has been a democracy. The country has joined the European Union and NATO, and it has become a major economic power one of the world's top tourist destinations.