In southern Europe, Spain is at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea, and is often visited by British tourists for its sunshine, beaches, friendly locals and cheap drinks. But this diverse country offers much more than sand and sangria. Spain has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any country in the world except for China and Italy, and they are set in some of the most glorious scenery. And many are located in some of the most vibrant cities in Europe.
The cities host a plethora of styles and architecture, and an amalgamation of eras and regimes. Its unique history gives it Arabic and Islamic influences, and a golden past where it ruled the waves and a global empire. Historical sites abound in the countryside and they are worth making the effort to visit – as are the islands dotted about the Mediterranean, most of which have their own unique cultures and histories.
It’s worth noting that Spain is made up of some surprisingly different cultures, from the northern Basque Country, to Catalonia (there are fierce independence movements in both those), with other regions also having a strong local identity, closely tied in with the regions history. This complex country doesn’t disappoint.