Spain Country Information
Spain evokes images of passion and fire. From bullfighting to flamenco, paellas to tapas, Gaudi to Picasso, Spain offers a plethora of experiences. A spectacular and diverse country, it is an amalgam of Spanish, Roman and Moorish influences. Centuries of history are reflected in its prehistoric cave paintings, Moorish palaces, crumbling castles, Roman ruins, Gothic and Renaissance cathedrals as well as some very distinctive modern architecture.
With a natural geography that sees rolling hills in the north and tremendous beaches in the south, Spain is also home to very unique manmade landscape and skyline as seen in the cities of Cordoba, Salamanca, Madrid and Seville. If it is artifacts that attract you, there are myriad offerings that will keep you enthralled for hours. From the famed Picasso museum in Barcelona; the world-famous Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid; to steel workshops of Toledo that carry swords resembling those procured by Crusaders en route to battles in the Holy Land; the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Extremadura for its blend of Islamic, Italian Renaissance and gothic-style architecture; Granada's Arab Quarter, to the eighth-century mosque in Cordoba, Spain will satiate your appetite for culture and art.
Given its endless offerings, let us help you create an authentic travel experience. We can show you the shadowy plazas of Madrid, leave you to wander the olive groves and wheat fields of Castile la Mancha or for something truly authentic, take you on an exploration of the interior of Andalucia along the Route of the White Hill Towns (Ruta de los Pueblos Blanchos). Whether it is popular city routes you seek or off the beaten track adventures, let Prathvi be your guides.
Spain joined the EEC (now EU) in 1986,hosted the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and Seville Expo'92. These three events confirmed the world view of Spain as a modern economic power on the world stage.
The centre-right Partido Popular government came to power in 1996 led by José María Aznar. Spain exchanged the peseta for the Euro in 2002. Spain became the first country in the world to give full marriage and adoption rights to homosexual couples in 2005.
Government: Spain is a democratic constitutional monarchy with a National Parliament (Cortes Generals), formed by the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, that is elected every 4 years. Spain is divided in to 17 regions - Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile and Leon, Castile-La-Mancha, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Community of Madrid, Region of Murcia, Basque Country, Community of Valencia, Navarra and two autonomous cities - Ceuta and Meillla. These autonomous communities have varying powers, but each has its own parliament, government and administrative apparatus.
Major political parties
• Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) leader: Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
• Popular Party (PP) leader: Mariano Rajoy
• United Left (IU) leader: Gaspar Llamazares
• Convergence and Union (CiU) leader: Artur Mas.
The Spanish Democracy
The transition from dictatorship to democracy began with Franco's death on 20 November 1975, its completion was marked by the electoral win of the socialist PSOE Party on 28 October 1982 in free democratic elections. The Spanish monarch King Juan Carlos was instrumental in the promotion of democracy; he intervened in the coup attempt known as "23-F" causing the plot to fail.
After the political transformation Spain changed radically adopting liberal values and free market practices, whilst maintaining the Spanish way of life.
Afternoon City Visit
We depart from the bus terminal and proceed firstly to Park Guell. Then we continue on past Gaudi's masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia and on to the monumental Bullring. We will also visit Santa Maria del Sar Cathedral before finishing with a tour of the Paseo de Gracia in which we view the Lleo Morera, Batllo, Ametller and Mila houses, the last one being better known as la Pedrera.
BCN Highlight Full Day Tour Gaudi Modernism Gothic
We depart from the bus terminal and proceed into Via Layetana, visiting the Cathedral, the Gothic Quarter, Sant Jaume Square, the Port and the Olympic Village. We also pass the Columbus Statue, Montjuic, the Olympic Stadium and St Jordi Palace. Cable car up to Montjuich Castle. Then there is time for a visit to the 'Spanish Village' where you'll be able to taste Catalan cava and there will be some free time to explore and optionally take lunch. In the afternoon we visit Gaudi's Park Guell and have a brief stop at the Sagrada Familia. Panoramic of the Monumental Bullring. Then we will have a view of the Lleo Morera, Ametller and Mila houses. Visit of Santa Maria del Mar.
Gaudi and Sagrada Familia
This tour starts along Paseo de Gracia to see Gaudi s famous apartment buildings including Casa Batllo and La Pedrera. Gaudi, one of the greatest innovators of his time, has left behind numerous treasures for the discerning tourist to discover in Barcelona. Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited buildings in the world. We will visit the astonishing interior of this church, where vaults reach seventy meters. Antoni Gaudi designed a Latin cross plan with five aisles, extremely rich in ornamentation and symbolism. We will also visit Sagrada Familia museum, where you will see drawings, plaster models and pictures about the history and development of this basilica from its early beginnings to the present day. The museum will also give valuable information about Antoni Gaudi s life and career. Then we will join with the rest of group for the external visit of the Sagrada Familia Church and continue afterwards the visit of the Artistic Tour. Enjoy a 30 minute visit at Gaudi's bizarre Parc Guell which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Keep an eye on your watch, it's easy to get lost in the whimsical design of this bizarre but compelling public park. You will also visit Barcelona's the famous St. Maria del Mar, the only gothic church in Catalonia completely finished. The tour ends near the Picasso Museum which exhibits works from the blue and pink periods of the world-famous painter. You can choose either coming back to departure terminal, or remain in the Picasso Museum coming back by yourself (ticket not included).
Montserrat Afternoon Visit
After driving through picturesque little villages, you will arrive at the incomparable setting of the mountain of Montserrat, which rises majestically to 4.051 feet(1,235 meters). We will visit the Royal Basilica of Montserrat, which holds the famous 12th century Romanesque carving of Virgen Moreneta, the Black Virgin. The Royal Basilica has been one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Spain for hundreds of years. Time permitting, you will have some free time to explore the magnific surroundings before going back to Barcelona.
Best of Toledo Full Day
Toledo was once the capital of the country and is now one of the oldest cities in Europe. We will be visiting the most famous monuments during a walking tour of the city centre, including St Tome Church, Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue, San Juan de los Reyes Church, Museo Victorio Macho and the Cathedral. Lunch in a local restaurant, typical to the region, is included on this tour.
Flamenco Show Torres Bermejas with dinner
Enjoy an evening of Flamenco dancing at the legendary Torres Bermejas, where some of the greatest names in flamenco have performed. The Torres Bermejas features a unique decor, decorated in the style of Granada's Alhambra Palace. While being entertained by a fabulous renowned live flamenco show you have the option of enjoying your dinner. You will also have the opportunity to taste the Spanish and local cuisine as there is a choice of tapas menu or paella menu dinner (to be chosen at time of booking). The menu includes a glass of wine and mineral water.
Madrid Sightseeing Tour and Real Madrid Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Sightseeing along different parts of the city. Medieval, the renaissance, the Baroque and the neoclassic, the romantic and the modern. They speak of a torero's Madrid, a flamenco's Madrid and an artists Madrid. This city sightseeing tour is shorter than usual (1.30 hrs) in order to give time to the exciting tour of Real Madrid's football Stadium, Santiago Bernabeu. Bernabeu opens its doors to turn you into the real megastar. You will have the chance to look through the Stadium with no limits, and even have the access to those places that you only had pictured in your mind. Our Stadium is awaiting you with all its real myths, like the tunnel to locker rooms, the bench, the pitch, the press room and the even presidential box. Also you will visit the new Trophies Exhibition, the chief exponent of Real Madrid legend, the Best Club in the 20th century. Come in and enjoy the most thrilling time you will ever live. Quietly, no hurry at all. The Bernabeu also has a restaurant with a surface area of 1200 sqm on two floors, and 80 metres of glass windows with spectacular views of the pitch. Tour finish in Stadium Santiago Bernabeu.
I personally thank Mr Rajesh for helping us to finalise our Europe Trip this Chritmas. We thank the complete team of Prathvi for all the support and making our vacation a memorable holiday.
- Rita Ghai