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Featured Destination: Spain

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Madrid - Populated by 4.5 million people who work and play with equal vigour, the streets of Madrid buzz with energy and cheerful commotion round the clock. Thronging tourists scuttle from ancient palaces to excellent museums by day, and then seek out the raging nightlife and entertainment that continues until the early dawn before making their way home to the sounds of the workers beginning a new day.

Costa del Sol - Extending from Tarifa in the southwest to Cabo de Gata, Costa del Sol has a climate of eight months of spring like weather and four months of summer. This fantastic climate has brought tourists from around the world to luxuriate on the sunny beaches. Unfortunately the wealth of tourism has brought with it promenades and fancy hotels that detracts from the natural beauty of the coastline.

Andalucia - Written of in the bible, and then known as Tarshish, with its wealth of silver, Andalucia is a melting pot of ancient cultures. Greeks and Phoenicians established trading colonies along the coast, Romans later cultivated the land and produced wheat, olive oil, and wine, and the Moors who arrived in AD711 and ruled until 1492, all wove their traditions and cultures in the tapestry that is Andalucia. The architecture of the region that reflects the mingling of these cultures, the people's passion for the flamenco and bullfighting, for festivals and religious holidays are all part of this region in Spain.

Beaches

Spain is a traveller's dream destination, it has some of the finest beaches in the world, and they offer an overwhelming choice. From the superb La Manga Del Mar Menor, which is the best in Spain, to Aguilas, where there are about forty to choose from. Beautiful rocky beaches... wide stretches of sun-kissed sand... beaches that are lined with pubs and bars... Spain has them all.

Moving around

To get to Spain the easiest and cheapest, and of-course the quickest way, is by plane, and all major international airlines serve Madrid and Barcelona. The European rail system does connect to Barcelona, if air-travel is not your first choice.

Once in the country, buses offer the best options for short distances, providing the most extensive and wide-ranging routes, and trains are a good option for longer journeys being clean and reasonably priced.

The islands dotted around Spain's coastline can be accessed by ferry or plane.

Festivals

Just about every village in Spain has its own festival in a land that rejoices in life, and holds a celebration at the click of a castanet. Deeply religious and fond of pageantry and carnivals, Semana Santa, (Holy Week) is one of the most important celebrations in the country. In Sevilla for the seven days of the holiday, processions of extravagant floats, led by penitents in hooded cassocks, make their way through the streets of each neighbourhood, until the climax on Good Friday. The entire city turns out to watch the procession as it wends its way over the bridges and through the Old City.

About two to three weeks later, the city celebrates with Feria de Abril, when a spectacular street party erupts. Flowers and lanterns decorate the 1000 kiosks, tents, and pavilions that make up 'casetas', while flamenco dancing, bullfighting, and wild revelry, continue through the night.