Spain. Description of the country, regions
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Spain offers an extremely diverse holiday. A serene beach holiday in Spain is popular: picturesque resorts are located from the Costa Daurada in Catalonia to the Costa de la Luz in Andalusia. But in Spain you can not only enjoy the bright sun and azure sea, but also get acquainted with the delightful architecture of Barcelona - Gaudí's immortal creations, walk through the streets of Madrid - a symbol of democracy, take pictures against the background of palaces, castles and cathedrals of Seville and Granada. But that's not all that sightseeing tours to Spain "catch" tourists! You will undoubtedly enjoy passionate flamenco, amazing national cuisine and famous wine.

Due to its geographical location and rich history, tours to Spain are extremely diverse: the interweaving of cultures and ancient traditions, picturesque landscapes and ultramodern megacities. Spain has well preserved mosques of Korbov and Seville, Roman architectural monuments, small medieval churches in the Pyrenees and majestic cathedrals in Castilla. A tour of Spain will not leave anyone indifferent.

The unique beauty and flavor of Spain inspired such famous personalities as Dali and Picasso. Choosing a holiday in Spain, you will get to a huge open-air museum framed by picturesque sea shores with golden sand. A trip to Spain leaves indelible impressions in everyone's soul, under the influence of which you want to come back here again and again.

Official name: Kingdom of Spain

Capital: Madrid.

Time: 1 hour behind the Belarusian.

National characteristics: By nature, the Spaniards are serious, open, gallant, human, have a great sense of humor and ability to work in a team. Residents of the Nordic countries may consider the conversation of the two Spaniards a quarrel, a quarrel, but this is the manner of speaking accepted in Spain. We need to teach ourselves to speak more loudly, with expression. The Spaniards are noisy, but open and friendly. The tendency of the Spaniards to be late is the subject of numerous jokes. Since Spaniards like to talk a lot, the rules of meetings are often not observed. During the siesta hours, business life in the country freezes. In Spain, they eat late: breakfast at 2 p.m., lunch at 10 p.m. Topics such as civil war, Franco's reign, bullfighting and personal life should be avoided at the table.

Geography: A state in southwestern Europe, occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula. It borders France and Andorra to the north and Portugal to the west. In the north it is washed by the Bay of Biscay, in the east by the Mediterranean Sea, in the south by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, in the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Spain owns several groups of islands, the most significant of which are the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, lying more than a thousand kilometers south, opposite the African coast. Spain also owns the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, located in northern Africa. The area of the country is 504750 km2. The Pyrenees Mountains, stretching for almost 485 km from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea, are a natural border between Spain and France. However, the most important topographic feature of Spain is the vast, almost vegetation-less central plateau of Meseta, located at an altitude of about 610m above sea level.

Climate: almost all of Spain is located in the subtropical belt and in its natural conditions is close to other Mediterranean countries, but at the same time it is also distinguished by its significant originality. Rains are most often in the form of short winter showers. In summer, Spain is dominated by continental air masses coming from the south - from tropical latitudes of North Africa and the north - from heavily heated areas of south-eastern Europe. The average air temperature of the hottest month (July) reaches +30 °C - +37 °C. Freshness and coolness in the hot season bring breezes to the coast - winds that change direction depending on the time of day.

During the day, breezes blow from sea to land, and at night - from land to sea. Breezes are typical mainly for the summer months, less often in spring and autumn and even less often in winter. In winter, western transport of air masses takes place, so humid temperate sea air coming with cyclones from the Atlantic plays an important role. Average January temperatures range from +8 °C - +10 °C in the northern and middle part, to +10 °C - +12 °C in the southern part. According to the amount and distribution of precipitation, the entire territory of the country is divided into "wet" Spain (north and northwest) and "dry" (central, southern and eastern regions). Precipitation in "wet" Spain (up to 900 mm per year) falls quite evenly throughout the year, their amount decreases only slightly in summer. In "dry" Spain, the annual amount of precipitation does not exceed 500 mm, and it falls mainly in spring and autumn.

Population: Spain has about 42 million people. Spain is recognized as a single nation formed on the basis of various historical regions and ethnic groups, the main of which are Catalans (15.6%), Andalusians (15.6%), Castilians (11.1%), Valencians (9.7%), Galicians (7.4%) and Basques (5.6%).

Religion: Catholics - 97%, Protestants, Jews, Muslims.

Language: The official language is Spanish. In some regions - Galician, Basque, local dialects. Catalan, belonging to the Romance group, and closely related to the adverbs of France, is recognized as the second state language used in the media, almost all business negotiations and records management are conducted in it.

Currency: euro equal to 100 cents. Banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 euros and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1, 2 euros are in circulation. There are no problems with the exchange of imported currency in the country of developed tourism. Currency can be exchanged at banks, airports, railway stations, large hotels, shops and exchange offices. When exchanging, pay attention to the percentage of commission (sometimes it can reach 10%). In numerous exchange offices, the exchange rate is more favorable.

At airports and hotels, exchange offices work around the clock. Banks are open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 16.30, Saturday and Sunday are days off. Street ATMs are open 24 hours a day. Be careful when receiving information about the exchange rate, because very often the posters indicate the rate without taking into account the commissions that are taken from above. In cities, restaurants and large department stores, you can use credit cards for non-cash forms of payments: American Express, Diner's Club, Visa and Master Card.

Customs regulations: When entering Spain, the arrival is allowed to bring with them a number of personal belongings, one portable typewriter, one video camera or two cameras with ten photographic films for each. You can import a transistor radio or portable tape recorder if you can see that these are not new items. Similarly, it is allowed to import sports equipment for personal use, own jewelry, items for use in camping or for camping. The customs authorities can ask for a receipt for imported items, which will be presented when leaving the country. Currently, the following maximum quantities of imported tobacco and alcoholic beverages per person are allowed: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco; and one bottle of wine plus another bottle of any alcoholic beverage. There are no restrictions on the number of imported bank or traveler's checks in foreign currency, as well as in convertible pesetas, as well as on foreign currency in banknotes or coins allowed for import into Spanish territory.

Transport: Spain has an extensive network of roads. Highways - high quality with a developed network of services (fueling and repair stations, catering and recreation points). The network of intercity bus lines in Spain is well developed and has a fairly high level of service. There are bus stations in Spain in almost all major cities and resort centers of Spain. Intercity buses - express trains deliver passengers faster than passenger trains. The cost of a bus trip is noticeably lower. In Spain, you can call a taxi by phone from a hotel or bar. You can also go to any of the taxi stands and order a car by first reading the tariffs. At night and on holidays, there is an increased tariff.

The length of Spanish railways is about 15,000 kilometers, of which 471 km is the Madrid-Seville highway, which the train passes in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Another high-speed train - Talgo - 200 runs on the routes Madrid - Malaga and Madrid - Cadiz and Huelva. Maritime Mediterranean Company Trasmediterranea operates regular connections between the Iberian Peninsula and northern Africa (daily from Almeria and Malaga to Melilla and from Algeciras to Ceuta and Tangier). Car rental is provided if you have a driver's license, sometimes a deposit is required. Prices depend on the availability of insurance, brand and rental period.

Electricity: 220v

Communication: It is much cheaper to use Telefonica cabins and vending machines than to call from a hotel. Coins or phone cards (Tarjeta telefonica) are used for payment, which can be purchased at the hotel or at tobacco kiosks. To access international communication - 00, beep, country code (for Russia - 7) and city, called subscriber number. One minute of a conversation with a subscriber in Russia from a street payphone costs about 0.75 Euro. Telephone prices at meeting points can vary significantly.

Shops: Shopping is best done in major cities - Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, etc. The largest network of department stores in Spain is El Corte Ingles, where, as the Spaniards themselves say, you can buy everything from a needle to an airplane. But it's an expensive store. In general, it is better to avoid shopping in large stores, because there is less choice and prices are higher. And in small shops you can find good quality goods at reasonable prices. Working hours: from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00, (Saturday - until 12.00). From 13.00 to 16.00 - siesta.

National cuisine, drinks: Modern Spanish cuisine is diverse, its formation was influenced by Romans and Moors, later by Americans. The original Spanish cuisine, in fact, is peasantly simple. It is based on onions, garlic, sweet peppers and greens. Spices are used moderately, but saffron is abundant. It is impossible not to mention "tapas" - a variety of light snacks. In any tavern or coastal cafe, they are served at any time of the day or night - with beer, wine, cider or as an appetizer before lunch. At first - just olives or farm bread, which was served before lunch, now tapas have become so popular, everything from paella to Spanish omelette is served for an appetizer. Of the first courses, cream soup, such as semolina cream soup with almonds, is the most popular in Spain. Cream soup tastes like our dressing soups. After soup, there is often an intermediate branded pasta appetizer or stewed vegetables without a side dish. In this case, vegetables are no longer served to the second one. Meat second course is usually stewed or grilled. Along with beef, veal, pork and young lamb, poultry dishes are also popular with Spaniards. Chicken meat and fish products can be part of the famous paella. It is impossible not to mention paella - a truly Spanish dish that is prepared from rice with the addition of many ingredients - in different regions in different ways - from chicken to oysters, shrimps and vegetables. Every cook has his own way to cook this national dish, and no matter what corner of Spain you get to, you will definitely be offered paella cooked in a new way. Of the desserts, the most popular are puddings, in addition, Spaniards love sweet pies stuffed with almond cream. Wines prefer natural red (brand Spanish wines will be compared to the famous French ones), water - mineral. Spanish cuisine recipes >>>

Tips: The tip system applies to the services of waiters in bars and restaurants, hotel maids, taxi drivers and guides and amounts to 5-10% of the order value. Payment for a tip is not mandatory, but if the client was satisfied with the service, tipping is a sign of a good tone.

Recommendations: To make you feel calm enough, we strongly recommend placing all the valuables in a safe, which in most hotels is in your room or in the reception at the reception at the reception. The cost of renting a safe is low, and the deposit will be returned to you in exchange for the key to the safe. There is no need to carry your passport and air ticket with you, so we recommend that you leave them also in the safe.

Emergency phones: National Police - 091, local police - 092, Cruz Roja (Red Cross) - 22-22-22, urgent medical care - 061, fire service - 080, exact time service - 093, information service on city streets, bus traffic, pharmacies on duty, etc. - 098.

National characteristics: The rules of decency were laid down in Spain by the church after the civil war and were observed unquestioningly. Thus, women were not supposed to appear on the streets in a dress tightly fitting those places of the body that cause sinful desires in men. Women were not supposed to ride bicycles, wear trousers. By nature, the Spaniards are serious, gallant, humane, have a great sense of humor and the ability to work in a team. When communicating, they talk very quickly and loudly enough. And even if you know Spanish, you will not always be able to communicate with people due to some differences in dialects of different regions. The Spaniards are noisy, but open and friendly. The tendency of the Spaniards to be late is the subject of numerous jokes.

Since Spaniards like to talk a lot, the rules of meetings are often not observed. Anyone entering into negotiations with Spanish firms should arm himself with endless patience and knowledge of certain methods of their work. Siesta is the most favorite of all Spanish activities. Two hours of sleep in the afternoon are so holy. During the siesta hours, business life in the country freezes. You can understand the Spaniard, but for this it is necessary to learn that he puts his own pleasure above all else. Everything that does not bring it does not exist for the Spaniard. "Paseo" - an evening walk around the city to see friends, is an ancient Spanish tradition. "Oshio" is an idle conversation after a walk. Spaniards like to chat and indulge in "osio" at any time, but invariably in the middle of the street.

Very popular among the Spaniards is still "cante Honda" (monotonous singing, a variety of flamenco), which has a four hundred years of history. When the Spaniards don't sing, they dance. Dances (Sevillean, flamenco) are distinguished by their expressiveness and passion. In Seville - a dance with complex rhythmics, passionate lovers from Seville tell about their love and hatred (several quick kisses, endless tap dance and frightening look). In flamenco, a man and a woman dancing in high heels aim to dance each other to death. Sardana is a favorite Catalan round dance. Fandango is an Andalusian dance performed with endless trampling and knocking of castanets.