The Rough Guide to Spain (2nd Edition)
AbeBooks Member Since 1996
AbeBooks Member Since 1996
About this Item
Title: The Rough Guide to Spain (2nd Edition)
Publisher: TBS The Book Service Ltd
Publication Date: 1985
Book Condition:Very Good
About this title
This update looks at what's new in this thrilling land, including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and all the latest hotspots in metropolitan Madrid and Barcelona. No corner of Spain is unexplored -- from beaches to mountains to the Balearic islands -- each with detailed, critical reviews to make the most of your trip.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Where to go: some highlights
The identity and appeal of each of the regions is explored in the chapter introductions, and, if you're travelling around, there's a lot to be said for concentrating on one or two provinces, getting a feel for their individuality and character. If you want a broader sweep, though, definite highlights of Spanish travel include:
Barcelona. The Catalan capital is a must for the fantasy architecture of Antoni Gaud; the great promenading street of the Ramblas; the Picasso museum; designer clubs and nightlife, par excellence; and, not least, FC Barcelona - the football team.
Madrid is not as pretty as Barcelona, by a long way, but has an irrepressible style and fantastic bars, both traditional and modern, plus three of Spain's top art galleries - the Prado, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Centro Reina Sofa.
Sevilla. Home of flamenco and all the clichs of the Spanish south; beautiful city quarters and major Christian and Moorish monuments; extraordinary festivals in Easter week, and, afterwards, at the April fera. Toledo. Capital of medieval Spain and stunningly preserved, with synagogues, former mosques and an amazing cathedral; also houses a number of works by El Greco.
Salamanca. Spain's oldest university city remains a small, largely academic place, untouched by suburbs, and packed with Gothic and Renaissance buildings. Moorish monuments. The best are in the Andalucan cities: the Alhambra palace in Granada, perhaps the most sensual building in Europe; the Mezquita, a former mosque, in Crdoba; and the Alczar and Giralda tower in Sevilla.
Cathedrals, churches and monasteries. A tour of the top five Gothic cathedrals will take you through the Castilian cities of Toledo, Len, Burgos, Salamanca and Segovia. Gorgeous Romanesque churches are to be found along the pilgrim route to Santiago, particularly in the Pyrenees, whilst Oviedo and the province of Asturias are home to the unique pre-Romanesque style. The faade of the great Santiago de Compostela is the highpoint of Spanish Baroque, Aragn has superb Mudjar (Moorish-crafted) churches and towers, and the palace-monastery of El Escorial is the greatest expression of the late Renaissance in Spain.
Beaches. There is a lot more to Spanish beaches than the over-developed costas. Excellent and much less frequented strands are to be found around Cdiz and Almera in the south, and along the Asturian and Galician coasts in the north. If you want action and nightlife, it's hard to beat the island of Ibiza, one of the clubbing capitals of the world.
Medieval towns. Small-scale towns, once grand, now hardly significant, are often Spain at its best. Rewarding itineraries could include: Ciudad Rodrigo (Old Castile), Baeza and beda (Andaluca), Trujillo and Cceres (Extremadura), Albarracn (Aragn) and Santillana (Cantabria).
Roman sites. Mrida has the most significant sites and a superb museum; Segovia's aqueduct is stunning; other rewarding Roman ruins and sites include Italica (near Sevilla), Carmona, Tarragona and Empries.
Trekking. Key areas are the Picos de Europa in Cantabria and Asturias, and the Pyrenees, which spread across Euskadi, Aragn (where you'll find perhaps the best areas) and Catalunya.
Wildlife and national parks. Favourite parks include Monfrage (in Extremadura) and Ordesa (in the Aragonese Pyrenees). For more details, see the Contexts section of this book.
When to go
Overall, spring and autumn are ideal times for a trip - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The high plains of the centre suffer from fierce extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a temperate pattern with depressions rolling in off the ocean, a permanent tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round, and in parts of Andaluca positively subtropical, attracting off-season visitors even in December.
In high summer the other factor worth considering is tourism itself. Spain plays host to some thirty million tourists a year - one for every resident - and all the betterknown resorts are packed from June to September, as are the major sights. August, Spain's own holiday month, sees the coast at its most crowded and the cities, by contrast, half empty - and half-closed. Whatever time of year, though, smaller, inland towns see few visitors, and, as noted above, there are beaches beyond the major holiday costas. There's no need to feel trapped.
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