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Spain is a country steeped in culture and rich history. Visitors flock here to take advantage of the dramatic landscapes, tranquil coastlines and of course, the warm climate. When you take these factors into consideration, it is easy to see why this romantic and colourful country has become such a popular relocation destination among those adventurous souls seeking a fresh start.
Things to do
Visitors can explore ancient citadels such as the Alcazaba of Málaga or gaze upon iconic landmarks such as Gaudi's Sagrada Familia - arguably one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The stunning Guggenheim Museum is another example of a building that gained international fame for its ground-breaking architectural design.
Spain is one of the more mountainous nations in Europe and those with a penchant for the outdoors will feel right at home. National parks such as the Sierra Nevada offer a range of spectacular walking routes and treks, and if you prefer to ski down a slope rather than climb one, the Spanish Pyrenees welcomes even the most timid of skiers.
Places to eat
Spanish cuisine is celebrated worldwide. The various regions all have their own culinary specialities and also offer up some of the finest wine on the planet. Tantalise your taste buds with dishes such as paella; a medley of seafood, vegetables, rice and meat. World-class cuisine can also be sampled by visiting various food markets like the Sant Antoni Market and La Boqueria in Barcelona, which are popular with tourists and locals alike for their range of fresh fruit and cooked delicacies.
Some special treats that are worth trying and can be eaten on the go, include churros - a long fried pastry dipped in sugar - and bocadillos - freshly prepared sandwiches that come with a range of fillings. These can often be found at food stalls dotted around the big cities or in the numerous markets that are run each week. Another unique experience that any foodie should attend is the Gastrofestival in Madrid, which runs during the first half of February.
Those with a penchant for shopping will rejoice in Madrid, as it is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Lovers of high class fashion will find themselves exposed not only to the more classical names associated with European fashion (think along the lines of Gucci and Prada), but also a whole host of local designers each offering their own unique take on everything from shoes to handbags and jewellery.
Shoppers who aren't so keen on breaking the bank will be relieved to hear that the familiar high street fashion labels that you can find in the United Kingdom also have a presence in Spain. Retailers like Topshop, Zara and Uniqlo all have a number of stores serving up the latest trends in affordable fashion.
Those looking to find one-off pieces should take the time to explore the many independent boutiques and vintage stores that can be found in the countless winding alleyways of Spain's big cities. One prime location for finding those hidden treasures is in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. The Gothic Quarter is the ancient centre of Barcelona and adventurous shoppers will be able to find numerous shops selling all sorts of odds and ends, as well as a number of charming little bars and eateries.
Getting there & around
Spain's immense popularity with tourists has led to an extensive network of international airports offering affordable and convenient travel to major cities in Spain and further afield.
Britons living in Spain who are looking to visit the UK will benefit from travelling by air as journey times are usually short and tickets are relatively affordable, with some return trips costing as little as £100.
Flights from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport to London are around 2.5 hours. Flights from Barcelona-El Prat Airport to London are even shorter, taking just under 2 hours.
Trains provide travellers with an alternative method to explore the vast beauty of Spain. Although slow, buses are the preferred form of public transport for short distances, especially since certain rural areas are only easily accessible by bus.
Metros are also available in certain cities and provide another simple way for residents and visitors to conveniently travel around the municipality.
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