This Is the Best Country in the World for a Vacation
The World Economic Forum ranked the best countries for tourism.
Every two years, the World Economic Forum releases a report on the world’s most travel-friendly destinations. This year’s report, titled “The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017: Paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future,” looks at the qualities that make a tourist destination great, including health and hygiene, safety and security, infrastructure, and natural resources.
The crux of the report is the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), which ranks 136 countries based on these qualities. For the second time, Spain has come out on top.
So, what makes Spain so great? If you’re immediately thinking of Gaudí’s architecture in Barcelona, the Camino de Santiago and siestas before sangrias, you’re on the right track.
The European nation earned its title for a combination of cultural and natural qualities (ranking second and ninth, respectively), in addition to accessibility by air and strong tourism infrastructure. (Read More)
Spain's New Ferrari Land Is Disney World for Car Fanatics
If Enzo Ferrari and Walt Disney came together to create a magical theme park, this would be it.
Start your engines. On April 7, Ferrari will welcome guests to Ferrari Land, the newly built sports car attraction just an hour southwest of Barcelona at the PortAventura theme park. Ever wanted to take a spin in one of the fastest cars in history? You're in luck. Ferrari Land will be home to five rides, which from the looks of it will all be painted in the brand's signature red. Clocking in as the tallest roller coaster in Europe, the Vertical Accelerator will launch riders up a towering spike reaching 368 feet at 112 mph in just five seconds.
If speed isn't enough for you, you're likely to enjoy being spontaneously shot up towards the sky on another ride, the Bounce-Back Tower, which resembles the bouncing movements of engine pistons. Of course, an automotive amusement park wouldn't be complete without its own test track, and visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of miniature Ferrari cars and navigate a 1,900 foot circuit. (Read More…)
Madrid is in some ways exactly how you imagine a European city to look and feel. Or better yet, the way you remember Europe as it was, decades before H&M, smartphones, and Starbucks. Ambassador James Costos and interior designer Michael S. Smith, his partner, point out some of their favorite addresses in the Spanish capital.
Restaurante La Trainera
"La Trainera is so old-school and focused on the quality of the fish," Smith says of Madrid's most fabled seafood restaurant, in upscale Barrio Salamanca. "I love it because it is simple and comfortable."
Sobrino de Botín
Steps from the Plaza Mayor, the world's oldest and most famous restaurant—Hemingway was a fan—serves traditional Castilian dishes like roast lamb or suckling pig. But it's the "spare and almost austere beauty of the dining rooms" that Smith finds more evocative of Spanish style.
'Game of Thrones' to Start Filming in Spain's Basque Country
A town of 1,500 on Spain's northern coast may soon receive the Midas touch (or, in this case, the Melisandre touch): Local newspaper El Correo reports that Game of Thrones will film part of season seven—the penultimate season of everyone's favorite sex-war-and-dragons drama—in Barrika on Muriola Beach, starting next month. So far, Mayor Roberto Muñoz is the only one confirming the shoot, and even he says everything is shrouded in "much mystery." But if this tiny Basque town becomes a player in the game, Thrones hysteria may soon flood a new part of Spain.
Tourist Numbers to Spain Jump 12 pct in First Half of 2016
MADRID — The number of tourists visiting Spain jumped by 12 percent in the first six months of 2016, as a mix of economic concerns and fears of extremist attacks continued to drive foreigners away from rival Mediterranean destinations.
Spain's National Statistics Institute said Friday that some 33 million tourists arrived between January and June.
Britons continued to top the list at eight million, up 17 percent. The figure for Germans, at 5 million, was up 7 percent while French visitors increased 8 percent to 4.6 million.
Spain, Europe's most popular destination after France, hosted a record 68.1 million tourists in 2015, almost 5 percent higher than the previous year.
Barcelona is a one-of-a-kind city. It has it all: art, unique architecture and history, delicious cuisine and even sport! Every visitor to Barcelona is guaranteed to fall in love with the pearl of Catalonia. Follow Real Barcelona Tour's guide of the top highlights and be sure to make the most out of your time in Barcelona.
Antoni Gaudi was perhaps the person who made the single most impact on Barcelona's landscape after designing the imposing Roman temple of "Sagrada Familia" now one of the ten top attractions in the city. The highly respected Catalan architect, spent his life observing nature through his window due to a lingering illness which caused him to become housebound. This confinement is believed to have served to some extent as a great inspiration for all of his architectural projects. However, the Sagrada Familia is without doubt an incredible structure and full of symbolism, so we recommend visiting this site with a skip the line guided tour. (Read More…)
Alhambra Palace, Granada
There are many things to do in Granada, Spain - but what will definitely take your breath away is the designated UNESCO World Heritage site castle of Alhambra. Created originally for military purposes, in 899 the Alhambra was an "alcazaba" (fortress), an "alcázar" (palace) and a small "medina" (city), all in one. The city was built chiefly between 1238 and 1358, in the reigns of Ibn al-Aḥmar, founder of the Naṣrid dynasty, and his successors. This outstanding Islamic architecture construction stands out from the rest of Granada's tourist attractions .It features above the city of Granada and its peach-colored brick walls snake round al-Sabikahill, an irresistible lure that has fascinated architects, writers and artists for centuries. The walls that surround the entire hill of La Sabica, which by starlight is, silver but by sunlight is transformed into gold makes this breathtaking monument even more spectacular. The interior of the castle is decorated splendidly with rooms that present a varied repertoire of Moorish arched, columnar, and domical forms surround its series of courtyards. The most important rooms of Alhambra are the Salón de los Embajadoresa spatially grand reception room andtheSala de los Abencerrajes. In the east of the main palace prevails the Generalife, a marvelous construction built during the 14th century as a summer palace .The complex is centered on picturesque courtyards where you can see the special combination of the slender columnar arcades, fountains and the Lion Court in particular, which is considered to be a physical realization of paradise in Islamic poetry.
When you travel to Spain, you can't miss visiting one of the most historical cities of the country. Once the most important Spanish port in the new world, Seville now is a top travel destination known for its longstanding diverse cultural history, bullfighting and flamenco. The capital city of Andalusia lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir river which divides the city in two halves: Sevilla and Triana. The Long presence of the Moors is visible in every corner of Seville by its Renaissance and Baroque buildings that demonstrate its illustrious past. Take advantage of our Seville private tours and explore one of the largest historical centers in Europe which contains three UNESCO world heritage sites .The Alcázar palace complex, with the Heavenly interior decoration and the exotic gardens, the Cathedral which is the final resting place of the remains of Christopher Columbus and its belling tower, a symbol of the city. And the General Archive of the Indies where remarkably valuable archival documents are kept illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire. Besides its important monuments and its tourist attractions, Seville is famous for being a festive city with its lovely bars, cafes and the numberless artisan's workshops. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the district of Triana, by crossing the bridge over the Guadalquívir River, and explore its lively popular quarter with the charming narrow streets around the church of Santa Ana, the traditional ceramic factories and its delicious tapas!
La Sagrada Família, Barcelona
While in Barcelona take a private tour through the work of one of the most famous artists Spain has ever produced. The most important architectural construction in the city, La Sagrada Família, Antoni Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, is Spain's most visited monument and one of Barcelona's most important landmarks attracting about 3 million visitors a year. It is considered as the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the middle ages. A giant basilica designed by the master architect whose body is buried underneath the temple, and has been under construction since 1882. He dedicated more than 40 years to the project, but he never managed to finish it. On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudí is said to have remarked: "My client is not in a hurry." Designed in the shape of a Latin cross with five hubs and three facades, the Glory, the Nativity, and Passion facades, facing south, east, and west respectively. The temple is most famous for its slender towers that rise nearly 100 meters above ground and with pinnacles decorated with ceramics. The crypt and the Nativity façade are considered to be most beautiful elements of the basilica. The best way to explore the church is simply to wander though the interior, a marvelous forest of columns laid out in the style of the great Gothic cathedrals, with a multi-aisled central nave crossed by a transept. The central columns are fashioned of porphyry - perhaps the only natural element capable of supporting the church's projected great dome, which is destined to rise 170m.