Spain is a complex country made up of the medieval kingdoms of Asturias, Castile, León, Galicia, Navarra and Aragon and where there are five spoken languages; Castilian Spanish, Gallego (Galician), Euskara (Basque), Catalan and Occitan (an official language of Catalonia). The Kingdom of Spain was formed in 1479 when Aragon and Castile were finally united near the end of the Christian reconquest (Reconquista) of the Iberian Peninsula.
This robust capital, in the center of the country and the Community of Madrid, kilometer zero, is a must stop on anyone's itinerary to Spain regardless of the time of year. It is an elegant city with broad avenues, large manicured parks and rich in art museums such as the big three, the Prado, Reina Sofia National Museum of Modern Art and Thyssen-Bornemisza, and many smaller museums with unique collections such as the Sorolla Museum, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Museo Lázaro Galdiano Foundation, Museo Cerralbo and Fundación Mapfre Recoletos. It's a city with an excellent public transportation system, and some of the countries top restaurants.
Stretching from the snow covered peaks of the Val d'Aran in the Catalan Pyrenees to the rugged wind-swept cliffs and secluded coves of Costa Brava on the Mediterranean Sea, Catalunya, the "land of castles", is a melting pot of cultures. It is also home to the wine growing regions of Penedès, Priorat (Priorato), Montsant, Conca de Barberá, Tarragona, Terra Alta, Costers del Segre, Alella and Empordà.
A land of multicultural diversity, home to flamenco and bullfighting, is where you will also find the great Sherry wines of Jerez and Montilla-Moriles wines, along with UNESCO world heritage sites such as the Great Mosque in Córdoba, Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Alcázar in Sevilla, along with Pescaíto Frito, fried fish from the ancient port cities of Cádiz and Málaga, and some of the worlds best Jamón Ibérico.
Rioja Alavesa, Alta, Oriental
No adventure in Spain would be complete without a visit to Spain's oldest and best known wine region, considered the "benchmark" of Spanish winemaking. The Rioja is a stunningly beautiful and ancient land inhabited since the Neolithic era where you’ll find atmospheric fortress towns sitting on a hill, some with their medieval walls still intact and filled with Noble homes displaying heraldic shields. There are enormous Gothic churches, each with its own amazing, ornately gilded Baroque altarpiece, but seldom seen, because these churches are kept tightly shut other than for mass. Ancient burial markers (dólmenes), scattered about the fields and vineyards, intermix with the wineries; traditional, boutique and the larger, industrial wineries. Here is where you’ll also find a number of charming family run country inns, along with superb Riojan and Basque cuisine.
The Asturian Coast
Considered the first Kingdom of Spain, take a journey along the stunning, verdant 300 km long Asturian coast from Galicia to Cantabria.