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SPAIN: Spain the home of Euro 2008 football champions

With its sun baked stretched of plateaux, high peaked mountains with fertile river valleys and picturesque coastline, it covers an area of over 195,000 square miles — 505,990 square km and occupies most of the Iberian peninsula. It is borded by water for 88 percent of the periphery. The country has so much to offer, both in the way of natural beauty and of priceless tereasures. It is officially known as y the Kingdom of Spain — in Spanish: Reino de España.

Administratively, Spain is divided into 50 provinces, grouped into 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities with high degree of autonomy. These are in "Morocco" on the North African coast — Ceuta and Melilla. The 17 autonomous communities are: Andalusia -Andalucía in the south coast, Galicia -Galiza in the north west, Madrid where the capital in the centre, Extremadura in the south west bordering Portugal, Castile-La Mancha -Castilla-La Mancha south of Madrid, Castile and Leon — Castilla y León north of Extremadura , Valencia and Murcia on south east bordering the Meditteranean, Cataloniain the north east, La Rioja, Principality of Asturias -Principáu d'Asturies in the north, Aragon -Aragón in the north , Basque Country -Euskadi in Basque -País Vasco in the north, Navarre -Nafarroa — Navarra in the north adjoining the Basque Country.

Madrid is the capital city and the largest city in Spain, as well as in the province and the autonomous community of the same name. It is located on the river Manzanares in the center of the country.

Places to visit in Madrid

EL Rastro — large flea market — The meaning of the name ELRastro is "The Stain". Mixture of cheap clothes, household goods and junk. Plaza Mayor — Dating back to 1619 it is one od Spain's most beautiful squares.

Museo Del Prado — Art gallery with over 3,000 paintings by the great Spanish artists ans other European artists.

Plaza De Oriente — Is one of the most famous squares in Madrid, It is ocated opposite Palacio Real (Royal Palace), There are statues of medieval kings and the one that takes centre stage is the equestrian statue of Felipe V. The square will have street performers including violinists. You can watch the changing of the guard at noon on the first Wednesday of the month except in July and August.

Parque Del Buen Retiro A very popular place with the locals and visitors, especially on a Sunday, in the heart of Madrid. It was once purely for the Royality. The park has a lake that is popular with people relaxing in rowing boats.

Estadio Santago Bernabéu — The home of Real Madrid football club that was voted the world's greatest football club of all time by FIFA in 1998.

Other Cities and Towns

Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia, an autonomous community in Spain. It is located in the comarca of Barcelonès, along the Mediterranean coast. It is the location for the Formula One Motor racing Spanish Grand Prix. It was the home of the 1992 Olympics.

Left: La Sagrada Família

Places to visit in Barcelona More detailed information here

La Sagrada Família — Not completed yet, but Spain's most visited sight. Antoni Gaudí's La Sagrada Família Church. La Rambla — Tree lined pedestrian boulevard with street performers and stretches some 1.25 km. Carrer De Montcada — One of the wealthiest streets in Barcelona and home to the Museu Picasso.

Museu Nacional D'Art De Catalunya — Built in 1926-29 as a temporary paviliion for the 1929 World Exhibition and now a permanent home to Catalan art. La Boqueria — A market that is one of Europe's greatest permanent produce fairs selling fruit. vegetables, meat, sweets, nuts and fish.

Circuit de Catalunya — Home of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix . It opened in 1991 and is loacted north west of Barcelona. Mont Juïc — Has several fine museums, including the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and landscaped garden — Jardins de Joan Brossa.

FC Barcelona Camp Nou Stadium — With a capacity of 100,000 in the stadium the club itself was founded in 1899 and is now one of Europe's biggest football clubs.

Park Güell (photo to left) A park on a hill with superb views over Barcelona and out to sea. Antoni Gaudí' designed this park and also lived there for a number of years. The house in now a museum to him. The original plan in 1900 for Eusbi Güell was to convert the 15 hectares of land into 60 blocks for the rich people of Barcelona. By 1914 only three block had been sold. Gaudí' had created 3km of roads and walks including a plazza and two gatehouses. It now remains a Park and is very popular all year round.

Málaga is a port city in Andalucia, southern Spain, on the Costa del Sol coast of the Mediterranean with a large international airport to serve the sourtherm area. Granada is situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains y and the capital of the province of Granada, in the community of Andalusia.See further down this page.


Valencia — València is Spain's third largest city and a port located on the Costa del Azahar.

Places to visit in Valencia

Cathedral - Gothic style is located at the Paza de la Reina. Ciudad De Las Artes Y Las Ciecias - The city of Arts & Sciences - occupies 350,000 square metres of the old Turia riverbed, being predominately the work of architact Santiago Calatrava. It is an exceptionally moderned buildiing built with a curved roof in part.

Museo De Historia De Valencia - is located in the Calle Valencia. Instituto Valenciano De Arte Moderno (IVAM) - This houses 20th century Spanish art.

Museo De Bellas Artes - Is located in the Calle San Pio (translated means the Fine arts museum) has works by Goya, El Greco, Velázquez, Ribalta and more. Plaza Del Mercado - This market was built in 1928.

Plaza De La Virgen - Constructed on the forum of Roman Valencia. Palacio Del Marqués De Dos Aguas - Inside is the Museo Nacional de Cerámica - that displays ceramics from around the world. Torres De Serranos and Torres De Quart - these are the tow twin towered stone gates that are the only part of the old city walls that remain.


Bilbao — Bilbo is the largesr city in the Basque Country and the capital of the province of Biscay and is in the north (Atlantic) coast of the country.

Places to visit in Bilbao

Museo Guggenheim

Left: The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao Northern Spain

This opened in 1997 and transformed Bilbao with this modern architecture. Designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry and in a way to show the paintings exhibited in their best light.

Casco Viejo — Bilbao's old town full of bars, restaurants and shops. At the centre is the 19th century arcaded Plaza Nueva that hosts a lively Sunday market. The Catedral de Santiago complete with its Renaissance portico is located in this area.

Funicular De Artxanda — This is a three minute ride with breathtaking views over Bilbao. Museo De Bellas Artes A much older building than the Guggenheim, the museum houses sculptures, clasical art, 20th century pop art and more.


Murcia is a city and municipality on the river Segura located a few kilometres inland in the south east of the country. It is the capital of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia. The Cathedral de Santa Maria (photo below) was cpmpleted in the 15th century and is the most impressive monument of Murcia.


Seville is the capital of Andalusia and of the province of Sevilla

Places to visit in Seville

Alcázar This is the residence of many generations of kings that originally foundedas a fort in 913. It is located south of of the cathedral and across the Plaza del Triunfo.

Cathedral & La Giralda (photo to left)Along with the Alcázar, the Cathedral and the Giralda make up the trio of must-see attractions in Seville.The Cathedral was built in the 15th and 16th century in Gothic style on the grounds of an Arab mosque. It is the largest place of worship in Spain, and is the biggest Gothic Cathedral in the world. The Giralda is the bell tower of the cathedral and you can climb this by ramp walkways. It is over 90 metres high.

El Arenal is home to some of Seville's most interesting sights. These include Museo De Bellas Artes - fine arts museum, Plaza De Toros De La Real Maestranza - the bullring and Torre Del Oro - 13th century Islamic river bank watchtower.

El Centro is the centre of Seville. There are numerous narrow streets with picturesque squares. The area includes - Casa De Pilatos a fine mansion, Museo Del Baile Flamenco - Flamenco dance museum, Plaza De San Francisco & Calle Sierpes - is Seville's main square and Plaza Salvador - has a baroque church Parroquia del Salvador that was built on the site of a Muslim mosque. Further south of El Centro will be the Parque De María Luisa - This was transformed in 1929 for the International fair. A very tranquil park with over 3,500 trees. Plaza De España has fountains and minicanals. Antigua Fabrica De Tabacas - was a tobacco factory and is now part of the Universidad de Sevilla.


Granada is the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous region of Andalusia. It is famous for being home to the fabulous Alhambra Palace which is widely regarded as being one of the 10 architectural wonders of the world.

Left: Granada

Andalucia, land of the guitar and flamenco: Castile, with its ruined castles in the heart of Spain and Madrid the thriving capital, are all excellent centres. The Costa Brava, Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol are the areas where you will find the majority of holiday home properties.

For the sporting enthusiast, Spain has everything; golf, hunting fishing and plenty of water sports facilities. Further entertainment is provided by the fiestas held annually to commemorate religous and historical events. Finally a very controversial form of entertainment-corrida-the bulfighting, that is held in most main towns throughout the summer.

Talk Radio Europe is an English language talk radio with news, current affairs, interviews, sport and music. Costa Blanca on 88.2fm/105.1fm/95.3fm: Costa del Sol on 88.9fm/91.9fm: Costa Calida on 92.7fm: Costa Almeria on 89.0fm: Mallorca on 103.9fm and live via their website Here

TO ENTER THE MAIN SITE for Self catering holiday rentals in Spain CLICK HERE


Fact file Barcelona - What to see - Where to go CLICK HERE


THE BALEARICS: Ibiza, Menorca,Mallorca(Majorca) and Formentera are these islands off the east coast of Spain. The largest is Mallorca with its capital Palma and it has one of the busiest airports of European holiday destinations. Ibiza is famous for its lively nightlife, although this is largely confined to San Antonio in the north.

The largest is Mallorca with its capital Palma and it has one of the busiest airports of European holiday destinations. The main towns and attracvtions are: Pollença and Puerto de Pollença, Cala de San Vicente, Playa de Formentor ( fabulous beaches), The medieval town of Alcudia, Manacor, Porto Cristo, Cala Millor, Artá, Llucmajor and Felanitx are amongst the great selection of places to visit.

Ibiza is famous for its lively nightlife, although this is largely confined to San Antonio in the north and ther authorities have clamped down on heavy drinking in the last few years. Other major towns on Ibiza are Ibiza Town,Santa Eulària and other places to see are:Santa Eulalia, Sant Miquel, Cala de Sant Vicent, Cueva des Cuieram and San José.

Minorca - The major towns are Maó and Ciutadella.Other places to visit are: Torret, Sant Lluis, Cala d'es Rafalet, Alaior, Mercadal, Santo Tomás, Santa Galdana, Ferreries , Arenal d'en Castell and Fornells.

Formentera is the smallest and most southerly island of the Balearic Islands group with a surface area of 90 sq. km The island can only be reached by ship, so relatively few tourists come to this location, making it a much quieter place than the other islands in the region. It is known for the fact that nude sunbathing is allowed on many of its beaches.The sea is visible from practically any point of the island.Formentera is the only town. Some of the villages are — La Sabina — the port, Las Salinas, San Francisco Javier, San Fernando and La Mola.

The Islands form one of the Autonomous Communities of Spain, the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands. The Community's capital city is Palma de Mallorca. Its only province is also called Illes Balears.

The island have an excellent climate with some 300 days of sun per year that enclourage visitors throughout the year.

In addition there is the small island of Cabrera It was declared nature preserve in 1991. You will need a permission to visit the island.You can make arrangements in Mallorca, but no dogs are allowed and you should bring your own food and drink as there is only a small canteen cafe there.

TO ENTER THE MAIN SITE for Self catering holiday rentals in The Baleric Islands CLICK HERE


CANARY ISLANDS: Are made up of seven islands. Tenerife, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Gomera and Hierro. They have an average year round temperature of 23 degrees centigrade making them a very popular location to take a holiday in.

They are very much part of Spain, but at the same time in a world of their own benefiting from year round sunshine and cooling sea breezes. Each island has its own distinctive ambience. In Lanzarote for example the landscape is volcanic wheras in La Gomera it has jungle type of vegetation.

The fastest growing holiday destination is Fuerteventura - It has white sandy beaches and is a watersports enthusiast's dream destination. It is ideal for windsurfing all year round with the strong offshore breezes and often 350 days of sunshine each year.

Lanzarote with its volcanic landscapes is the eastern most of the Canary Islands. It is only 70 miles from Africa and is popular with northern Europeans looking for somewhere warm in the middle of winter. Originally discovered some 700 years ago by Genoese naval Captain Lanzarotti Malocello who then named the island after himself. The volcanic landscape is often compared to the moon, however there are green areas with championship golf courses. You can also ride camels across sand dunes. Truly a place full of contrasts.

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. The capital of the island and seat of the cabildo insular (island government) is Santa Cruz. Most of thetourism is concentrated more in the south of the island, which is hotter and drier and especially around Playa de las Americas, and Los Cristianos. The coastal development has grown northwards recently from Playa de las Americas and now encompasses the former small enclave of La Caletta. In the north of the island the main development for tourism has been in the town of Puerto de la Cruz .

Gran Canaria is the third largest island in the group. It is located southeast of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the capital. Most tourists stay in the south of the island, which is sunnier and has less rain than the north. The north tends to be cooler while the south is warmer and sunny. The east coast of the island is flat dotted with beaches while the western coast is rockier and mountainous.

La Gomera is the second smallest island. San Sebastián is the Island's capital. The island is roughly circular, about 22 kilometres in width.

La Palma has an area of 706 square kilometres. Santa Cruz de la Palma is the capital that is located in the east.

Above: The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao Northern Spain

Currency: Euro - (€)

Electricity Voltage: 230v European 2 prong round plug.

Telephone Country Code: + 34 including Balearics and Cannary Islands

Emergency Telephone number: pan-EU Emergency 112 Can be used in all EU Countries and it can be dialled from a locked mobile or a mobile with no sim card.

Population 2006: 40,341,462 - Land Area: 504,782 Km2

General Driving Tips (some information supplied by Holiday Autos)

Driving: Drive on the RIGHT

Speed limits : Towns: 31 mph/50kmh, outside built up areas: 56-62mph/90-100 kmh, motorways: 74mph/120kmh Please note - March 2011 The maximum speed limit on Spanish motorways was 120kph (75mph) and this has been reduced to 110kph (68mph) on a temporary basis as of the 7th March.

Autopista - autovía: Motorways and dual carriage ways - the autopistas are generally faster and have wider lanes. A lot of motorways in Spain are toll roads. Maxiumum speed is 120kph.

Drink and driving: Blood alcohol limit is 0.5g/l.blood opposed to 0.8/l.blood in the UK. The police can carry out spot checks. Depending on how much you are over the limit, you willreceive a hefty fine, lose points on your licence and have your licence suspended for a minimum of three months.

Speed Cameras (Radares) At the end of 2009 there are just over 500 of these compared to 6,000 in the UK. Many drivers will flash their headlights to warn about an upcoming police speed trap.

On uneven (odd) dates in one-way streets in towns, vehicles should be parked on the side of the road where the houses bear uneven numbers. On the side where houses bear an even number, parking is allowed on these dates.

Drivers in Spain who wear glasses must carry a spare pair with them at all times.

Motorists must carry a set of replacement bulbs.

Reflective vests are also complusory (like in France, Belgium and Italy) - In Spain you must carry reflective vests for all occupants).

Triángulo de peligo - Warning triangles - You must also carry two warning triangles. If you have a breakdown on the motorway, you must place one of them 50 metres ahead of the vehicle and one behind. You must wear your reflective vest(above) to do this. On roads with two way traffic you must place one behind and the other in front.

Overtaking - Adelantar You must never overtake where there is a single or double white solid line. Outside built-up areas, signal your intention to overtake by sounding your horn in the daytime or by flashing headlights at night.

Stationary trams may not be overtaken when passengers are boarding or alighting.

It is compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts if fitted.

Carnet de conducir - Driving licence - A Spanish drivers licence must be renewed every 10 years unitil the age of 45 and then every five years from 45 to 70. After that it has to be renewed every two years. Each time that you renew your licence you must have a medical examination -Revisión médica. If you hold a British licence for example you must still have a medical certificate that costs around  35.

Since 2006 Spain has had a points system Carnet de puntos. Everybody except novice drivers started out with 12, if you don't upset the Guardia Civil or municipal police for 3 years you can win back points or earn extra ones.

Grúa are the vehicles that remove and illegally parked car and the Depósito Municapal is the car pound it will be taken off to. To release the car can cost in the region of up to  140 plus a fixed fine of around  80.

Multa - Fines Non residents can be spot fined up to  300 for a range of traffic offences. These include driving or having a passenger without a seatbelt, talking on a mobile phone whilst driving or obstructive parking. Residents will be sent a boletin de denuncia.

Spanish Highway Code - Normas are the rules and regulations, there are almost 700 of these.

Señales de tráfico - Traffic signs - These are mostly of the general European (excluding the Republicy of Ireland) type.There are local variations like pedestrian crossing signs etc.

Sat Nav: Known as GPS

Car and Vehicle insurance in Spain

Information below is provided in good faith, but as conditions are always changing, professional advice should be sort before arranging insurance.The information should not be relied on for accuracy.All vehicles must have at least third party insurance. Proof of insurance must be carried at all times. There are penalties for drivers of vehicles without valid insurance.

Types Motor of Insurance in Spain

Spanish insurance policies may differ to other countries standards, including EU countries. For example when a car is considered a write-off in Spain the insurance company will only refund a percentage of the value.

  • It is obligatory for all cars to have - at least - third party, fire and theft insurance (part comprehensive). This is called: Seguro de terceros o de responsabilidad civil obligatoria
  • Fully comprehensive "all risks" insurance (Seguro a todo riesgo) is available and often obligatory when leasing a car or buying on hire purchase
  • Optional driver and passenger insurance (Seguro de ocupantes) provides compensation for loss of earnings and death. Special insurance may be required for exceptional contents and accessories

The Spanish insurance system operates on a no-claims bonus (bonification/sistema bonus-malus). In order to benefit evidence of no prior claims will need to be provided. It can significantly reduce the cost of insurance. The insurance premium may be reduced by electing to pay an excess (franquicia).

If an accident is caused by an uninsured vehicle, the damaged/injured party is entitled to compensation from the Insurance Compensation Pool (Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros).

If the car is registered in another country, a Green Card, (certificado internacional de seguro de automovil) must be carried in the vehicle.

Insuring an EU registered car in Spain

If the car spends over six months of the year in an EU country other than Spain it is necessary to take out a European insurance policy with the home insurer. EU regulations mean that all vehicles must be insured in the country in which they are registered. Therefore if the car is (for example) UK-registered it cannot be insured with a Spanish company. The vehicle can, however, be insured with a British insurer in Spain, by using the Spanish branch of a UK insurance company.

As the law stands a foreign registered car can spend six months per calendar year on Spanish roads without any additional paperwork. It can remain in Spain indefinitely as long as it is garaged on private land (not left on the roadside) for six months per year. The vehicle will need to maintain a valid roadworthiness (MOT in the UK).

To register a car in Spain it needs to be deregistered in the country of origin then re-registered with the authorities in Spain.

ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos )Vehicle Roadworthiness Test in Spain.

The ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos) is the roadworthiness test of a motor vehicle in Spain. It is the equivalent of an MOT in the UK. ITV tests are compulsory and may only be undertaken by an authorised garage. The test exists to ensure that the vehicle is not a hazard on the road. It is compulsory for a vehicle in use to be roadworthy.

  • All cars are first tested after four years and must be inspected and tested every two years thereafter (like in France and Ireland) until the age of 10
  • A car over 10 years of age must be tested annually
  • Motorcycles are first tested after four years, after which the test is due every two years

If a vehicle has been involved in a serious accident, it should undergo an ITV test after repair to establish whether the repair has been carried out correctly.

Foreign Vehicles

Vehicle roadworthiness is not transferable across the EU countries. A car imported into Spain must pass the Spanish ITV test before it can be registered in Spain; likewise, the ITV of an an exported Spanish registered car will not be valid in another country.

N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. ©jml property Services 12-09

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