Equals Great Vacations
Perhaps one of the nicest sensations about Spain tourism is finding solace in the seemingly endless expanse of ultra-marine blue sea, with the sun sparkling off gently undulating waves.
Other people must agree that the country has something special to offer, for Spain is now the third most popular holiday destination in the world, attracting over 50 million visitors a year, the majority returning time and again.
Perhaps the most important thing for the ordinary man-in-the-street is that Spain offers good value for money - it is affordable and, if you look around, some good, cheap vacations can be found.
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SPAIN TOURISM - ITS BIRTH
The Spanish tourist industry really took off in the 1960s with the birth of the popular package holiday deal. In those days, it was mainly to the Mediterranean beaches that the people flocked for sun, sea, sand and sangria.
The combination of cheap air tickets, accommodation and meals at a price the ordinary man-in-the-street could afford was irresistible and the Mediterranean, or "a sea among land", took flight.
Tourists from northern climes who had suffered the biting cold, persistent drizzle and low, grey clouds of their own climes were bewitched by Spain s more sublime climate ... for the ordinary hard-working public, it must have seemed like a little taste of paradise.
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SPAIN TOURISM - 50 YEARS ON
Nearly 50 years later, Spain tourism is still going from strength to strength and the marvellous climate of the country, its immense stretches of golden beaches, and some of the most affordable hotels in the Mediterranean ensure that the masses keep returning to the country for relatively cheap vacations.
However, Spain tourism has not stood still: it has developed and matured. Its hotels have improved, the presentation of its marvellous cuisine has been adapted to suit more sophisticated tastes and, while visitors still rush to Spain s Mediterranean shores in their millions, this is no longer the only type of holiday on offer.
Spain is not just a country of beautiful beaches but a land rich in history, culture and art, with many of its cities offering fascinating museums and monuments, coupled with fine hotels and a sophisticated environment.
On the other hand, should you wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Spain s rural or eco-tourism could interest you. It is not a very well-known fact as to how green are its valleys nor the healthy lushness of its northern coastline, nor is the incredible wild-life of Spain s several natural parks fully appreciated.
The country has also been busy renovating more and more of its spas, and building large, new health and beauty complexes to supply an increasing demand from the public who now wish to improve their health/appearance as part of their holiday package.
For those who prefer to avoid the stereo-typed hotel chains, there are innumerable villas or aprtments for rent in Spain.
Or, why not try the state-established paradores, developed to promote Spain tourism in some magnificent locations such as converted castles, palaces and fortresses, and offering comfort and style, not to mention value for money.
Instead of just coming for the summer sun, perhaps you should also try a Christmas in Spain at one of the fabulous ski resorts in the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada?
There are plenty of other activity holidays on offer too: as well as the usual water sports, Spain is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for golf, not to mention hiking, pony treking, cycling, canooing, etc.
One thing is for sure, if you avoid the peak season periods of Easter, Christmas, July and August, you should be able to pick up a discount air ticket and cheap vacations in some of Spain s top tourist destinations.
Even in high season, there are usually incredible holiday bargains and reasonably cheap vacations to be had. And, for those who decide to hire a car and travel beyond the main Spain tourism areas, they will uncover a veritable treasure trove of rich and varied landscapes.
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