• Architecture: Moorish buildings, Gaudí
  • Music / Dance: Guitar, Flamenco
  • Food: Tapas, wine,paella, cava (sparkling wine, catalonia)

Fun facts:

  • Asturias and the Basque County: the only parts of Spain never conquered by the Moors.


  • Ría: estuary


High Speed Rail

  • AVE: long distance
  • Avant: mid distance
  • Alvia: mixed high-speed and conventional

High Speed Low Cost

  • Avlo (by Renfe): Madrid Atocha - Zaragoza-Delicias - Barcelona Sants
  • Ouigo (by SNCF): Madrid Atocha - Zaragoza–Delicias - Tarragona - Barcelona Sants.

Al Andalus train: sightseeing train, 7 days and 6 nights.

Renfe Feve: narrow-gauge trains.

Euromed: Barcelona-Valencia-Alicante


Spanish Capital since 1561


  • Palacio: the Madrid's oldest neighborhood. Palacio Real (Royal Palace). Muhammad I established the city's first military post in the 9th century.

2 main train stations: Atocha and Chamartin


  • Retiro Park, Palacio de Cristal.
  • Casa de Campo: campo = countryside. The largest park in Madrid, 5 times the size of New York Central Park. Used to be the royal family's hunting estate.
  • Parque del Oeste (Western Park)
    • Temple of Debod: Ancient Egyptian temple & museum moved from Aswan & rebuilt in lush parkland.


  • Plaza Mayor (Town square): once the centre of Old Madrid. First built (1580–1619) during the reign of Philip III.
  • Puerta del Sol: This is the centre (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads. A few blocks away from Plaza Mayor.
  • Plaza del Callao: located at the center of Madrid. To remember the Battle of Callao in 1866 between Spain and Peru. Callao is Peru's chief seaport and home to Lima's airport.
  • Plaza de España (Spain Square)


  • Prado (classico)
  • Reina sofia (contemporary)
  • thyssen-bornemisza
  • Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida: burial place of the famouse artist Francisco de Goya.
  • Museo Cerralbo: Cerralbo Museum
  • Museo del Traje: Costume Museum
  • Museo Arqueológico Nacional: National Archaeological Museum


  • Calle de la Cava Baja
  • calle Ponzano


  • Gran Vía ("Great Way") street is a street in central Madrid, Spain. It leads from Calle de Alcalá, close to Plaza de Cibeles, to Plaza de España; sometimes referred to as the "Spanish Broadway"


  • Aranjuez:"Oasis of Castille"
  • Ávila: walled city, Muralla de Ávila, Los Cuatro Postes, Saint Teresa.
  • El Escorial: a medieval town, royal residence on a hill. Northwest of Madrid.
  • Toledo:
    • The ancient capital of Spain. City of Three Cultures (Muslims, Jews and Christians).
    • 30 min from Madrid by AVE.
    • Alcázar de Toledo. Alcázar = al-qasr, Arabic for "fortress".
  • Sigüenza: an ancient university town.
  • Segovia: a military town in Roman times; a textile center by the Moors; captured by the Christians in 1805, a royal residence.


  • Casa a la Malicia: illegally constructed apartments from the 16th to 18th century; asymmetrical, randomly placed windows.


  • La Rambla: a notable street, the main avenue of the old city. Between Plaça de Catalunya and the port.
    • Mercado de La Boqueria: famous market.
    • Plaça Reial
    • Palau Güell (Güell Palace) designed by Gaudí.
    • Monument a Colom (Columbus Monument)
    • Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter): Barcelona's most ancient quarter; a maze of cobblestone streets.
  • Museu Picasso de Barcelona (Picasso Museum)
  • La Sagrada Familia: designed by Gaudí.
  • Parc Güell: filled with mosaics Gaudí designed. (near Vallarca metro stop)
  • Plaça de Tibidado: the highest point in Barcelona.

Excursions from Barcelona

  • Abadia de Montserrat (Abbey of Montserrat)
  • Lleida
  • Blanes: 1 hr train, Costa Brava; Beaches.


  • the capital and largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia.
  • the fourth-largest city in Spain (after Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia)
  • the only river port in Spain.


  • Torre del Oro: built around 1220.


  • Alhambra: Moorish palaces.

Islands and Autonomous cities

  • Canary Islands
  • Balearic Islands (Ibiza)

2 autonomous cities: (both bordered by Morocco)

  • Ceuta
  • Melilla


  • Camino de Santiago to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia; an old Christian pilgrimage route (St. James). Pilgrims crossed Europe to this finis terrae ("world's end").
    • The cathedral holds the remains of the apostle James. (St. James in Spanish = Santiago)
  • Rías Baixas: a series of four estuarine inlets located on the southwestern coast of Galicia. The largest global producer of Albariño wine. (Albariño is the Galician name for the grape, In Portugal it is known as Alvarinho.)


  • Córdoba Mosque: candy cane-striped double arches.
  • Rioja wine.
  • Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida
  • Cuenca: hanging houses Casas Colgadas de Cuenca
  • Aqueduct of Segovia: Roman aqueduct, standing for more than 2,000 years.
  • Pueblos blancos: white villages on Andalusian hilltops.

Outdoor activities:

  • Parque Nacional de Los Picos de Europa: northern coast.
  • Pyrenees: the mountain range between Spain and France (and Andorra). Ski.


  • Celts arrived from the north
  • Phoenicians founded Gadir (Gádiz)
  • Greeks settled parts of the east coast.
  • Carthaginians founded Cartegena aounr 225 BC.
  • Roman expelled the Carthaginians.
  • early 5th century, Visigoths (an early Germanic people) replaces the weakening Roman Empire, established their kingdom at Toledo.
  • The Moors crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in 711 AD and swept through Spain.
  • Córdoba was the capital of the Muslim caliphate in Spain.
  • 1085 Alfonso VI of Castile captured Toledo
  • Catheolic Monarchs - Ferdinand of Aragón and Isabella of Castile - were joined in a marriage.
  • 1492: Granada surrendered and the Moorish reign was over. Christian forces unifed all of present-day Spain as a single kingdom.
  • Columbus's voyage to Americas.
  • the war of the Spanish Succession (1700-1714)
  • early 19th century, War of Independence, fighting Napolenic troops.
  • Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)


  • Muhammad I of Córdoba 822-886. born in Córdoba; the Umayyad emir of Córdoba from 852 to 886
  • Philip II of Spain: 1527-1598. The Philippine Islands is named after him. El Escorial as his palace.
  • Philip III of Spain (Felipe III) 1578-1621

Travel government operated upscale hotels, in historical buildings.