Spain is a diverse and fascinating country, where gorgeous landscapes, stunning architecture and passionate culture combine to form a unique identity. But with so many different places to explore, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, with the right car rental deal, a road trip around Spain is an easy and enjoyable experience.
From its earliest days, the country – which was called Iberia, Hesperia or Hispania – was famous for its wealth in natural resources. Even in the early 20th century, it boasted a large number of world-class mineral deposits. These provided the basis for economic development in certain regions, particularly Andalusia and the Basque Country, which grew rapidly thanks to the mining industry.
Nevertheless, the country was plagued by problems. In particular, the agrarian problem – which was worsened by latifundismo – was not resolved, and the level of capital investment in heavy industry was low, due to the limited availability of funds. In addition, the dynastic crisis created a power vacuum that was filled by three groups of patriots with different ideas about the nature of the Spanish nation. Some defended a return to an absolutist regime (1815-1819), others supported the King’s reactionary brother, Don Carlos (known as Carlists) and a third group embraced moderate or doctrinarian liberal ideas.
Spain is one of the most geographically and climatologically varied countries in Europe, with mountains, deserts, lakes and fertile plains. The country’s diverse geography also means it is home to a huge diversity of wildlife, with over 400 species of bird and numerous marine mammals. In addition, the Iberian Peninsula and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla are significant stopover sites for birds on their migration between their breeding grounds in the north of Europe and their wintering places in Africa.
The natural fluvial regime in Spain mainly depends on the pattern of precipitation, determining the proportion of surface water and groundwater runoff. The morphological characteristics of the terrain and human intervention in the form of dams and dikes have further determined the hydrographic structure of the country.
Spain is a vast country that spans over 506,030 square kilometres. The main territory of Spain includes the Iberian Peninsula, plus the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and the two cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. In terms of population, it is the second largest European nation, with approximately 50 million people. The majority of the population lives in urban areas. There is also a substantial minority of people living in rural areas and the north of the country. The southern part of the peninsula has a warmer climate than the north, which makes it a popular holiday destination. This is especially true in summer, when temperatures are higher. The southern coast also receives a great deal of sunshine. This is why the tourist industry is so important for Spain. In fact, it is the biggest employer in the economy. A large number of tourists come to Spain from across the globe every year.