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Holidaying in Spain:Madrid and Barcelona

Spain, storied land of Don Quixote, is blessed with a delightful climate, relaxed people and a culture that makes wining and dining an art form. Accommodation:from cheap stays to luxury resorts Check on the internet for the range, location and cost of hotels in Spain Madrid:royal city of artists Madrid lacks the antiquity of other European capitals. It only became the capital in the second half of the 16th century when Phillip II plucked it from obscurity to become the seat of his court. Transport: getting there and getting around Barajas, Madrid's huge modern airport, offers metro connections to downtown. The metro is a great way to get around the city and there are also buses. Plus, the compact city centre is good for walking and taxis are cheap.

climate Generally, just about everywhere in Spain is pleasant from April to early November. However temperatures can drop to freezing in Madrid between December and February while in July and August the city smoulders with temperatures above 30 C. Accommodation Check on the internet for the range, location and cost of Madrid hotels events:what's on and what's hot Festivals are part of the fabric Spanish social life and the best held between Semana Santa (the week before Easter Sunday) and from September to October. *Carnevale (February to March), *the Fiesta de la Comunidad de Madrid (2 May) *Fiestas de San Isidro (15 May) *If bullfights are to your taste, you can head to the world's biggest bullfighting ring, the Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas. The season begins in February with main event being the mid-May feria, a four week bullfighting extravaganza during the festival of San Isidro.

Barcelona:homage to Catalonia After a 20 year transformation, Barcelona is now a vibrant and fashionable metropolis though still rooted in the traditional Spanish spirit. Transport:getting there and getting around Barcelona airport is 7.5 miles southwest of the city. It receives many direct flights from North America and Europe. You can also get there by international train or by ferry from the Balearic Islands and Italy. The metro is the fastest and easiest way to get around the inner city area. Barcelona is pedestrian-friendly, too. Climate: Pleasant for most of the year with best weather from May to the end of July. September is also good. Temperatures in August can reach 34°C, perfect for a siesta.

October and November are a little cooler with a chance of rain. January is the coldest month with maximum temperatures averaging 13°C. Accommodation:from cheap stays to luxury resorts Check on the internet for the range, location and cost of Barcelona hotels Events:what's on and what's hot Barcelona celebrates 15 official holidays a year. These include all major Catholic festivals together with New Year's Day, Labour Day and Spanish National Day on 12 October). *Carnaval in February-March is a ten-day long event featuring dancing and fancy-dress parades. *Dia de Sant Jordi on 23 April celebrates Catalunya's patron saint. *Festival del Grec, held from late June to August, features music, dance and theatre. *Festes de la Merce, celebrated around 24 September, features concerts, dancing, a cross-harbour swimming race, and a (fire race). *International Jazz Festival from late October through to the end of November.


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