TOURISM in CITY.- HISTORY AND CULTURE
11 Jul 2018

TOURISM in CITY.- HISTORY AND CULTURE

City tourism brings new experiences and knowledge to the visitor.

When planning and preparing holidays, the options that are presented to us are multiple and varied. It is important to highlight our personal preferences on the one hand and the budget of the other, at the time of defining or choosing our destination.

City tourism is one of the most interesting proposals that allows you to get to know other cultures, other customs or get acquainted with the cultural, tourist, leisure, recreational or even the local gastronomic offerings. It is the pleasure of taking a tour of the different cities or most emblematic capitals that will bring us new experiences and knowledge.

In the early 20th century, cities started to be aware of themselves as tourist attractions; those that reacted to this phenomenon enjoyed an economic boost thanks to the activities they provided to visitors. All major cities attracted tourism and this meant a change in the way people not only lived but also perceived cities. Travel becomes an important element in people’s lives.

Urban Tourism becomes an area of interest during the 80s. The birth of low cost airlines has also brought an increased interest in cities and their development in terms of tourism, for example European cities had to adapt their marketing activities to attract a new type of product: city breaks.

In the Iberian peninsula are treasures of incalculable artistic, historical and cultural value. The patrimonial wealth is endorsed by UNESCO, whose list of World Heritage property includes more than 45 Spanish cultural and natural treasures, such as cave paintings from the Altamira Cave or the Camino de Santiago. It also has more than fifteen properties declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, such as flamenco , the Human Towers or Fallas de Valencia.

The territory has countless natural sites, castles, palaces, cathedrals, festivals and traditions where world-renowned museums such as the Prado and Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Guggenheim in Bilbao stand out. Great examples of architectural avant-garde, such as the Guggenheim Museum building or the Torre Agbar in Barcelona, ​​also have their emblematic place.

Large cities known throughout the world, interior destinations full of charm, towns on the coast to enjoy the sea and places to discover are the great attractions of this tourist destination.

We highlight some cities that the visitor should contemplate in his road book:

Madrid is a cosmopolitan city that combines the most modern infrastructures and the status as an economic, financial, administrative and service centre, with a large cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of exciting history.

Seville has a rich Moorish heritage, and used to be a prosperous port that carried out trade with the Americas. The streets and squares in the historic quarter of the capital of Andalusia are lively and busy. They treasure many constructions that have the World Heritage designation, and many districts are full of traditional culture, like Triana and La Macarena.

Bilbao is the centre of the economic-social development and the main factor of the modernisation of the Bay of Biscay. The great architectural and infrastructure projects have been the driving force of the urban and economic regeneration of the city. The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Conference and Music Centre, Norman Foster’s Underground, Calatrava’s airport, the towers designed by the architects Arata Isozaki and César Pelli… are all examples of the dynamism that exists in Bilbao.

Malaga is an excellent destination for those who want to learn more about the art of flamenco. What’s more, simply by strolling around its historic centre visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s heritage, with monuments like the cathedral, a fine example of an Andalusian Renaissance church; the Alcazaba, a 10th-century Arab palace-fortress; and the Roman Theatre.

Mérida is heir to a splendid Roman past. Its theatre, its amphitheatre and its temple dedicated to the goddess Diana make this former capital of Roman Lusitania one of the best conserved archaeological sites in Spain, and has earned it the declaration of World Heritage site.

Santiago de Compostela is in Galicia region. Millions of people from all over the world come to this city every year, many of them reaching the end of the Way of Saint James pilgrimage route. Its historic centre has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

 

In Catalonia, the spectacular beaches in areas such as the Costa Brava, its world-class gastronomy, and the works of famous artists such as Gaudí and Dalí all make this region one of Spain’s most popular destinations.

There are many tourist icons, unique buildings in Barcelona, “the capital of Modernism” such as the Sagrada Familia Cathedral or the Palau de la Música Catalana Auditorium, the outstanding archaeological site at Tarraco, the monastery of Poblet in Tarragona or the churches of the Boí valley in Lleida, all declared World Heritage sites by the UNESCO.

Visitors should also make a point of stopping off at the spectacular beaches of the Costa Dorada, Costa Barcelona and Costa Brava, with such internationally renowned resorts as Salou, Sitges, Tossa de Mar, Cadaqués, Lloret de Mar and Roses. Catalonia also has numerous marine resorts which are ideal for indulging in a whole range of water activities.

Barcelona is a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan city with Roman remains, medieval quarters and the most beautiful examples of 20th century Modernism and avant-garde. It is no surprise that emblematic constructions by the Catalan architects Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Doménech i Montaner have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

The city’s origins are Roman, and its long history and economic dynamism have made Barcelona a cultural city, which can be seen in the historic-artistic heritage and the promotion of the most innovative artistic trends. The city itself was founded by the Romans who set up a colony called Barcino at the end of the 1st century BC. The colony had some thousand inhabitants and was bounded by a defensive wall, the remains of which can still be seen in the old town.

The 20th century ushered in widespread urban renewal throughout Barcelona city, culminating in its landmark Eixample district, which showcases some of Barcelona’s most distinctive Catalan art-nouveau, or modernista, buildings. The Catalan Antoni Gaudí, one of the most eminent architects, designed buildings such as the Casa Milà (known as La Pedrera, the Catalan for stone quarry), the Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Família church, which have become world-famous landmarks.

The city of Girona, capital of the homonymous province and of the comarque of Gironès, is located at the confluence of the rivers Ter and Onyar. A must-see destination for those who want to know the essence of Catalonia. Girona preserves numerous testimonies of its long history and a exceptional monumental heritage, mostly concentrated in a relatively small area bounded by the Onyar river and the ancient walls.

Girona has the charm and magic of a large city, but also the friendly atmosphere of a small town. It has a wide range of tourist, cultural and historic attractions, and a rich social life, with events and popular festivals of great interest. The city still preserves an old Medieval district that extends up to the impressive cathedral, through the dark, narrow streets of the Old quarter, while more modern and organised part is at the other side of the river. Above the bank of the river Onyar is Girona’s most famous image, formed by the pleasant colourful houses.

Empresa Autocares Barcelona

Tarragona.- Strolling through the most Roman of all Catalan cities, visitors might feel nostalgic for times when Tarraco was capital and home to half Hispania. But this sensation does not last long when you discover the rich medieval and modern heritage, the magnificent beaches and the wide range of recreational, cultural, festive and gastro activities in Tarragona city. The main architectural attractions in the World Heritage Site city are Roman: the walls, the amphitheatre, the theatre, the hippodrome, the Pretorio tower, the pre-Christian necropolis and local and provincial forums, all in the historic town centre. What’s more, on the outskirts, it is possible to see the Mèdol quarry, the aqueduct on the Devil’s bridge and the Escipiones mausoleum.

In the same province, Tortosa is part of another great tourist attraction. The capital of Baix Ebre preserves significant examples of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Modernista architecture. Thus, the old quarter has been declared an Historic-Artistic Ensemble thanks to the mark left by several cultures, which has made it possible for Tortosa to still preserve today its high architectural value.

Its location close to the mouth of the river Ebro probably helped bring about all this splendour. Now the city opens up to the Delta and to the surrounding natural landscape, with three protected areas: the islands of the Ebro (Audí, Vinallop and Xiquina), the Ports and the mountain ranges of Cardó and el Boix.

Lleida has seen significant development in recent years. It is a modern and lively city in terms of business, culture and heritage. In addition, it is well communicated and located in a singular setting, surrounded by large extensions of fruit trees and with the river Segre running through it.

As corresponds to a city with deep historic roots, Lleida has many interesting buildings. The Hill of la Seu Vella (13th century) or the remains of the old Muslim Suda, offer the best views of the city. In the old quarter do not miss the palace of la Paería, the Seu Nova or the old hospital of Santa María, in addition to the extensive variety of museums, starting with the Diocesan and Regional Lleida Museum, the Jaume Morera Art Museum, the Water Museum and the La Panera Art Centre.

Nature tourism through natural parks

Catalonia has a nature area for you can enjoy all year round.

Nature tourism or the version of ecotourism invites you to enjoy, see and learn about the values and resources of these natural spaces: the wild fauna and flora and the landscapes.

Each natural park in the country has a special charm. You can discover the areas with coast, inland landscapes or mountains, such as the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. It is the only National Park in Catalonia: water is the main attraction. There are nearly 200 lakes surrounded by impressive cliffs and rich flora and fauna. And nothing compares to the volcanic landscape of La Garrotxa, which could be the green reflection of the moon’s surface. The more than 40 volcanic craters look like the irregular terrain of the moon, only this landscape is covered in dazzling vegetation. The horizon changes completely in the Delta de l’Ebre, where the wild fauna displays all the splendour. It is considered a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, and its area of 320 square kilometres makes up the largest water habitat in Catalonia. Any fan of birdwatching can delight at the 370 species that stop there on their way to warmer climates.


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