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About Spain

Overview

Famed for its delightful Flamenco dancing culture and lucrative football, España possesses a sense of nationalism unique to anywhere else in the world. Its business climate is also making a name for itself, creating an ever-growing need for more Spanish serviced accommodation.


About Spain

Officially the ‘Kingdom of Spain’, the country is in south-west Europe, bordering France and Portugal. Spain is quite a sizeable landmass, covering over five hundred thousand square miles, inhabited by over forty-six million people. The country also occupies four-fifths of the Iberian Peninsula, enclosed by a three-thousand-mile coastline bordering both the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. The Spanish climate is generally warm, making it a favourite holiday destination, but conditions can be semi-arid though towards the south, and both cooler and wetter in the north. In the absolute centre and northeast respectively, the two largest cities Madrid and Barcelona are both business and cultural hubs of Spain. Serviced apartments here place the business traveller right at the heart of Spain’s economic prosperity and cultural expression.

Spain’s history technically dates back furthest in Western Europe, with one million year old remains confirmed as the regions oldest to be discovered. More documented history arrives around 1000BC when the Mediterranean-civilised Phoenicians inhabited the land. Followed was centuries of Iberian Peninsula Islam-Christian tussle, but the eventually victorious Christians then looked to expand overseas. Through Christopher Columbus’ exploration and strategic European marriages, the sixteenth century onwards saw Spain create one of the world’s greatest empires. However, with such a great rise, came an even greater fall. On the surface, national inequality was rife, and consequently, civil wars and loss of territory plagued the following centuries. It was not really until the post-Franco era that Spanish society, politics and economics were truly revived, putting a happier ending to Spain’s turbulent history.

ECONOMY

Spain’s economy is on the up, celebrating a fourth full year of positive economic growth. It has a GDP of 1.3 trillion, whilst the economy is also one of the world’s largest regarding purchasing power. Agricultural export is the main industry, as the climate suits many crops popular in other, less suitable environments. These include; citrus, tomatoes, cereal, olive oil and grapes for wine. Its convenient access by sea also enables ease in trade. Spain is also a force within renewable energy and has been the world leader in solar power since 2010. Ambition to become one of the world’s key research nations is underway too, with the Malaga Valley project planned to become of the greatest European research and innovation centres.

Spain’s economic success is reflected by foreign direct investment, with inflows amounting to one of the largest in Europe. This is not alarming though, with Spain ranking as one of the top thirty countries in the world regarding the ease of doing business. Reasons for this are numerous. A principle of non-discrimination towards foreign investors has been established, whilst the diversified economy encourages investment in a range of industries. The significant modern development of transport infrastructure also means that those staying in Spanish aparthotels and conducting business travel will find it easy to get around. This can be said most of the country’s capital Madrid, the centre of national finance, business, transportation, and fortunately, serviced accommodation.

VIVA LA VIDA

The visa situation in Spain is relatively straightforward. EU and Schengen country’s citizens do not require a visa for travel to Spain, whereas residents of the US, Australia and Canada only require visas for over ninety days. There are of course other nationals who are exempt, and many who are not, so it worth visiting your nation’s Spanish embassy for more details.

There is no sole structure for Spanish living. With seventeen different autonomous regions, you are advised to do your research before you decide which region you book your serviced apartment in. For instance, your opinion of one region may differ based on your attitudes towards the culture of bull-fighting in some areas. Climate can also be varied, even though expats predominantly opt for the life in the sun. Every region is different, but generally speaking, if you respect the culture and the people, your business trip to Spain will be fulfilling.

Spain has grown a reputation for hosting a popular driving experience, encompassing quiet rural roads and beautiful scenery. There are downsides to consider though, such as busier city conditions and numerous toll roads, bridges and tunnels. These aside, driving in Spain is a pleasure and enables a freer exploration of the country’s secret treasures. All EU citizen driving licenses are fully recognised too, but unfortunately, non-EU license holders require an accompanying twelve-month International Driving Permit (IDP). Otherwise, you could revert to taxi travel. Taxis are relatively straightforward and frequent, particularly throughout the bigger cities, but be aware that no more than four people are allowed per taxi.

ATTRACTIONS

Bristled in culture and remnants of the tumultuous past, Spain has much to offer its foreign arrivals. There is arguably no better place to discover the ‘real’ Spain that Madrid. Both the Plaza Mayor and Puerta de Sol are central to Madrid’s society, acting as transportation hubs and popular locations for meet-ups. Both have fascinating historic relevance, but tourists also enjoy the surrounding outdoor cafes, friendly atmosphere and traditional shops. There is an abundance of museums too, including the likes of the Fine Arts Museum, National Archaeological Museum, and the epic Prado Museum. If you find yourself exhausted from all this exploration though, escape to the peaceful, 120-hectare Buen Retiro Park.

Beyond the capital though are both our corporate accommodation and many Spanish World Heritage sites. Go yonder of the Spanish mainland and visit the incredible Teide National Park in Tenerife. Home to the tallest peak in Spain, the Tedie-Pico Viejo volcano overlooks the stunning, seasonally-changing national park landscapes. Its colours and scenery change all year round, showcasing a paramount example of how volcanic islands grow. Or, for history enthusiasts, visit the archaeological ensemble of Merida. Formerly a Roman city, the leftover remains are now one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture in Spain. Equally impressive is Cordoba’s centre, a prized historical gem. Traces of generational culture have been abandoned here, expressed by amazing architecture and creative artistry. Heritage sites in Spain are plentiful but staying in Spanish corporate accommodation allows guests accessibility to a variety of symbolic locations.

Last year, Spain was the most common tourist destination in the EU, racking up over 250million nights spent in tourist accommodation. The proof is in the pudding regarding Spain’s travel popularity, and SITU’s serviced accommodation is on hand to help you make the most of your own business trip to España.

Transport

Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)

Named after Spain’s first Prime Minister, Madrid’s primary airport is the largest airport (by physical size) in Europe.

All flights to Madrid land at this airport and leave passengers no further than eight miles from the capital’s centre. Facilities are plentiful here, including four bus stations that function from the airport.

Renfe Operadora

Renfe is the state-owned company responsible for nearly every train service in Spain. Whether you are travelling regionally, nationally or internationally, Renfe runs plenty of train services.

Spain’s railway network is deemed as one of the best in Europe, mainly due to its diversity. The two classes are called turista (2nd) and prefernte (1st), whilst Avant and Alvia are the names given for high-speed long-distance trains. There are also three types of tickets that cater to different types of journeys; Promo, Promo+ and Flexible.

Spanish Metro

Spain’s metro system is pretty widespread, with Madrid laying claim to the most extensive network in the country. The Madrid metro system is the seventh largest metro in the world, functioning from over three hundred stations.

Other significant metro systems can be found in Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville, Valencia and Zaragoza. Tickets typically cost the same as buses, but worth purchasing is the Metrobus or T-10 ticket (named depending on where you are), which can be used for ten different trips.

By Bus

It is most likely that if you are travelling via bus through Spain, it is most likely that your service will be provided by the major bus company ALSA. Although services are always accommodating for tourist locations and do not cover the entirety of Spain, the network is very extensive and complimentary of train and air travel.

For schedules and ticket rates you could either visit the websites for Movelia or Alsa. Otherwise, your ideal service could be provided by the smaller company Avanza.