By Dr Jenyi Ryde, Academy Travel

Spain’s remarkable history makes it a compelling destination for travellers. Its origins go back to at least the 11th century BC, when Greek and Phoenician settlers first encountered indigenous Iberian tribes. As the Roman province of Iberica, Spain was the birthplace of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian, before becoming a substantial Visigoth kingdom. Seven centuries of Moorish Islamic civilization – unique in Europe – created an artistic legacy of glittering palaces and mosques. By the early 16th century Spanish rulers controlled most of Europe and the New World, heralding a period of unprecedented wealth, and an explosion of building and artistic patronage. In the 19th and early 20th centuries a new dynamism and independent spirit emerged, expressed in exuberant modernist art and architecture.