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Burgos & Barcelona
I studied Spanish in the USA, Central America and Spain, and in my opinion Burgos is the best location for Spanish immersion. Burgos was the capital of the Kingdom of Castile and the origin for Castilian Spanish. The city is full of historic landmarks from the Roman Empire, Middle Ages and Renaissance. Read more reviews...

  Riley Sklar
KEI Program Manager
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Burgos

Burgos is a historic and vibrant city in northern Spain on El Camino de Santiago. Founded in the 9th century, Burgos was the seat of the Crown of Castile and considered to be the origin of modern Spanish. Among its notable landmarks are the Burgos Castle and Cathedral, and Casa del Cordón, where Ferdinand and Isabella met with Christopher Columbus after he returned from the New World. In 1512, the Leyes de Burgos were drafted as the first laws to govern the treatment of native Americans.

Modern day Burgos is a cosmopolitan city with a remarkable cultural life. The medieval city center preserves its heritage while offering modern conveniences, entertainment and culinary options. Atapuerca, a UNESCo World Heritage Site where the earliest European hominids were discovered, is 12 miles from the city. Burgos is surrounded by the Fuentes Blancas and the Paseo de la Isla parks.

Barcelona

Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonia region, is situated on the northeast coast of Spain, near the border with France. Its vibrant cosmopolitan population and economic importance make it one of the most dynamic cities on the Mediterranean. Barcelona is said to be the world's busiest seaport. The city is the commercial center of the Costa Brava, Spain's northernmost Mediterranean seafront, and a popular holiday region.

Barcelona has its own distinctive culture, language (Catalan), and history. In fact, the two official languages are Catalan and Castilian (Spanish), but the importance of tourism and the city's historic role as a crossroads between cultures means that other languages are also regularly heard. The 1992 Summer Olympics transformed Barcelona, and the appeal for visitors from around the world has only escalated since.

A city of vibrant contrasts - and one of Europe's most stylish and dynamic cities - Barcelona blends Gothic and modern art and architecture. Barcelona is also a center of international cultural interest, with works by renowned artists such as Gaudi, Picasso, Miro and Dali. Some of the city's more famous landmarks are "Las Ramblas," a long, tree-lined pedestrian avenue (perhaps the most famous street in Europe, which winds through the old/Gothic city, “Barri Gotic”); the Picasso Museum; Guell Park (photo, top) with incomparable views and Gaudi's unique artistic creations; and Gaudi's improbable "Sagrada Familia" cathedral (and still a work-in-progress) with 360-foot spires. In fact, there are nearly 50 museums to visit in Barcelona.

People's Republic of Spain

Spain is virtually unspoiled by modern standards, yet is the number one destination for European travelers. Its culture, folklore, and unique appreciation of celebration, chivalry, and hospitality have survived through the modernization of the 20th century, perhaps more so than any other country in Western Europe.

Spain has a rich artistic heritage. Prominent artists include Picasso, El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miro, and Salvador Dali. Spain's architecture ranges widely: prehistoric monuments; Roman ruins; Islamic marvels such as the Alhambra; Gothic cathedrals; castles and palaces; and Gaudi's many works of wonder. One of the world's greatest works of fiction is the 17th-century novel Don Quijote de la Mancha, written by Spain's Miguel de Cervantes. Important 20th-century writers include Miguel de Unamuno, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Camilo Jose Cela (winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for literature).

Spain is the second largest country in western Europe, after France, and has the eighth largest economy in the world. The official language is Spanish (Castilian Spanish) although other languages are spoken regionally, including Catalan (in Barcelona), Galician and Basque.

Quick facts
  • Population of Spain: 42 million
  • Official Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time in Spain: GMT+1
  • Population of Burgos: 180,000
  • High temp in Burgos: July: 81°F
  • High temp in Burgos: January: 44°F
  • Population of Barcelona: 1.5 million
  • High temp in Barcelona: July: 82°F
  • High temp in Barcelona: January: 55°F

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