In Spain's cities, narrow twisting old streets open to views of daring modern architecture, while bars serving wine from the barrel rub shoulders with blaring, glaring discos. Travel is easy, the people are relaxed, the beaches are long and sandy, and the food easy to come by and full of regional variety. Geographically, Spain's diversity is immense. There are endless tracts of wild and crinkled sierra to explore, as well as some spectacularly rugged stretches of coast between the beaches. The country has superb old buildings, from Roman aqueducts and Islamic palaces to Gothic cathedrals. Almost every second village has a medieval castle. Spain has been the home of some of the world's great artists - El Greco, Dalí, Picasso - and has museums and galleries to match. The country vibrates with music of every kind - from the drama of flamenco to the melancholy lyricism of the Celtic music and gaitas (bagpipes) of the northwest.