The straw donkey and sombrero image of Spain is now largely consigned to the bin - along with the paella and chips. In its place comes a sheaf of sparkling and evocative new images, as the visitor trend turns from sun-and-fun package holidays to individually tailored, more sophisticated themes. Spain is a country on the move, a place of rapid change. High-speed railways have conquered the country's mountainous terrain and many cities now have modern metro and tram networks, testifying to a vibrant and growing economy. But here, too, you will find a country where time stands still, where Roman columns rise into a clear blue sky, where crumbling Arab watchtowers maintain a lonely vigil over vast and magnificent landscapes, and city plazas where the baroque jostles with the modern to strike a uniquely Spanish harmony.The historic cities of Spain are drenched in the atmosphere of the past, but well equipped to meet modern needs as well. The countryside is infinitely varied, from the ‘Green Spain' of the rugged Atlantic coast to the parched plains of Castile and La Mancha. The open roads across endless open spaces produce a steady stream of surprises, with hidden villages and unexpected castles, shepherds roaming with their flocks and hilltop windmills appearing unexpectedly. It is a great country for touring.