Whatever you’re looking for in a holiday, you’ll find it in Spain. A large country with a wonderfully varied terrrain, Spain offers breaks to suit all ages, tastes, and budgets. Culture vultures, party animals, adventure tourists, families and couples all flock here year after year to enjoy the Spanish sun, culture, cuisine and laid back lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for fun in the sun, a party city break, an action packed adventure holiday or a family getaway, you’ll find it in Spain.
Spain is a great place for a short city break, with the hip nightlife of Barcelona, the sophisticated restaurants and lively public squares of Madrid and the beauty of Valencia all drawing ever increasing numbers of tourists, attracted by cheap flights from UK airports. Barcelona, in particular, has established itself as one of the most fashionable cities in Europe, with its lively nightlife, good music, arts scene and bohemian atmosphere. Of course, the nearby beaches and warm weather only add to the city’s appeal!
But Barcelona has far more to offer than just partying and sunbathing. The wonderfully outlandish architecture of Antonio Gaudi can be found in numerous locations in the city, most notably in the magnificent Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the dream like Park Guell (often referred to by visitors as ‘Gaudi Park’). The city abounds with museums and art galleries, whilst music lovers and fashionistas flock to the hip boutiques selling vintage vinyl and unique clothing.
For families (and big kids), the city zoo is an absolute must, whilst the beach throngs with people on sunny days. Prettier beaches, with more elbow room, lie within half an hours’ reach by public transport or, as I prefer, from the comfort of a bike.
Less visited, but lively in its own sophisticated way, is the capital Madrid. Here you can follow in the footsteps of writer Ernest Hemingway and bar hop your way around the city, nibbling tasty portions of free tapas as you pick up each drink. If, like Hemingway, bullfighting is your passion, you can indulge it here. Beautiful Valencia, meanwhile, combines miles of soft sandy beaches with buzzing city life – excellent clubs, bars, restaurants and shops can all be found here, along with some pleasant city parks and an abundance of good museums and art galleries. Families should make a point of visiting the city’s wonderful aquarium, which will keep younger members of the party occupied for hours!
Beyond the Cities
If you want to see the best of Spain, you may well find yourself having to make several return visits – the country has so much to offer that it’s very difficult to pack everything into one trip. There are must see attractions to be found in the North East, most notably Catalonia; the beautiful Andalucia on the Southern coast, Valencia in the East, and the fascinating Basque Country in the North.
Of course, whilst some travellers come to Spain in search of culture or adventure, others head here for the sun, sea and sangria that have made the country a tourist mecca. Tourist hotspots include the Costa Brava and Costa del Sol, which are within easy reach of Barcelona and Valencia Airports. These sunkissed coasts are jam-packed with lively holiday resorts, some of which are geared towards families, others towards a young, party loving crowd and still others towards well-heeled holidaymakers with cash to splash. The resort of Benidorm has developed something of a reputation as a favourite haunt for the stereotypical Brits abroad, but although it is not to everybody’s taste there’s no questioning its popularity!
The natural beauty of Spain is enhanced by some marvellously diverse architecture – from the Moorish buildings of Granada and Seville to the out-there designs of Antonio Gaudi, whilst the coasts and inland are dotted with fruit groves and picture perfect whitewashed villages.
Spain is also one of Europe’s most popular destinations for adventure tourists with adrenaline junkies flocking here to enjoy white knuckle activities that range from hang-gliding, rockclimbing, deep sea diving to white water rafting and mountain trekking. The Pyranees Mountain Range in the North of the Aragon region, is one of the best loved spots in the country amongst thril -seekers who appreciatete the opportunity to enjoy adrenaline packed activities against a stunning backdrop that takes in forest, valleys and mountain peaks. Trekking across this beautiful mountain range, following the ‘Pyranees Trail’, is an increasingly popular way to enjoy the scenery, with late spring and early autumn the best times of year to make the journey without being overly hot or cold.
Climates vary across the country, but generally speaking, visitors to Spain can expect mild winters, hot, sunny summers (although thunderstorms are always a possibility…) and pleasantly warm weather during the spring and autumn.
There are no end of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets – from campsites, youth hostels and basic apartments to self-catered cottages, highrise resorts and top class hotels. With most of the popular tourist destinations within easy reach of airports served by budget airlines, Spain continues to be a favourite destination for British holidaymakers, even those feeling the pinch of the credit crunch.