22 January 2018
Spain is one of the world’s favourite holiday destinations, beloved by travellers for its warm climate, diverse landscapes, golden shores and unique cultural experiences. Get an idea of what’s in store in this fascinating country by reading our beginner’s guide to holidaying in Spain…
Spain is an intriguing destination for any traveller with 17 different regions, each with their own distinctive cultures, traditions, cuisines, and landscapes. The country boasts a Mediterranean climate with temperatures climbing into the mid-to-high 20s in summer, so it’s a great place for sun seekers and beach lovers. History enthusiasts will also love Spain, as due to various invasions over the years, the nation boasts everything from Roman ruins along its Mediterranean Coast, to Moorish architecture in the southern region of Granada. The language is obviously Spanish, but English is widely spoken throughout the Iberian country, so you’ll have little problem getting by as you tour the sights!
Spain is a popular year-round holiday destination, and you can find different experiences depending on when you visit. Madrid and Barcelona are ideal places to celebrate New Year as they hold massive street parties, while you can enjoy the early sunshine and freshly-picked oranges if you head to Valencia in spring. During the summer you can try water sports ranging from snorkelling to catamaran cruises, or just sunbathe on the golden beaches of the Balaeric Islands and the Mediterranean coast. You could also catch some winter sun by flying to the Canaries, which due to their latitude, are still hot in December, while at this time you can also find some of Europe’s best skiing in the Pyrenees mountains.
One oft-cited reason for holidaying in Spain is the country’s exotic Latin culture, which provides various exciting activities for your itinerary. Spain is a Roman Catholic country, so there are ornate churches like Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and the iconic Palma Cathedral for you to visit. There are various festivals you can attend across the year like the Las Fallas in Valencia in March, where the city comes alive as fires illuminate the streets in honour of St Joseph. There is a range of venues, like the Maestranza in Seville, where you can watch the national sport of bullfighting, and you can see the iconic ‘running of the bulls’ festival that takes place in Pamplona every July. Another must-try activity is the national dance of Flamenco; there’s no better place to strut your stuff than in the trendy cave clubs of Grenada!
The great thing about Spain is that it has something for everyone. There are numerous beaches, water parks, theme parks, aquariums, zoos and more across the country to keep your kids happy. Top family attractions include the golden beaches of Playa de las Américas in Tenerife, Taronga’s Port Aventura Aquatic Park with its thrilling slides and the Valencia Biopark where your little ones can meet creatures like lions, giraffes and elephants. Wellness enthusiasts should book a holiday in Lanzarote or Gran Canaria, both known for their soothing aloe vera spas, while thrill seekers can go ziplining across the River Guadiana which spans the Spanish/Portuguese border! For some of the best nightlife in Europe chill in the bars and clubs of Ibiza like Pacha and Amnesia, where you can enjoy sets from some of the world’s top DJs!
There are various landmarks for your itinerary in Spain. The highlights of Madrid include the Royal Palace, the 19th century Retiro Park and the Museo Nacional del Prado – a must for art lovers. While you’re in Barcelona shop at designer boutiques on the Las Ramblas thoroughfare, visit the Nou Camp football stadium or view Gaudi buildings across the city. A treasure trove of delights awaits history enthusiasts, whether it’s the Moorish La Mezquita Cathedral of Cordoba, UNESCO World Heritage site Ibiza town or the Roman ‘Itálica’ ruins close to Seville, where the Emperor Hadrian was born.
While away the hours by turning your hand to a selection of relaxing pursuits while holidaying in this Iberian paradise. A good place for golfing is Gran Canaria, which is home to professional courses like 18-hole, 73 par Maspalomas Golf course with its idyllic lawns and rolling sand dunes. You can’t beat the Costa Blanca in the Alicante Province, where you can lie on cashmere-soft golden sands and swim in crystal-clear Mediterranean waters. You can pass the time in Tenerife by going whale or dolphin watching, or by trekking up Spain’s highest peak, the volcanic Mount Teide. Spain is also great for hikers as it has 14 famous Gran Recorrido walking routes which criss-cross the sunny countryside.