Spain has long been one of Europe's leading holiday destinations, full of cultured cities and opportunities to soak up the Spanish sun during a flop-and-drop beach holiday on its sand-fringed islands or along the mainland Costas.
The Spanish seaside resorts have been a popular choice with UK holidaymakers ever since the advent of mass tourism in 1960s and 1970s. A broad choice of flights to a number of regional gateways mean that they continue to be so today - whether for a weekend getaway, a family summer holiday or as a place to get over the winter blues. The Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Ibiza, and the Canary Islands of Tenerife and Lanzarote are a few of the best-known beach destinations, with modern resorts and interesting excursions to be had nearby.
Spain is a country with great regional differences, with distinctive languages and customs and culinary flavours in Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia. The country is the home of flamenco dancing, bullfighting and historic pilgrimage routes, but Spain also has plenty of modern attractions as well - including luxury shopping boutiques, great golf and energetic nightlife in its big cities and popular resorts.
Spain is also a country of fine art and architecture, in the surreal Guggenheim in Bilbao; the Moorish influences of the buildings in Granada and Seville; and Gaudí's Modernist masterpieces in Barcelona. Wine is another draw and visiting local bodegas amid the vineyards of La Rioja is a great way to experience a more traditional, rural side of Spain.
Many parts of mainland Spain are well suited to self-drive holidays, with the chance to take in historic cities such as Toledo or the graceful capital, Madrid, or to witness one of the country's many exuberant fiestas along your route. The Fiesta de San Fermín in Pamplona and Las Fallas in Valencia are two of the better-known Spanish festivals, but there are others to discover in big cities and small rural towns alike.
Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Spain, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
Warm all year, except in the centre and north, which can be very cold in winter (November-April). Searing temperatures in summer (July-August).
Las Fallas Fire Festival, held in Valencia in mid-March is a weird and wonderful spectacle of papier-mâché statues, some more than 10 metres high-which are then set alight on St Joseph's Day (19 March). In the Canary Islands, the Tenerife Carnival is the place to be during February and is said to be second only to Rio's festival. Semana Santa (Holy Week) during Easter is one of Spain's most important celebrations and is marked by parades of holy images through the streets. Pamplona's Running of the Bulls takes place in July. La Tomatina, in Buñol, sees the town go mad in an annual tomato fight on the last Wednesday in August.
The tradition of tapas (small portions of olives, cheese, meat and seafood) thrives in bars and restaurants. In the Basque Country they are known as pinxos. More substantial dishes include zarzuelas (fish stews), rice-based paellas and butifarra (sausage stewed with beans, partridge with cabbage). Gazpacho (a refreshing tomato-based soup), chorizo (sausage) and jamon serrano (air-dried ham) are well known, as are the excellent Spanish sherries and wines.
Spanish life has seen a rapid change recently and much of the old, stricter religious customs are being replaced by more modern views, though many remain. Casual wear is accepted. Beachwear should be confined to the beach or pool. Black tie is normally specified when needed. Evening meals are eaten late, generally after 9pm.
Madrid Barajas (MAD) is 10 km from city. Also Alicante (ALC), Barcelona (BCN), Bilbao (BIO), Malaga (AGP), Santiago de Compostella (SCQ), Seville (SVQ), Valencia (VLC) and island airports.
Excellent road and flight network, railways also good. Hydrofoil services connect the Balearic and Canary Islands to the mainland, with other routes to North African ports.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Spain. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Spain. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Spain, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
Bert Hyett - Europe Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0618