Classic Spain holidays
Although holidays in Spain have long been associated with sun, sea and sangria, modern-day travellers tend to find a much broader appeal.
Head for the beaches of the Balearics, for instance, and you’ll discover islands rich in tradition and religious symbolism. Walking in Mallorca’s rugged Serra de Tramuntana is also thoroughly worthwhile as is escaping to Ibiza’s north coast where whitewashed villages and local fish markets provide a peaceful, laid-back vibe.
Elsewhere, on the mainland, Andalucia is no slouch when it comes to cultural nourishment with city breaks in Seville and Cordoba conjuring up more than ample excuses to gen up on long-forgotten language skills. Cantabria, too, is incredibly refreshing, in every sense, with a wild Atlantic coastline creating exquisite al fresco settings from where to sit back and sample the seafood in San Sebastian. If it’s art you’re after there’s nothing that beats Barcelona for works by Gaudi and Picasso while the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid is amongst Europe’s elite exhibition houses.
Of course, it goes without saying that the Costas: Brava, Blanca and del Sol still sing to sun worshippers from sandy stretches but if you’re looking for holidays in Spain to really remember, right here’s where you fall in love again.
Majorca sits between quiet and peaceful Minorca and bohemian Ibiza like a Balearic big brother. Collectively, the three siblings constitute the Balearic Islands and have been providing travellers with a rich range of beachside retreats and Spanish island charm since the sixties. From the natural harbour of Mahon in Minorca and the architectural style of Palma, Majorca’s capital, to market day in Plaza de la Constitución in Ibiza Town; these islands are where you head for a classic Spanish holiday.
Situated just off the northwest coast of Africa, Spain’s Canary Islands offer an exciting mix of rugged volcanic landscapes and fun-packed beach resorts. From the secluded white sands of Fuerteventura and the panoramic views from Pico de las Nieves, in the centre of Gran Canaria, to the nightlife, nature parks and emerald green lagoons of Tenerife and Lanzarote – this is where you choose your own adventure and kick back for a couple of weeks of sunbathing, sangria and papas arrugadas.
Set between the limestone peaks of the Picos de Europa mountains and the beachside towns on the Bay of Biscay, the northern region of Cantabria showcases Spain’s wild and interesting side. This is where the capital, Santander, features Gothic spires and the Paseo de Pereda promenade, while the gourmet epicentre of San Sebastian sings to day trippers seeking seafood. From the rugged coastline of Llanes to the entry point at Bilboa, a holiday in Cantabria is a real treat for all the senses.
The flight time from the UK to Spain won’t take much longer than 2 hours.
The further south you go in Spain, the hotter it’s going to get. The north regions, around Cantabria, can often have quite comfortable temperatures, even in summer, whereas the Costas and Andalucia will be scorchio from May to October. Head to the coast or the islands for a cooler sea breeze and don’t discount Madrid, Seville or Barcelona in the winter for cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.
Spain’s on Central European Time and therefore one hour ahead of the UK.
Spanish is the official language of Spain. English is also widely understood in hotels and resort towns. Always a good idea to bring a phrasebook with you, just so you can practise as you travel around.
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