SPAIN / SPANISH ISLANDS

SPAIN / SPANISH ISLANDS

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Spain

It's always a good time to travel to Spain. That's because this country in southern Europe has all the ingredients to make your visit an unforgettable experience. Cities which bear the marks of a rich mixture of cultures, monuments and natural spaces awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO, some of the world's most important museums, beaches to suit everybody, a pleasant climate all year round, the healthy Mediterranean diet, typically Spanish traditions such as flamenco and bullfighting... You'll find it very easy to get here thanks to the multitude of international connections available in Spain. Let yourself be captivated by the Mediterranean character and by the openness and friendliness of its people. Surrender to the magic of its streets. This is a place where life is always enjoyed to the utmost.

Before you come
Most of the territory of Spain (over 47 million inhabitants and with its capital in Madrid) is located on the Iberian Peninsula, although the country also has two archipelagos (the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands) and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, on the coast of Africa. All these areas are perfectly connected by means of a wide-ranging and comprehensive transport network (you can reach Spain and move around once there by plane, train, boat, car…) which means that in very little time you can get to major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Zaragoza, Santiago de Compostela, Valencia… Spain is one of the warmest countries in Europe, and has over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. The Canary Islands, due to their geographic location, have an annual temperature of 22°C along the coastline. Exceptional art and culture
Centuries of history have left behind a spectacular array of monuments. It's no coincidence that Spain is the country with the second greatest number of UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites. What's more, in its over 1,400 museums you'll find masterpieces by great artists such as Goya, Picasso and Velázquez, genuine symbols of Spanish culture. There are numerous cultural sites in all the major cities which no visitors should miss. In Madrid, visitors should make a point of heading for what is known as the 'Paseo del Arte' or 'art avenue', an itinerary which starts at one of the world's most important galleries: the Prado Museum. Barcelona (in the northeast of the country) is another key site – this city is a paradise of Modernism thanks to some of the works created here by the famous architect Gaudí, including the Sagrada Familia cathedral and Güell Park. In southern Spain you'll be captivated by the great Mosque of Cordoba, considered the most important Islamic work in the Western world, and by the gardens and palaces of the Alhambra in Granada, one of the most visited monuments in Spain. Seville and its cathedral, Valencia and its City of Arts and Sciences, Bilbao and its Guggenheim Museum… these are just a few other examples of places to take your breath away. And if you enjoy attending top-flight cultural events, then don't miss key occasions such as the theatre festivals held in Mérida and Almagro, and film festivals such as the one in San Sebastián.

Round-the-clock entertainment
If there's one thing Spain is famous for, it's for the lively atmosphere to be found in its streets at any time of the day or night. During the day you can choose between enjoying a drink or snack at any of the numerous open-air cafes and bars, going shopping… The major shopping centres are open all day between approximately 10 am and 10 pm at night, and department stores and shopping centres are also open on certain Sundays throughout the year. What's more, in coastal areas in the high season, most establishments usually remain open until after 10 pm. And remember, the official currency in Spain is the euro. In this Mediterranean country, and particularly in the cities from Thursday to Sunday, the nightlife is particularly intense. The pubs and discos are open until three in the morning, and in some cases through till dawn. There are also numerous other options available, such as taking in a flamenco show or a musical… And all year round, if you enjoy being part of traditional events and experiencing typical celebrations, Spain is the place to be: the carnival celebrations in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Cadiz (in February), Easter week (in March-April), the Fallas bonfire festival (in March) and the bull-running in San Fermín (in July) are just a few of the festivities which are famous throughout the world. Spectacular landscapes
Here you'll find almost 8,000 kilometres of coastline with some of the best beaches imaginable. You'll be able to bathe in transparent waters, the quality of which is closely monitored and recognised all over the world. The coast will surprise you with its variety: from the peaceful sands of Andalusia and the Mediterranean, including the coves of the Balearic and Canary Islands, and the natural landscapes and cliffs surrounding the beaches in the north. Spain is also one of the countries with the greatest number of spaces holding the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation, and is home to areas of great beauty and ecological value like its 14 national parks, all containing a wealth of treasures such as marshes, volcanoes… Yes to sports
Spain as a country is completely dedicated to sports, and this is the reason it hosts several international sporting competitions such as the Madrid Tennis Open, the Grand Prix motorcycle racing events in Jerez (Andalusia), Catalonia, Region of Valencia and Aragon, and the Formula 1 prizes held in Catalonia and Region of Valencia. Spain's football league is known as the 'league of stars'. What's more, Spain is the birthplace of some world's top sportsmen, such as Rafa Nadal, Fernando Alonso, Jorge Lorenzo, Alberto Contador...
Thanks to its love of sports, Spain offers a whole range of spaces where you can enjoy indulging your favourite sport: nautical activities, golf (it has over 400 golf courses), skiing (Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe), hiking…

Gastronomy
Eating in Spain is a genuine privilege, as it's home to products of unbeatable quality, many of which have been awarded their own designation of origin. This country is also the cradle of prestigious chefs such as Ferrán Adriá, Arzak and Berasategui, so you can be sure to have no shortage of restaurants to choose from. You can also visit wineries and learn all about wine tasting as you sample some of Spain's best-known wines. Remember that lunch is usually served between 1 pm and 3:30 pm, and dinner between 8:30 pm and midnight, although many establishments offer service all day long. When ordering, you can either opt for innovative new dishes or for typical dishes such as paella, gazpacho, Spanish omelette, octopus a feira, cocido (chickpea stew) or the famous tapas or pintxos. In fact 'going out tapas' is a very common custom in Spain, and involves strolling from bar to bar sampling delicious canapés and the house specialities in each place. A country steeped in sensations
Spain is all this and much more. A country known for its friendliness, luminosity and its good-natured high spirits. This is a country which knows how to combine tradition with modernity. For this reason numerous film stars and major royal figures have made their residence here. And that's the reason that famous directors such as Woody Allen choose Spain as the setting for their films. That's also why thousands of pilgrims come here every year to set out on the famous pilgrim route known as the Way of Saint James. Because Spain is the place to be.

Key information

Time difference
+ 2 hours
Local currency
Euro
Peak season
May - August
BENIDORM

By day, the miles of stunning beaches are where many visitors flock on holiday in Benidorm. With golden sand and crystal clear waters, it's the perfect way to enjoy the glorious sunshine and make the most of beach life. Check out the beautiful Playa Levante beach which is also lined with a great selection of restaurants, cafes and bars.

Thrill-seekers will enjoy the huge range of watersports on offer on holiday in Benidorm. Every conceivable option can be found including parasailing, jet skiing, pedalos, banana rides, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing and water-skiing. Instruction is often available if required. The Aqualandia Water Park is also a great way to spend a day.

By night, Benidorm has an unbeatable party vibe - you'll definitely have a great time here! There are hundreds of bars, nightclubs and entertainment to choose from. And for the budding songbirds out there, head for the karaoke bars for a warm welcome.

For a more sedate atmosphere, Benidorm Old Town is worth a visit with its narrow lanes and alleys, converging on the light-filled Balc�n del Mediterráneo.


 

COSTA BRAVA

The northernmost Costa

The northernmost of Spain’s Costas, the Costa Brava is probably the prettiest of the lot. It’s made up of rugged cliffs and secluded coves, which give way to fishing villages and seaside towns. And in among it all are the long beaches that have been attracting holidaymakers here since the Fifties.

Blue Flag Beaches

Topping the list are Tossa de Mar’s two Blue Flag stretches. Lloret de Mar, meanwhile, offers up five sand-and-shingle sweeps and a waterfront lined with bars and pubs. Then there’s Calella de la Costa, where 3 kilometres of sands merge into neon-lit clubs and pubs. Family-friendly entertainment is out in force on the Costa Brava, too, in the shape of waterparks and nearby Port Aventura.

The bright lights of Barcelona

Traditional Spain shows its face along the coast, as well. Most resorts wrap around old towns of cobbled lanes, plazas and tapas bars. And inland there’s the town of Girona, where pretty, pastel-coloured buildings edge the river Onyar. But for a taste of city life, head for Barcelona. Catalonia’s trendy capital doesn’t do anything by halves, with its surreal Gaudi architecture, fashionable shops, and cobbled Gothic quarter.

GRAN CANARIA

Gran Canaria is a miniature continent, and is right on Europe’s doorstep, with a wide range of beaches as diverse as the changing sceneries waiting to be discovered. Nearly 60 kilometres of beaches, out of 236 kilometres of coastline, lie under a gentle sun that seems to have made this island its home.

Gran Canaria boasts many different types of beaches, and is a real magnet that has lured generations of travellers from all over the globe. They are world famous and crowded, such as the long stretch of sands at Maspalomas, a huge strip of yellow sand, stretching from Playa del Inglés to the foot of the great Maspalomas lighthouse, bordering a dune desert on the island’s southern tip.

The south of the island has another long series of beaches. Quiet family ones such as  San Agustín, Amadores, and the small Puerto de Mogán, or livelier ones such as the traditional tourist enclave of Puerto Rico, one of the spots with the best weather in the country.

View from the air of the sand dunes at Maspalomas

A romantic couple on the seafront in Gran Canaria

A myriad of small beaches are packed into the south of Gran Canaria, all of them boasting fine weather practically the whole year round. Some are for tourists, with a wide range of amenities. Others provide the perfect getaway for those in need of more secluded spots.

The beaches at the north of the island fit the latter profile better, such as the small sea enclaves like Agaete, the perfect spot for those who wish to leave their busy lives behind.

The capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – also to the north – proudly boasts it own special landmark: the cosmopolitan Las Canteras Beach, an urban 3-mile long stretch of sand that packs the city out with swimmers and surfers.

Two teenagers laughing in the sand at Las Canteras

Two girls laughing in the sand at Las Canteras

Gran Canaria offers all the services of a fully guaranteed holiday destination, with a fine tourist tradition, and where thousands of Europeans return each year. Come and see a world of beaches concentrated into one island. Just come whenever you like, as our fine weather rarely takes time off.

We look forward to welcoming you to the island of Gran Canaria!

LANZAROTE

Situated just 79 miles off the coast of Africa, Lanzarote is the most easterly of the Canary Islands. The island is 37 miles (60km) long and 12 miles (20 km) wide, making it the fourth largest island in the Canaries.

Lanzarote Climate
Lanzarote enjoys a mild dry climate with average daytime temperatures ranging from about 21°C in January to 29°C in August. With total annual rainfall at just just 140mm (5.5 inches), Lanzarote is the perfect year-round holiday destination.

Volcanic Origins
As with the other Canary Islands, Lanzarote is Volcanic in origin. Due to the recent eruptions during the 18th and 19th Centuries, many parts of Lanzarote appear to be from another world, often described as 'lunar' or 'Martian'.
The dry climate (and lack of erosion) means that the Volcanic Landscape appears much as it did just after the eruptions.

Amongst the many stunning Volcanic features of Lanzarote is the longest Volcanic Tunnel in the world, the Atlantida Tunnel, which is over 7 km long and includes the La Cueva de los Verdes and Jameos del Agua.

Despite the Volcanic nature of the island, Lanzarote has several beautiful white beaches such as those at Playa Blanca, Papagayo and Caleton Blanco.

For the more active, the island offers great surf at Famara, windsurfing at Costa Teguise and world-class sports training facilities at La Santa Sport. Local authority regulations on the amount and style of development mean that there is no billboard advertising and no high rise buildings in Lanzarote (with the exception of the Grand Hotel in Arrecife).

If you are searching for accommodation, then check out our list of Lanzarote villas, Lanzarote apartments , bungalows or hotels in Lanzarote. If you want to know who flies to Lanzarote, then have a look at our list of Airlines that fly to Lanzarote. Finally if you want to see the island, then renting a car really is a must

MAJORCA

King of the Balearics

The biggest of the Balearics, Majorca has long been a favourite with the world’s travel pack. It’s got extremely good looks on its side, after all. We’re talking tiny inlets, sweeping bays and sandy coves, all lapped by turquoise waters. And away from the coast, it’s a case of sweet-smelling pine forests, hidden hamlets and jagged mountain peaks.

Popular resorts

Resort-wise, families flock to the safe shores of Alcudia, Puerto Pollensa and Cala Bona, which are brimming with restaurants, shops and cafés. Ca’n Picafort is another favourite. This former fishing village has got a 13-kilometre ribbon of sand to its name. Sa Coma, meanwhile, is great for couples thanks to its tree-lined prom and romantic eateries.

Lively nightlife

Things get lively over on the island’s west coast, with the peppy trio of Palma, Palma Nova and Magaluf leading the way with their neon-lit bars and bass-pumping clubs. Majorca’s boutique-brimming, tapas-loving capital city draws a cosmopolitan cocktail crowd, too.

MAJORCA / MAGALUF

If you're seeking somewhere that blends a buzzing atmosphere with a sizzling nightlife, holidays in Magaluf do exactly what they say on the tin. An unbeatable mix of sun and fun, Majorca's most famous resort has it all. Sweeping white-sand shores that melt into aquamarine seas. Attractions that'll keep even the most active of holidaymakers entertained. And a nightlife that's like a never-ending happy hour.

Whether you're looking for cheap holidays to Magaluf or want to book that dream all inclusive break, we've got something to suit your budget. Luxury 5 star hotels and pretty self catering complexes sweep their way along the bounty-like shores here. Slap bang in the centre of town and part of our 2wentys range, the Aparthotel Fiesta Sahara is perfect for those wanting a lively holiday close to all the action.

By day, there's plenty here to keep you on your toes, from watersports on the beach to the bustling shops. And you'll find loads of places locally for days out such as the waterpark. When it comes to eating out, friendly cafés and restaurants galore vie for your attention. The hardest decision is deciding what you fancy with everything from Mexican to fast food on the menus. And after dark, the world's your oyster. Take your pick from bustling bars, neon lit discos and trendy clubs. When we said holidays to Magaluf had it all, we meant every word.

SALOU

Ready for fun

If entertainment is what you want from your holiday, Salou has it in spades. Set on Spain’s Costa Dorada, it’s got Europe’s biggest theme park on the doorstep and a waterpark just up the road. The place also sets a lively pace at night, with a big choice of bars and clubs. There’s plenty of relaxation to be had, too, though, on the town’s golden beaches.

A duo of beaches

You’ve got a choice of 2 main beaches here. On the west side of the port, the kilometre-long Playa Ponent is a spacious sandy stretch dotted with cafés. On the east side is the slightly longer Playa Llevant, which tops things off with a gym, volleyball and children’s playground. Watersports come as standard on either side.

Waterparks and theme parks

Salou is home to Adrenaline Park, where you can bungee rocket from 0 to 180km an hour in 1.3 seconds or race around the go-kart track. Over at Aquapolis, on the way to neighbouring La Pineda, there are water slides, along with some very interactive dolphins and sealions. And the mega PortAventura theme park is just 20 minutes away.

Daytrips to Tarragona and Barcelona

Ten minutes’ drive takes you to Tarragona, where there’s a Medieval citadel, an amphitheatre and a 12th-century cathedral to see. And for even more sights, there’s Barcelona – just 90 minutes away by train. Here, you’ll get a big hit of Gaudi with his La Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell, plus a chic marina and the famous Las Ramblas.

TENERIFE

The largest of the Canary Islands is a fabulous world of contrasts. The idyllic combination of sun and sand, nature and leisure, have made it one of the most popular tourist resorts in Europe.

Its 269 kilometres of coast offer a wide variety of places to enjoy the sun and the sea. In the north, where the countryside is steep with cliffs, you will find small bays and natural pools, whereas in the south, such as in the municipalities of Adeje and Arona, you will find numerous beaches, most of which are volcanic in origin. You can swim and sunbathe all the year round thanks to the abundance of sunny days and moderate temperatures which range between 18 degrees in winter and 26 degrees in summer. The high quality of its hotel infrastructure and the wide range of leisure activities and complimentary services are just a couple of the reasons which bring thousands of people every year to Tenerife for their holidays.

However, there is much more to discover on the island. Besides the Teide National Park and the Corona Forestal Natural Park, there are other beautiful natural areas on the island. Diving in the waters around the island is also a spectacular experience as the volcanoes have given Tenerife an original sea floor. Cycling, golf, hiking, surfing or hang gliding are just a few of the sports you can practice here. Together with the famous Carnival, there are other feasts in the different towns of the island where you will be able to get to know typical handicrafts like openwork and cockade; the gastronomy, especially fish dishes, potatoes and cheeses; and other popular and traditional customs of the islanders.

TORREMOLINOS

One of the Costa del Sol’s original beach resorts, Torremolinos is a holiday favourite with its great choice of beaches and relaxed, Spanish charm. The resort is a stone’s throw from quality golf courses, an exciting water park and a beautiful marina. After dark, Torremolinos really heats up, with a buzzing bar scene and tapas restaurants.