Flights To Spain

Hot weather and stunning beaches have turned Spain into a beach resort haven for northern Europeans wishing to escape their own (sometimes) damp and dreary climates. With sun-bleached beaches and a favourable rate of exchange for most travellers, it's easy to see why Spain is such a popular choice for an unforgettable beach holiday in Europe. An incredible 53 million people visit Spain each year (the second most in Europe after France), and the country deserves its formidable reputation as a tourist haven.

Spain is comprised of numerous autonomous regions, offering great variation within one country. The hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline provide ample opportunity to get off the beaten track, and the country's vibrant cities and colourful festivals will amaze and delight even the most seasoned traveller. Art lovers can get lost in the Spain of Gaudi, Dali, and Picasso, of Goya and Velazquez - proudly displayed in the country's museums and galleries.

Spain's Pamplona is a unique experience of thundering streets that vibrate to the rhythm of man and beast during the annual running of the bulls, and while the whole country celebrates each February with the Carnaval, no place does it better than Sitges. Barcelona is Spain's showcase of the unique architectural style of Gaudi's bizarre organic turrets and balconies. For a more provincial experience, the Valencian town of Buñol goes wild every year with the La Tomatina festival, a time when the region's surplus tomatoes - following the annual harvest - are dumped on the streets and pelted about in a friendly riot.

Spain is also a country rich in heritage and the historic cities of Toledo, Salamanca, Seville and Granada promise a wealth of early Christian and Moorish buildings and monuments, as well as the remains of some incredible medieval sites. Spain has six cities that have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites, more than any other country in the world.

Currency

Spain's official currency is the Euro (EUR). One Euro is divided into 100 cents. All major credit cards are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Language

Spanish is the official language, but English is widely understood in areas frequented by tourists. Catalan, Galician and Basque are spoken in the relevant areas.

Attractions

Spain is more than a travel destination - it's a way of life. The country's many attractions and the journeys between them are infused with the warm welcome of the diverse people and the highly valued laid-back lifestyle that the Spaniards have perfected. Spanish holidays should be slow, with room for spontaneity and unexpected diversions. The wealth of things to see and do is such that the top attractions in Spain are whole cities, towns and islands, and a single holiday can barely scratch the surface of what this country has to offer.

It is best to plan an itinerary around a single city or region. Favourite destinations in Spain include: Toledo, for Roman architecture and ancient history; Santiago de Compostela for religious history and art; Cordoba, for medieval charm and the Mezquita cathedral; Barcelona, for Gaudi and almost anything else a tourist could want; Ibiza, for beach parties and clubbing; Bilbao, for industrial creativity and the Guggenheim Museum; Majorca, for stunning landscapes and medieval villages; Madrid, the capital, for a cosmopolitan Spanish experience; Tenerife, for spectacular beaches and diverse landscapes; Seville, for history and fun after dark; Granada, for mountains, tradition and architecture; and San Sebastian, for beautiful beaches and good food.

Climate

Southern Spain is the ideal holiday region, having the warmest weather on mainland Europe, even during the winter months. The southern and eastern coast of Spain has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters, while the west Atlantic coast is cooler in summer and wet in winter. Inland the climate is temperate and the capital Madrid, which is situated on a plateau, can be surprisingly cold in winter. Most of Spain is extremely hot during mid-summer, in July and August. The rest of the year the climate is generally temperate in the north, but warm in the south. The peak tourism season is summer, between June and August, with August the busiest month, but many people prefer to visit Spain during spring or autumn (May or October) when the weather is still pleasant and the crowds thinner. The exception to this recommendation is the Atlantic coast, which has heavy rains in October and November. Budget travellers should consider visiting Spain in the winter as accommodation and flights are offered at discount rates. The Canary Islands are a good beach destination if visiting in winter, and cities like Barcelona are exciting destinations at any time of year.