Spain is a great holiday destination if you are looking for beaches, iconic cities, great food, and world-famous nightlife. Whether you are just looking to sunbathe for a few days, or travel around the country Spain is an extremely easy destination for a holiday.
Beach Holidays in Spain
Mainland Beach Holidays
Spain boasts a large range of options when it comes to mainland beach holidays. From the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, to a combined beach and cultural holiday in Barcelona. The right choice for you depends on whether you want to be close to (or in) a city, whether you are looking for activities (e.g. golf), or whether you simply want a peaceful holiday lying on the beach.
Costa Del Sol Beach Holidays
The Costa Del Sol is on Spain’s southern coast around the city of Malaga. The area has a huge range resorts to suit all tastes and budgets, and over a hundred and fifty kilometres of beach. There are lots of watersport options, as well as the opportunity to go cycling or walking in the hills behind the coast.
Marbella, Puerto Banus and Benalmadena (and many other towns) have lots of bars, restaurants, shops and marinas.
Costa Blanca Beach Holidays
The Costa Blanca is on the Eastern coast of Spain, around the city of Alicante. The area also includes Calpe, Benidorm and Javea. The area has a mixture of quieter more authentic towns, and nightlife hotspots.
The area inland is great for hiking, cycling and there are many golf courses as well.
Costa Brava & Barcelona Beach Holidays
The Costa Brava is on Spain’s North Eastern coastline, above Barcelona. Compared to the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, the Costa Brava is less busy and less built up, with less of a focus on nightlife. So if you are looking for a quieter holiday, then the Costa Brava may suit you better than the Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca.
Barcelona, at the southern point of the Costa Brava, offers a unique beach holiday experience. A stunning beach combined with one of the most interesting cities in Europe is hard to beat for an all-round holiday experience.
Canary Islands Beach Holidays
The Canary Islands are a group of volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the western coast of Africa. The islands are ringed by sandy beaches and have volcanoes at the centre to create a dramatic scene – particularly when you approach by plane.
The Canaries are particularly good for watersports and are regarded as one of the top global spots for windsurfing.
There are 7 main islands that make up The Canaries, with a handful of smaller islands as well. They are located much further south than mainland Spain and so the weather tends to be warmer, making it a viable beach destination for most of the year.
Tenerife Beach Holidays
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. The south of the Island is the most popular – resorts include Playas De Las Americas, Costa Adeje, and Puerto de la Cruz. If you are less concerned by nightlife there are some beautiful spots elsewhere on the Island that are quieter. The Islands’ capital – Santa Cruz – offer great exploration options, whilst the Volcano – Mount Teide – offers great hiking and cycling opportunities.
Gran Canaria Beach Holidays
Gran Canaria has a fierce rivalry with Tenerife. Locals from both islands claim to have the best beaches, scenery and culture. In reality, it is difficult to decide who is right. Gran Canaria has fantastic beaches and a mixture of busy resorts and smaller towns and villages.
Other Canary Islands
The other Canary Islands are generally quieter and less built up. Lanzarote is popular with runners, cyclist and swimmers, and there are a number of resorts that cater to activity based holidays. Fuerteventura is seen as the best island for windsurfing, whilst others islands (La Palma, La Gomera etc.) are relatively quiet and lack the tourist resorts seen elsewhere in the Canaries.
Balearic Islands Beach Holidays
There are four main Balearic Islands – Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera – and a large number of smaller ones.
The islands are in the Mediterranean Sea off the east coast of Spain and experience similar weather to the mainland.
Majorca Beach Holidays
Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands and famous for its beaches and the charm of its capital – Palma. The island has something for everyone: from great restaurants and bars to road cycling and watersports.
Ibiza Beach Holidays
Whilst Ibiza is world famous for its nightlife, there is much more to it than drinking and dancing. Away from the major cities of San Antonio and Ibiza Town, there are quieter places where you can find secluded beaches and authentic restaurants.
Menorca and Formentera Beach Holidays
Formentera and Menorca are quieter than their neighbours, but still extremely beautiful. The islands are viewed as the more family-friendly destinations in the Balearics. These two islands are great for watersports, snorkelling and diving.
Cities and Cultural Sites
Spain boasts a huge number of great cities and cultural sites, from the iconic cities of Barcelona and Seville, to lower key gems such as Bilbao and San Sebastian. There are also more rural options, including the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route, or cycling holidays in the Pyrenees.
Barcelona has it all – great restaurants and bars, beautiful Gothic streets and buildings, world-class art galleries, and a stunning beach. A few days or more in Barcelona will be packed full of activity: visit Gaudi’s awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia, eat in one of the many amazing tapas bars (and enjoy the excellent Spanish wine), and spend some time sitting on the beach or in one of the many beach bars.
Seville is a beautiful and historic Spanish city famous for its old town architecture, tapas and oranges. Whilst there is a lot to do in the city, the real attraction comes from wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere of this amazing city. Take a stroll through the stunning Plaza de Espana, stop off for lunch or drinks in any of the numerous bars restaurants and cafes, and try to catch one of Seville’s famous festivals held throughout spring.
Spain’s capital is a vibrant city and is more modern and cosmopolitan than Barcelona. There is plenty to occupy you for a few days, including numerous museums and art galleries, and a good nightlife scene.
San Sebastian is the capital of the Basque region of Spain, in the North West of the country. The city is famous for food – its restaurants boasts more Michelin Stars per capita than any other city in the world. The city has a wonderful old town closed to traffic. A few days spent in the bars, restaurants and food markets is extremely enjoyable.
Possible Spain Travel Itineraries
Spain has so much to do that covering the whole country in a single trip is very difficult. Unless you have a lot of time we would recommend focusing on a particular region. Travelling around the North West (or following the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route) is a popular way to see parts of Spain that are less touristy. Covering Madrid, Barcelona and some of the southern cities (e.g. Seville, Granada) is another potential itinerary that can be done in around 10 days. Whatever it is you are looking for, and however much time you have we can help you build an itinerary perfect for you.
Where to Stay in Spain
Spain has a great selection of hotels to suit all budgets, as well as some great options outside of cities (mountain lodges, farms etc.). Demand for beach resorts are at their highest in July and August, so booking ahead should mean lower prices and no disappointment. Some cities are quieter in July and August (e.g. Seville) due to the heat, so cheaper hotel rooms are possible.
Best Time to Go to Spain
If you are in search of sunshine and beaches then May to September is the best time to go to Spain. As a general rule, the Canaries (Tenerife, Lanzarote) are the hottest, followed by the Balearics (Ibiza, Fuerteventura, Menorca) and the mainland tends to be coolest. If you are in search of winter sun then the Canaries are an option, with average temperatures around 17-20 degrees Celsius from November to April.
If you are more interested in visiting cities or the interior then any time of year can work, however, you may want to avoid July and August if going to Barcelona or Seville as it becomes very hot and humid. Winter months can be cold on the mainland, but still significantly warmer than the UK.
Getting Around Spain
Spain is easy to travel around. Large towns and cities are well connected by train lines, and for the towns that don’t have a station intercity buses are nearly always an option. Hiring a car is very easy in Spain, and for longer trips could be the best option if you want to explore outside of major towns.
Getting to Spain
A large number of flights go daily from a range of UK airports to all of the key destinations in Spain. Flight times vary from 2 to 4.5 hours depending on final location.