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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Spain

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Spain Holidays 2016/2017

Holidays in Spain more often than not take place in one of the Costas that sit on the south and east coasts. Picturesque beaches are what Spain is famous for and with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, long hours of sunlight and very little rain, you'll get top beach conditions from May until October across Spain's beautiful resorts.

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A diverse range of destinations

Holiday favourites range from lively Benidorm to classy Marbella and fun-loving PortAventura. They sit beside quieter neighbours where you can have a peaceful break and soak up those rays while being in easy reach of the attractions. From your holiday base you can explore cultural cities such as quirky and modern Barcelona, city of the arts and science Valencia and historical Seville and Granada.

There are six Costas to choose from, each with a different character. They range from the rugged beauty of Catalonian Costa Dorada and Costa Brava in the northeast to the white sands of all inclusive favourite Costa Blanca holidays in the southeast.

Across the south you'll find lively holidays to Costa del Sol, the golden beaches of Costa Almeria and the Spanish Algarve region of Costa de la Luz in the far southwest.

Where to stay in Spain

Costa Almeria
Costa AlmeriaView on Map

This relatively undiscovered area has some of the least developed and most private beaches on the south coast. There's still plenty to do with family attractions and quaint towns perfect for romantic getaways.

The two resorts of Mojacar and Roquetas de Mar are situated either side of the city of Almeria, which has a medieval quarter as well as more up-to-date galleries and boutiques. Roquetas de Mar is a great base for families with an aquarium and Mario Park water park. Couples might prefer Mojacar though, with its good mix of DJs playing in beach clubs, or calmer nights in the old town.

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Costa Brava
Costa BravaView on Map

Nicknamed 'the Wild Coast', Costa Brava is in the north-east of Spain and is a little different to the other Costas, mixing sandy beaches with rocky coves. A low-key base from which to explore this beautifully rugged part of Spain, the towns are dotted with museums, botanic gardens and natural parks.

You'll find most nighttime fun in Lloret de Mar, which is also home to WaterWorld – voted one of the best water parks in Spain. Tossa de Mar has an impressively preserved 12th century old town – Villa Vella - with a castle that can be seen from across the town.

Other resorts include Malgrat de Mar, which has top animal shows at Marine Land, stylish Llafranc and Santa Susanna, with the Massif Montnegre National Park on its doorstep.

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Costa de la Luz
Costa de la LuzView on Map

Dubbed the 'Spanish Algarve' due to its border with Portugal, Costa de la Luz provides a relaxing place to holiday among amazing wetlands, cliffs and forest scenery. As well as the expected dose of soft sand, trips here offer the chance to get to know nature better both on land and out at sea.

A great area for romantic getaways (as well as golfing breaks) you can enjoy days of exploring and laid back evenings. The resorts of El Rompido, Isla Canela and Islantilla all offer long beaches, natural settings and enough activities to keep you as busy as you like.

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Costa Del Sol
Costa Del SolView on Map

With a fantastic selection of holiday resorts on offer, it's no wonder cheap holidays to Costa del Sol are making it one of the most popular areas to visit in Spain. All brimming with amazing beaches, resorts vary from vibrant-yet-traditional Nerja or Estepona to upmarket Marbella as well as small but well serviced villages like Mijas and Ronda. Then there are popular all-rounders Torremolinos and Benalmadena, which have plenty of water, theme and animal parks in addition to buzzing nightlife.

In the centre of Costa del Sol is the beautiful city of Malaga, which has numerous museums and fun parks as well as its own brilliant beaches. Something that Costa del Sol vacations are famed for are its range of top golf courses, of which there are dozens, meaning you could come here and do nothing but play golf if you wished.

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Costa Dorada
Costa DoradaView on Map

Costa Dorada translates as the Golden Coast and it gets its name due to the number of quality beaches here. While all the resorts boast amazing sandy stretches, each provides a very different holiday experience. Stay in Salou if you want something to do day and night, head to the LGBT-friendly city of museums, Sitges, dine in the gastronomic capital of Cambrils or get your thrills at PortAventura, with its huge theme and water parks.

There are also peaceful places to lay your head such as La Pineda and Cap Salou, which are close enough to still get involved with all the action. Not only that, but the cultural city of Barcelona and historical city of Tarragona are both only a train ride away.

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Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Approx 47.27 million
  • GMT +1

Beaches with a view

The majority of beaches are backed by Spain's mountainous landscapes that you can explore or just enjoy as a backdrop. From your sun lounger or a beachside cafe you can often see mountain peaks on one side and a pretty marina or sweeping bay on the other.

Beaches in Spain range from large crescents of sand enjoyed by many to small and peaceful coves away from it all. When you want to roll off the sand, there are many natural parks, hiking trails and mountain villages to explore inland., one of which is the town of Guadalest. If you're heading off on holidays to Costa Blanca, visit this unusual spot perched on top of a sheer cliff face - with plenty of shops and museums to visit while you're there.

Cultural sights

Spain is a country rich in history, much of which you will find well-preserved today. An all-inclusive Costa del Sol holiday or Costa Brava holiday isn't all about the cocktails - come here for authentic Spanish heritage and architectural wonders, you won't be disappointed.

Barcelona is brimming with examples of Antoni Gaudi's weird and wonderful architecture or for something more space-age some of Valencia's buildings look like they might take off. Ancient architecture can be found at the castles all across the country such as Alicante's large Castell de la Santa Barbara. In Costa Brava, Tossa de Mar's 12th century castle is in a prime position, so it provides a focal point from the beach.

Fun time attractions

Kids and big kids alike won't be able to resist speeding down a huge water slide or strapping themselves into a rollercoaster seat at the country's numerous theme parks. Spain's most visited theme park is PortAventura in Costa Dorada, which has been likened to Disneyland and has its own water park on the side. Aqualandia Water Park in Benidorm is one of the best water parks in Spain, with big thrill rides like the Big Bang and Kamikaze.

Every major resort in Spain has its own good mix of water-, theme- and animal-parks as well as other tourist and family oriented attractions.

A taste of Spain

The Spanish love to eat and see it as a sociable activity involving all the family. They take their time over dinner and so you won't usually find sittings like in Britain. Instead it's seen as a leisurely way to start off the evening. Even in bars, you'll find food coming out - sometimes little tapas plates are offered free of charge with your drinks.

There are a number of areas in Spain where you can find world-class food, such as the town of Cambrils in Costa Dorada, which is seen as a gastronomic centre. However, wherever you go along the Spanish coast you'll be treated to fresh fish and local meat and produce, combining to make such Spanish classics as the paella. You're sure to also find fish and chips or burgers if you want a taste of home, whether you've opted for holidays to Costa Blanca or Costa del Sol.

Big nights or quiet evenings

There are some real big-hitters when it comes to nights out in Spain. Benidorm certainly knows how to party, with big clubs and multiple bars. Cheap holidays to Benidorm bring you balmy mediterranean evenings with affordable drinks and world-class entertainment.

The town of Sitges has a lively gay scene and is where you'll be entertained by top quality drag acts. If you're looking for luxury, you can have a lavish night out in the upmarket Marbella. Just be sure to take some cash out before visiting the bars in the marina area

Even in the busy resorts, there are chill-out lounges, bar-restaurants and friendly pubs where you can simply sip a few drinks before retiring to your hotel room. If that's not your thing, you may prefer to stay in one of the many peaceful towns and villages across the country where nights involve listening to the sound of the waves, rather than someone singing karaoke.

Even if you're heading out on all inclusive holidays to Benidorm, be sure to head out of your hotel bar and explore the action around you - this place is famous for a reason.