Spain holidays transport you to a country full of passion and life, offering everything from historic cities full of culture, to stunning mountains and sunny beaches. One of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, Spain’s wealth of attractions are varied enough to suit the tastes of any visitor. Culture vultures will relish the cathedrals, monasteries and palaces of cities like Madrid, while artistic types will love exploring the museums and galleries found in most Spanish cities, such as Picasso’s home in Malaga.
Spain’s vast and varied coastline offers plenty for families, couples and beach bums, whether you’re looking for long sandy beaches and plenty of nightlife or secret bays and unspoilt landscapes, and the vibrant resorts offer all the convenience of all inclusive summer holidays to Spain. Hikers and nature-lovers will embrace the rugged mountains of the Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa, and the country offers a wealth of pristine national parks encompassing everything from the unearthly volcanic scenery of Tenerife to the glorious wetlands of the Doñana National Park in Andalucia.
From the glorious sun-drenched beaches of Majorca to the stunning architecture found in Barcelona, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Spain. Whether you go wild for water-sports, a keen art fan or you’re simply looking forward to lazing around in the sizzling Spanish sun, this vibrant destination caters for a variety of tastes.
Most popular hotels in Spain
H.TOP Olympic Hotel
Calella, Costa Brava
H.TOP Paradis Park Hotel
Pineda de Mar, Costa Brava
H.TOP Gran Casino Royal Hotel
Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava
H.TOP Royal Beach Hotel
Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava
Gran Hotel Bali
Benidorm, Costa Blanca
Roc Costa Park
Torremolinos, Costa del Sol
H.TOP Summer Sun
Santa Susanna, Costa Brava
H.TOP Planamar Hotel
Malgrat de Mar, Costa Brava
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Spanish
- Time Zone: GMT +1
- Average flight time: 2h 10m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
With historic cities, stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, and fantastic food and wine, Spain truly is a destination that offers something for everyone. The elegant capital of Madrid, stylish Barcelona and romantic Seville are perfect for city breaks, oozing with history and culture and providing plenty of great nightlife and shopping. The Mediterranean coastline – particularly along the Costa Brava, the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol – is lined with idyllic beaches and a huge choice of resorts. For an alluring combination of rural tranquillity and bustling beach towns, head to the Balearic Islands or the Canary Islands.
Top cultural attractions include Barcelona’s magnificent Sagrada Família, the still-unfinished masterpiece by Catalan architect Gaudí, the magical palace of the Alhambra in Granada, and Madrid’s magnificent Prado museum, which boasts one of the largest art collections in the world. Families won’t want to miss some of Europe’s top theme parks, such as PortAventura World, near Salou, the Terra Mítica in Benidorm, or Parque Warner Madrid, all of which feature thrilling rides.
If you want to submerge yourself in nature, Spain’s rich and varied terrain encompasses everything from the majestic peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees to the sun-drenched olive groves and whitewashed hill villages of Andalucia – perfect for bird-watching, hiking, and mountain-biking.
Wine and Dine
Spain is a foodie’s dream destination. Not only does it boast some of the finest restaurants in the world, but its abundant fresh produce ensures that even the most humble tavern can offer delicious local cuisine. Tapas are its most famous export – tasty little dishes that are perfect for sharing, which might include anything from the celebrated local hams to freshly fried sardines or grilled aubergines drizzled with honey. Every region has its own specialities: along the Mediterranean coast, you’ll find succulent rice dishes such as the famous paella or Menorca’s rich lobster stew, caldereta de llagosta, while inland, hearty mountain stews and grilled local meats and vegetables take pride of place on menus. These are best accompanied by local wines, which run the gamut from the noble vintages of famous wine-producing areas like La Rioja to the champagne-style cava from Catalonia. Every region boasts its own robust and inexpensive local wines that are ideally suited to the area’s traditional cuisine.
The Spanish adore children, which makes a holiday in Spain perfect for families. While in other countries, children are often expected to be seen and not heard, in Spain they are taken everywhere, indulged and encouraged. Beach holidays are ideal for families – who doesn’t love sun, sea and sand? – and most Spanish resorts boast a huge range of facilities and attractions for kids of all ages. Among the best family-friendly resorts are Benidorm, Torremolinos and Salou, which all feature fabulous beaches, along with water parks, safari parks and more. Many Spanish resort hotels, including those offering all inclusive packages, offer kids’ clubs and entertainment geared towards their youngest guests. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, consider Puerto Pollensa in Mallorca, which has a large, shallow bay that is ideal for younger children. Restaurants almost always accept children, although opening hours, particularly in cities, may not be suitable: fortunately, tapas bars fill the gap perfectly, with child-sized portions and an invariably relaxed atmosphere. Spain also boasts some of Europe’s top theme parks, including PortAventura World, near Salou, the Terra Mítica in Benidorm, or Parque Warner Madrid, all of which offer thrills and spills guaranteed to delight kids of all ages. Spanish cities are full of parks where children can let off steam, and most museums and galleries offer child-friendly workshops and tours. Many cities have excellent contemporary art museums that will appeal to teenagers, and football fans won’t want to miss a visit to the Camp Nou in Barcelona or the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. All children will be spellbound by Gaudí’s fairytale buildings in Barcelona, as well as the Alcázar palace in Seville and the magical Alhambra palace in Granada.
Action and Adventure
The sky is the limit when it comes to action and adventure in Spain – quite literally, if you choose to take a helicopter ride over Barcelona, sail over Andalucia in a hot-air balloon, or go paragliding in Majorca! As you might expect, there are watersports galore along the coast, from snorkelling and diving to sailing and surfing. In the biggest resorts, there are also tons of fun options, such as glass-bottomed sightseeing boats, pedalos and banana boats.
Inland, you can go white-water rafting, mountain climbing, horse-riding, skiing and hiking, among scores of other activities. There are numerous long-distance walking paths that criss-cross the entire country, including the GR221 in Majorca (also known as the ‘Dry Stone Route’), the GR92 which hugs the Mediterranean coast from north to south, and the magnificent GR131 in the Canary Islands.
Spain has fifteen national parks scattered across the country, including the snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the magnificent Doñana wetlands (both in Andalucia), the tiny island of Cabrera in Majorca, which is surrounded by transparent protected waters, and the strange lunar landscape of the Teide volcano in Tenerife. These are all home to unique species of bird, animal and plant life and offer a wealth of experiences for those seeking adventure in pristine, natural surroundings.
Life's a Beach
Thanks to its year-round sunshine and glorious coastline, Spain is one of Europe’s top destinations for beach holidays in 2017. You’ll find plenty of choice, from the famous cliffs and coves of the Costa Brava to the glamorous resorts and warm Mediterranean waters of the Costa del Sol. The Balearic Islands offer an enticing mix of turquoise bays and long golden sands, while the Canary Islands combine dramatic scenery with gorgeous beaches. Popular resorts include Benidorm, which boasts some of the finest beaches on the Costa Blanca, family-friendly Torremolinos, and chic, whitewashed Marbella. If you ever tire of swimming and sunbathing, you could try one of the vast array of watersports available, which include everything from kayaking and snorkelling to water-skiing and kitesurfing.
The party island of Ibiza is world-renowned for its dazzling nightclubs and glamorous party scene, which reaches hedonistic heights of excess during the summer months. Other popular party resorts include Sitges, Benidorm, Torremolinos and Lloret de Mar on the Mediterranean coast, along with Magaluf in Mallorca and Playa del Inglés, Playa de las Américas and Playa del Carmen in the Canary Islands. Expect pool parties, foam parties, circus acts, boat parties and more – just don’t expect to get much sleep!
Cities like Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona offer year-round nightlife, with most clubs opening at midnight and closing at dawn. These cities also boast a great choice of live music venues, whether you’re looking for the biggest-name international acts or prefer something more low-key and intimate. In Seville, Malaga, Granada and other cities of southern Spain, you can also enjoy some authentic flamenco.
The possibilities for romance are endless in Spain: you could watch the sun set over white sand beaches in the tranquil island paradise of Formentera, sip cocktails on a glamorous rooftop terrace in Madrid, or listen to flamenco on a jasmine-scented courtyard in Seville.
If you’re looking for a romantic city break, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Spain. Get lost in Madrid’s enchanting historic centre, where you can meander hand-in-hand through cobbled streets from tapas bar to tapas bar, or soak up the laid-back beach vibe of beautiful Barcelona, which offers style, culture and a gorgeous historic backdrop. Lovely Seville, where the secret courtyards and tinkling fountains recall the heyday of Al Andalus, oozes romance from every whitewashed curve, and hipster-favourite Valencia combines fabulous beaches with a quirky offbeat charm. Foodies should head to San Sebastian, a paradise for gourmets which also happens to sit on one of northern Spain’s most beautiful bays.
If you’re prefer the idea of a romantic beach holiday that offers plenty of time alone with your partner, consider the Costa Brava or the northwestern coast of Majorca, both of which are dotted with miniature coves, many accessed only by boat or clifftop path. The quiet island of Menorca is also full of quiet corners to explore, and, if you time it right, you could have the delicious little island of Formentera almost completely to yourselves. If you prefer a more glamorous beach holiday, head to the glittering resorts of Ibiza, where you can watch the sun set while DJs spin mellow tunes, and party until dawn.
Some of the finest art museums, biggest palaces, and grandest churches on earth are to be found in Spain, making it a fantastic destination for culture buffs.
Madrid’s celebrated trio of world-class art museums – the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofía – are home to vast collection of outstanding artworks spanning more than a millennia. Also in Madrid is the enormous Royal Palace, the largest in Europe, with more than 2,800 rooms. Meanwhile, Barcelona boasts one of Europe’s best preserved medieval quarters in the Barri Gòtic and the largest concentration of Catalan Art Nouveau (‘Modernista’) monuments anywhere. World-famous Spanish artists such as Picasso, Miró and Dalí are represented in numerous museums, notably Malaga’s superb Picasso museum, Palma de Mallorca’s Miró Foundation, and the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Catalonia.
From the well preserved Roman remains of Tarragona on the Costa Dorada, to the extravagantly decorated Moorish palaces in Seville and Granada, the country is also rich in historic monuments. Some of the world’s oldest cave paintings were discovered in Altamira in Cantabria, and the Balearic Islands are still scattered with the tombs and villages of the ancient Talayotic culture.
Santiago Calatrava’s stunning white City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia and Frank Gehry’s mind-bending designs for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao are just two recent structures that demonstrate the country’s commitment to contemporary art and architecture.
Traditional Spanish culture comes to the fore at the local festivals held in every village, town and city across the country. These exuberant events are celebrated with parades and a host of local traditions, such as the mock battles between the Christians and the Moors held along the Costa Blanca to the correfoc (‘fire-running’) popular in Catalonia. These festivities are accompanied with plenty of eating, drinking and dancing, and provide a wonderful insight into local Spanish culture.