Spain has so much to offer in terms of exploration, mountains and sea, history and culture, music and architecture. The country has been ruled by Christians and Moors, Dictators and Republics and more recently Kings. It’s history is fascinating and this can been seen throughout the country from the Basque Country in the North, Cataluna to the east and all the way down to Andalucia in the south which was once a strong-hold of Moorish Lands in cities like Seville, Granada and Cordoba.
Should you want to sample fine wines, head to La Rioja and stay in luxury at The Marques de Riscal Hotel, designed by Frank Gehry, an architectural statement which presides over these winelands.
From Rioja, you can head north into the Pyrenees, walk the trails of Santiago de Compostela and end your stay travelling along the coast between Bilbao and San Sebastian. A favourite hotel is Iturregi, surrounded by vineyards, mountains and overlooking the coast of Gipuzkoa. Here you can explore fisherman villages, go on mountain walks and soak up the sun on the nearby beaches. This northern region is also a gastronomic paradise with its amazing range of eateries from tapas bars to Michelin Star restaurants.
Down in the south, the picturesque white villages of Andalucia are well worth a visit. Not to forget Granada, Cordoba and Seville with their mix
of Arab, Roman and Christian history, which can all be seen and admired in the churches, fortresses and mosques. They are truly an unforgettable sight.
Along the coast, from north to south there are numerous beach towns some more sleepy than others. The more secluded beaches and less developed areas are around Cadiz in the south, near Vejer, Zahara de los Atunes and Tarifa.
Some of the excitements and Spanish festivals which take place throughout the year include the Feria de Abril in Seville, The Fallas Festival in Valencia and Semana Santa, otherwise known as Easter Week, which is celebrated in almost every village and town all over the country.
If you fancy adding on a bit of Africa, you can even take a ferry over to Morocco from Tarifa and lose yourself in the colourful souks in Tangiers.
Some hidden gems in the south of Spain and a few of my favourite hotels include Asia Gardens and Spa near Valencia, La Bobadilla outside Granada, Fuente la Higuera near Ronda, Hacienda de San Rafael near Seville, Casa La Siesta near Vejer and Finca Cortesin for ultimate luxury and a spot of golf on the Costa del Sol.
WHEN TO GO: You can visit Spain any time of year. If you are looking for warmth, then I’d recommend sticking to the months between May and September. Cities likes Seville and Cordoba are boiling hot in July and August so perhaps best avoided in the 40 degree heat and head to the coast instead.
It’s even possible to have nice sunny days and 22 degree heat in November and December down in the south which makes it a pleasant destination to escape the cooler climates of the British winter.
WHO FOR: Everyone. Wine Lovers, beach goers, trekkers, culture and history-buffs, golfers and travellers of all budgets from mid-range to the very best.
TYPE OF HOLIDAY: Beach and countryside, Wine and Food, Walking Holidays, Villa Rentals, Riding Holidays, Private House Parties (fully catered and hosted)
GETTING THERE: Between 2 and 4 hours with British Airways, Easy Jet, Iberia, Ryan Air, Jet 2
VISA: Not Needed for UK passport holders
TIME DIFFERENCE: +1 GMT
COMBINES WELL WITH: Morocco and France
Image Credits: © Instituto de turismo de España- TURESPAÑA) These images must not be lent or transferred to any other third party without the previous written consent of TURESPAÑA.