Spain has all the necessary ingredients to satisfy each one of our desires: cultural, sightseeing, its historical past, its gastronomy, and its festivals! The cities are compellingly individual. Barcelona offers Gaudi’s splendid modernist architecture and the lively promenade of Las Ramblas. Madrid has three of the world’s finest art museums and wonderful dining. Then there’s Seville, home of the flamenco; Valencia, the vibrant Levantine city with an excellent art scene; and Bilbao, with Frank Gehry’s astonishing Guggenheim museum.
• The Northern coast
Spain can be visited year round. The summer months of July & August can be quite hot.
Finding myself gazing up at the statue of Christopher Colombus at the bottom of la Rambla, the famous pedestrian area of downtown Barcelona. After a quiet moment of contemplation about discovery and bravery I decide to take a stroll up towards the Gothic Quarter. The whole place is bursting with street artists, stalls selling crafts and other tourist paraphernalia, musicians, couples wandering hand in hand and lots of folk wandering like me, gazing open-mouthed at all the activity. I had been warned about the ‘cup and ball’ tricksters but suddenly found one yelling at me to pick a cup! Gesturing to my camera to say I just want to take a photo, he ignores me and thrusts EUR 50 into my hand. I pick the right cup and think about hightailing it out of there but reckon he can run faster than I can so I just give him his money back and move away before I get properly ripped off. On the left I spot a huge covered market, St Josefs, and wham – full on sensory assault, instant and powerful. It’s truly massive with piles of hand-made chocolates and sweets, mountains of bright food and veggies, acres of fresh shrimp, live crab and every other kind of fish imaginable, freshly squeezed juice, ice cream, fresh and dried pasta, long trails of chilli and garlic, people shouting and jostling – awesome. I just soak it all up and it’s official; if I were 20 years younger I would be living in Barcelona. The weather is glorious at 25oC, the city is full of beautiful people and it has a wonderful spirit; colourful, vibrant and full of energy. Kate
Why we love it We love the great weather, the architecture – from historic towns such as Salamanca to the ultra modern Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, the romance of the flamenco dance, the artistic history, the passion of a local soccer game, the cuisine & wine… And who could not love the country that invented the siesta!
Weather Spain can be visited year round. In summer (June to August) it can be very warm particularly in the South. Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) can be a wonderful time to visit.
Social customs and quirks Flamenco music, dance and the controversial bullfights are easily recognizable elements of Spanish heritage, but the fierce national pride shown by the people are at the heart of the country’s identity
Festivals and events The festivals can only be described as chaotic, traditional, religious and colourful! The Spanish have turned every saint’s day into an exuberant, city-wide party which is unrivalled in Europe. Whatever time of year you visit Spain, there will be something going on, with all-time favorites being the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and Bunai’s La Tomantina.
Health* There are currently no health requirements entering Spain.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.
We were picked up by Santiago, a lovely young man who was our driver for the four days in Segovia and Toledo. The hotels were excellent, the guides were excellent. No complaints. We enjoyed every moment.