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200 kilometres of sandy coastline, cliffs, coves, resorts and ancient ports, bathed in sunshine – just some the attractions of the Costa Blanca

Its lively tourist resorts are perfect if you enjoy the holiday buzz, while the pretty town of Altea with its cobbled streets, or the walled town of Calpe, are great for some 'down time'.

The Costa also offers a good base from which to explore – discover the mountains, perhaps visiting one of the villages that lie within them, or set off for the city of Valencia, approached via citrus groves and hard to resist with its historic buildings, museums and bustling streets.

In the evening Benidorm Palace, one of the costas’ most famous night spots, is ideal for a memorable night out, or alternatively join the bargain hunters at the other end of the day at Benidorm's El Cisne flea market.

See All Holidays to Costa Blanca

For the ultimate, great-value holiday stay at this friendly hotel in Calpe, an ideal base from which to explore further...

For the ultimate, great-value holiday, choose an Essential stay at the Hotel Kaktus Albir on Spain's Costa Blanca.

Enjoy great value at this locally rated 4-star hotel which has a perfect location next to a beautiful, sandy beach.

Stay in the heart of the Costa Blanca at this friendly hotel in Calpe, an ideal base from which to explore further...

Indulge in the good things of life on an all-inclusive beachside holiday on Spain's Costa Blanca

For the ultimate, great-value holiday, choose an Essential stay at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Avenida in the pedestrianised centre of Benidorm.

Hotel Avenida QQQ

Stay and Relax

The locally rated 4-star Hotel Avenida is in a superb location in the pedestrianised centre of Benidorm

SH Villa Gadea QQQQ+

Stay and Relax

Stay half board in an elegant hotel with a local 5-star rating and an enviable beachside setting on Spain's Costa Blanca.

Opt for a special upgraded stay at this locally rated 4-star hotel, the third hotel to be built in Benidorm with a perfect location next to a beautiful, sandy beach

For the ultimate, relaxing break opt for a special upgraded stay at the Hotel Kaktus Albir on Spain's Costa Blanca.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at this friendly hotel in Calpe, an ideal base from which to explore further...

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Avenida in the pedestrianised centre of Benidorm.

Explore the beautiful and mountainous terrain of the Costa Blanca, ascending hillside trails and walking through varied landscapes of cliffs, woodland and rural villages.

Cruise the east coast of Spain from top to toe.

Look forward to a slice of life in the fast lane on this cruise of the western Mediterranean, which includes the chance to watch the glitzy Monaco Grand Prix.

Discover ancient buildings, striking art, glorious autumnal landscapes and iconic sites – all combine to create a fabulous picture of the western Mediterranean.

See the colours of the western Mediterranean on this cruise that ends the summer in style.

The Western Mediterranean is hard to beat for culture-rich ports, whether it's the museums and galleries of Lisbon or the fantastical works of Picasso and Gaudí in Barcelona. As well as the region's big-name attractions, this cruise also calls at quieter Spanish ports and peaceful islands where you can enjoy the simple pleasures of Mediterranean life.

A Spanish Sojourn

Saga Cruises

Join Saga Pearl II on a Spanish adventure with visits to captivating Barcelona, Valencia and Seville.

Combine a classic Mediterranean cruise with the festive magic of Christmas aboard Saga Sapphire…

This voyage aboard Saga Sapphire takes in the best of the Med – from the eye-catching architecture of Valencia, to the ancient ruins of Carthage.

Language

Spanish; Castilian -

Castillian Spanish is the official language, with other Spanish languages and dialects varying in different regions.

English isn’t widely used outside of the main coastal resorts, so you may find it very handy to learn a few words before you travel.

Tipping

Tipping is similar to the UK: the typical amount in restaurants is 10% (most establishments don’t add a service charge to the bill). Taxi drivers and porters expect a small tip too.

Population and size

Spain has a population of 47.4 million, which is relatively low in comparison to other European countries such as France and Italy.

At 505,988 square kilometers, Spain is more than twice the size of the UK.

Currency

Euro - The currency is the euro, divided into 100 cents.

Culture

The main religion in Spain is Roman Catholic, which accounts for around two-thirds of the country, along with a small minority of Muslims.

When meeting new people, a handshake is the common greeting among men, and a kiss on the cheek between women - the number of kisses can vary, so prepare yourself for two or even three!

You'll also find that the Spanish eat much later than we do in the UK, with lunch between 2-3.30pm and dinner between 9-11pm, so don't be alarmed if you find yourself in a relatively quiet restaurant. Oh, and the Spanish love to party - depending on when you visit you might find yourself embroiled in one of their many annual celebrations, including one that involves a battle with tomatoes!

Pablo Picasso is among Spain's most celebrated sons, along with Antoni Gaudi, whose eccentric architecture enlivens the Barcelona cityscape. More recent times saw Spanish cinema come into its own with directors like Pedro Almodovar breaking into the English-speaking world. And films like Guillermo del Toro's darkly fantastic masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth, a Spanish-Mexican venture, solidified Spain as a big player in the film industry.

History-wise there has been a lot going on, from its dominating position when the Spanish Empire set out to discover the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries, to its catastrophic civil war in the 1930s and radical change following the death of dictator Franco in 1975. For an insight into the country's most recent history and the Spanish psyche, Giles Tremlett's Ghosts of Spain is well worth a read.

Phrases

A few basic words of Spanish to get you started…

Hola – hello

Adios – goodbye

Por favor – please

Gracias – thank you

Si – yes

No – no

Perdon – excuse me

No hablo espanol – I don’t speak Spanish

Timezone

Spain is one hour ahead of GMT, two in British summertime.

Electricity

Mains voltage is 220-240 volts AC (50 cycles) and all sockets take small round two-pin plugs. You’ll need an adaptor for your British appliances, so remember to bring one with you as you probably won’t be able to find one in Spain.

Climate

The climate varies depending on the region, but generally the further south you go, the warmer it will be. The weather on the south and east coast is fairly reliable all year round, enjoying a balmy Mediterranean climate, while the interior tends to stay hot and dry as it’s located on a plateau.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre – see www.nathnac.org, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.

Passports and visas

You’ll need a current passport valid for the duration of your stay. British citizens don’t require a visa.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in enclosed public areas and is not allowed on public transport, in bars or restaurants, except in designated areas. Be sure to remember this or you may be stuck with a hefty fine.

Flight time

London to Madrid and Barcelona – from 2 hours

London to Seville – from 2.5 hours



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