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Welcome to Spain and her beautiful islands...

Viva España! Our sun kissed neighbour has been fulfilling the holiday dreams of us Brits for many a generation, and is showing no signs of slowing down. From the sandy beaches of the Costa Brava and the Balearics, to the traditional charm of Andalucía and the heaven-sent winter sun of the Canary Islands - if it's sea, sand and sunny days you're after, then Spain has them by the bucket load.

Add to that an all-inclusive stay in Cantabria from where you can visit Bilbao and San Sebastian, a spot of al fresco dining and art galleries galore in Madrid and San Sebastian, along with the undeniable urban beauty of Catalonia's first city - magnificent Barcelona - and Spain really is one of those countries that can be visited and revisited year after year.

Culture and history

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.

Things to do

One of the very best things to do in Spain is to do nothing at all… well, almost nothing. Our range of cruises and all-inclusive hotel stays are designed to help you do just that - relax, take it easy and soak up that precious vitamin D.

Take a Mediterranean cruise, go island hopping around the Canaries on an escorted tour, or enjoy an active holiday and go walking on the picturesque island of Majorca in the Balearics.

Whether you'd like to take in historic buildings such as the Moorish Alhambra in Granada, climb to the top of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or just stay and relax in one of our many stunning hotels lining the beaches of the Costa del Sol, the Costa Brava and the Costa Blanca, we're guaranteed to have a holiday in the sun to suit you.


As well as the showstopper Barcelona, this diverse region has a whole host of towns and villages well worth visiting. Stroll through medieval Girona or visit the coastal towns of Sitges or Tarragona.

Both the Costa Dorada and the Costa Brava await you here, replete with picture-perfect Mediterranean beaches, as well as the cooler climbs of the Pyrenees. Back in Catalonia's capital, of the best ways to see Barcelona is on a walking tour - stroll through the Gothic Quarter, visit the Picasso Museum and marvel at the many examples of Gaudi's whimsical architectural style, including the lovely Park Guell.


Andalucía is seen by many as the most traditional region of Spain - wander the winding streets of Seville and you'll almost certainly meet a dusky Flamenco guitarist strumming under an orange tree in some shady plaza.

Tuck into a seafood paella in the showy coastal town of Malaga, head for the hills and visit Cordoba or Granada in the Sierra Nevada, or indulge in all out sun worshipping along the beaches of the Costa del Sol in bustling Marbella or Fuengirola.


Known as the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia's eponymous regional capital is a cultural and intellectual hub. On a sightseeing tour be sure to visit the busy central market and the impressive Valencia Cathedral.

Beyond the city limits the sparkling beaches of the Costa Blanca stretch out along the coast, encompassing the smaller, but no less lively, towns of Benidorm and Alicante.


Spain's lush north-western region sits on the border with Portugal and its craggy Atlantic coastline is known as the Costa Verde, or green coast. The area has its own language and a proud Celtic culture.

It may look remote on the map, but the town of Santiago de Compostela has been a thriving religious hub since the Middle Ages. Pilgrims have been winding their way here for centuries along the Camino de Santiago, making their way through Pamplona and La Rioja to Santiago Cathedral in the town's medieval core.

The Balearics

Emerald isles floating in an azure ocean, swaying palms and balmy climes - these Mediterranean islands are a true delight. Soak up the rays and enjoy a cocktail or two in Ibiza or Majorca, or turn down the tempo and relax on the diminutive islands of Minorca and Formentura.

These UNESCO World Heritage sites are truly beautiful, with the mountains and lush forests of their interiors just as stunning as their pristine sandy beaches.

Canary Islands

This distant archipelago sits off of the coast of North Africa and is blessed with year-round sun. The islands here are varied - each with their own character. Tenerife is the largest and most visited, then there's sandy Gran Canaria, the volcanic Lanzarote with its lunar landscapes, tiny La Gomera and the beach-lovers' delight, Fuerteventura.


Flight time

London to Madrid and Barcelona – from 2 hours

London to Seville – from 2.5 hours


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

Passports and visas

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

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.


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


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


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.


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 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.


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.


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, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

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.


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.

Spanish regions


Get into the Spanish spirit and enjoy fiestas, siestas and everything in-between on your Balearics break

Canary Islands

Warmed by the currents of the Gulf Stream, the Canaries benefit from year-round sunshine

Costa Blanca

If you thought you knew the Costa Blanca – think again, there’s so much more to discover

Costa Brava

Experience the Costa Brava – a region of leisure, mountains, viticulture and sunshine

Costa Calida

A well-kept Spanish secret

Costa de Almeria

Boasting the most hours of sunshine in the whole of Spain, Costa de Almeria is an intriguing blend of deserts, wild beaches and Moorish whitewashed houses

Costa de la Luz

The ‘Coast of Light’ will dazzle you with rich history, natural beauty, and fiery Andalusian culture.

Costa del Sol

Sunshine and sophistication combine to offer a luxurious break in the soul of southern Spain, the Costa del Sol

Costa Tropical

Where pomegranates and sugar cane grow, warmed by Saharan winds, you’ll find the Costa Tropical…

Costa Verde

The aptly-named "green coast" enjoys attractive sandy coves set below dramatic cliffs