Spain Overview

The Spanish must be laughing. For half a century, tourists have colonised the beaches, bars, islands and city centres, thinking this is ‘Spain’ – all this time leaving the best bits for the Spaniards themselves. Towering mountains rival the Alps in terms of scenery, wildlife, hiking and cycling – without the towering Alpine prices. Cosy coves are overlooked by fishing villages – not 18-storey hotels. There are rural hamlets where the travelling market only passes once a week and hillsides that ring to the sound of cowbells – just a half-hour drive from a resort-lined coastline. Think you know Spain? Read our Spain travel guide.

Our top Spain holidays

Altiplano de Granada activity holiday, Spain

From €380 to €490
8 days ex flights
Family Multi-activity cultural holiday in rural Andalucia

Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain

From €659
7 days ex flights
Walk and talk on this small group language holiday in Picos de Europa National Park
Small group2021: 1 Mar, 8 Mar, 15 Mar, 22 Mar, 29 Mar, 5 Apr, 12 Apr, 19 Apr, 26 Apr, 3 May, 10 May, 17 May, 24 May, 31 May, 7 Jun, 14 Jun, 21 Jun, 28 Jun, 5 Jul, 12 Jul, 19 Jul, 26 Jul, 2 Aug, 9 Aug, 16 Aug, 23 Aug, 30 Aug, 6 Sep, 13 Sep, 20 Sep, 27 Sep, 4 Oct, 11 Oct, 18 Oct, 25 Oct

Best time to go to Spain

Year-round, there will be an ideal region for your Spanish holiday. Spring and autumn are generally the best time to visit Spain, with sunshine but not hellish heat, and you’ll miss the summer crowds. Parts of Andalucía are blissful in winter – you can ski mountain slopes and sunbathe on a beach in the same day. For midsummer activity holidays, avoid the oven-like south and humid east and head north, to Asturias, Galicia or the Pyrenees. Fiestas happen all year and every village has its own celebration. Whether you want flamenco or tomato tossing, find the best time to visit Spain.
Spain temperature and rainfall chart

Map & highlights

Some of the best parts of Spain run along its Mediterranean coast. The Alicante region of Valencia combines an amazing coastal climate with some lovely inland scenery whilst, further along the coast, the Catalonia region boasts a very different culture – experienced in the Catalan-speaking cities of Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona. It’s not all about going coastal. The Picos Mountains and Pyrenees take you as far from sea level as you can get, luring you up with impressive craggy summits. You’ll find there’s a Moorish flavour to Western Andalucía’s historic cities, whilst the Camino de Santiago grows increasingly popular among walkers.
Alicante

1. Alicante

The Costa Blanca may be the home of hedonism but Alicante is now making a name for itself as a place to be good to yourself, with a variety of yoga and wellbeing holidays. There are also some excellent walking and cycling trails, taking in coastal plains, steep escarpments, Moorish pueblos, caves and Bronze Age settlements. Get into the local flora – cherry and orange blossoms, orchids and carpets of spring blooms.
Camino de Santiago

2. Camino de Santiago

This humble trail across northern Spain draws pilgrims from across the globe to share in the classic landscapes, the hearty northern dishes and the very Spanish sense of “solidarity”. Roughing it in hostels is still possible – but plusher accommodation is now springing up along the Camino, meaning you can enjoy the trail’s highlights but with a quiet, comfy bed to collapse into at the end of each day.
Catalonia

3. Catalonia

Frequently described as “not Spain!” Catalonia is a country within a country, where Catalan is the dominant language and landscapes sweep from snowy Pyrenean peaks to sun-soaked Mediterranean coves. There is a Volcanic Park, car-free hiking and walking trails, cuisine influences by the oceans and forests – and the magnificent cities of Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona.
Picos de Europa (Asturias)

4. Picos de Europa (Asturias)

Extraordinarily, this 2,650m high mountain range has not popped up on most hikers’ compasses. The limestone massif is frequently snow-draped, and shelters chamois goats, bearded vultures, Iberian wolves and even brown bears. The villages here are isolated yet welcoming, the food is possibly Spain’s finest – and you’re still just 10km from the craggy Costa Verde.
Pyrenees

5. Pyrenees

Stretching across the French border, the Spanish Pyrenees are a final frontier of world-class mountain biking, hiking and climbing, kayaking and rafting, and even strange volcanic scenery. The Pyrenees are as diverse as anywhere else in Spain – from the lush Basque foothills of the west, to hidden ski slopes, 3,400m peaks, steep railways, medieval villages, glacial lakes and monasteries clinging to cliffs.
Western Andalucia

6. Western Andalucia

The Moorish heartland of Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz and Huelva is peppered with 11th century fortresses, cathedrals converted into mosques and back into cathedrals, ancient Jewish Quarters, miles of orderly olive groves and windswept Atlantic coastline, heated by Saharan breezes. A frying pan in summer, springlike in winter, and the birthplace of sherry and flamenco. Catch a festival here if you can.

Walking

There are two immediate reasons why you’d want to go walking in Spain: great weather and great scenery. Seek shade in Mediterranean forests in Catalonia, hike between striking white villages in Andalucía, and wander the vivid green valleys of the Basque country. Take time in these special areas of Spain and many more reasons come to the surface once you zoom in on the region you’d like to explore. Only then will you realise that every part of Spain has its own local identity, every town has a specialty, and every region runs on its own calendar of festivals.

Cycling

When each village has a different specialty, what better way to see Spain than to cycle? Pedal between settlements, stopping for a well-earned lunch every day. There are quiet roads and well-established cycle paths, and – whether you’re freewheeling through orange groves or tackling a summit – it’s a great landscape to take in from two wheels. Cycling holidays might go through wetlands in Alicante, coastal forest in Catalonia, or overtake walkers on the Camino de Santiago. In central Spain, you only have to go a little way out of Madrid to find yourself cycling in some really wild Castilian countryside.

Family holidays

When the water is this warm and the weather this sunny, there’s no question that family holidays will be an instant hit with your little ones if you take them to Spain. If your kids love splashing around, activity holidays in Andalucía, a villa in Lanzarote, or a trip to Catalonia’s Costa Brava will suit them, whilst older teens will enjoy the great outdoors in the Spanish Pyrenees or the Picos Mountains, or tackling some more rugged Catalan terrain on a mountain bike. Spanish food is delicious and kid-friendly, and paella and tapas are a great way to end the day.

More holiday ideas

Catalonia family self guided cycling holiday, Spain

From €314 to €438
8 days ex flights
Customised road cycling tour in Girona, Catalonia

Catalonia self guided walking holidays

From €715 to €799
8 days ex flights
Self-guided walking holidays in Catalonia

Yoga holidays in Spain

From £795 to £845
6 days ex flights
Friendly retreats by the sea for a healthy mind, body & soul
Small group2020: 10 Sep, 24 Sep, 8 Oct, 22 Oct, 9 Nov, 2021: 25 Mar, 22 Apr, 13 May, 27 May, 10 Jun, 23 Sep, 7 Oct, 28 Oct

Pyrenees activity holiday

From £595 to £700
8 days ex flights
Enjoy an action packed week in the Pyrenees
Small group2021: 30 May, 13 Jun, 20 Jun, 4 Jul, 11 Jul, 22 Aug, 29 Aug, 5 Sep, 19 Sep, 2022: 29 May, 12 Jun, 19 Jun, 3 Jul, 10 Jul, 21 Aug, 28 Aug, 4 Sep, 18 Sep

Picos inn to inn walking holiday in Spain

From £1295
8 days ex flights
Hike through beautiful mountains staying in rural inns

Luxury fitness holidays in Spain

From £1145 to £1245
7 days ex flights
Luxury weight loss, detox, fitness & wellness retreat Spain
Small group2020: 23 Sep, 14 Oct, 21 Oct, 4 Nov, 18 Nov, 2021: 17 Feb, 3 Mar, 7 Apr, 21 Apr, 5 May, 19 May, 2 Jun, 16 Jun, 8 Sep, 22 Sep, 20 Oct, 3 Nov, 17 Nov
Quote. The secret to a great holiday is that it's great for everyone - you, local communities and nature.
Tourist and Masai

More about Spain

Flight free

Spain is well connected by rail, not just between cities, but with neighbouring France and Portugal too, meaning that a flight free holiday is perfectly possible. If you’re travelling from London, you could be in Spain 15 hours later, travelling via Paris or Lyon and changing train just before the French-Spanish border. We have a great team of travel experts and partners who can help if you are looking for your next flight free adventure, and they can help you with everything from itineraries to timings and bookings. Spain by train isn’t just doable, it’s highly enjoyable.

Types of holidays

Seeing Spain in a small group gives you a ready-made social circle, and is especially great if you’re interested in learning and practising your Spanish. There are plenty of active ways to see the country. Walking holidays take advantage of the great weather and scenery, cycling holidays take you through quiet towns off the tourist trail and multi activity holidays give you a little bit of both, plus kayaking and paddle boarding. Adventure holidays in Spain aren’t just for the brave – they’re for the curious. You can learn Spanish, go horse riding, or even try a little winter walking.

Where to go in Spain

Spain’s best places highlight its diversity. Catalonia shows that Spain’s identity isn’t as simple as it seems – the Catalan language, cuisine and traditions distinguish this autonomous region, as does its famously pretty coastline. Andalucía’s Moorish architecture in the beautiful cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada still points to its previous tenants – the Moors occupied large parts of Spain for centuries. Further north, Spain becomes greener, making the famous Camino de Santiago, which runs for 800km all the way from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, if not a walk in the park, then a walk in the pastoral.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Spain or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
[Walking: dominique Bernardini] [Cycling: Go Cycle Tours] [Family holidays : JOSE LUIS HEREDIA] [Flight free : Arturo Rey] [Types of holidays : Juanedc] [Where to go in Spain : Florian Thiery]
Photo credits: [Page banner: Mathew MacQuarrie] [Walking: dominique Bernardini] [Cycling: Go Cycle Tours] [Family holidays : JOSE LUIS HEREDIA] [Flight free : Arturo Rey] [Types of holidays : Juanedc] [Where to go in Spain : Florian Thiery]
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