Spain is known for its friendly people and enviable climate, with consistent warm weather and superb sandy beaches. You may be surprised by the range of luxury Canary Island hotels, not to mention the wonderful landscapes – from volcanoes in Tenerife and Lanzarote to majestic sand dunes in Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura. For a taste of traditional old-town charm, head to the Balearics for Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, home to charming harbours and idyllic bays.
Where is Spain?
Spain is on the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe, with coast on both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. The Balearic Islands lie off the mainland’s east coast in the Mediterranean, while the Canaries are further down off the north-west coast of Africa.
The Balearic Islands
Each of the Balearic Islands has its own vibe, but you’ll be guaranteed enchanting towns and beautiful beaches wherever you choose to go. Mallorca is the largest and most diverse of the islands, with a great range of boutique, adults-only and designer hotels. As well as the fantastic bays and calm emerald waters, head here for a thriving restaurant and bar scene, swanky shopping and gorgeous architecture in the capital, Palma de Mallorca. Sister island Menorca is smaller and more tranquil but incredibly scenic — visit Cala Galdana, considered ‘queen of the calas’ and home to a spectacular warm-water cove sheltered by limestone cliffs, and watersports-friendly Cala’n Bosch. Ibiza is known for its lively nightlife but it’s a bit of a dark horse; soak up the sun on one of its superb beaches, discover an underrated art scene, stroll around pretty marinas and explore the captivating old town.
The Canary Islands
For year-round sun and a top mix of family-friendly and exclusive hotels, the Canaries are a great choice. Tenerife is the largest island and has miles of dark-sand beaches and forests for hiking, with luxury resorts from Costa Adeje to Guía de Isora, whether you’re looking for family favourites or spa retreats. Untouched La Gomera is just 40 minutes by ferry from Tenerife, with scenery ranging from pebble beaches and craggy cliffs to dense jungle and breathtaking valleys. Fuerteventura is one of the best places in Spain when it comes to watersports, particularly in the south; head north to the resort town of Corralejo, and you’ll find beautiful beaches and sweeping sand dunes. You’ll find more famous dunes in Gran Canaria, specifically in the coastal resort town of Maspalomas at the southernmost point of the island. The island is also known for its picturesque national parks, with clusters of pine trees and rolling hills. And for a wonderfully diverse island holiday, choose Lanzarote, where you can spend days unwinding on golden beaches and exploring volcanoes.
Food & drink
One of the best things about a holiday to Spain is the food; the country is known for its unfussy but delicious dishes, and the art of sharing a bite to eat with tapas – think tortilla española (Spanish omelette), croquetas de jamón (ham croquettes) and legendary patatas bravas. Balearic food is diverse, with Mediterranean and Arabic influences — olive oil is frequently used and the seafood is regarded as some of the finest in Spain. In the Canary Islands you’ll be able to enjoy succulent meat and fish, often served as stews and with fresh ingredients including various varieties of potatoes, peppers, garlic and spices.
GMT + 1 hour
2¼-4¾ hours depending on destination
Visa not required for UK passport holders.
• A tourist tax applies to all hotels in the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca) and is only payable locally.