This is Spain

SantaPola with
SantaPola with

Holidays in Spain

Spanish Holidays then, now and in the future.

Since the 1960s, North Europeans and especially Brits have been thronging to Spain for their annual holidays and despite the advent of a whole range of new destinations such as the Far East, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Florida and many others, the love affair with Spain looks all set to continue.

However things have changed – the cost of a two week holiday has increased in relative terms and a fortnight in Fuengirola or Benidorm is not the ‘cheap and cheerful’ holiday it once was. What the tourist does get now is much better quality and the visitors seem to accept that Spain does genuinely offer an excellent price-service balance. The heads of tourism in the various councils and governments recognise that to keep the visitor numbers at these high levels, they must offer much more than free sun and cheap beer, cigarettes and entertainment. Whilst some 15 millions foreign visitors are expected this year, the authorities know that if they increase the prices or lower the quality then these visitors may well now venture to more exotic climes’¦’¦.never to return! Many resorts have tried hard to improve their lager lout image and certainly in the Canaries, Mallorca and Fuengirola the authorities have imposed strict regulations about the size and quality of the hotels whilst offering facilities that attract those who want to see more than just the bottom of a pint glass. Their efforts seem to be paying dividends.

More good news is that it has never been easier to get to Spain and not only to the traditional Costas. More and more flights are arriving from more and more different airports at airports in all four corners of the Spanish map. No longer is it a choice of Manchester to Málaga or Alicante for example. Now, you can start your journey from Manchester, Liverpool, Doncaster, Leeds, Exeter and land in places like Seville, Valencia, Oviedo, Jérez or Santiago de Compostela so the options to discover more of Spain than the costas of the package-tours are increased dramatically. Budget airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet and Jet2 favour the smaller airports where faster turnarounds and lower fees allows them to offer cheap flights (‘low-cost’ and ‘discount’ are the buzz words!) and this trend looks likely to continue. Details of all Spanish airports can be found in English here The official AENA site is now also in the English language.

This new opportunity to enjoy ‘open jaw’ flights – fly to say Almería and return from Asturias – with ‘open jaw’ car-hire means that people have much greater flexibility and can visit parts of Spain that until a few short years ago were rarely visited. This is all good news for ‘Rural Tourism’ – a branch of tourism that the Spanish government at both national and regional level is keen to promote. Walking tours in the north (España verde – green Spain) or cave holidays in Granada are just two options but there are many more and the range only gets bigger – enjoy! Check Esentia Tours and Saranjan for wine tours, cycling tours and much, much more.

One thing that you should never struggle to find in Spain is a value for money hotel. Whether you want a campsite, budget accommodation (un hostal – NOT a “hostel” as we know it in English) or a luxury 5* hotel, Spain can provide you with whatever you require. Almost all hotels offer tremendous value and can normally be booked on the internet through sites such as Trip Advisor For more information see Hotels and Accommodation

What is also now becoming more popular – because it is more practicable and affordable – is city breaks, whether it is to explore the glories of Granada, the museums of Madrid, a weekend of soccer in Barcelona or Bilbao, or simply ‘shop to you drop’ in Valencia. The days of 7- or 14-day only options with a long trek to your ‘local’ airport are over. As a poster I saw recently proclaimed, ‘Spain is Open’. Coupled with a renewed attempt to offer ‘Al turismo, una sonrisa’ (A smile to tourism) there has probably never been a better time to come here.

Cruising is another holiday option and the main Mediterranean cruise season is from May to October, although there are cruises all year. Costa Cruises offers a great option for travellers looking to see Europe on a budget with their very popular Balearic (Spain) Islands line; travelling along the Spanish coast you can admire the beautiful landscape of Alicante and its coastal towns like Torrevieja and Punta Prima on the sunny Costa Blanca region; with a long stopover in Palma de Mallorca you would also enjoy stops in Italy and Morocco.

Finally and despite (or perhaps because of!) the crisis more and more people are looking to Spain for luxury holidays. If that is what you are looking for then Spain can certainly offer 5 star holidays catering for virtually any taste and in a huge variety of destinations. Madrid has no less than 22 hotels ranked 5 star, Marbella has 12, Barcelona 28 and Palma de Mallorca 6. So, luxury holidays will not be difficult to find!

If you have a favourite holiday story please send it to Steve Hall and we will be delighted to add it to this site.

¡Bienvenidos a todos!

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