Spain is among the most popular holiday destinations in the world, coming second only to France in terms of international tourists per year. For Brits, it’s particularly attractive, thanks to its combination of sunshine, great cuisine, and activities.
But visiting the same resorts every year can eventually get a bit stale. And the idea of going to the same place as everyone else might begin to grate before you’ve even jumped on the plane!
Spain is, however, home to an incredible diversity of geography and culture, and so it’s possible to find new experiences with every visit. Let’s identify a few locations that’ll provide a new insight on this most tempting of holiday-destinations.
A trip along Spain’s rivers provides a chance to take in much of what the country has to offer in a single holiday. Jules Verne is one of several operators to run river cruises along the Guadalquivir, from which you’ll be able to take in some of the oldest and most important historical buildings in Andalucía.
Just under a hundred miles north of Valencia you’ll find the walled city of Peñíscola. It sits on top of a rocky outcrop facing the sea, and, partly thanks to its use in Game of Thrones, it’s now attracting more tourists than ever. You’ll want to pay a visit before word gets out about the place; it’s stunningly beautiful and awash with history.
Just to the north of Madrid you’ll find this secluded little town, complete with medieval buildings and walls. It’s the perfect antidote to modern life, and a fantastic place to reflect on Spain’s history. The centrepiece of the whole town is the Plaza Mayor, the largest square, where numerous festivals are held throughout the year. The town has a rich history of bullfighting, but even if you’re an animal lover, there’s enough history on display to keep you interested throughout the year.
Since the early sixties, this remote slice of Spanish countryside has been listed as a national monument. It’s surrounded on all sides by craggy mountains; the streets are cobbled, the buildings are uniformly pink, and when you stay in this part of the world, you feel as though you’ve travelled back in time. Well-preserved and endlessly inspiring, it’s a perfect place to spend a weekend.
If you’re looking for scorching temperatures, then why not consider a visit to this sizzling part of Spain. The so-called ‘Frying Pan of Andalusia’ can reach temperatures in excess of 52°C in summer, which puts it on a rough par with some of the hottest places anywhere in the world. But if you’re heading there during autumn or winter, you’ll also be able to enjoy another of Spain’s hidden gems, complete with 18th-century mansions and church towers.