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Spain

Spain is probably the original package holiday destination. Famous for its Sun, sand and sangria holidays, Spain is a favourite of millions of holiday makers from throughout Europe.

Spain: Facts and Figures

 

Population
 
45 million Currency  Euros
Size 195,000 square miles Flight Times
Language Spanish (+regional Catalan, Galician & Basque) Gatwick to
Religion Roman Catholic Madrid 2½ hrs
Malaga 2¾ hrs (indirect)
Electricity 220 V, two pin plugs Tenerife 4½ hrs
    Time Zone +1 hrs (Canaries +2 hrs)

Spain's Costas provide holidays for every one: from those looking to get away from it all on a family holiday in Benidorm to those wishing to show they own it all on their luxury yachts in Puerto Banus. Whether you party all night and spend your days topping up your tan or just want to unwind on a relaxing holiday, there is a resort on one of the Spanish Costas for you.

There are many Costas, from the Sun-drenched Costa del Sol; the Costa Tropical, protected from both over development and the extremes of climate by the Sierra Nevada Mountains or the miles of golden sand of the Costa Blanca.

Whilst many are happy to spend their holiday on a sunbed, for those who hire a car and head inland a Spain of culture, history and natural wonders. Sights such the Pueblo Blanco (white towns) of Andalucia, such as Frigiliana or Casares, which hardly look as if they have changed from Moorish times, the strange landscapes of El Torcal de Antequera, the bridge over the gorge at La Ronda, made infamous in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" or spectacular castles such as the Castillo de Coca.

In addition there are many fascinating cities.  Probably the most well known are Madrid, the capital, renowned for its museums, galleries and palaces and Barcelona for the Ramblas, its gothic quarter and the world famous architecture of Gaudi.  There are many other cities more than worth visiting.  In Andalucia alone, Granada, for the incomparable Alhambra, Cordoba for the unique Mezquita and Seville for the Alcazar and the Cathedral are only a day-trip from the Costa del Sol resorts.

Almost as popular as mainland Spain are the islands of the Balearics and the Canaries.  The Mediterranean Balearics are many peoples first taste of Spain.  They include Majorca, Ibiza and Minorca, along with the less well known Formentera.  Majorca is suitable both as a family destination and those wanting a more lively holiday, the resorts round Magaluff provide the answer.  Whilst Ibiza has the (deserved) reputation as the party island, there are more than enough quiet resorts for families.  Minorca tends to be much quieter than the other two.

The Canaries are a volcanic island group off the coast of Morocco. Consequently, particularly in the winter they tend to be much warmer than the Mediterranean coast of Spain.  There are seven main islands in the Canaries. The major tourist destinations are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.  Whilst they all have typical tourist resorts, each has its own unique landscape, quite unlike anything you might see in the UK.  It would be a pity to go so far and not at least take a coach tour round whichever island you are visiting.

Tenerife is the largest, and with the 12,198 ft Mount Teide, the highest.  The south west side of the island tends to be the sunnier and hotter side and hence are where most of the tourist development has taken place.  The north tends to be cloudier and hence more verdant.  Los Cristianos/Playa de las Americas are the major resorts in the south, whereas Puerto de la Cruz is the largest in the north.  All provide a mix for both families and those seeking a lively holiday, with perhaps Playa de las Americas being best for nightlife and Puerto having the main tourist parks.  Tenerife's main cities, La Laguna and Santa Cruz are both worth visiting.

Gran Canaria is similarly divided up into different climatic regions., with most of the tourist development in the South.  Playa del Ingles will suit party animals, whereas Puerto Rico is more for families.

Weather

Costa del Sol (Marbella)  Average daily high temperature (ºC) Average daily low temperature (ºC) Sea temperature (ºC) Rain (mm) Sun (hours)
January 13 6 16 101 5
February 14 6 15 92 6
March 16 7 15 75 7
April 18 9 16 62 7
May 21 11 17 40 9
June 26 15 20 23 11
July 29 17 22 7 11
August 29 18 23 9 11
September 26 16 22 23 8
October 21 12 20 68 7
November 17 9 18 119 5
December 14 6 16 114 5

 

Tenerife (Playa de las Americas)  Average daily high temperature (ºC) Average daily low temperature (ºC) Sea temperature (ºC) Rain (mm) Sun (hours)
January 20 14 19 66 6
February 21 14 18 55 7
March 22 15 18 42 7
April 23 16 18 31 8
May 24 17 19 11 9
June 26 19 20 5 10
July 28 20 21 1 11
August 29 21 22 3 11
September 28 21 23 13 8
October 26 19 23 41 7
November 24 17 21 69 6
December 21 16 20 75 5