The major air hubs are Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante and Tenerife but there is no end of regional airports with international connections too. For large distances, domestic flights are the most convenient but a high-speed train is a great option also, Barcelona to Madrid, for instance, is under 3 hours. A trip from the mainland to the Balearics is a short flight or slightly longer ferry/yacht away, Barcelona to Mallorca is 6-8 hours. A trip to the Canary Islands is a surprisingly long flight, with Madrid to Tenerife taking around 3 hours flight time.
Climate & seasons
A true year-round destination. July and August are prime beach season countrywide, so expect crowds and high temperatures. If you’re in Andalucia in particular expect a lot of heat, maybe too much for some. The north can provide a surprising cool alternative, the lush Basque region has thoroughly pleasant 25ºC summers. Generally, June and September are a little cooler and quieter, making them a fine beach holiday option too. March, April, May and October are cooler still but still agreeable, making them great months for exploring, sightseeing and being a bit active. Winter on the mainland is cool but fear not, the volcanic Canary Islands hover around 20ºC even in December and January when the scarves and hats are on in Madrid.
Where to go
The list is long. But for convenience, your options fall into one of three destinations – the mainland, the Balearic Islands in the balmy Mediterranean or the Canary Islands out in the wide Atlantic. In terms of the Balearics, Mallorca continues to draw the crowds but can surprise some discerning guests with its lack of sandy beaches and beachfront luxury resorts. Ibiza remains a heady mix of hedonism and stunning scenery. Barcelona’s architecture, rich Catalonian culture and beachside location make it as dazzling a destination as ever. Historic Madrid – home of the king – stands proud with world-class museums and galleries galore. To the south, explore Anadulucia where a fascinating blend of Moorish influences has delivered architectural wonders galore from Granada, Seville, Malaga and Cordoba to the stunning village of Ronda. To escape the crowds go north and discover the hidden gem of Basque Country or La Rioja, both of which offer a different climate, cuisine and experience from their southern neighbours.
What to do
Soak up the Spanish sun on the south coast or one of the islands. Enjoy some of the world’s best nightlife and fiesta hard with the warm-blooded Spaniards, many of whom seem to have no concept of bedtime. Eat until you burst, devour paella, plate after plate of tapas, jamón and chorizo, the list endless. Wash it down with sangria, cava or La Rioja. Sleep off your feast with a traditional afternoon siesta. Relax, embrace the slow pace of life. Explore incredible sights and cities. Play a round or two at some truly marvellous golf courses. Marvel at architectural wonders of such diversity it will make your head twirl, from Gaudi’s organic curves in Barcelona to the detailed precision of the Alhambra in Granada, to the regal baroque facade of the Royal Palace in Madrid. For football fanatics, no trip would be complete with a pilgrimage to either the hallowed stands of the Camp Nou, or the Bernabeu, or both.