Even if you have never visited the lively, colourful and diverse country, Spain’s reputation for being full of passion and vitality will not have passed you by. With energy running through their veins, the people of this fantastically vibrant country live for their music, flamenco dancing, great food and celebration.
What To Do
Famous for its ancient and more recent history, Spain has so many places to go on a ‘to do’ list, with Barcelona’s ‘La Sagrada Família’ right at the top. This simply mesmerising Gaudí creation towers above the city streets, appearing to have been plucked from a fairy-tale animation. Further south in Granada is the Alhambra, a legacy left by the Moors. Parts of this incredible building, which is now a World Heritage Site, are a palace with others the remains of a fort.
In Spain, Roman ruins stand shoulder to shoulder with grand cathedrals while fine examples of Islamic architecture complement the superb modern creations of Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí, who put their endlessly creative stamp on Spain’s art world.
With an inspirational landscape, Spain is a favourite destination for skiers and summer hikers. The Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa stand in stark contrast to the low lying plains of Andalucía, the wild and wonderful southern region of Spain, famous for its beautiful beaches and a culture that combines Moorish charm with distinct Spanish flair.
Food in Spain is so integrated into the social lives of the locals that it is little wonder that enjoying tapas is the typical laidback way of eating here. Small snacks enjoyed with drinks and a chat can be the essence of a night out for many Spanish people.
Of course, regular dishes are served too and rely heavily on quality local ingredients. The tomatoes, olive oil, bread and peppers are commonly used in Spanish dishes and when blended with cucumber into a cold soup, they become the delectable gazpacho. Ibérico ham, made from the Black pigs in western Spain, and the egg tortilla are other popular tapas dishes.
Paella is another favourite, with bomba or calasaparra rice as the base. Made traditionally in Valencia with chicken, saffron and beans, this dish often has seafood added. Simply grilled fresh fish is very tasty, especially when eaten on the coast. Gambas al Ajillo are prawns in garlic, chilli and parsley and, despite their simplicity, could not be more delicious.
Spanish summers can be hot, especially in the south, with high humidity, particularly on the coast. Spring and autumn are milder than summer and the temperatures are lower with less humidity, meaning a fresher atmosphere.
November to February sees rain in the north and northwest. Although temperatures are mild in the south and on the Mediterranean coast, the ski resorts in the north see plenty of snow.
How To Get There
Spain has several international airports including Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Málaga. Flights from numerous European countries serve the main airports with airlines such as easyJet, Monarch, Ryanair, and British Airways travelling between Spain and the UK. Shuttle Direct are the number one choice for transfers from all of the major Spanish airports.
Traveling to Spain by train is straightforward. The usual route takes you via Paris and on to Figueres, Girona and Barcelona. As an alternative, you could sail to Spain! Brittany Ferries sail from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander and from Portsmouth to Bilbao. The Portsmouth routes sail twice a week. Once again, Shuttle Direct can be on hand to collect you from any of the major city rail stations or ferry ports.
Travelling to Spain? Don’t Miss…
Madrid is culture rich. Spend your holiday here and you can visit the Museo del Prado, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the excellent Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Royal Palace.
Córdoba, the charming southern city, is a stunning place largely influenced by the Moors. The former seat of Caliphate, this city is home to the Mezquita, an intriguing World Heritage Site that tells so much about the history of this region.
Barcelona, the Catalan capital, is a feast for every sense. Explore the busy narrow streets of the bohemian Gothic Quarter that offers a complete contrast to the contemporary 19th century Eixample Quarter, which is lined with Gaudi buildings.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct offers low cost transfers to and from airports, cruise ports and train stations all across Spain, and throughout Europe and North Africa. Pre-book an airport transfer via our secure online booking system, and all your onward travel arrangements can be in place before you leave home.