Summer holidays are here and despite the ongoing uncertainty, everyone deserves a break away.
With Spanish airports set to reopen on July 1, a late summer getaway may still be on the cards for some in 2020. Even if you are embracing ‘The Great British Holiday’ this year, it’s never too early to start thinking about your next overseas adventure.
And if months at home have you dreaming of sunshine and sandy beaches, and spending plenty of time outdoors, there’s no better destination than Spain.
Look beyond the major cities and coastal hotspots most well-known amongst British holidaymakers and you’ll discover that there’s a wealth of beautiful towns and countryside locations to enjoy.
What documents do I need to travel to Spain?
Until now, this has been an irrelevant question amongst British passport holders heading to Spain on holiday. As EU citizens, Brits enjoyed freedom of movement and were able to cross the border using just a valid passport.
However, now that the UK has left the European Union, as a British citizen you need to be aware of changes to Europe’s visa policy soon to come into effect.
ETIAS is being launched at the end of 2022 and will become mandatory for UK passport holders shortly after. As Spain is in Europe, and the Schengen Area, you’ll have to register for the travel authorisation from 2022.
The best rural holidays in Spain:
Away from the cities and coastal resorts, rural Spain offers stunning natural landscapes. In particular, Spain boasts several mountainous regions perfect for hiking, skiing, or simply relaxing in peaceful surroundings. For city dwellers, the Spanish mountains offer a welcome escape and a true breath of fresh air.
Galicia: a cool climate and lush greenery
Those who associate Spain with endless sunny days and scorching summer temperatures may not be familiar with the northwest of the country. It rains a lot in Galicia, the result of which is lush green landscapes.
Although the beaches of the Costa Brava and Costa del Sol are more well-known, Galicia’s beaches are stunning. Parai des Catedrais is a highlight.
Sierra Nevada: the southernmost ski resort in Europe
Whether or not you’re a keen skier, there can be no questioning Sierra Nevada’s beauty. Located in the province of Granada, the Sierra Nevada includes the highest point in the whole of the country, Mulhacén, towering 3,479 meters above sea level.
The Sierra Nevada is known for its long ski season. Towards the end of the summer, you can divide your time between the ski slopes and the beach — the perfect combination of a fitness holiday and ultimate relaxation.
Lanzarote: volcanoes and vineyards
Lanzarote boasts beautiful wilderness with natural beaches and rocky landscapes.
Away from the shore, you’ll come across probably the most unusual vineyards to be found anywhere. The vines are planted in the black volcanic soil with stones around them to offer protection from the wind.
Anyone interested in winemaking should consider a rural retreat in one of the wine-making regions of the island with the chance to live like a local and, of course, sample a glass or two of Lanzarote wine.
Alternative city breaks in Spain:
The Spanish capital, Madrid, and the Catalan city of Barcelona may be the first Spanish cities that come to mind. Whilst these are certainly both must-see destinations, there are many more places to discover.
What’s more, visiting one of the cities less popular amongst tourists is a good way to see a different side of Spanish urban life.
Valencia: the Spanish city that has it all
Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city yet is often overlooked by tourists. If you’re seeking a Spanish city destination that has it all then Valencia is hard to beat.
Wandering around the streets of the old town you’ll come across countless small churches, squares, and plenty of cafés and independent shops.
What’s more, with over 200 days of sunshine a year, you can enjoy the city beach throughout the seasons as well as the Turia Gardens, perfect for picnics and leisurely strolls.
Cordoba: an enchanting Andalusian city
Cordoba offers tonnes of culture and history. It is particularly special in May when the annual Feria de los Patios takes place. Courtyards and patios are opened to the public and local residents hope to be awarded the prize for the prettiest space.
Bilbao: a city for art enthusiasts
Located in the north of Spain, there’s a world of difference between Bilbao and Southern Spanish cities. Bilbao is the place to go if you’re at all interested in contemporary art. The Guggenheim Museum is in Bilbao and contains some of the world’s finest pieces of modern artwork.
The city also has a charming old town to explore where you can indulge in traditional Basque cuisine.
Spanish beach holidays to relax and unwind:
It may be hard to find an empty Spanish beach during the summer as temperatures rise and locals and visitors alike head to the shore for a dip in the ocean. Nevertheless, choose wisely and you can find space on the sand to disconnect.
Formentera: a peaceful alternative to the White Isle
Measuring just 19 km by 6 km, Formentera is an idyllic island and possibly the least well known of the Balearic Islands behind Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca.
On Formentera, you can expect a laid-back lifestyle and long chilled-out days at the beach. If you’re seeking a chilled-out island vacation and don’t fancy the Ibiza clubbing scene, Formentera is the perfect place for you.
Sitges: a fishing village with a party atmosphere
Just over 20 miles south of Barcelona, Sitges is a 30-minute train ride from the Catalan capital. Once a fishing village, Sitges has become famous for its lively nightlife.
The beaches in Sitges do get busy during July and August but head here towards the end of the season once school has resumed and soak up the last few rays of summer sunshine in idyllic surroundings.
Sitges hosts perhaps the biggest and boldest Carnival in the region and locals and tourists alike flock here in February to get involved.
Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve
On the coast of Almeria, the beaches of Cabo de Gata are as unspoiled as they get. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, you won’t find seafront restaurants and souvenir shops here. Instead, you can enjoy wild beaches and take the opportunity to really enjoy the natural landscape.
A fantastic spot for keen photographers, Cabo de Gato will provide a stunning backdrop for your snaps not to mention lots of interesting wildlife.