Spain has been a family-holiday staple since the 1960s, when Britain first laid eyes on the amazing Costa Blanca, booked flights and never looked back.
Travel’s much cheaper these days and now we know Spain’s ancient cities, fascinating islands, intriguing regions and stunning mountains almost as well as the beautiful beaches.
So have we ‘done’ Spain? Not a bit of it – even Benidorm, the original attraction, has wild and magical Sierra Helada national park waiting to be discovered, less than an hour from the well-known resort’s crowded summer resorts.
But that’s Spain: just when you think it can’t surprise, it up and delights with something completely new, unexpected and perfect for families.
There are direct flights year-round from most UK airports to mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearics.
Barcelona is the only city in the world ever to have received a RIBA Gold Medal for architectural excellence – the award is normally given to an individual architect or single building.
Spain has 45 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third-greatest number worldwide.
Spain has 15 National Parks. Teide on Tenerife is the largest and most visited, and Picos de Europa in northern Spain is a UNESCO Biosphere.
The Spanish coastline consists of over 7,000km, with 10 costas, including Costa Brava, Costa Blanca, Costa de la Luz and Costa del Sol.
During summer, Andalusia alone has more than 100 feria – feasts or festival days – and the Basque country has even more, including San Fermin in Pamplona (including the famous ‘running of the bulls’) and Bilbao’s Aste Nagusia, held in the final week of August. Feria are only matched by weird-and-wonderful festivals like La Tomatina (tomato-throwing), held in the Valencian town of Buñol, El Colacho (jumping over babies), in Castrillo de Murcia, and, oddest of all, Santa Marta de Ribarteme (the festival of near-death experiences), in Las Nieves, Galicia.
Cities are easy: Spain has some of Europe’s best urban transport networks and fast inter-city train services. For coast and country, hire a car. Touring regions is irresistible and, if you’re in the south in summer, you can always escape to the cool of the mountains when it’s too hot by the sea.