Discover Spain’s hottest spots for the Summer
With a passionate spirit, an appetite for life, and some of the most vibrant and captivating cities in Europe to boot, Spain every bit as appealing as it ever was. From those quintessentially Spanish pastimes of flamenco dancing and tapas-tasting, to glimpses of astounding modernism and unexpected Arab-influences, the country continually serves up something to satisfy the diverse palette of its many visitors. As we come into the summer months again, Spain’s magic and charm is set to dazzle once more for 2010. As such, we’ve put together a guide to some of the very hottest Spanish spots to head for this season.
A consistent frontrunner for best European city, this charismatic, beautiful and inimitably energetic metropolis leaves its visitors at a loss to find anything more they could want from a weekend break. Indeed, with its magnificent architecture, fascinating historic centre, imaginative public spaces and, of course, unsurpassable nightlife, you will be left wishing you had booked an open return ticket instead. During the summer months, the customary hedonism reaches a whole new level as the city throws itself open to an almost endless schedule of fiestas, music festivals and street celebrations.
The jewel in the crown of the Andalucian region, Granada is a fascinating cultural mixture of prevailing Islamic ancestry and a flourishing contemporary identity. Indeed, a city where Mosques and tea shops jostle alongside buzzing student bars and trendy clubs, it is as much about displaying the splendour of its Moorish past as it is relishing in its thriving, modern vibrancy. Of course, the majestic Alhambra is unmissable, as is an exploration of the Albayzin and Old City.
Stylish, cultured and above all fun-loving, Spain’s capital is an irresistible summer destination. There are definite ‘must-sees’- the Museo del Prado, the Palacio Real, the Estadio Bernabeu, but Madrid’s real energy and vitality lies in its streets, bars and thriving arts and music scene. The best of the action is to be found in the city’s lively barrios so head to Cheuca, Malasana or Huertas.
Owing to the countless numbers of tourists who descend on the biggest of Spain’s Balearic Islands annually, Mallorca has perhaps been rather unfairly confined to the pigeonhole of sun-and-sea holiday. Nevertheless, beyond beaches that are disproportionately crowded during high season, the Island has much to offer its visitors. The capital, Palma, is an enchanting destination that is home to one of Europe’s most impressive Gothic cathedrals. Beyond the city, the Castell d’Alaro, remarkable Coves del Drac and animated town of Pollenca are all worth a visit.
Like its big sister Mallorca, Ibiza is place that has perhaps similarly suffered from a (self) imposed identity crisis. Internationally renowned for its unrivalled party scene, beyond the thumping clubs of ever-debauched San Antonio Ibiza, the island conceals a peaceful atmosphere and well-preserved natural beauty. Ibiza town is chic and sophisticated World Heritage Site, while the rugged surrounding landscape is interspersed with pine forests, coastal walks and picturesque fishing villages.
Spain’s mainland cities are easily reachable by low cost airline carriers from the UK, although the best prices are to be found in advance. Once there, the cities of Barcelona, Granada and Madrid have excellent public transportation systems, making navigating a breeze. Mallorca and Ibiza can be a little trickier, and if you are planning to make excursions off the beaten track, car hire is advisable.