Summon up a picture of “Continental Europe”, and the first images that come into your mind – buildings of baked pink and ochre stone, palm-fringed white beaches, brightly-dressed dancers moving with confident sensuality – are most likely those of Spain. This ocean-wrapped land of great artists and chefs, Moorish palaces and midnight parties, is the essence of the passionate south, where siesta and fiesta follow one another in quick succession, where no beer or glass of Rioja is complete without a plate of fiery tapas and a friend to share it with, and where sun-seekers and culture vultures alike will find treasures to delight them.
Visit the great Spanish cities: the capital Madrid, home of the gigantic Prado museum and some of the best nightlife in the country, and Barcelona, city of Gaudi, dominated by the vast art deco cathedral of the Sagrada Famiglia and riddled with miniature wonderlands like mosaic-tiled Güell Park and the gastro-paradise of the Boqueria market. Explore the intricate Arabian perfection of Granada's Alhambra palace, or experience the unique Spanish festivals that make it onto everyone's bucket list: Valencia's colorful Tomatina food fight and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. And if what you're after is a good old-fashioned top-up of sun, sea, and sand on a stunning beach, then Spain will spoil you for choice. The only difficulty you'll face will be deciding whether to plump for the rustic fishing villages of the Costa Brava or boat parties in the Balearic Islands and choosing between the white sands of Marbella and the black ones of Tenerife!