Stretching languidly to the south of the majestic Pyrenees, Spain works a mysterious magic. Intriguing history, stunning architecture, lively festivals and a flair for flamboyance are all evident throughout the mainland, and with six cities declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Spain boasts more Heritage Sites than any other country in the world. It’s also an extremely family-friendly country with lots to keep younger and older children entertained.
From its Roman relics to Muslim palaces, and from Baroque cathedrals to Modernist constructions, the country is a treasure chest of artistic and architectural marvels. The capital, Madrid boasts museums full of the works of Picasso, Dalí, Goya and Gaudí, while daring, dynamic buildings, such as Hotel Arts Barcelona, can be found in Barcelona.
The natural landscapes are equally impressive, from the emerald-green mountains sliding into the Atlantic Ocean in the north, to the medieval towns strewn across the interior and the glittering white villages of inland Andalucía. Rugged mountain ranges, such as the Sierra Nevada, are draped across the country, while the Celtic music of Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia, calls to mind the misty lands of Brittany, Scotland and Ireland.
Up and down the country, a zest for life creates an intense, hedonistic vibe. And if there is one thing Spaniards love, it is to eat, drink and be merry, whether feasting on tapas over fine wine, tucking into paella or lingering over churros and hot chocolate with friends.
Spain is known for its extravagance when it comes to festivals, boasting carnivals and traditional celebrations galore. From Barcelona to Madrid, the lavish celebrations of Carnival attract locals and holiday-makers alike, allowing the streets to be filled with vibrant colours, elaborate costumes and plenty of music. Catch these celebrations in the run up to Shrove Tuesday, and experience the spirited atmosphere and extraordinary festivities in Spain .
Discover the liveliness at the heart of Madrid, hosting iconic buildings and statues, including ‘El Oso y El Madroño’, a twenty ton statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree, widely known as the symbol of Madrid. Other sights include the Opera House, the Plaza Mayor and Cassa de Correos, all worth a visit in this beautiful city.
Explore your surroundings on the Spanish island of Mallorca , with hikes through Serra de Tramuntana, a stunning mountain range that runs along the north-western coast of the island. Alternatively, you can take a train between Palma and Soller, and marvel at the stunning landscape from a comfortable carriage. Base yourself at La Residencia in the pretty village of Deia and let our Concierge arrange a balloon ride or helicopter tour to help you really appreciate the beauty of the island. You can also rent a bike in Marbella to experience the stunning surroundings of Costa del Sol , including spectacular waterfalls and the stunning Embalse de la Concepcion.
Tapas has become a traditional Spanish cuisine and consists of small snack sized meals, from bread and olives to more complex dishes. It is designed to encourage conversation and these delicious appetizers are served widely across Spain. Paella is another famous dish in Spain and is generally recognised as being cooked with seafood, however, the traditional paella uses rabbit, chicken and duck, as seen in Valencian Paella.
Spain hosts 5,000 miles of coastline, with the most popular beaches in Costa del Sol and Mallorca. Thousands of tourists flock to these glorious beaches every year for the sun, sea and sand, which does not feel over crowded, but instead results in a bustling atmosphere which can be enjoyed by all.
Spain is such a beautiful country that you may even wish to capture its essence on canvas or in clay. At Belmond La Residencia in Mallorca you can do just that by joining a master class where you can watch an artist at work before attempting your very own masterpiece. Simple contact our Concierge for further details.
Spain boasts hot, dry summers and mild winters. Rainfall is fairly low and coastal areas are quite mild but in inland areas it can get very hot during the day, becoming cold at night. Madrid gets extremely hot in the summer and many of its inhabitants head to the west coast of Galicia to escape the temperatures. Its islands such as Mallorca meanwhile are famed for their dazzling summer sunshine and cooling breezes making them excellent holiday choices.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Spain.
British Airways from London Gatwick and London Heathrow to Barcelona and Malaga (Costa del Sol). British Airways from London Heathrow to Palma and from London Gatwick to Tenerife. UK regional departures and charter flights are also available.
From London Heathrow to Barcelona: 2 hours. London Heathrow to Malaga: 3 hours. London Heathrow to Palma: 2 hours, 20 minutes. London Heathrow to Tenerife: 4 hours, 30 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.