The mystical Mesquita and crumbling ruins of Medina Azahara in Córdoba and the intricate carvings and patios of the wondrous Alhambra in Granada turn the sands of time back to Moorish Spain, while the beating heart of flamenco can be found in Andalucía and Seville, where you can explore the narrow streets of its Jewish Quarter and admire the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Picturesque white villages and windy Atlantic beaches make for great sights whilst hiking in Cádiz, where you can tuck into juicy Sanlúcar prawns and enjoy a nice sherry in Jerez, the home of sherry. Strong Celtic roots can be found in the green valleys, fishing villages and cider culture of Asturias as you listen to bagpipes, savouring seafood and enjoying the warm hospitality, while Bilbao, the heart of the Basque region, has reinvented itself from an industrial to a cultural centre thanks to the Guggenheim effect and its excellent pintxo bars. In Valencia, feast on paella and seek the legendary Holy Grail, believed to be kept in its cathedral, and be entertained by the street performers on Barcelona’s famous La Rambla. Admire one of Europe’s finest art collections in Madrid’s venerated Museu del Prado or the supreme collection of modern art in Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sophia, which famously houses Picasso’s Guernica, or Madrid’s Royal Palace. Enjoy superb golf on the Costa del Sol and La Manga where you will find over 200 golf courses, or the thrill of windsurfing and kitesurfing in Tarifa or the Basque village of Mundaka. This is all Spain and its many faces, its 17 autonomous regions each having their own distinctive characters and cultures, and something to offer.
KEY FACTS BEFORE YOU GO:
- Capital: Madrid
- Currency: Euro
- Time Difference: Most of Spain follows Central European Time, which is 1 hour AHEAD of GMT. While observing Daylight Saving from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday of October, Spain is 2 hours AHEAD of GMT. The Canary Islands are the exception, however, as they follow Western European Time, which is the same time zone as followed in the UK, so there is no time difference between the UK and the Canary Islands.
- Flight time: Spain is exceptionally popular with British travellers, and there are a number of different airports to use. Flights to mainland Spain and its Balearic Islands (such as Ibiza and Menorca) take from just over 2 to under 3 hours (from 2 hours and 10 minutes to Barcelona to 2 hours and 50 minutes to Malaga). The Canary Islands take just over four to four-and-a-half hours to fly to.
- Official language: Spanish
- Entry requirements: Visas are not required. As part of Europe and the Schengen area, in the event of Brexit, please read here for information on changes to travel. Currently, no additional validity is required on your passport, but please also read our further information for changes following Brexit.
- Vaccinations and Health: You should always ensure that you travel with adequate travel health insurance. For up-to-date information, please check this website (as recommended by the Foreign Office): https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/203/spain#Vaccine_recommendations. If vaccinations are required, it is generally advisable to arrange an appointment with a health professional four to six weeks before departure.
General information on travel vaccinations can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/
To find out more, and for the most up-to-date advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/
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