Spain is the country that keeps giving. Art, history, culture, gastronomy, breath-taking scenery and modern cities, all wrapped up with a sunny climate and outlook.
Take a cultural trip through time as you marvel at the Roman remains in Mérida, the intricate details of the Alhambra in Granada, the Canary Islands’ colonial buildings, and Barcelona’s modernist and Bilbao’s contemporary architecture styles. As the country with third most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, Spain will not fail to
Spain’s gastronomy is renowned, not only for their famous tapas but for adventurous haute cuisine that garners Michelin stars by the hatful. Each region has it specialities including the divine Iberico ham of Extremadura to the open-fire cooked sardines of Malaga, with local wines and beers to accompany them.
Wander the countryside – from looming mountains and dizzyingly deep gorges to the central plains and verdant hillsides of the west – or lounge on miles of white sand beaches. Hundreds of Blue Flag beaches await you, whether they’re rocky coves or sandy bays with chiringuitos serving up fresh seafood. There are 15 national parks to choose from for a diverse and enjoyable foray into the Spanish landscapes. For lovers of active tourism, those landscapes offer sports galore with excellent diving, mountains that beg to be climbed or cycled up, gliding, surfing, golf, tennis… the list goes on.
City breaks are great for parties, shopping, festivals, galleries and restaurants – guaranteed fun for everyone. Malaga, Madrid and Barcelona offer fantastic shopping with designer outlets and individual boutiques. Time your trip with one of Spain’s many festivals and live events to sample the varied culture Spain has to offer.
WHAT TO DO IN SPAIN
ART & CULTURE
Are you interested in art? Spain’s network of more than 1,500 museums houses modern masterpieces and as well as ancient art form. Is history more your cup of tea? Spain is home to more than 15 World Heritage cities. Architecture? From Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral and the Great Mosque of Cordoba to Bilbao’s Guggenheim, multiple styles are covered.
For living traditions and culture, join the Spanish during their festivities – even the solemn Easter processions end in celebration and all leave a lasting impression.
Come and discover Spain’s immense cultural heritage.
Spain’s museums contain some of the finest collections in the world. These are just a few that you can’t afford to miss:
Prado Museum, Madrid
The Prado has one of the largest art collections in the world, and is best known for its diverse assortment of works by Velasquez, Goya and El Greco.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
A work of art in itself, the Guggenheim Museum houses a large collection of modern and contemporary art – a continuation of the Guggenheim legacy.
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is a unique complex devoted to scientific and cultural dissemination, made up of five main elements: the Hemisfèric the Umbracle, the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, the Oceanográfico (the largest aquarium in Europe with over 500 marine species) and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía.
Museo Automovilistico y de la Moda, Málaga
Almost a hundred historic cars are on show alongside more than 200 haute couture pieces and contemporary art designs in Málaga’s Autombile and Fashion Museum.
ARTlandya – la Finca, is an estate with a tropical park and old, stylishly renovated Canarian houses with different exhibitions in Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife. A world of dolls and teddy bears for all ages.
TOP 10 LANDMARKS
Spain’s history is very much in evidence through its landmarks and monuments. These are ten of the most popular monuments in Spain.
The Alhambra, Granada
The second most visited site in Europe: this breath-taking palace-city is a sophisticated blend of medieval Islamic, Renaissance Christian and modern architectural styles. Viewed at night from the city below is magical.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is a monumental church devoted to the Holy Family. Construction began in 1882 with Antoni Gaudi commissioned to continue the project in 1883. It is built using solely donations and is still not complete, due to Gaudi’s ornamental design. The intricacies of the building are amazing close-up.
Mezquita Cathedral, Cordoba
The spacious interior with its multitude of striped arches is one of the world’s greatest examples of Islamic architecture – stroll through a forest of columns and superimposed arches, domes, carved marble, mosaics, and drawings. What’s even more astounding is the 16th century Christian cathedral in the middle of the mosque.
Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela
If you’re following ‘el camino’ or Way of Saint James, this will be your final destination as it has been for thousands of pilgrims since the 13th century. An impressive building with Romanesque art, its numerous extensions over the centuries bear the imprint of other styles such as the Baroque of the Obradoiro and its imposing facade.
Roman Theatre, Mérida
The remains of the Roman Theatre are, quite simply, amazing. They form part of an archaeological site in the town, alongside a Roman circus and amphitheatre. You can enjoy open-air performances, just as the Romans would have done, during the Mérida International Classical Theatre Festival. Mérida is home to an array of Roman ruins, of which the theatre is the icing on the cake.
The soaring spires of Burgos cathedral are awe-inspiring. For lovers of Gothic art, the elegant cathedral is not to be missed. It’s home to the remains of the 11th century Reconquista hero, El Cid (famously portrayed on film by Charlton Heston).
Historic centre of San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife
The streets in the city of San Cristóbal de la Laguna on Tenerife offer an insight into the origins of Spanish-American town planning. The original Upper Town was unplanned, while the Lower Town is the first ideal ‘city-territory’ laid out according to philosophical principles. Its wide streets and open spaces have a number of fine churches and public and private buildings dating from the 16th to the 18th century.
Giralda Tower, Seville
Climb up to the bell tower of the cathedral of Santa María de la Sede and you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable views over the city. The former minaret of the Arab mosque, its renaissance top was added after the Christian reconquest in the 15th century. For centuries it was the tallest structure in Spain and one of the highest in Europe.
Fairy tales are full of castles like the Alcazar with its moat with drawbridge, pinnacle towers, halls decorated by Mudejar artists… Situated where two rivers meet, it was once the residence of Castilian monarchs. It is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain due to its shape – like the bow of a ship.
A treasure of Gothic art, it is built atop the city walls in Palma de Mallorca’s historic quarter. This is a chance to see one of the most spectacular rose windows in the world, known as the “eye of the Gothic”. It was reformed by Antonio Gaudí and contains a spectacular mural by the Majorcan painter Miquel Barceló.
Spain has one of the best coastlines in Europe and more Blue Flags than any other country in Europe. Here you’ll find sun and sea in perfect condition for your ideal holiday.
THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST
You’re guaranteed warm temperatures, and equal measures of fun and recreation, peace and quiet. The Costa Brava has the delightful backdrop of the Pyrenees, hidden coves among leafy vegetation and clear turquoise waters. On the Costa Dorada, you can enjoy secluded coves and long beaches, alternating with Roman remains.
If you want over 300 days of sunshine a year, the Costa del Sol is the place for you. The Costa Cálida has a practically constant summer, while the Costa Blanca offers kilometres of coastline flanked by palm trees and orchards. You’ll find an oasis of peace and quiet in the warm waters of the Costa del Azahar and the coast of Valencia. The Costa Tropical owes its name to its exceptional climate for growing tropical fruit, and is characterised by its dozens of secluded beaches and coves with sparklingly clear waters.
THE ATLANTIC COAST
The most notable feature of the west of Spain is its contrasts. To the north in Galicia, discover the fishing tradition of the Rías Altas and Bajas, their ancient lighthouses, the delicious smell of shellfish and their Celtic-inspired legends. To the south, on the Costa de la Luz, you’ll find a multitude of enchanting popular festivities, pilgrimages, protected natural areas and an Andalusia that’s open to the ocean.
THE CANTABRIAN COAST
Enjoy nature in its purest state as it merges with the sand, and look out over cliffs that will take your breath away. This is Galicia, where you’ll find the Ribadeo, Foz and Viveiro estuaries, where the rivers flow into the Cantabrian Sea.
In Ribadeo, you can visit the spectacular Las Catedrales beach, regarded as one of the best in the world. This is a landscape that extends as far as the Green Coast that runs along the whole of the coastline of Asturias. More towards the west, the steeply sloping Cantabrian Coast has as many as 90 beaches, many of them isolated. At the Basque Coast, you’ll find endless stretches of sand, surfing paradises and legendary urban beaches such as La Concha in San Sebastián.
THE CANARY ISLANDS
Volcanic beaches, endless sand dunes, leafy forests, lunar landscapes, and spectacular underwater seabeds make this a perfect destination for relaxing, marvelling at its natural spaces and enjoying a range of water sports.
Add in the archipelago’s mild year-round temperatures and rich biodiversity, and you have a natural holiday haven.
THE BALEARIC ISLANDS
The beaches of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are surrounded by scented pine forests that descend to the edge of the beaches themselves. Turquoise waters kiss the land at rocky coves and sandy beaches – an earthly paradise.
FOOD, FUN AND SUNDOWNERS
Spanish beaches are magical places to be as the sun sets. Enjoy the spectacle with friends at a chiringuito (beach bar) or from a secluded corner as golden light suffuses the sky.
Spain’s festivals vary from music to theatre, film and the traditional, which few countries in the world can rival.
Join a local romería and you’ll discover just how much the Spanish like to party. The processions are a pilgrimages to popular shrines or churches. Andalucía is famous for its romerías – flags are carried by horsemen, decorated carts pulled by horse, mule or oxen, men and women dress in traditional attire and it is often accompanied by music. A party follows, often long into the night.
Primavera Sound in Barcelona, the FIB in Benicàssim, Fuengirola’s Sohail Castle and the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid are just some of the music festivals that see international pop stars grace the stage.
Whatever your style of music you’ll find a festival in Spain, from the reggae of Rototom Sunsplash to the Celtic Music Festival in Ortigueira – a free event in the folk tradition – and the chance to see top names in jazz at the festivals in Vitoria and San Sebastián.
Take your pick of theatre experiences: Roman theatre, medieval cloister, 19th century theatre or the open-air. The Mérida Classical Theatre Festival is your chance to experience theatre as it would have been in the first century BC, with its imposing stage perfect for both classic and contemporary plays.
The Corral de Comedias open air theatre in Almagro, La Mancha hosts an International Theatre Festival in July. You can watch performances of Shakespeare and Lope de Vega as well as take part in courses and workshops for theatre lovers in the Olmedo Clásico competition in Valladolid.
San Sebastián Film Festival is one of the most prestigious in the world and the oldest of its kind in Spain. The SEMINCI in Valladolid schedules some of the best international “ciné d’auteur”. The Malaga Film Festival promotes Spanish film making and has screenings of the most important Spanish film releases of the previous year, including documentaries and short films.
For lovers of horror, the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival is one of the most important in the world for the horror film genre. Follow it up with the Sitges Zombie Walk in the centre of in this coastal town near Barcelona.
The Spanish are inventive and at the same time traditional when it comes to their cuisine. Regional variations mean you can sample exquisite and unique dishes in the different corners of the country.
One way to sample quality Spanish cuisine is at an urban market. Many of them have a history going back decades, if not centuries, and have reinvented themselves to offer unique gastronomic experiences. Stroll around the Atarazanas market in Malaga, the Boquería market in Barcelona or the Central Market in Valencia, enjoy a glass of wine or crisp fino sherry while you sample a canapé or a gourmet tapa. A treat for all the senses.
There’s more than the famous paella and tortilla (potato omelette) to Spain’s culinary quota; each region has a wide variety of irresistible traditional dishes. Bean stews cocido madrileño and fabada asturiana keep the winter chill at bay, Extremadura’s delicious ibérico cured ham is one of the greatest treasures in the Spanish larder, and delicious desserts – crema catalana and ensaimada hail from across the mainland and islands.
Spain’s seafood, from Malaga’s traditional sardines, Galician octopus, Ibiza’s tuna dish Tonyina a l’eivissenca to the Basque Country’s bacalao pil pil (salted cod fried in garlic and olive oil) is as diverse as it is delicious. Tuck in and discover for yourself.
Spanish restaurants have over 280 Michelin Stars between them (2020), with dishes inspired by tradition then transformed into unique creations through innovative techniques.
Wherever there’s a CLC World Spanish resort, there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant close by.
Spain’s regions each have their wine routes – discover local wines and the secrets of pairing the wine with food. For gastronomic tourists, these are a great way to find out about a country or region’s food and drink.
La Rioja is probably the most famous Designations of Origin (DOC), where you’ll find delectable full-bodied reds. The province of Cadiz in the south, is the birthplace of the different varieties of sherry, or the wine of Jerez. Find out how this is highly-prized aperitif is made in the Tío Pepe winery in Jerez de la Frontera. In late summer/early autumn, when the grapes are harvested, you’ll find festivals celebrating the wonderful world of wine, such as the Moscatel harvest in Iznate, in Andalucia’s Malaga province.
Over 25% of Spain’s territory is dedicated to nature preservation and there are more UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserves here than any other country in the world. Explore Spain’s natural treasures: beautiful and diverse.
Spain has two very unique ecosystems that are great for birdwatching and observing large mammals – the Tablas de Daimiel in Ciudad Real, and the Cabañeros Park in the Montes de Toledo.
Andalucía is also home to many natural treasures like the Sierra Nevada in Granada – also good for skiing and enjoying sea views – the Doñana Nature Reserve, between Huelva, Seville and Cadiz, which is a bird sanctuary and strikingly verdant area, and the Montes de Málaga the perfect antidote to the busy coastline and a fantastic place for spotting eagles, kites and owls.
On the Canary Islands, you’ll find some of the most spectacular settings in the world for seeing the stars, like the Teide National Park, Tenerife. Inland Spain also offers excellent destinations for stargazing, such as the Monfragüe National Park in Extremadura with its Torrejón el Rubio Astronomical Observatory and Castillo de Monfragüe viewing point.
Spain is a shopaholic’s dream destination. You’ll find the best fashion labels, outlets selling top brands, and designer stores rubbing shoulders with traditional markets and antique shops.
In Madrid, be seduced by the luxurious offerings on the Golden Mile in the Salamanca district. This is where the top designer fashion labels, including Spanish brands. If you’re looking for something a little more alternative, Calle Fuencarral has a variety of establishments.
Barcelona’s Eixample district is home to exclusive boutiques near the Paseig de Gracia and the Avinguda Diagonal. For alternative shopping, wander the Gothic Quarter and El Born. For street markets, head for Las Ramblas or the Plaza de Les Glories Catalanes square, where you can browse to your heart’s content.
Marbella in Malaga is a destination for glamour and luxury. Head to the avenues of Ricardo Soriano and Ramón y Cajal, and the Boulevard Príncipe Alfonso Hohenlohe. There’s a star quality to these shops selling the most prestigious brands of fashion, jewellery and design.
For outlet shopping, the Designer Outlet Málaga is a must. From Armani to Zwilling, the centre offers up to 70% off top luxury brands.
SPORT & ACTIVE TOURISM
With more than 8,000 kilometres of coastline, two seas, an ocean, mountain ranges, and certified hiking trails and golf courses galore – all with an exceptional climate – Spain is a fabulous destination for sport and active holidays.
Tenerife is a favoured destination of top-class cyclists for winter breaks. A super climate, great roads and spectacular mountain climbs help the pros maintain their fitness during the winter months. For more casual cycling, Spain has a choice: from Greenways – former railway lines reconverted into bike routes – to routes through nature reserves. The main Spanish cities also offer cycle-touring routes that will enable you to explore them in a different way and enjoy their natural spaces.
Grab your rucksack, a pair of sturdy boots and pout your best foot forward as you choose from thousands of kilometres of certified trails across Spain. The views are amazing – vast lakes, volcanoes, gorges, and forests – plus an abundance of wildlife. The routes are classified and signposted in different colours according to how many kilometres they are. The long-distance routes (GR) are red, the short routes (PR) are yellow, and finally the local paths (SL) are green, with distances of less than 10 kilometres.
All that coastline means there’s plenty of places to hit the surf. The beaches at Tarifa, Andalucía and the Spanish islands offer great opportunities to perfect your art. If you’re new to the sport, there’s a host of schools that will help you get surf-ready. You can also hire boards so there’s no need to carry them all the way from your homeland.
SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELLING
Over 20 marine reserves beckon you to view the underwater world. Discover sunken treasure and shipwrecks in La Palma, sea beds teeming with life in the Canary Islands and crystal clear waters with pretty fish at Maro, Nerja. Explore the Cabo de Palos and Hormigas Islands, or the volcanic seabeds in El Hierro, and see the incredible variety of species that inhabit Spain’s seas.
The Costa del Sol and Tenerife with their exceptional climates, make golf a year round sport. With more than 500 courses, many of them championship standard, designed to suit all golfing tastes, you’re spoilt for choice. And once your 18 holes for the day are done, there’s the food, sights and landscapes to enjoy.
You may associate Spain with sunshine rather than skiing, yet there are 34 resorts to be found up and down the country from the Pyrenees to the Sierra Nevada. With runs for all abilities, snowboard zones, state-of-the-art facilities and top quality snow, whether you ski, board or sled you can enjoy your winter sports with frequent bouts of sunshine.
CLC World Resorts & Hotels has a selection of accommodation in Spain to suit all tastes and budgets. We pride ourselves on delivering the service levels you deserve, wherever you stay with CLC World.
CLC World’s resorts in Spain can be found on the Costa del Sol and Tenerife. Our resort-based, self-catering accommodation offers you the best of both worlds: spacious accommodation with all the facilities and amenities you would expect from a hotel.
Discover CLC World’s holiday accommodation…
COSTA DEL SOL
At Club La Costa World, you’ll find a range of accommodation set within beautifully landscaped gardens, close to the beach and the tourist hotspots of Fuengirola and Marbella. Add to the mix a kids club, on-resort bars, restaurants and live entertainment and you have the perfect holiday setting.
LUXURY HOLIDAYS ON THE COSTA DEL SOL
CLC California Beach is in a class of its own when it comes to luxurious holiday living. Our beautifully designed luxury apartments on the Costa del Sol are set in lush, sub-tropical gardens surrounding free-form pools with spacious sun terraces and water features.
Located between the glamorous resort of Marbella and the cosmopolitan city of Malaga, with more than 320 days of sunshine every year, CLC California Beach is the hot spot for luxury holidays on the Costa del Sol.
FAMILY FRIENDLY RESORT ON THE COSTA DEL SOL
Just a few minutes’ walk from the beach and close to the popular fishing village of La Cala, our resort-based Costa del Sol accommodation at CLC Marina del Sol enjoys an enviable location between Malaga and Marbella.
Relax in the social surroundings of one of the most welcoming resorts on the Costa del Sol – CLC Marina del Sol – with easy access to the Costa del Sol, Fuengirola and beyond.
COSTA DEL SOL APARTMENT HOLIDAYS
CLC Marina Park has an excellent location on Mijas Costa. Minutes from a sandy beach, within easy reach of all the resort amenities and great for day trips exploring Andalucía, these self-catering Costa del Sol apartments tick all the holiday boxes.
Relax, explore or have fun with the family – it’s all possible with a self-catering holiday on the Costa del Sol at CLC Marina Park Aparthotel.
CLC Benal Beach Aparthotel has an enviable position only 200 metres from the nearest beach. With all the fabulous facilities of Benalmadena on your doorstep, you couldn’t be better located.
The apartments come with kitchenettes making it easy to prepare your breakfast, or a midnight snack as you think back over the fun day you’ve just had. With air-conditioning to keep you fresh and comfortable, and allow you a good night’s sleep, CLC Benal Beach Aparthotel accommodation is the ideal base.
In the south of the island, CLC World’s Tenerife resorts are intimate and friendly with a laid-back vibe. Close to golf, top sites such as Siam Park, Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos, you can enjoy a relaxed self-catering holiday with all the benefits of great service you’d expect in a hotel.
STYLISH SELF-CATERING ACCOMMODATION
CLC Sunningdale Village, with the dramatic backdrop of Mount Teide, is a family-friendly, self-catering resort with an intimate feel, yet only a short drive from the island’s nightlife and sandy beaches.
Providing you space and privacy on a secure resort, the accommodation is modern and airy with fully-equipped kitchens, private terraces and free resort wifi. Make the most of all the resort facilities including swimming pool, an à la carte restaurant, snack bar, a convenience store and kids club.
At CLC Sunningdale Village – Resort Apartments & Villas you have the enviable choice of staying on resort or exploring the beautiful island of Tenerife.
SPACIOUS SELF-CATERING APARTMENTS
CLC Paradise – Resort Holiday Apartments is a family-friendly, self-catering resort, only a short drive from the island’s nightlife and sandy beaches.
The accommodation is modern and airy with fully-equipped kitchens, comfortable living spaces and expansive terraces, all within a secure resort. Enjoy the resort facilities including swimming pool, poolside restaurant and bar, kids’ club and free wifi.
At CLC Paradise, you can relax on resort or head out to explore the beauty of Tenerife from its sandy beaches, clear waters and interesting towns and villages.
The documentation required to travel to Spain varies according to your country of origin. If you’re from the European Union, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, you only need a valid passport or ID document.
You’ll need your passport or a valid visa in the case of countries without any special treaties. For the UK, you will need at least 6 months left on your passport before it expires. You can also use a residence permit or a long-term visa issued by another EU country, or by Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. The maximum stay in Spain is 90 days.
Spain is one of the warmest countries in Europe, with more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. The main climate is the temperate Mediterranean with dry summers and winters and even temperatures.
The weather in the north tends to be rainier and with mild summers. The Canary Islands have an excellent climate with year-round sun and an annual average temperature of 22°C. In areas with higher altitudes like the Sierra Nevada there is normally snow from early winter to late spring.
The currency is the euro. You can change money in bureaux de change and some banks. This service is also available in many hotels, including CLC World resorts, and travel agencies.
Payment with international credit cards (accompanied by a passport or identity document) is accepted almost everywhere. Businesses, restaurants and hotels usually announce this on their entrance door.
- TIME ZONE
The time zone in Spain is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), except in the Canary Islands, where it’s one hour earlier.
- BUSINESS OPENING HOURS
Spain has very long opening hours, though a number of businesses still close for lunch/siesta.Shops: usually open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 1.30pm and 4:30pm to 8pm. Department stores, larger supermarkets and shopping centres stay open all day from 10 am to 10 pm.
- MEAL TIMES
Spanish mealtimes are rather later than in other countries. Breakfast tends to be between 8 and 10 am. Lunch is served from 1.30pm to 4pm. Dinner in Spain is eaten between 8:30pm and 11pm.This does vary and in tourist areas, many restaurants cater for earlier lunches, but rarely before 1pm.
- TIME ZONE
Most Spanish airports offer connections to major cities all over the world. The airports with the greatest number of international connections are Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas, El Prat (Barcelona), Palma de Mallorca, Málaga, Gran Canaria, Alicante and Tenerife Sur.
The Spanish National Railway Network (RENFE) links all the country’s main cities and regions. The AVE high-speed trains serve 25 tourist destinations, with Madrid as their main hub.
The main bus provider for Spain is Alsa, transporting a high volume of passengers and offering a huge range of destinations. Similar to the trains, you can connect from most major cities within Spain to another. Local routes are frequent and good value.
- VEHICLE HIRE
Hire a vehicle and tour Spain at your own pace. Most vehicle hire companies require a minimum age (between 21 and 25, depending on the model of vehicle chosen) and for you to have had a driving licence for at least one year, in addition to a credit card for a security deposit.