This fascinating city fills your hours simply by existing: stroll along the hectic Las Ramblas, the main artery of Barcelona, and branch off to find Gaudi’s Casa Batllo house. You won’t miss it: it’s the only building that looks like it’s made with the iridescent scales and smooth bones of a giant fish, be warned the queues are huge. 

Then there’s Gaudi’s other, even more impressive, building, La Sagrada Familia. The huge structure is smooth and modern on one side, with a decaying, gothic version on the other. You can enter the church and climb the stairs of one of the towers, offering panoramic views across Barcelona.

If you just want to relax, head for Park Güell, also designed by the very busy Gaudi. A gentle slope will take you up to a viewing platform with stunning views across the city, punctuated by Gaudi’s gingerbread house-esque buildings and reptile-style murals.

Or you could chill out on one of the city’s beaches or head out on a boat trip. Come nightfall, head to the Gothic Quarter for small, charming bars and restaurants. The big clubs include KER, beach club CDLC, Razzmatazz, El Row and Macarena, plus there are epic pool parties at L’Atlantida and club nights in a castle at La Terazza.

Gaudi’s Casa Batllo

Open: 9am-9pm Monday to Sunday

Tickets: Adult €21.50

La Sagrada Familia

Open: 9am-6pm November to February, 9am-8pm April to September, 9am-7pm in October

Tickets: €19.50 with guide (English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan), €19.50 with audio guide (English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Portugese, Russian), €15 without guide

Park Güell

Open: 8.30am-6.15pm (last entry 5.30pm) January (01) to March (28), 8am-8pm (last entry 7.30pm) March (29) to May (03), 8am-9.30pm (last entry 9pm) May (04) to September (06), am-8pm (last entry 7.30pm) September (07) to October (24),  8.30am-6.15pm (last entry 5.30pm) October (25) to December (31)

Tickets: €8 General ticket, €7 online

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Grand boulevards, lovely squares and incredible art, Madrid – Spain’s capital – has some heavy-hitting credentials. First and foremost is the massive Prado – one of the world’s best art galleries – where you can see masterpieces by Goya and Valázquez to name a few. Not to be overlooked is the jaw-dropping Centro de Arte Reina Sofía where Picasso’s epic Guernica is on display, as are modernist gems by Miro, Kandinsky, and Dali as well as others.

The capital’s most magnificent building is arguably the Royal Palace of Madrid. Stretching over 135,000 square metres it’s Europe’s largest functioning palace and is flanked by the lush, perfectly groomed Sabatini Gardens. The king doesn’t actually live here, so you can explore the building and grounds, packed with the stalls of local craftmakers.

Madrid boasts some of Spain’s most picturesque squares too, including the simply gorgeous Plaza de Santa Ana – perfect for a tapas and a drink in the mid afternoon. Talking of which, be sure to check out Calle Huertas, the capital’s most famous road for tapas and wine bars.

Museo Nacional Del Prado

Open: 10am-8pm Monday to Saturday, 10am-7pm Sundays & Holidays

Closed: January 1st, May 1st, December 25th Reduced opening hours: 10am-2pm January 6th, December 24th, December 31st

Tickets: €14 General admission, €23 General admission and official guide

Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Open: 10am-9pm Monday to Saturday excluding Tuesdays, check times on Sundays

Closed: Tuesdays and holidays

Tickets: €8 General admission,  €4 Temporary Exhibitions

Parque del Retiro Venues

Open: 10am-10pm seven days a week April to September, 10am-6pm seven days a week October to March

Closed: Holidays

Tickets: Free

Royal Palace of Madrid

Open: 10am-6pm seven days a week October to March, 10am-8pm seven days a week April to September

Tickets: €10 General admission

Campo Del Moro Park

Open: 10am-6pm seven days a week October to March, 10am-8pm seven days a week April to September

Tickets: Free

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San Sebastián

Fiercely proud and regional, San Sebastian is smack bang in Basque country. There’s plenty to do, from sunbaking on the continent’s very best city beach, to wandering the cobbled old town to sampling the city’s unique pintxo, or Basque tapas. Oh and there’s a massive statue of Jesus you can visit by following a path from Plaza de Zuloaga up a very big hill (Monte Urgull).

La Concha is widely referred to as Europe’s best city beach, a golden crescent of gorgeousness smack-bang in the centre of town. As well as swimming and sunbathing in the shade of historical buildings and churches, with the green peaks of the Pyrenees spreading France-wards in the background, there is some gentle surf to be had. For more serious surfers, Zurriola beach is the stuff of legend.

Looking to party? Head into the Parte Vieja, San Sebastian’s characterful old town, which is said to boast more bars than any other neighbourhood in the world. Lively little lanes packed with people grazing on pintxos and chugging the region’s best beverages are equal parts romantically charming and let’s-get-on-the-lash buzzing.

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Seville and Granada

Hot as hell in summer, Seville is the capital of Andalucía, the most southern of Spain’s region. It’s also one of Spain’s tapas capitals and there are hundreds of bars serving mouthwatering morsels.

Seville’s Cathedral is huge, a mix of styles from gothic to moorish and one of the city’s main drawcards. Huff and puff your way to the top of the belfry of the Giralda for a stunning view.

A couple of hours by bus from Seville is Granada – home of Spain’s most celebrated building – the Moorish masterpiece that is the Alhambra. Get up early and visit this sprawling compound which includes glorious gardens, an incredible  fortress and churches that were once mosques.

Seville Cathedral

Open: 11am-3.30pm Mondays, 11am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday, 2.30pm-6.30pm Sundays September to June, 9.30am-2.30pm Mondays, 9.30am-4pm Tuesday to Saturday, 2.30pm-6pm July & August

Tickets: Adult  €8


Open: General day visit – 8.30am-2pm morning ticket seven days a week and 2pm-8pm afternoon ticket seven days a week March (15) to October (14), 8.30am-2pm morning ticket seven days a week and 2pm-6pm afternoon ticket seven days a week October (15) to March (14)

Tickets: Adult €14

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Sea and sun

With so much coastline, Spain is a beach lover’s paradise. So spoilt for choice are visitors that it’s possible to have a fully blown sea and sand holiday at just about any coastal point on the map. Choose from the Mediterranean Costa Blanca, the more built up resort towns of the Costa del Sol or the windsurfing paradise of Costa de Luz and Tarifa.


La Tomantina

La Tomatina is the World’s best known food throwing festival, held in the Valencian town of Buño. Thousands of people, both locals and visitors make their way to the town to fight in the what is regarded as the World’s biggest food fight. More than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. Now I’m no mathematician, but I know one thing, that’s one hell of a lot of tomatoes.

In recent years’ numbers of visitors has been reduced due to concerns over safety. Today 20,000 are permitted. If you want guaranteed tickets, then book with us for 30 August to 1 September 2016 

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