Despite the locals' rather laid-back habit of sleeping through the hottest part of each day, tourists will have no time to lose if they plan on taking in everything the country has to offer after arriving from flights to Spain. The country may be home to the siesta, flamenco dancers, bullfights and beach resorts but there is more, much more, to it.
Located in the Iberian Peninsula between Portugal to the west and France to the north, Spain has a population of 45 million and is the second-largest country in Western Europe, behind only France. That size and its location gives it the variety of climate, culture and cuisine that makes Spain one of the most diverse countries in Europe and fascinating destinations in the world.
Many of these regional differences are categorised along the lines of ancient kingdoms that combined to make up modern-day Spain including Andalucia, Basque country, Canary Islands, Catalonia, La Rioja and Valencia.
The choice of Spanish destinations also extends beyond mainland Spain to the Canary Islands that include Tenerife, consistently among the top destinations for sun-seeking travellers the world over who book cheap flights to Tenerife in thousands every summer. The Canaries are a series of seven major islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of North Africa. In addition to Tenerife, the Canary Islands archipelago also includes Lanzarote and Gran Canaria and while there is much to do on the islands, their greatest assets for visitors can be described in two words: glorious, glorious beaches (ok, that's three). Cheap flights to Lanzarote and Gran Canaria land beachlovers in two of the most popular holiday islands, with a plethora of watersports, beaches and nightlife to enjoy.
Spain's seaside destinations are not limited to islands. Cheap flights to Alicante and Malaga are popular with tourists who arrive at the gateways to their respective coastal regions. Malaga is the better known and more popular of the two as the entry point for much of the Costa del Sol, Spain's southern Mediterranean coast featuring a seemingly never-ending series of resorts and hotels straddling the area's many beaches. Malaga is also Picasso's birthplace so a touch of culture adds some gravitas to the sun-seeker's paradise.
Of Spain's major urban centres, two stand out. Madrid, the Spanish capital and the country's largest city, and Barcelona, Spain's second city and regional capital of Catalonia. Both feature examples of architectural genius, museums housing displays of national treasures, nightlife that does not slow down until the sun comes up and restaurants offering culinary excellence that is second to none. Because of the huge range of airlines flying to the city, cheap flights to Bacelona can be easier to find. It goes without saying that like all world-class cities, accommodation options in both Barcelona and Madrid range from the ultra-economical hostels through budget hotels to extravagant five-star hotels that cater for their visitors' every need and desire.
Another popular island destination away from mainland Spain is the Balearic Islands consisting of Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza. While all of these offer visitors a variety of ways to spend their holidays, Ibiza's reputation as a clubber's paradise is deserved though there is still more to it than all-night parties and raves. Families are more likely to book flights to Majorca, though those searching for a little peace and quiet shouldn't reject the livelier Ibiza. Cheap flights to Ibiza can be the starting point for a quiet family holiday as long as travellers keep away from San Antonio and head for the calmer, beautiful countryside.
Where you go should probably depend on when you go. At the height of summer in July and August much of Spain is almost unbearably hot (thus the siesta) but some regions in the north of the country such as Galicia and Cantabria maintain cooler temperatures through the summer months.
With so much choice on offer, be sure to check this travel guide to Spain for more itinerary ideas before setting off for your Spanish holiday.