Spain For All Seasons

| August 14, 2011 | 1 Comment
spanishflag Spain For All Seasons

The Spanish Flag at full mast. Photo by Gilad Rom.

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When you think of Spain your thoughts usually turn to sun, sea and sangria. But a Spanish holiday doesn’t necessarily have to mean a summer holiday. Come rain or shine, this is one country that never fails to attract visitors, but what can holiday makers find in the Iberian country outside of high season? Let’s take a sneak peak.

Spring

In spring it’s still hot enough in southern Spain to get a tan, but not too hot that it’s unbearable, making it a great time to visit. It can also be a great time to go as there are plenty of holy events taking place especially during the Santa Semana celebrations, or Holy Week celebrations, which are usually in April.

semanasanta Spain For All Seasons

Semana Santa de Málaga 2009. Photo by Juan Pablo Olmo.

The Santa Semana celebrations in Malaga are perhaps the largest in the country. Large flotillas form processions along the main street, carrying icons and depictions of saints. The scene is peaceful, yet beautiful as locals turn their thoughts to the past year as the procession all in white takes to the streets. On Good Friday and Easter Saturday, the Passion of the Christ is re-enacted, whilst on Maundy Thursday the scent of rosemary fills the streets as the Cofradia de la Esperanza passes along. Stay at the Petit Palace Plaza Hotel which is within walking distance to the lop-sided cathedral where the procession culminates.

Summer

Summer in Spain is hot, hot, hot – and we’re not just talking about the weather! The beaches of Benidorm, Alicante and much of the Costa Del Sol are usually packed full of British holidaymakers during this time, for a more relaxing holiday, head further afield to the more peaceful Costa Brava.

costabrava Spain For All Seasons

Costa Brava. Photo by David Helms.

Lloret de Mar may be slightly quieter than resorts further down south, but it still has the facilities needed to make a great holiday destination. Dance the night away in Bumpers – a Caribbean-themed nightclub that has a glass-bottomed dance-floor where tropical fishes swim underneath your feet. Children are also well-catered for with the Waterworld Aquatic Park located nearby and a whole host of holiday activities including go-karts, a mini-train and a bowling alley located in town. You’ll be spoiled for choice with the wide selection of Costa Brava hotels available, but the Bolero Park Apartments are a snip with prices starting at £9.33 a night for three-star accommodation.

Autumn

Autumn is the best time to visit one of Spain’s famous wine regions such as La Rioja. This is not only when the annual wine harvest takes place, but also a scenic time to visit as the hills are flecked with rich autumn colours. Arrive at the end of September and you can take part in traditional harvest activities such as stomping grapes with the balls of your feet and making offerings to saint Virgen de Valvanera.

lariojia Spain For All Seasons

La Rioja. Photo by Ana P Bosque.

The nearby Parque Natural de la Sierra de Cebollera is stunning around this time as the maple trees add vibrant splashes of raspberry red amongst the yellows of beech and Pyrenean Oak.  Stay in nearby Almeria, where you can put your wine knowledge to the test at the Casa Almeria cooking school.

Winter

In December, European cities become busy with Christmas lights and traditional Alpine huts, as Christmas Markets fill up their squares. Whilst these markets are traditionally associated with colder towns such as Germany and Austria, you may be surprised to hear that one of the best takes place annually in Barcelona. Barcelona Cathedral is the setting for Fira de Santa Llucia, a market that is traditionally Spanish.

barcelonacathedral Spain For All Seasons

Barcelona Cathedral. Photo by David Helms.

Don’t come here expecting to find mulled wine and bratwurst, what you will find instead is cagnares and turron, a rich nougat. Cagnares are a Catalan addition to the nativity scene and are traditionally figurines of men in traditional Catalan garb (although celebrities are just as common nowadays), squatting with their trousers around the ankles! This tradition dates from the eighteenth century and is considered to be a sign of good luck, placing one in your nativity scene is said to ensure a fertile harvest for the year ahead.  The Park Hotel Barcelona and the Eurostars Laietana Palace Hotel are two of the best Barcelona hotels for holidaymakers who want to explore the market as both are located mere footsteps away from the Cathedral.

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