The first country I ever visited was Spain, on a school trip in the 1990s. Little did I know then that this was the beginning of a love affair, with the country as well as with telling people about my very favourite secret spots there.
I travel to Spain multiple times each year and always find something new. I am still discovering new quiet corners and new stories to tell, so I was delighted to be asked to compile my top 50 holidays to Spain for 2018 for the Times.
Find out what made the cut here, and feel free to get in touch with any of your favourites – I’m always on the lookout for new angles on my favourite European country.
Think of a Spanish city break. Does Alicante come to mind?
Probably not, right? Most people flying in to Alicante are actually en route to Benidorm, the high rise resort a few miles up the coast. But rushing straight off means missing out on one of Spain’s most enjoyable weekend break destinations.
The airport is close to the city, the beach is in the centre of town and there are dozens of tapas bars a short stroll back from the seafront, including one of Spain’s best, La Taberna del Gourmet.
Read my feature on a weekend break in this sunny Spanish city in the Times.
I’ve found the best beach in Spain – and that is saying something.
It is called Praia de Rodas and it is not on the country’s well-known and perpetually sun-soaked southern coast, it is out to the northwest of the mainland on an island off the coast of Galicia.
This is a beautiful coastline, strung with gorgeous white sand beaches. But to find the very best, the one that looks like it could have been lifted from the pages of a Caribbean holiday brochure, you ave to board a boat and head out to sea – or more precisely to the Islas Cies.
Rodas beach is a stunner. White sands, turquoise waters, the works. But there is more to these islands than just a place to switch off and sunbathe. There is also a simple but quietly spectacular restaurant serving fresh fish on a ramshackle terrace, a dramatic walk across the cliffs to a towering lighthouse and hundreds of birds wheeling overhead.
Read my recent article for the Times to find out more.
I am often asked where I would live if I could live anywhere.
If we’re talking outside the UK (because, honestly, the answer is London!) then it has to be Palma.
Mallorca’s capital city is a stunner. And on my most recent visit I got to see her from a new angle – from the top of her world renowned Gothic cathedral.
I also gazed out over her rooftops from my rooftop infinity pool at the Hotel Nakar, a wonderful hotel, and got to know her a little better on a tapas crawl through Sa Gerreria.
You can read more about what I got up to on my weekend in Palma in my article in the Times.
I have long loved Mallorca, but it was only recently that I discovered a new reason to love the largest Balearic island – it is also the jumping off point for Cabrera, the smallest of the (inhabited) Balearics.
I visited for a few days in April and found deserted walking tracks, secluded beaches and calm, clear waters home to plenty of fish and even the odd octopus. Sure, the accommodation here is basic (actually it’s so basic you need to bring your own bedding) but I found that that was part of the fun – and that it meant I had the island more or less to myself once the day boats left.
Check out my article for the Times on Cabrera here.
This article was shortlisted for Best European Feature at the British Guild of Travel Writers awards 2017
I’ve been banging on for years about how unfairly maligned the Canary Islands are, and so I was delighted to be asked to write about my favourite spots for Conde Nast Traveller’s December issue.
Conde Nast Traveller have shot some truly gorgeous photography for this feature, which does plenty of the hard work for me. But do read my feature – and let me convince you of the appeal of macronesia with a hip rooftop cocktail bar in Las Palmas, a whitewashed cantina serving ridiculously good local tapas in Lanzarote’s ancient interior and a literally star-studded festival on Tenerife.
If pushed, I can just about pick my favourite Spanish city. I love Barcelona of course, and I have a real soft spot for Granada. And then there’s Madrid, with its tapas bars and unstoppable nightlife. But none can match Seville for me.
Seville is sultry. Seville is sexy. And Seville is orange-scented, flamenco-soundtracked, hot-aired. I love its cathedral, its rooftop bars, its Moorish spas… There is so much here to love.
Never been? Head over for the weekend, use my guide for Woman’s Own – and get ready to fall in love.