Spain is gorgeous. From its costas to its mountains and from the verdant north to the sun-soaked south, there are just so many beautiful places to visit.
I’ve travelled around Spain extensively and still find new corners to explore every time. So when DK Travel asked me to compile a list of my top 15 prettiest places it took me plenty of editing and agonising to decide what to leave out.
What remains are 15 gorgeous places, rural and urban, on and off the beaten track – and even as far afield as the Canary Islands. Let me know if I’ve missed your favourite!
My very first trip abroad was a school trip to Spain and ever since then I’ve been somewhat obsessed with my favourite European country, returning multiple times each year.
One of my favourite regions is Andalusia, the land of sunshine, orange trees and Moorish architecture as well as some fabulous beaches and plenty of gorgeous places to stay.
I rounded up some of my favourites for the Times. Check out my 20 favourite hotels in Andalusia.
When it comes to the Canaries, misconceptions abound. Isn’t it all high-rise hotels and all-day breakfasts?
Well, no. There is so much more to these Atlantic islands than their “Brits abroad” reputation – a reputation that is, in my opinion, extremely unfair.
Because Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote in particular have exciting, diverse and high quality food scenes. Here you’ll find Michelin starred restaurants, local produce from fresh seafood to the juiciest tomatoes you’ll ever taste, and some of Europe’s best – but least widely exported – wines.
I visit the Canaries several times each year and on my last visit I set out on a gourmet odyssey around Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote for The Times.
Spain is the most popular destination for British travellers, with visits there in 2015 numbering some 13 million.
That’s a lot of towels on the beach – or is it? Not everyone who heads to Spain is seeking a beach holiday after all, and if you want to get away from the crowds this summer it’s very easy to escape, simply head to a region that is still largely undiscovered.
I’ve written several articles for The Times on Secret Spain – the bits the Spanish have been keeping to themselves. My latest is on Matarrana, a region that can be reached from Castellon or Barcelona airports easily and explored with barely another English accent in earshot. Here you’ll find the bizarre mountain scenery that inspired Picasso, vultures by the hundred and some of Spain’s best wild swimming spots. Not to mention plenty of olive oil, tapas and local wine, of course.
Many thanks to Real Holidays for hosting my trip to this fabulous region.
As the Balearics continue to head steadily upmarket, it can be hard to find budget hotels and places to eat, right?
Not if you know where to look. If you’re heading to Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza or Formentera this summer, check out my Budget Balearics guide for The Times, which features the 20 best places to stay for under £100 and the 20 best value places to eat across all four islands.
I have loved Spain ever since my very first visit on a school trip decades ago – and plenty of Brits agree with me, making the country our number one holiday destination.
But despite its popularity Spain is never overrun. There are plenty of places in this vast, sun-soaked country where you can escape the crowds and find a beach or a bar to call your own.
Check out my guide to Secret Spain for DK Travel to find out where I recommend for your next Spanish escape.
Imagine a Spanish costa with no people… that’s what you get along the coast around Huelva, in Spain’s far southwest. Here sand bars stretch for miles and you’ll almost certainly spot more birds than people.
I visited this secret part of Spain recently for the Times. You can read my article about my trip here.