Touring Spain: best trips to the Iberian Peninsula and the islands

Tours in Spain Seville Madrid Málaga accommodation

Many travellers who visit Spain for the first time feel so seduced by the Spanish culture that they decide to come back to continue exploring its vast geography. Despite the common language and similar customs and traditions found across regions, it could be said that the Spanish territory comprises a whole range of diverse realities and so it offers many different travel experiences to suit everyone’s taste: countryside, urban or beach escapes; leisure, gastronomy or culture-oriented; pilgrimages, wellness retreats or sports events. If you have been to the North of Spain and then you head South, you will probably develop an entirely new perception of the country, a contrast that will intensify if you take a trip to the islands, or have a business stay in Madrid, the capital.

Below, you will find ideas for your travels around Spain -from city trips to island hopping-, as well as recommendations on the best ways to travel within Spain and what to do and see in each region.

City trips in the Iberian Peninsula, Spain

Madrid. How to get there: some of the major airlines flying to the Spanish capital regularly are Air Canada, Delta, American Airlines, Iberia, Norwegian Air Shuttle, LATAM, Air China, Ryanair and Finnair. Besides, if you are staying in another Spanish city, check whether you can take this trip by high-speed train, as the AVE network connects Madrid to Seville, Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga and Alicante, among others. What to do in Madrid: the capital of Spain is home to the country’s best theatres and art galleries; do not leave without visiting El Prado Museum and El Retiro Park.

Alicante. Best ways to get there: fly from abroad with Aeroflot, British Airways, Easyjet, Eurowings, Wizz Air, Lufthansa, Iberia, Ryanair, Finnair or KLM, or catch a high-speed AVE train from Madrid. Holiday trip to Alicante in Spain: do not miss the Port, Santa Barbara Castle, the Explanada de España promenade and El Palmeral park.

Valencia. How to get there: by high-speed AVE train or by air flying with Alitalia, Eurowings, Transavia, Royal Air Maroc, Wizz Air, KLM, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Iberia, Vueling, Air Europa or Aeroflot. What to do in Valencia, Spain: enjoy the sunny weather and the typical paella dishes, but make time to visit the City of Arts and Sciences and the Central Market.

Barcelona. Flights and train tickets:  even when you can travel from Paris to Barcelona by train or coach (Renfe/TGV), the airplane is the fastest and sometimes cheapest means of transport for this journey. Transavia, LOT, Norwegian, Ryanair, Vueling/Iberia, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Eurowings, Air France, American Airlines, El Al and Korean Air operate scheduled flights to the main airport of Catalonia. Main tourist attractions in Barcelona: the Sagrada Familia by architect Antonio Gaudi, Barceloneta beach, the Gothic Quarter and the Camp Nou Football Stadium.

Santiago de Compostela. Ways to get there: unless you are a pilgrim planning to complete the Way of St James on foot, you will like to know that Aer Lingus, Iberia, Air Europa, Vueling, Lufthansa and Ryanair operate flights to Santiago in A Coruña. A trip to Santiago: stay in the Old Town and soak in the views of Obradoiro Square and the Cathedral, and do not leave without trying at least some octopus tapas and a portion of the authentic Torta de Santiago.

Spanish islands: the Balearics and the Canarian archipelago

The Balearic Islands. You may think that idyllic Ibiza, commonly referred to as the white island, is a destination just for party-goers, but you will be surprised to know that in the low season it is just as tranquil and peaceful as Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera. Find out more about how to find flights to Palma de Mallorca airport and Ibiza.

The Canary Islands. While Iberia regional, Vueling and Air Europa are the main carriers flying between mainland Spain and the islands, Binter and CanaryFly offer regular daily flights between the different islands of the archipelago -even to and from the minor ones; ferry boats are an alternative option. What to do in the Canaries: one of the greatest advantages of this destination is that you can take an urban trip to one of the two big capitals – Santa Cruz de Tenerife or Las Palmas de Gran Canaria-, choose a rural stay instead in order to explore their volcanic side or find a hotel or resort in any of the stunning beaches of the Canary Islands.

A trip to Southern Spain

Sevilla, Málaga and Granada. Flights and trains: Madrid and Barcelona are connected to Southern Spain by train, but you can also fly direct with Iberia, Vueling or Air Europa and reach your destination in less than two hours. What to see and do in Southern Spain: get lost in the charming neighbourhoods of Seville, enjoy the gastronomy and hospitality of the south, take a trip to the wonderful Alhambra (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) or treat yourself to a luxury vacation in Puerto Banús.

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