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a thematic guide:
| Spain -
Essential information about Spain.
|Travelling in Spain
Getting round in Spain - by car, by
coach by train, or on foot
|Tourism in Spain
Where to go and what to see
Where to stay, and the different options
availableCamping in Spain
way of life
Spain is different; all you
need to know about Spanish habits, opening hours, dining hours and
other facets of Spanish life.
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The Mediterranean coast of Spain
Spain's Mediterranean coast offers a range of opportunites
holidaymakers and travellers, depending on the type of holiday wanted.
Cheap-deal package trips tend to be based on the many major modern
resorts that grace the coast from north to south. Great resorts, like
Torremolinos near Marbella, or
Benidorm on the Costa Blanca south of Valencia, or Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava are
just three among dozens of generally characterless resorts catering for
waves of tourists from northern Europe, in search of a week or two of
lazing on the beach just a stone's throw from their tower-block hotel.
Admittedly, some of the worst atrocities of the
rush into tourism that occurred along the Spanish coast in the1960's
and 1970's have now been pulled down or seriously remodelled; but at
the same time, until the economic crunch that - since 2007 -
largely brought things to a standstill, massive development saw long
stretches between Barcelona and Algeciras transformed from traditional
Mediterranean coastline, into ribbons of modern city with their
accompanying leisure facilities of marinas, aqua parks, golf-courses,
multi-lingual multiplex cinemas, and all the rest.
Development has been most intense in the neighbourhood of the coast's
main airports; Girona, Barcelona, Reus, Valencia, Alicante and Malaga,
in areas that are easily accessible. Yet even in the busier
tourist areas, there are some small coastal towns that retain their
character. Though its suburbs have developed into a large resort, the
historic small city of Peñiscola, with its city walls, its
castle, and its fishing port, comes as a delightful contrast to the
modern resorts and housing developments all round.
Development has been most intense where the coastline is
in places where the hills come down to the sea, and up and down the
Spanish Mediterranean coast, there are still small towns that have
remained essentially as they were before the age of mass tourism. Of
course, they have all grown, and seen development of their own, but
this has been more often in the form of privately-built holiday villas,
clinging to hillsides or nestling in the pines. There is perhaps only
one very small village on the whole Mediterranean coast of Spain that
has not had its face changed by an influx of tourists even if, today,
few of its inhabitants are Spanish. The original inhabitants have moved
out, as this village has no road leading to it, and can only be reached
by boat. It is a beatiful idyllic spot, and its name and location will
not be revealed here, in the hope that perhaps it can remain as it is.
Spain's Atlantic coasts
Apart from the Mediterranean, Spain has Atlantic
- from Tarifa to the Portuguese border in the south, and all along
Spain's northern shores. Generally speaking, these areas are far less
visited than the Mediterranean coast - in the south because of the
distance, and in the north because the Atlantic coast, on the Bay of
Biscay, does not benefit from the same reputation for sunshine and warm
seas as the Mediterranean coast does.
the most southerly town on the European continent, is a delightful
spot, much favoured by surfers, as the coast here is rather
From Tarifa, there is a view over to the Atlas mountains in Morrocco,
on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar - through which Atlantic
winds blow into the Mediterranean basin.
The north coast of Spain
As for the northern coast of Spain, it
can be divided into two parts; east and west of Santander; to the east
of Santander, the coast has seen a certain amount of modern
development, specially close to the cities of santander, Bilbao and San
Sebastian; but there are few areas of coastal plain on this rugged
Atlantic coast, buffeted by the storms of the Bay of Biscay, and even
in this area, there are plenty of small coves and beaches, sometimes
not too easy to get to, between the urban zones and areas of more
intensive tourism development.
West of Santander lies the rest of the Cantabrian
and the coasts of Asturias
and of Galicia, the "Celtic" regions of
Spain. The coast alont this northwestern part of Spain is very
attractive, with cliffs, rocks and sandy coves and beaches, but without
the crowds. Until quite recently, it seemed to be a secret that
knowledgeable Spaniards kept for themselves.
The coast of
part of "green Spain" is ideal for camping and outdoor pursuits. It has
a temperate Atlantic climate, with warm summers and a chance of rain in
any month, but not too much of it in the summer months - just enough to
keep the fields green in a normal year. And inland, there are mountains
to climb - including the impressive Picos de Europa, interesting places
to visit, and a delightful rural area to enjoy.
This page is to be completed.
useful sources of accommodation information: