BEST SPANISH SHORT BREAKS FOR 2017
With the second May bank holiday and spring half term nearly upon us, and with the slow or nonexistent start to spring here in the UK, many of us might be considering an escape to the sunshine…
Whether looking for a city break, family thrills, a foodie trip, a rural or active getaway, Spain has infinite options to suit all holiday desires and budgets.
No matter how many times you have visited Spain, there will always be something new to discover.
If you’re planning a short break this spring, or indeed anytime this year, be sure to consider some of these unique destinations, as recommended by the travel experts here at the Spanish Tourist Office.
Head to the province of Huelva this spring to discover Spain’s ‘secret coast’. Combine relaxation on the pristine, empty, unspoilt beaches of the province, with the culture and exceptional cuisine of Huelva capital, where you’ll enjoy the freshest of fish and the finest Iberian ham in all of Spain!
This is the year to visit if you’re a foodie. As Spain’s Capital of Gastronomy for 2017, Huelva’s star foods include the exquisite Jamón Pata Negra (‘Black Foot’ cured ham) from the mountain town of Jabugo, white prawns and strawberries. On restaurant menus you’ll find fresh fish and seafood including clams, roasted sea bream, skate in paprika, barbecued sardines and cuttlefish.
Take advantage of your visit to Huelva by visiting its old quarter, historical monuments and churches, bustling port, stroll through the palm-lined Plaza de las Monjas, go shopping in the pedestrianised streets, or discover a wealth of wildlife and stunning landscapes (salt marshes, dunes, scrub and pine forest) of the nearby Doñana National Park.
Ferrari Land at Port Aventura, Salou, Cataluña
For thrillseekers and families, look no further than one of Europe's biggest theme parks, Port Aventura, for an action-packed holiday to remember.
The newly opened Ferrari Land at Port Aventura contains more than 700,000 m2 of excitement, adrenaline and fun. This unique theme park is home to the highest and fastest rollercoaster in Europe, at a height of 112m and reaching a speed of 0-180km in five seconds. With day tickets from €59-€75, the park also offers a 500m race track, Formula One simulators and two ‘bounce back’ free fall towers.
Port Aventura’s adventure park also has themed areas including Mexico, Far West, Polynesia and China, where you’ll find live shows and attractions.
When you need to recharge your batteries, the resort offers numerous restaurants and snack bars, as well as excellent hotels, equipped with all kinds of amenities and services.
Logroño and La Rioja
Those who appreciate good wine will know that La Rioja holds endless promise for a short break destination focusing on the finer things… Internationally famous for its wines, La Rioja is home to more than 500 wineries and produces an average of 250 million litres of wine a year. The quality of the wines produced in this region means Rioja is in demand from all over the world.
A visit to its extensive vineyards offers an array of activities including wine tasting, horse riding, hot air ballooning and 4x4 route driving.
Conversely, La Rioja’s capital, Logroño, is relatively little known, but as an untouristy city and a tapas mecca, it is well worth a visit. The medieval old town with narrow streets is packed with tapas bars. The perfect location for a tapas crawl to soak up all that wine!
La Rioja also makes for the perfect walking and sightseeing holiday, thanks to its natural attractions, Mediterranean forests, mountainous areas and breathtaking landscapes.
Camino Lebaniego, Cantabria
For those looking for an active or religious break, the Camino Lebaniego, declared a World Heritage Site in 2015, is a pilgrimage walk like no other.
Dating back to the 7th Century, this ancient route in northern Spain takes you on a journey to visit the largest-surviving piece of the cross on which Christ was crucified – the Lignum Crucis – preserved in the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, overlooking the spectacular Picos de Europa National Park.
The route weaves its way inland from the sandy and dramatic Cantabrian coastline to the impressive Picos de Europa mountain range.
Cantabria will welcome thousands of pilgrims throughout 2017, looking to be granted the Jubilee (a plenary and universal indulgence bestowed by the Pope on these occasions).
Together with Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela, and more recently, Caracava de la Cruz in Murcia, the Monastery of Santo Toribio is one of the only sites where perpetual indulgences can be gained.
The Camino Lebaniego is usually walked over three days. It is essential to book accommodation in advance and you can see our recommendations here.