From island hotspots to sophisticated city breaks, there are many reasons why Spain is a favourite holiday destination among British travellers. From the beaches of the Mediterranean islands to the wild Atlantic shores of the green north west, Spain is a country of rich cultures and diverse cuisines, all steeped in a long and colourful history. And whether your self catering holiday home is in a rustic mountain village or facing the beach, you can live at your own pace and take advantage of the fact that your groceries will be noticeably cheaper than in the UK.
Majorca, the ultimate island in the sun
Majorca's magnetic pull attracts more than 2 million British visitors each year. As the largest of the Balearic Islands – Menorca and Ibiza lie close by – Majorca is renowned for family beach holidays, but also attracts the rich and famous with its vibrant art scene and Michelin-starred restaurants. Lots of celebs have homes here, and you can join them for a while with your own self catering villa or apartment. There are dozens of distinctive towns and villages to choose from and you'll probably know whether buzzy Magaluf or chilled-out Pollensa strikes the right chord for you.
Benidorm, the Costa Blanca's mega resort
Benidorm is the daddy of Mediterranean resorts. Its white sandy beaches stretch for more than 3 miles, with a backdrop of high-rise hotels and apartment blocks. The streets behind are packed with shops and bars, and it's true that certain areas can get a bit lively in the evenings. In the centre of Benidorm's sweeping bay is the Old Town, the historic fishing village that grew into a mega resort. Here you'll find of handful of traditional Spanish streets lined with cafes and restaurants – and a much quieter vibe.
Cool and sophisticated Barcelona
The Catalan capital of Barcelona is one of the world's top city break destinations, and there's easily enough to see and do to justify a longer stay. The city is famous for the unique architecture of Antoni Gaudí. His masterpiece, the iconic Sagrada Familia cathedral, was started in 1882 but was never quite finished. Barcelona is a shoppers' paradise where you'll find quirky boutiques selling things you never knew you wanted. And don't forget this is also one of the top cities in Europe for eating, drinking and dancing the night away.
The Atlantic's swell in the Canary Islands
Yes, the Canary Islands are part of Spain, but they can feel completely different from the mainland. For a start they're much farther south, sitting off the coast of Africa with a climate that stays pretty warm throughout the year. And they're volcanic, which gives an otherworldly aspect to the rocky landscapes. There are 7 very different islands to choose from – Tenerife and Gran Canaria have the biggest and liveliest resorts, while Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma tend to be more laid-back. And if you really want to get away from it all, you can try the tranquil hideaways of La Gomera and El Hierro.
Southern comforts on the Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol was the first part of Spain to attract foreign holidaymakers, with the resort of Torremolinos leading the way in the late 1950s. Nowadays, there are self catering villas and apartments all along the 100-mile stretch of coast, which includes Malaga and Marbella. While the sun, sea and sand are undoubtedly the main attraction here, there's also plenty of history and culture to explore. The Moorish city of Granada and the cliff-top town of Ronda are only a short drive from the coast, and there's even a ski resort in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains.
Try Green Spain for the road less travelled
’Green Spain' describes the northwestern part of the country, which is, well, greener than the regions farther south. Obviously it rains more up here, but summers are still very pleasant and the beaches are quieter than on the Costas. From Galicia in the west to the Basque Country near the French border, you'll find a different kind of Spain, including the chic resort of San Sebastian, the vibrant port city of Bilbao and the medieval holy site of Santiago de Compostela. And the Picos de Europa mountains are a paradise for walkers and climbers.