Take in the triangle containing Spain’s three largest cities. Spend a couple of days exploring Barcelona, with its lively Las Ramblas thoroughfare and Gaudi architecture.
Take the bus or train to Valencia, with its world-class museums and revitalised port, before moving on to Madrid.
The journey back to Barcelona can be broken with a stop at Zaragoza to admire the Muslim architecture.
The Basque country, tucked into the northeast corner of Spain, is popular with outdoor types with its dramatic craggy cliffs, mountains and rivers.
Start with a few days in Bilbao, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the spectacular Guggenheim Museum, before moving along the coast to San Sebastian and into
the hills for a week’s hiking.
Finish the fortnight among the vineyards of La Rioja region to the south, sampling some of the best wines produced in Spain.
Those with a month to spare can travel through the heart of Spain, from the northern port of Santander, Cantabria’s coastal capital, to the ancient port of Cadiz near the southern tip of Spain.
Highlights along the way include Burgos, with the country’s greatest Gothic cathedral, Madrid, medieval Toledo, the sweeping plains and olive groves of La Mancha, Granada, Cordoba, Seville and Spain’s sherry and equestrian capital, Jerez de la Frontera.
Resorts on the main coasts and tourist islands are packed with hotel and self-catering options.
Golf and spa hotels are springing up on the mainland and islands, such as the Hotel Elba Costa Ballena in Cadiz, as are design hotels in the major cities and coastal resorts.
Inland, country mansions, villas, farmhouses and village rooms abound and the rural tourism boom even runs to cave dwellings built into mountain slopes.
Cosmos Tourama has an eight-day Heart of Spain tour in October taking in Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Valladolid and Burgos from £565 per person, including flights, bed-and-breakfast accommodation, three dinners and the services of a tour director.
Exodus offers a six-night escorted Andalucian cycling tour exploring the coastline, national parks, mountains and Moorish towns from £805 per person, including flights, bed-and-breakfast accommodation, some lunches and dinners and support vehicle back-up in October.
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