Barcelona is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions upon millions of visitors each year. So why is it so popular? Well, it has almost everything any holidaymaker would desire. Easy access, favourable weather conditions, attractive beaches and surrounding mountains, a buzzing nightlife, tasty local cuisine and it’s steeped in culture and history too. It’s also a sight-seeing wonderland, housing many recognizable monuments. Variety’s the word with Barcelona and the city has something for everyone; families, couples and singletons alike.
It’s definitely still sunshine season in September in Barcelona – with temperatures average around 25ºC in the daytime, a balmy 19ºC at night. The locals are back from their holidays, but everyone’s still going to the beach and eating out and partying like mad to make the most of the last days of summer. Catalonia’s national holiday is on 11th September, when the city closes for parades, concerts and celebrations. The Fiestas de la Mercè is a week-long festival, the biggest of the year, with hundreds of musicians and carnivals, performances and gigs, planned and impromptu, all over the city.
Spain’s capital and largest city, Madrid, is widely known for its sizzling nightlife scene. The city constitutes a diversity of ethnic groups, making it one of Europe’s most colourful cosmopolitan cities. Located within the city centre are most of Madrid’s most popular tourist attractions such as the Royal Palace, the residence of Spain’s monarch. The heart of Madrid (and Spain) is Puerta del Sol, a large plaza serving as the scene of festivals, important gatherings and street performers as well as a hub for the public transportation network. Another important square is Plaza Mayor, known for the lively San Miguel Market.
Barcelona’s big sister sheds her winter skin in March. This is when the clocks go forward, and as if by magic a wave of warmth sweeps the city and loosens up its reserved exterior. Madrid’s expansive parks burst into bloom and locals tumble out onto the streets to sip caipirinhas and dance till dawn. Temperatures stay around 20ºC (far more gentle than the capital’s sizzling summers), meaning you can explore its world-class galleries, belle-époque mansions and designer boutiques without breaking a sweat. There’s great traditional tapas to be had, but you must leave time to try the city’s newer breed of stylish gastro bars. Just don’t plan anything more than a siesta afterwards!
Floating in the Mediterranean, just off the Spanish mainland, are the Balearic Islands. Choose from family-friendly Majorca, low-key Menorca, off-the-radar Formentera, and hip and happening Ibiza. Needless to say, they all come with beautiful beaches, countryside scenery and a relaxed way of life that’s typical of this part of the world.
The Balearics’ biggest island is all about the beaches. And whether you pick superleague stretches like 13-kilometre-long Ca’n Picafort, or tucked away coves, such as those around billionaire’s playground, Cala d’Or, you’re pretty much guaranteed golden sand and calm waters.
Ibiza is the king of Europe’s club scene. The island’s main resort, San Antonio, is home to world-famous dance spots like Pacha. It’s a different story up on the north coast, though. Make your way to the countryside around Puerto San Miguel and you’ll find hidden caves and walking trails through thick pine forests.
For an island that moves to a much slower rhythm, Menorca hits the spot. Families flock here for quiet beaches like Son Bou and Cala’n Forcat. Plus, there are prehistoric relics like the village of Torre d’en Gaumes, which is over 3,000 years old.
If you want to really drop off the radar, we can take you to Formentera. Its 20-kilometre coastline is dotted with secluded stretches of white sand. Some, like Playa Mitjorn, have even been compared to the Caribbean.