Spain has the best of Europe in one country: amazing food, good cheap wine, whitewashed villages, castles, cathedrals, open winding roads, sun drenched beaches, rolling green hills, and did I mention the blow-your-mind-good food? Spain has it all!
Over the past 20 years Spain has seen significant growth in tourism. It is now the “Food destination in Europe” stealing the title from a bitter France; after eating few plates of Tapas I am sure you will agree.
Fly into Mardid Barajas Airport from anywhere. There is a direct subway train from the airport to the center of town, exit Puerta Del Sol and Grand Via.
You can fly Malaga from anywhere in Europe and be on a sunny Mediterranean beach in an hour or less.
For the best value and experience stay in a Pensions or B&B. A Pension is a family run hotel often in beautiful old buildings. Look for one with private bathroom and good reviews. Every family run hotel that I have ever stayed in speaks great English, so don’t think that privilege is only for the pricey brand name hotels.
Apartments are a great way to go if you speak the language so you may not need the assistance provided by hotel staff. You will enjoy the extra space and home like feel.
The Catholic King Bed – Spain, Portugal, and Italy have one major hotel issue that no one has pointed out in the past; they believe that two twin beds pushed together = one king size bed. I coined the term “Catholic King Bed” as a joke with my husband after falling in the crack of our king size bed. To get around this I have found that small family run hotels, aka Pensions and B&B, tend to have double or queen beds that really are an improvement from the Catholic King. Look at pictures on-line before you book, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself sleeping in the dreaded Catholic King.
Rent a car or take the bus, they are both very easy.
I LOVE to drive in Spain. The highways or ‘A roads’ are toll roads and empty.
The ‘B roads’ wind through medieval villages and olive groves, if you have the time take an adventure and drive on a B-road toward your next direction.
Spain, like all of mainland Europe, drives on the right side of the road so American drivers will feel at home with large freeways.
Don’t bother with the train unless you have a Euro pass. The direct buses are faster, easier cheaper and more comfortable. Example: Granada to Madrid Train is 5 hours the bus is 3 hours, and you get to watch a movie. Apparently the train system is something Spain is working on improving I will update after my visit in April 2013.
- Drive the B Roads – we have explored a lot of Spain’s back country winding through Olive Groves, vineyards and small villages. All Roads have good signage so when you come to an intersection just look for the name of a city in your next general direction. Stop often
- Nerja – whitewashed village on the southern coast. Wander through the town and it’s cove like beaches. Explore impressive caves with 5 story tall stalagmites or simply eat Paella with your toes in the sand.
- Gibraltar – should you be traveling with a brit this jaunt to the colony will be a delightful side step. Don’t care about mother England, don’t bother.