Weekend Breaks

Catalonians are keen to highlight their differences with the rest of Spain, but each Spanish region has its own characteristics and unique reasons to visit. The Basque Country, as fiercely separatist as Catalonia, has many selling points: its foods and wines are amongst the very best, its countryside amongst the prettiest, its sports and customs as quirky as they come.

Andalusia offers the perfect antidote, embracing all that is considered quintessentially Spanish by the outsider: bull fights, abanico fans, flamenco dancing and castanets. Madrid is home to some of the finest art galleries in the world, and has bars that open longer than anywhere else. For those looking for somewhere less obvious, Galicia is a sparsely populated region of fishing communities, Asturias has rugged mountains and seaside coves, Castilla y León has great castles and historical cities, Valencia has its orange groves, and Aragón the Mudéjar monuments.

Each region has its own particular visitor appeal, but also its own distinctive culture, traditions, food and drink. Besides the changing of the seasons, the festival agenda is the other factor to consider when deciding where and when to go. Many people head to Valencia for Las Fallas in mid-March, to Buñol on the last Wednesday of August for La Tomatina, and to Pamplona for the San Fermines in early July. All are fantastic fun but if you intend to stay overnight, book somewhere well in advance. The Spanish Tourist Board lists the various festivals on its website, along with other helpful information: www.spain.info.

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