Lapped by the picture-perfect Mediterranean Sea, Spain fills our holiday dreams.
The weather in mainland Spain is a key factor why millions of tourists flock to the Costas every year, eager to wind down and bask in the wonderful climate.
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Lapped by the picture-perfect Mediterranean Sea, Spain fills our holiday dreams. There’s sun, sea and sand with lively resorts and waterparks, wild coastlines with mountain villages and sophisticated stretches of beach where stunning hotels are just a step from the sea.
Whether it’s bars, clubbing and cocktails or romantic evenings by elegant marinas listening to Flamenco guitarists strum in the moonlight, holidaymakers can find their perfect getaway with Olympic Holidays. The best places to stay, at the best prices, can be secured with a low deposit booking.
Golfers who want to find the best courses, couples who dream of immersing themselves in pampering at top-class spas or those who fancy a flutter in a casino, can rely on Olympic Holidays to offer accommodation at select resorts.
Families on a budget are not forgotten and there are plenty of great-value apartments to ensure fun and freedom in the sun for everyone without breaking the bank. Your dream holiday starts here!
Whatever you seek from a holiday, the Spanish mainland has it all on offer: golden sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and evening entertainment to suit all tastes from the loud and lively to romantic retreats and tucked away taverns. Each area has unique qualities and something different to offer.
During your holidays in mainland Spain you will discover a excellent choice of Mediterranean style cuisine as you would expect from any Spanish holiday. Restaurants in mainland Spain have a range of influences from Spain but has also taken on many British favourites to cater for tourist industry.
Shopping in Spain remains a personal experience, the majority of Spanish stores are small family run businesses although many more hypermarkets and supermarkets have begun to spring up in recent years. The hypermarkets tend to lie in the rapidly expanding Spanish suburbs, while the older city neighbourhoods hold fast to traditional shopping patterns.
The Spanish often don't seem to believe in queueing and people often push and shove their way to the front. Shop assistants will not always serve customers in order; so if it is your turn - speak up! The last person in line is called La Ultima and you may ask or be asked who is La Ultima. Some foreigners complain that Spanish service people can be surly, but the great majority of them tend to be friendly and pleasant.
Shopping hours: These can vary considerably between region, city, town and type of shop. Small shops open from between 0830 and 0930 (or earlier for food shops) until between 1300 and 1400 and from around 1700 until between 1930 and 2100, Monday to Friday, then from 0930 until 1400 on Saturdays. In some areas shops are closed on Monday mornings. In south Spain, the siesta lasts from 1330 or 1400 until 1700. Department stores, hypermarkets and many supermarkets are open without a break for a siesta from around 0930 or 1000, until between 2000 and 2200 from Monday to Saturday. Most stores are closed on Sunday.
Markets: You have indoor markets, called mercados, permanent street markets and travelling open air street markets that move from area to area. Often prices can be 20% lower than in shops! Markets sell a variety of goods such as food, flowers, clothes, shoes, crockery, cookware, linen, ceramics, CD's, arts & crafts, household wares, carpets, jewellery, etc. Watch out for well name brands though, as they are usually fakes.
Spanish specialities: The best products to buy in Spain are handmade items such as ceramics, pottery, woodwork, embroidery and paintings. Spanish leather goods are also good quality and good value for money but not cheap. Arts and crafts have survived better in Spain than in other Western European countries and this is reflected in their goods.
Things To Do
Costa Del Sol
Scuba Diving: Costa del Sol holidays are ideal location for scuba diving. The waters are clear, warm and safe making it a perfect environment for the beginner and there is also much to challenge more experienced scuba divers.
Jeep Safaris: An increasingly popular activity in the Costa del Sol, the jeep safari goes through the rugged countryside in areas rarely accessed by man.
Watersports: The sheer quantity of beaches in the Costa del Sol means that are many watersports on offer including jet skiing and water skiing.
Watersports: During your holidays to Costa Blanca in mainland Spain you will find a range of watersports on offer including windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kite-surfing and jet skiing/
Golf: Alicante has nine golf courses located within close proximity of the city: Alicante Golf Club (designed by Seve Ballesteros), Alenda Golf, Bonalba, El Bosque, El Plant�o, El Saler Golf Club, Mediterraneo Golf Club and Oliva Nova.
Hiking: Take a hike in the Sierra Aitana mountains located about an hour north of Alicante providing some excellent walking trails.
Costa Del Almeria
Mountain Biking: Cycling through this area is an unforgettable experience. You'll cycle over high mountain terrain, then right down to the Mediterranean coast.
Windsurfing: When it comes to windsurfing, Spain is a Mecca; it's one of the best places in Europe, with numerous top class locations and perfect all year round conditions.
Golf: In Almeria there are various installations for golf lovers, in Almerimar, Roquetas, El Ejido...each one perfectly equipped and ideally surrounded by great hotel infrastructures.
Things To See
Costa Del Sol
Granada and the Alhambra Palace: Granada is home to two of Spain's best-known UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the gardens of the Generalife and the exquisite Moorish architecture of the Alhambra Palace, which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural marvels in the world.
Gibraltar: Cross the border from Spain into British territory, where you can see British policemen, spend British money and enjoy the duty free shopping and take a trip to the top of the famous Rock of Gibraltar itself, where you can take in spectacular views of the Spanish and Moroccan coastlines.
Seville: Experiencing the Andalusian charm of Seville is a must on any trip to southern Spain and is easily reached on a day excursion from the Costa del Sol. Built on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, lively Seville has a rich Arab legacy and colorful local districts but is most famous for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral and Alcazar fort.
Ronda and the Tajo Gorge: The picturesque town of Ronda spans the plunging river gorge known as El Tajo, crossed by the impressive 18th-century Puente Nuevo bridge. Visit the town square, known as Plaza de Espana, the Church of the Holy spirit, built in 1485, and the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, known today as the Church of Saint Mary the Elder.
Benalmadena Cable Car: Right next to Tivoli World, the Benalmadena cable car climbs to the summit of Mount Calamorro. Once on top you will be able to enjoy the stunning view over the Costa del Sol.
Benalmadena Sea Life Aquarium: Situated next to Benalmadena marina you will see a range of aquatic wildlife including sharks, sting rays and sea snakes.
Selwo Adventure Park: Located off the main road along the Costa del Sol near Estepona the Selwo Adventure park with over 2,000 animals from around the world including elephants, lions and tiger.
Calblanque: A designated coastal nature reserve and beach and well off the beaten track, Calblanque is widely regarded as one of the Costa Blanca's hidden gems.
Santa Barbara Castle: Situated on an outcrop of rock overlooking Alicante city this is a remarkable piece of history which has survived the years and now provides views of the beach and marina that are simply breathtaking.
Mundomar Park: Get a real close up view of marine animals such as dolphins and seals.
Terra Mitica: This is relatively new theme park that will keep the entire family happy. Located about 5 kms outside Benidorm the amusement park is split into 4 sections Europe, Asia, America and Pangea which stands for amazing volcano. Each area has a fantastic selection of animals as well as attractions.
Arqueologico Provincial Museum (MARQ): European Museum of the year in 2004 the MARQ is high tech visualisation of Alicante's archaeological past from prehistoric times through to Iberian and Roman Eras, the middle ages and the 20th century. The museum is fascinating with a element of fun and definitely worth visiting.
Ducal de los Borja Palace: This magnificent palace was built in the 15th century and was once the home of Duque Francisco de Borja and is adorned with finely carved ceilings and intricate ceramic work.
Costa Del Almeria
Alcazaba: Visit this Moorish construction that dominates the old town of Almeria. You will be enjoy fine views of the city and the coast.
Mercado: This 19th century market hall houses a noisy and colourful array of food stalls. It is surrounded by a complement of bars, including El Quinto Toro (see bar recommendations).
John Lennon's Almeria: The inner suburbs have some very grand old houses, some neglected or even derelict. Among them is the Casa Romero where John Lennon wrote and recorded demos for 'Strawberry Fields'.
Getting around Spain is relatively easy and transport links are as you'd expect from any developed European country. Public transport is generally very good in Spanish cities, most of which have efficient bus and rail systems. If you plan to remain within the principal Spanish cities, public transportation will likely prove far more convenient and pleasant than driving.
Intercity Rail: The Spanish rail network is operated by a state owned company called Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Espanoles (RENFE). They operate a wide range of services and fares. Their fastest trains, the AVE, are among Europe's best with their slowest travelling about the same speed as a bus. The RENFE provides a service to all major cities, although it doesn't run to many small towns, and is supplemented by networks such as the FFCC city lines in Barcelona and private railways.
Buses: The local bus services in Spanish cities run from around 0600 until between 22:00 and midnight, when a more expensive night system comes into operation. Most buses don't have a lot of seats, opting instead for maximum standing room. Urban buses are quite slow although some major cities provide dedicated bus lanes.
Most towns have a bus terminal. Keep in mind that when waiting at a bus stop, the bus may not always stop for you unless you indicate you wish it to.
Taxis: You should only use taxis that display a special licence. They are of a very high standard as they are governed by strict legislation. They display a green light when they are free (libre). They can be flagged down or found at a taxi rank and are metered but have a set price for certain journeys. Tipping is a customary 5-10%.