From snow-capped mountains to arid deserts, Spain is a diverse, fascinating nation, a true melting pot of culture, influenced by North Africa and Latin Europe. Today one of the most dynamic countries in Europe, Spain’s history has mingled Christians, Muslims and Jews, creating a unique cultural and architectural heritage. Long a destination for European package travellers drawn to the sandy beaches of the costas, visitors are increasingly drawn to the culturally rich cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao, Valencia and Granada. The country’s scenic landscapes, from the Pyrenees across to Galicia in the north and down to Andalucia in the south, provide tranquil retreats away from the crowds.
From Saharan dunes to the peaks of the High Atlas, Morocco could have been tailor-made for travellers. Lyrical landscapes carpet this slice of North Africa like the richly coloured and patterned rugs you’ll lust after in local cooperatives. The mountains – not just the famous High Atlas but also the Rif and suntanned ranges leading to Saharan oases – offer simple, breathtaking pleasures: night skies glistening in the thin air, and views over a fluffy cloudbank from the Tizi n’Test pass. On lower ground, there are rugged coastlines, waterfalls and caves in forested hills, and the mighty desert.
Best time to go to the Spain
Spain is a large landmass influenced by the Atlantic in the north and the Mediterranean in the south, with a vast central interior. Spain is best visited in the springtime, when the temperatures are generally warm and comfortable, the landscapes are in full bloom and the best of the fiestas take place. Autumn is equally comfortable, though less green and the landscapes are drier. July and August are very hot, particularly in central Spain where temperatures can soar. August is especially busy as international visitors’ line the beach resorts and the Spanish take their annual holidays. The winter climate varies from freezing in the central regions to pleasant on the southern coast and in the Balearic Islands.