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France, Italy & Spain


Spain: A pocket guide

Spain is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, and with good reason. There is something here for every age and budget: picturesque towns, beautiful beaches, world-class museums, great food. You can let your hair down in the exclusive clubs of Ibiza and Costa del Sol or trek through the national parks of Andalucia—then take a breath, find a table in a quiet plaza, and enjoy a simple glass of wine and tapas on a lazy, hazy afternoon. Catalonia, in the northeast, has some of the best restaurants in the world, including Girona’s El Celler de Can Roca (for a better chance at snagging a table, go for lunch). In Madrid, plan a tapas-museum crawl, and spend the day casually eating, drinking, and admiring the Caravaggios in El Prado and the Picasso in Reina Sofia. Madrid also offers many wonderful day trips to picturesque towns such as Toledo.

You don’t have to hit up the clubs to have a great time on the island of Ibiza: For a more low-key holiday, take a boat trip to northern creeks for swimming and catching sea urchins or to Tagomago Island with its stylish yet low-key waterfront chiringuito. For small children, the playground at Babylon Beach is perfect—the children are supervised in a lovely playground by the sea and the adults can relax and sunbathe. For older children, Namaste at Las Dahlias accepts children at their bi-weekly evening parties and gives those not yet old enough for the clubs a chance to dance to great bands and DJs. For a truly special and authentic dinner, visit Can Cires in San Mateu, which is run by a lovely couple. It has a stunning terrace, as well as delicious food at great prices. If money is no object, then dine at Ama Lur in Sta Gertrudis or LIO Cabaret in Botafoch. The exclusive Cala Jondal beach at the Blue Marlin is the place to see and be seen in style, while in the north there are various smaller beaches where the more discerning celebrities spend the day.

Spain’s Balearic Islands are blessed with 300-plus days of annual sunshine; hundreds of miles of coastline; secluded coves, beaches, and bays; and a choice of the very best luxury villas to stay in. The north coast of Majorca boasts some of Spain’s most stunning scenery: minuscule coves, rugged and wild forests and mountains, dizzying drops to the sea, picturesque medieval villages, and enchanting little ports—it is where the most fabulous properties are located. Ciutadella, a beautifully preserved eighteenth-century Baroque village on Menorca, is one of the most enchanting anywhere in the Balearics. The Balearic Island of Formentera is a haven from the hedonism of its larger sister, Ibiza—the perfect place to escape the tourist frenzy and relax in style.

Spain’s central regions are perfect for hunting, and elegant full-service hunting lodges are available throughout the region of Castilla La Mancha. New to the Spanish scene are villas and farmhouses of charm and authenticity, so check in with UltraVilla as we uncover more of these gems.


Meet the Experts for Spain