Spain is one of Europe’s top holiday destinations, despite the economic problems that have beset the country. Over 100 million travellers flew through its airports last year with over 60% of them flying into or out of the country’s top five airports. So why do 50 million people use Madrid’s Barajas Airport, forty million more using El Prat Airport in Barcelona and Malaga chipping in with 13 million. The Spanish islands get a good look in too with Palma de Mallorca seeing 23 million and Gran Canaria finishing the five with another eleven million?
is an easy one, it’s Spain’s capital city so many business people use the airport but it still attracts over thirty million international tourists with such delights as;
- The Museo de Prado, holding one of Europe’s foremost classical art collections
- The Palacio Real, Spain’s equivalent of Buckingham Palace, and just as popular
- Puerta Del Sol, a great place to meet friends and where Spain celebrates all the important events
is keen to muscle in on the act with its heavyweight attraction Antoni Gaudi and there are several places across the city you can see his work;
- The Sagrada Familia has got to be the most elaborate, fanciful and impossibly grand cathedral in the world – and it’s still not complete.
- Gaudi ramps up the pressure further with his fantastical Parc Guell which challenges architectural rationales.
- For more worldly pleasures, the miles of the Beach Boardwalk is superb for just wandering and stopping for occasional refreshment on the way.
is ever popular, mainly for the sun and beaches but has so much more which is why you find nearly 23m using the airport Ignore the dozens of beautiful beaches for a while and try these, easily reached with a hire car from Mallorca Airport
- The capital, Palma de Mallorca, often overlooked, but with a wealth of ancient architecture, charming atmospheric streets and vibrant nightlife
- Take some time out to hike the trails of the Serra de Tramuntana in the northwest of the island. You’ll gain magnificent views and escape the heat of the coast in summer
- Soller, a mountain town reached by train and tram from Port de Soller and offering an insight into rural Mallorca from the carriages.
- Thirteen million people may travel through Malaga Airport but not all of them are heading for the nearby Costa del Sol. The city is the home of Picasso, Moorish architecture and great scenery. Try these if you’ve got a hire car from Malaga Airport:
- The Picasso Museum, where you’ll see some of his most important works as well as finding out a lot more about the man and his life.
- The Alcazaba, an 11th century fort built by the Moors in what is now the middle of the city. It’s an outstanding piece of architecture and should be high on your list.
- Drive inland for a taste of true Spain through timeless villages and rural idylls
, quietly ostentatious and home to one of Spain’s largest cities, Las Palmas. The island has been described as a miniature continent as it has such a range of attractions.
- OK, you’ve got to spend time at tacky Maspalomas just to see how good the rest of the island’s beaches are.
- With a hire car from Gran Canaria Airport, try Valsequillo, a lush and green part of the island with plunging ravines and countless photo opportunities
- And in the centre of the city of Las Palmas, the incredible Catedral de Santa Ana, visible from almost every part of the city and representative of almost every era of island architecture.
Tempted by any of these wonderful attractions, could you be adding to the passenger numbers in 2012?