Spain and the Balearic Islands offer up so much more than sand, sangria and siestas. Diverse and spectacular scenery lies around every corner throughout these culturally rich and historic regions – and there’s no better way to explore it than with your own set of wheels.
So are you looking forward to some Spanish sunshine but not quite so excited by the prospect of 6 A.M. sunbed queues and a beach full of British accents? Avoid the crowds and venture further afield by getting yourself a set of wheels to enjoy your holiday, your way. Read on to discover five top places you can escape to when you hire a car in Spain this half term.
- Cap de Formentor, Mallorca
This wild peninsula on the northeast tip of Mallorca offers up scenery a far cry from the bustling beaches of the island’s main tourist resorts. A car hire from Palma Airport is just the ticket for reaching Mallorca’s most northerly point, where dramatic scenery, interesting rock formations, soaring cliffs and sandy beaches await. Be sure to take the trip up to the old watchtower near the view point of Mirador des Colomer for a stunning vantage point of the whole peninsula.
- San Sebastian and the northern coast
Away from the tourist resorts fringing the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic coastline of northern Spain offers numerous rewards for travellers who prefer to explore on their own schedule. After sampling the superb cuisine of San Sebastian, head to the captivating city of Bilbao, set in the green hills of the Basque Country and the medieval Santillana Del Mar, dubbed by many as Spain’s prettiest village. Travel west for your fill of sun, sea and sand in the numerous charming seaside towns that dot the coastline, with Llanes being the cream of the crop, thanks to its dazzling beaches and nearby mountains.
Previously considered simply a smaller and quieter version of Mallorca, Menorca offers up a spate of stunning scenic spots and plenty of sunshine, carving out a place for itself as a top holiday destination in its own right. And the great news for travellers is that what this island may lack in size, it more than makes up for in hidden beaches and spectacular vantage points. By following the ancient coastal route of the Camí de Cavalls, you’ll soon find yourself stumbling across Menorca’s unspoilt beaches and quiet coves.
You may think you’ll struggle to find a patch of sand to call your own on the Spanish south coast during half term. But picking up a hire car in Malaga, and promptly leaving town, could change your perception of Andalucia. Away from the main beach resorts, a spectrum of sights is just waiting to be explored. The impressive setting of the ‘white town’ of Ronda makes it a must-see stop for any visitor to the area, whilst the towns of Seville and Cordoba offer up spates of Spanish history and culture. Outdoor types will love the Cazorla Natural Park with its huge array of wildlife, mountains, gorges and forests; and don’t miss the awe-inspiring palace of Alhambra, an iconic sight on the list of any traveller.
- Sa Calobra, Mallorca
Another entry for Mallorca on the list, Sa Calobra is about as close to perfection as it gets. It may not always be as quiet as you’d like – tour companies are savvy to the attractions of this idyllic cove – but with your own set of wheels it’s easy to get there before the crowds and spend all day exploring this spectacular setting, complete with dramatic mountains, a hidden beach and even a gorge thrown in for good measure.
What’s your favourite place in Spain to escape from it all?