Spain: A Travel Guide For Older Travellers
Spain is one of the go-to travel destinations for UK holidays. In fact, British residents made an estimated 16.5 million trips to Spain in 2022 alone – making it the most popular destination for outbound tourism. And it’s no surprise.
With its rich history, culture, cuisine, and spectacular weather, Spain has the winning combination for a holiday abroad. There is so much to see and do all over this glorious country and it’s not only for younger travellers. You shouldn’t let reduced mobility or age hinder you from embarking on the adventure of a lifetime and experiencing all the delights Spain has to offer.
Here is a guide to some of the major destinations to visit in Spain and how you can make the most of them as a senior traveller.
Retreat from the hustle of the party scene to the shimmering beaches and sunny year-round climate of the Balearic Islands. This archipelago is located just off eastern Spain in the Mediterranean and is made up of the islands Mallorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera. A treasure trove of historic towns, nightlife and delicious cuisine, this is one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations.
Ibiza might not initially be at the top of your list but there are plenty of adventures to be had amongst the rocky headlands, sandy beaches, underwater caverns and green hills. Mallorca is the largest island and is often compared to the Scottish Highlands with its beautiful, undeveloped wilderness.
The smallest of the main four islands is Formentera and is a sandy paradise that is only accessible by regular ferries from Ibiza. Surrounded by olive and fig trees and a spectacular sea view, the island offers many opportunities for cycling and sampling delicacies at local fishing villages.
So much art, history and culture to experience all in just one city. Madrid is Spain’s capital and is positively teeming with life. In 2022 the city received approximately six million visitors and there is an activity for everyone there.
If you’re looking for a spot of sophistication, you can peruse the art and culture in the city’s countless museums and galleries. For an authentic experience, go off the beaten track with a private city tour to see an unexpected and more local side of Madrid. Sample signature cuisine and produce, explore local markets and side alleys, and sip wine as you enjoy some world-famous tapas.
For those in the mood for some greenery, take a stroll through the Casa de Campo Park – the largest of Madrid’s many parks. Walk along the lake, visit the onsite amusement park, ride in the famous teleférico de Madrid, or bring along a picnic to snack on while you lounge in the park.
If you have a love for history and architecture, Seville is the perfect place for you. The capital of Andalucia is filled to the brim with proud and beautiful culture. Its architecture is a historical mix of Islamic, Gothic and Renaissance design, including the breathtaking royal palace and mighty Seville Cathedral – one of the largest and most beautiful cathedrals in the world.
The Real Alcazár is a true manmade marvel, originally built as a fort in the 10th century and each sultan and king who has lived there has influenced the palace complex. Admire the recently uncovered Patio de las Doncellas or the subterranean baths and lush gardens of Doña María de Padilla.
Seville is the birthplace of the flamenco, the traditional dance of Spain that embodies a diverse cultural heritage. Why not catch a show?
Nestled on the northern shores of Spain, Bilbao is a lesser-known but nonetheless exciting city in Basque County. Another dreamy destination for art and culture lovers, you’ll find the Guggenheim here – Bilbao’s most famous attraction and home to many famous works of fine art.
Surrounded by the Basque Mountains, the city sits on an estuary leading to the Atlantic Ocean so it’s ideal for both a stroll along the water and a hike in the mountains. Walk around Artxanda Hill or opt for a swim in Sopelana Beach in the afternoon.
It’s worth mentioning that because Bilbao is in the north, you shouldn’t expect the typical hot weather and sunshine associated with Spain. It can often be cloudy and rainy, but this ensures the mountain landscapes stay lush and green.
Alicante is also known as the Costa Blanca due to its golden beaches, sheltered bays and magnificent coastline. This region offers everything in the way of art, culture, hotels and dining experiences – you can even arrange an Alicante airport transfer before you arrive for maximum convenience.
The rich wine-making heritage of nearby La Rioja runs deep in this region so get yourself acquainted with the local Spanish vintage by going on a private wine cellar experience or vineyard tour.
If you want to trade the beach for green lawns and landscaped gardens, Alicante has both in abundance. The botanical gardens are ideal for afternoon strolls and boast stunning floral exhibits, flower labyrinths and Spanish architecture.
Photo by Joan Oger on Unsplash