GET TANNED NOT TAXED: BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR WINTER SUN
If you've just learnt that Spain is to levy new tourist taxes for Balearics Islands this summer, don't panic. While early forecasts suggest holidays to Balearics during the peak season may be costlier by as much as 30-40%, our cheap last minute holiday deals mean you can bask on the best beaches in Spain for a splash of winter sun instead.
Tax rates will reportedly fall back by half from November onwards (traditionally the off-peak season), which makes Spain an ideal choice if you're after a late getaway in the Mediterranean - and with over 5000 miles of sugar-white coastline, you're sure to find a spot on one of the Blue Flag sands. Whether you fancy a city break in the metropolis of Barcelona, want a chic retreat in Marbella or a coastal getaway in the Costas, you'll find a Spanish resort for you...
Tenerife is best known for a number of reasons, primarily as the largest of the Canary Islands and for its exciting amalgam of gorgeous beaches, natural wonders and volcanic landscapes. Boasting year-round temperate climes, this balmy isle reaches highs of 23°C in November - so you won't be missing out on any of the summer sunshine - making it a hot spot for couples, families and friends to book later in the year.
When you're not relaxing on the golden beaches of Playa De Las Americas and Costa Adeje, take the kids to enchanting Loro Parque - a tropical animal park full of exotic creatures - make a splash at Siam Park, or hike your way (or take the cable car) to famous Mount Teide. Nature enthusiasts can even go one step further and exploer the snow-capped Pico del Teide—a moderate hiking trail that leads through amazing forests and picturesque villages.
2. BENIDORM, SPAIN
Benidorm is the jewel of Costa Blanca, thanks to its toasty temperatures during the winter months, the lovely beaches of Playa De Levante and Poniente are packed with adrenaline-rushing watersports to in indulge in. A popular pick for family holidays, this famous resort boasts an abundance of tourist attractions with entertainment for all ages, whether you want to wander the quaint old town laden with places to eat and shop, take the kids to action-packed theme and water parks Terra Natura and Aqualandia, or simply laze on the gorgeous Costa Blanca beaches.
Better still, November marks the start of the resort's Fiestas, where six days worth of festivities consume the sun-kissed streets, from concerts and competitions to religious and traditional events worth getting involved in.
3. BARCELONA, SPAIN
Barcelona is an ideal destination to visit during the winter months, with temperatures hovering around 17°C, dry blue skies and spacious streets - meaning more room to roam the city. Quirky architecture fringes the city's cobbled town squares, and you'll find traditional wine bars, local tapas restaurants and shops nestled down hidden side streets. The cultural calendar also swings into action outside of the peak season, so you'll have access to some of the city's best exhibitions and events including the Santa Eulalia festival.
If you want to soak up the city's natural beauty, wander through the scenic Parc de la Ciutadella, an oasis amid the hustle and bustle where you can hire a rowing boat and float along the lake, explore the Museu d'Art Modern, admire some of Gaudi's architecture, or swing by the local zoo. While you're here, experiencing the famous Sagrada Familia in construction is a must, another awe-inspiring Antoni Gaudi work predicted to be completed in 2026. Swap sights for shops and potter Boqueria market, the Barri Gòtic and El Raval in the old town for the best finds, in the evenings head to lively Las Ramblas or the Gothic Quarter for a upbeat restaurants, bars and clubs.
5. PLAYA DEL INGLES, GRAN CANARIA
Playa del Ingles is second only to Ibiza in terms of being a sun-kissed party destination, and you'll be instantly hooked by its luxury 5-star hotels that fringe the resort's beaches. Gran Canaria's biggest and most famous resort boasts gorgeous temperatures throughout the year, match this with attractive air fares during the months of November and December, and between March and May, and you've got a low cost winter sun holiday that's fit for the whole family. Playa del Ingles' 3km beach boasts glistening waters that are packed with exciting sports activities, with jet skis and parasailing available - walk the length of these rolling sands and you'll end up in the resort's answer to the Sahara Desert, Maspalomas beach.
For something a bit different, explore further inland on an exciting 4x4 safari trip to Fataga, a quaint clifftop pueblo away from the resort's hustle and bustle, or visit the Sioux City Park - a wild-west themed attraction with a fantastic zoo, horse parade show and delicious BBQs. If you fancy a spot of Christmas shopping, head to The Yumbo Centre, a hub brimming with shops, bars and stands.
6. MAJORCA, BALEARIC ISLANDS
Majorca, the largest island of the Balearics is pleasantly sunny in the winter months, with average temperatures of 18°C in November. The island offers rich variety of things to see and do, with the bustling capital of Palma actually best visited during the cooler seasons - wander it's myriad cobblestone streets and admire the famous architecture such as the Gothic Cathedral and the majestic 13th-century church Iglesia de Santa Eulalia in pleasant temperatures. While it's too hot to fully appreciate the resort's nature most of the year, winter presents perfect opportunity to go hiking - the hills of Serra de Tramuntana are crowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and totally worth the walk, or you can opt for a slightly lighter coastal walk since there are plenty of trails leading to hidden coves by the sea.
Love spring? January onwards is the island's almond blossom season when the usually green landscape turns a candyfloss shade of white and pink - there's even an annual blossom fair in February in the famous farmhouse village of Son Servera - the perfect place to pick up some of the island's famous almond cake and liquor.
7. FUERTEVENTURA, CANARY ISLANDS
There's only one winner when it comes to beach holidays in the Canaries, since second-largest player Fuerteventura boasts 150 of them - yes, really! It's no surprise that you'll have enough sand, sea and snorkelling to keep you entertained for a while, with untouched expanses in Corralejo and along the Jandia Peninsula - so you best be windsurfing ready? The resort experiences toasty temperatures of 21°C in November, meaning you can explore the island's natural attractions without becoming uncomfortable in the heat.
Hire a boat and go on a day trip to neighbouring Isla del Lobos, visit the lush Parque Natural de Corralejo, or head to the artistic hub of La Oliva with baroque churches, museums and landmarks. If you're a fan of a festival, the Corralejo International Kite Festival kicks off in November, so you can admire blue skies dotted with colourful kites - a perfect coastal escape if you've got the kids in tow.
8. MARBELLA, SPAIN
Crowned as the most stylish of the Spanish resorts, Marbella is a must-visit if you want to combine the beach with boutique shops, waterfront bars and baroque towns. You'll soak up the Andaluian charm when you stroll the narrow streets of the historic old quarter, complete with traditional whitewashed buildings, flower-filled balconies, enchanting plazas - Orange Square, or, Plaza de los Naranjos is an absolute must - and colourful open-air restaurants and bars.
October is one of the best times to visit this star in the Costa Del Sol, with average high's of 22°C, while in November you're at higher risk of rainfall - despite the predicted 10 hours of sunshine a day. You won't be short of first-class restaurants and bars in this neck of the woods, with gorgeous venues including De Brunos, The Orange Tree and plenty of upmarket eateries in popular marina Puerto Banus. Better still, take a day trip to nearby Mijas Pueblo - an incredibly charming white hilltop village tucked into the mountainside offering stunning views over the Costa Del Sol below.