New departures from Aberdeen International Airport this Spring mean that it’s now easier and cheaper to get some Spanish sun without tiresome transfers.

The Costas and Canaries offer great weather, beaches, food and unrivalled people watching opportunities, but there’s also plenty to do if you can bear to leave your pool-side lounger…

This year there are a raft of new charter flight departures from Aberdeen Airport – including Alicante, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Majorca, Málaga and Tenerife – so it makes sense to check the options and book well ahead. You can either take a complete package, which can bring the benefit of organised activities for the kids, or go for a flight only deal, meaning you can choose your own villa or bijou boutique getaway away from the crowds.

Málaga, on Spain’s southern Costa del Sol coastline, offers treats for both the foodie and the culture vulture. With almost 1600 restaurants, ranging from traditional tapas bars to a surprising number of Italian eateries; or the enticing colours and aromas of the sometimes confusing Mercado Central de Atarazanas food market, with its ranks of stalls, tiny bars and restaurants; there’s an amazing choice whether you’re self-catering or eating out. For a trip back in time, seek out the town’s oldest wine seller at Antigua Casa de Guardia, where nothing appears to have changed in over a century and the wine comes straight from the barrel.

Art lovers too will find much to admire in Málaga. Not only is there a Picasso Museum, honouring the famous local boy, but two modern art museums. Try the stained glass cube of the Centre Pompidou for exhibitions by international contemporary artists, or head to the small Museo Carmen Thyssen which hosts a fine selection of Spanish work.

If art’s not your thing, but you still appreciate fine lines, then the Automobile and Fashion Museum may appeal, though it’s probably best to go your separate ways once you get inside. It’s hardly fair to force a Ferrari fan look at shoes for two hours, or make your other half endure a Bugatti when they’d rather admire Balenciaga!

Further along the coast, Alicante is great for couples, friends or families. The tram system makes getting around the town quick and easy and there are plenty of shady streets for an afternoon or early evening stroll. Again, there’s an amazing selection of restaurants, with Bodhigreen favoured by vegetarians and sushi bar Diakichi making the most of local seafood.

Get out of town for the day with a trip to the Guadalest Valley, home to an amazing fortified town with the castle carved out from rock protecting the village beyond from marauding Moors. It’s best to go early as this is Spain’s second most popular tourist destination. Alternatively, the Old Town area of Altea offers a picturesque wander.

In June, Alicante honours patron saint St. Juan with a series of fire festivals, where locals make and carry satirical papier mache statues round the town. Each year, the best statue is donated to the fascinatingly quirky Museo de Hogueras while the remainder are consigned to the flames.

Ibiza and Majorca both have a reputation as party package islands, but can be charming bases for a relaxing self-catering break with a bit of pre-booking research. Tenerife and Gran Canaria may not have the cultural depth of some other parts of Spain, but they do offer great value all-inclusive family breaks all year round if you just need to kick back, lie in the sun sipping cocktails, catch up on the latest book and ignore the pressures of work and everyday life.


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