Look north for a different Spanish Holiday this year!

So, are you planning your Spanish vacation this year? Where do you want to go?

Spain is such a diverse country and the millions of UK and Irish tourists each year, in the main, head for the south and east of the country, for sunny weather and great beaches, but did you know the same fun can be had in the north of the country, but without the scorching heat?

Laga beach, Pais Vasco 

The northern regions of Spain share a similar topography and geology to the far south-west of the UK, in places such as Cornwall, and although the temperatures are of course hotter than Cornwall, as obviously it is that much nearer to the equator, but saying that, the north of Spain certainly gets its fair share of rain too.

The rocks and coastline are more rugged, again like Cornwall, and the lush green grass is very noticeable if you are used to seeing the drier and more arid regions of the south.

The south-west region of the UK has long had a connection with the area too, and in days gone by, tin miners emigrated here to help extract the seams of coal that are extant in the area, and more recently, the Plymouth to Santander ferry plies its trade across the choppy seas each week, bring more tourist to the region, but many simply drive on to the Costas, when they can have just as much fun here!

Santander harbour with ferry 

So if you are making that journey this year, forget about continuing your journey south and just stay put and discover this wonderful area for yourself! Here is a handful of places I would recommend.

Hang out in Santander!

The city itself is well worth taking a look around, and it far friendlier than it's counterpart back in the UK, and smaller too, so plenty of interesting bars, galleries and beaches, all a stones throw away from the ferryport.

You can take a paseo along the Pereda gardens from Plaza Alfonso XIII, and discover the Palace of  la Compañia Transatlantica Española.

Santander - Magdalena Palace

You can also head into the town and check out some of the streets which wind their way down through the town. You can pick up some bargains too, and refresh yourself with a nice cool beer and a pintxo, their version of tapas, always very popular!

That is certainly something that stands out when you holiday in this region, the fact that even in August, generally speaking you are not going to fry under the sun although it's still very warm and a great opportunity to spend more time on some of the regions lovely beaches, in fact during the hotter months many people from Madrid come up here to escape the heat of the city.

Go to the beach

There are plenty of beaches to choose from in this area and of course northern Spain includes the Basque country, Navarra, Galicia, Asturias, and of course the mountainous Picos de Europa region, but back on the beach it's a different story.

Cantabria - Sardinero beach - Santander

 There are quite a few beaches close to the city to choose from, such as Peligros, Bikins, Magdalena, sardinero, although if you venture further out, you can find Sardinero beach, which is actually four beaches for the price of one!

For the more intrepid traveller, you can really relax and take the FEVE narrow gauge railway, which is one of the most spectacular train lines in Europe and goes along the coast between Bilbao in the east of the region, and El Ferrol in the westward part.

The scenery from the train is amazing and it has several stops that are handy for quaint fishing villages, secluded coves and delightful villages with traditional stone built houses clinging precariously to the side of massive hills.

Whatever you do this year, come to Spain, but forget paella, flamenco or 100 degrees sun, and come and stay in Northern Spain this summer!