Beating the Wintertime Blues in Spain
Now that we are on our way to recovery from the two-week food binge that is Christmastime in Spain, it’s time to think about how to take full advantage of the rest of the Spanish winter and get 2010 started off on a memorable note! After all, as tempting as it may be to curl up with a blanket and go into a state of near hibernation until April (we understand – it’s our first inclination too), the winter provides a host of opportunities in Spain for those willing to go after them.
When the temperatures plummet, our natural instinct is of course to spend as little time outside as possible, braving the cold only when necessary and even then scrambling from one heat-blasting establishment to another. The winter months hardly see the kind of tourism that their springtime counterparts see, which – fortunately for us – translates to shorter lines, less expensive hotel rooms, cheaper air fares and crowdless tourist attractions. Keeping all of this in mind, winter can actually be the ideal time of year to visit museums, hunt out cozy cafés, take in a show at the theater or partake in the nationwide rebajas, part post-Christmas sales and part full-contact, every-man-for-himself sport.
However, if you’re looking a more unique and adventurous experience to email your folks about and show off in your Facebook album, there are plenty of opportunities for wintertime fun! Below we go into a bit of detail on two very, VERY different winter experiences awaiting you here in Spain:
Fun in the snow: Hit up the slopes!!
Whether you’re a lifelong skier, an intermediate snowboarder or a total newbie looking to test your snow legs for the very first time, Spain is a great place to get the adrenalin pumping as you fly down (or cautiously descend) the snow-covered slopes. While Spain is practically synonymous the word “beach”, it’s actually Europe’s second most mountainous country and boasts well over 30 ski resorts with a total of nearly 1,000 kilometers of ski runs just waiting to be discovered.
Spain’s mountains are grouped into five major ranges: the Pirineos and Sistema Ibérico in the northeast, the Cordillera Cantábrica in the north, the Sistema Penibético in the south and the Sistema Central right smack in the middle. Conclusion? Basically no matter where you are, there’s a ski area nearby.
Plus if you’re interested in adding a dose of learning to your fun ski adventure abroad, Enforex has Spanish schools in a handful of cities that are ideal for heading to the mountains, namely Barcelona & Pamplona for the Pyrenees; Madrid & Salamanca for the Sistema Central; and Granada for the Sierra Nevada.
Fun in the sun: Hit up the beach??
Believe it or not, in Spain you CAN put on your favorite swimsuit, hit the beach and go swimming in the ocean smack in the dead of winter… and not even as punishment for losing a bet. If you’re desperate to shake off the winter chill and liven up that alabaster skin tone of yours with a dose of warm sunshine, then the eternal spring-like weather of Spain’s Canary Islands may be the cure for your wintertime blues.
Located off the western coast of Africa, the Canary Islands is an archipelago comprised of seven major islands. Tenerife and Gran Canaria are the two most-populated and most tourist-oriented of the islands, where you can combine days at the beach with fun nights out on the town. If you’re looking for more of a “get away from it all” destination, then the less populated and less touristy islands of Fuerteventura, La Palma, El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Gomera offer that quieter, more isolated vibe that many tourists seek.
Because you aren’t the only person wanting to warm up during winter, now is actually one of the cheapest times of year to pay a visit to the islands. There are all sorts of great package deals for wintertime travel to the Canary Islands, with flights generally flying in and out of the airports of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Just sit down for a chat with your travel agent or starting hunting for offers online.