Last Minute Spain

Where can we go last minute? Is a question many of us ask, not just when we’re thinking ‘Winter, brr,’ but year round. Especially in the office when counting the days, months or, tragically for some, years since the last holiday. This yearning has probably got worse in recent years for those working online – if you search regularly enough for holidays, targeted ads soon appear in your sidebar or even on the video content you watch online. The ads scream, ‘Where do you want to go? It’s cheap it’s cheap, it’s cheeeeaaap!’ And while sometimes you can find the settings and turn them all off (although this doesn’t always seem to work) the noise doesn’t go away.

But you know what? There is a reason for not mindlessly booking a last minute trip to the cheapest place. Often the cheapest place is the most awful. The most crowded, the most English speaking, and the least ‘authentic.’ Funnily enough this phenomenon does not abound on the shores of the UK. If you go to any seaside resort in the UK you are certain to get an authentic experience. There will be fish and chips, there will be seagulls, there will be jewellery boxes decorated with shells in the tacky tourist shops. It has been that way for years.

And while recommending a holiday on the Great British coast is the cop-out many people have tried in the last few years, often it just doesn’t hit the spot. It is just not hot enough. A symptom of this need for extra heat is that Spain has the largest community of British expats of all the European countries. There are hundreds of thousands of Brits over there. And they’re scattered in different places. Unfortunately, this has lead, in places, to the destruction of what once was, and Benidorm is actually protected by the Spanish Government in the state it’s in – to serve as an example to the world of how not to overdevelop for the purposes of tourism and the expat community. As such, a last minute holiday to Benidorm is not worth the recommendation. You might want to cross off Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza too.

If going on a last minute holiday to Spain or its islands, staying away from the places listed regularly on last minute websites is probably a pretty safe bet. Head for the lesser-known places and avoid package deals including flights as well as hotels and food altogether. There are plenty of websites where you can find a cheap flight. Word of mouth recommendations for places and accommodation therein are usually the best – but a small recommendation here, the Brighton of Spain, Sitges can be combined with a weekend stay in Barcelona for a holiday that despite the presence of expats and tourists is friendly and beautiful. Sitges has several beaches and the town is cobbled and boasts lovely restaurants and a good nightlife. Barcelona is a wonderful city to explore, with great shopping, food and museums like the Picasso Museum. There is a train that runs from Sitges to Barcelona in a short space of time.

John Hutchinson has enjoyed travelling since he was a young boy when his parents first took him to visit family overseas. Since leaving home, John has tracked down family all over the world and regularly jets off to faraway lands to see distant relatives.

Image: (Xip)

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