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Monocle Magazine, in conjunction with the Spanish Tourist Office, has just launched the new comprehensive Monocle Spain Travel Guide, which aims to give readers an insight into Spain from innovative new vantage points. Written by Monocle’s seasoned travel experts, the guide explores how to do Spain in many different ways – on skis, by boat, train, bike and car, or on foot.


The travel guide highlights Spain’s fantastic offering for keen skiers, delving into some off the radar Spanish towns which offer exceptional experiences. The best ski resorts, hotels, après ski entertainment, food and best ski schools are also included.

The Spain by Train section covers routes for food lovers, culture enthusiasts and those interested in unique designs and landmarks. With fun and useful facts such as the no luggage size limit on certain trains and best restaurants to make a pit stop at; this section is an essential guide to exploring Spain’s vast train network.

With some of the best roads in Europe, a road trip across Spain is often a popular choice. The Monocle guide takes readers on a route along the Northern coast through ‘Green Spain’ with the best places to stop for historic sights, must-see shops and restaurants. In turn, the Spain by Bike section gives cyclists the tools to explore the 1,800km of disused train tracks, ‘vías verdes’ with routes suitable for all cyclist skill levels.

The Spain Travel Guide also covers the best ways to enjoy Spain’s warm waters and explore the country’s wealth of culture and heritage by boat. Through a mix of island hopping and a cruise along the south coast, the guide features some of the best beaches and sites to explore. If readers prefer travelling by foot, this guide ensures that the best exploration spots are not missed and even the seasoned traveller can find something unique and suited to their taste, from gourmet cuisine to the rich history that lines the streets.

Within the pages of the Spain Travel Guide lies an abundance of travel tips and advice for exploring Spain’s old cathedrals, the diverse Paradores, the best beaches and mouth-watering cuisine.

Spain’s tourist board has a new 10-point marketing plan for the UK as it seeks to mature the market.

Enrique Ruiz de Lera, north Europe area co-ordinator for the Spanish National Tourist Office (SNTO), said he will focus on the new trips as the board pushes the ideals of relaxation, discovery, enjoyment, learning and meetings.

To this end it is hoping that trips based around relaxation, gastronomy, nature, activity, cities, art and culture, golf, tours, special interests and MICE will entice a new market.

He said: “All these products are mainly niche (in the UK) but should be mainstream so we have the perfect opportunity for growth.

“The biggest challenge we have is to attract and counsel the consumer. The UK market is a very immature market, it is not very well developed or as sophisticated as it could be.

“There’s enormous potential for growth.”

Ruiz de Lera said while operators are more often driven by market demands as to what they sell, agents can easily work with the tourist board to sell more niche product.

He added: “If you have any ideas, just get in touch with us so that we can help you sell and promote your product to your audience.”

He argued the new markets would not only help the UK trade but also Spanish tourism which he believes is in need of a shake up having become too focused on bucket and spade trips.

Ruiz de Lera said this was particularly true of the UK market, 85% of which either goes to the country’s coastline or islands.

He said: “It is a killer for those who sell holidays, that’s why I think we have an interest in creating a difference in the products that carry a good price.

Ruiz de Lera also spoke of the importance of the UK travel market, which accounts for 1% of Spain’s GDP.

He said while the 60.6 million tourists from the UK spent £59.1 million in Spain last year, between January and July the 36.3 million Brits have spent £34.5 million, a 7% increase on both sides.

The sixth annual season for contemporary Spanish art and culture will take over London from October to 25th November. Spain NOW! 2014 will showcase the latest creative talent through a number of exhibitions, events and performances all around London portraying Spain’s creativity and cultural diversity.

The season offers a snapshot into Spain’s contemporary arts scene and spans across dance, literature, architecture and visual art at a variety of London venues such as the Barbican Centre, Sadler’s Wells and the Hanmi Gallery in Fitzrovia.

Architect and theorist, Andrés Jaque, will open the season on 9 October following his win of the Silver Lion at this year’s Venice Biennale. He will be exploring the borders of architecture, how it evolves to meet the challenges of the city and whether it connects and communicates with society. The opening day will also see the Barbican Centre host the premiere of ‘El Edificio’ directed by Victor Moreno which looks at the renovation of the iconic Edificio España; an emblematic building in Madrid that symbolised prosperity under the Franco regime.

Events throughout the season include the Open Studios Weekend from 7th to 9th November which will see Spanish artists open their studio doors to the public, as well as the launch of new English translations of two works of contemporary fiction by authors Nicolás Casariego and Pedro Zarraluki, held in London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury. Founding editor of ‘Words without Borders’, Samantha Schnee, will join the launch encouraging conversation around this year’s theme of ‘humour in contemporary Spanish fiction’. In mid-October photographer Ricky Dávila will exhibit works at the 12 Star Gallery in Westminster, in collaboration with PhotoEspaña, a prestigious photography festival which is cited as one of the highlights of Spain Now! 2014.

AVA Dance will close the season on 24-25th November, with the performance of ‘Provisional Landscapes’ at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells. Spain NOW! 2014’s programme of events and exhibitions will use London as a platform to display Spain’s wealth of contemporary art and culture.

The eagerly awaited Marbella International Film Festival 2014, running from Wednesday 1st to Sunday 5th October, is set to bring the film industry’s very best to town.

The festival brings together artists and their films from all over the globe to allow them to show their talents to the commercial world.

Now in its 9th year, the Marbella International Film festival has grown considerably since its launch in 2006 and enjoys the collaboration of the Marbella Town Hall, the Marbella Film Office and the Andalucia Film commission.

During the Festival there will be five glamorous evening events offering fantastic networking opportunites for those wanting to develop their film careers, culminating in the Gala awards Ceremony.

The Festival is hosted at the H10 Andalucia Plaza Hotel with nightly screenings being shown at Palace The Congress which is located just to the West of Marbella itself. Screenings are free to those who wish to attend, details for admission can be found on the Marbella International Film Festival website www.marbellafilmfestival.com

BOOKINGS for September and October for Mallorca have risen by 24 per cent compared to last year.

That’s according to Spain’s largest accommodation booking site Hotelbeds which says nowhere else is in such demand, apart from Benidorm on the Costa Blanca on the mainland, followed by Tenerife and the Costa del Sol.

Nearly eight-and-a-half million foreign tourists have visited the Balearic Islands so far this year. The figure represents an increase of 2.2 per cent over the same period last year, according to the Survey of Tourist Movement Frontera (Frontur).

All regions marked an increase in foreign visitors with the Balearics receiving 18.7 per cent of all international tourist arrivals in Spain, behind Catalonia.

In August, 2,193,677 international tourists visited the islands, which represents an increase of 6.2 per cent over the same month in 2013. The growth was largely due to a sharp rise in Germans, Italians and Belgians. The number of German and British arrivals were similar.