ABOUT Mediterranean beaches, sangria in the sun and paella by the plateful. Southern Spain has long been a popular place, but tourists are increasingly turning to the fascinations of another Spain, far removed from the high-rise developments lining the Costa del Sol.
Spain is a treasure chest of unforgettable scenery. Separating Spain from France, the snow-capped Pyrenees, as well as breathtaking views, offer resorts like La Molina and Panticosa with plenty of opportunities for skiing. In the north, the winding rivers and lush, green forests of Galicia present a picture not usually associated with Spain, and in complete contrast to the Moorish influenced south, Galician culture traces its routes to a Celtic origin. Everywhere are reminders of Spain’s rich and varied past, from the Alhambra in Granada to Don Quixote’s windmills in La Mancha.

CLIMATE The climate of Spain varies across the country. Three main climatic zones can be distinguished, according to geographical situationThe climate of Spain varies across the country. Three main climatic zones can be distinguished, according to geographical situation. The Mediterranean climate is characterised by dry and warm summers and cool and wet winters. The oceanic climate is located in the northern part of the country, especially in the regions of Basque Country the summers remain warmer than many comparable North-west European regions about 21 °C (69.8 °F) in July. The semiarid climate is located in the south eastern part of the country, especially in the region of Murcia and in the Ebro valley. In contrast to the Mediterranean climate, the dry season continues beyond the end of summer. It is very hot during the summer temperatures can exceed 40 °C (104 °F) and the drought usually extends into the autumn. It is known for having a sub-desertic climate, with rainfall very low.

BEWARE Most visits to Spain are trouble-free, but you should be alert to the existence of street crime, especially thieves using distraction techniques. Many people have their passports stolen while passing through airports, either on arrival in or departure from Spain. In some city centres and resorts, thieves posing as police officers may approach tourists and ask to see their wallets for identification purposes. In any emergency, call 112. To report a crime, including stolen property and lost or stolen passports. When driving, be wary of approaches by bogus police officers in plain clothes travelling in unmarked cars. In all traffic-related matters, police officers will be in uniform, and all police officers, including those in plain clothes, carry official ID.