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Life’s a beach… and then it rains
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Sainsbury’s Finance , Thursday, December 22, 2011

You’ve booked the beach holiday, sorted your travel insurance, packed the bucket and spade, bought the sun lotion… and then it rains! Don’t get bored and damp on holiday – head for a destination that’s great whatever the weather. Here are four Spanish all-weather favourites.

Barcelona: Gawp at Gaudi’s Architecture

Barcelona has five kilometres of sand, furnished with boardwalks, showers, cafes and more. And there’s the buzzing beach resort of Sitges on its doorstep, and the beaches of the Costa Brava a short distance away. But if your holiday gets hit by a downpour don't fret, as there's lots to keep you busy and dry at the same time. The city’s most famous son, architect Anton Gaudi, left his remarkable mark everywhere. His phantasmagorical buildings – all crazy swirling shapes and molten pillars – have to been seen to be believed. The most ambitious is La Sagrada Familia, the cathedral with its eight honeycomb spires. But make sure to visit La Pedrera too; an apartment building with a strangely curvaceous façade and bizarre chimneys. Shopping and nightlife in Barcelona are also excellent, so pack your glad rags and have your foreign currency at the ready.

Malaga: Ponder Picasso’s Artistry

The gateway to the beaches of the Costa del Sol, Malaga gets overlooked by most holidaymakers who are headed for the obvious delights of Torremolinos and Benalmedina. But Malaga has lots to offer. If the sun’s out you can relax on several lovely stretches of sand, many with excellent fish restaurants in situ. If the heavens open, make a dash for the excellent Picasso Museum, located in a restored old palace house. It features paintings, installations, sculpture and more by the great man who was born in the city. Much of the collection is organised by themes, like ‘war’ or ‘horses’, which makes it easier to decide where to concentrate your attention - depending on your area of interest. You can also visit the town house where Picasso was born and spent the first five years of his life. The brand new Carmen Thyssen museum just a few blocks away houses yet more fantastic art work in another exquisite old palace house.

Valencia: Contemplate Calatrava’s Concrete Curves

Valencia’s beaches are gorgeous and well appointed, with volleyball courts and seafood restaurants. Paella is the local speciality and it has to be tried! On the odd day when the rain is falling, though, you can while away many a spellbound hour at the truly spectacular City of Arts and Sciences – a complex of brilliant white, spiky and curvaceous buildings designed by one of Spain’s most famous modern architects, Santiago Calatrava. Within the oddly centipede-like structures there’s a fantastic aquarium filled with colourful fish life, a contemporary art museum and an opera house. Closer to the old city centre, there’s also the lovely Baroque Silk Exchange building and the modernist iron and stained glass Central Market building, which is still a bustling market to this day.

Palma de Mallorca: Marvel at Miro’s Sketches

Mallorca is a beach holiday favourite for holidaymakers from all over Europe. There are stacks of beaches to choose from – whether you want tranquil sun-bathing or throbbing bar-life. And the island’s capital, Palma de Mallorca, has plenty to keep you occupied on rainy days too. You’ll find more of Gaudi’s exuberant swirls and curls inside the city’s cathedral, and close by, an excellent museum housing many of the strange blue, red, yellow and black spindly sketches of one of Spain’s most famous surrealist artists, Juan Miro. If the sun has still not come out, hop aboard the historic tram to the pretty port town of Soller and dine on seafood at one of its excellent port-side restaurants.

Issued by Sainsbury’s Finance

Sainsbury’s Finance is a trading name of Sainsbury’s Bank plc. All information correct at time of publication, but may be subject to change. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any part of the Sainsbury’s Group of companies.

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