Further along the coast to the east is San Sebastian, which has a Victorian elegance (it has been a favourite summer-escape destination for the Spanish royal family).
All along the coast are a huge variety of small towns and fishing villages with great beaches (many with excellent surfing), lovely restaurants and good-value accommodation.
If you head for the Spanish plain in search of rain – for example, the plains in Don Quixote country in La Mancha – you will be sorely disappointed.
La Mancha takes its name from the Arabic word for 'arid' – it is as dry as dust.
In winter, the north can become quite cold so perhaps this is the time to enjoy the mild winter of the south?
Spaniards are known for their love of food, passion for partying and penchant for siestas.
If you're arriving here direct from the UK with Brittany Ferries – when you can bring your car to explore the region far and wide – the first thing to strike you as you approach the coast is the range of huge mountains that rears up behind the port of Santander.
It runs along the coast between Bilbao in the east and El Ferrol in the west, travelling over dramatic viaducts and offering stunning views of the coast.In reality, the rain in Spain stays mainly in the mountains.Spain ranks as one of the most mountainous countries in Europe because – and this isn't obvious – the heart of the country sits on a huge plateau.Travel to Spain with a one or two-night cruise on a luxury ferry and enjoy comfortable cabins and plenty of entertainment, including cinemas, swimming pool and quality restaurants.
From charismatic cities full of boisterous bars and hip galleries, to sleepy villages dotted with run-down farmhouses and olive groves, Spain never fails to open up travellers’ eyes, minds and hearts.
Highlights of Spain Best of Spain The months of May, June, September and October are ideal for visiting Spain.