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Sustainable Spain

Unveiling a list of 40 travel trends and tips for the coming year, the Times reports that eco-friendly travellers are likely to take a train to Spain for their Spanish holiday in order to attend the Expo Zaragoza 2008.

According to the Times, the event is running from June 14th until September 14th and has a water and sustainable development theme.

Zaragoza was elected to host the 2008 international exposition in Paris on December 16th 2004, beating fellow candidates Thessaloniki in Greece and Italy's Trieste.

The event promises to be especially spectacular as it coincides with the two hundred year anniversary of the Siege of Zaragoza in 1808 as well as the centennial celebration of the Hispano-French Exposition of 1908.

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Spanish islands 'hold unique appeal'

Spain's Balearic Islands hold a unique appeal and attract a range of different travellers, it has been claimed.

According to Your Menorca, Ibiza is well known as a clubbing destination and is frequented by 18 to 30 year-olds who possess a "high" disposable income.

Menorca, in comparison, is a popular destination for those looking to enjoy family holidays in Spain, as well as those looking for Spanish holiday villas.

According to Your Menorca, the island is the quietest of the archipelago.

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Brits 'to book post-Christmas holidays'

A significant proportion of Britons are set to book their first 2008 Spanish holidays in the upcoming months, it has been revealed.

Sainsbury's Bank reports that almost 12 million people will be booking flights to Murcia and other destinations between Christmas and February.

Additionally, the bank anticipates that 23 per cent of keen British bookers will aim to do so in the first week after Christmas.

"It's a great time of year for planning ahead and booking a trip early as there are usually many bargains to be had," commented Steve Johnson, head of Sainsbury's travel insurance.

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Christmas holidaymakers 'seeking sun'

Travellers who took Spanish holidays this Christmas were most likely doing so for the winter sunshine, it has been claimed.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta), Britons are most likely to travel abroad over Christmas in search of guaranteed sunshine.

Spokesperson Sean Tipton added that some people also travelled abroad for guaranteed snow.

"I'm not saying nobody does but people going away at Christmas aren't really aiming for cities, they are looking for winter sun," he commented.

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Murcia 'is fastest growing region in Spain'

Those taking flights to Murcia will no doubt be pleased to know that they are travelling to the fastest growing region in Spain.

According to the country's National Statistics Institute, the Costa Calida has seen as growth of 3.99 per cent in its gross domestic product (GDP) since 2000 - putting it at the fore of the fastest growing regions in the country, Euro Residentes reports.

The news provider reports that Andalucia and Madrid followed Murcia in the list of regions exhibiting the speediest growth, having seen a respective 3.

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Spain offers "versatile" way of life

Those traveling to Spain may do so in order to seek peace and quiet or to enjoy the company of fellow Britons, it has been suggested.

According to James Dearsley, of Atlas International Spain, is a "versatile" country which offers those who travel there the "opportunity to get into the Spanish way of life".

Mr Dearsley added that some Britons took flights to Spain to be in the company of fellow Brits who speak English or instead to mix with a "distinctly" Spanish community.

In terms of buying property in Spain, Mr Dearsley added: "Brits will always like the properties which they can possibly rent out as well, perhaps near a beach or near a golf course.

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Spanish holiday spots 'opened up by rail'

Top Spanish holiday spots are likely to become even more popular in the near future as access to them is opened up by new rail links.

According to Rail Europe, there will soon be new high-speed rail links between London and Spain which will offer a "realistic" alternative to air travel to destinations in the country.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the company added that the high-speed rail network in Europe is "improving and increasing" all the time.

"There's also going to be a high-speed line running from Paris all the way down to Madrid and Barcelona… That will make it really feasible to do [the journey] in a day," the representative from Rail Europe added.

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Alicante the pick for overseas visitors

Alicante is becoming an increasingly popular destination with UK travellers looking for a luxury Spanish holiday and a large percentage of property in the province is now owned by foreigners.

With an interesting mix of nationalities, a large English-speaking population, year round sunshine and pretty towns and villages, Alicante is fast becoming one of Spain's top vacation spots.

Alicante has miles of sandy beaches, Mediterranean sunshine, links to the Balearic Islands and Algeria, an international airport, castles and a rich maritime history, making it an ideal destination for travellers of all ages.

Located in the south east of Spain, Alicante is a dry, mountainous province with a long coastline that includes the famous Costa Blanca, some excellent vineyards, pretty countryside and busy tourist centres.

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High-speed trainline opened

A high-speed trainline that will take passengers between capital city Madrid and Murcia has been officially opened by the Spanish prime minister.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero himself tried the new vehicle, with authorities hopeful that the train will be used by people that are residents of or visitors to the capital to get to the beach.

The AVE high-speed train had a journey time of a little over two hours, with a short stop included, suggesting it is the perfect way for both residents and those enjoying a luxury Spanish holiday to get to Murcia and the beach.

According to Typically Spanish, the train that the prime minister was aboard can travel at speeds of up to 350 km/h, with usual daily service set to comprise of 11 trips either way.

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Spaniards gear up for Christmas lottery

If you intend to be in Spain on December 22nd make sure you buy a lottery ticket, for the traditional yuletide lottery.

El Gordo or the Spanish Christmas Lottery has taken place annually since the 1800s and if measured by the total prize payout, is the biggest lottery in the world.

In 2006, the winning ticket-holder received €3 million (£2.1 million).

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