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Head for a 'healthy' Spanish holiday

Spain is one of the healthiest nations in Europe, with Spaniards' life expectancy only exceeded by the Italians, new research reveals.

Those looking for a healthy holiday should head for the country, where the Mediterranean diet, packed with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and the quality of life means that the average Spanish man now lives to 70, while Spanish women have a life expectancy of 75.3 per cent.

A new study by the Academy of Healthy Ageing points out that people in Mediterranean countries both live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than anywhere else in the European Union, Typically Spanish reports.

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Spain "most popular" after soggy UK summer

Jetting off on a Spanish holiday may become even more popular in the coming months following the publication of new research from Yorkshire Bank.

According to the lender, 43 per cent of UK residents have had just about enough of the disappointing British weather and are considering buying a place abroad - but those who want a less expensive option could easily book a trip and head for the sun this winter.

The survey found that Spain continues to be the most popular destination for potential homebuyers, although the delights of the Mediterranean country mean that family holidays may be enjoyed at any time of year.

Figures from the Met Office state that the mean temperature value for England last month was 13.

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Don't leave language skills until manana, survey says

Many Britons cannot understand the basics of foreign languages, despite millions taking Spanish holidays and breaks to other nations every year.

According to a YouGov poll carried out on behalf of foreign language learning experts Rosetta Stone, while a Spanish holiday is the most popular break for Brits, 87 per cent could not ask for directions in the native tongue if they were lost.

More than four out of five (82 per cent) are also bamboozled by basic instructions such as "left" and "right" when they are relayed in Spanish, something tourists may want to brush up on before their Spanish holiday.

The survey garnered the thoughts and opinions of more than 2,000 men and women from across the UK, with 62 per cent of those questioned not able to speak a second language.

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Online booking takes boredom out of travel, says easyJet

Using the internet to choose and book flights means the "boring bits" of travelling are done before the holiday itself, a spokesperson for easyJet has said.

Features such as online check-in and visiting a travel agent can be done via a computer, she continued, leaving more time to enjoy a break and minimising the effort needed to get there in the first place.

While a number of low-cost airlines currently offer flights to Alicante or flights to Murcia, many Spanish regions are also reachable by carriers which sell tickets online.

And the increase in internet booking has led to greater advances in what can be provided using this type of electronic purchasing, the spokesperson added.

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Online travel guides 'overtaking books'

Eager travellers looking for Spanish holidays are now increasingly turning to the internet instead of the well-worn travel books of previous years, with many in the guidebook industry feeling that it has reached its climax, according to the Times.

With the sale of Lonely Planet to BBC Worldwide, and the departure of key figures such as Mark Ellingham from Rough Guides and Hilary Bradt from Bradt Travel Guides, there is a feeling within the industry that the winds of change are blowing.

The main benefit provided by the wealth of travel information posted online is that it can be constantly updated, whereas even the newest editions of published travel guides will be immediately out of date.

Travel literature on the internet also plays into the wildly popular emergence of Web 2.

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Wine tasting in Spain

The opportunity to take a wine-tasting trip in Spain has been noted by a hospitality website which says the country is a "world class producer" of the beverage.

According to Express Hospitality, the culture and languages in different regions of Spain represent the Mediterranean country's diversity.

This may encourage those considering a Spanish holiday to think about visiting the wine-making districts, as many vineyards are open to tourists who want to sample the local Rioja or Cava.

In fact, the website goes on to say that exploring the country this way can be a great idea for visitors interested in heritage and natural beauty.

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Alicante Moors festival in December

Anyone looking to take a Spanish holiday before Christmas may want to consider booking some flights to Alicante in time for the Moors and Christians Festival.

Celebrated in different parts of the city throughout the year, it culminates on December 6th with a parade through the centre of Alicante, according to travel guide Whatsonwhen.

A march along the streets in period costume is followed by a re-enactment of the Moors' and Christians' battle and dialogue, while informal and comic retreats where the various acting companies celebrate by eating and drinking.

The festival takes place to commemorate the many conquests and battles which took place in the Reconquista period between the eighth and 15th centuries.

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Spain 'no 2 favourite destination'

The popularity of Spain appears to have increased with more than 58 million tourists visiting the country in 2006 - making it the second favourite destination for holidays, it has been claimed.

According to e-Travel Blackboard, the number of tourists taking a Spanish holiday during last year exceeded the actual population of the country by 16 million and figures from January to June 2007 suggest this trend is not slowing down.

Some 33.8 million people have already taken a trip to Spanish cities and towns this year - representing a two per cent rise from the same period last year.

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Autumn Festival in Madrid

An annual festival taking place in Madrid celebrates music, theatre and the arts and could be ideal for upcoming family holidays in Spain.

The Comunidad de Madrid hosts the Festival de Otono from October 15th to November 18th and this year features performances by the National Theatre of Great Britain and la Comedie Francaise.

It also includes a number of workshops and discussions throughout the city, while musical highlights are set to come from David Sylvian, Philip Glass and Caetano Veloso.

As the largest city in Spain, Madrid is situated in the centre of the country with a range of historical and picturesque sightseeing opportunities.

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Ryanair announces new route from Barcelona

With many Brits fighting off the winter blues by treating themselves to luxury holidays in Spain, news of Ryanair's new routes to Barcelona and Valencia may be of interest.

The Irish airline is to launch 70 new European routes during October, with fares available from Barcelona and Madrid in addition to the opening of a new base in Valencia.

Buying a cheaper air ticket can often be a great way to make a saving and leave more cash to spend in a luxury Spanish resort and soak up the sun.

"These 70 new routes will deliver Europe's lowest fares to over five million additional passengers next year and will provide a massive boost to tourism across Europe," remarked Peter Sherrard, head of communications at Ryanair.

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