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Barcelona beats Blackpool: NCC

A week-long Spanish holiday in the vibrant city of Barcelona is cheaper than seven days in Britain's Blackpool, according to a consumer group.

One week in Barcelona, a city famous for its cuisine, culture and cutting-edge architecture has been priced at £518 by the National Consumer Council (NCC), based on flights and accommodation in mid-August.

This compares against some £554 for seven days in Blackpool, now largely renowned for its fish and chips, its nineteenth-century tower and a roller-coaster theme park.

Neil Smillie, head of Holidays-Direct said that a Spanish holiday in Barcelona had a great deal to offer visitors.

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"Low-cost" airline will charge to check in

Ryanair, the "low-cost" Irish airline which operates flights to Alicante, will now charge its passengers £2 to check in.

Holidaymakers jetting off with Europe's largest budget airline to Spain and other popular holiday destinations will be made to pay a £2 check in fee from September 20th 2007.

Measures introduced in March 2006 mean that passengers already face a charge of £5 to put luggage in the hold, with a surcharge of £5.50 in force for each kilogram above a 15 kilo limit.

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Spanish bullfights may become a thing of the past

Hoping to witness a bit of Spanish culture on your holiday with a trip to a traditional bullfight? You may be disappointed.

Two decades ago, La Corrida - the traditional form of Spanish bullfighting - was massively popular in Spain, with 64 per cent of Spaniards enjoying the sport, according to Gallup statistics. Now Spanish citizens are increasingly turning away from bullfighting, with a poll conducted earlier this year showing that 72 per cent had no interest in the events.

According to anti-bullfight protestors, it is now mostly foreign tourists who are attending the bullrings in Spain, where some 65 million people watch 40,000 bulls being killed each year.

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Wet summer means Britons get 'silly' about sun: MCA

Unpredictable and frequently damp weather this summer means that Britons are more likely to get into trouble at the beach when the sun does come out, according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

In the Coastguard Sea Smart Survey, one in two people (56 per cent) confessed that they were less likely to be responsible when the sun did come out, because they wanted to get out and make the most of those rare moments of good weather.

A further one in three (37 per cent) said that they are more likely to take a trip to the beach and do 'silly' things when the sun was shining. A quarter (26 per cent) said that good weather might even cause them to act recklessly.

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Low-cost airlines' price-war is good news for Spanish holidays

A price-war amongst low-cost airlines operating flights to Spain means that a trip to the UK's favourite holiday destination looks set to become even cheaper.

With around 60 million tourists expected to take a Spanish holiday by the end of the year, low-cost airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and the Spanish carriers Clickair and Spanair, are stepping up the competition and driving down the price of flights.

Spanair is reported to have cited growing competition on flights within Spain as a prime factor leading to the airline recording a higher loss, according to website flightglobal.

All airlines operating in Spain are facing a difficult struggle.

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Massive numbers set to head for Spain this Bank Holiday

This August Bank Holiday looks set to see large number of holidaymakers jetting off to Spain to make the most of the long weekend.

Gatwick airport is expecting over half a million passengers to pour through its gates over the Bank Holiday weekend, with the majority due on the Friday, website cheapflights reported.

Many will be heading for Spain, with the most popular destinations including the island of Mallorca and Malaga - where the Duchess of York recently took a family holiday with her two daughters, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

To make the journey as quick and as painless as possible, passengers are being advised of a number of measures to see them off on their Spanish holidays without a problem.

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Record number of tourists choosing Spanish holidays

More people than ever before are heading for the Med for their annual fix of sun, sea and sand, with record numbers now choosing Spanish holidays, according to Spain's ministry for tourism.

The number of holidaymakers visiting Spain over the first seven months of 2007 has shot up like a thermometer on the Costa Brava, with a record 33.8 million people choosing to holiday in Spain.

"Since three or four years ago we have been breaking records with respect to the arrival of international tourists in Spain," Spain's secretary of state for tourism, Pedro Mejia, told a press conference on Tuesday.

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Over-50s can enjoy more luxury holidays

Those aged 50 and over are in a much "better position" to enjoy first-class flying and higher-grade hotels when travelling, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said today.

With over 14 million Brits heading for the sunny coasts of Spain this year, it seems that most of us would enjoy a luxury holiday in the sun.

But age brings its benefits, with the over-50s now have "a much better disposable income than most age groups", and are using the money gained from their properties to travel the world, said Sean Tipton, a spokesperson for ABTA.

Whereas a lot of travellers can't afford to fly first class or stay in higher-grade hotels, the over-fifties "have the money to do so", he added.

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Superstar shark captured on Spanish beach

Tourists holidaying on the Spanish coast have been treated to the sight of a seven-foot shark over the last week - but yesterday the beast was captured.

Biologists wrestled the 200-pound sandbar shark ashore yesterday using only their bare hands, but they fear that the creature may not survive.

Jaws first swam into view last week at a beach called Miracle in Tarragona - a province in the north-east of Spain. The shark delighted holidaymakers, who gathered along the beach to take photographs as it swam regularly into shallow water along the coast.

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Travel agents making a comeback

Booking a holiday to Spain? Chances are you'll be using a high street travel agent, as the holiday professionals are making a comeback.

During the 1990s, growing numbers of families and sun-seekers turned to the Internet, where price transparency and simple booking forms appeared to offer a way of cutting out the middle man and saving a few pounds on the annual excursion to the Spanish Costas.

But now we've started to grow wise to the pitfalls of the DIY holiday organisation, and are heading back to the high street in droves.

"I have been saying for five years travel agents are going to make a comeback," Lisa Grossberg, general manager of the Buckingham, a New York City hotel, told website Hotel Interactive.

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