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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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Spain travel show to feature Gwyneth Paltrow

Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow is set to add another string to her bow - this time as a travel presenter.

The star, who "fell in love" with Spain as a youngster, will tour the Mediterranean country on an extended Spanish holiday accompanied by a chef, food columnist and singer-actress who plan to show the rest of the world "a showcase of Spain as it has never been seen before".

Although each of the group will not be informed which region they are travelling to next, Ms Paltrow is fluent in Spanish, suggesting she will have no problem integrating herself into the country's beautiful sights and exciting culture.

The show is entitled Spain…on the road Again and will attempt to fulfil a simple premise of the male travellers looking for food and wine and the women looking for shops other leisurely pursuits.

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Prado to offer free entry

Spain has yet another reason that justifies a visit with the news that the world famous Prado museum in Madrid is to offer free entry for two hours every day.

The free opening arrangements are part of a scheme of changes to coincide with the opening of a new annex for the gallery.

King Juan Carlos and prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will open the annex on October 30th.

Entry to the museum will be free of charge between October 31st and November 4th.

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