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  • Andalucía, Spain’s largest and most diverse region, is the ideal destination for a beach holiday and there is good news for international travellers

Summer is here and the majority of people are longing for a holiday now, a chance to escape from routine and relax somewhere completely different. Spain has always been a favourite destination for international travellers, and Andalucía especially so, because it really is ‘completely different’. As the largest region in the country it is like a world in itself, with so many contrasts and types of attractions.

Many people from other parts of Spain are already planning to visit Andalucía this year, but if anyone abroad is feeling hesitant about travelling because of the coronavirus pandemic, there is good news: anyone who is not resident in Spain and who comes to Andalucía from another country is provided with free Covid insurance when they stay at any type of regulated establishment in the region during 2021.

Cala del Plomo (Almería)

Cala del Plomo (Almería) / Andalucia Tourism

What does this mean? It means if you are an international visitor, no matter what your age, any medical, surgical and hospitalisation costs arising from Covid-19 are automatically covered, together with related prescription charges, transportation and repatriation, extended hotel stays after hospitalisation, and quarantine. You don’t have to do a thing. No contract, nothing to be signed. More information: andalucia.org.

This means you can come and enjoy Andalucía with complete peace of mind, secure in the knowledge that it is also a safe destination to visit because the pandemic is very closely monitored and there are strict controls over preventive measures in regulated accommodation.

So what are you longing for? What sort of holiday would you like? Warm sunshine and sandy beaches? Andalucía has almost 1,000 kilometres of sun-drenched coastline and a little-known underwater world just waiting to be discovered. The beaches are outstanding, whether you want to tuck yourself away in a tiny rocky cove, stretch out on a sunbed on an expanse ofgolden sand with waiter service from a nearby ‘chiringuito’ beach bar, or anything in-between. There are rugged cliffs, salt marshes to explore, and some of Europe’s best kitesurfing and sailing opportunities.

If your idea of paradise is a beautiful beach, then Andalucía is your type of paradise and, thanks to the wonderful climate of southern Spain, sunbathing and swimming are not only restricted to summer. You can come later and still find it warm enough to spend days on the beach – and don’t forget, the automatic Covid insurance covers you until the end of the year.

Maybe you are someone who likes rather wild, natural beaches, with fewer people in sight, in which case you are spoilt for choice. Cádiz province, for example, has some of the best beaches in Europe, including some with views of Africa. Try Bolonia beach, near Tarifa, with its immense sand dune and the fascinating Roman town of Baelo Claudia alongside, or the vast La Barrosa beach in Chiclana de la Frontera. This whole stretch of coast could almost have been designed for beach lovers – and history buffs, too, shouldn’t miss the chance to visit Cabo Trafalgar, because it was just off there that Horatio Nelson defeated Napoleon’s combined Spanish and French fleet in the battle of the same name in 1805.

Gruta de las Maravillas (Huelva).

Gruta de las Maravillas (Huelva). / Andalucía Tourism

But perhaps you are thinking of a visit to the eastern side of Andalucía, in which case Almería would be an ideal choice, especially the fabulous Cabo de Gata Natural Park, which was the first maritime-terrestrial park in Andalucía and one of the first in Spain.This is something completely different: nature has been whimsical here, creating places of volcanic origin that makes this one of the largest protected reserves in Europe. It covers 50 kms of rugged coast with breathtaking landscapes, dotted with a succession of beautiful coves and small beaches.

You can take your choice in Almería, from urban beaches like those of San José or Aguamarga to wonderful, virgin, natural, sand beaches such as Mónsul and Los Genoveses and tiny coves which are not easily accessible, such as Plomo and Cala de Enmedio.

For visitors who have a fondness for western films, head for the Tabernas desert in Almería. Some of it may seem familiar as many ‘spaghetti western’ movies were shot here, and some of the film sets still remain. There is also a western film festival in October every year.

However, to find the ideal destination for your Andalusian beach holiday, check out all the coastal provinces of Huelva, Cádiz, Málaga (home to the world-famous Costa del Sol), Granada and Almería and see what they each have to offer. They all have a wide variety of other attractions too, which is why this region always has something to suit everybody, at every time of year.It is a world in itself, and well worth exploring, in the knowledge that Andalucía cares about your safety and will be looking after you. It’s a place you will want to return to, time after time.