David Brice, CEO of Golf International, reviews destinations on PGATOUR.COM that can be experienced by purchasing a package with Golf international, a leading provider of high-end international golf travel. For more information about this trip or any other of Golf International's destination trips, click here.
A vacation is a very important event and arguably, one of the most necessary activities we undertake during the entire year. Whether it's to be just a few days, a week or two, or even longer, a vacation is a much needed, recuperative break in our usual routine and an escape from the trials, tribulations and stress of everyday living - it's a chance to clear our minds, refresh, recharge our batteries and perhaps, re-assess our own priorities. This applies as much to a golf trip as it does to a family beach vacation or simply a group of friends traveling on a city break together.
But who says a golf trip can't be combined with a vacation for family and friends, where all are not perhaps equally as enamored by the Royal & Ancient game?
Find a destination that caters to both, with no compromises for either golfers or non-playing friends or family and you have the makings of a perfect vacation for everyone. Those who may have been under the false impression that golfers and non-golfers mix about as well as oil and water, have been grossly misinformed, because nothing could be further from the truth - you just have to find the right destination.
Spain, with its unique wealth of excellent, world-class golf courses, together with one of Europe's richest cultures and a colorful history that reaches back to the beginnings of time, is the outstanding example of a country that caters admirably to the likes of virtually all. Find someone who doesn't thoroughly enjoy virtually every aspect of this fascinating country and you have found someone who probably doesn't enjoy much at all.
Make your destination the south of Spain, or perhaps her Mediterranean islands and an idyllic, year round climate, glistening white sand beaches and the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean Sea, only add to the multitude of reasons why Southern Spain should be your vacation choice. And it's here, along the southern coastline and on the paradise island of Mallorca, where you'll find the very best of Spain's golf treasures.
For city lovers, the Spanish Mediterranean is home to some of Europe's most appealing, each with its own special character and personality - and excellent golf always close by. From Catalonia's effervescent capital of Barcelona to the unique charms of Valencia, the vibrancy of Mallorca's capital of Palma, or the instant love affair you will inevitably have with romantic Seville, you will come home with more "favorite cities" than you ever thought possible.
The architectural wonders of the historic cities of Granada and Cordoba, spanning back more than seven centuries, never fail to astound any visitor and for art lovers, Picasso's birthplace, the city of Malaga, has its own story to tell. Explore the ancient fortressed, hill towns of Andalucia -- Los Pueblos Blancos -- and discover yet another side of Southern Spain's always intriguing history.
No thumbnail sketch of Southern Spain's endless menu of special attractions, would ever be complete without at least a mention of the magnificent food and wines that the entire area boasts. Indisputably, Spanish cuisine is today considered as Europe's best and from the most elite, haute cuisine restaurants to the far more humble, family run, cafes and bistros, frequented by the locals and specialized in regional dishes, dining in the south of Spain can only impress and is an entire world apart from those other golf destinations, located in the damp chill of northern Europe.
Nothing less are the delectable wines of Spain, not only the famous names such as Rioja, Priorat and Ribero del Duero, but the local wines, produced on the door step of the regions you will be visiting. Remember, the very best are kept for consumption by the local population, with many of these never finding their way to foreign shores.
Take advantage of the moment and with a little assist from your waiter, get his or her personal recommendations -- local pride has shown time and again this is the best way to make some amazing wine discoveries and the prices are likely to be far more reasonable than you ever imagined possible.
Good food and wine are essential ingredients to good living and nowhere in all of Europe does the good life thrive as vibrantly as it does here in the sun-blessed south. Living life to the fullest is a passion with the locals and it's an infectious passion caught by every visitor, bringing another dimension to any vacation spent in these parts. From Catalonia to the region of Valencia, to Andalucia and the island of Mallorca, the Spanish are among the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet and as long as you are here, they consider you as their personal guest, so be prepared for a welcome and level of hospitality only Southern Spain can give.
Value for money is one more reason why Spain makes such a good destination choice, not only because of the quality and quantity of golf courses, together with the myriad of off-course attractions it offers, but also because it provides more for every dollar you spend than most other parts of Europe.
The global economic situation has hit us all and Spain has been no exception. With tourism playing such an important role in the Spanish economy, the tourism industry has taken aggressive steps to keep the prices of tourism related expenses, such as hotel rooms and car rentals at reasonable levels with numerous special value added offers. A top quality golf trip to Southern Spain, playing the very best courses and staying in the best rooms at the plushest hotels is going to cost a lot less than you thought. Best consult with an established, professional golf travel company, knowledgeable in these matters, such as Golf International, for some expert help in planning your value packed, quality trip to Spain.
Visit the Spanish Mediterranean once and it's all but guaranteed that you will return and probably many times. Once tasted, most just can't resist discovering more of what can only be Europe's most intriguingly diverse country -- and with a universal appeal, whether golf is on the agenda or not. But for golfers, the opportunity to experience more of Continental Europe's most stunning collection of top quality golf courses while savoring the good-life, Spanish style, is quite special and especially tempting.
We will cover more of Spain's magical appeal in this column during the coming months, but if your appetite for Spain has already been whetted, start planning your voyage of discovery now. Whether a winter sunshine escape, a spring or autumn break, or a full fledged, summer vacation, you won't find a more satisfying destination.
For more ideas and suggestions on how to get the most out of your Spanish trip, both on the golf courses and off, contact the Spain experts at Golf International by calling toll-free, 1 (800) 833-1389 or click here.
©2011 David Brice / Golf International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Golf International -- Providers of quality golf travel arrangements since 1988.