Tag - spain




Barcelona is known to the world as the most happening place in the mainland of Europe. The people are hospitable and warm. The city Barcelona attracts tourists from round the world where the biggest attraction is that of luxury hotels. The stunning beaches and the exotic crowd makes Barcelona, the most loved destination of the world.

It would not be wrong to say that there is no single dull moment when you land in Barcelona.It is worth telling you that the months of August and September being summers arethe most preferred time of the tourists. The sunshine is infinite and this is exactly the reason why people from damp and cold areas flock to this exquisite part of the world. You would find many suitable accommodations for stay at this time.

It does not come as a surprise that majority of tourists rush to the sandy beaches of Barcelona. These beaches are a stunning mix of scenery and avid activity. Nevertheless, amidst all this do not forget to explore the historic sites with the likes of Ramblas. This is the recommended street for all tourists as it is packed with souvenirs and many other collectibles. While you are at it, you should stroll down the MACBA museum and the beautiful Museo Picasso. If you are a huge fan of Barcelona Team, you have to visit the football stadium and the Gaudi’s popular, La SagradaFamilia.

The gastronomical delicacies of Barcelona never cease to amaze and impress. The place is especially known for the exquisite seafood such has Pulpo a Feira that is actually a boiled octopus. Spanish omelet and Paella are much craved and appreciated. The restaurants exhibit international quality food and follow the traditions of CarlesAbellan and FerranAdria.

If you are lucky enough to book yourself in any of the many luxury hotels, there are chances that the hotel may further lavish you with Cava or Spanish Sangria.

1383998319_7As the hubs of Barcelona are always found bustling with activity, there is no dearth to events and festivals for you to attend. Every day delights are plentiful such as listening to traditional music by the very brilliant Spanish musicians. The Sonar festival and the Christmas parties at Cathedral of Santa Lucia are a true feast for all those who know how to have a good time.

Websites like Tripindicator allow you to take account of all the important travelling, accommodation and visiting details. Whether it is Barcelona or any other traveling destination, the information is up to date and relevant with times.

Things You Shouldn’t Miss When in Lanzarote

The most easterly of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is really one of the world’s most magical isles. Containing stunning volcanic landscapes, amazing beaches, and a small town atmosphere throughout, this is a tourist destination that you should definitely visit at least once during your life. If you’d like to book one of the island’s many villas, you’ll also need to consider where to go and what to see while there. We’ve compiled a list of the island’s best attractions to help you plan your trip in the future.

Photo Credit: allinclusiveholidays.org

Canary Island- Photo Credit: allinclusiveholidays.org

1. El Golfo. A volcanic amphitheatre containing a lagoon filled with green algae, this destination offers one of the more unique sites on the island. The nearby rock formations and the smooth black beach definitely make the time spent travelling there worthwhile.

2. Los Hervideros. This stretch of coastline winds its way through some of the most surreal volcanic landscapes in Lanzarote. The area is dotted with blowholes and lava tubes, and the sight of the waves crashing against the jagged cliffs is enough to take anyone’s breath away.

3. Castillo de San Jose. This fort was originally built as a deterrent to pirate attacks, a common threat in the area in the late 1700’s. These days, the old architecture is still there, but the premises have been turned into an art gallery and restaurant, creating a neat combination of old and new.

4. Cueva de los Verdes. These caves were once used by local inhabitants to shelter from marauding pirates. Now, tourists can explore their depths, marvelling at the unique formations that only a lava flow could have created. About 2 km is open to the public, although the total length goes for over 6 km.

5. Guinate Tropical Park. This 11 acre park is found at the north of the island, and nearby villas can be found via holidayvillasinlanzarote.co.uk or other sites. Containing numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish, this is a must-see destination for any nature lovers visiting the island.

6. Mirador del Rio. This is one of the most beautiful lookout points in Lanzarote, offering visitors extensive views over the nearby Chinijo Archipelago. Thus, you’ll get to take in the vast beauty of the nearby region without having to rent a boat or spend too much money in the process.

7. Timanfaya National Park. Containing the spectacular Mountains of Fire, this is one of the Canary Island’s most famous destinations. Not only is the area filled with fantastic examples of natural volcanic formations but it is also home to El Diablo Restaurant, one of the most popular on the island.

8. The Wine Museum of Lanzarote. Labelled as the oldest winery in the Canary Islands, these ancient buildings contain the entire wine-making history of the region. Regardless of your character, all Lanzarote travellers should take in this amazing locale which also boasts some superb local wines as well.

9. The Cactus Garden. Created by a local artist, this small park features over one thousand species of cacti, a restored windmill, and various iron sculptures. All of these stand against the eerie backdrop of the volcanic landscape, turning this into a juxtaposition that isn’t found elsewhere.

10. Jameos del Agua. This cave system features a host of attractions such as a subterranean amphitheatre, a crystal clear lagoon, and plenty of natural rock wonders. There are also gardens and a restaurant onsite, making this the perfect place to go for a daytrip from your serviced villa.

Of course, this is just a small taste of what you’ll experience when visiting Lanzarote. Once there, you’ll find that there is plenty more to see and do during your stay.

Villa Costa Del Sol Holiday Park

    holiday park

holiday park

Costa del Sol has many animals across stretched all over this region. Visiting these parks let you come close to the some of animals of the world. Here are some of parks in Costa del Sol mentioned below.

Lobo Wolf Park

This park is located in Antequera where you can experience the natural heritage. This park includes European wolves, rare white Alaska Tundra wolves, Iberian Wolves and Timber wolves bounded with large cages. You can also have a ride on noble horses of Andalusia and can enjoy beautiful landscapes.

Tropical Bird Park

Loro Sexi tropical bird park is situated in Almunecar and was established in 1987. Now, this park is a home to lot of birds such as parrots, pigeons, swans, macaws, ducks and ostriches. Moreover the park organizes parrot shows all over the day, in summer season. Besides this you can also explore cactus garden.

 Sea life

Benalmadena offers a great opportunity for those who loves to experience the under water passage. One can enjoy and spend their whole day in watching sea life. The mysterious Mediterranean sea life includes eels, rays, sharks and many more. This gives you an opportunity to experience some fascinating water creatures closely. This opportunity is available for both adults and children.

Garden of Eagles

Garden of Eagles is situated at Jardin de Las Aguilas in Benalmadena. It is open in afternoons, throughout the year. There are more than 160 birds of prey with displays handled by the experts. You can also explore reptile sanctuary and miniature castle.

 Crocodile Park

Crocodile Park named Torremolinos is a prehistoric monster. These crocodiles have been existing since the time of dinosaurs about 200 million years ago. You can wonder the secrets of fascinating creatures from all over the world by silently walking beside them.

 Donkey Sanctuary

Nerja Donkey century is situated to the west of Nerja, which includes mules, donkeys, ponies, horses dogs and cats. The Donkey Sanctuary invites all the visitors whether young or old to spend some time with these wonderful animals.


The zoo named Fuengirola is situated in the middle of the city, Fuengirola. You can see some of the amazing animals in beautifully designed habitats. There are lot of animals which you can see here such as monkeys, lions alligators and some aquatic animals. This zoo includes a play area for children.

 Selwo Animal Park

This park is situated in Estepona and is stretched on a land of more than 100 hectares and provides the habitat to more than 2000 animals. This park includes a lagoon where you can see many exotic birds. Many exhibitions, classes and shows are held throughout the day so as to keep the interest of families.

Villa Costa del Sol is the best place to visit in holidays as it offers a large variety of zoos, parks and many more places to see. Children also enjoy when they see different animals and birds, and there are chances that some of them get motivated and inspired to save the wonderful wildlife of our world.

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Island Vacations in the Spanish Balearics

Choosing an island for your perfect dream vacation takes time. Matching one’s personality with an island is important and cruising gives a good overview

Sailing into Mediterranean Island Ports - WIndsurf Cruises

Sailing into Mediterranean Island Ports – WIndsurf Cruises

Islands in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is the perfect sea for an introductory sail to find an island that suits your personality. I found that the Balearics, a group of resort islands in the western Mediterranean off the coast of Spain offers something for practically everyone. There are three main islands: Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza and a fourth island, Formentara, that is very small.

Majorca’s Palma is Capital of the Balearics

Arabia may have its thousand and one nights, but Majorca has Palma, which tourism officials refer to as the “city of a thousand and one tomorrows.” In this exotic Mediterranean playland it’s more than just a saying, for manana (tomorrow) seems to be the island’s magic password. Many North American sybarites have yet to discover Majorca, the largest in the group of Balearic islands to be found 100 km. off Spain’s Mediterranean coast. The island’s reliable summers and spring-like winters are a magnet attracting many British and European sun-worshipers. In fact, “bangers and mash” and “wiener schnitzel’ were just as easy to find on the menu as paella, hake and squid.

Majorca has a 400-km. coastline perfect for cycling or hiking enthusiasts. It has many private little coves for snorkeling, swimming or sunbathing, plus perfumed orange groves, bougainvillea, ancient windmills and fascinating prehistoric megalithic monuments. Swimming is possible from the end of April through October.

The Downtown Area of Palma

The other wordliness of Palma starts a quick drive from souvenir stalls and sunning chaises at the tawny gold Gothic cathedral that towers over the sea. For a stroll through centuries we started at the beautiful gardens near the Puerta del Mirador. A glance across the Bay of Palma reveals the 14th century Castle of Bellver, a true fortress. Right beside you is the impressive door of the Seu Cathedral with 14th and 15th century Majorcan and Catalonian sculpture. After a peek into the Cathedral to see magnificent stained glass windows and an altar composed entirely of micro-mosaics, take a look at the Palacio de la Almudaina, the former residence of the Arab kings. It is directly in front of the Cathedral. After that, it is almost obligatory to see the Casa Font y Roig with Arab Baths, a relic dating from the time of the Moors.

Ibiza, the Party Island

Ibiza or Iviza, still known as the party island of the Balearics, lies southwest of Majorca and has only 572 sq. km.to it, but the beautiful scenery, almond trees, olive groves, island figs and other fruits as well as the marvelous fish in the markets and restaurants will almost certainly seduce the most jaded travelers. The capital of this island is Ibiza and tourism is now an important business. As well as Roman, Carthaginian and Phoenician artifacts found all over the island, there are many sophisticated boutiques, bars, and restaurants in the island’s walled capital, which is Ibiza.

Minorca, Island for History Buffs

Minorca is the second largest of the Balearic Islands. Its southern coast is known as its Riviera. According to notes from the Spanish National Tourist Office, this island “is synonymous with peace and luxury.” The accommodations here “range from ultra-spectacular to charming and rural hotels” but one is not likely to find a bargain on this vacation island. Port Mahon is the chief city but most people prefer to stay near the secluded beaches, to sail and play golf and to explore the historical sights.because, as The Columbia Encyclopedia states, this is the island that has “a large number of megalithic monuments.”

The World’s Most Famous Sherry Town in Spanish Andalusia

    Serville-Andalusia, Credit-flicker

Serville-Andalusia, Credit-flicker

“Que alegria!” What joy! to visit the world-famous town of Jerez de la Frontera, that rambling, gold-toned, elegant town in the vineyards.

Victor Hugo Loved Jerez

The famous French writer wrote: ” Hurah for Sherry! The town of Jerez ought to be in heaven.” And I agree, for with its charming, provincial airs and huge trucks heavy with Sherry casks, it has a splendid pre-1914 feeling. Tassels, flounces, Cordoba hats, flowers worn in button-holes and tucked behind ears and elegantly habited riders everywhere – for the cult of the horse is deeply ingrained in Jerez. In fact, there is a horse fair in May every year.

Location of Jerez on the Sherry Coast

Jerez is approximately an hour’s drive south of Seville in Andalusia, that seductive southwestern part of Spain with olive groves, rippling, green, irrigated fields and mile upon mile of vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see.

The Main Attraction

What most visitors go to see, apart from the Carthusian Monastery of Our Lady, founded in 1477, is a Sherry factory. Here, they will be welcomed and shown around the various labelling and corking departments and the huge bodegas with vintage barrels put down for the nobility. In April or May the vines begin to sprout; in September the grapes are ripe for picking and a visit to the vineyards at that time is especially recommended.

On leaving, you are invited to taste a glass or two of the fragrant local product. It is interesting to note that people in Jerez order Sherry by the half-bottle, not by the glass. Even tourists seem to be able to quaff more in its country of origin without ill effects. I was surprised that the local white jug wine, has both the golden colour and the taste of Sherry.

Origin of the Grapes and the Name

Sherry vines originally came from the East, brought by either the Phoenicians or the Greeks. The Phoenicians, who arrived in southern Spain around 3,000 years ago, knew the town we know as Jerez by the name “Xera”. When the Romans arrived to conquer and settle, they found that the local wines compared very favourably with the best Roman whites. In the days of the Romans, when Julius Caesar was living in town, it was know as “Ceret”. The Moors arrived after the Visigoths and the English form of the name comes from the Moorish, “Scherisch”, which gradually became “Sheris” (the way Shakespeare wrote it) and finally Sherry. Spaniards call the town Jerez, which they pronouce “Hereth”.

The Sherry Coast

Today, Sherry and Jerez are synonymous, for Sherry is the name of a particular geographical site, starred by the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barrameda. In the north the region is bounded by the Guadalquivir River; in the south it stretches beyond the tiny Guadalete River; in the west it
extends to the Sherry Coast, which is washed by the Atlantic Ocean.

Specially Controlled Labelling

Spanish Sherries, unlike those produced in other countries, are subject to a very special process of fermentation, aging and blending (called “solera”). The name to look for when buying Sherry is “Consejo Regulador de las Denominacion de Origen Jerez-Xerez-Sherry-y Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda” or in other words, Control Board for Designation of Origin Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda. It is the label guaranteeing origin and is also used for vinegar.

The Climate, Earth and Grape Type

The particular climate of Jerez and surrounding countryside and the very special qualities of the soil have proven ideal for the cultivation of the grape. The chalky white “albariza” soil with its abundance of calcium carbonate and the way it stores up rainfall, the 295 days of sunshine, together with just enough rain and temperate winds and sea breezes from the Atlantic combine to create the special characteristics of true Sherry wine.

Most Sherries are blended wines, made from the Palomino grape. Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grapes, which are used to make sweet wines of the same name, are left out in the sun for several days to allow the grape juice to develop a higher sugar content. There are many varieties of Sherry ranging from a pale gold to dark brown and from very dry to sweet. Slightly sweeter types include those called Oloroso and Amoroso and the darkest and sweetest of all is Cream Sherry.

The September Air

In September, even the air smells of wine in Jerez. Grape pickers begin to arrive, casks and machinery are prepared, wine presses washed, mats and baskets piled up waiting for that special day when the grapes are ripe.There are dozens and dozens of bodegas in and around Jerez in which to sample Sherry and Jerez Brandy. It’s fun to watch the venenciador, who with practised hand, plunges a silver-cupped whalebone rod called a venencia into the oak barrel, then pours wine into glasses from a height of two or three feet without spilling a drop. When I was there, visitors could try pouring themselves a glass with a venencia. It’s harder than you think!

Andalusia: Famous for Bulls, Sherry and Flamenco

    Fontanilla Beach, Cadiz Province - Spanish Office of Tourism

Fontanilla Beach, Cadiz Province – Spanish Office of Tourism

Spanish people think of Andalusia as “The Cradle of the Discovery”, the discovery being the finding of the New World. From here Columbus sailed to America.

Where does Andalusia Start?

For me, it was when I saw a sign shaped like a black bull loom on the horizon, then Pida un Domecq (under a rampaging bull) flashed by as we drove on and finally when I saw Feria emblazoned in bright red over the word Sevilla, then two posters with Corridas de Toros, I knew we had arrived in Andalusia – the land of bulls, sherry, sunshine, fiestas and flamenco.

Columbus Sailed Three Times from Andalusia

It was from ports on the beautiful Costa de la Luz in Andalusia that Columbus sailed on his voyages of discovery. The first time he set forth with three small ships from Palos de Frontera, near Huelva; the second sail was from Cadiz, the oldest inhabited city in the western world; the third time the intrepid explorer left from Sanlucar de Barrameda.

Today, the shoreline of Huelva, with its rich stands of pine, is a scene of intense activity because Huelva is an important harbor on the Costa de la Luz. Palos de la Frontera is still a fairly simple fishing village and the area extending to Cadiz has sandy beaches so glorious that only a fool would forget to pack at least two swimsuits. Sanlucar de Barrameda is a sherry-producing town famous for Manzanilla, a type of sherry aged by the sea with a distinctive taste due, they say, to the salt spray from the Atlantic. Since my return, I have found that Tio Pepe and Domecq “Fino”, two Manzanilla sherries are easier to find in Canada than in Spain.

Towns One Dreams of Visiting

There are towns one dreams for a lifetime of visiting such as Rome, Athens, Avignon, Cadiz and Seville – yet when one actually arrives the romantic illusion often disappears. It is possible that neither Athens nor Cadiz would live up to expectations, but nearby Carmona, a forgotten little agricultural town once more important than Seville itself, should be on that list of dream places.

Carmona Tops my Andalusian List

The town of Carmona is on a hill commanding a fine view of the Betis Valley. Centuries ago the covetous Moors swooped across the sea to claim Carmona for their own, building a great wall around the town and erecting three splendid fortresses to stand guard over the plains. In time the Spaniards won the town back – Ferdinand III of Castile took Carmona from the Moors in 1247. The richest treasures in Carmona, however, are those from Moorish times.

The Fortresses

One of the fortresses is built on lower ground – the Alcazar de la Puerta de Sevilla. It has a Romanesque gate and a fortified precinct, unique in Spain. The two on higher ground are called the Alcazar de la Puerta de Cordoba and the Alcazar de la Puerta de Marchena. All are officially protected as national monuments. In fact, the town as a whole inside its ancient walls and some of the monuments outside are protected as an artistic and historic monument.

There are some intriguing Roman ruins inside and outside the walls, including a necropolis (city of the dead) discovered in 1881, an amphitheater and a complete Roman mosaic which is in the patio of what is now the town hall.

UNESCO Listed Flamenco in 2010

Spain’s dance and music of the gypsies, a major attraction in Andalusia, is now on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. In fact, I caught more than a hint of flamenco in a church concert on a fiesta day in Carmona. The guitar sounded its opening chords, castanets began to click and one woman broke into that monotone of song you hear everywhere in Spain. One of the girls began a swaying movement in unison with the choir and although there was no actual dancing, some of the singers seemed carried away by the emotional quality of their performance. Soon most of the audience was swaying too.

Two long-established places to hear flamenco are in nearby Seville. One is Los Gallos at 11 Plaza de Santa Cruz, another is El Patio Sevillano at 11a Paseo Cristobal Colon. Reservations are necessary.,

Sources: Personal visit, Spanish National Tourist Office, The Random House Encyclopedia

Sometimes, It’s Just a Bad day


Jellyfish, Credit-Wikipedia

Jellyfish, Credit-Wikipedia

Marc has asked if I have any funny stories to share. This one happened a couple of years ago and although it didn’t seem particularly funny at the time it often brings a smile to my face now.

I had been enjoying an unusually long period where everything was ticking along just dandy, in fact, it would be fair to say exceptionally dandy; I was back in Andalusia to unwind and to look for additional locations to conduct courses and adventure holidays. It was 8 a.m. and the morning began in the normal way for a Sierra Cabrera September morning: hot sun, blue sky, with the occasional birdsong. My plan was to partake of my normal breakfast of two Wheatabix biscuits with a drizzle of honey, a handful of dried fruit, a generous helping of fresh pomegranate from the garden and milk; this was to be followed by a shower and then a trip to a remote and particularly beautiful part of the coast around 30 kilometres away to try a new and interesting place to take snorkellers. What could possibly go wrong?

Those who have read my articles may be under the impression that I plan everything meticulously and am so well organized as to be completely immune from these ‘bad days’; quite right too. It is, unfortunately, with a heavy heart that I have to report that this is sadly not the case. It should be, but it isn’t.

The Shower

The villa is on two levels, each with its own terrace; the lower en-suite room is where I shower in the summer as the bathroom is larger and I have my breakfast on the lower terrace anyway. I should mention at this stage that the patio doors that give access to the lower bedroom/bathroom cannot be opened once closed from the lower rooms for security purposes. I am sure you can guess where this is now going but I’ll continue all the same. I descended to the downstairs bathroom for my shower in the normal way, naked and pulling the sliding patio door almost closed (or so I thought). As it is hot and dry, there is no benefit from using a towel and as such no sense whatsoever in taking one down with me (or so I thought, again). After my shower and my subsequent dry-off in the hot Andalusian sunshine, I ascended the open stairs to prepare my breakfast. It was at this point that I discovered that I had, in fact, closed the sliding door a little too far. I was now stuck on the lower level with no clothes or towel; the only way back in was to go out of the lower gate onto the road and make the 50 meter sprint to the front door of the villa while trying to make it all look a natural as possible using my mountain bike helmet.

The Cause: Self-inflicted I’m afraid. As an engineer everything in the villa works and runs perfectly; I had recently re-furbished the locks and runners in that door and they were so smooth as to be almost silent. I have since modified the locking system so as to gain entry from the lower level.

The Snorkel Location

After my earlier ‘adventure’, I set off to the remote area to check out the snorkelling; I should mention that I had been here a few days before doing a bit of ‘bouldering’ in the small remote rocky cove. I arrived in the heat of the day and as the place was deserted I decided that although this was not designated a ‘naturist’ area that I would not bother with my shorts and top-up my suntan while working. The small cove is split by a small ravine that can be traversed easily with three or four big ‘jug’ holds while your feet dangle in the air about eight feet above the ground, a boulderer’s paradise really; although I did not know it then, this was to be the location of my second ‘incident’ of the day. I had gone to the far side of the cove first but decided that as the small ravine would have to be crossed by the snorkellers, it would be best to enter the water from the nearside and snorkel around. Now, as a diving instructor, I am quite good at moving around while wearing diving/snorkelling gear and as my leg muscles are used to ‘finning’, I have an extra large pair of floppy open-water fins for snorkelling. As I needed to assess the entry on the near side I had to cross the ravine and as I had been bouldering there recently I was confident that the easiest way across was to use the ‘jug’ holds. I determined that as my feet would not be on the ground anyway that there would be little point in taking the fins off as I was to be out of the water for only 30 seconds or so while I traversed the ‘jugs’; I also left my mask on and my snorkel in place. It was at around this point when things started to deteriorate. I was hanging by one hand trying to place one of my big fins down when I noticed that the Guardia Civil (local police) were by my car looking at me hanging off a rockface with one hand in nothing more than a big pair of fins, mask and snorkel (in place) and a diver’s knife strapped to my leg. On achieving the required foot placement I removed my now slightly misted mask (and snorkel) only to find that one of the officers was female. I tried to explain to them in my best Spanish what I was doing but they were too busy laughing and retreated to their 4×4 shouting “Si, si, adios amigo.

Sadly, It Doesn’t End There

They say that these things always come in threes, but nobody really believes that cosh’. I reasoned that the sooner I was back in the water the better and also reasoned that I would be better finning out on my back rather that have my bare bum on view to the Guardia as they made their retreat; this plan, although well thought out was also flawed, as I was just about to find out. As the Guardia made their way back to the road they stopped for another look, presumably only to confirm that they had actually seen what they thought they had seen. I continued out until they gave a final wave from the vehicle and disappeared. I smiled to myself, happy that I had got away with it and that once again, all was well in the world; at that point I turned over in the water only to find that I had finned right into a large smack of jellyfish. There seemed to be thousands. I know from scuba diving that more often than not, large smacks of jellyfish rarely swim near the bottom. I managed to get down to the bottom, my ‘bits’ nestled safely in both hands and thanks to the big pair of fins managed to swim out underneath them, family jewels intact! Needless to say that I retreated back to the villa for the rest of the day… I know when I’m beat!

Some months I travel across many countries and cover tens of thousands of kilometers without incident. On this occasion I was scuppered in the relative safety of my own back yard!

Not surprisingly, there are no photos with this article.

Location: Andalucia Spain