Read more about the article Seville – Spain
Seville - Spain

Seville – Spain

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Roman Hispalis, Arabic Ishbiliyya

After so many years, 8 already, it’s finally time to return to one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in my life: Seville. Sadly for such a short time, a weekend (well the usual through the year with the weekend trips anywhere in Europe), but for a city like Seville, please reconsider you time. 2 days is definitely too short, at least 3 days will be the best; still, for a first timer, you can skip entering the Alcazar which will take half of your day and if too tight, skip entering the Cathedral, then a weekend will be just about right, however on behalf of missing two unique masterpieces.

What we did not do the last time was entering to the Alcazar, hence why this was a priority in this trip. And since we visited the Cathedral and climbed up the Giralda tower back then, there was no need for repeating on this occasion. Making such arrangements meant we could re-visit the entire city in all the time we had; and of course now, having the chance to finally create a proper travel guide which I never did for Seville in my blog. I know it will be a harder job once I reach the listing of sights to visit and what to do. That will be a long list definitely, but will try my best to group them by districts/areas and follow the best and most optional route as I generally do for anyone to freely enjoy.

Consider the entire city as an open museum, because it really feels like this, same way as you can say for Rome, Prague, Vienna or Paris. And it’s home to one of the world’s largest monumental historic town. At every turn you will find a piece of history in the puzzle when Spain was once the most powerful and largest empire on earth. The capital city for the New World that was being discovered; the city from where any expedition and trade to/from the colonies will start and terminate, and the port of call where all the wealth and riches from the colonies would arrive. (more…)

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Read more about the article Antequera – Spain
Antequera - Spain

Antequera – Spain

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The Heart of Andalusia

From the many times we’ve been coming to Southern Spain, there’s always a new city or place to visit, and this weekend was not going to be different. While our flight was to Malaga, a 3rd time so far in that city, the main aim this time was for reaching the nearby historic city of Antequera 50 kilometres north of Malaga, with its World Heritage Site listed “the Ancient Dolmens of Antequera” and the nearby Torcal Natural Reserve, home to one of the biggest and most important karst landscapes in Europe.

A day trip is well worth it and more than enough to enjoy every sight within the city, and nearby Torcal and the prehistoric Dolmens, hence do not think this is a tour that will take more than that, otherwise you face the fact of having too much time to spare when you overestimate. And considering Malaga as the perfect base it really takes a short time between one to another.

The city retains a massive cultural heritage and one can feel at the many little charming squares how the life would have been during the Muslim invasion days. The city, although inhabited during prehistoric times, was a medium size Roman post and grew considerably in size and important from the 8th century onwards. Its nickname, “the heart of Andalusia” comes due to its location at pretty much the “centre” of Andalusia having  Malaga, Granada, Cordoba and Seville at easy reach on all directions. It was suggested in 1978 to be the possible headquarters of the Andalusian Government, but it went to Seville instead.


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Read more about the article Huelva – Spain
Huelva - Spain

Huelva – Spain

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Roman: Onoba Aestuaria

An area of high interest I had pending for a long time now, the city of Huelva, the nearby sites of historical importance to the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the “New World”, and the mines of Rio Tinto. All of which within a small distance to each other, yet hard to find a good flight deal before. After all, the nearest airports are either the very expensive Seville, or Faro in Portugal. The later was our option, and so the fastest. A year ago we’ve visited Faro and the entire Algarve region, so now was time to return and do the other side across the border in Spain.

It is only 115 kilometres from Faro to Huelva downtown, and we drove there the following day to our arrival, although we stayed overnight near the border at the Portuguese resort city of Monte Gordo. It’s always better to be rested from the night before as was already late when we landed at night, while also driving in the day light was part of this trip, enjoying the landscapes of the Rio Formosa Natural Park, River Guadiana (natural frontier between Portugal and Spain) and the marshes along the way.

Huelva as a city, is nothing really special. There are not many sights, nor is a touristy city; however, there is way much more in the nearby region, as for example the Columbine sites (one of the reasons why we came here on first instance); and for those interested in the industrial heritage the city is on the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) with its Riotinto Pier on the Odiel River, and the not so far incredible Rio Ttinto Mines (our second reason why we came here). It is just a few hours all you will need to visit the city of Huelva itself, for what you will have plenty of time to get to the historical sites of La Rabida Moanstery, Palos de la Frontera and Moguer all in the same day (later described in the next section).


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Read more about the article Malaga – Spain
Malaga - Spain

Malaga – Spain

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The Birthplace of Pablo Picasso

Once more returning this beautiful city in southern Spain, which not only gives us the chance to enjoy the city another time and complete the sights we did not see the previous times, but also for enjoying some nice time with our friends from there, and visiting other nearby cities. There is so much you can do in the nearby region than returning to Malaga has become more like a yearly tradition. And what’s best, this won’t be the last time; more for sure to come and especially taking advantage of the low season months where you can grab great flight fares here.

This is also a good chance for revamping this guide about the city that was in fact pretty old and vague since I created back some years ago. I cannot believe how quickly the time have passed anyway. And ever since I started with my travel guides blog project in 2011, I am very proud that I can continue to share with you all and absolutely for free the hundreds of guides already in place.

Malaga is for the great majority of tourists, the entry point to their beach holidays along the southern coast of Spain. After all, this is one of the warmest and sunnier places in Spain, with hundreds of kilometres of sandy beaches along the Mediterranean coast. However, the city is way more than just beach and it’s a great starting point for visiting the world renown cities of Granada with it’s Alhambra, or Cordoba home to the Great Mosque-Cathedral, that you can generally do in day tour, as the many millions of tourists that visit this region do.


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Read more about the article Ronda and Acinipo – Spain
Ronda - Spain

Ronda and Acinipo – Spain

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Arab: Hisn Ar-Rundah

And yet another weekend in Spain, the 4th in the row, the entire month of November. At the beginning of the year we flew to Gibraltar to be the base for visiting Cordoba and Jerez, while now towards the end of the year we return, to Malaga in this occasion, to be the base for reaching the beautiful and historic city of Ronda. While we’ve already been to Malaga before and been all around the city, this time was different as all we wanted is to spend some time with my friend over there since she moved back to Spain form the UK while enjoying a day out for visiting a place not been before.

Flying to Malaga to be the base for day trips nearby works great. Not only that it is very good located halfway between the many cities worth to see, but will also save you lots of money than if flying for example, directly to Granada or Cordoba. From Malaga either by train or bus you can reach anywhere in Andalusia region, specially with the high-speed trains connecting to Seville and beyond; and if you rent a car as we’ve been doing for the past trips over here, you will get to enjoy more time to yourself and to visit other nice smaller places in between your final destination. Ronda as in this case, is 100 kilometres to the west of Malaga making it an easy trip for the day.

Since Ronda is a small city, and due to its near location to the many holiday resorts by coast, it is mostly visited by day-trippers, either on an organised tour of by themselves. It is not a city where you can spend more time after all, because there is not much more left to do after a few hours. But because of its placement at the top of a mountain and the traditional architecture and beautiful buildings, it is really one of the key destinations in Spain not to be missed that will clearly fascinate any tourist. Also nearby you can find very beautiful traditional villages that you can combine with your trip here, and even enjoy for the evening dinner a stroll along Puerto Banus and Marbella while making your way back to Malaga or any coastal resort. (more…)

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Read more about the article Cordoba – Spain
Cordoba - Spain

Cordoba – Spain

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Carthaginian Kartuba, Roman Corduba, Islamic Qurṭubah

Time to return to Andalusia, and in this occasion just after a month that we went on visiting the cities of Tarifa, Cadiz and Jerez. As for this trip, it was well overdue to come and visit one of the most spectacular and historical cities in Spain, world renown for its architecture. But before continuing and in order to understand why such importance, let me tell you some of the facts that will clear your view in this subject.

It was the capital of Hispania Ulterior Baetica in Roman times, then the Capital of the Islamic Emirate and then Caliphate of Cordoba. By the 10th century it was the most populated city in the world, and currently holds the title as being the largest urban area in the world declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. As you can imagine with that large amount of monuments and sites you will need to calculate well your time to fully enjoy the city. A weekend is, in fact, quite short and rushy as I can tell you from experience, but as a first glimpse that’s totally worth it.

After larger Seville and Granada, expect to see in Cordoba a mix of both. Elegance and history where Roman remains blend with the former mosques and glorious palaces from the Islamic era; baroque, neo-classical and traditional regionalist Andalusian architecture with the typical white houses with iron balconies, patios fully covered with beautiful hand painted tiles in the walls, and orange trees and flowers in almost any street. (more…)

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Read more about the article Jerez – Spain
Jerez - Spain

Jerez – Spain

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Phoenician Xera

Coming to the last city we visited over this weekend: Jerez de la Frontera. In my opinion, the most beautiful from the three we visited (being the other two Tarifa and Cadiz), and a pity not to have had more time to enjoy it even further, with the visit to some of the wineries. Good weather, great cafes and terraces, nice bars; it all crawls for a great glass of sweet wine, the sherry wine this region is so famous for. In any case, this means a returning to the city is a must then.

A few and key facts to understand the past importance and monumentality. Jerez was the very first Spanish city to have street lighting. The first savings bank in Spain (Caja de Ahorros de Jerez). It is the world’s capital of sherry wine; a small walk along the city and you will see how many wineries you find in the way. And culture and tradition-wise talking, it is the center of horsemanship and flamenco dancing in Spain. Home of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, school comparable to the world famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

In any case and with such rich history you might think the city must be splendid everywhere, but unfortunately it is not, in the sense of the large amount of abandoned buildings, many of which are now slowly been taken and refurbished. Some of them really shocking to see falling apart. Not worrying too much, this situation will change in few years’ time. (more…)

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Read more about the article Cadiz – Spain
Cadiz - Spain

Cadiz – Spain

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Roman Augusta Urbs Iulia Gaditana

Moving on to the next and final destination for today after Tarifa, we arrived at the beautiful and historical port city of Cadiz. Located at one of the most beautiful natural bays in Spain where such rich past and importance during the centuries of the colonial times can be felt on every corner around the old town. A succession of squares with impressive palaces, mansions and houses, churches and monuments where construction costs were not a thing to mind in the past.

Then why a small city back then could become so powerful in such short time? The answer are the many wealthy families with businesses in the back then, New World; the merchants and their fleets travelling to the colonies and most important, in Cadiz becoming the main port for arrival and departures of the Fleet of Indies since the Guadalquivir river was not apt anymore for the ships to make the way up to Seville.

Cadiz is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, and it’s member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. Make sure you see a map of the city and nearby geography to understand the location and orientate yourself since you are going to see the Atlantic or the bay from almost all sides. The city is completely developed along the narrow peninsula. (more…)

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