Read more about the article San Sebastian – Spain
San Sebastian - Spain

San Sebastian – Spain

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Motto: Earnt by fidelity, nobility and loyalty

While travelling to Bilbao this weekend was not only for revisiting the city itself, the main reason was to come to San Sebastian, 100 kilometres east of Bilbao right by the coast. Considered as the most beautiful and elegant city in Spain, it is indeed hard to argue that fact. From the very far away memories I have of the only time I’ve come here many many years ago, I always kept in my mind the grand buildings and fine architectural taste and perfect urbanism. Back then I was not even so much into architecture as I am now, nor I did ever think I would ended up studying architecture in the university; but after this weekend’s visit I can finally say I’ve really explored this jewel of Spain in full.

If if almost any city in Spain you can find ancient constructions, churches and cathedrals over 1000 years old, medieval old towns and 15th century palaces to give some examples, here in San Sebastian it is the opposite. For many centuries it survived in one or other form until 1813 when British and Portuguese troops besieged San Sebastian assaulting the town and burning it completely down. That event opened the view to rebuilding from the ashes, this time following a proper urban plan. From this era comes the current “old town”, with the Constitution Square built in 1817 and neoclassical austere buildings. Later one, with the selection of this city as the summer residence of the Royal Family of Spain, it quickly gained fame among the bourgeoisie and rich who built their mansions and palaces, most of which which you can still admire today.

It was, however, almost 100 years later until the masterpiece extension urban plan took over. With the rapidly growing population, it was needed to torn down the old city walls and build farther away from the river. This plan followed greatly the orthogonal Parisian Haussmannian style, where not only the avenues and tree-lined streets were copied, but also in the architectural style of the buildings, very Parisian influenced with a blend of traditional Spanish elements. (more…)

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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 Tarragona – Spain
Tarragona - Spain

Tarragona – Spain

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Capital of Hispania Tarraconensis

Just a week after being in Barcelona and Girona, we returned but this time with the main objective of spending Saturday sightseeing another city we’ve not been before: Tarragona. This is one of the great advantages of flying to Barcelona, and it’s that the entire autonomous region of Catalonia is filled with history and sights everywhere, hence it’s a perfect place to keep returning year after year. Not only to be with my Catalan friends, but also for going together to the many places around. After all they are also great guides since they’ve been many times before in these cities.

Tarragona was in our agenda for a long time. It is one of the few Spanish cities where so many Roman remains can be visible and integrated in the new city that constantly grew since the fall of the Roman Empire. Nowadays the ruins of Tarraco are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. I can only recall the city of Merida, in Extremadura, as one of the best examples in the whole of Spain for the largest amount of monumental structures greatly preserved from the Roman times.

Once again as it was last weekend in Girona, the city is not too big and it is perfect for a day visit. Majority of tourist are day-trippers from Barcelona or the coastal resorts, and so we were coming for the day from Barcelona where we had our hotel. I cannot imagine however, any longer in the city should be your plan only stay here as you will end up with nothing else to do on your second day. (more…)

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Read more about the article Girona – Spain
Girona - Spain

Girona – Spain

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Iberian and Roman Gerunda

One of the yearly commonly weekend trips to Barcelona that we tend to do around October – November, but finally this time and after being so many times in Barcelona we though it was long due the visit to the many other cities and places nearby. To start this weekend, Girona. As for the weekend after this that we will return again to Barcelona, it will be Tarragona the main sight, and so until the next year already when we will book further flights to Barcelona to most likely keep touring around the beautiful region of Catalonia with the countless sights and places to visit on offer.

Girona lies to the north of Barcelona 100 kilometres and it is the last province within Spain, south of the Pyrenees mountain range, before the direct border with France being Perpignan the first large city in France at only 35 kilometres farther north. Conquered by the Moors and reconquered from them saw in turns between the 7th and 10th centuries becoming afterwards one of the most important Jews centres in Europe, finally expelled in 1492. Its legacy can be still seen today as one of the major tourist attractions in the city, the Jewish ghetto, the best preserved in Europe.

The city is filled with charm and history everywhere, with numerous important buildings and monuments of special mention the beautiful examples of Catalan Gothic architecture making it a great tourist destination. Most tourists who visit the city are day-trippers, either from Barcelona or from elsewhere along the coastal resorts, or even from the southern region of France like Perpignan. (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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