Read more about the article Tarifa – Spain
Tarifa - Spain

Tarifa – Spain

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Moorish Tarif ibn Malik

First weekend in February and also second weekend trip of the year to a new destination. We found the cheapest weekend of the year to fly to Gibraltar as being this one, and since we’ve already been to Gibraltar the year before, it is still the most convenient airport in order to reach Tarifa, Cadiz and Jerez; the destinations we planned for this occasion. Unfortunately at only 2 days, we were one day too short as otherwise we would have reached Huelva to have completed the whole south of Spain and Portugal as we’ve been to all other destinations in the south in the past.

Tarifa is the southernmost city of Spain and Continental Europe, and it’s also the point with the shortest distance between Europe and Africa at only 14 km. This point is also referred as where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet. Due to its small size, you can easily plan the visit as part of your way either into Cadiz, Jerez or in the opposite direction towards Gibraltar since you will be passing by. Just few hours is all you will need to discover it.

To my unexpected surprise, the old walled city is very charming and full of beautiful little squares and buildings. There is also a magnificently conserved Medieval castle dating back to the Moors period and therefore of the characteristic architecture. The beaches are entirely of sand and run for kilometers, but always mind the possible currents as the whole region along the Strait of Gibraltar is known for this. (more…)

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Read more about the article Lanzarote – Spain
Lanzarote - Spain

Lanzarote – Spain

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Tyterogaka: One that is all Ochre

Again that time of the year, completing a last weekend trip of the year right before the big winter holidays starting in merely 3 weeks time without first counting the Christmas days spent in Madrid. Almost a year ago it was the turn of Ibiza, this time is Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. The trend is clearly the same: travelling to the islands in the lowest peak of the low season as otherwise this would be impossible to get here for the ridiculous small fare we paid for the flights and hotel. If you are therefore looking to enjoy some nature and landscapes without the hordes of tourists, this is the best trick anyone can do.

It was not long ago since we went to Tenerife, although we kept returning there more often through the years. Again, it was during the low season, and honestly, it is unbelievable how different these islands are from each other. Two very different worlds. From the lush Atlantic forests that cover most of Tenerife and its huge volcano to the emptiness of Lanzarote, more appropriate nicknamed “landscapes of Mars”. The entire island is dotted with many small volcanoes, all of which formed after the last eruptions in the 1700s and responsible for the current look of the island. An incredible time capsule, nowadays a Reserve of the Biosphere and UNESCO World Heritage Site for obvious reasons.

Don’t be misjudged by the fact that Lanzarote does not really have nice beaches if that’s the kind of holidays you are looking for. If that’s the case, then this island is not the best for you. Gran Canaria or La Palma would be the ideal ones then. Instead, if what you are looking for is either a weekend break or a mix of sightseeing plus a bit of a nice resting then this place is ideal, not to mention if you are in search of nature as explained before, then this place is truly unique in Europe, with the only close example being Iceland or the Faroe Islands.


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Read more about the article Vitoria Gasteiz – Spain
Vitoria - Spain

Vitoria Gasteiz – Spain

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The automobile capital of Spain

Vitoria is located in the province of Alava, which was never part of the Basque Country autonomous region until it was added on May 20, 1980, by decision of the Basque Parliament, naming the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz as the capital city of the Basque Country region due to its favourable transport connections to the surrounding major and important cities and due to its favourable rather flat location, something that Bilbao or San Sebastian for example differ from being in the middle of mountainous valleys.

Erroneously overlooked by tourists who only aim for Bilbao, San Sebastian and the coastal villages around, Vitoria has a great medieval old town with plenty of sights and museums, huge choice for food, shopping and a thriving nightlife. I cannot believe I did never come here before, especially that since part of my family is from Bilbao and the many years I’ve been going to Bilbao, but never made it here until now.

Not only the city will make a great day for visiting, but its location will also give you the chance to visit some of the nearby beautiful cities and villages, wineries, natural parks, landscapes and nature. To mention a few, you are near La Rioja where obviously if you are a wine person, will know how to even further appreciate the region yet still if not into wine, the chance to visit some of the wineries are a good idea specially for their incredible architecture of many of them, where world renown architects have created 21st century masterpieces blended with the ancient buildings. Then you have Burgos, San Sebastian, Bilbao or Biarritz, all at little over 100km away. (more…)

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Read more about the article Alicante – Spain
Alicante - Spain

Alicante – Spain

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Roman Lucentum, Arab Medina Laqant

The city that saw me growing every summer for almost 20 years as my parents used to have a flat there; is always nice to return. Would not matter if I would return even every year as it is actually the current trend or even more than once; I do still enjoy it a lot, obviously for the beaches and for the memories that I have for so many years. To my personal opinion, the beaches here are by all means the best ones in Spain and even rank higher than many other beaches with a much more fancier name or location as Ipanema or Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, which are almost one to one to those you see in Alicante, or Boracay in the Philippines and Belize. Only missing are more palms, as for buildings and architecture, it is the same.

Truth is that the city itself is not very pretty as most Spanish cities tend to be. Instead the architecture is severely influence by the holiday boom which started from the 1960’s and in fact, many monstrosities were built occupying the place of beautiful 19th and 20th century buildings that once stood. Fortunately not all was lost and yet small, the old town still retains the old flair and beautiful blend of Moorish with Spanish architecture. After all, Alicante was one of the major Moorish cities back in the invasion times.

But something that won’t change is the weather. Humid and hot during the long summer, mild during the short winter months. If heading more to the north direction to Catalonia, the sea water turns colder; heading southwards direction of Andalusia, and the weather gets warmer. Alicante lies just in the middle, and benefits from this. (more…)

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Read more about the article Madrid – Spain
Madrid - Spain

Madrid – Spain

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Moorish Mayrit, Mozarabic Matrit

It’s finally time I set myself to create the travel guide for my home town. I know it won’t be easy but rather a challenge in order to try to compile the best through my own experience and eyes, and if creating the guide for Barcelona was already a difficult task where of course, there is much more to see and do than what I shared, here I am still even deciding on how I am actually going to structure and divide the sections and areas within the city for the sightseeing list.

But first, let’s start with some interesting facts. Remember that I do not describe in detail the history of the cities in my travel blog; for that you already have Wikipedia, Wikitravel and many other sites on the web, but I do always provide a good input and some notes quite appropriate to give you an idea. Madrid is the largest city in Spain; 3rd largest city after London and Berlin, 3rd largest metropolitan area after London and Paris and 3rd largest GDP in the European Union. Capital of Spain since 1561 when King Philip II moved it from Toledo. It’s the largest transportation and communications hub in the Iberian Peninsula; media, business, banking, commercial, education, fashion, political, arts, entertainment and cultural centre making it one of the world’s major global cities. It is the major financial centre of Southern Europe. Ranking among the most liveliest cities in the world, you will find one of the friendliest and more welcoming people in Europe.

It is quite surprising that most of the tourists Spain receives per year do not consider visiting Madrid and instead quickly go to the Mediterranean coast, Andalusia, the islands, and the most visited city in Spain, Barcelona. And shocking in the other hand, it is for many people in the UK to believe that the capital of Spain is Barcelona. I get into such comments quite frequently where I have to teach politely the people a little bit of geography and basic history. (more…)

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Read more about the article Gibraltar – Gibraltar
Gibraltar - United Kingdom

Gibraltar – Gibraltar

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The Rock

Although we’ve returned more times to Gibraltar with the years, this was the first time we ever went to a British Overseas Territory. This little piece of land is little more than a mountain lying between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, neighboring Spain. As small as it is, that the airport is mostly built on land gained to the sea at both sides of the straight, and the only commercial airport in the world to have a main traffic road passing through it perpendicular to the runway with a level crossing as if it would be a railway crossing. Meters north of the airport and you reach the Spanish border and the city of La Linea de la Concepcion.

Contrary to what Spanish people tend to think about the sovereignty of Gibraltar, this territory was ceded to Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It was never taken from Spain by the British. The issues arise only because the waters surrounding it, which were not part of the original treaty, and the United Kingdom try to claim more and more, clearly violating certain clauses of the treaty.

Politics apart. The old town will for sure surprise you. It is a very beautiful blend of Victorian and Georgian with Southern Spanish architecture mixed with the Mediterranean colours and window shades. It looks much more Italian than British or Spanish. So pleasant and enjoyable stay all together (more…)

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Read more about the article Ibiza – Spain
Ibiza - Spain

Ibiza – Spain

  • Post category:EuropeSpain

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The Pityussae: Pine Covered Islands

To find such an incredible air fare deal to Ibiza was quite shocking already, but to find out that Ibiza is by far much nicer than I expected, was the real deal. I know it was also the perfect match of the circumstances, like the weather reaching 30 degrees centigrades, the great hotel, spa and the pools, and the unexpected room upgrade just because we and few other tourists were the last guests to stay in the hotel before they were closing during the winter season months.

So what it makes for you to find a cheap ticket here? Going off season, time when as well, all that great discos are closed. This makes the difference between cheap and affordable, or as expensive as if going to Dubai instead. Really, I have seen cheaper tickets to Dubai than Ibiza in July. Then off-season, it is not only that you pay that little, but the hotel deal will be your next surprise, and having so few tourists around. I personally would not like to travel to Ibiza in peak season unless my plan is just to party and go clubbing, and get to the crowded beaches.

On the same note as we did in Tenerife or Kos in other trips, the best option if you want to visit the most the island has to offer is to rent a car. Also inexpensive when out of season. This island is small enough for a cultural weekend trip. But an extra day would be ideal as this would allow you to reach the small sister island of Formentera, just a short boat ride across. (more…)

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Read more about the article Zaragoza – Spain
Zaragoza - Spain

Zaragoza – Spain

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Roman Caesaraugusta, Moorish Saraqusta

Completing a guide for another great city in Spain, it’s time for Zaragoza. One of the long pending guides for a proper upgrade and revamp since it was one of the first generation bunch of blog entries when I started this site; now there was no further excuse after the most recent trip here, in coincidence with one of the largest festivities across Spain, El Pilar. Already the 4th time in the city, and for sure not the last. Nowadays it’s not any longer about sightseeing there, but visiting my great friends the priority in this case.

It was back in the year 2002 when I first came to Zaragoza, to visit and to be with friends, and of course, enjoying El Pilar party. Returning for a couple more times in between, and 17 years after the first time, the most recent trip here. That’s a long time for a city to reinvent itself and showcase more than ever the architectural wonders and countless sights so neatly restored and refurbished. Plenty of new areas and revamped streets, modernised and pedestrianised after the re-introduction of the tram through the core of the historical centre and beyond.

New landscaping and re-structure of some buildings, squares and streets led to the discovery and recovery of more Roman remain now beautifully set on display for anyone to enjoy. Let’s not forget an entire Roman city lies beneath the current modern layout of Zaragoza. That’s the ancient Caesaraugusta.


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