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The first few things that come to one’s mind after hearing about ‘Spain’ are its gorgeous beaches, the delicious food, and the lively people. And that fits perfectly, the country has got an everlasting charm. But what you might not have heard about is that Spain is also a great winter destination and even a better winter festival destination. Continue reading to learn more about the top 4 festivals in Spain that takes place in the second half of the year.

December – Els Enfarinats

Flying Eggs, tons of flour and a lot of fun describes the Els Enfarinats festival the best. In the little town Ibi, Alicante every year at the 28th of December all inhabitants and a bunch of visitors celebrate the Day of the innocents by recreating a historical story. The Enfarinats against the opposite site. It is all playful fun, as the weapons used are merely flour and eggs, and occasional firecrackers. At the end of the day everybody is covered in a thick batter, no matter if it is a member from the one or the other side. All come together and have a lot of fun. If you want to read more about this bizarre fiesta check out our last news.

El Enfarinats

January  Tamborrada 

When you not just want to hear but also feel the music, then Tamborrada is the perfect choice for you. The magnificent drum festival is celebrated every year on the 20th of January in the city of San Sebastian. The celebration starts at midnight at the Constitution square with the raising of the city flag and lasts 24 hours. During the celebration, different costumed groups and corporations play melodies that will be heard in the whole city throughout the day. The origins of the festival date back to the Independence War around 1813, when some local women started to play music with their jugs to make fun of Napoleons troops that had invaded the city. This music parade developed to a yearly tradition and nowadays over 125 clubs and organizations participate in the event, dressed as a cook, in a soldier’s uniform or in the typical Basque women clothing.

Tamborrada

JanuaryJarramplas at Piornal

The Jarramplas, where your main enemy is a devil-like figure and your weapons are turnips, is a crazy festival that takes place every 19 and 20 January in Piornal in the province of Caceres, Extremadura. During this festival, one person is dressed up as the Jarramplas, wearing a costume with lots of colourful ribbons and a conical fiberglass mask with horns. This festival is an old tradition of which its history is still doubtful. But there is one myth, which is most commonly believed, it tells the story of a devil-looking character, who stole and killed cattle of the inhabitants and got punished for that by the villagers, who were throwing vegetables at him. Tradition, excitement and joy flood Piornal every January inviting the visitor to delve into the rites, stories and legends of this ancient and curious festival now turned into a Festival of National Tourist Interest.

Jarramplas

FebruaryCarnival

In the end of February and the beginning of March, when it is still chilly in the rest of Spain, islanders of the Canaries are dressed in colourful and tight outfits because it is carnival time again.  The Carnival on Tenerife is traditionally celebrated in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During the time, Santa Cruz is not to be recognized, the streets are full of locals and visitors from all around the world. This carnival is considered to be the second most internationally known carnival, after the one in Rio de Janeiro. It is loved for its colourful street parades and flamboyant costumes.

In Gran Canaria, the most exciting carnival takes place in Las Palmas, the capital of the island. Next year’s theme “Once upon a time…” encourages the participants to dress in their most fairy tale-like costume. Popular events during the carnival are the Queen Gala and the Drag Queen Gala. The Queen Gala features amazing dresses that are displayed by the candidates for the queen of the festival. The Drag Queen Gala is another high-profile carnival event with a lot of candidates and always a joyful audience.

The carnival celebration on both islands is ended with the traditional entierro de la sardina, the burial of the sardine, celebrated with a big parade through the cities. At the end of this parade, a huge sardine is burnt that symbolises the spirit of carnival.

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If you have now the wish to listen to the sounds of drums, to throw some eggs or turnips or dance with costumed islanders at one of the amazing festival we wrote about, do not hesitate to write us a message to info@across-spain.es. With our festival packages you will experience the flair and fun of the unique festivals Spain has to offer and discover the beauty and culture of the country as well.

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Spain is known for its professional tennis players, like Rafael Nadal whom we dedicated our latest news entry and it is even more known as a major tennis mecca around the world because it is home to some of the best tennis schools. Spain’s fantastic year-round weather allows players to practice outdoors for most of the year in beautiful destinations such as Marbella, Mallorca or Barcelona and Spain is the best choice for those players who want to combine a professional tennis training with a dream-like holiday. This blog post is about the two best tennis training camps for young and adult players and we at Across Spain offers packages for booth of them:

Rafa Nadal Academy, 55 km from Palma de Mallorca

Rafael Nadal is one of the most hyped and recognizable athletes the world of tennis has ever seen. The Spaniard’s name can generally be found on the top of ATP rankings, and he has won titles on a reliable basis since 2004. He is also one of only two male tennis players to have won the career Golden Slam (all four Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal) during their singles career. In 2016, in his hometown of Mallorca, Nadal established the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, where he aims to share everything he has learnt over his career with young students.

Rafael-Nadal

The academy is perfectly located, just 30 minutes from Palma de Mallorca airport, therefore it has an excellent connectivity to all European countries, and is just 10 minutes from the Mediterranean coast. The Rafa Nadal Academy is very focused on children and young adults’ formation, but it also counts with different training programs for adults, all them adapted to the level and needs of each player. The team of the Academy is formed by a group of experienced coaches, directed by Toni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle. Some of them have accompanied Rafa along his sport career. The team he has always trust is actively involved and has an important role in the Academy.

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Nadal’s Sport centre offers a lot of facilities: 26 tennis courts of different surfaces (clay, greenest and more), outdoor as well as indoor, seven padel courts and two squash courts. An on-site clinic, which is specialised in sports medicine, physiotherapy and nutrition can be used by all players. Of course a fitness centre, 3,000 square meters, with the latest equipment is also part of the offer.
To make sure that the holiday aspect does not draw the short straw, the accommodation for Academy guest is on the same ground and offer spacious rooms with modern furniture. After a training session guests can relax in the Spa, equipped with massage cabins, sauna and Turkish baths and and a beauty salon. But not just tennis fans will love this sport centre, two large pools, one indoor the other outside, as well as a bicycle rental and repair service let every athlete’s heart beat faster!

To sum it up, Rafael Nadal’s Academy is for all athletes who want to enjoy a wide range of sports activities adapted to the level of each participant and delivered by the best professionals in the sport-health sector.

Club de Tenis Andres Gimeno, 15km from Barcelona

According to Rafael Nadal, Andres Gimeno “was without a doubt one of the pioneers of tennis in Spain.” Gimeno became the oldest man to win the French Open in the professional era, aged 34 in 1972. He played in the Galea’s Cup, the European Championship U21, and won it in 1956 and 1957 but he was not only a successful tennis player in Spain, he also represented his country throughout Europe.

Andrés-Gimeno

In 1974 he founded his “Club de Tenis Andres Gimeno” in Castelldefels, Barcelona. It has 23,000 m2 consisting of 22 tennis courts, 11 paddle tennis courts, 1 green set court and 2 mini-tennis courts, so everything a professional or amateur player needs. After the tennis training, athletes can burn off the rest of energy in one of the two fitness rooms or in the on-site swimming pool. For the young tennis fans a big playground promises fun afternoons. The chill-out area or the restaurant are good options for an after-competition drink.

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This tennis club is perfect for athletes who are looking for a training camp with plenty of facilities close to the metropolitan Barcelona. Our package for the Club de Tenis Andres Gimeno combines the advantages of staying in a suburban and relaxed area, where players can focus on improving their skills and enjoying the Mediterranean Sea, and activates a big city like Barcelona has to offer.

If you are now eager to combine your next holiday with the possibility to bring your serve to the next level, write us a message. We offer also many packages for other kind of sports, passive or active!

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Saint Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish noblewoman who chose a monastic life in the Catholic Church and was a scholar, writer and mystic with a lot of influence during and also after her life. In our latest news, we wrote about her magnificent story and this blog post is about presenting the destinations of our “St. Teresa of Ávila” program, for all who wants to wander in the footsteps of this remarkable woman.

Salamanca

St. Teresa arrived in Salamanca on 31 October 1570 one cold All Saints night, which she narrates in great detail in her book “The Foundations”. Her presence in Salamanca, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, can be seen from Plaza Mayor square to the University. In the square you can see a medallion dedicated to her. The University of Salamanca made her doctor honoris causa in 1922. It was the first title
the university awarded to a woman for the quality of her literature, spirituality and reformist values. In – nowadays called – “the house of St. Teresa” she lived for 4 years and it will go down in history as the place that inspired her poem “I live without living in me”.

Further interesting hotspots are the Cathedral of Salamanca, where one chapel in the new church is devoted to her or the Convent of San Esteban, he supported St. Teresa in her time in Salamanca.

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University of Salamanca

Alba de Tormes

Alba de Tormes is located less than 20 km from Salamanca and it was the seat of the ducal states of the powerful Álvarez de Toledo family (Duke and Duchess of Alba). In 1571 St. Teresa founded a monastery – The Carmelite Convent of the Annunciation – in this old medieval town. The monastery has Renaissance and Neoclassical elements and it is the place where Saint Teresa spent the last 15 days of her life. Travellers can visit her tomb, like thousands of pilgrims, who come every year to be able to pray in front of her incorrupt heart and arm.

The Carmelitano Camus Museum is also worth a visit, because it houses a rich artistic spiritual heritage, including Santa Teresa´s relics. Alba de Tormes offers a unique view of the town on the banks of the river Tormes and invites visitors to walk along the route of las Aceñas or Isla de Garcilaso or take a trip on the river to enjoy the countryside.

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Tomb of Saint Teresa

Ávila

Ávila is the city of Saint Teresa and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985. It is the city of Teresa’s childhood, youth and maturity, years of enthusiasm, projects, starting point and turning point of her foundations. She was born in Avila on the 28th of March in the year 1515. Nowadays travellers can visit the Church and Convent of St. Teresa, which was built on the ground where once the birth-house of Teresa stood. The large vaulted burial crypt underneath is home to the museum of St. Teresa.

Teresa spent her childhood in Ávila and as a young woman she joined the Convent of Nuestra Señora de Gracia. She spent there about 30 years of her life and prepared during this time the reform of the Carmelite community and the monasteries that she would establish in the future.

The Monastery of San José was the first convent founded by St Teresa and it is characterised by its simplicity and austerity. The convent rooms have been conserved and the spirit of St Teresa is still abound. It was designated a National Monument in 1968.

Other monuments of artistic and cultural interest regarding the history of St. Teresa are the Church of San Juan Bautista, the Convent of Our Lady of Grace, the Monastery of La Encarnación, the Royal Monastery of Santo Tomás and many more.

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Monastery of San José

Segovia

In this World Heritage City (since 1985), known for its Roman aqueduct, Saint Teresa founded her ninth convent in 1574 – the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites. The opening mass was led by Saint John of the Cross, whose remains can be found today in the convent’s church. It was originally located in a smaller nearby building and later, in 1579, it was moved to its current location. The exterior shows a masonry wall covered in mortar with two doors: one that leads to the convent, with two decorated doorjambs; and another larger door that leads to the church.

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Convent of the Discalced Carmelites.

Medina del Campo & Valladolid
St. Teresa founded the Monastery of San José in Medina del Campo, the second home of the reformed Carmelite order and meeting place with San Juan de la Cruz. From that moment, the saint’s relationship with Medina was to be constant, as shown in the thirteen times she visited the town.

In Valladolid you can find the fourth convent founded by Saint Teresa – a convent with exceptional works of art in the cloister and the choirs. In what used to be her cell you can also see the original handwritten text of her main literary work, “The Way of Perfection”, and many of her letters.

If you choose to wander in the footsteps of Saint Teresa with our program, you will travel to all this destinations and a few more to learn everything about Saint Teresa as well as about the Spanish culture. Write us today for your very own blessed experience:   info@across-spain.es

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Astrotourism is on the rise. More and more travellers are searching for a special nature experience. As nowadays clear skies cannot be taken for granted anymore, destinations with less light pollution are highly popular. Spain is one of the best countries for all Star seekers, due to the climate, which guarantees many clear night skies and big areas without air and light pollution. We at Across Spain searched for the top 5 areas in Spain, where you have the possibility to “look back in time” while watching up at the luminous stars.

Canary Islands
As also mentioned in our latest news, the Canary Islands are considered as the world’s stargazing paradise because of their clear, almost transparent sky, as well as for their low rainfall rates. The clean and unpolluted, quiet atmosphere combined with the high mountains make travellers feel a little closer to the universe. Next to La Palma, which was the first destination that has been designated as a Starlight reserve by the UNESCO, the Teide in Tenerife is also a hotspot for stargazers. On the mountain, which is the third highest volcanic structure in the world, travellers can glance at the Milky Way that stretches from horizon to horizon.

tenerife stargazing

Sierra Sur district
The Sierra Sur district is the mountain range of Sierra Sur de Jaén in Andalusia, southern Spain. This is a landscape abounding in mountains and canyons, where you can find clean air and a glare-free atmosphere, isolated and distant from urban development. Perfect for observing the southern Spanish Sky.

Montsec
Low humidity and almost no clouds turns the Montsec area in Catalonia in a great location for stargazing. The area has also been recognised and certified as a Starlight Tourist Destination and Reserve by the UNESCO. These are the reasons why the Parc Astronòmic Montsec (PAM) was built here. The Park has a museum and small outdoor fields with two telescopes for stargazing. The museum offers you a permanent exhibition which allows you to “travel” through the history of the universe—from its origin to the creation of our solar system.

montsec astronomical park

Valles del Jubera, Leza, Cidacos and Alhama Biosphere Reserve.
Thinking of the beautiful countryside of La Rioja, northern part of inland Spain, several activities have been organised there in recent years, such as talks about the sounds of nature, tours to spot nocturnal birds, explanations of the links between the Celtiberian culture and the stars, bathing under the stars in thermal springs, learning about the constellations, and more. La Rioja has two stargazing parks, in Laguna de Cameros and Cervera del Río Alhama.

Extremadura
Extremadura has two territories that have been granted the Starlight Destination certificate: the Monfragüe Biosphere Reserve and the Gran Lago de Alqueva area. Monfragüe was, in early 2017, the first place in Extremadura to receive this recognition. Gran Lago del Alqueva area received the region’s second Starlight Destination certificate in April 2018.

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If you are now eager to visit one of these natural unique destinations to look up in the sky and experience its wonders, write us a message and ask about our stargazing programs.

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La Liga is men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system and is contested by 20 teams. It is the top league of Europe, due to the fact that its clubs have won the most UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup titles. Moreover, La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. Since the new season started at the 18th of August, we will clarify some questions you may have about the most famous sport in (and maybe also out of) Spain. Therefore, we have chosen the two most important match types, which can be found in the vastness of Spanish football and which will taking place during La Liga.

El Clásico

Because FC Barcelona, as well as Real Madrid are booth highly successful teams and popular around the world, there is an own designation just for matches between these two rivals. El Clásico was first used to describe competitions held in the Spanish Championship but soon it was generalized for every encounter between FC and Real.  But not only the success of booth teams can be named for the rivalry, Madrid and Barcelona are also the two biggest cities in Spain. Moreover, it can be seen that Real Madrid tends to represent the Spanish nationalism, whereas FC Barcelona stands for the Catalan nationalism since the first played against each other in 1992. The two best teams in La Liga and arguably the two best teams in the world bring out so many emotions on and off the pitch that millions of fans around the world watch El Clásico and turn it into a global match. If you also want to enjoy the next El Clasico live, do not miss Round 10 of La Liga at the 27th of October.  

BARCELONA 18/19 ALAVES 18/19

Derby

For everybody who is not that much into football (at least not yet) the general term “derby” describes matches between teams from the same area or city. There are plenty derbies in Spain, but the most known one is the Madrid Derby. The two teams from the capital city, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, met each other also in the UEFA Champions League Final 2014 in Lisbon. It was the first time two clubs from the same city compete in the final and Real Madrid won the game with a final score of 4-1, but it should not be the last final match for these rivalries. 2018 in the UEFA Super Cup, the two teams of Madrid participate again in a final. This time Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid with 4-2 and earned therefore their third UEFA Super cup title. As part of La Liga the next Madrid derby will take place at the 29th of September.

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If we talk about derbies in Spain, we should not forget the craziest of all: The Seville derby, found in the South of Spain, in Andalucía. When Sevilla take on Real Betis, the city stops and the rest of the country watches. Of course passion has always been a part of football, especially in Spain, but Sevilla and Real Betis take the passion to a whole new level, probably because both teams are actually located in the same city and because both teams consider the other their biggest rival. There are countless examples of how that passion manifests itself when the teams meet. Open training sessions before the game are attended by thousands of fans and the local sporting paper will dedicate a number of front pages to the derby. The upcoming chance to experience this passion live is the 10th of November.

sevilla

Are you now eager to see the Spanish football matches live? Across Spain offers you the best football packages for the current LA Liga season. Come and enjoy the beauty of Spain while being part of a global Sport highlight.