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Semana Santa, also known as Holy Week, is one of the most important events in the Spanish calendar. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, thousands of people flock to attend the numerous processions that take place all over Spain. However one of the most important parts of the Semana Santa celebrations, is of course the traditional sweets and pastries. Below we have created a list of the most typical traditional treats, as well as the best bakeries to buy them!

Delicious Desserts

1) Torrijas

This original yet traditional dessert is based on a slice of bread soaked in milk, breaded in egg, fried in extra virgin olive oil and flavoured with syrup or, in this case, sugar and cinnamon. Simple yet delicious, they can come in many different varieties. For those who are lactose intolerant you can replace the milk with a coffee syrup, they can be caramelized for extra sweetness, and you can even bake them to make them a little lighter. A truly versatile yet traditional treat!

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home-made torrija

2) Monas de Pascua

Monas de Pascua are one of the most essential Holy Week desserts. The recipe is a very traditional one all around the country but is particularly special in places such as Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia and Castilla la Mancha. Today La Mona de Pascua is decorated with a chocolate glaze, almonds, chocolate eggs, colourful feathers and cartoon characters. It’s so popular that Catalonia’s bakeries can expect to sell 600,000 of this festive speciality by Easter Monday.

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mona de Pascua cake

3) Buñelos de Viento

The Buñuelos de Viento are a very typical dessert around Easter time, but are actually still popular all year round. A light and fluffy dessert that you’ll love every bite of, it’s a very simple recipe to make. The base is made of a choux dough that is then fried and coated in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. You can even sprinkle them with icing sugar, cinnamon, or fill them with custard or cream, to enjoy them however you like!

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buñuelos de viento

4) Pestiños

Pestiños are a typical dessert from southern Spain, from Andalusia to Murcia or Extremadura, although they first originated from Arab countries. The traditional recipe is made with a dough that includes orange, cinnamon and sesame as well as sugar, strength flour and white wine. The recipe is actually very simple – and the tradition is to make them with your family or among friends, as with this desert it’s not just the end result, but the process that goes with it.

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Easter pestiños

 

The Best Bakeries

1) La Mallorquina, Madrid

La Mallorquina is often considered the most famous pastry shop in Madrid and is located on the corner or Calle Mayor in Puerta del Sol. It’s been in business for more than 100 years, making it one of the oldest pastelerías in the city too. It was founded as a café by Mallorcan man Juan Ripoll in the mid-1800s who gave it its name, which in English means “the woman from Mallorca”. The shop has two stories and a large seating area upstairs where you can relax and watch the passers-by in Sol, while enjoying a delicious pastry with a coffee. The best-selling products here are the Neapolitan cream and the chocolate palm, but during Semana Santa you’re sure to find some delicious Torrijas and Buñuelos de Viento.

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La Mallorquina, Madrid

2) El Riojano, Madrid

Next on the list is El Riojano, Also located in Madrid’s Calle Mayor. Riojan man Don Dámaso de la Maza opened this bakery in 1855 but before opening his own store he worked as Queen Isabella II’s pastry chef, and to this day El Riojano still serves pastries to the Spanish royal family! The Elizabethan era décor along with the showcases full of scrumptious pastries will be sure to catch the eye of any visitor, despite the café’s small size. It also boasts an array of Semana Santa specialities, which include buñelos, torrijas, Monas de Pascua and much more.

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inside El Riojano, Madrid

3) Pastelería Hofmann, Barcelona

Located in the Borne neighbourhood of Barcelona, next to the Basilica of Santa María del Mar, Hofmann is a centrally located French-inspired boutique which opened in 2008. The delicious sweets and pastries here are freshly baked every day, made from the best quality raw ingredients while respecting the traditions of the classic pastry. Some seasonal sweets found here include the traditional torrijas, monas de Pascua and buñelos – but what makes Hofmann unique is their seasonal edible animals! Chickens, eggs, cows, sheep and other farm animals all ready to be eaten.

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inside La Pastelería Hofmann, Barcelona 

4) La Pastisseria Escribà, Barcelona

The Escribà Pastry Shop is considered to be one of the best bakeries in the city. It has multiple stores located around Barcelona, where you will find an assortment of cakes, sweets and pastries which are all unique. This pastry shop was founded in 1906 and still remains as one of the most outstanding in Barcelona, due to its creativity and original concepts. Escribà particularly stands out around Easter time and this is down to their beautiful and original Monas de Pascua. Their little chocolate designs are nothing short of works of art and are definitely worth trying this Semana Santa.

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La Pastissería Escribà, Barcelona

5) El Cachorro, Sevilla

This bakery and confectionery is a family business that, for almost six decades now, has traditionally made traditional Sevillian sweets. However during Holy week, they produce desserts such as pestiños fried in olive oil and bathed in honey of flowers, to give that old-fashioned touch to Holy Week as well as chocolate torrijas as a novelty. They follow ancestral recipes and use only the best raw ingredients in the market, to preserve the traditional qualities.

6) Pastelería Acueducto, Segovia

With a team of professionals under the command of Miguel Sanz, the Pastelería Acueducto offers its clients dedication and the best ingredients in each of its products. Continuing with its philosophy of combining tradition and modernity, this renowned confectionery boasts a variety of delicious desserts including yemas, buñuelos and empiñonados to all those who cross their doors during Semana Santa.

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La Pastelería Acueducto, Segovia

If you want to learn more about Spain’s fascinating cultures and traditions, be sure to follow the across spain travel chronicles blog!

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map locating the cities mentioned

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As Las Fallas festival is just around the corner, it is important to know where the best traditional telas, costumes, accessories and outfits can be bought. To make the search easier, we have come up with the lists of the top Valencian dressmakers in Valencia.

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Las Fallas Annual Parade

1) Alvaro Moliner

Alvaro Moliner Llorens is truly a leader in the traditional Valencian costume industry. Since 2006 his company has had the responsibility of creating the costume for the Fallera Mayor de Valencia at the opening of the Ninot Exhibition, which over the years has become one of the most anticipated parts of the event. The company has even become so successful that it has opened a store in Alicante to offer a specialised service for the Bonfires of San Juan. Despite having such a huge reputation for the best quality dresses, they offer an outlet in their store which means that almost anyone can own one of their breathtaking costumes at an affordable price. Better yet, the company has a deal with El Corte Inglés, making their products much more widely available. Álvaro Moliner reinvents himself every day, and continues to create innovative initiatives which are always promoted on social media.

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some of Alvaro Moliner’s beautiful pieces

2) Rafael Catalá

With origins dating back to 1770 and located in Albuixech (Valencia), Rafael Catalá is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of high quality fabrics, aimed at sectors such as haute couture, decoration, ornamentation and fashion in general. The company is arguably the biggest name in Valencian telas and for 8 years has been given the great opportunity to dress the Falleras Mayores of Valencia, who are some of the most important representatives during the Las Fallas festival. Their fabrics have dressed some of the most important people in the country, which even includes the nuptial costumes the Infanta Cristina and Princess Letizia. The company also makes a variety of beautiful customised products, which include upholstery, fabrics for decoration, curtains, sofas, fashion, luxury fabrics, silk fabrics and high quality fabrics.

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Las Falleras Mayores wearing beautiful Rafael Catalá dresses

3) Aguas de Marzo

The Aguas de Marzo store, dedicated to the making of Valencian regional costumes, is the result of the dedication of a lifetime to the Valencian clothing and a family tradition since 1948.  These two sisters and their time work tirelessly to deliver the highest quality products with unbeatable customer service. Each of their products is carefully prepared and handmade to perfection. They also have a wide range of the best fabrics and brands at their disposal. They primarily create Valencian costumes for women of the 18th and 19th century – but also cater to dance groups, for men from Xaragüell and Torrentí, children and even babies. As well as their stunning costumes, here you will also find a variety of accessories, including stockings, pololos, cuppers, petticoats, dressings, combs, shawls, blouses, pants, belts, vests, handkerchiefs, blankets, and hats. You can even order your own personalised shoes!

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Aguas de Marzo is known for its high quality customer service

4) Indumentaria Valenciana Pinazo

Founded in 1887 as a Valencian Fallas stage decorating company, Indumentaria Valencia will soon celebrate 55 years of dedication to Valencian clothing. The making of all of their costumes is done in an Artisan fashion and crafted to the highest quality. One advantage of this company is that they give you the option to purchase any costume you have rented from them. Their expertise in customised outfits mean that you can create the costume of your dreams, or you can rent one of their beautiful pre-made creations. Their products are well recognised for their high quality fabrics and components and stunning patterns. They also cater to traditional costumes for men and offer a variety of accessories which include dressings, combs, tablecloths and blankets.

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a customer having her tailor-made Pinazo dress fitted 

5) Indumentaria Valenciana Alan

Indumentaria Alan is a Valencian company dedicated to the sale and craftsmanship of traditional Valencian costumes, with more than 30 years of experience in the sector. Their professional and personalized treatment and advice is a one of the great things about shopping here, as well as good prices and the highest quality. Here, you can have suits and dresses tailored to suit your needs specifically, or you can buy one of their pre-designed outfits. They have clothing to suit men, women and children as well as all of those necessary accessories: dressings, combs, shoes, blankets, handkerchiefs, blankets, blouses, scarves, brooches, etc.

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the great variety of stunning fabrics on offer at Indumentaria Alan

6) Tejidos Dalila

Dalila was founded in 1948 by Salvador and Casilda. It is a purely family company with more than 60 years of experience, and today prides itself on its first-class customer service, highest quality products and unbeatable prices. They have maintained their family character while also adapting to the changing times over the years. It is currently the third generation of the family who dedicate their daily effort to the world of Valencian clothing and accessories. With experience and professionalism, they continue to offer the best advice both to those who are new to Valencian clothing, and those who already have extensive experience. Their products include dressings, complements, petticoats, fabrics, mantillas and a host of components of the Valencian costume.

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the beautiful window display at the Dalila store

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to follow the Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog for more posts about Spain’s most beautiful locations and rich culture. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us at across spain to find out more about our 2019 Las Fallas Packages.

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Valencia, the home of Las Fallas festival

As well as beautiful holiday destinations, rich culture and fascinating history, almost everyone knows Spain for its incredible fiesta culture. A whole variety of celebrations take place across the country all year round, meaning no matter what time of year you visit, there is more than likely a festival to take part in! Here we have listed some of the biggest and most popular Spanish fiestas throughout the year, to make your planning a little easier.

1) La Vijanera

Where? Silió, Molledo, Cantabria

When? The first Sunday of the year

This traditional festival was originally celebrated in a number of other areas in Cantabria, but today only the village of Silió has continued the traditions. With its origins in Roman traditions, this festival involves locals wearing lots of different masks, animal skins and brightly coloured clothes to play the roles of different symbolic characters in an open-air performance. It also includes a summary of the important events of the previous year called “Las Copas”, which are narrated sarcastically in verse. Finally, La Vijanera ends with the capture of the bear by “los zamarracos” (the star characters of the whole tradition), which is supposed to ward off bad spirits and bring in the new year with good energy. A more recent feature of the festival includes a photography competition, to find the best photos taken of the celebrations.

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the “zamarracos” in their costume

2) Jarramplas

Where? Piornal, Cáceres, Extremadura

When? 19th-20th January

The Jarramplas festival in Piornal involves a man dressed in a monster-like costume covered in colourful ribbons and a mask running around the streets while playing a drum. Meanwhile, local people bombard him with turnips. Jarramplas must for as long and as far as he can, and the festival only ends when he can’t take anymore. The origins of the festival are uncertain, however the eldery of Piornal often tell the story that Jarramplas was once a cattle thief, and villagers got their revenge by throwing vegetables at him. The most exciting moment of the festival is in the early hours between the 19th and 20th, when Jarramplas bangs his drum as the twelve strokes of midnight ring out and the shower of turnips is at its heaviest.

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Jarramplas being pelted with turnips

3) La Tamborrada

Where? San Sebastián, Basque Country

When? 20th January

San Sebastián’s most important festival, La Tamborrada begins at midnight on 20th January when crowds pack the Constitution Square, while the mayor raises the city’s flag to mark the start of 24 hours of non-stop drumming. During the festival more than 15,000 residents who form more than 100 bands actively take part. Not only is La Tamborrada the city’s largest party, it is also a symbol of what it means to be a Donostiarra (the name given to a person from San Sebastián) and a way for citizens to get together and celebrate their identity. This bizzare event dates back hundreds of years; when Napoleon’s army took over the city and French troops would march around banging their drums, when local women began to bang on their water buckets to mock them.

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bands gathered in Constitution Square

4) Carnival

Where? Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands

When? Late February, the week leading up to Lent

Although Carnival is generally celebrated nationwide, you will find the craziest parties in Tenerife’s capital; Santa Cruz. The Carnival celebrations held in Tenerife are potentially the biggest party in Europe, as they are very similar to those in the infamous Rio Carnival. The carnival is centred around pageants and contests – such as the crowning of the Carnival Queen – where girls in incredible sparkly costumes and feather headdresses take to the stage. Highlights of the Santa Cruz Carnival also include the Mogollones, (live street parties with Latin and salsa music) and the Grand Parade, full of extravagant floats and costumes.

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a Carnival Queen contestant in a magnficent dress

5) Las Fallas

Where? City of Valencia, Community of Valencia

When? 15th-19th March

Every year, the city of Valencia attracts thousands of visitors to celebrate the region’s largest festival, Las Fallas. The focus of the festival is the hundreds of giant paper-mache dolls called ninots (that have been carefully and beautifully created over months) which are placed around the city for people to admire. However, on the last day of Las Fallas, all of this hard work is undone as the ninots are set on fire! Attendees also have the chance to see the incredible firecracker displays which take place at 2pm at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento every day leading up to and during the festival, which create an amazing audio experience. Better yet, festival goers can also enjoy a variety of other activities such as bullfights, music, parades, paella contests, flower offerings, and beauty pageants around the city.

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a beautifully made ninot in Valencia

6) Wine Battle

Where? Haro, La Rioja

When? 29th June

Ever year on St. Peter’s Day, locals and visitors alike take part in the famous Wine Battle, just outside of the town of Haro (one of the most important wine-producing towns in Spain) in the Riscos de Bilibio hills. The unique event celebrates the saints of San Juan, San Felices and San Pedro. On the morning of the 29th everyone attends a Mass before heading to the hills, where the battle begins. To take part, you must arrive wearing all white with a red handkerchief around your neck, and the aim of the battle is to make sure everyone leaves drenched in the reddish-purple wine. A good idea is to bring a plastic container (like a jug or a bucket) with you so that you can collect some of the wine and take it home! The fight stops at noon, where the party continues back in Haro with street stalls, live music and dance.

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crowds during the winte battle

7) San Fermín

Where? Pamplona, Navarra

When? 6th-14th July

San Fermín is arguably one of Spain’s best-known festivals, as it is when the famous bull-running takes place! The festival kicks off at noon on the 6th of July with a firework display called el chupinazo. It is then followed by the bull-running (known as los encierros), where participants dress in all white with a red handkerchief tied around and are chased by the bulls through the streets of Pamplona. If you don’t fancy taking part in the running, it is also common for people to watch it take place from a balcony. Bullfights also take place every afternoon during the festival once los encierros have finished. However, this festival is not just all about the bulls, there are a variety of other activities organized by neighbourhoods, gastronomic clubs and sports clubs.  The meaning of the festival is to honour the city’s first bishop and patron saint, San Fermín.

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the bull running through the streets of Pamplona

8) La Tomatina

Where? Buñol, Community of Valencia

When? The last Wednesday of August

Often considered “the world’s biggest food fight”, up to 20,000 cram into the small town of Buñol to take part in La Tomatina, which involves participants throwing tonnes of tomatoes at each other. Before the fight officially starts there is also a challenge for one person to climb a greasy pole to try and reach the prized ham at the top. At 11am trucks deliver a huge amount of unripe tomatoes to the town, and then the beginning of the fight is signalled by the firing of water cannons. After exactly one hour of chaos, the chaos stops and the cleaning process begins. This crazy festival has been celebrated in Buñol every year since approximately 1945 in honour of the town’s patron saints, however nobody knows for sure the origins of the festival. There are many theories and old tales, from a local food fight among friends many years ago to once disgruntled townspeople attacking city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration.

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people throwing tomatoes at each other

9) Feria de Abril

Where? Sevilla, Andalucía

When? 2 weeks after Holy Week

For one week during the spring, life in Sevilla totally revolves around the April Fair. More than a thousand “casetas” (tents) are set up in the fairground area which become the second home of locals and visitors, a place where people come together to have fun and party until the early hours of the morning. The fiesta officially begins with the illumination of the city’s breath-taking main gateway, made of thousands of multi-coloured bulbs. Throughout the fair traditional Andalusian dress is worn, with men wearing typical farmworker clothing and women beautiful flamenco or gypsy dresses. At this lively event you will find horse and carriage parades, the famous bullfight, flamenco dancing in the streets and plenty of food and wine. The festival then closes with a spectacular firework display on the last day. The fair originiated in 1847 as a cattle fair, but over time the festive atmosphere took over the business side and it is now the main event in Sevilla’s social calendar.

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women in traditional Andalusian dress

10) El Colacho

When? Sunday after the Feast of Corpus Christi, mid-June

Where? Castrillo de Murcia, Burgos, Castilla y Leon

Once a year in the small town of Castrillo de Murcia, El Colacho (also known as the Baby Jumping festival) takes place. Recognised as one of the strangest ever festivals, babies born during the last year are laid on mattresses in the middle of the street. Then, in front of the excited crowd, a masked man dressed in red and yellow who represents the devil leap over the babies. Similar to a baptism, the ritual is believed to cleans the babies of sin and protect them from disease and misfortunate. Then, the babies are sprinkled with rose petals and return to their parents. The act dates back to the 1620s and is a blend of Catholic and Pagan rituals which is meant to represent triumph of good over evil. Traditionally it only included babies born in the town, but in recent year people from all over the world have come to have their child take part!

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man jumping over the babies during El Colacho

11) Festivals of the Moors and Christians

When? Usually late spring, 4th-6th May 2019

Where? Alcoy, Alicante, Community of Valencia

Every year, the Moorish occupation and Spanish re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula is celebrated throughout Southern Spain, however the most spectacular celebrations can be seen in the town of Alcoy. On the first day of the festival townsfolk take part in huge, colourful parades which weave through the streets. They spend a great deal of time putting their costumes together, with many people opting to dress as a Moor as their tribal dress is so colourful and exotic. Day two is St. George’s Day, where the religious aspects are remembered. The day ends with a beautiful firework display and the burning of some Valencian fallas. The most exciting part of the festival takes place on the last day, as there is a furious re-enactment battle. The two armies flood the streets for hours and depict the Moors seizing the castle, only for the Christians to later re-gain control and win the battle. The festival is based on true events which occurred over 700 years ago during a famous battle held in the city in 1276, between the Christian ruler and the Moorish captain Al Athrak.

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man dressed as a Moor on a horse

12) Ourense Carnivals

When? Lent/beginning of spring

Where? Ourense, Galicia

Some of the oldest and most unique and spectacular festivals (entroidos) in Galicia take place in the province of Ourense, in the towns of Xinzo de Limia, Verín and Laza. One of the highlights are the Peliqueiros, characters who take to the streets with song and dance dressed in bright costumes and elaborate masks. Each town has its own traditional characters and traditions, however Laza is one of the most unique. Here residents will take part in a flour battle, as well as throwing ants which have been covered in vinegar (to make them angry and bite) at each other! The festivals also have a large focus on food and drink, so make sure to try some typical Galician gastronomy while you’re there. The origins of the Carnival are linked to celebrations marking the arrival of spring.

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the Peliqueiros running through the street

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to follow the Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog for more posts about Spain’s most beautiful locations and rich culture. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about our 2019 Festival Packages.

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map locating all of the festivals

 

Spain is not usually a place that is associated with skiing – rather countries such as France, Austria and Switzerland. However, due to the Pyrenees Mountains ideally located on Spain’s border and the high Sierra Nevada in the southern region, there are in fact a variety of snow sport locations to choose from! Here are five of Spain’s best ski resorts definitely worth visiting this winter.

1) Aramón Cerler (Huesca-Aragon)

For the third consecutive year, Aramón Cerler has been chosen as the Best Spanish Ski Resort at the World Ski Resorts awards! The Aramón Cerler resort is the highest Spanish ski resort in the Pyrenees, reaching 2,630 metres at its famous Gallinero summit. Situated in the Benasque Valley, the resort is surrounded by extraordinary natural beauty with more than 60 peaks over 3,000 metres high. The resort is divided into 3 areas which contain 56 slopes of each different level, meaning there is a slope to suit everyone depending on their experience. Cerler is also very family friendly, with zones specifically designed for kids’ activities. Other winter activities that guests can enjoy here are Nordic dog sleighs, tobogganing, snowshoe routes and snowboarding.

The après-ski activities at this resort are equally as great. If you are looking for a party, you will love Cafetería Remáscaro, where there is live music from DJs every single weekend. Remáscaro also offers great breakfasts and meals, and even mojitos and other cocktails. There are also plenty of après-ski activities in the beautiful surrounding Benasque Valley. Be sure to visit some of the local villages, try tapas and other local gastronomy in one of its many restaurants, spend a day shopping or have a drink and enjoy live music in a local bar.

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Cerler Resort

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Cerler Snowpark

2) La Molina and Masella (Girona-Catalonia)

Located in the Pyrenees Mountains and just 150km from Barcelona, twin resorts La Molina and Masella together form the Alp 2500 resort. They sit side by side and between them offer more than 130km of slope runs. La Molina is actually Spain’s oldest ski resort and home to the country’s first ski lift, which was installed in 1943. It is home to a large terrain park, and with easier runs, it is the ideal resort for beginners as well as snowboarders. If you are looking for something more challenging, Masella – situated on the Tosa d’Alp Mountain – is more popular with advanced skiers due to its amount of zigzagging downhill runs.

Thanks to the network of lights which illuminate Masella’s 13 main slopes, skiers can enjoy some nocturnal skiing. Masella is actually known as the capital of night skiing in the Pyrenees! There are also many non-ski snow activities available, which include snow tubing, snowshoeing, gondola rides, snowmobile rides and more. In terms of après-ski activities, this resort is definitely more relaxed and more suited to those who enjoy a quieter evening. Guests can relax in the Chill Out area, as well as enjoying a delicious meal in one of the resort’s restaurants or one of those in the surrounding area.

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Alp 2500 Resort

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Night Skiing at Alp 2500 Resort

3) Formigal (Huesca-Aragon)

The Formigal ski resort is located just 170km from the city of Zaragoza in the Tena Valley of the Aragon Pyrenees, close to the French border. The resort provides over 140km of slopes, with a range of difficulty levels to suit any type of skier. However, as a quieter, more laid-back resort; Formigal is particularly favoured by families and beginners because of how well it facilitates younger skiers. The resort is home to a Snow Garden for children, where they can take their first ski lessons with seasoned professionals.

Other activities in the Tena Valley include walking routes, tobogganing, animal observation and even spa treatments. Although still a resort enjoyed by families, the après-ski activities and nightlife here are second to none. If you want to experience a true Spanish fiesta in the Pyrenees Mountains, you will love Formigal’s après-ski bars. The Marchica bar in this resort is currently considered the best après-ski bar in Spain and one of the best in Europe, with parties beginning every night at 5pm and going on until the sun goes down. Also be sure to try some true Spanish gastronomy in the little villages of the Tena Valley.

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Formigal Resort

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Marchica Bar, Après-ski at Formigal

4) Baqueira-Beret (Lleida-Catalonia)

Spain’s biggest and most popular ski resort is located in the Val d’Aran area of the Pyrenees, around 200km north of Barcelona. This extremely impressive resort offers over 80km of ski runs to accommodate for any level, and even includes a number of black runs to challenge even the most experienced skier. Skiing at Baquiera-Beret is also known to be a favourite hobby of members of the Spanish royal family. As well as traditional skiing, winter sports lovers can also enjoy dog-sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, cross-country skiing and more.

At Baqueira-Beret, the après-ski activities are considered some of the best in the country and there is something to suit any taste. If you want to experience its glamourous nightlife, you can enjoy a bottle of champagne on the terrace of the Moët Winter Lounge, the most luxurious part of the whole resort. Surrounding the resort you’ll also find many traditional villages to visit, filled with local architecture and beautiful Romanesque churches such as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lleida and the Church of Sant Llorenç.

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Baqueira-Beret Resort

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Moët Winter Lounge at Baqueira-Beret

5) Navacerrada (Community of Madrid)

As this resort is located just 50km from Madrid, Navacerrada is very popular with day-trippers coming from the capital. The resort is split into two sections: the upper part which is for intermediate and advanced skiers, and the lower part which is suited to beginners and those who prefer an easier run. This resort also offers guests a ski jump and a slalom run. Due to its smaller size in comparison to other resorts in Spain, there are almost no queues for the lifts if you go during the week. However as it enjoys some of the best skiing conditions and an abundance of untouched powder, it can get quite busy at the weekend. After you’ve spent the day skiing, there are many towns and places in the surrounding areas which are also worth visiting, such as: La Granja, Segovia, El Escorial, Rascafría, Fuenfría, etc.

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Navacerrada Resort

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View of Navacerrada Mountains from Segovia

6) Sierra Nevada (Granada-Andalucía)

Moving towards the south of Spain, Sierra Nevada is located between the city of Granada in the Andalucía region and the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the only few Spanish ski resorts which is not located in the Pyrenees and also happens to be Europe’s southernmost ski resort. The resort offers over 100km of alpine ski runs, which cater for all levels, from beginner right through to the most experienced skiers. The ski school here provides beginners with lessons from expert staff, as well as snow gardens where children can play and begin learning to ski. Other snow activities here include snowshoeing, guided snow tours and snowmobile rides.

The resort’s idyllic location means that it is just a short drive from the Mediterranean coast, making it one of the few places in the world where you can ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon! Better yet, after a day of skiing, visitors can unwind with a treatment at the resort’s spa. Here you will also find a variety of cafés and restaurants, as well as some hotels in the surrounding area. If you have some free time amongst all of the skiing, a day trip to the historic city of Granada is highly recommended to experience a true taste of Andalusian culture and gastronomy.

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Sierra Nevada Resort

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View of Sierra Nevada Mountains from Granada

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to follow the Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog for more posts about Spain’s most beautiful locations and rich culture.

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Map Locating Ski Resorts

Spain has always been well known for its famous sweets and desserts. From small, family-owned pastry shops to modern, award-winning chocolate shops, you are likely to pass a floor-to-ceiling window display of a variety of tasty desserts in almost any area. Better yet, almost every major holiday has its own accompanying sweet in the pastry shop in Spain, and Christmas is no exception. Whether it be turrón, polvorones or mazapanes, don’t miss the chance to taste one of these incredible local products during your trip to Spain this festive season. To help you out, here are the best pastry and turrón shops in Madrid and Barcelona.

Madrid
1) La Mallorquina
Located on the corner or Calle Mayor in Puerta del Sol, La Mallorquina is often considered the most famous pastry shop in Madrid. It is also one of the oldest, having been in business for more than 100 years. The name of the bakery means “the woman from Mallorca” in English, founded as a café by Mallorcan man Juan Ripoll in the mid-1800s. The shop has two stories and a large seating area upstairs where you can relax and watch the passers-by in Sol, while enjoying a delicious pastry with a coffee. The best-selling products here are the Neapolitan cream and the chocolate palm, but during Christmas you will also find “el Roscón de Reyes” and buñelos.

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La Mallorquina, Madrid

2) El Riojano
Also Located in Madrid’s Calle Mayor is El Riojano, a bakery opened by Riojan man Don Dámaso de la Maza in 1855. Before opening his own store, Don Dámosa worked as Queen Isabella II’s pastry chef, and to this day El Riojano still serves pastries to the Spanish royal family! Despite its small size, the Elizabethan era décor along with the showcases full of scrumptious pastries will be sure to catch the eye of any visitor. It also boasts an array of seasonal Christmas specialities, which include turrón, buñelos, el Rosco de Reyes, torrijas, polvorones and much more.

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El Riojano, Madrid

3) Casa Mira
Located just off Plaza Mayor, Casa Mira is the perfect places to go at this time of year as its most famous product is its classic turrón. Casa Mira was founded by Valencian man Luis Mira in 1855 – who walked from his hometown of Jijona in the province of Valencia to Plaza Mayor in Madrid to sell his homemade turrón out of a cart, and eventually ended up serving it to Queen Isabella II! In the days leading up to Christmas it not uncommon to find hours-long queues of people wishing to stock up on their famous speciality, so make sure you get there early!

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Casa Mira, Madrid

4) Antigua Pastelería del Pozo
Located in Calle del Pozo near Sol, Antigua Pastelería del Pozo was founded almot 190 years ago, making it the oldest Pastry shop in Madrid! It’s called Antigua for a reason, as everything from the wooden panels that cover the exterior to the old fashioned till on the counter. Even better, everything is made on-site in underground ovens! Anyone who visits this unique bakery should be sure to try their “Roscón de Reyes”, a typical dessert on Three Kings Day. The difference here is that most bakeries only sell it during the Christmas period, but Pozo sells it all year long making it arguable one of the best in Madrid!

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Antigua Pastelería del Pozo, Madrid

 

Barcelona
1) Fargas
Located in Barcelona’s Carrer del Pi, The first Farga pastry shop was founded in 1957 in Barcelona by Don Jesus Farga, which has led to 55 years of experience and more than 80 establishments under his two brands, Farga and Farggi. What makes Farga so special is its unique collections of boxes of chocolates and cookies, which vary depending on the season. Farga’s most important Christmas product is its turrón, which can be bought in a variety of different flavours as well as in an assortment in one of their famous boxes. A perfect Christmas gift!

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Fargas, Barcelona

2) Torrons Vicens
Starting off as a family business in Lérida in 1775, Torrons Vicens hold a long tradition of Nougat. The company’s aim is to keep the the artisanal, traditional essence of nougat as well as researching new recipes and products to keep producing new, updated products. They have almost every type of turrón you can imagine, making it the perfect Christmas gift!

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Torrons Vicens, Barcelona

3) La Pastisseria
Although a lot more recent to the Barcelona pastry scene, La Pastisseria is already famous for its incredible sweet products. Owned by Josep María Rodríguez Guerola – who was once a winner of the “Pastry World Cup” – this modern, minimalist pastelería offers a wide variety of unique cakes, biscuits, pastries desserts and more. They also boast an extensive Christmas range, which this year includes a wide variety of different flavour turrones, little Christmas decorated sweets, edible Christmas figures and the famous “Roscon del Rey”. With an abundance of highly complementary reviews already, this place is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Barcelona.

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La Pastiseria, Barcelona

4) La Pastisseria Escribà
The Escribà Pastry Shop is considered to be one of the best bakeries in the city. It has multiple stores located around Barcelona, where you will find an assortment of cakes, sweets and pastries which are all unique. This pastry shop was founded in 1906 and still remains as one of the most outstanding in Barcelona, due to its creativity and original concepts. At Christmas, Escribà offer a range of seasonal goods, which include their own turrón and marzipan.

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La Pastisseria Escribà, Barcelona

If you are in Madrid are Barcelona this Christmas be sure to check out some of these delicious places – but hurry – the closer to Christmas it gets, the busier they are!

If you enjoy learning about Spain’s rich culture, be sure to follow the Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog for more posts.

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Map locating Madrid and Barcelona