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Archive for February, 2015

algarve is mostly linked to the peak summer months, when the resorts are bustling and the beautiful algarve beaches are packed to the rafters with happy holidaymakers. people tend to think that algarve is only recommended during the high-season, where the people has guaranteed of warm and sunny weather. but in fact, some of the best months in algarve are the ´out of season´ months, when the crowds is shortened and all that the region has to offer can be enjoyed at a much more relaxed pace with better temperatures for sightseeing and activities.

march and april in algarve are lovely months because all the spring flowers are out and most of the landscape is green and fresh. the maximum recorded temperatures during the high season fluctuate between 45 °c and 48°c. in this case, during spring, the temperature is normally 20 -25 °c and although there may still be a shower of rain, it is normally sunny and the area reveals a blue sky. it has a great beach weather but also still good for getting out into the countryside and exploring. it is also still quite calm, so this is perfect for getting around without too much ´traffic´.

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     algarve and its nature during spring time

the city

algarve, translated into ´the west´, is the southern region of portugal. the region has its administrative centre in faro, where both the region´s international airport and one of the best-known public universities of portugal. the area is currently even the third richest region in portugal, just after lisbon and madeira. the algarve is divided into sixteen municipalities which from the west are: aljezur, vila do bispo, lagos, portimão, lagao, monchique, silves, albufeira, faro, loulé, são brás de alportel, olhão, tavira, vila real de santo antónio, castro marim and alcoutim. the algarve covers almost 5000 square kilometres and there are about 450.000 permanent inhabitants. time by time people choose to stay in the area and that is one of the seasons why there are a lot of cottages of tourists who would love to go back now and then.

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activities

The main question is how to discover the beauty of algarve during spring. what makes the area so beautiful this time of year comparing with the high season? in spring algarve starts to come alive again after the winter. as april turns into may, the countryside comes alive with a profusion of wild flowers. with these mild temperatures, spring is very popular with golfers and those partaking in other activities.

hiking
lagos, the wild and beautiful side of algarve, reveals itself to be a land of orange tree groves, quit gold-sand beaches, and a searching sense of history. lagos is well located for exploring both westwards along the coastlines of the natural park and into the rugged hills of the little-known interior, a timeless area offering great hiking. in spring, these landscapes are all the more beguiling thanks to the astounding variety of wild flowers which flourish thee. there are many hiking routes which will show you a wide selection of algarve´s flora in all its glory. with a guide or with the help of a map; make sure you are informed of all the secret places algarve has to offer and make sure you do not miss anything during your walk!

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especially the coastline of algarve has a lot to offer for the outdoor enthusiastics among us

mountain biking
mountain bike hiring is extremely popular in the algarve, with residents and tourist, so there are lots of places to hire mountain bikes. the algarve benefits from consistently good weather, so it is easy to get out and see the area by bike. in this case, especially the months in spring are better to explore the towns and countryside by bike as you get a nice breeze to keep you cool, compared to the sweltering heat in summer.

golf
put your golf skills to the test during the algarve springtime! the algarve is considered to be the best golf destination in europe. currently there are more than 30 courses spread along its 150 km of coastline, and there are still several more under construction. thanks to the climate, the algarve offers golf courses with perfectly manicured fairways and ´greens´ in the perfect conditions in which you can play at your best during the winter and spring. the main season of golf in the algarve is from late fall to late spring, because the summers are often too warm for the players, and the winter/spring allows it because of the soft temperature.

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the spring golf tournament in san lorenzo is one of the most famous golf tournaments in algarve

water sports
lagos and west coast algarve offer the best conditions for all kind of water sports, like surfing, wakeboarding, kitesurfing and windsurfing. no other place in europa allows regularly surfing with great waves in the morning and kiting steady wind in the afternoon. if it is flat and calm, the water is perfect for wakeboarding. when the weather creates the perfect wind, you also have the possibility to go (wind)surfing of kitesurfing. not only the extreme sports is a recommendation, sailing could be a great option for the ones who enjoys it more.

theme parks
as a fabulous family holiday destination, the algarve as a theme park to suit everyone. water parks, marine parks, zoos – all are great days out that young and old will enjoy. during your visit in spring you have all the possible advantages: no heath, no long queues and still perfect weather to refresh yourself. the biggest attraction of all is zoomarine with its fantastic marine animal presentations, particularly the dolphins. you can even swim in the pool with the animals with a so called ´dolphin interaction programme´. the theme park ´slide&slash´ is open from april and is also one of the leading algarve attractions and should definitely be on your list of things to do in portugal.

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algarve is definitely accessible for all ages

and of course…

relaxing! next to all the activities algarve has to offer, the best ingredients for a perfect holiday is your time to lean back, enjoy the atmosphere and forget about the rest. no other place like algarve gives you beaches you have never seen before and the feeling like you are nowhere close to home. people-watching, snoozing, meandering-  the most relaxing holidays are all about simple pleasures.

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open to the sea and sheltered by soft hills, the city of san sebastián (donostia in the basque language) is one of the most famous tourist destinations in spain. its devotion to sustainable development and culture has not only transformed it into a leader among european cities but has also earned san sebastián the designation of europe´s cultural capital in 2016. the city is the perfect destination for everybody. whether you love nature, culture, sports or are looking for an extra-ordinary culinary experience- san sebastián has something for everyone!

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san sebastián´s picturesque location makes it one of the most popular destinations in spain

 

nature
located within only 30 km of the french border, san sebastián is part of the basque autonomous community in northern spain. beaches make up an important part of san sebastián´s identity. the iconic concha beach with its white sand and spectacular landscape make it one of the most photographed, most visited and overall the second top city beach in the world according to the travel and leisure magazine. san sebastián´s many parks and gardens together with the hills surrounding the city are considered to be the green lungs of the city and are a big part of the city´s sustainable image. even more beautiful landscapes can be found beyond the borders of san sebastián. the coastline stretches out to the east and west of the city with its ever-shifting line of steep cliffs and beautiful beaches, an extraordinary collection of lighthouses, and little fishing villages. taking the inland route south will lead you into the green heart of the region with its deep valleys, rivers, hilly countryside and curved roads.

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the green heart of the region and its beautiful coastline beyond the borders of san sebastián

european capital of culture 2016

the candidature slogan “waves of energy” is san sebastián´s message that people and citizens are the real driving force behind transformations and changes in the world and play the leading role in the search for solutions to new global challenges. the designation of the european capital of culture gives san sebastián the opportunity to undertake sustainable and strategic projects aimed at cultural development, social cohesion and european awareness. the programme of over sixtly cultural and leisure activities throughout 2016 will complement the city’s already extensive and varied cultural attractions and more than ever make san sebastián a perfect destination for cultural tourism enthusiasts.

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cultural highlights
museums, galleries, festivals, architecture, sculptures- san sebastián has it all. stroll through the narrow streets of the old town and be amazed by the city´s oldest buildings, such as the 16th century san vicente church or san sebastián´s old city hall. placa de la constitution lies in the heart of the old town and is nowadays the setting for all major local festivities and a popular location for locals as well as tourists to enjoy basque culinary highlights. every september the national and international film industry comes to san sebastián to be part of the zinmaldida, the international film festival, one of the biggest and most prestige of its kind in europe.

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a stroll through san sebastián´s old town

 

the basque cuisine

a total of 16 michelin stars held by local restaurants are proof that san sebastián is one of the leading culinary destinations in the world. not only the famous pintxos, little culinary bites traditionally secured with a toothpick or skewer, but also dedication to top-quality fresh, local and seasonal products are part of the basque food culture. enjoy a culinary short break in san sebastián with basque classics, new creations and a glass of locally produced cider or txakolí wine.

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experience the famous basque cuisine with some pintxos, cider or wine

 

sports
travelers looking for a more active holiday destination will not be disappointed by san sebastián´s healthy lifestyle and variations of outdoor sports. zurriola beach has long become a popular destination for surfers from all around the world, hosting some of the greatest national and international surf competitions and events. all kinds of other water activities, running, cycling, hiking or roller-skating are also hugely popular equally among san sebastián´s inhabitants as well as visitors. in addition to the well-known types of sports, the basque region is also home to some of its own sports disciplines such as basque pelota, a traditional racket game or basque rural sports, such as wood chopping or stone lifting.

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surfing is one of san sebastián´s most popular outdoor sports

 

how to get around
spanish airlines offer daily flight connections from barcelona as well as madrid to san sebastián. bilbao, which is well connected to the majority of european cities, is only about an hour bus ride away from san sebastián. the train station in the city center is very well connected to numerous spanish as well as international cities, such as paris or lisbon. in the city itself a good public transport system makes it easy for people to get around even without a car.

for more information on san sebastián please visit http://www.sansebastianturismo.com. and for more information on tours to this destination and tips for hotels and transportation, do not hesitate to contact us. we will be happy to assist you to make sure you make the best of your time in san sebastián or anywhere else in the basque region.

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discover the secrets of the most beautiful spanish territories and the reasons that you should visit when you get a chance. here are 10 natural parks across spain which are a must-do for all travellers who like to be outside and enjoy being in a natural environment.

 -the largest and oldest national park of the canary island-

teide national park, canary islands

its landscape revolves around the largest volcano in spain: the teide, which last erupted in 1798. the volcanic cones and the lava outcrops form an extraordinary conjunction of colours and shapes, and are home to a wide diversity of flora of great biological value.

the teide national park was created in 1954 in order to protect this spectacular landscape of great ecological value which lies at the foot of the colossal volcano. the teide is the volcanic formation located on an ancient and gigantic cauldron-shaped depression, formed by two semi-calderas separated by the roques de garcía rock formations. plant and animal species that are unique in the world live in the shadow of the teide. there is an astonishing diversity of plants: teide broom, red echium, blue echium, theguanche rose (bencomia extipulata), flixweed, rosalillo de cumbre (pterocephalus lasiospermus),silver thistle (stemmacantha cynaroides)… the most important species in the park are the invertebrates. over 700 types of insects have been recorded, of which 50% are endemic to the area. there are some species of reptiles (such as the tenerife lizard) and birds (egyptian vulture, sparrow hawks, lesser kestrels, red kite), mammals are scarce, the most common of which are the mouflon, rabbits and five species of bat.

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discover the secrets of the most beautiful spanish territories and the reasons that you should visit when you get a chance. here are 10 natural parks across spain which are a must-do for all travellers who like to be outside and enjoy being in a natural environment.

 -the largest and oldest national park of the canary island-

teide national park, canary islands

its landscape revolves around the largest volcano in spain: the teide, which last erupted in 1798. the volcanic cones and the lava outcrops form an extraordinary conjunction of colours and shapes, and are home to a wide diversity of flora of great biological value.

the teide national park was created in 1954 in order to protect this spectacular landscape of great ecological value which lies at the foot of the colossal volcano. the teide is the volcanic formation located on an ancient and gigantic cauldron-shaped depression, formed by two semi-calderas separated by the roques de garcía rock formations. plant and animal species that are unique in the world live in the shadow of the teide. there is an astonishing diversity of plants: teide broom, red echium, blue echium, theguanche rose (bencomia extipulata), flixweed, rosalillo de cumbre (pterocephalus lasiospermus),silver thistle (stemmacantha cynaroides)… the most important species in the park are the invertebrates. over 700 types of insects have been recorded, of which 50% are endemic to the area. there are some species of reptiles (such as the tenerife lizard) and birds (egyptian vulture, sparrow hawks, lesser kestrels, red kite), mammals are scarce, the most common of which are the mouflon, rabbits and five species of bat.

0 (more…)

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every year in late february the streets in some of spain’s most prominent cities and destinations turn into the stage for colorful and vibrant street festivities. carnival in spain is full of smiles, fun, music and most importantly spectacular costumes and street parades. the period leading up to the start of the 40 days of lent is a time to celebrate and enjoy the atmosphere of high spirits and the feeling that everybody can be whoever or whatever they have ever dreamed about being. the word “carnival” is believed to derive from the words carne (meat) and vale (farewell), a reference to the upcoming abstinence from meat and certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence during the days of lent. because of the importance of catholic holidays in spain, the celebration of carnival, an important part of the religious calendar, is widespread throughout the country. however, the festivities in cadiz, tenerife, sitges, la palma and badajoz are no doubt in a class of their own.

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experience the spanish carnival spirit during celebrations all over the country

cadiz

every year the laid-back atmosphere of this beautiful city on the andalusian coast is suspended for one week to host one of spain’s biggest carnival celebrations. the focus of cadiz’ carnival is on music. wherever you go in the city, streets are filled with a variety of different music groups performing songs, most of them full of irony and social criticism. these songs satirize everything from pop stars to politicians and their catchy tunes bring fun and laughter into the streets of cadiz. carnival season 2015: Febuary, 12th to 22nd for the full event calendar, please visit: www.guiadecadiz.com

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carnival in cadiz is all about music

tenerife

tenerife is known for spectacular landscapes and luxurious resorts, but also for its up to three weeks long celebration of carnival. tenerife’s carnival with its grand parades, spectacular floats, performing bands, brazilian-style ensembles and thousands of people in costumes is only beaten by rio de janeiro as the top world destination for celebrating carnival. be sure to head to santa cruz de tenerife to enjoy what is often considered to be one of the world´s most important annual festivals. watch the colorful parades starring the candidates for the carnival queen election in spectacular costumes that take months to design and make and sometimes weigh more than 200 kilograms. it is sometimes easy to miss the contestant under all the feathers, beads and satin. election of the carnival queen 2015: February 11th for the full event calendar, please visit: www.carnavaldetenerife.com

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the carnival queen in her elaborate costume

sitges

about 40km south of barcelona, the carnival celebrations in sitges belong to the most outstanding events in the catalan calendar. up to 300,000 visitors come to sitges during carnival season every year to enjoy electrifying parties with fancy clothes, feathers, sequins and plenty of skin. sitges has a large lgtb community and during carnival you will see some of the most glamorous drag shows and amazing parades that show off decorated carriages and cross dressers in some of the boldest, brightest costumes you have ever seen. carnival season 2015: February, 12th to 18th  for the full event calendar, please visit: www.visitsitges.com

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find some of the most extra-ordinary costumes in sitges and enjoy its colorful nightlife

la palma

the highlight of la palma’s carnival celebrations, “los indianos”, is celebrated on carnival monday in the capital of the island, santa cruz de palma. this special festivity celebrates the return of the “indianos”, those who left la palma between the 16th and 20th century to migrate to south america. women wear white dresses combined with their finest jewelry while men wear white linen suits and traditional panama hats. popular accessories include straw hats, silk shawls, wrist watches, cigars and old leather suitcases as symbols of the success of their ancestors’ venture. cuban music fills the streets of santa cruz and white powder is thrown all around the city and on the re-enacting “indianos”. dia de los indianos 2015: february, 16th 

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throwing white powder is traditionally part of the carnival celebrations in la palma

badajoz

this beautiful city close to the border to portugal hosts one of the most important and famous carnival festivals in spain. watch the well-known group parade where people from all over the provice participate in to show off their colorful and original customes completed by sophisticated choreographies and music tunes from the street bands contest. carvival season 2015: February, 13th to 17th   for the full event calendar, please visit: www.aytobadajoz.es

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thousands of people come to badajoz to enjoy the famous carnival parades

there are numerous other carnival festivities all around spain, all of them full of fun and carnival spirit and guaranteed to make you smile. buy a costume or mask and celebrate spanish carnival with us!

for more information on carnival in spain please visit http://www.spain.info. and for more information on tours to these destinations and tips for hotels and transportation, do not hesitate to contact us. we will be happy to assist you to make sure you have a great time during all the carnival festivities around spain.

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