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Archive for November, 2017

Christmas is coming closer and cities in Spain are getting ready for this festive time already. This worldwide known and celebrated event is the most important time for the majority of Spaniards. Due to their focus on religion people are very passionate about Christmas and have many traditions and important dates during this time.

Christmas cover

Source: Madrid Easy

Typical rituals and tradition

Spanish people have lots of different traditions, rituals and celebrations during Christmas time.

Christmas markets: Christmas markets are very popular in Spain, therefore every larger city has at least one during advent time. With lots of decorations and lights they are worth a visit. People go there to buy piles of fruits, flowers, marzipan and other sweets, candles, decorations and hand-made gifts. Two of the most famous are the market in Plaza Mayor, in Madrid and Fira de Santa Llucía in Barcelona.

christmas 1

Source: Time Out

Christmas village: Like the Christmas tree, the display of Bethlehem and the crib has a high importance for Spanish people. Every Spaniard, celebrating Christmas has one in them home and in Madrid, at the squares Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, they put up huge cribs which are displayed to the public.

Winter wonderland: In Barcelona, the theme park Portaventure turns into a Winter wonderland in Christmas time and you will even be able to watch ice shows, go to Christmas festivals and Christmas Parades.

christmas 2

Source: Portaventura

Christmas lights: What would be Christmas without beautiful decoration and colourful lights? The cities in Spain put on a lot of wonderful lights on the main roads and squares to make them shine. You can get the perfect Christmas lights experience when you go with the Christmas Tour Bus in Madrid. It drives in the evening and passes by all the main places which are decorated and lightened up.

Food: Even if you are not the biggest Christmas fan, you will enjoy Spain during this time. The food they serve for Christmas and the sweets they eat during this time are even richer and sweeter than usually. The biggest family meals take place on Christmas Eve and on the 6th of December (Three Kings Day). Typical dishes on these days include roasted lamb, roasted pig, various seafood soups, salad, and any kind of tapas. Traditional sweets are Turrón (almond nougat), marzipan, glacé fruits, mantecados (traditional powdery sweets), Roscón de Reyes (a large ring-shaped bun eaten on January 6th).

christmas 3

Source: Pura Aventura

Calendar of Christmas time:

December the 8th – Immaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) is the official beginning of Christmas time and is a public holiday in Spain.

December the 21st – It is the shortest day of the year and gets celebrated with Hogueras, which are bonfires.

December the 22nd – The 22nd of December is the due date of the draw of the big Christmas lottery. The first prize is called El Gordo, the fat one. On that day everybody is sitting in front of the TV with crossed fingers.

December the 24th – Noche Buena, Christmas Eve is celebrated with friends and the family. People come together to get drinks and dinner. Some kids already get a first present from Santa Clause.

December the 25th – On Christmas Day traditionally families come together and have lunch.

December the 28th – Santos Inocentes, Holy Innocents day is like April Fools’ Day. People try to trick each other with stories and jokes.

December the 31st –Nochevieja, the New Year’s Eve is celebrated big in Spain. The best places to be are definitely Madrid at the square Puerta del Sol and in Barcelona at the square in front of the fountain Fuente de Montjuïc. At midnight there is a special ritual: 12 strokes before midnight everybody starts eating grapes, one per stroke, if you fulfil that successfully, it means you have good luck in the New Year. At 12 o’clock a big firework starts and everybody drinks champagne and kisses at midnight.

christmas 4

Source: Tilllate

January the 1st – Nearly the whole country sleeps on that day and needs rest after the big celebration. It is public holiday in the whole country.

January the 5th – Processions are held all over Spain in the evening and sweets are thrown from the floats to all the people who come out to watch.

January the 6th – Día de los Reyes Magos, the Feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings Day, the day when the 3 Kings arrived in Bethlehem to bring presents to baby Jesus. On this day the long waiting has an end, finally the kids get their gifts in the morning. The whole family and friends get together to have a big lunch and sit together for drinks.

christmas 5

Source: El Estímulo

Not only Spain, but also Portugal has a lot to offer during Christmas time. Lisbon is the perfect example, it is as beautiful as Madrid and Barcelona during this time and all 3 cities are definitely worth visiting.

Are you ready for Christmas? Do not hesitate to contact us for further details about our Christmas packages for Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.

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Opera in Spain

Spain is famous for the art of opera. A lot of places here offered inspiration for compositors and nowadays cities provide the perfect features and precious venues for the performance of national and international plays. If you are passionate about these classical music performances you should definitely visit the venues of Sevilla, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Bilbao.

opera 1st pic modificado

Source: Spain Premium Magazine

Sevilla:

Some of the most famous interprets of internationally popular operas have been inspired by this beautiful Andalusian city, therefore it is also known as the “city of opera”. The character Don Juan Tenori, for example was created by Beaumarchais and influenced the operas of Mozart and Rossini.

Teatro de la Maestranza

Presenting the first performance in 1991 and hosting the Sevilla expo one year later, the theatre Teatro de la Maestranza gained a lot of cultural and touristic importance for the city. The programme does not only include worldwide known operas, but also symphonic concerts, soloist recitals, international stars, classical ballet, modern dance, flamenco and chamber music. In the year 2005 the building got refurnished and equipped with the most modern techniques to assure the high quality of the performance. Due to the renovation it is nowadays considered as a state-of-the-art theatre.

Teatro de la Maestranza sevilla

Source: a.i

Barcelona:

The capital of Catalunya, Barcelona is famous around the world due to a wide variety of different offers. One of it, is it’s exceptional architecture, which is also reflected in its theatres Gran Teatre del Liceu and Palau de la Musica Catalana.

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Built in 1847 by the architect Miquel Garriga i Roca, it is one of the oldest and most important opera house worldwide. Reconstructed with the old plans after a big fire in 1994, it is now certified with ISO-14001 standards for the environmental Management system. You can visit it during a tour or enjoying one of the famous operas, dance performances or symphonic music.

Palau de la Musica Catalana

The incomparable theatre Palau de la Musica Catalana was designed in Catalan Art nouveau. Marked by sculptures, mosaic, stained glass and ironwork it looks like a magical music box when daylight is shining through the coloured windows. It received the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 because of its stunning design.

Palau de la Musica Catalana barcelona

Source: Ticketea

Madrid:

Inaugurated in 1850, the Teatro Real got built under the order of Queen Isabel II and is know the most important place for operas in the capital of Spain.

Teatro Real

With the practical situation in the city centre, it has one of the most beautiful locations in Madrid, between the Plaza de Isabel II and Plaza de Oriente in front of the Royal Palace. It has a special importance in Madrid, protecting and promoting the Spanish artistic heritage with its programme including national and international operas, music and dance shows.

Teatro_Real_de_Madrid

Source: Wikipedia

Valencia:

The coastal city in the east of Spain, offers a combination of historic old town and buildings constructed in contemporary art. The theatre Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is one of its modern flagships.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia

The Valician architecht Santiago Calatrava designed the theatre in 2005. The idea of Santiago was to reflect water and the sea in a modern style. The building has floating structures surrounded by more than 60.000 square meters of gardens, pathways and 11.000 square meters of water in reflecting pools.

El_Palau_de_les_Arts_Reina_Sofía,_Valenciaç

Source: Wikipedia

Bilbao:

Situated in the North of Spain, the capital of the Basque country is known for the Bilbao Association of Friends of the Opera (ABAO-OLBE), which features every year an opera season programme including one of the most famous international performances. The main venue for operas in Bilbao is the Euskalduna conference centre, located in the heart of the city.

Euskalduna conference centre

The building was opened in 1999 and designed by the architects Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios. It won the Enric Miralles award for architecture at the 6th Spanish Architecture Biennial in 2001. Besides operas organized by the association ABAO-OLBE it also hosts different economic, business, academic, political, institutional, social and cultural events and orchestras.

bilbao opera

Source: BiDC

Spain is always a good idea, when you are interested in musical culture. The cities above perfectly combine opera performances with the great architecture of the theatres.

With the recently launched opera packages of us you will have the ultimate experience of the most important sites including one of the best operas.

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