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Archive for December, 2020

Bilbao is a mid-sized city situated along the shores of the Cantabrian Sea, 400km north Madrid, in the heart of the Basque country. Since the mid ‘80s, Bilbao has undergone a complete transformation, from a traditional industrial city to a modern city of services, more and more focused on tourism. Let us introduce you to a beautiful and dynamic city that will for sure fulfil your needs for MICE services.

The city

Bilbao is a cultural, gastronomic and leisure destination with a fantastic added value: its authentic and spectacular natural surroundings. Green landscapes of hills and mountains, forests, large sandy unspoiled beaches, dramatic cliffs … offer visitors a broad range of possibilities for outdoor activities.

Source: Euskadi Turismo

Let’s also point out its strategic position and modern tourist infrastructure, with an international airport 20min way, a modern diverse accommodation offer, cutting edge congress facilities and first class restaurant services.

Guggenheim Art Museum is perhaps the best known and most spectacular building of Bilbao, situated in the most avant-garde area of the city and connected to the traditional Old Town (the famous Casco Viejo) by the river.

In the Casco Viejo visitors can enjoy the famed local gastronomy at the traditional restaurants that share the pedestrian streets with modern cosmopolitan establishments – a pre-dinner walk from bar to bar to taste the wonderful “pintxos” is always a must!

The river and the areas that were once industrial are now green leisure spaces where outdoors sports can be enjoyed and team-building activities organised.

River Kayaking. Source: Bilbobentura

What to do & see

When it comes to visit to Bilbao and the Basque Country, gastronomy and nature are in the top of each visitor’s list. Basques are said to love to eat and eat well J so, if you’d like to discover Bilbao the best way is to get to know their culinary tradition. Wandering through the city streets, surrounded by a mix of history and modernity, visitors will find a diverse gastronomy, from traditional taverns and cider houses to high quality restaurants (as per today, they count with six Michelin-awarded restaurants). Pintxos snacks, fish, meat, cheese, wine and apple cider are the most popular dishes. What else could be better than a tailor-sized activity for your incentive group? Foodie tours, cooking classes, food market tours, visits to wine cellars and cider houses …. all will be perfect for a mice program.

Culinary Workshop. Source: Euskadi Turismo

As mentioned, Basque natural environment is a key factor to explain the appeal of Bilbao as tourist destination. Taking advantage of natural surroundings, professional companies offer a broad portfolio of activities for companies and groups. Let’s see some of them.

Hiking: discover Bilbao surrounding coast and mountain trails with a guided tour. Itineraries across Urdaibai estuary; geotours to explore the cliffs from Getxo, Barrika and Sopela; hiking the Basque coast and interior landscapes … while learning its history, traditions, culture and heritage.

Urdaibai Reserve. Source- Euskadi Turismo
San Juan de Gaztelugatxa

Outdoor & oenology: let’s combine tradition, an active program and the pleasure of tasting Basque wines. Day starts with a team-building activity related to local tradition and adapted to each group needs and skills. After lunch, journey continues with a vineyard visit to taste one the most famous local white wines: the prized Txacolí. A similar activity can be arranged visiting a local “sidrería”, where famous Basque apple cider is produced.

Cider barrel. Sagardoetxea. Source – Basque Cider Museum

Water activities: the nice coastal areas of Bilbao and the river that crosses the city offer a perfect spot for practicing water sports: traditional row boat regattas; big SUP and coasteering; rowing standing up on BigSUP surfboards; kayak; snorkel … combine them as you wish, all of them are perfect teamwork dynamics that, at the same time, will allow you to contemplate wonderful landscapes.

Row boat competition. Source: Troka

Culture and leisure in the city: Guggenheim art museum is the icon of Bilbao. It is difficult to miss Frank Gehry’s architectural jewel and it is a must to stop there just to admire it. Art lovers will also enjoy its interesting exhibitions and, in case of wishing to embrace the city’s cultural offer, they can continue with Bilbao Fine Art Museum. A walk in the old city streets, a stop for a drink and pintxos, lunch and dinner at a good restaurant, shopping time … will complete a fantastic stay. Of course, there is also the chance to reinvent a traditional itinerary to discover the city into a teambuilding time, with a gymkhana or a quiz challenge.

Send us your questions, let us know your needs, and we will design an unforgettable experience.

info@across-spain.es

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Welcome to one of Europe’s last unspoiled ecosystems. Welcome to the place the Romans dubbed Monsfragorum: the fractured mountain

In our last post about Cáceres we introduced you to Extremadura, a beautiful region that border with Portugal. Here we find one of the world meccas for birdwatching, the Monfragüe National Park, declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2003.

Source – Turismo de Monfragüe

Crossed by two rivers – Tagus and Tiétar, Las Dehesas de Monfragüe is the largest and best preserved stretch of Mediterranean mountain landscape in the world. Its wild mountains of oak and Mediterranean forest and streams provide a home for the park’s diverse flora and fauna.

Source – Turismo de Extremadura

Extremadura and conservation of bird species

The importance of Extremadura region for conservation of bird species in Europe is worth noting. With the aim to ensure conservation, the Autonomous Government of Extremadura has designated 71 Special Protection Zones for birds (SPA). These areas form the most extensive network of the Iberian Peninsula and currently represents over 26% of the region’s territory.

El Salto del Gitano – the perfect birding spot

Many of Extremadura’s mountain ranges are topped by quartzite inaccessible rocks.  The security these rocks provide and the barrier created by the dense vegetation of the mountain slopes lead certain bird species to choose them for nesting purposes. Among the typical nesting birds are many threatened species of birds of prey.

Source – Turismo de Extremaduraa

The black vulture is one of the stars of the show at Monfragüe but there is also a significant population of Spanish Imperial eagles. The best place to see them is from the park’s most famous rocky viewpoint: Mirador del Salto del Gitano.  From this 300m high cliff over Tagus River, birders can spot the Spanish Imperial eagle, the Egyptian vulture, the Griffon vulture and the black stork, among other birds.

Source – Turismo de Extremaduraa

When to come to Monfragüe N.P. for birding

Extremadura enjoys a continental weather with damp winters and hot summer.  In summer time, temperature during the day does not go down even after the sun sets, so it is normally hot. Winters are mild and only a small portion of the region freezes.

To see black kite, booted eagle, white-rumped swift, roller, subalpine warbler, black Stork, and red-rumped swallow, you should come in summer. Keep in mind July and August) could be very very hot, so best day time for birding are the hours near the sunrise or sunset.

On the other hand, if you wish to see the Spanish Imperial Eagle, as well as most bird species, we suggest you come in spring, from March to May months. Spring and autumn months are also fantastic periods to enjoy the beautiful colours of Monfragüe Park landscapes and surrounding areas.

Source – Turismo de Extremadura

Routes around the park

  • You can explore Monfragüe using its good self-guided hiking routes (Yellow, Green and Red). This is the option most visitors choose.
  • If you prefer to go by car, there are two routes with stops at main viewpoints.
  • More into organised guided tours? The park offers them.
  • Looking for a more special route? Upon prior permission, you can take bike routes or horse riding routes along the edges of the park.
Source – Turismo de Monfragüe

However you decide to visit it, you will enjoy discovering one of Europe’s best birding paradises.  Would you like to know more? Contact us, we will be glad to assist you.

info@across-spain.es

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