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Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

If you are history lover and looking for architectural sites than Spain is a must to visit destination.  The country has an ancient landscape where you can explore historical sites dating back to prehistory. The Moorish empire as well the roman invasion lasted for hundreds years and the legacy of their time in Spain is still much visible today. In the followings we have collected for you the most impressing archaeological sites across Spain.

1.Hispalis – Sevilla

According to the legend of Seville the mythical founder of the city was Heracles (Hercules). During the Roman Empire the city was named Hispalis and it was a significant port on the river Guadalquivir. During the Muslim times, it was Ishbiliya and became the most powerful city of the Moor Empire in the Iberian Peninsula. During these times several important buildings, such as the Alcazar of Seville has been built. In 1248 the Moorish Empire collapsed and Seville fell to Fernando III of Castilla. By the 14th century Seville was the most important Castillan city in Spain and became one of the richest cities on earth after the great discoveries. However, most of the today known historical sites correspond to the Roman era the city’s most famous architectural sites has been built during the Moorish Empire.

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Ruins of hte Antiquarium de Sevilla

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Alcázar of Sevilla

2. Corduba – Córdoba

According to the history of Cordoba, the city has been founded in the 2nd century BC by the Roman consul Marco Claudio Marcellus. The city has been sacked and destroyed during the war between Caesar and Pompey in 45 BC and later became a a Roman Province.  In the time of Caesar, Cordoba was the capital of Hispania Baetica and during these times many temples and provincial forums has been built, the city started to grow. The city was under the Roman Empire until the 6th century AC, when the Visigoths conquered the province. In 711 Córdoba was captured by the Umayyad army and again became a provincial capital in the Caliphate of Damascus. For more than 700 years the city was under the Moorish empire and in 1236 was captured by King Ferdinand III. In that time the city was divided into 14 districts, and numerous new churches an buildings were built. The centre of the mosque was converted into a large Catholic cathedral. During the history Cordoba was under several empires and religions and thanks to this nowadays visitors can find numerous archaeological and historical sites in the city and the surrounding. One of the most famous is the great mosque of Cordoba which is UNESCO world heritage site since 1984 together with the ancient city Medina Azahara, an ancient Moorish city.

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Medina Azahara

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Great Mosque of Córdoba

3. Valentia – Valencia

Valencia was founded as a Roman colony by the consul Junius Brutus in 138 BC and originally called Valentina Edetanorum. During the Sertorian war the city was destroyed by Pompey (75 BC) and rebuilt in the years 20-15. The city reached its most glorious times during the Flavia and Antonina dynasties. Thanks to this time numerous of Roman remains can be found under the Plaza de la Almoina in Valencia, where you can see the horreum, the republican baths, the nymphaeum, the curia, the basilica and tombs from the 5th  century. In the 8th century the moors conquer most of the Iberian Peninsula and as well occupied the city of Valencia. During this time the language, religion and costumes changed in the city and most of the remains of the Roman Empire has disappeared.

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Horreum Valencia

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Plaza de la Almoina

4. Qadis – Cádiz

According to the Roman historian Veleyo Patérculo, the city has been founded in 1104 BC as Gadir by Phoenicians from Tyre and nowadays Cadiz is one of the most ancient city still standing in Western Europe. The city subsequently became a naval base for the Romans before fading into obscurity until 1262 when it was taken from the Muslims by Alfonso X. The city started to grow in the time of the great discoveries, when it became a main port town after Columbus sailed from this port for his 2nd and 4th voyages. From this time it grew into one of the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan cities in Spain and most of the city’s fine buildings date from this time.

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Cadiz Cathedral

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Cadiz

5. Cauca – Segovia

Segovia is located in the centre of Spain, about 100 km away from Madrid in the autonomous community of Castile y Leon.  The old town of Segovia and its aqueduct is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1985. The Roman aqueduct of Segovia, probably built around the 1st century and it is held together only by gravity. Via this edifice the water got to the city from the River Frio which is 17 km away from the city. This impressive construction, with its two tiers of arches, forms part of the setting of the magnificent historic city of Segovia. Other important monuments include the Alcázar, which built around the 11th century, and the 16th-century Gothic cathedral.

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Aqueduct

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Gothic cathedral of Segovia

If you get interested about the ancient architecture of Spain and would like to discover historic sites around the country than contact us and we will take you to the best places surrounded by ancient history.

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Map marking the cities mentioned above
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Food Markets around Spain

If you are a food lover and want to enjoy Spain’s famous cuisine like a local than during your trip you should visit a food market to enjoy the different type of tapas, main courses, see food and much more. In this article we have collected the top food markets across Spain which are a must visit sites during your travel.

1.Madrid

           – Mercado San Miguel

If you are visiting Madrid you should definitely visit the Mercado San Miguel. This food market is probably Madrid’s most famous market and located right next to the Plaza Mayor (city centre). The building was built in 1916 and operated as a food market over centuries. In 2009 the government renovated the architecture and reopened as a gourmet market. This market is also the place if you would like to try the best of the Spanish cuisine or just enjoy a sangria (Spanish sweet wine) with friends. The market offers from enormous king prawns to cone of shaped hams. But not only the food is outstanding, visually, the building’s architecture both from outside and inside is charming.

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Mercado San Miguel – Madrid

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Mercado San Miguel from inside

          – Mercado San Anton

On the ground floor of the market you can find every type of fresh ingredient, fancy home-made jams, gourmet olive oils different type of cured meats which can be the perfect souvenir to take home. But if you are looking for a gastronomic experience the San Anton market offers you in the second floor numerous tapas, sweets, platillo de pescados (fish dish) and the best craft beers and wines. Furthermore, in the roof top of the market you can find an open air restaurant which offers better and better platters of the Spanish cuisine. You should definitely come and enjoy the views from the rooftop accompanied with a delicious tapas and wine.

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Mercado San Anton from inside – Madrid

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Rooftop of the Mercado San Anton

2. Barcelona – Mercado La Boqueria

One of the top tourist attraction in Barcelona is the well-known food market, so called Mercado La Boqueria. The market is located right in the La Rambla, which is Barcelona’s famous shopping street. The market offers a lot of food ingredients, from fresh fishes right from the see up until the varied spices. However, as most of the food markets the Mercado La Boqueria offers delicious freshly prepared dishes of the Spanish cuisine. Definitely worth a visit!

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Mercado La Boqueria – Barcelona

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Mercado La Boqueria from inside

3. Valencia – Mercat Central

The building of the Mercat Central in Valencia is one of the most appealing building in the old city. The building is in use since the beginning of 1928 and has a modernist character defined by materials like iron, glass or pottery. The total area of the market is more than 6000 m2, it has stand for 1200 vendors and one of Europe’s largest food market. Visitors and locals as well can find almost everything inside the building from traditional legume, vegetables, fruits, fishes or meats to more specific products like salted food, offal, tocinería (food made of pork fat), food from grocer’s stores or fowl products.

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Mercat Central – Valencia

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Mercat Central from inside

4. Sevilla – Mercado Lonja del Barranco

The Mercado Lonja del Barranco is a glass and iron building from the 1870s, it was designed with Gustave Eiffel’s influence. The market is located in the banks of the Guadalquivir River in the feet of the Triana Bridge. This part is one of the most charming areas of Seville, locals and visitors go there to enjoy tapas, cocktails and listen music. A perfect place if you are looking for a chill out place combined with Spanish traditions.

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Mercado Lonja del Barranco – Sevilla

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Mercado Lonja del Barranco from inside

5. Córdoba – Mercado Victoria

Cordoba’s fancy food market, the Mercado Victoria has opened its gates in 2014 and since that it is one of the hottest food market across Spain.  It is located in the wrought iron former pavilion of the Córdoba Fair (built in 1877). The market is popular with locals as well as tourist and offers the best gourmet experiences in Cordoba. Visitors can find numerous local cheeses, different type of cured meats, wines and olive oils. After you bought every souvenir enjoy a nice tapas in the dining area.

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Mercado Victoria – Córdoba

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Mercado Victoria from inside

6. Santiago de Compostela – Mercado de Abastos

Santiago’s second most visited tourist attraction is the Santiago food market or also called Mercado de Abastos. In this market you will find and impressive selection of the best dishes and fresh Galician products. This market is also going to be your favourite if you like see food. Vendors in this market are selling the freshest fishes, fruits and vegetables, meets and local diary products.  You can also try in the dining area typical Galician dishes such as Padrón peppers, octopus, salted cod, goose neck barnacles, empanada (savoury pie) and much more.

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Mercado de Abastos from inside

7. Bilbao – Mercado de la Ribera

After the Guggenheim museum Bilbao’s second largest attraction is the famous Mercado de la Ribiera. This market is expands on 10.000 m2 and with this size this is Europe’s largest indoor market. The building was originally built in 1930 and nowadays operates as a fancy food market. Visitors can try the famous fish dishes and several typical platters from the area. Inside of the market we can find restaurants as well, which are waiting for the guests with delicious cuisine and live jazz music in evening.

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Mercado de la Ribera – Bilbao

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Mercado de la Ribera from inside

If get interested and want to explore the best dishes around Spain or stand around trendy food markets in any part of the country while sipping vino after vino accompanied with the best tapas than contact us and we will organize the best experience for you!

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map marking the cities mentioned above

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Spain is well-known of its beautiful landscapes, heritage, hundreds year old architecture, cuisine and always sunny weather. All of this makes the county the perfect holiday destination. If you would like to make the best out of your well-deserved vacation time pick up your car and lets start driving around the Iberian Peninsula. In the followings we have collected the 3 best routes for you if you are looking for the perfect road-trip experience of your life.

  1. The Southern route – from Madrid across Andalucía

If you are seeking to visit heritage sites filled with culture, as well would like to discover Spain’s most famous cities in that case this route is made for you. The ride starts in the famous capital of Spain, in Madrid where visitors can get to know the Spanish lifestyle while discovering this modern and buzzling capital. This iconic Spanish metropolis is home of several world-famous museums, historic sites and charming parks.  Continue your road trip in Spain’s most vibrant and passionate region, in Andalucía. The county is home of several famous cities such as Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga and much more. As well this region is the birthplace of flamenco dancing and some of the most iconic tapas of the Spanish cuisine. Start off in Cordoba, which is the closest remarkable city in Andalucía from Madrid (400 km). Cordoba is home of the world largest Mezquita cathedral, (which has been inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1984) and several other Islamic heritage sites can be found in the city and its regions. After discovering this gorgeous city continue your ride to the capital of Andalucía, to the stunning Seville. The city is full with magnificent history and Islamic heritage and it takes only 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Cordoba (140 km). After arriving to the city drop off your car and explore the significant centre on foot. Wander around the famous Jewish quarter of Seville, so called Barrio de Santa Cruz after head to the Alcázar (which is declared as World heritage site since 1987) and finally finish your visit by enjoying the views from the Giralda Tower. On the next day pick up your car and head to Granada where you will visit the magnificent Alhambra palace and enjoy the city’s buzzling and vibrant life. After visiting the most important cities of the southern region of Spain finish your trip by heading to the south coast, where you can discover the charming Malaga or start your drive to the east coast, where you can find cities such as Alicante and Valencia.

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The city of Madrid

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The city of Seville

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The map of the route

 

2. The North-Eastern route – from Barcelona to Bilbao

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, as well the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. The city is home of several world famous sites and the 19th century’s outstanding architect, Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces. Barcelona is a city made for relaxing and enjoying as you discover the sights. During your visit don not miss to visit the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. After getting to know the Catalan capital pick up your car and head to the north. The northern part of the country, also known as the green heart of Spain is the perfect choice for all those who are looking for a calm and refreshing escapism. From Catalonia, while heading to the north, road trippers can go throw the autonomous communities of Aragon, Navarra, La Rioja, Basque country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. All of these counties are filled with more and more beautiful landscapes, from mountain sceneries to calm sea sides. But let’s start from Barcelona. The jewel of the Basque country, San Sebastian is about 6 hour (575 km) ride from the Catalan capital and your drive will take you through some lovely smaller cities which are worth to explore such as Lleida, Zaragoza and Pamplona. Not only will it break up your drive, but you’ll also experience a different side of Spain not as many tourists get to see. After reaching and getting to know San Sebastian, the next stop is the capital of the Basque country, Bilbao which is only 1 hour ride (100 km) from San Sebastian. The city is famous of its world-class Guggenheim museum (which is absolutely worth a visit), old fashioned old town, coastline and outstanding cuisine. Later, when you get to know the Basque region you can head further on the north with exploring the amazing city, Santander (capital of Cantabria), ride across the mountains of Picos de Europa in Asturias or head to the acclaimed pilgrim town to Santiago in Galicia. However, you can make your ride from Bilbao back to the centre of Spain, to Madrid, which takes around 4 hours ride (450 km) across Castilla y Leon, where you can discover honored towns such as Loroño. A perfect end of yourself drive trip is Madrid, this vibrant capital where you can rest yourself after the lengthy road trip.

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The city of Barcelona with the Sagrada Familia

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The city and the coast of San Sebastian

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The map of the route

 

    3.  The Eastern coast and Madrid – Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid

The top three cities of Spain are Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. All of the three cities are buzzling capitals of their own region and Madrid as well the countries. After discover Barcelona and its surroundings, such as the famous Montserrat start your drive through the Spanish coast down until Valencia. Riding throw the coastline is already a miraculous experience, the sea, the sun and the pretty fishing towns through your way. Arrive to Valencia after a 3 hour 30 minutes’ drive (350 km) you will experience all the beauties of this port town. The city has historically been Spain’s Mediterranean port and has that special charm of cities that are also seaports. Also, the fine sand and clean water, the vastness of the sea and the closeness of the coastal mountains make the Valencian coast uniquely attractive. The city is home of the most innovative and avant-garde buildings from the new millennium, such as the Opera house and the constructions of the Arts and Sciences Centre. Subsequently explore all parts of Valencia head to Madrid which takes around 3 hour and 30 minutes’ drive (355 km). Madrid is the perfect end of your ride with its vibrant lifestyle.

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The city of Arts and Science in Valencia

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The old town Valencia

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The map of the route

If you get interested to drive along the Spanish roads and discover beautiful landscapes, heritage and historical cities than do not hesitate to contact us! We will make the best out of your road-tripping across Spain.

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Intro

Located in the north of Spain in the La Rioja region, Haro is not only one of the best wine regions in Spain, but also the world. Most of Haro’s wineries can be found in an area called ‘Barrio de la Estacion’, the location of one of Spain’s first railway lines which was taken advantage of by winery owners to easily transport their products beyond borders. The town’s many wineries are so popular that thousands of tourists come to the city to visit them every year. However, Haro’s most unique wine activity is without a doubt their Wine Battle; a yearly tradition which involves thousands of people coming to the town to throw wine at each other! With that being said, below we have created a list of the best wineries in Haro and the surrounding La Rioja region to help make your planning easier.

1) Bodegas Muga

Bodegas Muga is one of Haro’s oldest wineries, with 80 years of wine making experience. It is a family run business and one of the largest in the area. The unique thing that makes this winery’s production process stand out from the rest is that it is the only winery that still uses oak wood throughout the fermentation, storage and aging process. They are even one of the only wineries which still makes their own barrels, and all of this wood gives the wine a unique characteristic. Here, guests can enjoy daily tours of the facility and wine tastings.

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2) Bodegas López de Heredia

Located in the town of Haro, Bodegas López de Heredia is another classic winery in the area. At over 140 years old, it is a grand complex – some of which was designed by famous Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid – which impresses as much above ground as below. The remarkable underground cellars are like a maze containing barrels upon barrels of high quality wine. Over the years the facilities have expanded significantly, with each generation adding new buildingsand structures. Wines to try here include their Viña Todonia, Bosconia Reserva and Gran Reserva, however visitors are by appointment only so make sure to book in advance.

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3) Bodegas Ramón Bilbao

Also located in Haro’s historic centre, Bodegas Ramón Bilbao dates all the way back to 1924. Since the 70s it has occupied a modern building that has been continuously remodelled, yet retains many characteristics and memories of the winery’s history. A tour of these impressive facilities will take you through the wooden vats, concrete tanks, oak barrels and wine racks. The visit also includes the chance to taste both raw wines and the incredible Ramón Bilbao wines, as well as a fascinating virtual reality experience.

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4) Bodegas CVNE

The history of this company, located within Haro, dates the whole way back to 1879 close to the railway tracks, so that the oak barrels and wine bottles could be transported. Today, the winery is composed of 22 buildings which even include the original 1879 premises. Here, guests can take a tour of the facilities and the cellars, take part in different tasting courses and have lunch. Bodegas CVNE even offer workshops and activities for children, so that parents can even bring their kids along to the visit.

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5) Bodegas Marques de Riscal

Located just outside of Haro in Álava (52km away), the Marques de Riscal winery is truly eye-catching, thanks to its breathtaking avant-garde style five-star hotel designed by architect Frank Gehry, who also designed the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.  Founded in 1958, this winery now produces more than three million bottles of red wine a year. Guests can take a wine tour of these impressive facilities and can even dine in the winery’s on-site Michelin-starred restaurant.

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6) Bodegas Rioja Alta

The history of this winery begins all the way back to Haro in 1890, when it was founded by winemakers from the Basque Country and Rioja who wanted to produce high quality Rioja wines using completely traditional methods. Today La Rioja Alta winery possesses over 450 hectares of land, which makes this winery unique as it is not common for wineries to also own their own vineyards. A detail to highlight is the manual transfer every six months of all the wines into the barrels, a very important element in the wine ageing process. It also allows the winemakers to taste the barrels individually, achieving a better selection of wines. At La Bodega Winery, guests can make the most of tasting tours, private dining rooms and even learning about how the barrels are made.

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7) Bodegas Ysios

Located in the heart of Rioja Alavesa in Álava (30km from Haro), the Bodegas Ysios wines are characterised by the different elements of the region, such as the variety of micro-climates and soils which produce the highest quality grapes. Similar to the Marques Riscal wineries, Bodegas Ysios also combine their wine with stunning architecture. The facilities here boast a main building designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava, which was created as an emblem of the La Rioja wine region, mirroring the idyllic backdrop of the Cantabrian mountain range. The building is modern inside and offers a tasting room for guests.

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8) Bodegas Vivanco

Located in Briones (La Rioja, 9km from Haro), the Bodegas Vivanco is the largest part of the Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture. Also one of the few wineries to have their own vineyard, all of the grapes here come from the company’s own land. The owner, Rafael Vivanco, has had the winery designed to suit his needs, including wooden vats for the highest quality wines, cold rooms and sorting tables. Production here reaches 1.3 million bottles of wine per year.  Activities for guests here include tastings and tours, tours of the vineyards and entrance to exhibitions in the museum.

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9) Bodegas Franco-Españolas

Located in the historic centre of Logroño, approximately 45km from Haro, the Franco-Españolas winery was founded in 1890 as a partnership between France and Spain at a critical moment in Rioja, when the French came to the region in an attempt to replace their vineyards devastated by the wine blight. Nowadays, Franco-Españolas produce 2 main brands of wine which are called Bordón (a classic wine made with the most traditional red grape varieties) and Diamante (the pioneer of semi-sweet white wines in Rioja). Those interested in visiting the winery can take part in different tours and tastings, have lunch and even bring along children, thanks to the company’s family offers.

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Wine Related Activities in the Region:

Wine Tastings: almost all wineries will offer visitors the opportunity to taste their different products and learn how to properly evaluate a wine.

Winery/Cellar Tours: This involves taking a guided tour around all of the facilities within the winery in order to discover and learn about the different processes when producing wine; such as harvesting, fermentation, storing, aging, bottling etc.

Vineyard Segway Tours: some Riojan vineyards offer visitors the opportunity to take a guided tour of the vineyards and learn about the grapes on a Segway!

La Rioja

 If you are interested in learning more about Spain’s rich history, gastronomy and culture, follow the across spain travel chronicles blog to stay up to date with our latest blog posts!

 

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The Camino de San Ignacio, also known as the Ignatian Way, recreates the route that Ignatius of Loyola took in 1522, when he left his home in Loyola and walked all the way to Monserrat and Manresa. The almost month-long pilgrimage changed his life, with his subsequent religious achievements changing the world. Nowadays, people closely follow this important route consisting of 27 stages through 5 regions, with the hope of finding themselves spiritually, learning more about the history or to simply have fun. Below we have outlined all the details of each stage of this spiritual journey, as well as information about the most important destinations and monuments along the way!

Through EUSKADI

Stages 1-6: Loiola > Laguardia (126km)

1) Loiola – Zumarraga, 17.5km

2) Zumarraga – Arantzazu, 19.5km

3) Arantzazu – Araia, 17.7km

4) Araia – Alda, 21.5km

5) Alda – Genevilla, 23.3km

6) Genevilla – Laguardia, 27km

 The Ignatian Way begins here in Loyola, a town nestled among the hills in Spain’s Basque region. It is also the birthplace of St Ignatius, who is now one of world and religious history’s most important figures. Here you will visit the Sanctuary of Loyola, which consists of the Loyola family Tower House and the basilica. The house falls within the sanctuary’s limits and nowadays hosts a little museum showing Saint Ignatius’s family’s life, and its most famous person, Saint Ignatius. The basilica, which also forms part of the Sanctuary, was built in Baroque style with a circular floor plan and a 65 meter high dome, designed by the Italian architect Carlo Maria Fontana. It is one of the most representative examples of contemporary Basque art.

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the Sanctuary of Loyola

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the Loyola Family Tower House 

Through LA RIOJA

Stages 7-11: Laguardia > Alfaro (108.6km)

7) Laguardia – Navarrete, 19.6km

8) Navarrete– Logroño, 13km

9) Logroño – Alcandre, 31km

10) Alcandre-Calahorra, 21km

11) Calahorra – Alfaro, 24km

 On the way to Logroño, you will pass through the town of Navarrete, in the region of La Rioja, to visit the impressive Asunción church. The parish church of Navarrete is a Renaissance building of considerable magnitude, whose construction lasted for nearly a century. The main attraction is the altarpiece, which is now considered the most spectacular altarpiece in La Rioja due to its richness and stunning decoration.
Logroño is a city rich in history and traditions, which have been preserved since the middle ages. the river Ebro passes through the city and can be crossed via two bridges that connect Logroño with Navarre and Alava, the oldest of them being the Puente de Piedra. Places worth a visit in Logroño are also the Palacio de los Marqueses de Legarda, Palacio de los Chapiteles, the Museum of La Rioja and Santa María de Palacio, the oldest church in the capital of La Rioja, which dominates the city’s skyline with its gothic spire.

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Santa María del Palacio

On reaching Calahorra, pilgrims should take a visit to the beautiful Santa Maria Cathedral. This gothic cathedral dates back to the 15th century and having been in construction for 200 years, it therefore consists of various styles as it was influenced by different eras. Other things to see include a Roman arch and the Church of San Andrés from the 16th century in the Muslim old town, and the Church of Santiago in Plaza del Raso, the finest example of La Rioja’s neoclassic style.

Through NAVARRA

Stages 12-13: Alfaro > Gallur (61km)

12) Alfaro – Tudela, 23km

13) Tudela – Gallur, 38km

 In Tudela, the main monuments to visit are the cathedral and the church. Declared a National Monument in 1884, the Cathedral of Santa Maria was built in the twelfth century over the town’s main mosque. It is worth stopping to take a look at its three doorways, the most spectacular one being on the main façade, known as the door of the Day of Judgement. Having been totally restored over the last few years, visitors are able to enter the light-filled central nave in Gothic style and its magnificent chapels and altarpieces. The Church of la Magdalena is also a national monument that still retains one of the few Romanesque towers you can see in Navarre.

Through ARAGON

Stages 14-20: Gallur > Fraga (176.8km)

14) Gallur – Alagón, 23km

15) Alagón – Zaragoza, 31km

16) Zaragoza – Fuentes de Ebro, 29km

17) Fuentes de Ebro – Pina de Ebro, 12km

18) Pina de Ebro – Bujaraloz, 37km

19) Bujaraloz – Candasnos, 21km

20) Candasnos – Fraga, 23.8km

 When passing through Zaragoza, the most important monument for pilgrims to see here is the Our Lady of Pilar Church. It is the dynamic centre of life in the city, with hundreds of visitors passing through its doors every day to attend mass or pray in the shrine’s chapel. Inside, a Roman-style pillar is topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus that dates from the fifteenth century.  It is housed in a chapel of marble, jasper, and gilded bronze that forms almost a church-within-a-church. Outside the basilica lies the largest pedestrian plaza in Spain, a picturesque expanse lined with cafes and fountains and the site of frequent musical performances, festivals, and other public events.

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Our Lady of Pilar Church

 

Through CATALUNYA

 Stages 21-27: Fraga > Manresa (183.7km)

 21) Fraga – Lleida, 33km

22) Lleida – El Palau d’Anglesola, 22.7km

23) El Palau d’Anglesola – Verdú, 24.7km

24) Verdú – Cervera, 16km

25) Cervera – Igualada, 37km

26) Igualada – Montserrat, 26.8km

27) Montserrat –Manresa, 23.5km

 In Lleida, the Old Cathedral is undoubtedly the city’s most distinctive landmark. According to historians, construction began in 1203 on the site of a Muslim mosque and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. With a three-nave Latin cross basilica layout, it was consecrated for worship in 1278 and is designed in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. It also features a bell tower which offers wonderful views of the city.

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Old Cathedral of Lleida

 

Once you arrive at Montserrat Monastery, you will see an indescribable view all the way to Barcelona. The mountain Montserrat has been of religious significance since pre-Christian time. Before Christ, it was a temple to worship Venus was built by the Romans. Many of the tourists come here only because of the statue of the Black Madonna, who is the patron saint of Catalonia. The 12th-century figure is enthroned above the high altar in the basilica of the monastery. In her honour the “Escolania de Montserrat”, consisting of about 50 choirboys from the boarding school of the monastery church sings songs daily.

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Montserrat Monastery in Montserrat Mountain

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the Black Madonna

The final 23 kilometres of the route are the last physical challenge for the pilgrim before arriving at the long-awaited cave of Saint Ignatius in Manresa. Ignatius of Loyola came down to Manresa on foot and spent eleven months here. It was an important turning point in his life, and his privileged place of prayer was the Cave. It is a cavity over the river Cardener, excavated by the fluvial erosion during the Tertiary.  The building of the Cave has experienced transformations for over 300 years, however at the moment its image, together with the Basilica of la Seu of Manresa, represents the icons of the city.  Nowadays, the Cave has become an international centre for Ignatian spirituality and welcomes visitors from all over the world who make stops for meditation, education and Spiritual Exercises.

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the Cave of San Ignacio and the Basilica

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Inside the Cave of San Ignacio

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Map highlighting importing stages of route

 

If you are interested in learning more about Spain’s rich culture and fascinating history, do not forget to subscribe to our Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog to see more posts!

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