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Archive for the ‘incentives’ Category

Green Spain is the name which identifies the area that includes the regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. The Basque region and Galicia, with amazing cities as Bilbao, San Sebastian and Santiago de Compostela, are widely known internationally so, this week, we would like to introduce the region of Cantabria, a really popular destination amongst Spanish tourists and companies looking for fresh locations for their events, but still far from being a hotspot for international travel.

Cantabria, an unforgettable trail through wild beaches, charming villages and large nature parks; a place in the north of Spain where the intense green of the landscapes reaches the deep blue of the Cantabrian sea.

Cantabria

Bordering the Basque Country in the west, Cantabria is a region of high summits and green valleys that reach the fine sand beaches and the cliffs over the Cantabrian sea.  

Besides its natural beauty, Cantabria offers a rich architectural legacy covering all eras, from the Romanesque to the Gothic of the coast and further to the Modernism and the avant-garde masterworks. It is also the perfect destination for geology and caving lovers, thanks to the 9.000 underground cavities, among which the 10 prehistory caves declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Hikers and cyclists can enjoy the Natural Parks, such as Cabarceno and Picos de Europa summits. The wide sand windy beaches are perfect for surfers but also other sea activities.

Santander, the Cantabrian capital

Situated 100km west from Bilbao, Santander is a city whose life revolves around one of the prettiest bays in the world. It is a combination of green mountain landscapes and white sand beaches, a contrast of avant-garde buildings and elegant mansions and palaces that made it the preferred destination for royalty at the end of 19th C and early 20th.

Why should Santander be your upcoming MICE spot?

  • Good connection by road with Bilbao BIO airport
  • Broad range of first class accommodations
  • Charming medium size city ideal for a short breaks
  • Attractive corporate events: its situation, nested between the sea and the mountains, makes of Santander an ideal place for outdoor corporate events as hiking, canoeing, surfing, cycling …
  • Outstanding local gastronomy with special mention to the delicious Cantabrian sea fish and seafood
  • Unique heritage in the surroundings, with a complex of 10 prehistoric caves, including Altamira (the Sistine Chapel of the caves)

A stroll through the old quarters, with its majestic buildings, transport visitors to a distinguished past whose greatest witness is the Magdalena Palace. This iconic building, located in the highest part of the peninsula of the same name, is one of the essential sights of Santander, from where an impressive panoramic view of the city can be enjoyed.

Framed by the beach and mountains, Santander is a combination of palatial buildings and fishing tradition, which today can be enjoyed especially in the area known as the city’s fishing district: the perfect place to try to delicious local cuisine, so closely linked to the sea, with dishes as rabas (fried squids), maganos (squid with onion) or fisherman-style clams. The new Santander is an area that contrasts with the fisherman and palatial neighbourhoods, an area that stands out for the latest cultural and artistic trends, with places such as the Botín Centre.

https://www.turismodecantabria.com/

Where to stay

Santander city offers a wide range of accommodations and meeting hotels, all from 3* to 5* luxury venues that can fulfil the needs of every client. Most valued hotels are the ones situated in the seafront and beachfront areas, with stunning views and housed in palatial majestic buildings from 1800s-early 1900s.

Eurostars Real 5* GL – style, tradition, luxury and location have made of it the place to stay. Facing the Los Peligros beach, overlooks the bay of Santander from atop the hill, surrounded by own gardens and resting in the heart of the city’s most peaceful and emblematic area, between the historic centre and Sardinero beach.

https://www.eurostarshotels.com/

The Gran Hotel Sardinero 4* is an iconic building in a privileged location, by the famous Sardinero beach, ready to meet the needs of the most demanding.

Vincci Puertochico 4* is a very unique hotel downtown Santander, a boutique hotel overlooking the Cantabrian sea and a place where to rest and relax while enjoying the views of the maritime area Puerto Chico.

Other 4* and 3* properties are also ready to welcome incentive groups, with their meeting facilities that can suit groups of different sizes.

But, what about clients that are looking for quiet locations outside of the city but still within easy reach from the same?

One of the assets Cantabria counts with is the important offer of spa hotels, thanks to the richness of the underground waters and the surrounding landscapes of green valleys and crystal-water rivers. Cantabria counts with 7 traditional spa & thermal centres, most located in a natural environment or very close to the sea, which makes it a perfect choice for guests to enjoy the wide range of possibilities in the nearest surroundings.

https://balneariodepuenteviesgo.com/

Just 17km from Santander centre, Balneario de Solares is a classic north Spain spa hotel, completely renovated and inaugurated in 2006 as a modern thermal complex. The romantic style architecture of the original building is preserved and now houses modern hydrothermal facilities. The underground thermal waters are used for medical cures but also for beauty treatments and a recreational area with large pools are at guest’s disposal.

https://www.castillatermal.com/en/hoteles/balneario-de-solares/

What to do & see in Santander

In Cantabria, visitors’ sensations are multiplied among rural, urban, active and spa tourism, and the enjoyment of its golf courses.

Beaches

Cantabrian beaches are famous among Spanish sea lovers. In Santander city itself, 5 beaches, being El Sardinero the most iconic one. A promenade along the seafront and possible a swim it is a must for all visitors. There are several to choose from, including Playa del Camella, La Concha, the Sardinero (1km long), beaches of fine golden sand and fantastic views, surrounded by sea promenades and parks with gardens with spectacular viewpoints. Along the way, the city’s most beautiful mansions and elegant houses stand on one side, sailboats on the other.

The historic quarter

It is not very large so the best way to explore it is to stroll around, seeing the sights at own pace. The first thing visitors notice are the majestic façades of the banks, historically of great importance to Santander. Plaza Porticada, a neoclassical square, is one of the liveliest places in the city. Next door, El Cristo church and Santander Cathedral are the places to take some photos and discover some of the legends about the origins of the city. Museums as the Fine Arts Museum or the House. Museum and Library of Menéndez Pelayo can also be found in the area, along with one of the places with a more cheerful atmosphere, the Esperanza market, which foodies will for sure enjoy.

La Magdalena Peninsula and La Magdalena Palace

Palacio de la Magdalena is situated in the Peninsula of La Magdalena, in a natural surrounding with spectacular sea landscape and tree richness. La Magdalena beach and Bikini beach, the island of La Torre and the island of La Horadada, are part of the landscape of La Magdalena. The palace was built between 1909 and 1911, by popular subscription, to host the Spanish Royal Family.

https://www.turismodecantabria.com/

Cabo Mayor Lighthouse

30 metres tall, this lighthouse presides over the entrance to the Bay of Santander. It is one of the most emblematic buildings for citizens and visitors alike and holds a privileged position between the sea and the city, set in a headland with beaches, cliffs and a very intendent coastline with points of up to 50 metres above the sea. The lighthouse can be also spotted from Plaza de Italia view point, a perfect place to watch the sunset with La Magdalena Palace in the distance and continue afterwards with dinner in one of the city’s most notable restaurants.

Shopping and local cuisine

The main shopping district is located right in an area with several restaurants where to enjoy Santander’s traditional coastal cuisine, with dishes as rabas (fried squids), maganos (squid with onion) or fisherman-style clams. Beef and veal are also star products of Cantabrian farms, where tasty meat is produced in Spain’s largest cattle market. A wide variety of cheeses and sweets and pastries (such as the famous “sobaos” soft cakes and the cheesecake) complete a great gastronomy offer.

What to do & see around Santander

Charming smaller towns and villages

Santillana del Mar has been referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Situated on the coast and surrounded by green mountains, it offers the best of both worlds. It was built around the church of Santa María and it is dotted with old defence towers, Renaissance palaces, medieval stone and timber houses and steep cobbled streets.

Comillas sits in a spectacular location, right on the edge of a long crescent beach and on a peninsula sticking out on to the sea. It features historic architecture, charming cobbled streets and Modernist-style buildings and the magnificent Comillas Pontifical University on a hill above.

Castro Urdiales is a coastal town and Roman in origin, with a picturesque old town with incredible architecture feats, as Santa María church, one of the best pieces of Gothic architecture in the region; the castle-lighthouse; the old medieval bridge; and the Hermitage of Santa Ana.

Sant Vicente de la Barquera is an old fishermen’s village declared to be of Cultural Interest because of its array of historical monuments. Framed by the peaks of Picos de Europa and sitting at the mouth of a wide river estuary, it is surrounded by some amazing beaches.

Potes. Situated in the interior or Cantabria, surrounded by mountains and streams. It has a charming old quarter with stone bridges and monuments. It is the base of those aiming to practice active sports in the mountains nearby.

Active tourism

The entire setting of nature resources in Cantabria is stunning and are perfect for hiking, biking or just drive around. The Picos de Europa National Park extends for almost 70,000 hectares over the regions of Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León. One of the most popular areas along this route are the Lakes of Covadonga, next to Cangas de Onís town.

River Deva’s most famous activity is canoeing. Rocky crests, gorges, valleys, great glacial lakes, leafy forests… are main attractions for active tourism. Not to forget the sea, since the Cantabrian is a surfing paradise.

https://www.turismodecantabria.com/

Prehistoric art in Altamira

As earlier indicated, there are 9.000 underground cavities, among which the 10 prehistory caves declared World Heritage by UNESCO. The Altamira Cave is unique and its cave paintings are considered among the most important in the world. Cave can be visited and the tour includes an extremely detailed reconstruction of the original cave in the Altamira National Museum and Visitor Centre to ensure the original cave is preserved. The Neocave and the museum are in Santillana del Mar, around 35 kilometres from Santander.

El Soplao cave

El Soplao cave, discovered in the early 20th, is considered to be one of the greatest wonders of geology, and a true speleology paradise. In addition to its enormous geological value, the Cave and its surroundings contain an exceptional industrial and archaeological heritage, with more than 20 km of tunnels. The mining activity has also left its mark on the outside: derricks, calcining furnaces, washing facilities, workshops, etc. The mining work was dedicated to the extraction of blende and galena, two of the best ores for obtaining zinc and lead, respectively.

Would you like to learn more about the endless possibilities Santander and Cantabria have to offer to a MICE group? Contact us, we will be pleased to tailor-size the most suitable program.

info@across-spain.es

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Ronda, one of the oldest cities in Spain, has become one of the destinations chosen by companies around the world to celebrate their events, meetings and incentive trips. Situated 100 km west from Málaga, in the interior, and conveniently located between Seville and Granada, it is one of the most famous spots in all Andalusia. The surrounding beautiful landscape, the charming narrow streets, its emblematic bridge, the houses on the edge of the canyon, bullfighting tradition, wineries and unique gastronomy are some of the attractions of the dream city.

Weather is also a plus, with a Mediterranean warm and temperate climate prevailing. Summers are warm and dry with fresh evenings, while winters can be cold due to the height of 742m above sea level. Best time for incentives are spring and autumn months.

The town

Ronda is a mountaintop town set dramatically above a deep gorge, which separates the town’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish era. Since the the Roman times, Ronda has held an outsized role as a regional crossroads thanks to its scenic and strategic location at the lip of El Tajo Gorge. A stone bridge spanning over the gorge, Puente Nuevo, is one of its symbols, along with the new bullfight arena – dating from 18th century. The three bridges where aimed to create a bottleneck for armies, bandits and anyone else trying to travel through the area.

www.andalucia.org

Where to stay

Here you will find first class accommodations for incentive groups. We can highlight it is Parador, next to the Puente Nuevo, with impressive views over the Tagus river from its rooms, gardens with outdoors pool, two restaurants and meeting room facilities.

http://www.parador.es

If looking for a conference hotel, Reina Victoria is a perfect option, an exclusive property surrounded by a pine forest and located also next to the historic centre. Spa and sun pool terrace are also there for your relax time.

Activities for an unforgettable MICE experience

Its surrounding landscape, bullfighting tradition, wineries and a fantastic gastronomy has convinced many companies around the world to celebrate their MICE events here. Let’s see what the area has to offer make your event a success.

Experience bullfight and breeding world

Ronda is the birthplace of the modern Spanish bullfight and the hometown of its greatest dynasty. Here, during the 18th C., a fighter faced the bull on foot for the first time rather than on horseback, as it was the tradition.

http://www.reservatauro.com

A local bullfighter immerses attendees in the culture of bullfight and the rearing of bulls through a range of original activities. The place? A breeding farm of fighting bulls and pure Andalusian horses just 5 km from Ronda. The finca is located in an area declared biosphere’s reserve by UNESCO so you can be sure your event will take place in a privileged environment.

http://www.reservatauro.com

Guided tours in the beautiful meadows among bulls and horses ending with a taste of local food and wine, walking or by private vehicle; team building with unique experiences; product launch and presentations; special venues that can be adapted to all needs; activities to get to know local culture, gastronomy and heritage… A place full of possibilities.

Racing experience in a stunning natural setting

A stunning oak trees valley is the perfect frame for the first race resort in the world. Motorsports enthusiasts can now enjoy a facility designed for both entertainment and business presentations. High speed track, club house, driving school, helipad …

5425m of pure adrenaline in a technical and balanced track designed to enjoy the driving rhythm, speed and nature and which respects the orography or the original grove. Tailored events, from driving programs, track rentals, testing, to brand presentations, filmings, incentive or team building events.

Active experiences

Canyoning, kayaking, via ferrata, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, horse riding… whether you want high-adrenalin extreme sports adventure tours or relaxed activities, Serranía de Ronda is the place. There are beautiful hiking trails all around from where to admire clear water rivers with gorges, natural landscapes and white villages.

Prefer a less active but still adventurous experience? A Jeep circuit between Ronda and Marbella is a great idea to explore the mountain areas towards the sea and will test team orientation skills while discovering the natural surroundings.

Wine and gastronomy

Ever since Roman times, Serranía de Ronda has been used for wine-making and is now particularly known for the delicious red wines produced there. Red, rosés and whites offer a great display of aromas and personality thanks to the uniqueness of the area:  its particular location in the southernmost latitude of the Mediterranean arch, the geological diversity of the soils, the altitude and the climate characteristics. Up to 18 wineries can be visited in the wine tour of Serranía de Ronda while you enjoy the beauty of the mountain green landscape and, of course, take the change to taste the rich local gastronomy.

Enjoying the flavours and local products of the Serrania de Ronda is a must and both the city and surrounding offer the possibility to do so with its restaurants and manor houses. Hunting has been the diet basis since Arabic times in the area and is present in most of the local dishes prepared with rabbit, oxtail, chicken or partridge. Serranía de Ronda is also a fantastic garden that provides of excellent vegetables as legumes, broad beans and pumpkin as well as a huge variety of mushrooms to accompany most dishes. The confectionery has received the influence of Arabic culture centuries, with honey and almonds present in every local dessert. Of course, the traditional Andalusian products can be found in Ronda so be sure you will not miss the delicious tapas with pork products and fish. 

Would you like to learn more about all possibilities this Andalusian jewel has to offer to your MICE groups? Contact us, we will be pleased to tailor-size the most suitable program.

info@across-spain.es

#spain #visitSpain #ronda #rondaspain #andalusia #meetingsandevents #incentivetravel #serraniaderonda

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Far from the typical stereotype of a cheap, beach destination, Tenerife is a place filled with potential within MICE tourism. Of course this beautiful island is a perfect spot if you are looking for plenty of sun, sand and sea but, now, we would like to explain you why you should have it in mind when planning your next meeting, conference or kick off.

The island

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands and sits in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of North Africa. 2 international airports offer direct connections with Spanish mainland (3h from Madrid, 3h30 from Barcelona) and with most major airports across Europe. Today Tenerife’s population is around 900,000 and around five million tourists visit the island every year. Santa Cruz is the actual capital city, situated in the north, while the most popular tourist destinations are located by the south coasts – Playa de Las Américas, Los Cristianos and the stunning cliffs of Los Gigantes gather most of the great resorts.

A perfect climate is Tenerife’s main asset. Mild summers and relatively warm winters are the result of its subtropical climate, with temperatures averaging 20-22ºC in the winter months and 26-28ºC in the summer. The atmosphere is cooled by the sea breeze and the trade winds and the Island’s unique orography gives rise to varying weather conditions in different areas, to the point that you could find yourself playing in the snow on El Teide’s slopes in the morning and sunbathing or swimming on the south coast in the afternoon.

Several eruptions (the last being in the early 20th century) have sculpted this volcanic island. The result is a great mix of rugged terrain and breath-taking dramatic landscapes being Mount-Teide, the highest peak in Spain, the symbol which welcomes visitors as they come into land.

Where to stay

A huge range of good and top-class accommodation is available across the island, with excellent facilities suitable to a wide range of needs. Large hotel and resorts, conference hotels, smaller boutique hotels, adult-only facilities … can be found in almost every area in the island.  South Tenerife concentrates most of the 5* and deluxe hotels. Larger and smaller resorts, with first class facilities, beautiful gardens and pools, restaurants for all tastes, fully equipped conference services, own golf courses … provide a perfect base camp for your event. Despite being the main tourist area, there is a bunch of properties that have chosen a more private location, still not far, so as to fulfil the wishes of companies that expect more privacy.

For those looking for city life and being away from crowded tourists resorts, Santa Cruz, the capital city, have a good offer of first class hotels and conference facilities, venues, restaurants and activities.

What to do & see

Being such a versatile place, with beautiful beaches and a breath-taking nature, there are many original and creative activities and excursions, in the middle of the Atlantic, in the sand of some beaches or in mountainous and volcanic landscapes as the majestic Teide.

Whale and dolphin watching, sea-kayaking, sailing regattas, jet skiing, beach games, golf clinics and competitions, balloon ascents, trekking, jeep-rally tours, canyoning … are experiences which guarantee the success of any corporate trip.

In need of a less active program? No worries, there is an activity to fit all options. Wine cellars open doors to visits and tastings; boats are ready to bring sun seekers for a ride along the beautiful south cliffs; the fantastic Canary gastronomy is always there for guests to both enjoy a meal or, why not?, learn how to prepare traditional dishes in a gastronomic workshop; and of course, picturesque villages and natural parks are a short drive away from most hotels.

We have picked up some of the “must-see” in Tenerife:

Mount-Teide and Mount-Teide National Park: a day trip to Spain’s highest peak is a must. Situated in the the centre of Tenerife, it is one of the oldest national parks in the country. Enjoy the views from its 3718m height. A volcanic landscape with pine forests and green valleys welcome visitors within a quick drive and a cable-car ride to the top will be the reward – a clean view of Tenerife and the surrounding islands. 

La Orotava: a visit to this old historic town can be combined on the way up to Teide. Set in an attractive fertile countryside and with a backdrop of Mount Teide, the wealthiest residents of Tenerife used to live here in the past and their influence can be seen in the many beautiful buildings with beautifully carved wooden balconies and interior courtyards. The old town of La Orotava has been declared a Site of National Historic and Artistic Interest and there are lots of Renaissance mansions to admire as well as some beautiful churches and convents.

The Pyramids of Güimar: a natural complex consisting of six free-standing pyramids built in the 19th century, just outside the town of Güimar. The pyramids have become a popular tourist site and definitely stand out in the national park of reed ships, ancient artefacts and tranquil grounds.

Masca Mountain and Valley: one of the most popular hikes on the islands, a 7km trail that starts in a village in the northwest side and goes all the way to the rocky beach below. Guided hikes can be arranged, ending with a boat trip from the beach to Los Gigantes cliffs.

Whale and Dolphin watching: more than 28 species of whales and dolphins live in the warm waters surrounding Tenerife. Daily boat tours are arranged from the south coast and can be privatised for groups.

Tenerife Auditorium Adan Martin: Santa Cruz is worth a visit just for being home to one of the most famous buildings of the islands. The The Tenerife Auditorium, created in an avant-garde architectural style, frequently hosts talks, exhibitions and music events that attract diverse crowds. Besides being a venue that hosts all type of events, the building is open to visitors: the first level has a large open space with a terrace restaurant and a great view.

In a few words: Tenerife is the place where your guests can get lost in nature, relax on the beach, climb Spanish highest peak (a volcano), stroll the old cobbled streets of picturesque towns, play golf, go shopping … but, above all, we will make sure they don’t leave without trying the food, a delicious and unique experience – from a terrace with sea views with a plate of the local shrimps, “papas arrugadas”, fresh fish with “mojo” and a good local wine.

Would you like to learn more about the endless possibilities Tenerife has to offer to a MICE group? Contact us, we will be pleased to tailor-size the most suitable program: info@across-spain.es

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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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