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Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Did you know that Spain is home to some of the most beautiful parks and gardens in the world? In fact, it holds more than 8,000 of the 9,000 European species of plants, making it a popular place for botanists and tourists. Below are five of the most famous:

  1. The Royal Palace Gardens, Aranjuez
  2. Park Guell, Barcelona
  3. Parque del Clot, Barcelona
  4. Gardens at the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos
  5. Maria Luisa Park, Seville

The Royal Palace Gardens

The Royal Palace Gardens of Aranjuez surround the old Spanish Royal Residence which was built in the 1380s. The gardens are famous for their uniqueness, with more than 400 species of trees and bushes which are over 260 years old.

There are 3 main gardens surrounding the palace, each of them unique:

  1. The Parterre Garden

The flower beds, hedges and paths in this garden are beautifully constructed and well-trimmed forming an exquisite pattern in the garden. This intimate garden is perfect for a short stroll in the evening if you don’t enjoy long hikes!

  1. The Island Garden

What makes this garden unique is that it is located on an island in the Tagus River connected by a small bridge.

  1. The Prince’s Garden

Situated on 150 hectares of land, the Prince’s Garden is the largest of the three and nearly impossible to see in one day. One of the main attractions in the garden is the exquisite Chinese Pond.

 

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The Royal Palace Gardens of Aranjuez, Madrid. Source: revistadearte.com

Park Guell Barcelona

Built in the 20th century by one of Spain’s most famous architects Antoni Gaudi, the modern architecture of Park Guell is masked in mosaic patterns and bright colours, which makes it an attractive spot for tourists who enjoy taking picturesque photographs. When you enter the park, you are greeted by the famous Park Guell dragon which leads you to the rest of the park.

In the beginning, the plan was to create a housing estate with the land on which Park Guell is built, however this plan was not successful as no one wanted to invest, therefore Gaudi bought the model house and lived there until he died in 1926.

It is hard to believe that before Gaudi designed this magnificent park, it was only composed of dry land with hardly any greenery. Now, not only can you enjoy the beautiful buildings but at the back of the monumental area, you can take a walk amongst native trees and plants whilst enjoying a spectacular view of the city.

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View from the highest point of Park Guell. Source: rondalia.com

Parque del Clot, Barcelona

The Parque Del Clot is situated on 3.5 hectares of land with high bridges connecting either side of the park for pedestrians to cross. The chimney, arches and walls located in the Clot’s new green area, which was built in 1986, give evidence to the old mechanic workshops that were once there.

The park implements pre-existing architectural elements in a green space which makes it stand out. There are 4 different parts of the park: a long walk and three areas with a different purpose, making it perfect for all ages!

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Parque del Clot in Barcelona. Photo by josemanuel

Gardens at the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos

The monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos is one of the most characteristic monasteries in Spain, located next to the River Mataviejas on the land of Visigothic monastic establishments from the 7th century.

The Benedictine monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos demonstrates some of the most impressive work of European Medieval Art; whilst the cloisters of Santo Domingo represent one of the best examples of Roman Spain. Furthermore, they have become famous for their cypress which is thought to have been planted by one of the French Benedictine monks in 1882.

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Gardens at the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silo. Source: lasimagenesqueyoveo.com

Maria Luisa Park, Sevilla

Located in Seville’s historic center along the Guadalquivir River, is one of Europe’s finest greeneries known as Maria Luisa Park. A walk through here is an ideal way to cool down in the summer whilst allowing you to take advantage of the beautiful sights and cultural activities in the fresh air.

The highlight of the park is the Plaza de España, the monumental legacy of the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929, which symbolized a crucial memory for Seville and the rest of the world.

If you visit the park today you will see numerous monuments, fountains, ponds, flowers and impressive buildings that were re-designed by the French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier in 1911 which adds character to the park.

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The Maria Luisa Park in Sevilla. Source: pegnrope.com

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Starlight watching

Spain by daylight is wonderful. But have you ever seen the impressing sky by night, in one of the main areas for star watching? This incomparable beauty by night is not visible everywhere in the country, just some special places are providing the perfect conditions to see this spectacle. The best spots for enjoying the star lights are marked with the certificates “Starlight reserve” and the “Starlight destination”.

starlight cover

Source: Vantastic tours

The certificates

Starlight reserve

The conditions to obtain the international certificate “Starlight reserve” refer to light/darkness, air clearness and nature. All assigned reserves has to be protected according to the law. The aim is to preserve the astronomical conditions, the landscape and nature, the quality of the night sky and the cultural heritage altogether.

Starlight destination

For the starlight destination the basic requirements are the same as for a starlight reserve. And additionally to that, this certificate requests adapted infrastructure for tourism which is either already available or has to be provided in the future.

Places

La Palma

In the year 2012, the first Starlight reserve La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, got designated. Within the last years more and more places got prepared for observations. Moreover, rural country house accommodations which are perfect to spend the night in to watch the millions of stars were build and therefore the place has also the title of a Starlight destination. As the island is perfect for hiking, there are even some routes with astronomic viewpoints.

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Source: Starsisland La Palma

Andalusia

Jaén:Andalusia is one of the most important regions for star watching and it contains several Starlight reserves. One of the best designated places for starlight watching there is the Sierra Sur de Jaén, which lies in the East of Cordoba. The natural darkness is conserved perfectly which makes it an unspoiled place for enjoying the beauty of stars. The Starlight reserve also has some places with the designation of a Starlight destination inside. The region is supported by two associations which are specialized in astronomy and star observation. On the one hand the Hubble Astronomical Association of Martos which organizes regular public observations, courses and different kind of activities all around the same topic. And on the other the Einstein Society of Astronomy which arranges together with the Andalusian Observatory of Astronomy visits and guided observations for interested groups and teaching centres.  Sierra Morena:The second significant Starlight reserve and also the largest worldwide is called Sierra Morena and lies at the Northern border of Andalusia. It extends of over 400km along the country. The region worked for one year to make the area ready to become a Starlight reserve and a Starlight destination and to establish a high quality of the night sky. Some of the best viewing points are: Aldea de Los Guindos, Minas del Centenillo, Llanos de Espiel, Cerro del Hierro and Ermita de San Bartolomé.

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Source: Mis Cosas

Cumbres de Tenerife: In 2013 several places in Tenerife got assigned as Starlight reserve and destination like the mountain El Teide, or Ganadilla de Abona. One unique activity you can do on the island is hiking up to El Teide and watch the stars on the volcano from an altitude of 2000m through a 25cm telescope with has the option of automatic search.

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Source: Volcano Teide

Take a look at those stunning pictures. They are not even close to the wonderful view you will have if you visit any of those places in real life. To enjoy the full experience do not hesitate to contact us to receive the full information and have the best deals for destinations, accommodations and activities.

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Camino de Santiago, internationally known as The Way of St. James, is one of the most important pilgrimage places worldwide. The big interest in the route of St. James Way, to Santiago de Compostela, started with the discovery of the remains of the apostle Saint James the Greater. The final destination is located in the northwest of Spain, in the region of Galicia.

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Source: TripSavvy

Santiago de Compostela

The capital of Galicia lies in the northwest of the region. Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important and most famous pilgrimage places in Europe, receiving nowadays more than 300.000 international pilgrims every year.

One of the most popular rituals of the pilgrims is getting inside the crypt to see the coffin or to pray to St. James. Due to the high number of people visiting the sight, there is a problem of capacity and sometimes you have to wait for hours to access the interior.

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Source: pbase

History

The reason why Santiago de Compostela is such an important pilgrimage site dates back to the 9th century. In 814, when the tomb with the remains of the apostle James the Great was discovered for the first time. A chapel was constructed and years later the huge Catedral Santiago de Compostela should mark the place of discovery. This was the beginning of a big boom of pilgrimage to this place.

Nowadays many non-Christian tourists discovered the routes of Camino de Santiago. There is currently a trend of people following these routes just for enjoyment, sightseeing in combination with nature, sports, or seeking for a new challenge or as a way of self-discovery.

The routes of Camino de Santiago

Various places in Spain, as well as in Europe are known as starting points for the St. James Way. Even though no official way exist, there are some main routes, followed by pilgrims. All ways heading the same final destination – Santiago de Compostela. Below find the most popular ways starting in Spain and Portugal:

The French Way (Camino Francés)

The most popular way, one with some of the deepest historical roots starts in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and stretches over 780km until Santiago de Compostela. Over 60% of all pilgrims choose this route, which includes the major cities Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León.

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Source: Schatz & Schatz

The Northern Route (Camino del Norte)

Stretching alone the northern coast of Spain, this route begins in the Basque country in Irún. It is a rather less popular route compared to others. Several parts of the way require hiking, which makes it more difficult for some people. It follows the old Roman way and passes by some important cities like San Sebastian, Gernika, Bilbao, and Oviedo.

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Source: Camino Ways

The Portuguese Way (Camino Portugués)

It is the second most popular path after the French Way. This route has 3 possible starting points. The farthest one is Lisbon, followed by Porto and then by Tui, a city next to the Spanish – Portuguese border at the north.

Proof of walking

The very first pilgrims who walked the whole route proofed their accomplishment by taking scallop shell as sign with them. Nowadays, pilgrims can buy a special passport and afterwards a certificate, proofing you went by foot or by bike. The passport is used to show evidence of either walking at least 100 km or of the way or going by bike for at least 200 km. To proof the walk/ride with your passport, you have to get a stamp from churches, town halls or other official establishments on your way to Santiago. Arrived at the final destination, people can get their certificate at the Pilgrims Office. The Compostela certificate is an original religious certificate written in Latin.

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Source: Keen on Asuncion

For whatever reason you want to accomplish the walking of the route, we put together the best packages for the New Year for you. Just contact us and ask for more information. We are happy to serve you with all kind of questions you might have about our Camino de Santiago packages.

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What would you say if we tell you we have the perfect programs to train like a professional, grow as a team and get out of your comfort zone? What would be your answer if we tell you that limits are for the others and that you are meant for something bigger? If you are ready for the best training camps in Spain, you better keep reading.

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source: Laois County Council

While Spain is one of the most pleasant tourist destinations in Europe, the reasons for its many professional athletes such as Rafael Nadal and the National Football team are neither the beaches nor the picturesque villages. Instead, the diverse scenery of Spain and top facilities all over Spain offer the perfect mixture to train like a beast.

Our training camps focusing on football, hockey, swimming and tennis are located on strategic places to not only offer the best facilities to athletes and an incredible experience, but also a landscape to relax after the hard work-out.

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source: Hockey Travel

Whether you are professional or amateur– we have training camps options depending on your discipline in Alicante, Valencia, Lloret de Mar, Salou, Terrassa, Vic and Sabadell for you! While our football training camps can be found in Alicante, Valencia, Lloret de Mar, Salou, Terrassa and Vic, the swimming training camps are centered in Sabadell. Tennis and hockey training camps are offered in Terrassa. All our training camps are perfect to build teamwork, set your mind and boost your performance. No matter if you prefer staying not far from a large city but with the advantages of staying in a quiet area or in the city itself– we make sure the facilities are not too crowded for your intensive morning and afternoon training. Finish off your training camp with a friendly match against locals to learn more about their strategies, compare yourself and have fun!

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source: Injury Rehab Centre

Our programs include modern and functional hotels which are not only experienced in handling sport groups in order to provide you with the best comfort, but also close to top facilities to not lose time training!

Train with us and we promise you, we have everything what your athlete’s heart could have ever asked for: from great equipped fitness centres to FIFA sized natural grass pitches, from outstanding grass hockey courts to the best indoor and outdoor Olympic swimming pools, from carpet paddle tennis courts to relaxing thermal facilities, … everything is set up for your work-out!

No matter if you are a football fan or a tennis fanatic, a professional swimmer or an amateur hockey player– we have the perfect training camp for you! Contact us now to get more information about our training camp programs and get ready for the next season with us!

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Due to its amazing culture and stunning nature, Spain is the perfect destination for student trips. The country provides numerous possibilities to organize educative student trips for schools and universities, focusing on specific thematic areas. There are visits and activities available for every age group, with special attention to education or amusement.

Due to its various cultural influences throughout times, and buildings of different architectural style, Spain is a popular destination to be visited by architecture students. A special emphasize for those visits is often put on cities like Barcelona or Madrid, but also the La Rioja region is very suitable.

Barcelona’s architectural highlight is without doubt the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, a masterpiece of Catalan Modernism, designed by Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi also contributed other works to the city, like Park Güell, Casa Batlló or Casa Mila, which are well worth a visit, too.

A different kind of architecture can be visited in La Rioja. This region is becoming more and more famous for its avant-garde winery architecture. Some highlights are unique wineries, like Marques de Riscal, Ysios and Lopez Heredia, all designed by innovative, international architects: Frank Ghery, Santiago Calatrava and Zaha Hadid. What they have in common is incredible architecture, beautifully merged with the rural countryside.

A different thematic field that is interesting for student trips to Spain, is renewable energy. There are options to organize visits to internationally renowned and important sites, like solar energy facilities or wind energy plants, where students can get insight into the operation and talk to experts on these areas.

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solar power plant in Sevilla (source: Diario ABC)

Another reason for student groups to visit Spain is to participate in Spanish classes. It is always the best option to learn a language in a country where it is spoken. In this way, students can not only learn the language, but also become familiar with the respective culture and traditions. A stay in Spain enables students who study the Spanish language to apply their language skills in interactions with locals. It might also be a good option to combine the Spanish lessons with other activities, like cooking classes or gymkhanas, during the stay.

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Spanish cooking class

If a school class with younger students is visiting Spain, it is always possible to organize educational trips with a more playful approach. Many museums and theme parks offer group activities where students can learn about topics like nature, art or science, during fun activities. In addition, team building activities are a nice possibility for student trips to enhance social relations in the class, on the basis of collaborative tasks.

Send your request to info@across-spain.es and we will be pleased to send you our tailor made proposal for your student group.

 

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