Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘nature’ 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

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Jardines-de-Aranjuez

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.

park guell

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!

Barcelona_Parc_del_Clot_JMM

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.

Santo Domingo de Silos-008

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.

maria luisa park

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

If you enjoyed reading this post, please follow across spain Travel Chronicles for even more articles about Spain and its rich culture.

map week 11

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

starlight 2

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.

starlight 3

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.

starlight 4

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

01 cover santiago

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.

02 santiago

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.

03 santiago

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.

04 santiago

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.

05 santiago

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.

map

Read Full Post »

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.

training-camp1

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.

training-camp2

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!

training-camp3

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!

training-camp_mapa

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »