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Archive for the ‘sightseeing’ Category

The honeymoon is without doubt one of the most important vacation for couples – a time they will always remember and connect with positive memories. Therefore, it is very important to choose the perfect location for it. And what else is better for this romantic getaway than the combination of sunny beaches, stunning nature and exciting culture – Spain has it all!

A honeymoon in Spain is always a good idea, but some regions are especially suitable for newlyweds to spend their romantic holidays together. In addition to the most popular city destinations like Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla or Valencia, there are some other regions that offer great possibilities to spend these special vacations.

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sunset parasailing, Ibiza

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are the perfect destination for honeymooners due to their warm subtropical climate all year long.
The island of Tenerife offers all you may desire for your honeymoon: diverse nature, from tropical forests to volcanic landscape, beautiful beach resorts and many possibilities for activities. Visit the famous Loro Parque zoo, go hiking through stunning ravines or do water sports.
The other islands are also well worth a visit. You could visit La Palma to relax, practise golfing, and visit the national park or the natural pools. also, you could spend your vacation at Lanzarote and do surfing, go mountain biking or hiking – there are endless possibilities.

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are another good option for a honeymoon during the warm months (from April to October). Visit Mallorca, if you are seeking a combination of luxury and adventures. You can go hiking, yachting, just relax on the beach or visit some historic sites. There are several forts, windmills and nice mountain villages to be explored. A hotel that could make your stay even better is the Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa, a luxury hotel overlooking the fishing village of Port Soller.

A different program for your honeymoon awaits you in Ibiza. The island is famous for its international dance club scene and white sand beaches. This chic island is perfect if you are looking for the best parties and small remote beaches to relax. But the island has more to offer. If you are interested in culture, visit Dalt Vila, the historic centre of Ibiza Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a romantic evening have a drink at Café del Mar in Sant Antoni de Portmany, from where you have the best view of the most beautiful sunset of the island.

Costa del Sol

Furthermore, on the Spanish mainland there are many ideal places to spend the honeymoon. A popular destination is Costa del Sol with small fishing villages, charming coastal towns and famous spots like the bustling Puerto Banús marina in Marbella. In Marbella and the surrounding towns you can also find a lot of beach clubs and spas. You can decide if you just want to relax or attend great parties. If you need more action, there are loads of possibilities for water sports, sailing or golf. Moreover, from Costa de Sol there are various options for day trips. visit Nerja and the “Balcón de Europa” (Europe’s balcony) viewpoint for impressive views over the ocean. The ultimate place to take photos and collect memories of your honeymoon!

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Puerto Banús, Marbella

Apart from the mentioned regions of course there are numerous other options for honeymooners in Spain. You might find your ideal honeymoon destination at the wild green coasts and white beaches in Galicia, where you can enjoy great seafood. Another option is visiting the bustling Costa Brava, where historic towns, botanical gardens and small fishing villages await you.

All in all, every married couple will be able to find their perfect honeymoon in Spain, thanks to the unlimited possibilities!

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Spain offers numerous interesting cities that are well worth a visit, but 15 of them deserve special mentioning as they were named UNESCO World Heritage Cities. Those cities are: Alcalá de Henares, Ávila, Baeza, Cáceres, Córdoba, Cuenca, Ibiza/Eivissa, Mérida, Salamanca, San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, Tarragona, Toledo and Úbeda. The cities were named World Heritage Cities due to their historical centres or important monuments that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, their archaeological sites or their combination of culture and biodiversity in the city.

Each of the UNESCO World Heritage Cities is unique and will surprise you with its own charm and historic buildings. Some of the most known monuments can be found in these cities and there is a lot to explore: the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes in Alcala de Henares, the medieval city walls in Avila, the hanging houses in Cuenca or the Roman amphitheatres in Merida and Tarragona. Other visitors’ favourites are the Mosque-Cathedral in Cordoba, the old University in Salamanca, the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and the Roman aqueduct in Segovia. You can choose your favourite places to discover or just discover them all!

But the World Heritage Cities are more than only some beautiful cities to visit. The Organization of World Heritage Cities in Spain regularly works on projects and special routes for visitors.

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                               UNESCO World Heritage Cities                                                           (source: Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad)

One current project is called “Laberintos liricos” (lyrical labyrinths). It aims to reflect the essence and identity of every of the 15 historic cities. The artist group Boa Mistura is in charge of this project and the intention of the participating cities is to become more attractive for younger visitors. The installation consists of 15 triangular prisms that are adapted to each city’s special characteristics and show a verse or poem of a local artist. Those lines can only be read from specific points and all together the prisms add up to one artwork when visiting all participating destinations. The first project phase has started last month, September, in Cáceres, Toledo, Cuenca, Segovia and Ávila.

Another project the World Heritage Cities have worked on are accessible routes to make it possible for everyone to move around the cities. Every city developed a route of touristic interest where it is possible to visit different monuments without any restrictions in accessibility. They also developed a map and brochure to point out some monuments and give detailed information about accessibility and possible restrictions.

 

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                            accessible route in Córdoba                                                (source: Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad)     

 

 

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we all know the situation, just booked a trip and telling it to your family and friends and the first thing they say is: “you have to bring me sth.” who did not do this experience yet. well we are sure all of us know this situation.

now imagine you arrive in your destination, in our case madrid, and you think about what kind of presents you can buy. well you feel yourself somehow obligated to buy a small present, because if not we will somehow feel bad that we did not do it.

however imagine now a second you are in madrid and are searching something. the first stores you see in the city for souvenirs and gifts are the typical ones where you can find this:

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normally you go inside these shops and buy a stupid thing. however, today we will stop being normal and be a little more special.

let us inform you about some old, traditional shops in madrid, where you can find traditional spanish products with a good value for money. let your loved or friend feel for just once a bit of your trip.

alvarez gomez, a century perfumery

the story of the perfumery alvarez gomez started when three cousins decided to leave their hometown, león,  for searching a job in the capital of spain. they started there journey in a drugstore of a relative.  when this relative decided to retire, circumstance and opportunity that the cousins took advantage of by buying it, which was a very important step for their future. their ideas and visions made the small drugstore nowadays to a famous and popular perfumery in spain. they produce and develop own perfum.

our first recommendation is to buy a small present in the perfumery and relate it with a short explanation of the history of this place. give your relatives the feeling of getting something special from a more than hundred years old store.

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pastelería el pozo, handmade sweet delights

rumors are saying that this is the oldest bakery in madrid. a bakery where the sweet delights are still made in the traditional way, that means more or less completely handmade.
also famous is the bakery for their roscone de reyes, a sweet delight. for enjoying this you have to make a reservation days, weeks before you visit this place as the demand is quite high.

our recommendation is to visit the bakery and just try different delights, as a present you should buy a small mixed package the day before your departure.

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almacén de vinos mariano madrueño, a trip across spanish wines

this company was founded in 1895 actually as a distellery of aniseed, liquors and syrups. over hundred years it was runed by family members til 1999 when the company closed its doors as a distellery. the new philosophy since then is to offer a selection of the best wines from all over spain and its different regions. the shop will be found close to the city center at the plaza callao.

our recommendation is to visit the shop, be advised by someone working there and knowing about the best spanish wines.

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bombones la violeta, the violet flower of madrid

this small shop is dedicated since 1915 to the sale of chocolates and candies. but this shop is famous in all madrid for its candy “violet”. this is a small flower-shapped candie and flavored with a violet aroma. one really nice and popular gift from madrid.

our recommendation is to buy this beautiful, very unique candies. give your relatives a different taste than they ever had in their life.

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sombrerería casa yustas, hometown of madrids hats

in the casa yustas you will find three floors where you can find all kinds of caps, berets and hats, in any size and price. the store has its own workshop where they produce there products handmade. besides in this store you can find military items, things for a small present or any decoration.

befunky_yustas

we hope you have for your next visit now some ideas about what present you could get and which are not normal stuff as 85% of the visitors of madrid are buying.

however, finally we just want to give a small hint for the one who is travelling to madrid…:)

in madrid there is the possibilty of having lunch or dinner in the oldest restaurant of the world, the “el botín”. specialized in traditional spanish food the restaunt is a must-do if you come to visit the capital. the most famous dish is the piglet and the lamb. the mix of it old atmosphere, delicious food and best spanish wines is making this place to an unforgattable place.
but do not forget to make a reservation as this place often is fully occupied if you just go spontaneously. and for our clients we have special prices…;)

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here is a map for you to see where the different shops are, as we can see all of them are located in the city center.

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the bullfighting in spain is questioned since years, people saying that the act and killing of the bull should be forbidden and not be longer a part of spanish culutral activities. however when the event is taking place the entrance card are sold out quickly and banns thousands of people for some hours in the world of bullfighting with all his emotions.

in this blog we will not focus so much in the history of it moreover we want to present famous bullrings as “the plaza de toros” in ronda, “plaza toros las ventas”  in madrid and  “plaza de toros de la maestranza” in sevilla. for sure there are a lot more rings all over spain, as almost every bigger city has his own bullring, but as the three “plazas” mentioned before are the most important ones in spain, we will have a closer look to them.

but before presenting the three rings let me take you shortly through the history of the bullfighting in spain. the bullfighting in spain as we know today was created in the early 18th century from francisco romero, while the first ring was build in 1749.

one of the oldest plaza de toros in spain, younger and smaller than that at sevilla, but home to one of spain’s most famous ‘schools’ of bullfighting, is ronda.  this city became the city of birth of the traditional bullfighting and the city of practice for the first toreros. torero is the definiton off all people participating during the act. otherwise there are novilleros, matadores, banderillero and picadores. however the main protagonist is the matador who is angering the bull with the “muleta“, the red cloth, and giving the bull the deathblow witht the sword.

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the traditional bullfighting, corrida in spain, and his main act are divided into three parts

tercio de varas

in the first part the torero is meeting the bull, this part should give him the opportunity to get to know his enemy, read his movements, and get along with him. some movements of the torero are accompanied by the audience with an “olé”

tercio de banderillas

in the second part the banderillos, helpers of the torereo, comes into the act. their task is it to weaken the bull by stinging 3 banderillas, colourful spears, into the back of the bull

tercio de muleta y estocada

the final showdown in which the torero is trying to prick the rapier into the bull´s heart and finish him off

today the plaza de toros is a museum, open to tourists, and used only in the spectacular september goyesca bullfights, in which combatants dress in the manner of goya’s portraits of 18th century life in spain. this year the act will be performed the 6th of september.

however the plaza de toros de las ventas in madrid became through the decades to one of the  most important ring of bullfighting worldwide. the plaza was build up in 1929 and presents since then the bullfighting spectacle to their audience. the ring has a capacity of ca. 25.000 people, who can enjoy the fighting.

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the season of the bullfighting is from may til october, however the best time to experience this act is during the san isidro festival in may and june, where almost every day a bullfight is shown to the audience.

apart of the bullfighting it is posible to visit the ring and his museum, a tour giving you the opportunity to learn more about the history of bullfighting and about the spanish passion for it.

the third ring which is being presented is the plaza de la maestranza in sevilla, the oldest and most significant bullrings in spain. it took more than 100 years to build up this ring with all his beauty. in this ring the bullfight moved from horseback to foot, and many of the cherished theatrical traditions of the matador evolved

 

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during the feria de abril, a week-long celebration of all things in seville, the season´s most prestigious fights are held. every afternoon, crowds pack the plaza de toros (under locals known as “the cathedral”) to see the “dance” between the matador and the bull. 

if the spectacle turns your stomach and is to much for you, you might like to visit only the museum and leave it at that. here you will find the chapel where the matadors pray, the hospital area in case of accidents, bull´s heads and matador´s costumes

bullfighting for sure is not as popular as it was once, but people still go and enjoy the act. for most of the outsiders it is hard to understand how people can get joy of this spectacel. but this not understanding exists in for example every kind of sports, not everyone likes futbol, saying what is so interesting about when 22 people are trying to catch a ball. and as long as the goverment will not forbid this event, the audience will go on jellying and shouting an “oléééééééééééééééé”

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in case you find yourself in the capital of spain, overwhelmed by the increasing heat, you may want to find interesting and exciting places where you can spend your days and prepare for even hotter madrid nightlife.. there is certainly a number of great options for any taste, however, in this artice we have prepared a little insight into what the city can offer to travellers interested in culture and art.

first of all we want to encourage you to explore the so-called the golden triangle of art which consists of three art museums that are among the most important museums in the world: the prado museum (museo del prado), the reina sofía museum (museo nacional centro de arte reina sofía) and the thyssen-bornemisza museum (museo thyssen-bornemisza).

 

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the prado museum,
is among the most prestigious art museums in the world, storing more than 8000 masterpieces from the spanish, flemish and italian schools, starting from the middle ages to the 19th century.

the accent is put on spanish artists, including the magnificent “las
meninas
” by velázquez which happens to bealso the best-known work displayed at the museum.

in addition to permanent exhibitions this summer you can also enjoy two temporary exhibitions: “el greco and modern painting” and “evil vanishes. egusquiza and wagner´s parsifal in the museo del prado”.

the museum is located on paseo de prado, with the nearest metro stations being banco de españa and atocha.

the opening hours from monday to saturday are from 10am to 8pm; on sundays and holidays from 10am to 7pm.

prado

 

the next museum on the “art walk” list is the reina sofía museumsofiacol2.jpg, which is the house for around 20´000 masterpieces, dating from late 19th century to today.

once there you must definitely see the masterpiece “el guernica” by pablo picasso. museum also has an extensive collection of other spanish artists, such as as joan miró and salvador dalí.

nevertheless, if you are more interested in international artists,. the collections also include works by artists like francis bacon, damien hirst, max ernst, lucio fontana, etc.sofia.jpg

 

the programme of museum includes all types of artistic disciplines, divided into three collections: “the irruption of the 20th century, utopia and conflicto (1900-1945)”, “is the war over? art in a divided world (1945-1968)” and “from revolt to postmodernity (1962-1982)”.

this summer we recommend you to visit also the temporary exhibitions that include works by richard ham
ilton
and kerry james marshall.

the museum is located on street santa isabel, 52 with the closest metro station being atocha.

opening hours from monday to saturday are 10am – 9pm, on sunday 10am – 7 pm. the museum is closed on tuesdays.

 

 

 

 

 

last but not the least important museum in the golden triangle of art is the thyssen – bornemisza museum which housesaround 1000 arthyssencol1.jpgtworks from the 13th to 20th century.

it is interesting to note that the museum initially started of as a personal collection by baron hans heinrich thyssen-bornemisza and his father, baron heinrich.

thyssen supplements the madrid´s art temple with unique works of such underrepresented areas as the early italian school, impressionism, german expressionism, russian constructivism, , pop art, etc.

if you visit thyssen this summer, you have the opportunity to see two temporary exhibitions, a mixture of conventional and contextual exhibitions. these are – “pop art myths” and “alma-tadema and victorian painting in the pérez-simón collection”.

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thyssen is located in palacio de villahermosa, paseo del prado, 8 which is near the metro station banco de españa.

until september 14 the temporary exhibitions are open from 10am to 10pm on tuesdays to saturdays and from 10am to 7pm on sundays and mondays.

 

 

although the three aforementioned museums are the very cornerstones of madrid´s art collections there are even more interesting cultural places to see, e.g. the arts centre matadero or caixaforum – the live space for old, modern and contemporary art, music and poetry .matcaixa.jpg

across spain would like to invite you to be our guest and explore the never-ending artistic and cultural opportunities the city has to offer, be it either by yourself or by choosing any of our several guided tours and art gallery routes.

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