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Posts Tagged ‘sports’

open to the sea and sheltered by soft hills, the city of san sebastián (donostia in the basque language) is one of the most famous tourist destinations in spain. its devotion to sustainable development and culture has not only transformed it into a leader among european cities but has also earned san sebastián the designation of europe´s cultural capital in 2016. the city is the perfect destination for everybody. whether you love nature, culture, sports or are looking for an extra-ordinary culinary experience- san sebastián has something for everyone!

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san sebastián´s picturesque location makes it one of the most popular destinations in spain

 

nature
located within only 30 km of the french border, san sebastián is part of the basque autonomous community in northern spain. beaches make up an important part of san sebastián´s identity. the iconic concha beach with its white sand and spectacular landscape make it one of the most photographed, most visited and overall the second top city beach in the world according to the travel and leisure magazine. san sebastián´s many parks and gardens together with the hills surrounding the city are considered to be the green lungs of the city and are a big part of the city´s sustainable image. even more beautiful landscapes can be found beyond the borders of san sebastián. the coastline stretches out to the east and west of the city with its ever-shifting line of steep cliffs and beautiful beaches, an extraordinary collection of lighthouses, and little fishing villages. taking the inland route south will lead you into the green heart of the region with its deep valleys, rivers, hilly countryside and curved roads.

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the green heart of the region and its beautiful coastline beyond the borders of san sebastián

european capital of culture 2016

the candidature slogan “waves of energy” is san sebastián´s message that people and citizens are the real driving force behind transformations and changes in the world and play the leading role in the search for solutions to new global challenges. the designation of the european capital of culture gives san sebastián the opportunity to undertake sustainable and strategic projects aimed at cultural development, social cohesion and european awareness. the programme of over sixtly cultural and leisure activities throughout 2016 will complement the city’s already extensive and varied cultural attractions and more than ever make san sebastián a perfect destination for cultural tourism enthusiasts.

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cultural highlights
museums, galleries, festivals, architecture, sculptures- san sebastián has it all. stroll through the narrow streets of the old town and be amazed by the city´s oldest buildings, such as the 16th century san vicente church or san sebastián´s old city hall. placa de la constitution lies in the heart of the old town and is nowadays the setting for all major local festivities and a popular location for locals as well as tourists to enjoy basque culinary highlights. every september the national and international film industry comes to san sebastián to be part of the zinmaldida, the international film festival, one of the biggest and most prestige of its kind in europe.

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a stroll through san sebastián´s old town

 

the basque cuisine

a total of 16 michelin stars held by local restaurants are proof that san sebastián is one of the leading culinary destinations in the world. not only the famous pintxos, little culinary bites traditionally secured with a toothpick or skewer, but also dedication to top-quality fresh, local and seasonal products are part of the basque food culture. enjoy a culinary short break in san sebastián with basque classics, new creations and a glass of locally produced cider or txakolí wine.

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experience the famous basque cuisine with some pintxos, cider or wine

 

sports
travelers looking for a more active holiday destination will not be disappointed by san sebastián´s healthy lifestyle and variations of outdoor sports. zurriola beach has long become a popular destination for surfers from all around the world, hosting some of the greatest national and international surf competitions and events. all kinds of other water activities, running, cycling, hiking or roller-skating are also hugely popular equally among san sebastián´s inhabitants as well as visitors. in addition to the well-known types of sports, the basque region is also home to some of its own sports disciplines such as basque pelota, a traditional racket game or basque rural sports, such as wood chopping or stone lifting.

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surfing is one of san sebastián´s most popular outdoor sports

 

how to get around
spanish airlines offer daily flight connections from barcelona as well as madrid to san sebastián. bilbao, which is well connected to the majority of european cities, is only about an hour bus ride away from san sebastián. the train station in the city center is very well connected to numerous spanish as well as international cities, such as paris or lisbon. in the city itself a good public transport system makes it easy for people to get around even without a car.

for more information on san sebastián please visit http://www.sansebastianturismo.com. and for more information on tours to this destination and tips for hotels and transportation, do not hesitate to contact us. we will be happy to assist you to make sure you make the best of your time in san sebastián or anywhere else in the basque region.

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a rather unknown yet very refreshing way to get to know the natural beauty of spain is touring the ´vias verdes´. for many people this may sound new but the spanish government has been working on this initiative for some years now. the vias verdes, literally the ´green ways´ are old railways that are currently not in use as such anymore. they were restored by the government in order to serve as cycling lanes and hiking paths for nature lovers and people who like outdoor sports.

touring these ´vias´ is a different and very fun way to explore the spanish nature while at the same time being a very budget and eco-friendly one. since these paths are a great promotion of outdoor activities, they literally bring a breath of fresh air for people of all ages. it is therefore, no surprise that their popularity in spain is increasing every year. now is the perfect time to indulge yourself into the cycling life and to get your sport shoes ready, let´s go!

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via verde over an old train bridge

a little note on the history of the via verdes; after trains stopped running along these tracks, they fell into despair. however, today the old railways have been restored and rearranged into proper bike lanes and trails for walkers. In total there are currently 1900 kilometres of ´vias verdes´ and they can be found all over spain. all tracks can easily be reached and they is a range of difficulty in them so that there is a path for everybody, from young kids and their parents to senior citizens or people with reduced mobility.

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enjoy the variety of the spanish nature

the beauty of the spanish nature can be enjoyed to the fullest on the ´vias verdes´ since there is no outer-disturbance due to the fact that all motor vehicles are forbidden so there is no traffic noise. a track along a ´via´ will lead you to charming villages, over beautiful bridges and through dark (former) train tunnels. the gorgeous scenery is very unique and shows you the beautiful forests, olive yards and rivers and even beaches. along the way you will find areas to rest and enjoy the views while you can have some lunch or a snack at one of the many picnic areas. information about the routes, the towns or the nature can be received at the restored train stations that now serve as information points.

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restored train station along the via verde in bot in terra alta

bellow we will present some ´vias verdes´ which we recommend to our clients and think are worth a trip. first of all, we would say that the ´via de la jara´ is a beautiful track that one has to check out. this path will take you over the aqueducts and train tunnels in toledo and offers stunning views on the rivers and valleys.

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via verde de la jara

In catalunya the via verde ´sant feliu de guíxols´, located close to girona, is one of our recommendations. this route is 39 km long and leads cyclists through tunnels, forests and even brings them to the beautiful seafront. the route is perfect since it shows us the variety of the catalan countryside and provides for an interesting and challenging one-way track.

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via verde sant feliu de guíxols

the last recommendation from our side is to go and explore the beautiful ´torrevieja greenway´, which could also easily be reffered to as the ´salt flats greenway´. this route is based on the old albatera-torrevieja railway line and combines an urban section and a beach one at acequión. the trail leads cycslists around the local salt lakes where flamingos can be spotted if you are lucky.

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flamingos & torrevieja

please contact us for more information on the routes, hotels or other recommendations for the ´vias verdes´ for all regions!

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…this is exactly how you feel on the bus, on the streets, in the parks, and in the bars around a stadium before a big game. this is what atlético de madrid, real madrid, fc barcelona, and other teams from the spanish teams have in common: a loyal supporter base that will follow them everywhere, that will sing their songs, that will cheer and shout and cry, that will wear their club’s colours with pride.

it was the ‘eve hours’ of one of the biggest football events of the 2013-14 calendar: atlético was receiving barça in the vicente calderon stadium, in madrid. granted, this was not ‘el clasico’ (real vs barça) but the two teams had finished the first half of the season at the top, with an equal number of points, so the stakes were high. words like ‘potentially decisive game’ and ‘title-defining’ were being used, bets were being placed, the coaches’ choices of 11s were being discussed.

so it is easy to understand why the crowds of supporters started gathering round the stadium well before the kick-off. it seems like vicente calderon is strategically located on the river banks, so that the ‘waves’ of the incoming supporters are easy to spot. atlético’s supporters are everywhere you look, and they are all, old and young, men and women, well proud of posing with their t-shirts, caps, flags and scarves. they are noisy, but not uncontrollable (perhaps since, in this case, the two rivals have one common enemy, which is real madrid), they are in this way carrying on the tradition of their club.

regardless of the result, the supporters of both teams are there for the game, for that first whistle and the last, for the shouts following an unfair decision, for the goals, for that perfect snapshot of their favourite player, for the atmosphere. and the atmosphere starts outside the stadium hours before the players go on the pitch; in a sense the game starts on the streets when the supporters gather for a drink and a song.

 

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one hour before the game, nearby the vicente calderon stadium

 

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you don’t have to ask them twice for a photo

 

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the streets near the stadium are filled with flags and scarves, for a last pre-game purchase

 

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girl helping her dad get his gear on… like father, like daughter!

 

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different generations, one love!

 

this moment is as unmissable as the game itself, there truly cannot be one without the other. for atletico, not having the streets filled with ‘rojiblancos’ (the ‘red and white’, from the club’s colours) prior to a match in vicente calderon would be the same as playing in a stadium without supporters: bare, quiet, and unfulfilling.

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