Outside of summer — when it’s the most typical time of the year to traveling in Spain — Spring is a simply wonderful time to go visit. Compared to the countries in Northern Europe, summer temperatures in Spain are fabulous, giving rise to delightful aromatic orange blossom smells, and the opportunity of trying a first “Tinto de Verano” on its many idyllic terraces. Or, to take your favourite young niece for a vacation.
This is what she has to say about Barcelona:
I just visited Barcelona, Spain with my aunt, and I can vouch: it’s a great place to visit for a vacation and offers entertainment for everyone at any age.
So, what did I like about it? First, there are the people. The locals are very nice. Besides Spanish, they speak English. Or Italian. Or both. This makes your visit way more enjoyable; you don’t have to try and understand what they are saying in Spanish. Locals are very nice as well, as in: if you ask them for directions, some of them will take you there directly.
Barcelona has live music everywhere. All sorts of music is performed on the street, from opera singing to beat-boxing. The musicians put lots of passion and love into their music. Having music everywhere – this adds so much to your trip; feels like a public party everywhere.
Gorgeous Sites in Barcelona Spain
Then there are the tourist sites. Barcelona also has splendid landmarks to visit. Start with the world-famous Sagrata Família, the Gaudi houses, Park Güell, La Rambla, the Picasso museum, and then make some time for the many other famous churches.
Gaudi Architecture in Barcelona Spain
I went to one of the most beautiful Gaudi houses, Casa Batlló. It is awesome. The architecture and interior design of Casa Batlló is based on the underwater world. The splendid mosaics from Gaudi are amazing. The tiles are all handmade and beautifully arranged. The mosaic on the outside of the house is to represent a sea-worthy dragon or scales of a fish. Visiting the house isn’t exactly free, but it is totally worth it. The visiting ticket comes with an audio guide for every room that explains everything and is interactive. I totally recommend that you go there.
Other Gaudi Houses in Barcelona Spain
If you don’t have time for a visit to Casa Batlló, at least have a look at the so-uniquely facades of some of the other Gaudi houses.
The food in Barcelona is amazing. They have delicious tapas – My favorites are the croquettes which are small, deep fried balls of potatoes with meat and cheese. Second on my list of favorites are patates bravas. These are roasted potatoes that are served with a special chilli mayonnaise. Another great tapas is the simple bread and tomatoes, which is self explanatory but is surprisingly good for an appetiser. And then there are the chicken bits, guacemole dips, etc, etc. What’s nice for parents, is that even with an array of different tapas on the table, dinners still turn out to be inexpensive.
Other than the amazing food in Barcelona, their drinks are wonderful. Personally, I love the fresh lemonade that you can get everywhere – yummm. And, the wines are to die for (, so mom says). The best ones are Priorat and Penedes, both Catalan specials. Locals always know what wines are best – so ask them. We did and discover these two that are from the region around Barcelona.
Sant Sebastiàn Beach in Barcelona Spain
The weather in Barcelona is usually very hot during the summer. But if you go in April like we did, the temperature is just perfect. The sun is warm and the slight breeze makes the experience so much better. On the last day, it was even warm enough for us to go to the beach. It was such a treat to put our feet in the sea after all the walking from the week.
Overall, Barcelona is a wonderful place, and I recommend everyone to stay there for a vacation. It is great for young and old, at any time, and isn’t too expensive.
A visit to Madrid in Spain is not complete without a walk in its fabulous park, Parque del Buen Retiro. It literally means ‘relaxing park 🙂
I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but the park is H-U-G-E: about 300 acres!
It first opened as a public park in 1868. Earlier, the park belonged to the grounds of Phillip IV’s royal palace.
And you can certainly tell its regal origins! While many of its buildings were destroyed in the war with Napoleonic (begin 19th century), there are is still plenty to convey its grandeur.
For one, the grounds are gorgeous! Both locals and tourist love its lakes and botanical gardens. Particularly in summer, the park becomes the go-to spot for tourists as well as locals. It’s when the park really comes alive. You’ll find musicians, fortune tellers and other forms of entertainment. Really fun. And all this makes for my most favourite pastime in the park: people watching!
Second, there are lots of sculptures and monuments in the park that are of that ‘must-see’ calibre. And the natural beauty of the park and artworks seem to go hand-in-hand.
In the gorgeous Rosaleda rose garden, you’ll find all kinds of rose varieties as well as the statue of the El Ael Caido. This work shows the Satan as a fallen angel. Seems so perfect and romantic of good winning over evil.
Third, there are the classy remains the Cason Del Buen Retiro and the Museo del Ejercito, both really worth a visit.
The works by the Spanish master, Sorolla, are part of the 19th to 20th century art collection in the Cason.
The Ejercito holds Spain’s premier army museum. If you are planning a visit here, be sure to see the most elusive pieces of its large collection: the sword of the famous warrior, El Cid; and a cross carried by Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New World. I just love this last piece, although the former is more famous, I believe.
The park is centred around a big lake. Rent a boat or follow the trails and paths around it. It is very scenic everywhere. Particularly noteworthy are the statue of King Alfonso XII on his horse backed by a magnificent colonnade. I love it. This is one side of the lake.
On the other end you’ll find the must-see Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace). a late 19th century greenhouse for exotic plants! Near it, is the Palacio de Velazques. In this palace you’ll find temporary exhibits from the Queen Sofia museum of art. — I told you there is a lot going on in this park! —
Another natural feature of the park is the Cecilia Rodriguez gardens which have a delightful array of flora and are located close to the fine dining restaurants on Serrano Street. Also near this is the Prado Museum which can easily be combined with a trip to the park.
So if you’re in Madrid, make sure you take a stroll through the magnificent and charming Parque del Buen Retiro. It is sure to be a highlight of your holiday.
We all want something different from a beach. Whether you prefer facilities, peace, privacy or entertainment here are a few Spanish beaches which come highly recommended.
Spanish Beaches to go to with children
Look for beaches with fine sand, without stones or pebbles and with wooden walkways to the shore because these are easier to walk on. The best beaches for children are those which have shallow water and only very small waves. In addition, access should be easy and comfortable for buggies and it should have good facilities: foot washers, showers, easily visible danger signs, assistance points, play areas and shady places. If children are small, it is important to check out nearby toilet and changing facilities. To keep them amused, choose beaches with activity centres and supervised courses for windsurfing, swimming or fishing.
La Costilla y El Rompidillo on the Costa Ballena (Cádiz)
Situated between Rota and Chipiona, there are seven kilometres of fine sandy beaches, which are not dangerous and which have all sorts of facilities. The children can be kept amused for hours watching the corrals, small stone walls in the sea where fish, shrimps and crayfish are trapped at low tide.
Favorite city beaches in Spain
Need stay close to urbanisation while enjoying a moment or two at the beach? Then city beaches are for you. The best thing is that you don’t have to go far to find them – they are separated from the shops and offices by a promenade, from which you can access the sand by means of ramps and steps.
La Concha in San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa).
Queen María Cristina elevated it to the status of “the” place to spend summer, at the end of the nineteenth century and, from that time, it has kept its charm. Framed by its two mountains, Igueldo and Urgull, the beautiful beach is bordered by superb decorative walkway. In the centre of the bay is Stanta Clara Island and lighthouse, which can be reached by ferry in the summer.
If when it gets hot, you find clothes are too much, you’ll surely enjoy naturism, which consists, among other things, of living the beach experience in your birthday suit or “how your mother brought you into the world” as the Spanish put it. Well, you can wear a thong if you want. In Spain there are several hundred beaches with a nudist tradition which goes back to the 1960s, the majority with difficult access and unspoilt scenery. As well, there are those which must live with the “textiles” (as naturists call those who don’t go nude) in separate zones, including certain remote caves in which there is a natural mixture of bathing costumes and exposed skin. You can also find areas of coast specifically for nudism; authentic naturist centres, equipped with all types of set up (hotels, supermarkets, swimming pools) for those who go around completely naked.
Cala Fonda, in Altafulla (Tarragona).
Also known as Waikiki Beach, it is situated in the middle of a leafy pine grove and sheltered by a vertical cliff which makes access difficult. Precisely because of the complications of getting here (it is necessary to walk more than a kilometre through woods), it has become a complete nudist paradise. There are more than 200 metres of fine sand with clear water and absolutely nothing else.
…for friends of the wild and the natural
The more difficult the paths are to negotiate, the more possibilities you have to have the beach to yourself. These coastal spots well deserve a hike of several hours, but to be remote from civilization as well implies a total absence of infrastructure, so don’t forget to carry a good supply of water with you and whatever you need to give you some shade. The locals know the best places and how to get to them, so use your charm to get the information from them.
Los Genoveses, in San José (Almería).
Positioned in the heart of the Parque Natural del Cabo de Gata, you get there by a small earth road, signposted from the town of San José. The small bay of Los Genoveses (so called because in its day, it was an anchorage for pirate ships) opens up to the left of the road and has an improvised parking area. It is a beach of dunes, surrounded by vegetation.
Costa Brava holidays invariably means a huge choice in holiday accommodation and the inevitable, anxious feelings of, “How will I know what it’s like?” Large, impersonal hotels, poorly serviced self-catering accommodation can leave you feeling frustrated and angry.
Come with us as we review one Costa Brava holiday we know you will love, as we show you 10 best things to enjoy at TorreMirona Golf & Spa Resort, Costa Brava.
TorreMirona Golf & Spa Resort is an exclusive holiday destination situated to the west of Figueres in the Empordà region of the Costa Brava. With its famed rugged coastline 20 minutes away, natural beauty of the Aigüamolls de L’Empordà wetlands and the magnificence of the Pyrenees Mountains, this is the ultimate Spanish vacation spot.
Here in no particular order are 10 of the best things to do whilst staying at TorreMirona Golf & Spa Resort.
1. Relax and unwind on your terrace in the privacy of the garden with a complimentary bottle of Cava in an ice bucket beside you and listen to the song of the swallows on the wing in the setting sun. The tranquil and serene surroundings will have you chilled out in moments, allowing you to start your vacation the instance you arrive.
2. Enjoy a round of golf on the picturesque course at TorreMirona Golf and get 15% discount off your round by staying at the resort in either Villa Amora or Vila Birdie apartments. 15 % discount is also given on TorreMirona’s sister course, Golf d’Aro.
3. Spend a pleasurable evening dining in El Canigo Restaurant at the resort’s luxury hotel. Indulge your tastebuds in the sumptuous Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine, whilst your eyes feast on the stunning views across the golf course towards those impressive Pyrenees mountains. Even better, when you stay on the resort, no worrying about taxis to take you home! A short walk in the warm, balmy evening air will have you arriving at your front door in no time.
4. Hire a bicycle and explore the countryside and medieval villages that abound in this region. Besalu is one such village with a magnificent bridge crossing the River Fluvia.
5. Unwind at the spa. TorreMirona Golf & Spa Resort boasts a state of the art spa facility based on holistic philosophies. Relax and recharge your batteries far from the stress and tension of everyday life in an unparalleled, peaceful environment.
6. Play some tennis. Courts can be hired for an hour at a time or for better value become a member of the sports club.
7. Grab a bucket of balls and practise your swing at the golf driving range. If your golf needs some rehearsal, spend some time perfecting your putting and fine-tune your game before hitting the fairways on the 3 practice holes.
8. Swim in the crystal clear waters of the large swimming pool below the terrace of your home-from-home holiday villa. A private shared pool, available to the residents of the horseshoe of homes on Golf Royal, the pool is set in beautifully landscaped gardens a few steps from the end of your garden. Enjoy the views, space and peace a few steps from your villa.
9. Partake of a “Menu del Dia” at the superb restaurant at the Sports Club. Terrific value for money in attractive surroundings over-looking the large outdoor pool of the sports club, you won’t be disappointed.
10. Work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art gym. Perfect for making room for all that gourmet food!
I invite you to use these tips to plan your own trip to TorreMirona Golf & Spa Resort and to making the most of your holiday on the Costa Brava.
About the Author
And with your permission, I’d also like to offer you free access to my short report, Costa Brava Holiday – What Else Is There Apart From Sun, Sea and Sangria on a Costa Brava Holiday? You can download it by going to http://www.costa-brava-spain.com/shortreport.html
Mallorca (derived from Latin “insula maior” (larger island)), the largest of the Balearic islands, has become a popular holiday destination for tourists from all over the world in recent years. The name of the island has become a synonym for cheap mass tourism since the 1960s.
But besides the well-known tourist centres around Palma de Mallorca and at the southern and eastern coast Mallorca also offers many diverse landscapes, excellent sites and perfect conditions for various leisure time sports, an untouched Mediterranean fauna and flora, an unspoilt Mediterranean wildlife and numerous historical sights. Charming little mountain villages, secluded and quiet sandy beaches and bays, peaceful and cozy fishing villages and the bizarre shaped, wild romantic rocky coastline await discovery. These spots can be best explored when you rent a bike or car and go out on your own for the experience of the unknown Mallorca on its coastal roads or wooded, mountainous hiking trails. Due to its geographical richness and its wide range of vacation possibilities Mallorca is an ideal holiday destination for individual vacation, group vacation, couple vacation and family vacation.
The Palma de Mallorca region with its long-established tourist infrastracture and the coastline of the adjacent Migjorn and Llevant regions are the main tourist area of Mallorca. The long sandy beaches such as Playa del Palma offer a large variety of leisure time activities such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, waterskiing, jetskiing, boogieboarding, sea kayaking, scuba diving, surfing and swimming. The beaches may be crowded during high season. Palma de Mallorca, the island´s capital, offers some interesting historical sights, numerous bars, cafes and restaurants, various shopping possibilities and a vibrant nightlife programme. The 16th century Palma Cathedral (“La Seu de Palma” or “La Catedrál de Palma de Mallorca”), a Roman Catholic Cathedral, was built on the former site of an Arab Mosque and impresses the visitor with its French Gothic style. The Almudaina Palace (“Palau de l´Almudaina” or “Palacio de la Almudaina”), a former Muslim fortress built in the 11th century under the Almoravid dynasty, is a spectacular piece of medieval Moorish architecture. It was restored in the 14th century on the order the Catholic Spanish king Jaime II of Aragón as a palace.
The northern and western coast of the island is occupied by a long mountain range, the Tramuntana range (“Serra de Tramuntana” or “Sierra de Tramuntana”), which reaches from Andratx to Cap Formentor. The Tramuntana range with its wild romantic and rough mountain scenery, bizarre shaped rocks, pine woods and steep coastline can be best explored on mountainous hiking trails. Its calmness and isolation contrast with the noisy and crowded tourist areas at the southern and eastern coast of Mallorca. It is ideal for lovers of ecotourism and a perfect holiday destination for travellers seeking privacy and calmness. Some charming, picturesque old villages such as Lluc, Pollenca, Alcúdia, Sóller, Alaro, Arta and Deià lie hidden in the Tramuntana mountains, all of which are worth a day trip.
Located at the northeastern coast of Mallorca, the city of Alcúdia offers shopping possibilities and other tourist attractions. Its nearby mile-long and sandy beach invites to sunbathing and offers a large variety of water sports activities such as surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, sailing, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, kitesurfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding and bathing. Take a stroll through the charming picturesque old town of Alcúdia and visit its weekly markets. The nearby Roman amphitheatre is a worthwile historical monument.
The close-by Hidropark (“Parque Acuático”) with its swimming and boating pools, mini-golf courses and giant water slides is a worthwhile day trip destination for families. The nearby S’Albufera National Park (“Parc Natural de S’Albufera” or “Parque Natural de S’Albufera de Mallorca”) with its dunes, salt water marshes, lagoons and lakes fascinates the visitor with its untouched Mediterranean flora and fauna and unspoilt wildlife. It is known among nature lovers for its birdwatching sites.
Set high in the mountains near the northern coast of Mallorca between Sóller and Pollenca, the village of Lluc, an medieval place of pilgrimage, awaits discovery. The Monastery of Lluc/ Monastery of Our Lady of Lluc (“Monestir de Nostra Senyora de Lluc”) was founded in 1121 and dedicated to Saint James of Santiago de Compostela (“San Jaime de Compostela”), the patron saint of Spain.
Since the Middle Ages millions of Roman-Catholic christians have followed the ancient pilgrim´s trail from Caimari to the Monastery of Lluc to adore the Black Madonna of Lluc (“Virgen de Lluc” or “Nuestra Señora de Lluc”, also called “La Moraneta” by the locals), the patron saint of Mallorca. The monastery was renovated by Antoni Gaudí.
Situated at the northern coast of Mallorca, the charming picturesque 13th century town of Pollenca with its historical sights is also a worthwhile day trip destination. You might walk the Way of the Cross (“Via Crucis”) up to Cavalry Mountain (“El Cavalri” or “El Calvario”) and see the Mother of God at the Foot of the Cross (“Mare de Déu del Peu de la Creu” or “Madre de Dios del Pie de la Cruz”), a much-revered virgin statue housed in a chapel on top of the hill. The Plaça Major, the main square of Pollenca, has some good cafes, bars and restaurants and invites the traveller to having a coffee and relaxing after a day´s strolling through the twisted alleys of the medieval town centre.
Pollenca also offers a wide range of shopping possibilities and the lively and busy Sunday market at the Plaça Major is also worth visiting. Dominating the Plaça Major, the Church of Our Lady of the Angels (“Esglèsia de Nostra Senyora dels Àngels” or “Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles) built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century impresses the visitor with its austere Baroque façade.
Located at the northwestern coast of Mallorca, the charming, quiet town of Sóller surprises the visitor with some interesting sights. The Botanical Gardens of Sóller (“Jardí Botànic de Sóller” or “Jardín Botánico de Sóller”) and the Balearic Museum of Natural Sciences (“Museu Balear de Ciènces Naturals” or “Museo Balear de Ciencias Naturales”) invite to exploring the huge bio-diversity of Mallorca and are worthwhile day trip destinations.
The Bank of Sóller (“Banc de Sóller”,”Banco Central Hispano” or “antiguo Banco de Sóller”) and the Parish Church of Sant Bartomeu (“Església de Sant Bartomeu” or “Iglesia de Sant Bartomeu”) located at Plaça Constitució, the main square of Sóller, are further spectacular monuments. Founded in 1248 and originally built in Gothic style, the church was renovated in 1904 by Joan Rubió I Bellver, a pupil of Antoni Gaudí, in Art Noveau style. The bank was built in 1889 and designed in Modernist style by Rubió in 1912.
The Museum of the Casal de Cultura (“Museu del Casal de Cultura” or “Museo del Casal de Cultura”) is also worth a visit. You might as well make a trip with the Sóller Train (“Ferrocarril de Sóller”) running between Palma de Mallorca and Sóller since 1912 and enjoy the diversity of Mallorcas many different landscapes. A trip with this ancient train is really an unforgettable event and a main tourist attraction.
Further historical sites of interest in the Tramuntana mountains are Alaró Castle, Valdemossa Monastery, the Monastery of San Salvador (“Santuari de Sant Salvador” or “Monasterio de San Salvador”) in Felanitx and The King´s Castle (“El Castell del Rey” or “El Castell del Rei”) in Pollenca. Mallorca is also a paradise for golf players and offers a wide range of first-class golf courses in Andratx, Santa Ponsa, Son Gual and Canyamel, just to mention a few. Nature lovers and lovers of ecotourism might also visit Sa Dragonera Nature Park, Cala Mondragó Nature Park and Cabrera National Park and enjoy Mediterranean nature in its purest form on numerous hiking trails and in total calmness.
If you want to take a Spain bike tour, then you may want to consider investing in a touring bicycle. This type of bicycle is specially made to carry food, clothes, and other supplies that you will need on your Spain bike tour or other bike tour.
There are racks that are on the front and rear of the touring bike for toting around all the extra stuff that you need on a trip. They also feature three water bottle holders, a large wheelbase, and mudguard mounts, and a frame that fits the wider tires perfectly.
Three common touring bikes are available today. These include the tandem, recumbent, and road touring bikes. Every touring bike has its specific benefits and they should be chosen after considering your individual needs and desires.
The classic touring bike has a wheel that is 700c, with a diameter that is the same size of a racing bike, but with more ample clearance for the frame and a wider rim. You will notice that most manufacturers modify a mountain bike tire that is 26”, because it is very strong and gives you better resistance while riding.
Have you seen those cool recumbent touring bikes? These bikes are easy to notice, due to the position of the seat. This touring bike offers the rider a reclined seat that keeps their legs in front of the seat, rather than under the seat. The steering is usually slightly below or above the level of the seat for maximum comfort.
A tandem bicycle is a bicycle built for two and is very popular for couples who are going on a trip of a long distance. This bike would be excellent for you and your husband to take that Spain bike tour or other tour across a country. These bikes will not carry extra weight like supplies, so you may want to hook a trailer to your tandem bike to take a long trip.
The more modern touring bikes have the proper equipment for long distance rides complete with saddles that you can ride comfortable for a long distance, road handlebars, and front and rear luggage racks for all of your gear. This bike has sturdy wheels and rims that withstand riding and are stable and durable. You can find trailers to tow some of your gear and this is a wonderful idea if you have quite a bit of supplies, because it gives you a lower center of gravity.
Touring bikes are made to be very durable and sturdy for the up and down roads. The brakes on a touring bike are different than on other bikes as they are lever-pulled or cantilever brakes. You may even find a touring bike that comes complete with disc brakes simply because they offer additional braking.
Touring bikes are not known for their speed, but they are known for functionality in traveling and durability. This bike is excellent to use on your Spain bike tour or any bike tour that you want to take.